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

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

As you probably can guess we get a lot of calls for mold inspections here at Pinnacle Property Inspection Services.  This is obviously a business and needs to make money.  Luckily for all my clients I believe a home should be qualified before doing a full mold inspection.  That is exactly what I explained to my new client from the Skokie home inspection.  Just because you want a mold inspection does not mean you need one.  Mold inspections can be expensive because of all the lab fees and such. I explained to my client that I would have my mold testing equipment on the truck if we needed it but I suggested letting me do my thermal home inspection before moving forward with the mold inspection.

While I was performing the home inspection in the Skokie, Illinois home I was looking for all type of tells that would lead me to informing my client that he might want to purchase a mold inspection.  The items that would alarm me would be ~

  • Mold like substance would be the biggest reason for purchasing a mold test.  Visually seeing any type of mold might be a good reason to purchase a mold test.
  • Water infiltration in an attic, crawl space, basement or any other area in a home is a good reason for moving forward with a mold test.
  • High relative humidity a.k.a. (RH) can be found in crawl spaces, attics, bathrooms and basements can be a a reason to get a mold inspection service.
  • Musty or foul smells coming from areas in walls may be a good reason to purchase a mold inspection.

If you are very sensitive to mold or mildew and your eyes water or you begin to cough that is the best result that might be from mold or mildew in the home that will need to be identified.  The Skokie home inspection has some seepage from the foundation walls that was allowing moisture into the home.  The drywall in the basement had a mildew like substance that was dry and could be cleaned off with soap and water.

The remedy of the mold removal to the areas that could be seen were  easy enough but the hidden made my client from the Skokie home inspection nervous and he wanted me to perform a mold inspection to give him as much information as we could.  Mold can hide in places that we can’t see so I believe his choice was the right one.

If you are wondering if you need a mold inspection follow this list prior to hiring a mold inspection service  to perform mold testing in your home.  Mold testing can cost anywhere from $100.00 to $750.00 depending on how many locations need testing.

If you need help with these issues any other issues pertaining to your home or building please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

 

   It is very common to have clients that are looking for a home inspection to want to purchase every service that we have to offer.  I don’t believe on selling a client a service that they may not need.  Don’t getme wrong.  I am in business to make money but only honestly not using scare tactics to increase our revenue.  If you need a radon measurement because your area is known to have high levels then I would advise you to purchase a radon measurement.  Have you seen mold or mildew in the home when you were looking at it?  Then you might want to get a mold inspection or testing.  My client from the Gurnee home inspection was dead set on getting every service that we offered.  I explained that buying every inspection service we offer should not be done without doing your homework.

You ask how I get this info to make my decision.  Below are the check points for the various inspection services.

  • Mold inspection or testing should be done if the home smells musty in certain areas like crawl spaces, attics or garages that are attached.  If you see any areas that may have surface mildew or mold then you might want to add a mold inspection to your home inspection.  If you see any areas that have moisture penetration into the attic or window flashing’s that may have been there for awhile may be a reason for a mold inspection.  If your home inspector thinks that the basement may have had water penetration or flooding then purchase a mold inspection.
    •  Asbestos pipe wrapping, asbestos tiles, asbestos shingles and other asbestos products were used up to 1988 and generally are not found.  If you have a basement and the tile floor is 9″ x 9″ then the probability that those tiles are asbestos is very high.  Asbestos tiles and pipe wrapping is not an issue unless it is disturbed.  If the basement has seen flooding or any water that has sat on the asbestos tile for any time then the tiles may be brittle.  Brittle tiles that are chipping may pose issues and should be inspected by a professional asbestos inspector.
    • Radon gas measurement is a service that we offer and we do hundreds of tests a year.  The results vary depending on where the property is that we are performing a radon measurement.  I believe that the presence of dirt crawl spaces or any crawl space does increase your potential for a possible higher radon measurement number.  Sump pumps are another contributor to higher readings in radon measurements and always suggest to my clients that these sump and ejector pits be sealed properly.  Gaps in the connection of foundation walls and basement floors will allow the possibility of higher radon measurement numbers.

Lead paint was used in homes and buildings up to 1978 but was still seen up to 1980. Lead paint can be tested a home inspector with a non-invasive testing method. Carve testing is the proper way to test for lead paint but cannot be done at a home inspection. My client from the Gurnee home inspection was concerned about lead paint because he had a 2 year old son that could be harmed by lead paint. Lead paint is known to harm children under the age of 5 years. Lead paint can’t be verified by just looking at it.

As you can see there are kinds of items you need to look for before you start ordering every service your home inspector offers.  My client from the Gurnee home inspection was ready to hand over $1050.00 for every home inspection service we offer.  The Gurnee home inspection service fee was $600.00.  He purchased our standard home inspection and a mold inspection.  Money doesn’t grow on trees so make sure you know what you need.    Hopefully this was helpful for all of my readers.  If you have further questions about what type of home inspection services you need then please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe

Jim Kolke

So you’re buying a home like my clients from the Wheeling home inspection who happened to to be first time home buyers.  Buying a home can be a scary task especially during your home inspection.  So many things can come up and because you might not know how important these items are it may scare you even more.

While I was performing the home inspection in Wheeling, Illinois I found cracks in the basement of the foundation that were active with present water penetration.  These cracks can come from a couple of issues that would be reasonable repair cost.

  • Poor grading around a home allows water to pool or settle around the foundation of the home and sink into the dirt around the foundation and footings.  When this happens the dirt under the footings will eventually erode and cause the weight from the foundation wall to settle and crack.
  • Poor gutter/ leader placement is another leading contributor to cracked foundation walls.  The leader that comes off the downspout of the gutter system should extend at least 6′ away from the property with a splash guard at the end.  The Wheeling home inspection was missing all the leaders around the home.
  • Sprinkler systems to close to the home will allow water to pool against the foundation walls and replicate the same issues as poor grading.
  • Poor compaction or pouring a foundation in the winter when the dirt is full of ice.  This is why I always suggest not pouring a foundation in the winter.
  • Trees planted to close to the home will cause the roots to try to enter the foundation or undermine the area below when the roots are searching for water.

As you can see there all type of ways that your foundation can develop cracks that may or may not cause structural issues in the future.  All the items above are considered primary issues that if not repaired will develop into secondary issues.  What is a secondary issue?

  • Cracks in a foundation are issues that develop from a primary issue.
  • Water penetration is a result of a primary issue that will possibly turn into possible mold issues in your basement. This could happen if the basement is finished and the area that has gotten wet is not cleaned within 24 hours.

Secondary issues will also have to be repaired after the primary issues are tended to.  My clients from the Wheeling home inspection noticed that the primary issues repair costs were reasonably cheap.  They also noticed that every issue that developed from the previous issues was more costly to repair.

If you remember, I explained that the home I was inspecting did have previous and ongoing water penetration and had a sour smell.  I suggested to my client to allow me to perform a mold inspection on the areas of concern.  The mold inspection I performed at the Wheeling home inspection was a limited inspection.  That basically means that I took a swab sample of the area that showed sign of water staining.  The area I performed the mold inspection was not considered harmful mold.

As you can see, there are so many issues that can develop due to a cracked foundation that can easily be prevented if you know what you are looking for.  If you have further questions about cracked foundation, then please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke