Buying In Chicago's Housing Market: Free Tips about Your Home Inspections

When it comes to the bustling Chicago housing market, making informed decisions is paramount. As a prospective home buyer, understanding the bones of a house is essential to avoid unexpected pitfalls. Home inspectors play a vital role in this process, meticulously examining properties to ensure buyers are equipped with accurate information. In this article, we delve into three key reasons why home inspections might lead to the termination of a deal, shedding light on Chicago's unique housing landscape.

1. The House That Deceives: The Flip Phenomenon

Picture this: a seemingly immaculate house that conceals structural flaws beneath its freshly painted exterior. The allure of flipped houses can be intoxicating, but in reality, they might harbor deep-seated problems. Flipped houses often receive cosmetic upgrades to enhance their market appeal. However, these enhancements might mask underlying issues like chronic moisture problems or structural deficiencies that can significantly impact a buyer's investment.

In Chicago's competitive real estate market, where flipped houses are not uncommon, it's crucial to approach these properties with a discerning eye. While the exterior might boast newness, the bones of the house may tell a different story. Home inspectors in Chicago meticulously scrutinize these properties to uncover hidden problems and provide potential buyers with the insight they need to make informed decisions.

2. The Illusion of Transformation: The Vacation Home Trap

Chicago's neighborhoods have evolved over time, witnessing transformations that can influence housing dynamics. Properties that began as quaint vacation homes may have undergone extensive remodeling and additions as the city evolved around them. These homes may appear bright and luxurious, but beneath the surface, they could harbor a hodgepodge of foundations, rooflines, and structural irregularities.

Buyers need to consider a property's history and evolution within the context of its neighborhood. An experienced home inspector can identify signs of piecemeal renovations and structural discrepancies that might affect the property's value and livability. Unearthing the bones of these homes allows potential buyers to weigh the risks and rewards of such unique properties in the Chicago landscape.

3. Alignment of Expectations: The 20-Year-Old Challenge

Chicago's neighborhoods boast a diverse range of homes, many of which have stood for decades. A common misconception arises when buyers encounter homes that are "only 20 years old." While these properties might not be old in the traditional sense, their systems—such as the roof, deck, furnace, and appliances—can be approaching the end of their lifespan.

In Chicago's climate, with its distinct seasons and potential weather extremes, a home's components can face accelerated wear and tear. An astute home inspector can assess the condition of these systems, providing buyers with a clear understanding of the maintenance or updates that lie ahead. By setting realistic expectations, home inspectors empower buyers to make informed choices that align with their financial capabilities.

4. Unveiling the True Fixer-Upper

Embarking on a fixer-upper journey can be both exciting and daunting. While some renovations are anticipated, unexpected structural issues can quickly turn a promising project into a financial burden. The bones of a house—the foundation, frame, roofline, floor plan, drainage, and access—are critical elements to evaluate in a fixer-upper.

Chicago's diverse architecture encompasses various styles and ages of homes, each with its unique challenges. Home inspectors in Chicago meticulously assess these core elements to reveal potential problems that might arise during renovation. This enables buyers to make informed decisions about the feasibility and cost of their envisioned improvements.

Empowering Decisions in Chicago's Housing Market

Chicago's housing market is a dynamic tapestry of homes with diverse histories and characteristics. The role of a home inspector is not only to identify issues but also to empower buyers with comprehensive knowledge. Navigating this market requires an understanding of the bones of a house—the foundational elements that determine its integrity and potential.

In a city as vibrant as Chicago, where real estate decisions can impact finances and emotions, a thorough home inspection is a critical step. By unraveling the truths hidden within a property's bones, buyers can confidently traverse the housing market, making choices that align with their goals and expectations. Whether it's a flipped house, an evolving vacation home, a 20-year-old property, or a fixer-upper, Chicago's home inspectors are dedicated to helping buyers make informed decisions that pave the way for a successful homeownership journey.

Your Essential Kitchen Renovation Checklist for the Chicago Market

A kitchen renovation can breathe new life into your home, enhancing its functionality, aesthetics, and overall value. If you're a homeowner in the Chicago area, where style and practicality go hand in hand, embarking on a kitchen renovation project is an excellent decision. However, before you dive into this exciting endeavor, it's essential to have a comprehensive checklist in place. In this blog post, we will guide you through a tailored kitchen renovation checklist that suits the specific needs and preferences of the Chicago market.

Define Your Goals and Budget:

Begin by clearly defining your goals for the kitchen renovation project. Are you looking to create a modern and sleek space or maintain a traditional charm? Consider the style, functionality, and ambiance you desire. Simultaneously, establish a realistic budget aligning with the Chicago market rates, factoring in the cost of materials, labor, and unforeseen expenses.

Research Local Regulations:

Before proceeding with your kitchen renovation, familiarize yourself with local regulations in the Chicago area. Ensure you obtain any necessary permits, adhere to building codes, and comply with any specific requirements set forth by the city or neighborhood associations.

Find a Reliable Contractor:

Choosing the right contractor is crucial for a successful kitchen renovation. Seek recommendations from friends, family, or neighbors who have recently completed similar projects in the Chicago area. Look for experienced contractors who understand the unique demands of the local market and can deliver high-quality craftsmanship within your budget and timeline.

Optimize Layout and Functionality:

Chicago homeowners often appreciate functional and efficient kitchen spaces. Work closely with your contractor to optimize the layout of your kitchen. Maximize storage space, ensure seamless workflow between the main kitchen areas, and consider incorporating practical features such as a kitchen island or a pantry to cater to the unique needs of your household.

Select Durable and Stylish Materials:

Regarding material selection, the Chicago market favors a combination of durability and style. Choose high-quality materials that can withstand the test of time and frequent usage while still offering an aesthetically pleasing look. Consider options like granite or quartz countertops, hardwood or tile flooring, and quality cabinetry that complement your kitchen's overall design theme.

Embrace Energy Efficiency:

The environmentally conscious ethos of Chicagoans makes energy-efficient appliances and fixtures highly sought after in the market. Opt for ENERGY STAR-rated appliances, LED lighting, and water-saving fixtures to reduce your ecological footprint and lower utility bills.

Incorporate Chicago-Inspired Design Elements:

To infuse a touch of local flavor into your kitchen renovation, consider incorporating design elements inspired by the beautiful city of Chicago, from subtle nods to iconic architecture, such as clean lines and minimalist finishes, to displaying art pieces or photographs showcasing the city's rich cultural heritage, let your kitchen reflect the vibrant spirit of the Windy City.

Enhance Natural Light:

Chicago's skyline and lakefront views are renowned, and residents often cherish the city's abundant natural light. Maximize the amount of natural light in your kitchen by strategically placing windows, skylights, or glass doors. The overall ambiance is enhanced, and this helps conserve energy during daylight hours.

Focus on Storage Solutions:

With the Chicago market's emphasis on practicality, storage solutions are pivotal in kitchen renovations. Incorporate intelligent storage solutions such as pull-out shelves, deep drawers, and vertical organizers to optimize space utilization and keep your kitchen clutter-free.

Consider Smart Technology Integration:

Chicago homeowners embrace technological advancements, and integrating intelligent features into your kitchen can enhance convenience and efficiency. Explore options like smart appliances, automated lighting systems, and voice-activated controls to streamline your kitchen experience.

In Conclusion, if you're embarking on a kitchen renovation to your Chicago kitchen, know it takes careful planning and attention to detail. By following this comprehensive checklist, you can ensure a successful project that meets your unique needs and aligns with the local market's preferences. From defining your goals and budget to selecting durable materials and incorporating energy-efficient solutions, each step brings you closer to achieving the kitchen of your dreams. This space beautifully combines style, functionality, and the unmistakable essence of Chicago.

Add The Most Value To  Your Home In Chicago

Regarding home renovations, homeowners in Chicago often look for projects that enhance their living spaces and add significant value to their properties. Whether you plan to sell your home shortly or want to enjoy the benefits of a well-improved living space, particular renovations can yield a higher return on investment. In this article, we will explore eight home renovations that add substantial value to homes in the Chicago area.

Kitchen Remodeling:

In the heart of every home, the kitchen reigns supreme. A well-designed and updated kitchen can instantly capture the attention of potential buyers. A kitchen can offer a significant return on investment in Chicago, where culinary culture is vibrant. Focus on modernizing the appliances, upgrading countertops and cabinets, and adding functional storage space to create a beautiful and efficient kitchen that will stand the test of time.

Bathroom Upgrades:

Bathrooms are spaces where homeowners seek tranquility and relaxation. Upgrading your bathroom(s) can significantly increase the value of your Chicago home. Consider replacing outdated fixtures, adding energy-efficient features, installing a new bathtub or shower, and incorporating stylish and functional storage options. With attention to lighting and ventilation, well-designed bathrooms in the Chicago market are of higher value.

Energy-Efficient Improvements:

In an eco-conscious era, energy-efficient features by homeowners are of higher value. Upgrading your home with energy-saving solutions such as solar panels, high-efficiency windows, and Improved insulation can significantly enhance its value in Chicago. These renovations reduce utility costs and make your home more attractive to potential buyers looking for sustainable options.

Outdoor Living Spaces:

Chicagoans love to enjoy the outdoors, especially during the warmer months. Enhancing your outdoor living spaces can make a big difference in the value of your home. Consider adding a deck, patio, or pergola to create an inviting space for relaxation and entertainment. Additionally, well-maintained landscaping and outdoor lighting can significantly enhance the curb appeal of your Chicago home.

Basement Renovation:

Basements in Chicago often offer untapped potential. By transforming your basement into a functional living area, you can significantly increase the value of your home. Consider converting it into a recreation room, a home office, or an additional bedroom. Address any potential moisture or insulation issues to create a comfortable and welcoming space.

Attic Conversion:

Like basements, attics can transform into valuable living spaces. By converting your attic into a bedroom, a home gym, or a playroom, you can add square footage and value to your Chicago home. Ensure proper insulation, lighting, and ventilation to create a comfortable and livable space.

Smart Home Technology:

The rise of innovative home technology has revolutionized the way we live. In Chicago, incorporating innovative home features can significantly boost the value of your property. Install an intelligent thermostat, automated lighting systems, or a home security system controlled remotely. Buyers are increasingly attracted to homes with convenience, efficiency, and advanced technological features.

Garage Addition:

Parking is a premium commodity in Chicago. If your property lacks a garage or adequate parking space, adding one can significantly enhance its value. A well-designed garage not only provides secure parking but also serves as additional storage space. Ensure that the garage complements the architectural style of your home and blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.

Investing in strategic home renovations significantly impacts the value of your Chicago property. By focusing on critical areas such as the kitchen, bathrooms, energy efficiency, outdoor living spaces, basement, attic, intelligent home technology, and parking, you can make your home more appealing to potential buyers and enjoy a higher return on investment. Remember to consult with local professionals to ensure that your renovations align with the specific needs and preferences of the Chicago housing market. With careful planning and execution, your home renovations can transform your living space into an asset in the Chicago real estate market.

Selling a House with Compliancy Violations: What You Need to Know

When it comes to selling a house, there are many things that can make the process challenging. One of the biggest hurdles that homeowners may face is dealing with code violations. These violations can range from minor issues like peeling paint to major concerns such as a structurally unsound foundation. If you're trying to sell a house with code compliance violations, here's what you need to know.

Understanding Code Violations

Code violations are regulations that are put in place by local/village governments to ensure that buildings and properties are safe for the people who live or work in them. These regulations cover everything from simple DIY projects done poorly, electrical wiring and plumbing to structural integrity and zoning requirements.

If a property is found to be in violation of these codes, the owner/seller will receive a notice from the local government. Depending on the severity of the problem, the owner may be given a certain amount of time to correct the issue or face penalties such as fines (commercial buildings) or even the possibility of having the property condemned.

Common Code Violations

Some of the most common code violations that homeowners may encounter include:

Dealing with Code Violations

If you're selling a house with code violations, there are a few things you can do to make the process smoother:

Options for Selling a House with Code Violations

If you're dealing with code violations and need to sell your house quickly, there are a few options available to you:

Final Thoughts

Dealing with compliance violations can be a challenge but most often it’s not an impossible task and shouldn’t prevent you from moving forward with your listing/sale. Your Agent and a knowledgeable Home Inspector and/or General Contractor can get you beyond this hurdle and on to your next home.

How Your Home Inspector & Broker work together

The broker / home inspector relationship

The broker/home inspector relationship is often discussed. Some home inspectors say that a strong relationship with brokers and agents is the best way to grow their inspection business. Others say their reliance on agent referrals is a key problem when it comes to keeping the home inspection profession honest, ethical, and professional.

The fact is, a large percentage of home inspectors rely on agent referrals to bring in work and keep them in business. While this is not necessarily a negative thing, many argue that there will inevitably be some conflict of interest inherent. An ambitious and unethical real estate agent selects/recommends a home inspector who isn’t thorough and won’t find problems. Thankfully, few of these unethical individuals remain in the industry for long.

The Buyer’s broker/agent must be that trusted agent, as they often recommend mortgage brokers/lenders, appraisers, insurance, etc. A seasoned real estate agent who has years of experience and expertise in the local market and an agent who is honest and has integrity will save a buyer a lot of time, money and frustration by referring a competent and thorough home inspector. The same trust is also extended to the home inspector. They have the construction and building expertise the buyer likely does not have.

As the market expands into the new arena of “Concierge Service”, this relationship is only going to deepen. Most buyers seem less interested in doing their own improvements and maintenance. To support this, brokers and inspectors will be asked to provide more information and secondary referrals to other vendors (i.e. plumbers, electricians, heating and cooling, roofer, painters, and handymen).

The Client's Best Interest

We must always look beyond “this deal” and serve our clients to the best of our abilities. In other words, for the many honest and ethical real estate agents, brokers, and home inspectors—building strong relationships and referral arrangements is a way to help all involved. It provides the home inspector with business, the real estate agent/broker with a knowledgeable, reliable, and thorough home inspector to refer to home buyers and helps home buyers by providing them access to a dependable home inspector. We both want our clients to have the facts to make what is probably the biggest purchase of their lives. We both benefit from the buyer’s ultimate satisfaction and the referral to the next seller/buyer…

How Thermal Cameras are used in Home Inspections

How Thermographic Inspections Work?

Thermography measures surface temperatures by using infrared video and still cameras. In construction, a thermographic scanning allows energy assessors to check the effectiveness of insulation in the building. Thermal cameras are a great device to detect things your home inspector cannot see with their naked eyes. Thermal imaging can find hot or cold spots, and even pick up other patterns behind the walls. Here are some ways a thermal imaging camera helps during a home inspection:

Thermal imaging can quickly and easily identify areas where insulation is lacking, missing or damaged allowing the seller or buyer to make informed decisions about repairs or upgrades. Moisture intrusion is another issue that can be easily detected with thermal imaging. Moisture can cause significant damage to a home if left untreated, including mold growth and structural damage. Thermal imaging can detect moisture in walls, floors, and ceilings, even if it is not visible to the naked eye. This allows the buyer to identify potential moisture issues and make repairs before they become major problems.

Thermal imaging can also be used to detect electrical issues in a home. Electrical problems can be dangerous and can lead to fires if left untreated. Thermal imaging can detect hot spots in electrical panels and wiring, indicating a potential problem. This allows the buyer to have the issue inspected and repaired by a qualified electrician, ensuring the safety of the home.

In addition to identifying issues, thermal imaging can also provide peace of mind for the buyer. A thermal imaging inspection can give the buyer a more complete understanding of the condition of the home they are considering purchasing. This can help them make an informed decision about whether to move forward with the purchase or to look for another home.

In conclusion

Thermal imaging photography is a valuable tool in the home purchase process. It can help identify potential issues early on, allowing for proper repairs to be made before the home is purchased. Additionally, it can provide peace of mind for the buyer by giving them a more complete understanding of the condition of the home they are considering purchasing. It is a non-invasive technology that uses infrared cameras to detect the heat emitted by objects and can detect temperature variations and create a detailed thermal image of the area being inspected, making it an extremely accurate tool for identifying issues in a home. It's a smart investment for any home buyer to consider.

A Pre-Listing Inspection = Prepared Seller

Why Suggest a Per-Listing Inspection

A pre-list home inspection can be an important step when selling a home. This type of inspection is designed to identify potential issues with the property before it goes on the market. The last thing the seller and you, the broker, want when working toward a close, are surprises. Advanced knowledge of potential issues can help reduce the stress and emotions that can arise during the sale process.

Consider the following scenario, you’re the broker representing an older couple that’s been in the same home for 30+ years. The house looks incredibly clean & well-maintained. You’re thinking this will be a breeze & easy money… An offer is received and accepted right away, You’re thinking “Great!” Then the inspector comes in and The buyers learn the gentleman was a bit of a DIYer and there are problems with the electrical and plumbing. Additionally, the buyers want a huge credit because they think that there’s asbestos and mold in the attic and crawl space.

So where do you go from here? The sellers are upset because they thought it would be an easy process and now they’re not going to get the money they were expecting. They have to call in contractors and who knows how long that will take or how much it will cost. Asbestos and mold remediation is also terribly expensive and will reduce the money that they walk away with…

Advance Knowledge can help the Seller

A pre-listing inspection would have potentially brought this to light earlier and allowed the sellers to address any issues, avoid inflated repair estimates or pre-plan their response during the negotiations. Most importantly, it could prevent delays in getting to the closing.

One of the major benefits of a pre-sale home inspection is that it allows the seller to identify any potential issues with the property before listing it for sale. This can include issues with the roof, foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, and other major components of the home. This can help increase the value of the home and make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Another benefit of a pre-sale home inspection is that it can help the seller avoid inflated repair estimates. If a potential buyer conducts an inspection and finds issues with the property, they may ask for repairs or a reduction in the purchase price. Again the advanced knowledge can help reduce the stress and anxiety experienced by the sellers.

This can help to reassure buyers that the home is in good condition and eliminate any concerns they may have about the property.

Boost Buyer's Confidance

A pre-sale home inspection can also be used as a marketing tool to promote the home. When a seller conducts a pre-sale inspection and addresses any issues, they can include the inspection report in the home's listing. This can help to attract buyers who are looking for a home that is in good condition and has been well-maintained.

Additionally, a pre-sale home inspection can be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with potential buyers. If a buyer conducts an inspection and finds issues with the property, the seller can use the pre-sale inspection report to show that they were aware of the issues and had already taken steps to address them. This can help to reduce the amount of negotiation required and make the sale process go more smoothly.

In Conclusion

Overall, a pre-sale home inspection is a valuable tool for anyone looking to sell a home. It can help to identify potential issues with the property, avoid inflated repair estimates, and promote the home to potential buyers. If you are planning to sell your home, it is a wise investment to have a pre-sale inspection done to ensure that your home is in the best possible condition before listing it for sale.

Why would a Listing Agent suggest a “Pre-Listing” Home Inspection?

Selling a home can be an exciting yet stressful experience, as it involves a lot of time, effort, and money. As a home seller, you want to make sure that you get the best price for your property and that the sale process goes as smoothly as possible. One way to ensure a successful sale is by getting a pre-listing home inspection.

A pre-listing home inspection is an inspection of your property by a professional home inspector before you list it on the market. The inspector will examine your home from top to bottom, looking for any issues or defects that may affect its value or the sale process. This inspection can help you identify and address issues in advance, making the selling process smoother and more successful.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at why a home seller should get a pre-listing home inspection to help them identify and address issues in advance.

Identify Issues Before Listing

One of the main benefits of a pre-listing home inspection is that it can help you identify any issues with your property before you list it on the market. These issues can range from minor cosmetic defects to major structural problems and can affect the value of your home and the sale process.

By identifying these issues in advance, you can take the necessary steps to address them before potential buyers come to view your home. This can help you avoid any surprises and the stress it brings during the negotiation process, as buyers may request repairs or lower the price based on issues they discover during their own inspections. Even if the seller cannot make the improvements, the advanced knowledge can help you pre-plan your negotiation strategy.

Address Issues Can Increase the Home’s Value

Addressing any issues identified during a pre-listing home inspection can help increase the value of your home and make it more appealing to potential buyers. By making repairs and upgrades, you can show potential buyers that you have taken care of your home and are committed to ensuring that it is in good condition.

Making repairs and upgrades can also help your home stand out from other properties on the market. In a competitive market, small improvements can make a big difference in attracting potential buyers and getting the best possible price for your property.

Increase Buyer Confidence

Getting a pre-listing home inspection can also help increase the confidence of potential buyers. By providing them with a copy of the inspection report, you can show them that you are transparent about any issues with your property and have taken steps to address them. This can help build trust and confidence in your property, making buyers more likely to make an offer.

Additionally, a pre-listing home inspection can help prevent any surprises during the sale process. If a buyer discovers an issue with your property during their own inspection, they may become hesitant to pursue the offer or request repairs or a lower price. By addressing any issues in advance, you can avoid any potential deal-breakers and ensure that the sale process goes smoothly.

Save Time and Money

Another benefit of a pre-listing home inspection is that it can save you time and money in the long run. By identifying any issues with your property before you list it on the market, you can avoid any delays or surprises during the negotiation process.

For example, if a potential buyer discovers an issue with your property during their own inspection, they may request repairs or a lower price. This can lead to delays and additional expenses, as you may need to hire contractors to make repairs or negotiate a lower price with the buyer.

By addressing any issues in advance, you can avoid these delays and expenses, making the sale process smoother and more efficient.

In conclusion

Getting a pre-listing home inspection is a smart decision for any home seller looking to identify and address issues in advance. By identifying any issues with your property before you list it on the market, you can take the necessary steps to address them and increase the value of your home. Additionally, a pre-listing home inspection can help increase the confidence of potential buyers and save you time and headaches.

Your Home Inspector REALLY doesn’t want to kill your deal

Objective of the home inspection

We all know that home inspections are an important step in the home-buying process. In most cases, they simply reveal small hidden issues that may not have been apparent during the buyer’s initial walk-through. The true objective of my home inspection is to educate the buyer, so they know more about the home and can make an informed decision. Every home inspection will find faults and/or blemishes in a home.

Balanacing the Deal

Sometimes there are bigger issues. At this point, our client has A LOT invested in this home. They’ve looked at hundreds of homes online and likely have toured a bunch with you, their realtor/broker. My harshest remarks are typically something like “recommend consulting a specialist and get a repair estimate” or “recommend repair or replacement before closing.” If they love this home, I want them to close on it. I’m very appreciative of the fact that the search is difficult.

Buyers, who often have reservations about the purchase anyway, will use those remarks as their reason to walk away from a potential purchase. It depends upon the buyer’s tolerance for making repairs and how much they love/like the home. Generally, Home Inspectors and Realtors will both agree that the following items are real issues and the buyer should proceed with caution.

Possible Deal Breakers

Every buyer has pretty much established wants and acceptable tolerances. One major deal breaker for most buyers is structural issues. These can include foundation problems, significant structural damage, or roof issues. These issues can be costly to repair and may not be feasible to fix. If a home has structural issues, buyers will often decide to move on and look for a different property, especially if you’re a first-time buyer, without extensive funds in reserve for a lengthy and costly repair. An issue like this is where I will recommend hiring a licensed structural engineer to provide more information.

Another potential deal breaker is the condition of the home's electrical, plumbing and sewer systems. It can be very costly to repair or replace a home with outdated or faulty electrical and plumbing or sewer systems. Many Chicago homes still have their original 100+ year-old galvanized steel supply pipes and clay sewer tiles in place and they’ve exceeded their expected service life. If a home inspection reveals issues with these systems, again I recommend engaging a qualified professional contractor to confirm the issue and provide a repair estimate.

Pest infestations can also be a deal breaker for many buyers. Termites, carpenter ants, and other pests can cause significant damage to a home (they can literally eat your home). If a home inspection reveals an infestation, again the buyers will often want the seller to have the issue treated before closing on the sale. If the seller is unwilling or unable to do so, buyers may choose to walk away from the sale.

Finally, a deal breaker can be an environmental issue (i.e. presence of radon gas, asbestos, lead paint or mold) in the home. These environmental issues can be dangerous to health and can be costly to remove. None of these issues can be visually identified with 100% certainty and require lab testing for absolute certainty. Again, if suspected, I always recommend hiring a qualified testing and remediation contractor to provide the buyer with more information.


In conclusion, home inspections are an important step in the home-buying process, as they can reveal potential issues that may not be apparent during a walk-through. However, if a home inspection reveals issues the buyer may choose to walk away from the purchase and start over. It's important for buyers to be aware of these potential issues before proceeding to the closing.

Just How Good is that Kitchen Remodel?

So you’re looking at a new home purchase and the kitchen is “brand new” but just how well was it done? You’re excited and can’t wait to start cooking up a storm in your new kitchen. Before you pay top dollar for this house and you start unpacking all your pots and pans out of storage, you need to take another look.

Look closely at the cabinets

Get up close and look at each cabinet (the uppers and lowers). They should be straight, level, and properly anchored to the wall. They should all line up evenly with one another as well as the appliances. When inspecting your kitchen cabinets, keep an eye out for any gaps between them and the walls and the ceiling – you shouldn’t see gaps! 

Open all the cabinet doors and drawers all the way. Make sure nothing is in the way and they are able to open fully and close without any problems. The doors and drawers in your kitchen should not bump one another or rub up against each other or any of the appliances. Not only should the cabinet doors and drawers open and close easily, but you should also make sure that all drawers remain on the tracks installed. Inspect all cabinet hardware to ensure that they are all securely fastened and working properly.

Check the countertop

Inspect the countertop, not only with your eyes but also run your hand over it to feel for any seams, deep scraps or scratches, or other noticeable defects. If it’s a natural stone or concrete countertop has it been sealed properly? Look carefully at the caulking that seals all seams and joints, where the countertop meets the wall or backsplash. The caulking should be neat and clean. The best caulking for kitchens is one that is waterproof and mold and mildew resistant.

What about the electrical?

Take a look at all the electrical outlets. Are they at least 2 feet away from the kitchen sink and GFCI protected? They should be! If they are less than 2 feet from the kitchen sink, they WAY TOO CLOSE which is a big safety issue. Outlets should be space no more than 4 feet along the countertop. If there is an island or peninsula, an outlet should be within 12” inches from the countertop and there shouldn’t be an overhang longer than 6” inches above it. 

Look at the light fixtures that were installed and check that they all work. There should be no visible wires and cover plates should be installed on ALL electrical junction boxes (check under the sink and above the range/hood).

Finally, how about the oven and appliances?

If a gas range was installed, you should look at the shutoff valve and the line that was installed. There should be no gas leaks. The shutoff valve must be in the same room and accessible. The line installed should provide enough space for you to pull the stove away from the wall. Try to pull the oven away from the wall. An “Anti-Tip” bracket should be installed to prevent it from tipping forward. Was the cooktop installed next to a wall or cabinet? There should be at least twelve inches between any style range top and the closest sidewall/cabinet. Any closer and you’re creating a fire hazard and you won’t have room for your pan’s handles. Is there a line installed to the refrigerator for ice and water? Is the dishwasher drain installed appropriately to avoid cross-contamination? Is the range vent vented to the outside, NOT the attic or another interior space?

Hire an InspectorRemember, you don’t have to be the expert. You can hire a qualified professional licensed inspector to do this sort of review for you. The items noted above are just some of the things that Sahm Home Services will review for you when we do your pre-purchase home inspection. Call today 708.232.8881 or visit our website to schedule your inspection.