Home Anatomy Inspection Services        TRAR

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Certified by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors

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AHIT Certified

 

Chicago area inspected home
 

Home Inspection Services

An experienced inspector will prepare your Home Inspection Report with easy-to-read details on:

  • The condition of every major component from the roof to the basement
  • Major and minor deficiencies
  • Any major expenditures necessary
  • What to watch out for
  • Helpful home preservation tips
  • Safety concerns
  • And much more...

Our Home Inspector will review the detailed report with you to make sure you understand everything and answer any remaining questions.

While there are various reasons to have a home inspection, we commit to providing the exact same quality full service regardless of the reason. Some situations where you would benefit from a home inspection, and their descriptions, are listed below:

  • Pre-Purchase
  • Investor Property
  • New Construction
  • Home Maintenance
  • Pre-Warranty Expiration
  • Seller Certified (Pre-Listing)

Additional Services Available


Pre-Purchase Inspection

Typically performed when purchasing a home, this inspection is a real necessity. If buying through the VA it is a requirement, and for good reason. A home inspection is a visual process where all of the items typically used within a home are tested and/or operated to verify proper operation or installation. Doors and windows are opened and closed, roofing materials inspected, air-conditioning and heating systems operated. The Inspector will fill the sinks and tub(s), run the shower(s), and flush the toilets. All the while making notes on the condition and operation of the components tested. Upon completion, a report will be distributed to you.

The VA allows the appraiser to do both the appraisal and an inspection, but the inspection performed by the appraiser in no way compares to the one you get from an independent inspector. It is more of a mini-inspection. The report from the appraisal will indicate the general condition of the house (average, good, very good, new) and required repairs, but it will not break down the report into specific areas. It will not provide details on the condition of the roof, siding, foundation and more, and it will NOT cover over 400 items like an independent inspection will.

Investor Property Inspection

Includes Multi-Unit Housing

Investor property inspections are performed prior to purchase as well as periodically during ownership. Pre-purchase inspections are performed to identify defects prior to taking ownership to negotiate repairs or price adjustments which reflect the condition of the property. Periodic inspections for properties currently in your portfolio would ensure the identification of needed repairs following say a long term tenant's departure. Long-term tenants sometimes neglect to mention repairs and/or abuse the property during their tenancy. Identifying those problems early is the key to profitable ownership.

New Construction Inspection

New construction inspections are performed at the completion of construction, but prior to your final walk through with the builder's customer service representative or superintendent. It is always a good idea to verify that utilities (gas, water, and electric) have been turned on, either by you, or the builder, depending on the builder's policy.

The inspection should be scheduled just a day or two before your final walk through with the builder. This will ensure that most, if not all, last minute items have been completed prior to your inspection. At the conclusion of the inspection a completed report will be distributed to you.

This type of inspection is available at a discounted price.

Home Maintenance Inspection

Just because you already live in a home does not mean there are not issues you do not know about. Things change over a year or two, and you may not be seeing the signs. This happens when you become familiar with something. The best place to hide is right in front of you. For instance, a squeaky floor that you have become accustomed to or an odd smell when you run your furnace. If you can become familiar enough to a trains passing that you don't notice it every time it happens, you can become accustomed to anything.

You take your vehicles in for check-ups, why not your home? If it has been a couple of years since your last inspection, call, and we can arrange some peace of mind.

Pre-Warranty Expiration Inspection

During the first year, new homes do all sorts of things. Foundations settle, walls crack, flooring comes loose. Generally, after the first year, the cost of these repairs are all on you. Issues found through this inspection, and reported to the builder before their deadline, will be paid for by the builder. Warranty inspections are performed during the 11th month of your 1-year builder warranty. The inspection will be performed to verify that the various components of the home were properly installed and are still working as intended to be. You will be presented with a completed report at the end of the inspection along with digital photos taken as needed for inaccessible areas.

Seller Certified (Pre-Listing Inspection)

Just as with Home Maintenance Inspections, this type of inspection is very good for the homeowner who may not be in tune with the condition of their home. Many sales are cancelled due to the buyer's shock at the "functional condition" of the home. It may look great, but have serious technical, safety, or functional issues present without the owner's knowledge. Having the home inspected prior to placing it on the market is the ideal way to identify and either repair or disclose the issue found in the Inspection Report.

Obviously, repairing the items would be the most beneficial towards completing the sale. However, there may be financial reasons where the owner can't make the repairs. Disclosing them up front and pricing the home based upon that disclosure will often times produce a higher net sales price for the owner.

Do not wait until the last minute and risk the buyer moving on to another home. Just as with being pre-qualified, this is one sure way to speed up the selling process.



Additional Services


Radon Testing And Why It Is Important

Radioactivity has many levels, and many things in the world are radioactive. Some are dangerous immediately, while others are only dangerous over a period of time. Radioactivity is more common than you may know. It is everywhere you go. It can be in the air, the ground, and even be in the water you drink. The question is, just how much? To give you an idea just how common it is, consider this. Every day we come into contact with things that contain low levels of radioactivity.

A small list includes the following:

  • Brazil Nuts (Radium absorption from ground)
  • Grand Central Station (Exceeds levels allowed by nuclear power plants due to all the granite)
  • Denver (Twice as that at sea level due to altitude)
  • Kitty Litter (Clay component contains thorium and uranium)
  • Bananas (Its genetic. A handful can set off alarms at border checkpoints)
  • Granite (Picked up radiation during forming)
  • Cigarettes (1-1/2 packs a day yearly is equal to 300 chest x-rays)
  • Glossy Magazine paper and Porcelain (Due to Kaolin clay)

This list is just to show you how common it is, and how the human race has adapted to its existence. Many items have low levels of radioactivity, and usually are not dangerous in the amounts that we are exposed to, but what about the low levels we are exposed to on a daily basis? What if that low level of daily exposure is not that low at all?

Have you ever wondered why there are so many cases of cancer? Why do so many people get lung cancer after having never smoked? One way you are exposed is through naturally occurring radon gas, and its decay products.

How common is it? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the main source of our exposure to all radiation. In fact, 55 percent of all the radiation to which we are exposed, comes from radon. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques. Since 2013, it has been mandatory that all new single-family homes be built using radon resistant construction.

While Mike Holmes is based out of Canada, his statements hold true just as much in the U.S. Let's hear what he has to say about Radon.

 

 

 

Radon Has Been Found In Homes All Over the U.S.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Even cracks that you cannot see. Radon can also enter your home through well water. Your home can trap radon inside.

Any home can have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, you and your family are most likely to get your greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where you spend most of your time.

Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States (over 8 million) are estimated to have an elevated radon level (4 pCi/L or more). Elevated levels of radon gas have been found in homes in your state. Contact your state radon office for information about radon in your area.

The EPA and the Surgeon General Recommend That You Test Your Home

Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon.

You cannot predict radon levels based on state, local, and neighborhood radon measurements. Do not rely on radon test results taken in other homes in the neighborhood to estimate the radon level in your home. Homes, which are next to each other, can have different radon levels. Testing is the only way to find out what your home's radon level is.

The entire state of Illinois has a moderate to high potential for elevated indoor radon levels, and since levels vary by house, only an inspection will determine if you are affected.

Click on the link below to view an IEMA (Illinois Emergency Management Agency) map of radon zones in Illinois, listed by county. You can zoom in to view by zip-codes.

 http://tornado.iema.state.il.us/RADON31a/index.html

The EPA states: Radon in air is ubiquitous, or ever-present. Radon is found in outdoor air and in the indoor air of buildings of all kinds. EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or more. This is known as the action level. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to radon, EPA also recommends that Americans consider fixing their home for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. The average radon concentration in the indoor air of America's homes is about 1.3 pCi/L. The average for Illinois is 4.9.

 

Average levels according to the IEMA, by county:

  • Will 5.3
  • Dupage 5.0
  • Grundy 4.5
  • Kendall 5.5
  • Kankakee 5.2
  • LaSalle 6.3
  • Kane 5.2

 

Some Radon Myths and Facts from the EPA

MYTH: Scientists are not sure that radon really is a problem.
FACT: Although some scientists dispute the precise number of deaths due to radon, all the major health organizations (like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association) agree with estimates that radon causes thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths every year. This is especially true among smokers, since the risk to smokers is much greater than to non-smokers.

MYTH: Homes with radon problems can't be fixed.
FACT: There are simple solutions to radon problems in homes. Thousands of homeowners have already fixed radon problems in their homes. Most homes can be fixed for about the same cost as other common home repairs. Call your state radon office for help in identifying qualified mitigation contractors.

MYTH: Radon affects only certain kinds of homes.
FACT: Radon can be a problem in homes of all types: old homes, new homes, drafty homes, insulated homes, homes with basements, and homes without basements. Local geology, construction materials, and how the home was built, are among the factors that can affect radon levels in homes.

MYTH: Radon is only a problem in certain parts of the country.
FACT: High radon levels have been found in every state. Radon problems do vary from area to area, but the only way to know your radon level is to test.

MYTH: A neighbor's test result is a good indication of whether your home has a problem.
FACT: It's not. Radon levels can vary greatly from home to home. The only way to know if your home has a radon problem is to test it.

MYTH: Everyone should test their water for radon.
FACT: While radon gets into some homes through water, it is important to first test the air in the home for radon. If your water comes from a public water supply that uses ground water, call your water supplier. If high radon levels are found and the home has a private well, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1 800-426-4791 for more information.

MYTH: It's difficult to sell homes where radon problems have been discovered.
FACT: Where radon problems have been fixed, home sales have not been blocked or frustrated. The added protection is sometimes a good selling point. It saves the buyer money.

MYTH: I've lived in my home for so long, it doesn't make sense to take action now.
FACT: You will reduce your risk of lung cancer when you reduce radon levels, even if you've lived with an elevated radon level for a long time.

MYTH: Short-term tests can't be used for making a decision about whether to fix your home.
FACT: Short-term tests can be used to decide whether to reduce a home's high radon levels. However, the closer the short-term testing result is to 4 pCi/L, the less certainty there is about whether the home's year-round average is above or below that level. Keep in mind that radon levels below 4 pCi/L still pose some risk and that radon levels can be reduced to 2 pCi/L or below in most homes.

 
Visit the EPA website for more information on Radon gas 
 
http://www.epa.gov/radon/healthrisks.html#Lung_Cancer 

http://www3.epa.gov/radtown/tobacco.html 
 
 

Additional Services


Termite or Wood Destroying Organisms (WDO)

Imagine this nightmare scenario: You shop around and finally find the house of your dreams. You perform one, or more, walk-throughs with your realtor. You look for anything wrong with the home. You didn't see anything so everything must be alright. You purchase the home and move in. A few months later, you notice you missed something. Your new home is infested!

Termites are not usually what people look for unless there is visible damage. Even so, maybe you did look for them, but how hard can you look when it is not yet your home, especially since some beetles leave holes as small as 1/32 of an inch. Termites, and other wood destroying organisms are not active all day, or even every day.

The main concern in Illinois are subterranean termites. As the name implies, subterranean termites live in the soil underground. This termite species prefers to eat soft, spring wood fiber, which means wood damaged by subterranean termites has a honeycombed appearance, with only the grain left behind. Unlike drywood termite colonies, subterranean termite colonies can contain thousands of workers.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Did you crawl through the crawl space or the attic?
  • Did you check the walls for moisture?
  • Do you know how to tell if what you find is active? Activity can be hidden from view.
  • Are any structural aspects conducive to infestation?

 Did you know that Illinois has a moderate to heavy risk of infestation?


  

 

 
 




















There are many reasons to have a termite inspection:

  • As a requirement in the home buying process. The FHA and VA require inspections in Illinois.
  • For peace of mind in your own home. Have you noticed anything unusual? Are your floors soft?
  • In preparation to sell your home. Fix it before everyone finds out about it.
  • As a follow-up after a treatment. Sometimes a follow up treatment is required.
  • To satisfy an insurance requirement. Some companies require an inspection.
  • You noticed some tree branches have holes, or trees are dying. What is causing that?
  • Your neighbor has/had an infestation. Where did they go?
  • Has your pet been attracted to the walls or baseboards? They can detect things we can't, including termites. 

 

Termites are nasty pests. They're almost invisible, completely silent to humans, and have the potential to cause extensive damage before a homeowner ever recognizes they have a problem. Just uttering the word "termite" can make some homeowners shudder, and for good reason. Termites cause more than $50 billion in property damage every year.

If you're buying a home, having the dwelling inspected for termites beforehand can save you headaches later. Actually, if you're taking out a mortgage, there's a good chance the lender will require that you have a termite inspection (as well as a general home inspection) performed before the sale is finalized.

A termite inspection is typically an expense borne by the buyer, but it's worth the price. Most home purchase agreements are contingent on the results of independent inspections like termite inspections designed to reveal hidden problems and dangers:

  • Termites eat wood from the inside out. That means they leave very little evidence of their presence until an infestation is pretty far along. Because the warning signs can be subtle, it will probably take an expert to recognize them.
  • A large termite colony feasting on the wood in a home can consume a pound of cellulose a day but it's usually much less. That can lead to structural damage you won't want to deal with. The presence of termites doesn't necessarily mean a home is unsound, though, especially if the infestation is relatively recent. An expert will know the difference.
  • A termite inspector can help decipher more than just the warning signs of termites. Most inspectors are trained to recognize the presence of other wood-destroying pests too, like carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and wood boring beetles.

If an inspection does reveal termite activity, it might not all be bad news. The signs may be leftover from a previous infestation that has already been dealt with. A qualified termite inspector will recognize the difference between current and past termite activity and provide a guarantee or written statement to that effect. If the home has been treated for termites, the seller should also be able to provide documentation of past termite treatment and any structural repairs that have been made (or may be needed) to fix termite damage.

If there's current termite activity on the property, it still might not be a deal breaker. In some areas of the country, termites are so prevalent that having had a minor problem with them isn't all that uncommon. If an inspection reveals that termites are present but the infestation is minor, and the seller is willing to have the home treated for termites at their expense, and pay for repairs, the property may still be worth considering. This is one instance where it pays to get expert advice about the condition of the home and discuss the options with your attorney.

Don't Forget Flying Termites

During early spring, subterranean termite nests produce swarms of sexually mature winged adults that fly off to start new colonies. The presence of these winged adults inside a home is one warning sign of an existing termite problem.

The most common types of termites include dampwood termites, drywood termites, formosan termites, and subterranean termites. All of these termites are winged.

Oftentimes there will be no visible indication that the home is infested. Termites are cryptic creatures and infestations can go undetected for years, hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions. Termite feeding and damage can even progress undetected in wood that is exposed because the outer surface is usually left intact.

ATTENTION! Do not order a termite inspection until you have talked to your home owners association! Many homeowner associations are under contract with a termite control service. If yours is not, give us a call.

With so many different wood destroying organisms out there, why would you not want to know?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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