Buying a home is a highly exciting time, but it can also be nerve-wracking and stressful. It’s a significant investment, and ensuring the safety, habitability, and structural integrity of your potential new property is critical. 

If you’re house hunting in Illinois, a home inspection should definitely be on your to-do list. Getting an independent and thorough evaluation of its condition before you close on a real estate purchase can save you from expensive surprises down the road. 

However, not all home inspections or inspectors are created equal. Exploring the rules and regulations that govern building inspections in this state can empower both buyers and sellers to make informed decisions and proceed with confidence. Let’s take a closer look at home inspection best practices, the regulations governing this industry, and some tips on selecting the right team for your needs.

Understanding Home Inspector Credentialing

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) requires a license to work as a home inspector, as well as many hours of hands-on practice and continuing education on a wide range of subjects. 

After completing a minimum of 60 hours of training and 5 field events administered by a state-licensed home inspector, students must pass a comprehensive licensing exam. Test topics include drainage, building exterior components like cladding and flashing, foundations, roof and ceiling structures, HVAC, wiring, plumbing, and much more.  

Once certified, technicians can apply to trade organizations like the Illinois Association of Home Inspectors, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) for membership. These groups help support technicians with accredited online education, business development, and legal advice and assistance.

The General Assembly’s Illinois Administrative Code offers standards of practice to guide inspectors who are ready to take on clients. These standards include proper procedures for conducting the inspection, delivering reports, and creating written agreements. IDFPR also provides property owners with a state license search feature.

Inspectors can also pursue additional coursework on radon testing, commercial properties, mold assessment, septic inspections, and indoor air quality testing

Interpreting Your Report

No matter how well-maintained a property might be, there is typically always something that should be fixed or updated. Even new-construction homes can benefit from a pre-sale inspection. 

The experts at Windy City follow the ASHI® Standards of Practice for reporting findings to our clients. Our team performs an exhaustive evaluation of accessible, visually observable, installed systems and components, and provides helpful recommendations for correcting or monitoring any issues. We also strictly adhere to ASHI’s Code of Ethics, ensuring that our treasured customers always receive exemplary service.

Our reports clearly outline major concerns and potential safety hazards and offer owners or buyers suggested next steps for resolving any problems and prioritizing repairs. Situations that are or could be dangerous, such as electrical issues, damaged flooring, or building code violations, should be addressed immediately.

Some mortgage lenders have certain requirements that must be met before they will approve your loan — and homes with problems like water leaks, deteriorated roofing, or inadequate ventilation may not pass muster. 

For current homeowners seeking a pre-listing inspection, or for hopeful buyers anticipating their dream home, we provide sample inspection reports so you know exactly what to expect on the day of.

Education is Crucial

Illinois law requires sellers to disclose known defects or issues with residential real property, with the latest changes becoming effective on August 4, 2023.

Anyone who owns a single-family home, condominium unit, co-op, or multi-family residence of up to 4 units must report anything that could affect the value or create an unsafe living condition for future residents. 

During the due diligence period, it’s vital for house hunters to closely review the disclosure report with their legal counsel and partner with an experienced firm like Windy City Home Inspection. Property owners can face stiff penalties or lawsuits for failing to disclose known “material defects,” and buyers have the right to renegotiate terms or withdraw from the purchase contract if problems come to light. 

Beyond the standard home inspection, Chicagoland shoppers may encounter specific considerations based on certain regional factors. 

Historic properties may have unique challenges, such as outdated wiring, plumbing, or building materials, requiring specialized inspections or assessments. Homes located near water bodies, flood zones, or industrial areas may require additional evaluation for environmental hazards or mold risk.

Getting a comprehensive inspection sets the stage for understanding a property’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to plan and budget more confidently through future repairs and other adventures that come with homeownership. We prioritize transparency, expertise, and customer satisfaction — contact us today to embark on your real estate journey with confidence!