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What to Expect From a Home Inspection by Anne Sadler

If you are currently house hunting you will probably be faced with the decision of whether or not to have a home inspection. Before you make that decision, you should know what a home inspection is and what to expect if you have one.

First, it is important to know that a home inspector must be licensed by the State of Illinois. They must take 60 hours of pre license education and pass a state test in order to get licensed. The fee for the home inspection can cost around $275 and up depending on the size of the home, the actual type of inspection being done and the inspector you choose.

A basic home inspection covers the structure and systems within the home and is what most people opt for when hiring a home inspector. There are also inspections available for lead paint, mold, radon, pests and other environmental hazards. All of these inspections will be an additional fee if you would like them done.

It is important that you are there with the inspector during the inspection. One of the things that will happen is the inspector will give you a live “owner’s manual” tour of the home. He will show you things like where to shut off the water and gas, where the electrical panel is and how to shut off the power. He will also give you a maintenance schedule for items like the furnace and air conditioner and give you tips on how to prolong the life of the systems in the home. This can be very valuable information, especially if you are a first time home buyer.

The inspector will also give his assessment of any current or potential hazards or issues with the home and how urgently they may need to be addressed. If the furnace is 30 years old, you should probably plan to have it replaced sooner rather than later. If there are signs of a serious issue, the inspector will usually recommend further evaluation by a licensed professional. For instance, if there is evidence of a possible roof leak, he may recommend a licensed roofer evaluate the roof.

The inspector will go through a checklist of all the systems in the home- plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roof, foundation, appliances, etc. and give you a written report of his findings. Usually items that are of concern will be highlighted and further evaluation or repair will be recommended.

You will need to consult with your Realtor and decide if you are satisfied with the findings of the home inspection, if there are items you need to address with the Seller or if there is an issue that is significant enough that you want to terminate the contract. There are time limits in order to respond with your requests so make sure you do this in a timely manner.

The purpose of a home inspection is to give you information about the condition of the home you are purchasing and to make sure there are no significant hidden defects that you would not have known about otherwise. It is not a way to get out of the home purchase or to expect a Seller to repair every little issue the inspector may find. You should already have a pretty good idea about the condition of the home you are buying. If it is an older home, you should expect the systems to reflect that. You can see if the furnace is older, if there is a crack in a window or if the home has fuses instead of circuit breakers before you have a home inspection. These things are already apparent and should not be issues you should ask a seller to address after a home inspection. If something is in need of repair, it should be addressed at the time you make an offer. Don’t wait for the inspection to address issues you are already aware of. The inspection is for items you would not have otherwise known.

When making a purchase as significant as a home, it makes good sense to have it inspected. The inspection fee is very small compared to the investment you are making in the home and will help you make an informed and educated decision about the biggest purchase most people will ever make. For more information on home inspections visit our website at

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