Answers for your home inspection questions. This is what a buyer should know before choosing a home inspector for a property inspection.
Home Inspection Star’s inspectors follow the INTERNACHI Standards of Practice, which can be found here. The following are some of the many items we will be inspecting:
- Foundation and support structure
- Roof systems
- Basement seepage
- Safety controls
- Water heater
- Electrical capacity and components
- Electrical panel and sub-panels
- Walks and driveways
- Built-in appliances
- Structural integrity
- Steps and stairs
- Heating system
- Central Air Conditioning system
- Plumbing System and Fixtures
- Garages, Carports, Workshops, or other external buildings
- Surface drainage
- Windows and doors
- Gutters and downspouts
- Sump pumps
What are some of the desirable qualifications for a home inspector?
- Belongs to one of these associations INTERNACHI or ASHI
- Is certified with a reputable company.
- Has experience.
- Has a strong referral base.
- Is insured
- Covers a broad range of items within inspection.
- Has a thorough, detailed report.
- Is competitively priced without cutting corners.
What questions should you ask an inspector before hiring?
What are their qualifications?
Are they certified? By whom?
How many inspections have they done?
Do they have reliable referrals and testimonials?
Do they carry professional E&O insurance?
What exactly is covered; what is not covered?
Should provide a pre-inspection agreement prior the inspection
Do they have an example report? See our “Report sample”
How long does the inspection last and how much will the inspection cost?
Who are the Best Inspectors?
- Certified Master Inspectors are the best inspectors in the world.
- CMI is a professional designation available to inspectors who:
- Have completed 1,000 fee-paid inspections and/or hours of education (combined)
- Have been in the inspection business for at least three years
- Agree to abide by the inspection industry’s toughest Code of Ethics
- Agree to periodic criminal background check
- All CMIs are experienced, dedicated to education, and have a proven record in the inspection industry.
- Home Inspection Star Inc has a CMIs on staff.
What is the standard price for a home inspection?
Each inspection company comes with various qualifications, insurances, and credentials. Home Inspection Star Inc. is one of the highest qualified inspection companies in the state.
Our home inspections range from $ 400.00 and above; as our inspections are based of square footage, the bigger the property the more expensive the inspection. Our inspectors look at the property from top to bottom, inside and out. This is why we base pricing by the square footage.
Does Home Inspection Star have referrals and testimonials?
Our company comes with one of the highest referral rates. We have only Certified inspectors on staff and the a variety of qualifications and backgrounds among them. We work with the Top Chicago Real Estate agents.
To view some testimonials, we recommend visiting Google, Yelp, Redfin, Facebook,etc.
We are rated with A+ for the Chicago BBB.
Do I really need radon testing?
Illinois is has one of the highest radon levels in the U.S. Radon is an odorless, tasteless gas which cannot be seen. But why do you care? Uranium in soils decays creating a radioactive gas – Radon – that is attributed to causing over 20,000 deaths per year (according to the EPA). Radon gas is noxious throughout the U.S.A.
Your home is a trap for radon gas, allowing it to build up and preventing it from dissipating into the air naturally. Radon can enter through unsealed crawl spaces, cracks in floors and foundation, and the water supply.
“This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements [are at risk for elevated radon levels].
The Surgeon General warns that radon levels above 3.9pCi/L have a high risk of causing lung cancer. How do you know if you and your family are in danger if you do not test? Please call us to schedule your Radon test today.
Termite inspections are not covered in the standard home inspection. We recommend hiring a termite certified inspector if we suspect or see any evidence of termite activity.
Termites, also known as white ants, can cause devastating damage to your home. The damage is so great that termite damage is not covered by insurance – meaning that it’s a problem that you need to keep on top of!
Termites or white ants can cause long-lasting structural damage to your house that can be incredibly expensive to fix – so it’s important to make sure you get rid of the problem before it can get out of control.
Termites are a serious pest in United States, which attack timber in buildings, causing serious destruction. It’s not just old houses that are at risk – any house no matter how new or well built can be at risk from termites.
The family home is often the biggest and most important asset and should be protected from harm. The fact that the homes in Illinois are affected by termites is frightening, especially when you consider that termite damage is not covered by household insurance.
The damage caused by termites can leave the homeowner with an expensive repair bill.
Home Inspection Star recommends having the property inspected for termites. The termite inspections are usually requested by the lenders (banks) or new homeowner.
Before you decide on a termite control solution, it’s very important to do your research. Some white ant treatments are effective at the time they are applied, but only last for a year or two. If you decide on this kind of treatment, you need to make sure you know what is involved in on-going pest control.
According to the Standard of Practice, the inspector should inspect and describe the water supply, drain, waste and main fuel shutoff valves, main water valve and shutoff valve. The inspector is NOT required to determine the size,temperature or life expectancy of the water heater.
Well and Septic systems are NOT included in the standard home inspection.
The new home owner should know about the layout of the existing septic system. The absorption field should not be disturbed by new construction or vehicular traffic, or covered by fill, trees or dense vegetation. No storm water should be directed into the septic systems. A typical system has an average life expectancy of up to 20 years under normal conditions.
The Septic tank, if properly maintained should pump every two to three years. Keeping records of pumping is recommended. Lack of periodic pumping will cause solids to be carried into the absorption field, clogging the leaching beds and shortening their useful life. The presences of dark green vegetation over the leaching beds throughout the growing season are signs of clogged absorption field. This is caused by nutrient-laden wastes being pushed up through the soil, wet or soggy areas in the field or distinct sewage odors.
The Septic tank should contain:
Inlet, outlet, chamber baffle, outlet baffle, first chamber and second chamber.
Inspecting for lead paint it is not covered in the home inspection.
Lead paint is found in most US homes built before 1940.The paint used in home construction industry was heavily leaded. In 1978, the US consumer product safety commission set the limit of lead in most types of paint to a trace amount. After this time (1978) the houses built should be nearly free of lead- based paint. This material has been determined to be a significant health hazard if ingested, especially by children. The lead can damage the brain, the nervous system and affects behavior and learning, slow growth and can cause hearing related problems. Another related health issues regarding lead-based paint was high blood pressure, pregnancy, memory loss and concentration. In 1996, the US Congress passed a law which mandate the real estate agents, sellers and landlords to disclose the known presence of lead-based paint in properties built before 1978.If the Lead-based paint is in good condition and out of reach for kids, it is usually not a hazard.Chipping, peeling, cracking and chalking lead paint is a hazard and would required immediate attention. Lead based paint can be found on the windows, window sills, doors, doors frames, stairs, porches and fences. Lead dust forms when the lead paint base is dry-sanded, dry-scraped or heated. It also can form when painted surfaces rub together such as when windows are operated (open and closed).Chips and dust lead can get on the surfaces or objects that people can touch. The settled lead dust can re-enter the air when people disturb it as for example sweeping or vacuuming. If the house is thought to contain lead paint, consider having a qualified professional check it for lead. A paint inspection will identify the lead content on every painted surface in the house and a risk assessment that would determine whether there are any major lead exposure (such as peeling paint or lead dust). If the home inspector suspects lead paint, he will recommend you a Lead paint test. The only way to prove that the paint is lead based is to have it tested. A typical Lead paint test runs about $ 500.00. It is important to follow your home inspector recommendation and have the Lead –based paint test before the closing. The cost of Lead based paint removal could cost tens of thousands if the property is very large. If you move in a home and you getting sick, have breathing problems or memory loss problems, you should contact a qualified professional to have the property inspected. If lead paint is not found, there might be Mold, Asbestos or Amphetamine components in the property.Again, the only way to find out it is to test it.
1. The service panel cover “dead front” should not be painted. The main panel should be labeled in index. For an added safety, type AFCI circuit breakers should be installed in the main electrical panel for the bedroom, living room and dining room circuits.
2. All bathroom sinks, kitchen countertop, garage and exterior electrical receptacles must be GFCI protected.
3. The glazed shower door is hazardous. It shall be made of tempered glass and must contain an indentifying label.
4. The dryer (foil) venting pipe is a fire hazard and should be replaced with a manufacturer approved venting material.
5. The water heater temperature pressure relief pipe cannot be made of PVC. A (non threaded at the bottom) metallic pipe or an approved TPR piping material shall be used.
6. The exit (rear or side) door must not have a “dead bolt” type lock. They are considered “fire escape” doors and should be open able anytime.
7. Smoke and Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed per city/village requirements and should be tested monthly. They do not last forever and should be replaced every several years.
8. Replacing the furnace air filter one to three months (depends on filter) increases the habitable air quality and life expectancy of the unit. The furnace should be serviced annually regardless the age.
9. Clean you gutter at least twice a year. Most of the water/moisture intrusion at the foundation is caused by lack of gutters cleaning and maintenance. The downspouts extensions (minimum six feet) should divert the water away from foundation walls.
10. Each fireplace and flue in a house should be inspected by a certified chimney sweep every year.
A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This often includes a written report, a checklist, photographs, and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All this, combined with the seller’s disclosure and what you notice yourself, makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do?
Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies for various systems and components, and minor imperfections. These are useful to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:
Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure;
things that lead to major defects, such as a small roof-flashing leak, for example; things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home; and safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electrical panel.
Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often, a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property.
Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. Realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report. No home is perfect. Keep things in perspective. Do not kill your deal over things that do not matter. It is inappropriate to demand that a seller address deferred maintenance, conditions already listed on the seller’s disclosure, or nit-picky items.
In case you are wondering what a general home inspection is about, here is some information that can help you understand what I do. A general home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by the Standards of Practice that are both observed and deemed material by the home inspector. Inspection reports may include additional comments and recommendations (see the Inspection report sample on my website). For any Real Estate Inspection the certified home inspector would take a significant number of pictures and will be included in the home inspection report. The Home Inspection Report will be emailed to the client within 24 hours. The licensed and certified home inspector is the ONLY and BEST home inspection service to you. Call or book online your commercial or residential inspection today!
Are you selling a home? If so, be reminded that home buyers are naturally wise and practical enough to hire home inspectors before closing any acquisition. The idea is to take a closer look at the house before buying so that they can be sure the home is in good condition. Who in his right mind would want to buy a house that is condemned?
You could speed the process up and avoid potential problems that may affect or hinder your sale. That is if you hire a qualified home inspector so you can make the necessary repairs long before you put the house up for sale. The home inspector will cover a number of important systems in the home.
There Are Hot Spots Or Usual Areas Of The House That Most Buyers Worry About:
- First, mildew stains with accompanying odors almost always scare prospective home buyers. Mold and mildew presence poses health risks because the fungi may be carried by ventilation and the air to be breathed by those in the home. Mildew odors almost always point to a very moist basement. Take note that constant moisture deteriorates materials in buildings which attracts insects. Moisture may also lead to suspicions about the drainage system, the roofing, the water flow, and mostly, to possible foundation problems.
- Roofs and chimneys are also main concerns. Roofs function as natural protection against harsh sunlight and torrential rains. Home inspectors naturally inspect the roofing system because doing it is very important. As for the chimneys, the base’s flashing system should be watertight. The bricks and mortar should also be in excellent condition.
- The plumbing system is an important area because no home buyer would want to deal with any problems in it. The home inspector would have to check water pressure through flushing toilets and turning on different faucets at the same time. Some inspectors may go as far as checking the septic system. However, on occasion, septic and sewerage inspections would have to be referred to specialists who know more about them.
- Electrical systems can be a cause of alarm. Home fires can occur because of faulty electrical wires. Inspectors should be able to identify such faulty and troublesome wiring. Circuit breakers and panels should be configured correctly to run and cater to the needs of the home. There is also a need to check the quality and safety of the receptacles, outlets, lighting systems, and electrical box. Professional electricians are needed to do a more thorough and accurate electrical system check.
- Other hot spots include cooling and heating systems, foundation and structure, and appliances. Security alarms such as smoke and burglar detectors should also be in great condition. Overall, you should hire a home inspector with the aim to make necessary repair and maintenance so your home sells easily. Home inspections should never be tampered with no matter how hard you try.
Home buyers always have the option to buy their own home inspection so that they can identify potential problems in the home that may have been missed or overlooked by your inspection.
If You Are Selling Your Home And Are In Need Of A Home Inspector, Please Call Home Inspection Star At 7739601342 Or to Schedule Your Inspection today.
Inspecting for Asbestos it is “out of scope” of the home inspection.
Did you know that the house you live in or the one are planning to purchase might have Asbestos?
Where can you find Asbestos?
The Asbestos can be found as wrapping insulation on the old water heater water supply pipes and 9X9 inches floor tiles from your house and basement area.
Why is Asbestos Hazardous?
Asbestos use was discontinued in the late 1970s upon being found to be a hazard to human health. Today, asbestos is classified as a known human carcinogen. The durability properties, which made asbestos so desirable to manufacturers, are that which make asbestos hazardous. Because asbestos fibers are microscopic (roughly .02 the diameter of a human hair) they are easily inhaled. Once inhaled, the fibers cling to the respiratory system, including the lining of the lungs and inner cavity tissue. As asbestos fibers are typically quite rigid, they lodge easily in the soft internal tissue of the respiratory system and are not easily expelled or broken-down by the body.
Because asbestos use was so prominent until it’s hazards became clear in the late 1970s, hundreds of thousands of people were exposed to the mineral in some capacity. There is no safe type of asbestos and no safe level of exposure. Nearly all those with exposure history are potentially at risk of serious respiratory health complications.
Who is At Risk of Exposure to Asbestos?
There were hundreds of occupations affected by asbestos exposure. Asbestos was used in thousands of commercial products and industrial capacities and those working with the material in these industries are potentially at risk of harmful exposure. Industries in which asbestos use was particularly prevalent include shipbuilding, commercial product manufacturing, power plants, and construction. Workers employed in these industries prior to 1980 likely encountered asbestos products.
While asbestos exposure is hazardous, not all asbestos products are inherently hazardous. Because asbestos must be inhaled to represent a health risk, only loose asbestos fibers or those in the air supply (a condition known as friable) represent a true hazard. Stable asbestos compounds, such as intact cement, tiles, or other products are generally not an immediate hazard.
Exposure to friable asbestos fibers was common when grinding, chipping, demolishing, or retrofitting asbestos products. Each of these functions could potentially release asbestos into the air supply where it would be easily inhaled.
What Health Conditions are Associated with Exposure to Asbestos
There are three major lung conditions traced directly to asbestos exposure. These are lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Lung cancer risk, typically associated with tobacco use, is known to be exacerbated by exposure to asbestos. Symptoms include coughing, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer of the lung and inner body’s cavity lining- a thin membrane known as the mesothelium. Mesothelioma is typically recognized as the most clearly attributable disease resulting from asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma originates in three locations. Pleural mesothelioma forms in the lining of the lungs and is the most common form of the disease. Peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma are less common and form in the lining of the abdominal cavity and lining of the heart.