Buying or selling your home can be scary — but it doesn’t have to be. Imagine purchasing a house, thinking everything is fine, and then finding out days or months later that your home needs thousands of dollars of repairs. In order to prevent any expensive, unwanted surprises in your new home, it’s crucial to choose a highly qualified home inspector who knows how to uncover these dreadful home inspection nightmares before it’s too late.

Take a look at these hair-raising horror stories and learn how an experienced home inspector can save the day for you and your family.

A Vampire in the Attic

It’s not your heating and air conditioning system. It’s something entirely different making you shiver in your living room while your heat escapes through the attic. Could it be a vampire in the attic that’s sucking the heat out of your house and leaving your blood cold?

A house too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer might have nothing to do with replacing the heating and air conditioning system. The true culprit could be something entirely different: ventilation and insulation.

Unsung heroes

Proper ventilation and sufficient insulation might not be at the top of your list of things to look for when checking out a house on the market, but they should be. But a good home inspector will tell you that both of these elements are critical to the structure’s maintenance, your family’s well-being, and the health of your bank account.

Effective insulation and ventilation are crucial in making a home habitable. Chicago weather is unpredictable, but proper insulation will keep your home warm during the cold months and cool during the hot ones. In essence, without adequate and effective insulation, heated or cooled air would escape outside. Proper ventilation is essential as well. It prevents moisture buildup and the removal of hazardous gasses from systems such as furnaces and heaters.

Over time, air leaks in attics, around windows and doors, vents, crawlspaces, and any other system that reaches the ceiling to the house exterior can cost you a lot of money. The ENERGY STAR program estimates that adding extra insulation and sealing these leaks saves you up to 12% or more on heating/cooling costs.

Your home inspector will give you an expert assessment of your prospective new home’s ventilation and insulation, but you might want to consider hiring an energy efficiency professional to advise you on further improvements you could make towards sustainability.

Out to Get You

The sellers said the home had no problems, and you believed them. The severe dangers lurking around the corners have finally come out of hiding. Now you have no choice but to face the horrors threatening to jeopardize the health and safety of your family. Thankfully, a thorough home inspection can save the day.

What to watch for

Electrical issues and structural flaws that may pose a safety hazard are common safety issues discovered during a general home inspection. Aside from the fire risks, faulty electrical systems pose a risk of electric shock, which can cause fatal injury. Your home inspector will identify any electrical issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Structural issues are possibly the costliest household horror story a house inspection can save you from. Your home inspector will examine all of the visible structural parts of the house, including the foundation, crawl space, basement, framing, roof, and walls, and will give you an indication if you should bring in a specialist to address possible repairs.

The foundation is always a huge source of concern. Repairing a poor foundation can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars. Cracks in the foundation can allow moisture, radon, and pests into your home, in addition to causing cosmetic issues. Windy City Home Inspection can direct you to local pros who can estimate the cost of necessary repairs.

During a typical home inspection, it’s only noted that smoke and CO detectors are installed — you’ll want to schedule a separate test with your alarm company or local fire department to ensure they’re functioning properly.

Hidden horror

Because radon is odorless and invisible, the best way to know if you have a problem is to run a radon test. A professional radon gas inspector can assess the home for areas where this harmful gas can seep in. This is performed apart from the general home inspection, so be sure to specifically ask your inspector if you need a radon test.

While not all mold is harmful to humans (think of certain delicious cheeses and life-saving medicines), some types can smell awful or create allergic reactions while remaining hidden in walls or ceilings. Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as the dreaded “black mold”, releases mycotoxins that can cause respiratory symptoms, headaches, and skin rashes. This is an uncommon occurrence in the Chicagoland area, and your inspector will inform you if they spot any signs of mold. If they identify any seeming telltale signs, they will recommend mold testing.

Check out our guides on mold, radon, pests, and structural weakness for more information on how Windy City Home Inspection can help you solve these issues.

The House That Deceives

You could not be happier with your lovely home. So blinded by excitement, but now the rainy season is here. You stare in mortification at an abandoned haunted-looking house sitting right in the spot where your gorgeous abode should be. The paint is peeling off, termites are feasting, and beady little eyes peer out from cracks you had not noticed before.

Elements of reality

A nicely manicured garden and a fresh coat of paint can make a home’s exterior look inviting. However, a deep pre-purchase inspection can uncover the hidden defects beneath the pretty façade.

The exterior of your house is as important as its interior. It’s the first line of defense, keeping you and your family safe and comfortable. These exterior surfaces keep water and excess moisture out. Water is the most common cause of house destruction and the main focus of the inspection. Uncontrolled water in a home can cause mold growth, rotten wood, and structural damage.

Driveways and walkways are not only a beautiful addition to the grounds, but they also serve a practical purpose by providing easy access to the home. Roof gutters, downspouts, and diverters protect the building walls from intruding rain. Garages and carports provide storage space, protect vehicles from the elements, and add a layer of protection (especially if the garage is attached to the home). 

Property grading and topsoil can shift over time, pushing water toward the house rather than away from it. Decks can become unsafe due to poor construction or upkeep, and any neglected repairs can become costly fast.

During an exterior home inspection, the home inspector will assess all aspects of the home’s visible structure. The home inspection covers common exterior problems such as the exterior walls & siding, walkways, driveways & pavement, and roof drainage.

Get Answers to Your Biggest Home Inspection Questions With Windy City Home Inspection

Do not be deceived by the look of a house. One that appears to be structurally sound and reasonably priced could cost you thousands of dollars to restore. Only a highly qualified home inspector can present you with a fact-based, unbiased report. 

Curious about what goes into the home inspection process across Chicagoland? Want to understand more about what to expect from your inspection? That’s where we come in. 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 we’ll be with you every step of the way. 

Our team 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. We pride ourselves on our superior customer service and our highly knowledgeable staff. 

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.