I believe that "would" indicates a hypothetical situation in this case, whereas "will" refers to a definite time. That, is, you'd use "Would he be at home if I decided to drop by?", but "Will he be at home tomorrow?"
'Would' suggests that it may be more unlikely, or that you are asking in a politer way. 'Will' is more definite / frank hence perhaps more demanding / rude.
Although they are basicly the same questiion it boils down to common useage. With the "would he be at home" you are asking if the person IS there now. With "will he be at home" you are asking if the person is going to be at the location at a future time or when you get to the location. Such as "will he be at home at 7 o'clock" or "will he be at home when I get there"
The use of the phrase "would he be at home" has largely passed out of usage in North America for the more common, "IS he at home". Although you may use the "would he be at home when I get there" the sentence structure is well kind of clunky to the North American ears
Heck that's my two cents worth I was terrible at grammer, but I have written five technical text books.
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