Chicagoland Home Inspections

Chicagoland home improvement ideas usually are reserved for homeowners who want to make their homes bigger, more attractive or more modern. However, many home improvement steps can be taken to prepare your home when it comes time to sell. If you’ve made the decision to sell your home, it’s not just a good idea – sometimes it’s a necessity – to make your home as attractive and presentable as possible for prospective buyers. Here’s how.

Be Ready to Hit the Market Running Listing your home for sale isn’t a decision to be made lightly. In addition, putting your home on the market before you’re ready or it’s ready can severely hamper your ability to sell it for its full value. Make sure you prepare your home for the real estate marketplace. Follow these Chicagoland home improvement ideas and make the best impression you can for potential buyers to sell your home quickly and for the best price.

Chicagoland home improvement ideas include de-cluttering the house in preparation for selling it.

Clean and Declutter Your Home While it may sound cliche’ to some, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to make sure your home is clean and free from unsightly clutter. Follow these steps and you’ll be glad you did when you receive an offer that’s at or near your full asking price.

  • Remove as much clutter as possible before you start to clean. There's no better time to get rid of unwanted items and things you’re just tired of staring at each day (we’re talking about objects, not family members!) You can donate unneeded items to a local charity, or have a yard sale if you have larger items. In addition, recycling companies are usually more than happy to come pick up large metal items – often at no charge.
     
  • Give your house a good deep-cleaning. While this step will take the largest investment of time, it will also yield the best results. Try to involve the entire family and assign everybody a task or two. Make sure you give necessary attention to the bathrooms and kitchen – lots of women who will ultimately make the decision on the house purchase will be looking them over closely. Lastly, clean the inside and the outside of your home’s windows. You’ll be surprised how it will make your home sparkle – and buyers will notice!
     
  • Take the time to organize your closets, cabinets and drawers. Don't just stuff them with things you want to get out of the way. You’ll be surprised at how many prospective buyers will open cabinets and closets so they can get an idea of the amount of storage space they contain. Clean, organized cabinets, drawers and closets will give the buyers the impression that you take care of the home – which may translate into a feeling that the rest of the home and its systems are well-maintained, too.

Make Do-it-Yourself Repairs One of the next Chicagoland home improvement ideas – and possibly one of the least expensive – is to perform various repairs to your home you can take care of all by yourself with a little time and know-how.

  • Fix leaky faucets and running toilets
  • Replace the caulking around showers, tubs and sinks
  • Repair or replace grout, if necessary
  • Repair cracks, stains, or nail holes in walls and repaint them in a neutral color
  • Fix cracked, broken or discolored windows
  • Replace or repair damaged or missing window screens
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs or fluorescent tubes

Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal The old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” is never truer than when you’re showing your home to prospective purchasers. If they don’t like what they see in exterior photos online or in person, chances are they may not look further. And, if your home’s curb appeal is just “average,” most buyers may adopt the feeling the rest of the home is “average,” as well. You want to “wow” your buyers. Make them love what they see on the outside and they will look forward to seeing the rest of the house. Consider these “spruce-up” tips for your home’s outside, too.

  • Trim the bushes, shrubs and trees in your yard
  • Fix broken downspouts and gutters
  • Apply new mulch as needed to give your planted areas a fresh, clean look
  • Clean and repair concrete or stone areas such as driveways and walkways. Pay close attention to oil stains and weeds or grass growing through the cracks.
  • Add some flowers to give your lawn and garden a little more color. Add a new doormat to your doorstep or front porch area. Ensure that the house numbers are clean and easy to see.

As you can see, with a relatively small amount of time, attention and expense to your home, these and a few of your own Chicagoland home improvement ideas will help you give it a renewed appearance – making it more attractive inside and out to prospective home shoppers.

You can find more articles pertaining to Chicagoland home improvement ideas in the Chicagoland Home Improvements section of our site below Chicagoland Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.

Making the Chicagoland real estate news outlook is the recent policy from the Trump administration that it had reversed one of the eleventh hour decisions made by the outgoing Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The reversal involved the reinstatement of a cut in the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) annual insurance premium. The new administration stated the need to take a closer look at the premium reduction, saying the cut will increase the risk that U.S. taxpayers take on should there be a housing crisis like the one we saw nearly a decade ago. Detractors against the administration’s move say the FHA’s insurance fund is substantial and is positioned to provided mortgage borrowers a benefit by way of the premium reduction.

FHA borrowers usually are those who are the least flush with cash. As a result, the FHA program is tailor-made for homebuyers who are unable to afford more than a modest down payment – requiring the FHA’s mortgage insurance. With a qualifying FHA loan, a borrower can put down as little as 3.5%. Conventional lenders also offer low down payment lending programs requiring private mortgage insurance (PMI) and generally higher FICO credit scores than their FHA counterparts.

The Chicagoland real estate news outlook for 2017 is that it will cost you more this year than in the past.

The reversal of the premium reduction is expected to impact borrowers who already may be on the borderline of being able to qualify. The higher monthly payments created by not having the insurance premium cut will equate to approximately a .375% rate increase for prospective borrowers seeking FHA loans. That, coupled with the recent rise in interest rates after the presidential election will mean that the cost of buying a house – for many people – will increase slightly during the early spring of 2017.

In the Chicagoland real estate news outlook, while interest rates spiked as a result of the stock market’s rise post-election, they seem to have settled somewhat during the holidays – only to slightly rise again in recent weeks. While economists are split on whether rates will continue to rise throughout 2017 and by how much, most seem to agree that mortgage interest rates will not exceed 4.25% during the year. If that happens, although it will signal rates of slightly more than 1.25% higher than the all-time record lows experienced in much of the previous 12-18 months, the rate will still represent a relatively low interest rate for which to pay to purchase a home.

Of more concern than interest rates is the cost of the price of a newly-constructed home. In December, the Chicagoland real estate news outlook showed that the average price of a new home increased by over 7% compared to the same month last year. The prices reflect – for the most part – increased costs builders face in two key areas: the cost of land and the availability of labor. The cost of labor and the availability of labor are items which are less likely to improve during the new administration, as much of the homebuilder workforce is comprised of immigrants. In a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 78% of builders cited labor as their most pressing problem – and 82% felt it would be worse in 2017.

In addition, the other factors affecting the housing market as mentioned in the Chicagoland real estate news outlook recently has been the real estate market’s continued lack of sufficient inventory. The number of homes on the market for sale will likely mean the supply won't meet the demand again this year, making for another seller’s market in many of the more popular real estate markets throughout the U.S.

Lastly, as home values continue to appreciate – possibly not as rapidly as they did during 2016 – that means the number of homes on the market for sale will be priced at a premium. Real estate experts say the average appreciation rate of homes in the nation is expected to be in the 5% range, with some markets being higher and some lower. That’s slightly lower than what occurred in the 2015-2016 real estate markets, when housing values are at rates nearing 6% in some hotbeds, while averaging nearly 5.5% nationwide.

While the jury may still be out on factors such as interest rates, it does appear that the prevalent Chicagoland real estate news outlook for 2017 is that if you’re in the market to purchase a home, it’ll cost you more this year than in the past. However, the market appears to be poised and ready for what will probably be a good year for the real estate industry. The spring selling season will soon be here, giving buyers and sellers a much better idea of what to expect for the remainder of the year.

See more articles pertaining to the most current Chicagoland real estate news outlook in the section of articles on Chicagoland Real Estate News just below Chicagoland Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. And remember, we also post tips daily on Facebook and Twitter. Check us out there as well.  

During a Chicagoland home inspection, it’s not unusual for issues to arise which need repair or replacing. Many times, it can mean a return to the negotiating table so the buyer and seller can hammer out the details of who’s going to fix what – or how much of a credit the seller is planning to give the buyer. When a home inspection discovers items needing to be addressed, consider these three tips to negotiate repairs.

Ask the seller to give you a credit for the cost of the work to be performed. There are several reasons for asking for a credit rather than having the seller have the required work done. First and foremost, the seller has likely lost interest in performing work on the home, regardless of the findings of your Chicagoland home inspection. After all, the contract is signed and even though there are issues pending that need to be negotiated, most sellers are too focused on buying and moving into their next home. Secondly, if you can get the seller to give you a credit against the sales price you can use that additional savings to have the work done yourself – with you being the new homeowner and with the work being done to your satisfaction. Thirdly, with a credit at closing the issue of repairing or replacing certain items falls squarely on your shoulders, keeping it simple and not involving the seller to ensure the work was being done.

Keep these items in mind as you prepare to negotiate after your Chicagoland home inspection report.

Consider long-range planning. Keep future repairs or renovations in mind when negotiating with the seller. For example, if there are water stains on the ceiling that occurred as a result of a leak, ask the seller for a credit to repair both the leak and repainting or repairing the ceiling. You may elect to repair the leak, but put off fixing the stain until later – especially if you know you’re going to replace the existing stippled ceilings with a smoother treatment. Keep those and other items in mind as you prepare to negotiate on the heels of your Chicagoland home inspection report.

Don’t let others “see your hand.” In a card game, it’s important not to let others see your cards because it will give them an unfair advantage and change the way they play the game. Use the same strategy during your Chicagoland home inspection. If you say too much to the listing agent about your likes and dislikes or about your plans for decorating certain rooms and how excited you are, you could lose your negotiating power. The listing agent may tell the seller, and it could affect the outcome of the credit they were thinking about giving you. For example, if you tell the listing agent you plan to completely re-do the entire kitchen, the seller may find out about it and be less inclined to give you a credit for repairing the kitchen cabinets or replacing a dishwasher. Don’t reveal your plans. Keep a “poker face.”

It’s probably good to mention here that you should always insist the sales contract be contingent on the home “passing inspection” by way of a Chicagoland home inspection report showing no discernible repairs that should be made. If you don't include that in the contract and make the assumption you can always come back and revisit or negotiate certain issues after the inspection, you may be unpleasantly surprised.

In the event the property inspection is completed without any mention of needed repairs or other shortcomings, that's good. There’s no reason for further negotiating. However, if there are items that need to be addressed and the contract doesn’t mention what to do in such a case, you’ve lost your negotiating power and may force the seller to consider other offers or back-up contracts if you elect not to move forward.

With that in mind, enter into the closing with a full awareness of what can happen. In the sports world the old saying, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over” means anything can happen while the game is still going on. It’s the same in the real estate world – a deal isn’t completed until the money goes from the buyer to the seller and the deed to the property is transferred properly. The lesson here is: “Be alert, stay on your toes and keep your eyes wide open.” Anything less than that and you run the risk of losing your negotiating advantage and making your home buying experience less than what it could be.

Don’t give “buyer’s remorse” any opportunity to enter the picture. Be happy and satisfied with your purchase. You’ll enjoy it that much more!

You can find more articles pertaining to Chicagoland home inspections in the Chicagoland Home Inspections section of our site below Chicagoland Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.

Chicagoland home inspection facts will always be a topic of discussion in real estate circles. Home inspections are likely to remain in steady demand as the real estate market is expected to continue to be relatively good in 2017. Home inspections are, of course, a valuable tool in assisting buyers in making informed, educated decisions about a house they’re considering purchasing.

Home inspections provide a great deal of valuable information about the overall condition of a home. In addition, the inspection will assess those areas that may require both small and large repairs, as well as any visual issues that may affect the structural components of the house. As with any subjective art or science, the home inspection industry is often victim to a wide variety of myths and misconceptions. Let’s take a look at some of the more prevalent myths and see if we can separate fiction from the Chicagoland home inspection facts.

Understanding Chicagoland home inspection facts is vital to the housing industry.

Myth: The home inspection report will contain everything I will need to know about the house I’m going to purchase.

Fact: The home inspection report will include a good deal of information about your home. However, prospective homeowners are encouraged to accompany home inspectors as they inspect the home. Having the potential new homeowner present will give them the advantage of observing and hearing first-hand what the inspector sees and thinks about the home’s condition. In addition, an inspector will usually give the homeowner suggestions and advice on the maintenance of many areas of the home.

Myth: A real estate appraisal is essentially the equivalent to a home inspection and is just as thorough.

Fact: An appraisal and a home inspection aren’t the same thing, nor do they set out to determine the same results. There’s a reason both an appraisal and a home inspection report are required by most lenders on real estate transactions – and the reason is they are two entirely different processes. An appraisal is a determination of the fair market value of a home or other piece of real estate. Utilizing Chicagoland home inspection facts can determine the condition of a home and its component parts – plumbing systems, electrical systems, roofs and floors, etc. – which, of course, may affect the home’s value, but the inspection report is more concerned with the home’s actual condition.

Myth: A home inspector can let me know everything that can maybe go wrong with the house I’m thinking about buying.

Fact: While a home inspector is obligated to list in his report items that aren’t working properly or efficiently, he has no way of knowing when certain systems or components will fail. The inspector can only observe the functions of various aspects of the home at the time of the inspection. For example, the home inspector may cite that a home will need a new roof within the next 3-5 years. However, if conditions deteriorate more rapidly than that, a prospective homeowner may find he needs a new roof in less time than was originally estimated. In addition, as has been said of home inspectors in an effort to explain what they can see and can’t see, inspectors aren’t equipped with x-ray vision and can’t see through walls, floors, brick, wood, or concrete. Inspectors can only report on what they view at a particular point in time with a trained eye knowing what to look for. One last thought regarding a home inspection: Read your inspection contract. Some agreements don’t include such items like pest inspection and septic tank failure. These could likely be extras that aren’t part of a standard contract. So, if you're confused or have a question as to what’s covered and what’s not, ask your home inspector to explain it to you – and show it to you in writing.

Myth: All home inspectors are licensed and qualified. Plus, my home inspector says he’s certified, so I should be safe, right?

Fact: Licensing for home inspectors is only required in 30 states throughout the United States. In addition, even inspectors who are licensed will have varying degrees of qualifications. While some home inspectors receive their job training and certification via a variety of related programs and educational offerings, certification does not always equate to competency, and certification is not guarantee that an inspector is fully trained. Some home inspectors receive their training from online courses – having never completed an on-site field inspection, nor passed a comprehensive test for home inspection knowledge. While technically they may have received a certification, they clearly aren't as field-tested as other inspectors may be.

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has taken steps designed to set certain standards for performance for its members. ASHI has several levels of certification and offers full certification to those inspectors who have completed a minimum of 250 home inspections and have passed a comprehensive examination. If you want to know more about your home inspector’s qualifications and just how much he knows about Chicagoland home inspection facts, have an in-depth discussion with him. Ask about his training and field experience. It’s also a good idea to ask for a sample of a typical home inspection report so you can see firsthand how thorough the report will be.

Knowing more about the home inspection process and the people that provide the service will give you greater awareness and confidence in the results of the report. In addition to the peace of mind, you’ll likely be more prone to accept and understand the inspector’s findings about the house you’re contemplating buying.

Be on the lookout for these and other myths to distinguish from Chicagoland home inspection facts. They are great for providing a certain amount of information about a home. Just make sure you understand what that information is and what is being reported, recommended and observed by the home inspector.

You can find more articles pertaining to Chicagoland home inspections in the Chicagoland Home Inspections section of our site below Chicagoland Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.

Chicagoland home inspection tips like the ones found in this article could save you a ton of money. A home inspection is but one of the many expenses a homebuyer will face during the home shopping process. None is more critical – and potentially satisfying – than a home inspection. Experts say on a dollar for dollar comparison, a home inspection represents the wisest investment you can make regarding the home you’re considering purchasing. A thorough home inspection will examine and summarize your home’s good points and bad, giving you necessary insight to know how to proceed with the sales transaction.

Let’s take a look at Five Chicagoland Home Inspection Tips worth considering.

Choose the right type of inspection

 Among our many Chicagoland home inspection tips, if you opt to perform any repair work yourself, read this first.

Once you meet with your real estate agent to submit an offer to buy the home you like, your agent should cover the various types of inspections from which to choose. In addition to a standard home inspection there are others such as pest, radon and mold inspections.

Standard home inspections can be categorized into two different types:  The home inspection and the general inspection. While it may sound like nothing more than semantics, there are differences in the two – primarily in the manner in which the information reported by the inspection is utilized. A typical home inspection is the more popular option. In that report, the home seller will receive a notice from the prospective purchaser outlining certain specific items that need to be repaired prior to the closing of the sale. In addition, the notice will ask the seller to consider paying for the repairs by way of a credit toward the closing costs of the transaction.

Second on our list of five Chicagoland home inspection tips includes getting a general inspection, which is solely for informational purposes. It stops short of requesting that inspected issues be corrected or repaired – but it does provide the prospective homebuyer the option to refuse to close the sale based on the inspection’s findings.

Choose a qualified inspector In scheduling, conducting and following up with a home inspection it’s important that each participant in the process is experienced and highly qualified. The potential purchase of the home you’re interested in represents one of the largest financial investments you’ll ever make – and it’s important that you and the people you surround yourself with treat it as such. Select a home inspection expert that is currently licensed by, and is a member of, a well-known trade association such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI.) In addition, have the home inspector share a copy of the sample inspection report. Of course, you will ultimately obtain the entire report and its findings, but seeing a blank report ahead of time will give you a clearer picture of what to expect and how you can use the information in a potential negotiation with the home seller. In the end, the home inspector will give you a detailed list of the home’s components and their overall condition. Home inspectors recommend taking notes during the inspection recap – especially if you have questions regarding the use and maintenance of items such as home systems and appliances you’re not fully familiar with.

Where’s the owner’s manual? Funny thing about homes – they rarely come equipped with an owner’s manual. Among our Chicagoland home inspection tips is the advice of many experts which recommends you accompany the home inspector while he’s conducting the inspection. He will be able to provide a good deal of information on how certain systems in the home operate. This will be invaluable at a later date should you decide to purchase the home.

Use the report for the purpose intended Among our Chicagoland home inspection tips, when your home inspection professional has examined the home and has issued his findings in the report, review it closely. Ask questions as needed. Don’t be bashful and don’t be afraid of asking the proverbial “stupid” questions – there are none when you’re making a purchase of this size. Keep in mind that the home inspector’s role is that of a “generalist” to some degree, and less of a specialist regarding certain areas or findings. As an example, if the inspector finds possible evidence of a mold issue, he will likely recommend that you contact a company specializing in mold remediation to solve the problem.

While negotiations with the seller vary widely according to the results of a home inspection, there are normal guidelines and protocol that are usually followed. Major issues such as plumbing, electrical or HVAC systems should be addressed first and most importantly. Experts say to devote the bulk of your attention and negotiation efforts to these issues and don’t worry about the smaller items. If there are no major items that need attention, then you can tackle the smaller items with the seller as part of your final negotiation.

Lastly among our Chicagoland home inspection tips, if you opt to perform any repair work yourself or oversee its completion and decide to seek a credit from the home seller at the closing of the transaction, consult your mortgage lender. You’ll want to ensure you are able to request the maximum amount of credits as per the guidelines – usually 3%-6%. Remember, if the amount is in excess of what is needed you won't receive it, the seller gets to keep it.

Remember this It’s important to know that home inspectors – as experienced and trained as they are – don’t have x-ray vision that allows them to see through walls or under floors. So remember, as thorough as their inspection of the home may be, they can’t be expected to report on items they can't visually inspect. In addition, remember that a home inspection will give you the condition in which the home is in as of the day of the inspection. While the old adage “Things change” usually applies to the everyday hustle and bustle of life, it also applies to the conditions of various home components, too.

You can find more articles pertaining to Chicagoland home inspections in the Chicagoland Home Inspections section of our site below Chicagoland Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.