Home Inspections, Radon Testing, Mold Testing
Serving Chicago and Surrounding Areas
What is a Home Inspection?
As a licensed and certified Chicagoland area home inspector, I want to ensure you understand the general home inspection process. It is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property performed for a fee. It is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by the Standards of Practice. Both are observed and deemed material by the home inspector. Inspection reports may include additional comments and recommendations. Click here for report samples. For any Real Estate Inspection, the home inspector will take a significant number of pictures to include in the report. The client will receive a detailed report from the home inspector within 24 hours of inspection.
Why should you hire a home inspector?
Because you can use a home inspection report as a contingency in your purchase offer. If a home inspection reveals significant defects, you can withdraw your offer without penalty. Now that you know the house you’re looking for isn’t this one, it’s time to look for another potential home. Voila, the certified home inspector just saved you a lot of trouble. After you move in the house, it’s all done and it will be too late to back out. The inspection can also reveal problems that you may be able to get the current owners to fix before you move in. If you’re a first-time home buyer, a certified home inspector can educate you in home maintenance to make your home safe. Try not to skip this important step, a home inspector will save you time and money in the long run.
How long does a Home Inspection generally take?
A typical home inspection for a 2500 sq feet house lasts about 2-3 hours. A 7000 sq feet house could take even five hours. I inspected 13,000 sq feet and larger mansions that took more than 7 hours. Condominiums take less time since there’s no need to inspect the building exterior or the roof. The building association maintains these and includes the costs in the assessment. I don’t remember a condo inspection that took me more than 90 minutes. Surely there are situations when the home inspector will have difficulties with some areas of the property. For example, confined spaces such as crawl space, attic, etc. may result in a longer inspection. In any case, you should be present if you need to ask questions. It’s better to see the problems with your own eyes rather than rely only on the snapshots in the report.
Chicago Home Inspection Estate areas of service
I usually work in the Chicago area and the following suburbs that are in about 40 miles radius of the city; Franklin Park, Schiller Park, Wilmette, Melrose Park, Arlington Heights, Palatine, Northbrook, Rolling Meadows, Park Ridge, Morton Grove, Bellwood, Wood Dale, Bensenville, Des Plaines, Hoffman Estates, Western Springs, Oak Park, Westchester, Schaumburg, Addison, Huntley, Crystal Lake, Wheaton, Lake in the Hills, Elmwood Park, and many others.
What does the Home Inspection Report include?
The major systems and components we inspect are;
Roof and Exterior
A certified home inspector in Chicago area will inspect the roof at least from the ground level if it’s not accessible due to height or other impediments. The home inspector will try to get to the roof surface as close as possible or at least inspect it from ground level using binoculars and/or a good zoom lens camera for quality pictures. If snow is covering the roof, the inspection will have to resume at what is visible (if any) and the report will state that fact. The certified home inspector will inspect the roof-covering materials, the gutters, the downspouts, the vents, flashings, skylights, chimney and the general roof structure.
Basement, Foundation, Crawlspace and Structure
If visible, the foundation, the basement, the crawlspace and the structural components are all part of a home inspection. A certified home inspector in Chicago area is not required to remove the interior wall finishing materials or see through walls in order to see the interior structure integrity. The home inspector will report any indications of wood in direct contact with the soil, signs of water penetration, possible foundation movement, damaged framing members, if visible.
A home inspector will check both cooling and heating systems using normal operating controls with the help of the thermostat. During cold seasons or when outside temperature is below 65F, it won’t be possible to test the cooling system as doing so could damage the AC condenser unit. If the systems are not working properly using normal operating controls, the certified home inspector will note that in the report and recommend that a HVAC professional evaluate to make necessary corrections.
The home inspection report will include notes on the condition of the plumbing pipes (if visible), the plumbing fixtures and the components including the water heater. A certified home inspector is not required to turn on the water in a house because it can cause unwanted leaks or other damage to the system. If the water in the house is turned off, the home inspector will check the plumbing connections and note if anything is done improperly.
The electric system is part of a general home inspection. The inspector will check a significant number of electric outlets switches in the house. The certified home inspector will note the kind of service entrance the house has and if anything functions improperly. The electrical panel could hide possible unsafe connections. If safe, the home inspector will remove the cover and take a look inside.
Attic, Insulation and Ventilation
Doors, Windows and Interior
A certified home inspector will check all the appliances using the normal controls. Appliance brands and models can vary greatly and sometimes an operating manual may not be present. In that case the home inspector won’t be able to test the specific appliance and will note this fact in the inspection report.
You can see some of my home inspector customers reviews on my Google+ page here: https://plus.google.com/+Homeinspectionestate/about