So You Found Your Dream Property

Keep it from becoming a nightmare

 Debbi Conrad  |    July 06, 2005

One of the best ways to avoid surprises in your new home is to hire the ‚Äútrained eye‚ÄĚ of a qualified home inspector to see if there are any problems with your dream home. A home inspection goes a long way in preventing the unexpected once you‚Äôve closed the deal and moved into your new home.

How do I arrange for a home inspection?

The very first step is to make sure the optional ‚Äúhome inspection contingency‚ÄĚ in the offer to purchase form is checked. Your REALTOR¬ģ will review the inspection contingency details with you.

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After your offer is accepted, hire a Wisconsin-registered home inspector to inspect the property. Your REALTOR¬ģ may suggest the names of a few local inspectors. You can also find a listing of all registered Wisconsin home inspectors at

Wiring and railings and faucets and . . .

Before you schedule the inspection, make sure you sign a contract with your home inspector spelling out the areas of the home that will be inspected, as well as the associated fees. Because the minimum legal requirements for a home inspection are not very extensive, make sure you discuss what parts of the property will be inspected and what parts will not before you sign the inspection contract. For example, a home inspector is not required to operate appliances, check the furnace’s heat exchanger, inspect more than one window per side of the home, or look at any locks or security systems.

For a complete listing of what the home inspector is required to inspect (and a listing of components that may not be inspected unless you ask), ask your REALTOR¬ģ or go online and visit

Is an appraisal the same thing as a home inspection?

No, an appraisal is not a substitute for a home inspection. An appraisal is an objective, third-party estimate of current market value, made by a person who has sufficient knowledge and experience to accurately estimate its value. Some loan programs ask the appraiser to identify property defects, but appraisers are not required to have the same technical knowledge as home inspectors and are not credentialed to conduct home inspections.

Do I need to hire an appraiser?

As part of your mortgage loan application, you‚Äôll pay for your lender to order an appraisal on the house that you are buying. Lenders won‚Äôt approve your loan until they establish that the home you are buying is worth the loan amount you are requesting. Once the appraisal is complete, be sure to ask your lender for a copy ‚ÄĒ you are entitled to one by law.

 Editor’s note: The DRL became the DSPS in 2011. Information above may not be current.

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