The pandemic has caused millions of people here in the Chicago area and around the country to reflect on how they live — and, just as importantly, where they would like to live next. If you’re among the large group considering a move from the city to the suburbs, it’s important to remember to make a home inspector part of your team. A professional home inspection is one of the best ways to understand a home’s condition, habitability and safety — particularly as you make the big leap into a new neighborhood.
From the City to the Suburbs: The Trends to Know
The decision to purchase a home has always been one that is made with many factors in mind: lifestyle, schools, proximity to the workplace, neighborhood amenities, the size and style of the home, and so on. The pandemic offered an opportunity for many people to reflect on the places that they call home — and it’s leading to a big shift in what buyers are looking for next.
A poll conducted by Realtor.com found that prospective buyers wanted features like “more space in the house” and “better outdoor space” in their next homes, with many people ranking these features as must-haves.
As a result, it’s no surprise that many people have considered making a move from the city to the suburbs, which generally offer the promise of more space, more outdoor living opportunities, lower costs of living, and larger homes. With remote work a burgeoning trend that seems poised to stick around, people are no longer feeling tied to their urban abodes, and many people are looking into suburbs both near and far.
According to data collected by Harris Poll, nearly 40% of adults living in urban areas say that they have recently considered moving “out of populated areas and toward rural areas,” with almost half (43%) saying that they have actively looked online for living places outside of the city. In fact, according to Realtor.com, the number of shoppers viewing suburban homes grew by 53.9% year-over-year in 2020 — far outpacing the growth of people browsing homes in cities.
As a recent report from Bloomberg explains, relocation data indicates that “people are moving outward” right now:
Outward to the suburbs of their own core metro area, but also farther out, to satellite cities or even other major urban centers that might still give people proximity to their region… the pandemic compressed into a matter of months moves that might have happened in the next few years anyway.
This is playing out in real time in the Chicagoland real estate market, with one brokerage reporting that the sale of large, single-family homes “jumped [by] just under 17% between 2019 and 2020,” with time on market for such properties declining by 8%
How a Home Inspection Can Make Your Next Transition Easier
Like any move, transitioning from a home in the city to one in the suburbs offers lots of opportunities, as well as challenges. It’s important to surround yourself with professionals who can make taking your next steps easier. When you’re buying a home, that includes the services of a professional home inspection company.
A home inspection is a visual examination of the readily accessible systems and components of a home. During an inspection, the inspector looks for structural and mechanical concerns, as well as potential safety hazards. Your inspector will also try to determine the age of major systems around the property, including the roofing, HVAC components, and water heaters. During a standard home inspection, an inspector will generally observe hundreds of items throughout the home with a keen and objective eye. A properly trained inspector is unbiased and thorough, and will review your house as a system, looking at how one component of the house might affect another.
This type of inspection is your best protection against buying a home needing repairs that you may not be able to afford. You’ll come out of this inspection with more knowledge about whether or not the home is safe, structurally and mechanically sound, and free of health risks, while also gaining a solid foundation of knowledge about the home’s components and systems, as well as maintenance tips and other information that can help you protect your investment.
This is often an important educational opportunity for those moving from the city to the suburbs for the first time. Living in a free-standing home in a more remote location can be quite a different experience than living in an attached condo unit in a dense Chicago neighborhood. As an example, such a home will often include a lot more outdoor space, which can cause issues that you may not have considered in a more urban setting. An inspector can help you examine important components around the grounds of your new home, including exterior doors; attached decks and balconies; eaves; vegetation, grading, surface drainage, and retaining walls on the property that are likely to adversely affect the building; and walkways, patios, and driveways that lead to your entrance.
Similarly, there are lots of little things to consider. Even the plumbing can be different! Within Chicago, the plumbing systems in single family homes and apartment buildings connect directly to a sewer line; in some suburban areas in Illinois, the home’s plumbing may connect to a septic system. This might mean that different types of routine plumbing maintenance and care will be required over time.
And if you’re transitioning from renting to owning, this will almost always mean taking on more maintenance and upkeep, rather than being able to rely on a landlord or management company. This makes knowing the age of the components of the home and the presence of any potential future repairs all the more important. A home inspector will try to determine the components that are not performing properly as well as items that are beyond their useful life span or that are unsafe. They will also try to identify areas where repairs may be needed or where there may have been problems in the past.
What to Expect with Windy City Home Inspection
Curious about what goes into the home inspection process here in Chicagoland in the city or the suburbs? Looking for guidance or insight from an experienced home inspection team? Our experts are here and ready to help. 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.
We know Chicagoland inside and out. Check out our service areas map to see the communities we proudly serve, and start learning more about the home inspection process by exploring our free sample reports, available here.
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.