I hear from real estate agents quite a bit that myself and the people that work for my company are “too picky”.  Really?  I thought that is what a professional home inspector was supposed to be.  A professional home inspector should be very detailed oriented able to document everything that he or she sees.   To me “picky” means documenting everything allowing the home buying client to go through the home inspection report and determine what is important and what is not important.  While performing a Highland Park home inspection the buying agent whom I had never met before made sure she let me know how great her home inspector was.  I really can appreciate her love for her home inspector but really did not understand why he was not there performing the Highland Park home inspection.

As you probably can guess I looked up the new realtors home inspector to find that his reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List, Google, Better Business Bureau, Redfin reviews and so on were let’s say to be the less desirable.  My clients from the Highland Park home inspection were also savvy enough to also look up the realtor revered home inspector and obviously were not impressed.  I did ask my clients why they chose my company over the referred realtor home inspection company.  This is the list of reasons that separated the 2 companies.

  1. FULL TIME COMPANY ~ The clients from the Highland Park home inspection were looking for a home inspector that worked only as a home inspector to assure that his or her skills were honed by performing home inspection every day.  Most home inspectors perform home inspections as a side job for extra cash while performing a full time job.
  2. LICENSED TRADE INSPECTORS ~ The clients from the home inspection were looking for licensed tradesmen to perform their home inspection because that meant that would know how to install, repair or replace any issue at hand and should know what issues to look for.  Pinnacle Property Inspection Services Inc. has licensed plumbers and heating contractors on staff to be able to determine major issues at a glance.
  3. REVIEWS ~ The reviews that were seen on the internet and friends that have used our services made our clients from the Highland Park home inspection comfortable to hire us to perform their home inspection.
  4. ERRORS AND OMISSION INSURANCE  ~   The fact that Pinnacle Property Inspection Services has error and omission insurance even though it is not required by the State of Illinois made our new clients comfortable that if any issues that came up would be dealt with.
  5. PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT ~ Thermal imagers, moisture meters, 40′ ladders, inside shoes are all little things to others but made the difference why the clients from the Highland Park home inspection hired us over the referred realtor home inspector.
  6. SAME DAY LARGE INSPECTION REPORTS ~ The 131 page home inspection report was delivered via email 2 hours after the inspection was performed so that the clients could start to go over the report and determine what issues needed to be addressed.
  7. RADON, ASBESTOS AND MOLD TESTING ~ The clients from the Highland Park home inspection wanted a radon test to be performed.  We own a small company called Pinnacle Radon Testing that was able to accommodate the home inspection time.  The home that was inspected was an older home that had vermiculite insulation that was also able to be tested for asbestos all in one visit.
  8. ROOF INSPECTIONS ~ Willing to walk the roof versus the use of binoculars.  All roofs are walked to assure that hidden issues are all documented to assure our clients do not move into a home with hidden issues.

The clients explained that they did know that are services were more expensive than the competitors but understood because this is our only business.  The clients from the Highland Park home inspection obviously understood the difference with value and price.  If you are a home buyer that is looking for a home inspector do not hesitate asking any questions that may influence your home inspection process

If you have any questions about this article please contact us at pinnaclepropertyinspection.com or 312-961-4228.

Jim Kolke

The Thermal Home Inspector

Loose toiletRecently while performing a Winnetka home inspection, we found that 1 of the 6 bathroom toilets were loose at the floor connection.  Loose toilet connections are prone to allow water to flow from the wax ring connection.  Loose toilet floor connections or loose closet bolts are a common issue while performing home inspections.  A wax ring is installed in the area between the toilet and the floor.  The toilet is secured with bolts that are called closet bolts.  These bolts can become loose and cause the toilet to move like what was seen during the Winnetka home inspection.  I have seen loose toilets cause thousands of dollars of water damage that sometimes cannot be seen due to homeowners not using the area below the loose toilet.    Most homeowners do not go into the basement on a regular basis especially when the laundry is on the 1st floor or the 2nd floor of the home.  If a loose toilet is found in the powder room bathroom on the 1st floor, there is a potential issue with water from the powder room toilet from leaking between the toilets to floor connection causing water damage below in the finished or unfinished areas of the basement.

At Pinnacle Property Inspection Services we tape the seats of the toilet to the toilet with a note explaining to the seller and the seller’s real estate agent that the toilet has movement and may leak now or in the near future.  Like I explained before, loose toilets can cause costly repairs.  Two days after the Winnetka home inspection, I received a phone call from the selling real estate agent that her client and herself were appalled that we tapped the toilet seat to the toilet.  This blog was designed to inform buyers and sellers why it is so important to cease use of loose toilets to assure that damage does not occur in your new or existing home.

As you probably can guess, the sellers of the home did continue using the loose toilet in the powder room in the 1st floor of the Winnetka home inspection.  Luckily for the buyers, we took hundreds of pictures of the home to assure quality of the home will be the same from the day of the home inspection to the day of the closing of the home.  There were multiple pictures verifying the basement did not have water damage under the loose toilet in the powder room.  My clients from the Winnetka home inspection closed on the home and after 2 days noticed urine smell in the basement that was noted directly below the powder room.  As part of the selling agreement, the sellers agreed to fix the loose toilet from a “licensed plumber” prior to closing.  The sellers caulked around the floor to toilet connection which caused the water to leak under the toilet in the basement instead of on the floor in the powder room.  The concern now is mildew, mold and human excrement on the walls and ceiling of the basement may pose health issues.  The cost of all of these repairs will be in the thousands which all could have been avoided if the sellers and the seller’s real estate agent were forthcoming.

Loose toilet connections in any bathroom should be repaired immediately to assure that damage does not occur like what was seen in the Winnetka home inspection.  If you have any questions about this issue please contact me at 312-961-4228 or pinnaclepropertyinspection.com.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

The Thermal Home Inspector

Frozen Hose BibFrozen Hose Bib

Hose bibs should be winterized to assure frozen pipes do not burst

Hose bibs should be winterized to assure frozen pipes do not burst

Recently when performing a home inspection in Wilmette Illinois a small issue was noted that can develop fast into a large issue that can be very costly.   A frozen hose bib was found in the home’s exterior.  Hose bibs come in various types that can allow for no winterization or for winterization.  Hose bibs that are not the anti freeze type will require valves to be installed in the basement of the home to allow for shutting the water off to the hose bib. Older homes have the older type of hose bibs known as gate valves that are known to freeze in the cold Chicago winters if not winterized.  The issue at hand of frozen gate valve hose bibs is that water damage can occur in the basement or the basement if the piping to the hose bib were to freeze in the walls.  Frozen piping in the basement walls can lead to issues with water in the basement that may develop into mold or mildew issues that may cause costly repairs or health concerns.  Most homes that have the older gate valve systems do not have shut off valves installed in the home that makes winterization hard or impossible to perform.   The gate valve hose bib on the home from the Wilmette home inspection was missing shut off valves in the home that will be required to perform a proper inspection.   The hose bib was frozen during the inspection and probably will not burst but still can pose an issue when performing a home inspection.    A foam cover is also a great way and an affordable way to winterize the hose bibs of a home.

 

If you are a homeowner with an anti freeze hose bib it is still recommended that interior water shut off valves are added to winterize the antifreeze hose bibs to assure that bursting of the piping does not occur.  If you do have shut off valves on the interior of the home for your hose bibs then the next step after shutting or closing the water off to the hose bib is to open the valve to the hose bib to allow all of the water in the hose bib to leave the valve preventing any trapped water from expanding and bursting the piping to the hose bib.   Frozen hose bibs like what was found at the Wilmette home inspection can be prevented with easy steps.

 

Please follow what has been outlined in this article while looking at homes to prevent setting yourself up for failure at your home inspection.  If you have any questions about this issue please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector  or 847-251-1186.

Thank for stopping by.

Jim Kolke

Jim Kolke Thermal Home Inspector

Mold in an attic can be a harmful issue if not corrected

It’s been a busy year but I’ve afforded time to start blogging about what has occurred this year while performing home inspection in Wilmette Illinois and other cities in the Chicago land area.  Many of the home inspections that I perform deliver less than favorable results to my clients.  Some of the worst issues that come up on home inspections are ~  mold in attics, cracks in foundations, high radon levels, damaged roofs that will require replacement and old furnaces and air conditioners that will require replacement.  These issues area probably some of the more expensive items that may require replacement at  a potential home inspection.

Unfortunately, while performing a home inspection in Wilmette on a foreclosure property all of these issues were named in the inspection report which caused my client to cancel the contract.  This happened to be the 2nd home inspection for my clients at a cost of $625.00 per home inspection.  I was frustrated for my clients because I know money does not grow on trees.  I discounted the service fee (which I never do) because they were first time buyers and they did not know what to look for when looking at homes.  This article will touch on some of the major items that could be found in your potential home inspection.  Before you submit an offer please look at the areas below to prevent loss of funds to perform a home inspection.

  • Mold in attics ~ Mold in attics is more common than most people may think.  If you are driving around looking at homes a step stool may worth putting in your trunk with a flashlight to look in attics to see if mold may be an issue in a home you are interested in.  Mold can become an issue in attics from bathroom fans being vented into the attic and poor ventilation.  You might be able to see if the bathrooms are vented to the attic while looking into the attic.  Mold removal can be very expensive depending on how much mold is found.  This happened to be one of the major issues at the Wilmette home inspection I performed.
  • Cracks in foundations ~ Cracks in foundations generally occur due to poor grading around the homes foundation or the lack of leaders.  If the basement is unfinished then take your flashlight and walk the perimeter of the basements foundation and see if there any cracks.  Not every home will allow the luxury of inspecting the foundation due to the basement being finished.  The home inspection I performed in Wilmette had 6 cracks in the foundation that would require epoxy injection.  Epoxy injection repairs generally cost $400.00 per crack and as you can see can add up very quickly.
  • Radon levels ~ A radon level above 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) is the EPA’s recommended level for action.  This basically means that a radon mitigation system will be needed to be installed into the homes foundation to lower the levels.  Radon mitigation systems can cost up to $3000.00 for complex systems.
  • Damaged roofs ~ before walking into your possible dream home take a look at the roof and see if the shingles seem wavy or cracked.  If this is what you see then the chances are you may need a new roof.  Roofs may cost up to $20,000.00 depending on how large the home is and should be built into your offer price for the property.
  • Old furnaces and old air conditioners may require replacement ~ Check the tags on the furnace and the air conditioner to determine the age of the units.  If the units are older than 20 years then you should plan on replacing these items while presenting your offer.  This was another issue that did make the report for the clients at the Wilmette home inspection.  Furnaces and air conditioners can cost $3000.00 and up depending on large the unit is and how many you may require.

As you can see these are real dollar issues that can “make or break or break a deal” very quickly.  Please follow what has been outlined in this article while looking at homes to prevent setting yourself up for failure at your home inspection.  If you have questions please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 847-251-1186.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

~Jim Kolke~

The home buying process can be a very stressful period even for experienced home buyers who have purchased homes before.  Many of my clients call and want to order all the services that we offer.  There are no two homes that are the same and all home inspections should be approached with that mind set.  Recently my client from a Buffalo Grove home inspection wanted to order a mold inspection.  I asked my client why she wanted a mold inspection?  She said her friend said to get a mold inspection before buying a home.  There is nothing wrong with getting a mold inspection if you need it or you find reasons to perform a mold test.  There are issues that you should look for prior to booking your mold inspection in Buffalo Grove is what I explained to my client.

  • High moisture in a home can be a reason to contemplate a mold inspection at your home inspection.
  • Evidence of past or present water entry in a home can cause concern and a good reason to purchase a mold test.
  • Past or present water entry in a basement is a good reason to purchase a mold test.  Finished basements are known areas that water entry can be hidden for years without the current home owners knowing that they have an issue.
  • Foul or stale odors from a basement or crawl can be the by product from mold growth and may be a good reason to purchase a mold test from your home inspector.
  • Standing water in a crawl space is a known breeding zone for mold.  The inspection of the insulation and the floor sheeting will be needed to determine if as mold test is needed.

There are many types of mold that are in the fungi kingdom.  There are only a few that will grow in your home do to water issues that ignite the mold.  With further review I advised my client to perform a mold test with her home inspection at the Buffalo Grove home.  The Buffalo Grove Mold inspection came up with very high numbers in the basement and the second floor of the home.  The reason the home had mold growth was due to previous sewer back up that was not correctly cleaned in a timely fashion.  Generally you have up to 48 hours to clean and dry out the areas that are affected with water before mold will begin to grow.  The second floor of the home had high levels of mold growth because the furnace is in the basement and the forced air system was delivering mold fibers throughout the home through the ducts.  This leads me to a new matter.  Not only do you have mold remediation to deal with but duct cleaning will also be needed to eliminate any mold fibers that may be breeding in the ducts.

The client from the Buffalo Grove mold inspection understood why I wanted to qualify her need for a mold inspection before she spent her hard earned money.  If you are buying or own a home that you think needs a mold test please review the possible issues above prior to spending your hard earned money.  Please contact me if you have further questions about mold or mold services at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke