One question we get at every home inspection is “where do I find the issues  on the report”.  My clients sometimes bring a note pad to take down notes.  I tell them to put the pad a pen away unless they are drawing my picture.  In that case draw away.  We give are clients a detailed home inspection report with pictures, cost to cure pricing, marginal issues and defective issues all documented in the front of the report to help you find it fast. 

Recently I was hired for a home inspection in Vernon Hills, Illinois.  The property was a beautiful 4 square home on a huge lot.  As you know its winter here in the Chicago land area and my home inspections have to be a little more in detail because of the snow.  In the case of the Vernon Hills home inspection I found little things that could be repaired by my client.

Upon entering the interior of the Vernon Hills home inspection I realized that the home was staged or that the existing home owner was very clean.  I soon found out it was a little of both.  Generally when I leave the second floor of the home I have at least 25 possible issues that will need to be mentioned on my home inspection report.  I had 2 issues from the second floor.  One of those items being a window with moisture in between the glass otherwise called a broken window seal.  This would be a window replacement that could cost up to $500.00.

My clients from the Vernon Hills home inspection came after I was completed with the inspection.  What I do in their case is do a complete walk through the property to explain all the potential issues and the cost te rectify them.  My clients did bring a note pad and no they did not want to draw my picture so they put the pad away.  I explained that my home inspection reports are emailed to them with pictures, cost to repair issues, summary of all items in need of service and sent the same day.  I explained that they could use the report as a check list to make sure that the repairs were done to their satisfaction.  If you don’t know what a proper repair looks like then I suggested to book an appointment with me to come back out to their new home prior to the closing.

A home inspection should be an education on your new home.  When you went to school you received a school book?  A Pinnacle home inspection also comes with a school book.  Your home manual!

If you have further questions about home inspection services please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

Everything looks good to the common eye when looking at an electrical panel?  I beg to differ.   Issues can still lye dormant even when electrical testing equipment is used on wiring in a breaker box.  I believe that a thermal imager should be used on every home inspection.  This is exactly why my clients hired me to perform a home inspection on their new home in Deerfield, Illinois.

In this article I will be concentrating on electrical scans primarily.  Please understand that the uses of the Fluke or Flir thermal imager is unlimited.  We use it for scanning of exterior walls for water intrusion, insulation issues and energy losses.  We use it for scanning ceilings below bathrooms for water issues from tubs, toilets, showers and sinks.  We scanned the interior walls of the Deerfield home inspection and found issues around the front and patio doors that had issues with energy deficiencies.

The Fluke and Flir thermal imagers are used on a breaker box to see if there is a temperature difference.  When we see that there is an issue like in the image supplied  we suggest an electrician come and investigate further.  The issue at hand is overloading of this circuit with to many fixtures in the home.  The remedy for this electrical box is to separate the fixtures throughout the home and run a dedicated breaker to eliminate overheating.

Remedies or repair costs for electrical issues that were found at the Deerfield home inspection range in costs from $200.00 -  $1000.00 depending on how much work it takes the electrician to find the junction box and start the separation of various circuits and fixtures.

If you are hiring a professional home inspection service I would ask if they use Fluke or Flir thermal imagers.  If they don’t you might want to find a professional home inspection service that does.  Its your home and your money why not do it right?

If you have further questions about the use of Fluke or Flir thermal imagers on electrical panels please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke


If you are looking at homes to purchase right now then you probably have looked at foreclosure, short sale and regular homes for sale.  These deals are generally structured a little different than each other from the realtor side.  When a home inspection is needed they all need to be treated the same.  What I mean by that is that all the utilities will need to be turned on prior to the inspection date and time.  Why do we need the utilities turned on for a foreclosure home inspection?

  • Water main- The water serviced needs to be turned on and the property needs to be de-winterized prior to the arrival of the inspector.  A home inspector will inspect to make sure that there are no leaks in the water service or the waste service.  These issues are generally ones that can compound in to costly repair costs if not found at the time of the home inspection service.  The standards of practice for home inspectors does not suggest that home inspectors turn on or install water meters and/or de-winterize the home prior to inspection.  Unfortunately the water meter was not installed at the home inspection I performed in Mount Prospect.  Luckily for my client I’m a licenced plumber (Chicago Lic. # PL-194988) and was able to install the water meter and complete the home inspection properly.  I do catch quite a bit of  backlash from home inspector associations about standards of practice.  The bottom line is that my clients want the home, the realtor wants to sell a home and I want to inspect the home and I have the means and the extensive background to make it happen for my client.  We all win!
  • Gas Utilities – The gas needs to be turned on prior to a home inspection to test the furnace, water heater, dryer, and stove to make sure they work and that there are no leaks in the gas supply lines.
  • Electric panel -The electric needs to be on and generally never is shut off by the foreclosure companies do to the fact that that most homes have sump pumps and will need electric to run in the case that there is a need for a sump pump.

I receive calls weekly from perspective clients looking to do a foreclosure home inspection without the utilities being turned on and I always explain that I would suggest that all utilities be turned on prior to the inspection.  If you decide to do  a home inspection with the lack of utilities being turned on you take a risk that there may be very expensive repairs after the closing of the home. 

My clients from the Mount Prospect home inspection were very happy that we were able to assist them with their lack of water main service.  They were promised that the water would be turned on and it did not happen.  This happens more and more with the abundance of foreclosed homes on the market.  If you have questions about foreclosure home inspection or any other issues that you can think of please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and be safe.

Jim Kolke

I’m sure you heard the saying “good, fast and cheap never go together”?  If not, then its a good thing for you to know about, especially when hiring a home inspector to inspect your new home.  I recently received a call from a perspective client for a price for a new home inspection in Chicago, Illinois.  The home boasted 5 bedrooms and 3 baths and was built in 2009.  Our price to inspect this property is $495.00.  The client said she was quoted $275.00 for what she thought was the same home inspection services.  If you are a real estate professional you know that this doesn’t sound right.  In fact, I would be scared!

Here are the questions you should ask your home inspector if your in the Chicago area:

1.   How long have you been in business?

2. Do you have recommendations that we can see either on your web site or community areas on the Internet?

3. What did you do before becoming a home inspector?  Most home inspectors never worked in the construction industry and couldn’t repair a cabinet hinge!

4. Do you have insurance?  Home inspection services do not have to carry insurance by law in Illinois??  So, because the state doesn’t protect you, you  must protect yourself.  Most of the home inspection costs come from Errors and Omission Insurance.  This insurance is to protect the home inspector if he or she misses any item on your property.  Very Important!!

5. Do you offer thermal imaging as part of your home inspection services?  Thermal Imaging?  Check it out ~ This a very important tool that you need at your new home inspection.  Things that can not be seen by the naked eye are found with this tool.

6. Can you give me prices for items in need of repair?  Majority of home inspectors have not worked in the construction industry and don’t know the prices for repairs.  You can see some of our prices at ~

7. How long does your new home inspection take?  If your home inspector says their home inspection services take an hour or two for a 5 bedroom house you might want to take a pass.  This inspection should take anywhere between 3-5 hours depending on issues found with time to explain how to repair those issues.  Watch our home inspection services we videoed at a Chicago home inspection ~

As you can see, there are many questions you need to ask to see if you are comparing apples to apples.  Not all home inspectors are the same.  When considering the home inspection cost, think about the expertise and knowledge behind the home inspection services. This includes the comprehensive home inspection report, insurance, proper licencing, quality assurance program, inspection warranties and so much more.  If you have more questions on what to ask your perspective home inspector please contact me at ~

Thanks for stopping by.  Jim Kolke

Here’s an email I received from one of my clients:


I just wanted to say thank you for doing such a thorough inspection today. I did my research beforehand on you and had high expectations, but was even more impressed in person.

Also, the other day I found your $50 discount on yelp, but didn’t even bother bringing it up today as I felt your services far exceeded the initial quoted fee.

I’ll be leaving a very positive review in the near future and sending anyone who needs an inspection your way.


Thanks again. Gary