Survival of the Fittest: What to Expect at Your Home Inspection

In a perfect world, homeowners would have perfect houses, with lots of easy access to crawl spaces, roofs and attics.  There would be no mold, no critters and no termites.  There would be plenty of light to see up chimneys and down wells and all sump pumps would have working battery backups.  But homes aren’t perfect and if you’re making the largest purchase you’ve ever made, you should have it checked out top to bottom, before you sign 150 pages of mortgage documents and closing papers.  Professional Home Inspectors are a home buyer’s best friend.  When you find a good one, you’ll want to make sure he/she spends more than 10 minutes looking over the property.  A good home inspector gets into nooks and crannies, a great one finds the latent (hidden) defects that only an experienced eye can locate.   A Buyer’s Agent and the buyers will meet and walk with the inspector in person for the duration of the home inspection.  Photos and a full, detailed report will be sent to the buyers, but the major flaws (if any) will be noted and discussed on site.  There isn’t much for the homeowners to do during the inspection, but you can bet if you’ve had a problem with it before, it will come up again.  A Realtor can recommend a local home inspector, but you are not required to use them.  In fact, you might want to check with your friends and relatives to ask for their advice on whom to select.  You can also check NAHI, National Association of Home Inspectors at http://www.nahi.org/il-illinois-home-inspector.asp

Getting ready to have your home inspected?  Clear the debris away from access panels to the overhead attic and entry into the crawl space.  If you’ve got shelves or a pull down stairway near your overhead attic space, remove the items ahead of time to speed the inspection along.  Home owners may be present during an inspection, but expect to stay out of the way unless asked specifically about something.    Let’s be honest, loose hinges, leaky faucets, slow drains and sticky windows are all items that can be easily fixed.  However, uneven flooring, mold, radon and termites are a lot more expensive and something you might or might not have noticed.  In Illinois and the Fox Valley area, radon is very common with homes that have full or partial basements.  Radon mitigation is a great solution, but can run from $600-$1200 for a permanent ventilation system.  Talk to your listing Realtor about potential red flags that might be raised in a normal home inspection.

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