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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I get an inspection on a newly-built home?

Wisconsin builders generally do a good job, but even contractors can make mistakes, or install defective components. An inspection is a meticulous evaluation of many dozens of details, and is likely to catch things that may not work right. In addition, an inspection report can give you the documentation to help you get things fixed or replaced.

I have a warranty; why should I pay for an inspection too?

Warranties are great to have after the fact. You should read the language carefully, so you understand any limited coverage or requirements to keep it in force. However, warranties do nothing to help you avoid problems; a good home inspection will do that.

Aren't inspections just for buyers?

That is the typical practice in Wisconsin. But more sellers are realizing the advantages of having their own inspection prior to listing their homes. They would prefer to go into negotiations with the eventual buyer armed with the same knowledge he or she will have. In addition, a pre-listing inspection can alert the seller to what items might be viewed negatively by potential buyers, can draw in more potential buyers, and reduce the likelihood of “failure to disclose” allegations.

Don't all inspectors have to follow the same standards?

In theory, all should follow the state standards of practice. However, some are more diligent than others in their interpretation of what that means. Some choose to join national professional organizations that mandate tougher standards, more education, and a higher code of ethics. And like with any professional consultant, you will just feel more comfortable with some than with others.

How long does it take?

Typically it takes 2 to 4 hours; condos a little less; duplexes a little more. A thorough inspection covers all the items in the state standards. A good inspector will get up on every roof (with few exceptions), go physically into the attic and crawl space if possible, and take the time to explain his or her findings and answer your questions.

So what does it cost?

The average cost in Wisconsin may range from $200 for a condo to $500 or more for a large, complex property. Hearthstone strives to keep prices very competitive. And we charge less for smaller homes and condos. Remember, value is more than just the bottom line. A thorough inspection will be well worth the cost; a cut rate inspection could cost much more than what was initially saved. The inspection of your largest investment is not the place to accept poor quality to save a few dollars.

My uncle builds homes – why can't he look at the house for me?

He may in fact know more about some aspects of the home than many inspectors. But a good inspector follows a methodical process through the entire house, using an array of tools like gas detectors and moisture meters. Equally important as the information, he or she will stand behind the report in writing and be responsible for the findings.