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INSPECTIONS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW


If you have bought or sold a house you know about the inspection process. However, are you aware that the requirements are not standard from city to city? And are you aware that each inspector might have a slightly different view of what needs to be fixed or not? It’s somewhat like how a referee might call a play, it’s performed by humans and all people have a concept on what constitutes a perfect situation or what doesn’t.


Anyway inspections have been on my mind a lot since getting our first rental ready. You have the pre-inspection and you’re given a list of what needs to be fixed. A plumber or electrician etc. interpret what the inspection report says and he fixes it according to what he believes is needed. You get a second inspection and it might be as high as 95% of what the inspector wants and that turns out not to be good enough. You then have to have the worker come back out whether or not it’s something that he or you deemed a safety or a cosmetic issue. Then you need to schedule another inspection. And getting all the schedules lined up can be a nightmare. These are sometimes not even costs which were budgeted for.



When you are buying a house you’re thrilled that the property has been inspected and should be perfect when you move in; however, when you’re selling or getting a property ready for rental, some of the delays are very costly and you sometimes wonder why something needed fixing. Unfortunately, you have no control and must comply with the inspection report.


Below is some additional info from Zillow on what to expect:


Home inspection checklist

You should start preparing for a professional inspection when you initially tour the home, before making an offer. This will give you an idea if there are any areas you want the inspector to pay special attention to. A good inspector will address these issues in the report you pay for. Use this checklist to help figure out what to look for ahead of time and in the final report. If any of these items aren’t covered in the inspection report, ask why not.


-Foundation: Look at the base of the walls and the ceilings in each room. Are there obvious cracks or apparent shifts in the foundation? Do the same around the outside. Are there any trees encroaching on the foundation?

-Lot: Does the drainage appear to be away from the house? Are there any obvious soggy areas?

-Roof: What is the overall condition? When was it last replaced?

-Exterior: Does the house look like it will need repairs or repainting soon? Are gutters and downspouts firmly attached? Are there loose boards or dangling wires? Is there asbestos in the exterior material, which would require added costs if it needed to be repaired or replaced?

-Attic: How does the interior of the roof structure look? Are there any signs of leaks?

-Interior evidence of leaks: Check ceilings and around windows in each room.

-Basement: Is there dampness? Adequate insulation? (If there’s a crawlspace instead of a basement, you might want to leave this for the professional home inspection.)

-Electrical: Do the switches work? Are there any obvious malfunctions? Have the outlets been grounded? Is the panel updated and expandable for additional appliances or a potential remodel?

-Plumbing: Any unusual noises or malfunctions? Has the sewer line been scoped to check for potential cracks?

-Appliances: If these are included, what is the age and condition of the stove, dishwasher or refrigerator?

-Heating/cooling system: Does it seem to do the job? How old is the furnace? If the system has been converted, are the old systems or tanks still in place?

-Odor: Does the home smell? Can you detect what it might be and whether it could be fixed? Beware of musty odors which could signal a wet basement.


Full disclosure

In addition to your own eyes, ears and nose, you should get a Seller’s Disclosure Statement before your inspection. Use the statement to help you pinpoint anything you want your inspector to look at. If they disclosed that they had a leaky window replaced or repaired, make sure that gets some extra attention from your inspector.

Disclosure requirements vary by state and sometimes local jurisdictions, so ask your real estate agent if you have any questions about what is included. Disclosure typically comes in the form of boilerplate documents with a series of yes/no questions for the seller to detail their home and their experience there.


One thing to look for is whether any unpermitted work has been done. If so, you could be on the hook for bringing the house up to code should you ever remodel. Even if that’s not even remotely on your radar, unpermitted work needs to be carefully inspected, particularly electrical and plumbing work.



But the bottom line is the reason for inspections are great. You want everyone to be as safe as possible!


If you have any interesting inspection stories, I’d love you to share them with us. It’s a learning process that’s for sure.



Source: excerpt from Zillow

Laura Flynn, Real Estate Broker

Coldwell Banker

Downers Grove, IL

5114 Main Street

Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of the company.

© 2018 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker Logo are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.

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