Here in the Chicago area, scheduling a home inspection is an incredibly important part of the homebuying process. A professional home inspection can empower you to purchase your next home with confidence and peace of mind. However, if this is your first time taking part in such a major transaction, you’re bound to have questions — including who should be present during the home inspection.

Curious about whether or not you should be on hand for your home inspection? Wondering who else you can expect to see — and how this process is being impacted during the ongoing situation with coronavirus? 

Let’s dive into what you can expect from a typical home inspection, and who should plan on attending to learn more during this important piece of the real estate puzzle. 

What Goes Into a Standard Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a non-invasive visual examination of the readily accessible systems and components of a home. During an inspection, your inspector will adopt an unbiased eye as they look for structural and mechanical concerns and potential safety hazards around the property. Your inspector will also determine the age of the property’s major systems, including the water heater, roofing, and HVAC. Throughout the inspection, your home inspector will identify the components of the home that are not performing properly, as well as items that are beyond their useful life span or which are unsafe. They will also try to identify areas where repairs may be needed or where there may have been problems in the past.

During a standard home inspection, your inspector will generally observe more than 200 elements throughout the interior and exterior of the home. An inspector typically spends between two to three hours evaluating the property, and may recommend further evaluation if problems or symptoms are discovered. At the end of the inspection, your inspector will present you with a report detailing their findings. This report will describe the physical condition of a property and indicate what may need repair or replacement. Inspections are intended to provide the client with a better understanding of property conditions as observed at the time of the inspection, but not to tell you whether or not to buy the property.

Who Should Attend the Home Inspection?

So, besides your experienced, knowledgeable, and professional home inspector, who should be present during the home inspection? The most important person is you!

The Buyer

While it is not strictly required for the buyer to be present for the home inspection in Illinois, we always recommend that our clients be there. This way, you can follow the inspector throughout the home, ask questions as you learn more about the condition of the home, and get an overview of how the home’s systems work — and what you can do to maintain them. 

Our goal here at Windy City is to not only inspect, but to educate as well.  For instance, over the course of an inspection you may get some valuable tips and insights from your inspector — ranging from when you should change your furnace filters (and where they go!), to where the main water shut-off is located, to what it means to have a GFCI outlet. The inspector will also point out things to keep an eye open for, which you can carry forward long after the close of the deal.

Similarly, we’ve found that people who are present for the inspection generally find the final inspection report a lot easier to understand and talk over with their real estate professional — all because they took the time to learn something about their new home! 

The Buyer’s Agent

Often, the buyer’s agent will also be present at the home inspection. In circumstances where the buyer cannot be there in person, their real estate agent can act as their representative. Many buyers also want their agents to be present so they can go over the details of the inspection report and develop a strategy together. 

What About Other Parties?

Here in Illinois, it is not unheard of for the listing agent for the home to be present, to open the doors to the property and represent the seller during the inspection, as needed. Broadly speaking, this is slightly more common in the city of Chicago than in the suburbs. Because of their emotional attachment to the home and the need to observe the property with an objective eye, we generally recommend that the sellers themselves are not on hand for the inspection. 

For buyers, we also recommend keeping your party to a minimum, to prevent there being “too many cooks in the kitchen,” so to speak. 

While the buyer may want to bring one trusted friend or family member, we typically recommend against overcrowding the property. This can make it harder for the inspector to get the space they need to do their job thoroughly and efficiently. 

Similarly, keep in mind that certified home inspectors are highly trained to be familiar with the many elements of home construction, property installation, and maintenance. An inspector understands how a home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail. They know what to look for, and are uniquely suited to interpret what those findings reveal about the condition of the property. While it is certainly valid, the opinion of a contractor or handyman is not a substitute for a professional home inspection, and carries very limited weight in the negotiation process.

Being Present for Your Home Inspection During COVID-19

We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to disrupt how many homebuyers and sellers are doing business. As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, our goal remains the same — educating potential homeowners on the property they are about to purchase. 

Real estate services have been classified as “essential” in Illinois, meaning that home inspections will continue. However, in light of the current situation, we are recommending that only the necessary parties attend the home inspection. We are happy to FaceTime, Skype, or simply call anyone not present at the inspection to review our findings in depth. 

Customer service has always been important to Windy City — and we are committed to this principle now more than ever. We will continue to deliver our inspection reports promptly, and offer flexible scheduling to accommodate your busy lifestyle. We will happily return to any property as needed to go over anything relating to the inspection report, while following a strict set of safety protocols. Your WCHI inspector will maintain a safe distance and refrain from shaking hands; wear gloves and booties for the duration of the inspection; and offer a complimentary hand sanitizer to anyone physically present at the inspection, while supplies last. 

At Windy City Home Inspection, We Are Here for You

Have any more questions about what goes into the home inspection process? Looking for guidance or insight from an experienced home inspection team based in the Chicago area? Our experts are here and ready to help. 

With Windy City Home Inspection, buyers and sellers can expect a thorough, diligent inspection that never cuts 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.