Portions of the home have the snow removed for proper view of the homes grade and foundation

Portions of the home have the snow removed for proper view of the homes grade and foundation

The home inspection portion of a home can be one of the most important portions of as home purchase.  Finding the right home should not be discounted in any form or fashion.  What a professional realtor does in their portion of a home purchase has real value and should not be discounted.  Unfortunately during the winter months of the Midwest some area of a home inspection may not be performed properly due to the weather.   Recently during a home inspection in La Grange Illinois we had to explain to out buyers that there are areas that may not be inspected properly.   We explain this to our clients through our email verification when booking the home inspection that certain areas of the home inspection will not be inspected fully due to weather issues (snow coverage).  These are some of the areas that may require further verification prior to closing to assure no hidden issues are uncovered after the closing of the home.

  1. ROOFS ~ Roofs of homes in the Chicago winters can be hard if not impossible to view and deliver a proper verification of the condition of all aspects of a roof system that may require an additional visit from your home inspector or a roofing contractor to assure that there are no hidden issues that may have a real cost to them.  Luckily for the La Grange home inspection clients we were able to walk the roof and broom areas of the snow away to assure that hidden issues were not under the snow.  Ask your inspector prior to your home inspection what their policy is for roof inspections so you know what to expect from his or her home inspection report.
  2. AIR CONDITIONER SYSTEMS ~ Air conditioner systems cannot be tested less than 60 degrees to assure that the compressors or any other portion of the air conditioner system does not become damaged due to working this system in cold temperatures.  As a home buyer you should expect this system not to be tested due to the frigid cold temperatures of the Chicago winters.   We recommend the air conditioner systems are certified from a HVAC contractor prior to closing or funding put in escrow until the unit is tested in the spring to assure proper working order.  The clients from the La Grange home inspection expected the unit would not be tested but were pleased that we found the system was only 2 years old which limits the potential for replacement of such a new air conditioner system.
  3. GRADING, SLOPING, SIDEWALKS AND DRIVEWAYS ~ The grade and slope of the homes dirt around the home can be hard to document to assure that the grade of the home is not back pitched potentially causing harm to the foundation of the home.  Here at Pinnacle Property Inspection Services we shovel the snow around the foundation to see if the grade and slope is correct and to see if any cracks in the foundation can be found.  Driveways and sidewalks are attempted to be shoveled to deliver a full picture of the home’s condition.  This is not required by the Illinois Standards of Practice for home inspector but can really help the home buyer to get a full picture of what the home really has to offer.  Our clients from the La Grange home inspection really appreciated the fact that we were so diligent.  Asking your home inspector if he or she will bring shovels to inspect the grade if a good qualification question when hiring a home inspector.

As you can see these areas are very important areas in your home inspection process that may deliver potentially expensive repair costs.  The La Grange home inspection clients were prepared of what to expect during a home inspection in the winter months because they asked many questions prior to booking their home inspection.  You too should be diligent to assure you get the proper home inspection you pay for.

 

If you have any questions about this topic you are more than welcome to contact us @ 312-961-4228 or pinnaclepropertyinspection.com

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

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

How important is the inspection of a roof?  I believe it is probably one of the most important items of an inspection.  I’ll explain in detail why I feel this portion of a home inspection is so important.  I performed a home inspection in Western Springs, Illinois that we will use as an example of why roof inspections are so important.

When you go to inspect a roof you want to educate and inform your clients of many important details on that will concern the roofs integrity. This is exactly how I performed the home inspection at the Western Springs property.

First of all, you want to go on the roof of every home as long as the roof is walk able and safe.  There are roofs that should not be walked on due to their material.  These roofs are made of slate, wood shake, wood shingle, concrete tile, clay tile and any material that has the probability to crack.  When you walk on the roof you will be able to identify the possible issues on the roofs material.  While walking on the roof you will also be able to test the structures ability to hold any type of weight.  Most home inspection reports should give you documentation of the material used to cover the roofing structure, how many layers, possible issues, age, lifespan, possible cost.  We have a cost page on our web site to help our clients understand how much a new roof will cost them.  You can see this site at Repair costs.  The Western Springs home inspection did not have any issues with the roofing materials.

The next portion of a roof inspection is the inspecting of the drainage.  Flashing’s, gutters, leaders, downspouts, valleys are all part of this portion of the roof inspection process.  You want to make sure that all these items are installed properly and will not fail and cause water damage to the home and its contents.  You can watch me do a roof inspection at http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/watchaninspection.html.  All of these components need to be inspected and documented to your home inspection report.  The Western Spring home inspection did have issues with the flashing that needed to be tended to to prevent water from entering the building envelope.

As you can see there are many areas that can cause issues that can cost you real money if not properly inspected.  If you have questions about home inspections please contact us at ~ 312-961-4228.

Thank you for stopping by.

Jim Kolke

“Why do I need a home inspection on my new home in Western Springs, Illinois?”  That was the question I received on the phone from a potential client. They received my name from Cathy Bier a realtor from Smothers Realty in La Grange, Illinois. Cathy explained that they needed the inspection for “quality control of the building of the home”.

My potential client went on to say that the builder will give them a 1 year warranty. My response was ”Do you know what to look for while doing a home inspection in Western Springs? Will you climb on the roof of your 6 bedroom house?  How about crawling in the attic of the home making sure the home was built to code?  Will you inspect furnace, A/C, electric panel and so on…  Do you have a Fluke Thermal imager to see if the proper amount of insulation was used in the attic and the walls?” My new client’s answer to all of these questions was NO. I’m not trying to humiliate them just try to put the situation in perspective. It would be like me trying to represent myself in court for a speeding ticket without ever reading a law book!

We met at the home before the home inspection in Western Springs and started on the outside of the property where I found a possible major issue.  It seems the foundation contractor misread the prints and didn’t make the foundation wall wide enough to hold the limestone and brick at the front of their home.  In fact it was 3″ short!   My recommendation was to bolt a 5′ piece of angle iron under the stone to prevent it from cracking in the future.  The builder said “It hasn’t cracked in a year and it won’t crack”.  My answer was “It hasn’t cracked YET?”  This isn’t a issue that would be a structural issue. It is something that can cause damage to the exterior in time.

The next issue at the home inspection in Western Springs was in the master bathroom. We inspect all motors and pumps in a home.  The pump for the Jacuzzi would be included.  The Jacuzzi return line wasn’t tight and water was pouring out of the union. I shut down the air pump and cleaned the water up with the builder. The builder tightened the union and I retested the unit to assure the client that it was repaired.

The bottom line is that this home was definitely a nicely built home but even the best builders make mistakes. My job is to protect and educate my clients on the condition of their home. The client from the home inspection definitely agrees that home inspections on new homes are necessary.

If you’re buying a new home and have issues like these contact us at www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com

Jim Kolke

The Thermal Home Inspector

 

Recently on a home inspection in La Grange Park, Illinois we found that the grading (pitch of the dirt) had a negative pitch towards the house.   Our clients were baffled on why this was such a major issue on the health of the home.  I explained to the client that the rain water will follow the pitch of dirt towards the home down the foundation wall and erode the dirt below the footings and cause water penetration which can lead to structural issues in the home.

On this particular home inspection in La Grange Park, we did find that the grading was a “defective issue”.  The word “defective” could possible “scare” clients or Realtors about the integrity of the home.  On further review of the home, I found that there was no structural damage at the time of inspection.  My advice was to hire a landscaper to increase the grade away from the home.  This is generally an inexpensive repair to the home and could also be repaired by the new home owner.

In the picture below, you can see the components that would make an ideal grading on a home inspection in La Grange Park.   A lot of times this item is overlooked and could cost you thousands of dollars in foundation repairs.  You can see in the illustration that the grading directly affects the footings and foundation which in turn will affect the home up to the roof.

If you are unsure of what to look for when inspecting for grade give us a call and we will assist you.  We are in La Grange Park doing home inspections on a regular basis.  We do not mind stopping by and pointing you in the right direction.

If you have issues like these and need help with any remedies please contact us at~ www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com

Jim Kolke

The Thermal Home Inspector