Frequently Asked Questions
A home inspection is a non-invasive, non-technically exhaustive visual examination of the readily accessible systems and components of a home. During an inspection, the inspector looks for structural and mechanical concerns, potential safety hazards, and tries to determine the age of major systems including roofing, heating and air conditioning, and water heaters. An inspector typically spends between two to three hours evaluating the home, and may recommend further evaluation if problems or symptoms are discovered.
During a standard home inspection, there are generally over 200 items observed throughout the home. It is too hard hard to try to mention them all, however here is a brief overview of what is inspected:
Exterior: Siding and trim, roof (where accessible or other conditions warrant not walking on it), gutters and downspouts, windows/skylights/doors, chimneys/flashing, steps and walks, decks/patios/porches, retaining walls, driveways/garages, grading and landscaping as they affect the house.
Interior: Foundations, water seepage into basements and/or crawl spaces (when safely accessible), framing, electrical systems, heating and cooling systems (temperature permitting), plumbing (water, waste, and heating), visible well equipment, laundry, kitchen/baths, interior surfaces (doors, walls, ceilings, etc.), fireplaces, attic framing including ventilation and insulation.
For a more in-depth summary, you can view our sample reports by clicking here.
For many people, their home will be the greatest investment they ever make. The decision to purchase a home is made with many factors in mind: lifestyle, schools, proximity to workplace, neighborhood, size and style of home, etc. Most people are unable to determine on their own the existence of unknown problems. They are often emotionally attached to the home, so they may overlook certain issues. These problems can cost a significant amount of money that the buyer maybe unprepared to spend.
One of the best ways to understand a home’s condition, habitability and safety is to hire a professional home inspector. A properly trained inspector is unbiased and will review your house as a system, looking at how one component of the house might affect another. Home inspectors will go through the property and perform a visual inspection to assess the condition of the house and all of its systems. They will try to determine the components that are not performing properly as well as items that are beyond their useful life span or are unsafe. They will also try to identify areas where repairs may be needed or where there may have been problems in the past. 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. This type of inspection is your best protection against buying a home needing repair that you may not be able to afford.
Inspection fees for a standard home inspection vary by size and features of the property as well as the age of the home.
Additionally, services such as well and septic, lead, pest inspections, mold inspections and radon testing may be warranted depending upon the individual property. Feel free to call us at 847.926.HOME (4663) for an estimate.
Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. A professional home inspector has the experience, depth of knowledge and training to make an unbiased and informed report of the condition of a property. An inspector is familiar with the many elements of home construction, property installation, and maintenance. An inspector understands how the 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 their findings reveal about the condition of the property.
Most buyers find it difficult to remain objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate information about the conditions of a home, always obtain an impartial third-party opinion by an expert in the field of home inspection. In addition, more and more states are requiring home inspectors to be licensed. In these instances, the only opinion that carries any weight regarding the condition of the home is that of the licensed home inspector. A contractor-brother-in-law’s opinion, while valid, carries no weight in the negotiation process.
No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies compliance to local codes and standards. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house. A home inspection describes the physical condition of a property and indicates what may need repair or replacement. The information provided is to allow the potential buyer to make an informed decision about moving forward with the transaction.
Any professional inspection firm will have an agreement for you to read and sign. This agreement will spell out the company’s capabilities and their limitations, Do not assume you know what the inspector can do for you based on what you hope or want him to do for you. There are limitations. Inspectors are there to limit your risk in the purchase of a home. However, they cannot eliminate that risk. Keep in mind that the inspection is limited to what can be visually observed at the time of the inspection. Generally, their function is to observe and evaluate the major systems of the home and report to you the condition they observe that exist on the day of the inspection. When problems are found, the inspector will either offer recommendations of how to repair or recommend you get further evaluation by someone who specializes in that field. An inspector cannot predict the condition of a system five years from now, or even what broke; a furnace working the day of the inspection may develop a problem between then and the date you move in. There are also limitations to the depth of evaluation a home inspector can perform. There are components to systems that are not visible without dismantling the system. Home inspectors do not perform this kind of testing. The inspector can evaluate only what is visible.
The report will include the findings of what condition the major systems of the home were found in. Reports themselves can vary. You will receive an electronic copy of your report, including a home maintenance manual, usually by the end of business that same day. The report is organized with an inspection checklist, a summary report of deficiencies found, and perhaps digital pictures to support the recommendations if necessary.
Feel free to check out our sample reports to see detail for detail what an inspection report looks like.
Before you sign the contract or purchase agreement, make your purchase obligation contingent upon findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated. Contact a home inspector immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Home inspectors are aware of the time constraints involved in purchase agreements and most are available to conduct the required inspection within a few days. With the ever-changing marketplace, sellers are finding it to their advantage to have a pre-listing inspection to try to head off potential problems by either repairing them or offering a credit for their repair.
While it is not necessary for you to be present, it is always recommended that you be there. This allows you to follow the inspector, ask questions as you learn about the condition of the home, how its systems work, and how to maintain them. After you have seen the property with the inspector, you will find the report easier to understand. More often than not, you will learn something about your new home. Our goal at Windy City is to not only inspect, but to educate as well.
No house is perfect. When the inspector identifies problems, it does not indicate you should not buy the house. His findings serve to educate you in advance of the purchase about the condition of the property. A seller may adjust the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are discovered during an inspection. If your budget is tight, or if you do not want to be involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely valuable. The bottom line is you should have all the information you can get so you can make an informed decision.
No. Now you can complete your home purchase with confidence about the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. From the inspection, you will have learned many things about your new home and will want to keep that information for future reference. In these cases, you should have peace of mind knowing that you are making the right decision.
Yes! A house appraisal is an independent evaluation of the current market value of a house or property. In general, the purpose of an appraisal is to set the current value of a house so that a lender may determine how much it can loan to the buyer. The appraiser looks at similar properties in the area and the prices at which they were sold to set the value of the house.