When you want to purchase your dream home, or make plans to remodel your current property, a thorough and diligent home inspection is an absolute must.

Broadly speaking, a home inspection is a non-invasive visual examination of a home’s accessible systems and components. During an inspection, the inspector looks for structural and mechanical concerns and potential safety hazards, and tries to determine the age of major systems including roofing, heating and air conditioning, and more.

All of this is done to help ensure that the home is structurally sound, functional, and safe for you and yours to enjoy.  A quality home inspection can help your find and remedy issues and save you money.

But what should you expect in a home inspection? That’s a pretty major topic – so let’s see if we can break it down into a few smaller pieces. As you take this next step in assessing your property and finding potential issues, ask yourself these three questions:

1.) Do you know what the process holds from start to finish?

The amount of time a general home inspection can take can vary based on a number of different factors, including the size of the home, the number of elements to be inspected, and the degree to which inspected items are having issues. Typically, home inspections take around two to four hours, and will generate a comprehensive report within a business day.

But remember that, in some cases, the inspection may also be the launching point of a new process.

Depending on an inspector’s findings, the inspection report may open up a series of new questions and challenges. The busy period following an inspection can last for a few weeks, in some cases, particularly if major issues are found. When substantial items of concern are found in the home inspection period, the buyer may seek remedy in the form of negotiated (and documented repairs), closing cost credits, or other accommodations, which can take time to renegotiate.

2.) Do you know what the inspector will be inspecting?

A standard home inspection might include evaluating more than 200 different items around a property. As they look at the countless interior and exterior elements of a property, your inspector will take notes on the major systems and components of the home, including:

  • Heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) systems
  • Plumbing elements  
  • Electrical systems
  • The “envelope” of the home (including doors and windows, noting how they close and lock)
  • Roofing
  • Insulation
  • Foundation
  • Attic
  • Basement and/or crawlspace
  • Framing, siding, and trim

Please note that this list is not comprehensive. For more insights, don’t hesitate to check out our FAQ and residential services pages.

Remember, too, that every home is going to be unique. For example, consider the condominium. For smaller condo buildings, an inspector will likely look at the roofing, basement, and general structure of the property. An association with only three units, for example, will share the maintenance building amongst only a few homeowners. For a condo unit in a larger building, the inspector will focus on systems unique to or contained within the condo, understanding that the common elements are commonly maintained by a management company, and the cost is distributed across far more pocketbooks.

Keep in mind that there are also items that will not typically be inspected in a general home inspection, including low voltage systems, phone lines, cable/TV systems, and data lines. A home inspector is not a structural engineer or specialized contractor, so at times we will suggest bringing in a specialist in a particular field for further evaluations.

3.) Do you know the “when” and “why” of the home inspection process?

The inspection process can reveal a lot of incredibly valuable information about the home, whether it reveals significant issues or not. For this reason, remember that the timing of the inspection process is going to be a key factor to keep in mind.

For instance? In some cases, homebuyers tend to think that the inspection is done in advance of ever making an offer on a home. More typically, the buying process runs concurrent with the inspection process. During that period of time, there are many parties involved. For buyers, this time window may involve scheduling an inspection, going over the results of the inspection, making important decisions about whether or not they’re still interested in the property, and potentially negotiating with the sellers over remedying issues found by the inspection — all in a short period of time.

The inspection report will include information about the severity of each listed problem. Ask the inspector for clarification on this if necessary. If there are issues that are too concerning, remember that, in most cases, you will have options, including deciding to back out of the sale or negotiating with the sellers to make repairs or lower the price.

Remember, home inspectors are there to limit your risk in the purchase of a home. However, they cannot eliminate that risk entirely. When problems are found, the inspector will either offer recommendations on how to repair them, or recommend you get further evaluations by someone who specializes in that field. At the same time, remember that an inspection is different from a bank appraisal. The purpose of an inspection is to evaluate the functionality of the systems and elements of a home for the sake of the person who will be living in it; an appraisal is intended to determine the current market value of a property compared to other nearby homes, to help a lender determine how much it can safely afford to loan to a buyer.

What to Expect with Windy City Home Inspection

Whether you’re buying a property, selling a property, or just want to know how to maintain your property, Windy City Home Inspection has an inspection for you. With Windy City Home Inspection, you can expect a competent, thorough inspection covering all the bases and never cutting corners.

When searching for the right home inspector, it’s important to find someone you can trust — and that’s why we are here for you. The inspectors at Windy City Home Inspection, Inc. are licensed by the State of Illinois, certified, and insured. Each home inspection is backed by our Warranty and Protection Plan. Furthermore, we pride ourselves on our superior customer service. If you ever have questions, even years after your home inspection, we will be here to answer them — even if it means returning to your home.

At Windy City Home Inspection, Inc., we perform inspections to the highest standards – yours. Backed by a consulting team with more than 60 years of experience, Windy City Home Inspection is committed to excellence. Have a question? Let us help.