12 Things you should look for when inspecting a home


by Charles McShan





                                  keys on hand

 Charles McShan with Century 21 Universal wishes everyone a happy month of July.

The name of this blog post is 12 things you should look for when inspecting a home. In the real estate industry, we are still in the grips of a low inventory of homes for sale. It is summertime the coronavirus is still affecting us. Kids are out of school, and many parents are planning to move to another area, and they need to register their kids in the schools of that district for the fall semester. In most cases, clients are back to the routine of previewing homes personally. However, some out-of-town homebuyers are still viewing homes virtually.

Viewing homes personally has its challenges. In today’s market, you are under more pressure. Homes are receiving multiple offers and are selling quickly. This blog post is for clients previewing homes with their Real Estate Brokers. In other words, if you snooze you could lose and that home will be gone. So when you go previewing homes you must have a game plan. Otherwise, you could do what one unnamed couple did. Because of low inventory, they compromised and bought a home that lacked one or more necessities that they needed to be in their home. Here we are a few months later and they are regretting their decision. What is the lesson in their story? This blog post will answer that. 12 things you should look for when inspecting a home. Some of these things will be brought out in a home inspection. The other stuff will be red flags that should stand out immediately to you; because your wants and needs are not in that particular home. If that becomes the case then you should walk away from that home. So let us ge  into it. 

1: Using your eyes and nose.

If you are old enough to remember the old Sherlock Holmes movies, you will remember Sherlock Holmes was a brilliant detective who used all of his keen senses to solve a crime. When you step into the property entering that home, ensure you do not have a stuffy nose and take off your sunglasses. You should check the walls for dampness. That dampness will bring about a moldy smell. Follow the smell to its source. Look for watermarked walls or ceilings and signs of flaking plaster. Check the skirt boards inside the closets, especially in the basement. If you see signs of excessive mold, then follow your gut instinct.

2:Observing the exterior and interior carefully!

 Sherlock Holmes analyzed every minute detail of a crime scene. So use your eyes again; before entering the home, be it a single-family, condo, or co-op structure, look deeply at the exterior. Write down what you see. Are their extensions to the home? If so, are the extensions starting to bow away from the rest of the structure? When you go inside, do you see cracks forming or looking like they are spreading?.

3: Check each window!

That is right. Raise and lower every window. Check the window frame and sash to see if the panes are rotten or decaying. If the windows are newer, check for condensation. If they were installed recently by professionals, they should have a warranty that hopefully is transferable. Windows installations are a big part of Chicago’s commercial scene. Look at all the commercials on radio and television. Windows will reflect the heat and keep out the cold. If the majority of windows in a home for sale are good and a few are defective, then you can negotiate with the seller or make plans to replace the faulty windows as part of your future home budget.

4:Check out the plumbing

Checking the plumbing starts with turning on the water valves of every sink, tub, and shower. Let the water pressure build-up or see if the pressure does not build up. Does the water get hot, or is it lukewarm? Do all the toilets work correctly? The older the home, the more likely the pipes will have lead. Check the labels for the age of the furnace and water heater. It is summertime now so you cannot check the radiators or furnaces to see if they are working. If there are water leaks around the valves, inquire about it. If there are leaks in the upstairs bathrooms, check the ceiling on the main floor for any water damage or fresh paint trying to cover it up. If the home has outside sprinklers and water faucets, check them also.

5:What about the roof?

Most home inspectors do not inspect roofs, others will charge an extra fee for this service. Some inspectors are now using drones to survey the roof for any signs of damage. Ask your Real Estate Broker to check with the owner of the home as to the age of the roof. Roofs have a life span of 15 to 20 years and are costly to replace.

6: Check the electrical wiring.

See how many electrical outlets are inside the home. How many kitchen and bathroom outlets have up-to-date circuit breaker outlets. Speaking of circuit breakers, go to the basement and see what type of fuse box is in the home. Is it an outdated fuse box system, or is it has a circuit breaker system? Do not expect an older home to have all the plug-ins to handle all the gadgets that are used today in our complex digital world. Here is where you must give and take. If, on the other hand, this particular home has outdated wiring. this could be a fire safety hazard for your family and having this home completely rewired by licensed union professionals in the future will be costly. Things that make you go, hmm! What should I do?

If the above things cannot be seen with the naked eye, they will be discovered in a home inspection. The home inspection can also find faults with the heating system, inside steps, and railings. But, for the most part, you will have to consult an expert on the central air condition unit, stove, dishwasher, rain gutters, and that famous sump pump located in the corner of the basement. What is a sump pump? I am glad you asked. I wrote a blog on that subject, and you can read it by clicking the button right here>click here.                                                                                                                                                                       


 The last few questions are based on your wants and needs. They are as follows.

7:Do you have room for all of your stuff?

Everyone has stuff. Some people buy a home and, in a few weeks, realize they do not have enough storage space, closets, or linen storage areas Now they are tripping over things they have no place to put. So if you have a lot of kitchen and bathroom gadgets, vacuum cleaners, bookcases, exercise equipment, musical equipment, bar-b-que grills, bicycles, etc., etc., You get the point. Make sure you have space for yourself, your kids, and all your material items. Have room to grow, or you will regret it, and you will have to rent expensive storage space at your local storage facility for over $79-100.00 monthly

8:Does your home have an attic?

If your home has an attic and is structurally sound, you could convert that attic into another room or a storage area. Make sure that it has ventilation and is insulated. And will keep out the local animal population.

9:Can I update an older home with the latest gadgets?

Sure you can. How deep are your pockets? You can wire your home for wall-to-wall music. You can have a mini theatre if space all ws. You can install high-tech alarms and cameras along with solar energy panels, and yes, you can go green as your money allows


Direction is everything for most homebuyers; I am not just talking about a particular area. I am talking about a specific direction you want your home to face. Many home buyers want their homes to face a particular direction. In my case, my front living room faces the East and catches the rising Chicago sun. While my back door meets faces the West, Whether the air is hot from the spring and summer or cold from fall and winter, it pushes air from the kitchen taking with it all the odors out towards the front and side wind windows. Many people want a home that will allow the sun to shine directly into the front, meaning their home must face a specific direction. If you are one of those people, please choose the direction your home faces very carefully. Some people favor the sunrise, others favor the sun setting in the clouds or the moonlight beaming into their rooms.

11:The exterior of the property.

Many people want their front and back yards and gardens to resemble the Biblical garden of Eden. As you drive, walk or bike around, look at the homeowners tending to their outside lawns. This time of the year big box stores such as Menards, Home Depot, and Lowes devote extra space to the do-it-yourself gardener. If you are one of those people, and you have a green thumb make sure your home has a lawn that you will be proud of.

12:In what area do you want your home to be located?

 Location, location, location Good question. for the urbanites In Chicago, some people want to live as close to Wrigley Field as possible. Others want the nightlife to be right outside of their front door. Others want to look out of their windows and see Lake Michigan or they want to live 20 stories high in the air. At the same time, others wish for the quiet suburban life surrounded by trees, ponds, and bicycle trails. Others favor the wide-open country life where you cannot see your next-door neighbor who lives blocks or hillsides away. In this 6-county Chicagoland area, you can experience any of the above 3 lifestyles. Everyone walks to their own beat in life, and you should seek your choice of home in the location you want it to be. Some former Chicagoans have left the city and can’t sleep at night because they were used to hearing the nightlife and elevated trains rumbling past their windows.

Those are the 12 things you should look for when inspecting a home. Even in today’s high-pressure real estate market, it will be better in the long term to not purchase a home if it does not have the majority of your needs and some of your wants. That is why before you go shopping for a home take the time and decide what must-haves you need to be in the home that you purchase. Make a written list using the three categories below as a future guide when you inspect each and every home.

1: Must-haves If a house doesn’t have these features it will not work for you and your lifestyle and you will reject the property.

2: Nice-to-haves. These are features. What are features? A feature is something you would love to have but can live without. But if that home has all your must-haves and at least some of your features that is gravy on the plate. make that offer on that home.

3: Dream state This is a fantasy for those who can afford it. These are the big-ticket wishes. If you got the dollars to pull it off do it. You find a home that has all of your must-halves along with all the nice-to-haves and you can also get your big-ticket dream items It will be game on. So you  or you and your other half must decide  what needs,wants and desires you want in your new home. Buying a home that is too small is one leading cause of many marital arguments. So be like Sherlock Holmes, analyze every detail of that home, do not rush to judgment, and make an informed decision based on all the facts of what you need, want, and desire in that home. Case close..

Local Real Estate  News!

. The July summer heat is here, and the real estate industry is still experiencing a low inventory of homes which, along with inflation has caused real estate home prices to soar. So far, we have had two interest rate hikes which have slowed the purchase of homes. For a more detailed report of the Chicagoland home prices please click this button>>click.

Throughout the Chicagoland area, home sellers are receiving multiple offers and are selling their homes over their asking price. Homebuyers too are facing challenges. Summertime used to be a time of changing jobs and shifting kids to a different school district. Many people are still working online from home but must physically move to a different location meaning they must purchase a home before the autumn school session begins. For those people these next two summer months are critical.

What are are home prices out today for July 2022?

And the prices for single-family homes and townhomes have gone thru the roof. I can’t sugarcoat this subject. Many are blaming this on high inflation, supply change issues, or the war in Ukraine, but we are in critical times that are hard to deal with; as the Bible says We are paying more for petroleum and grocery products, and yes we will pay more for where we want to live. As a  Real Estate Broker, I see it from both sides.

I am posting articles saying home sellers are selling their homes way over the asking price, which is true. Many single-family and townhome owners are receiving multiple offers, and many cash buyers are beating out home buyers who will are using mortgage loans. While on the other hand, I am also representing homebuyers. In the past few weeks, 2-3 bedroom townhomes in the Rogers Park, West Ridge, and Evanston areas were selling for anywhere from $240.000 to $290.000 today. This week of July, these same townhomes are priced anywhere from $350.00  to over $4000.000. How can first-time home buyers and others on budgets keep up with these inflated price increases? Also, there have always been  challenges for some people of color to still buy a home.  Check out this article from one of my recent blog-post.>>click here

Despite these inflationary times, many home buyers have succeeded in purchasing a home. If you were successful then congratulations are in order. If you are still looking, there is always tomorrow. Do not give up. The Condominium market is doing well and prices are still affordable, but many do not want the monthly association fees that come with that form of ownership. Many people who have the co-op form of homeownership are trying to sell their units, and if you desire that form of lifestyle please look into it. What is the co-op form of home ownership? Please please click the button >click here.

If your heart is set on a single-family home and they are priced about your budget, then maybe you should wait  Once the school season begins, combine with the interest rate hikes, some of these home prices will drop. How far will they drop? We do not know? But if you find a good deal in the Fall or winter months. I suggest you buy that home. Maybe you will have to pay that mortgage payment along with a rental expense. Yes, it will be financially hard to do both, but you might have to do what you have to do, and only you and yours will have to decide that. So at the end of this post, I have included links to my summer edition home seller and home buyer guide. Feel free to download and share it with your friends and family members.

Local events happening in July for the Chicagoland area!

Well, the 4th of July celebration has come and gone, but there will be many things to do during July. Please check out these local events; click here

Lake County also has a lot of things going on this month click here

Last but not least, the city of Chicago has a list of July events with the Taste of Chicago at the top>click here

This summer is both revitalization and a slow down at the same time. People are out in masses enjoying themselves while at the same time, many businesses are suffering a slowdown because they cannot handle the returning crowds. We know about the airline industry situation, but locally there is a shortage of lifeguards throughout the Chicagoland area a lot of pools and beaches will be closed this summer. A lot of food service industry restaurants are also in desperate need of workers. Why aren’t people applying for these positions? I do not know, do you?


I want to thank you for reading his blog post entitled “12 Things you should look for when inspecting a house” Yes, homebuyers are being pressured by low inventory, but please do not buy that home if it does not have the majority of your wants and a few of your I wish I could have. Do not go beyond your budget. A lot of homes are not appraising out so beware of trying to outbid the Jones. Reports are saying that home prices are decreasing, so if you can wait, then do so. 

But on the other hand, if the home you desire has all the wants and needs, the bells and whistles you wish and you can afford it, then make that offer. Get that home and enjoy that American dream. If you need any help finding that home or selling your home in the Chicagoland area, I am here for you. 7300 N. Western Ave is where my office is located. Come in for a chat one day. So take care and enjoy the summer of 2022. Until the next time, be safe.




                                                              Phone  3129143678

                                                              email [email protected]/   [email protected]

                                                              Website http://www.charlesmcshanchicagolandrealtor.com

                                                              Facebook http://www.Facebook.com/charlesmcshanrealtor/

                                                              Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/cmac2121/

Homeseller guide for the summer of 2022         click here

Homebuyer’s guide for the summer of 2022      click here


P.S. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the Highland Park mass shooting. May God comfort you all.






Search Categories

Related Posts