Spring is almost here and soon you’ll see delightfully warmer temperatures, tulips blooming along Michigan Avenue, and cherry blossoms in Jackson Park — along with possible building damage caused by Chicagoland’s brutal winter weather.
It’s also the perfect time to schedule a thorough inspection of your home by a licensed and experienced professional. Regular inspections are a crucial part of maintaining the value of your property, ensuring your family stays safe, and protecting your investment by identifying any potential problems and allowing you to take proactive steps to prevent them from becoming more costly ordeals.
If you’re considering selling your house this year, it’s even more important to spot the issues that could keep you from getting the asking price you deserve. Additionally, sellers in the state of Illinois are legally required to honestly disclose the condition of their homes to prospective buyers.
Keep reading for some invaluable tips on preparing for a spring home inspection in Chicagoland.
The first step in this process is to review the exterior of your property. Check for signs of damage to the roofing and siding, and any signs of water infiltration around the foundation and windows. Clear any debris from the gutters and downspouts so you can spot the signs of water damage or mold, and leave this area free of excessive plant growth, trash cans, garden tools, and other impediments.
What about your walkways, fences, railings, or deck? Damage to these elements can create serious safety concerns if they’re not in good condition and possibly derail your sale. Your inspector will also evaluate “grading, surface drainage, and retaining walls on the property when any of these are likely to adversely affect the building,” according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, so you’ll need to make sure these are completely visible.
Don’t forget about your roof. This is the first line of defense that protects your home from water damage and extreme weather, and by the time you have a leak, it could be too late to prevent a very costly repair or a total replacement. If you think there may be a problem, your home inspector can provide you with recommendations on the smartest course of action.
Real estate brokers frequently use this phrase as a selling point for older homes, meant to emphasize structural integrity over superficial appearances. A home with “good bones” has a strong foundation, straight walls and floors, and was constructed with quality materials.
Take a stroll around the perimeter of your house and watch for cracks or signs of sinking, then head down to your basement and examine the entire space. Is it dark, dank, and musty smelling? You could have a water leak due to foundation problems, which is a big red flag for potential buyers.
A skilled inspector will be watching for indications of structural integrity, so these areas should be adequately illuminated and completely accessible.
You may also want to take this opportunity to clean and declutter your residence in order to help the inspection process go smoothly. If you’re putting your home on the market soon, many experts recommend that you depersonalize and organize to showcase your property in the best possible light.
Take the time to go through each room and ensure that windows, vents, and electrical outlets are uncovered, unblocked, and completely visible. A comprehensive home inspection covers several critical systems, including:
- Air conditioning and heating
Do a pre-check of your water heater for any signs of leakage or rust. Other major appliances like your refrigerator and stove should be clean and fully operational, especially if you’ll be listing soon.
Are your shower and tub draining slowly, or do you have toilets that run for a while after flushing? Before your inspection, clear your drains of hair and other debris, and conserve water with a quick toilet fix from Popular Mechanics.
Your inspector will perform a comprehensive evaluation of the home’s electrical system as well as check all outlets and determine if they’re properly grounded. If you’ve had any recent electrical or renovation projects, talk to your inspector about confirming everything is up to code.
If you can, test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to guarantee they’re working properly. Look for interior safety hazards, such as loose carpets, exposed nails, or slippery surfaces. Check that your fire extinguishers are in working order and replace any that are expired or unusable.
Get Peace of Mind
Scheduling a complete home inspection in the spring is a very wise decision for every homeowner, whether you’re selling up and moving out or staying put for the long haul.
This process will give you clarity about the condition of your property as well as forewarn you of potential issues, enabling you to be proactive and solve these problems before disaster strikes. If you’re hoping to put your home on the market soon, a thorough inspection report is an indispensable tool for asking the right price and getting the results you want.
There’s no time like the present — reach out to us today!