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


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

Every home has a water heater, but is it the right one?  That is the question I ask when I’m doing home inspections.  That was not the question when I was at the home inspection in Itasca, Illinois.   The home was built in 1995 and had all the most up-to-date accesories to make the home a home.

I was surprised to see a Grundfos recirculation pump on the 50 gallon Bradford White water heater.  The reason why I was suprised to see this pump at the home inspection in Itasca was that there was only 2 -1/2 baths in the home.  Generally, you see these pump systems on homes with 4 or 5 bathrooms.   The reason why you need this in homes with this many bathrooms is because the square footage of the home could reach 5,000 square feet and the  Bradford White water heater would have to work extra hard to move this amount of water to these locations.  Also, it would take several minutes and several lost gallons of water to get the desired heat needed thereby wasting energy.

The listing realtor for the home inspection in Itasca said that the home owner added the Grundfos recirculation pump because he wanted to conserve water and he didn’t want to wait for the hot water for his morning shower.

Most people think these pumps are wasting natural gas because they pump water all the time. They would be wrong.  The Grundfos pump has a timer so you can set when you want the system to run and when you want it to shut down.  There are also duplex systems that have multiple timers for morning and evening when hot water demand is at its maximum.  Generally, the cost for the pump and installation should not exceed $750.00 depending on the area of the water heater. The Grundfos pump was recently installed in the home I inspected in Itasca.  That meant my clients would have years of worry free instant hot water.

If you have questions about recirculation pumps contact us at~ www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com

Please leave a comment or a question we can assist you with.  Thank you ~ 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



You see it  daily in your life now, the ratio of homes in foreclosure distress to regular home sales. This can be “lopsided” depending on where you’re looking and what part of the country you’re living in. It can be a very scary time or a dream come true depending of what side your looking from.  At Pinnacle Property Inspection Services, Inc.  we are seeing a definite rise in HUD, REO or foreclosed  home inspections in Schaumburg, Illinois and other villages and cities in the Chicagoland area.

I remember when I thought “not in my area, we don’t have that issue here.” Boy was I wrong!

I service many prestigious villages and cities with the same concerns as the more modest villages.  The issues we are faced to address are generally due to complete laziness from the owners of the foreclosures.  No one wants to spend any more money than they have to and that includes the mortgage companies of the foreclosed homes. Luckily, my inspection company employs licensed professionals who can assist the realtor’s who definitely need people helping their client’s get a chance at home ownership.

Recently at a home inspection in Schaumburg, the water was not turned on. Luckily, I have a Chicago plumbing license (pl#194988).  I turned on the water with written permission from the mortgager of the foreclosure.  Potential home buyers and realtors really appreciate this added service we can give our clients. The other issue I found at the home inspection in Schaumburg was the gas service was shut down. This adds extra return visits to properties to inspect furnaces and water heaters.  People could say its the realtor’s fault??  I think not!  I’ve dealt with deals that the realtor’s had to secure the utilities with their own credit cards to get them turned on for an inspection.  These realtor’s can make some good money, but in no way are they the reason the market is in the condition it is.

The last issue I found  in the home inspection in Schaumburg was the electrical service.  Waiting for the electrical provider to install a meter or to turn on the electric becomes unnerving.

I feel there are some real good opportunities for home ownership as long as you have a little patience.  If you are in the Chicagoland area and need help with a foreclosure please contact us at~~ www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com