You’ve shopped for months and now you’ve found it: your nest, your sanctuary, your little slice of the American dream in Batavia IL. But you also have watched one too many HGTV shows featuring that burly home inspector guy. The tingly anticipation you hoped to feel is overcome by stomach-cramping fear. You pray that your home inspector has x-ray vision and 478 years of experience.
On the other side of the fence the seller doesn’t sleep for three straight days before the inspection. Some worry that they should hand-polish the downspouts before the inspector shows up.
Despite some of the horror stories, most home inspections go pretty well. The home inspection is a time to make sure that the home is safe. A well-prepared buyer understands this. In Illinois, where I work as a Batavia IL real estate agent, the home inspection is supposed to identify defects in the major mechanical and structural elements of the home such as:
- Any malfunction in the heating and cooling systems. (But old doesn’t mean malfunctioning).
- Clear evidence of structural problems such as a cracked foundation or rotted wood in a staircase.
- Plumbing issues such as toilets that don’t flush or faucets that are not working.
- Electrical system problems such as an overloaded service box.
The home inspector also looks for environmental hazards that require further evaluation, including radon, asbestos, soil contamination, mold or gas leaks.
What can a seller can be asked to address after a home inspection? If the questionable component of the house was to code when it was built, the seller may not be required to make the change.
A home inspection is not intended to be the basis for a major re-negotiation of the contract. Under their licensing and certification guidelines, inspectors write up many home maintenance recommendations but these are not a legitimate requests for repair under our contract.
I always recommend that a buyer have a professional home inspection and would insist on a signed waiver if it was declined. The home inspection is intended to make sure that a buyer knows about problems, issues and defects in a home so that they are not taking on more than they expected.
So hire a great home inspector and learn as much as possible from him (or her) about the house. Then work with your REALTOR® and attorney to make a realistic list of requests from the seller.
My favorite home inspection company for St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, Elburn and Wayne IL is BrickKickers. Owner Ron Ewald is responsible for the Chicagoland area. In addition to purchases, they also do pre-listing inspections so that a seller can correct problems to make sure the house is “buyable”. (630)420-9900.
Note: I am a licensed REALTOR® in Illinois, so these observations are made based on my experience and our state laws. Please consult with local professionals for the requirements for home inspections in your area.