Ever since Home Inspectors were required to be licensed in the State of Illinois in 2003, there have been two different types of home inspectors and home inspections.  The older, ‘legacy’ inspectors, usually disabled tradesmen or part-time code inspectors, just continued to do business as they always had, only now with licenses.

Here is a great web site that explains some of the differences.

The newer, ‘professional’ inspectors approached the business in a new way.  It’s not just the old  ‘you get what you pay for’, it’s really a new standard of competence, training and professionalism.  Here are some of the differences.

Category Legacy Inspectors Professional Inspectors
State License Yes (required since 1/1/03), but required coursework, waived during ‘grandfathering’ process

Please Note:  Some people doing inspections are not licensed!   Check the Illinois State license number here: http://www.obrelookupclear.state.il.us/defaultRE.asp?Division=27


Required courses, fieldwork and licensing test.

Continuing Education 12 hrs of Illinois State Approved CE per 2 year license Exceed the state required 12 hrs.

24 additional hours, per year, required by NACHI

Our inspectors average over 50 CE hours per year.

Average Inspection Time 45 Min. – 2 hours 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours
Attic Space Inspection Method Viewed from access door Walked or crawled along entire space (unless deemed unsafe)
Crawlspace Inspection Method Viewed from access door Crawled along entire space (unless too small or deemed unsafe)
Electrical Receptacle Inspection Method ‘Representative sample’ (polarity and ground check) All accessible receptacles (polarity, ground, voltage drop, circuit analysis, conductor impedance, GFCI and AFCI tested by two different methods)
Roof Inspection Method From ladder or ground (binoculars) Walked (unless deemed unsafe), moisture readings, thermal imagery from outside and inside.
Standard Used Local Building Codes State of Illinois and Professional Organization Standards of Practice as well as the higher standards mandated by various professional organizations like NACHI.
Inspection Tools Flashlight, screwdriver High-tech, expensive and specialized testing equipment, including electrical circuit analysis, thermographic imaging and environmental testing equipment.
Thermal Imaging No Yes.  Thermal imaging is used to detect water leaks, moisture build-up, insulation integrity, electrical problems, energy loss, pests and mold problems.
Ancillary Services No Radon testing, Pest inspections (mice, insects, etc), Mold inspection and testing, Energy audit, Environmental inspection and testing, Water quality, Manufactured homes, New construction, Commercial inspections.
Business Type Part-time Full-time, state licensed, certified, fully Insured, bonded and state registered, incorporated company.
Insurance None (not required in Illinois) Errors and omissions insurance, general liability  and bonding to protect the client and the Realtor
Appliance Inspection Method Physical damage, operation Operation, serial number verification, computerized recall and defect check, gas leak testing
Report Format 4 to 8 page checklist delivered on-site 25 to 50 page narrative report with color pictures, diagrams, cross referencing and summary pages e-mailed within 24 hours with Priority Mail of hard copy report binder.  We will also send copies to your attorney, Realtor, etc, at your request.
Follow up None Free pre-closing walk through and perpetual, free phone consultation support
Average Cost 175.00 to 250.00 300.00 to 800.00, depending on the square footage of the property, special inspections, etc.


As you can see from the above table, the ‘new breed’ of professional real estate home inspectors do a much more thorough, detailed job.  They are not just concerned with the house merely ‘meeting codes’, pleasing the referring Realtor or doing a quick walk-through inspection.  The professional inspector carefully examines each of the 10 different major house systems that the new State law requires AND goes beyond the mere ‘letter of the law’ to a whole new level.

A professional home inspector works with, and for, the client to ensure that the house is safe and that it will retain its value for many years to come.

He is a ‘generalist expert’, as it was once described, who ‘knows something about everything and everything about nothing’.  To get a better inspection, you would have to hire separate experts in all the different fields of home construction and maintenance, a Journeyman Electrician, a Licensed Plumber, a Master Carpenter, a Licensed HVAC contractor, a Licensed, Professional Structural Engineer, a Mechanical Engineer, a Licensed Industrial Hygienist and many more.  Such a technically exhaustive inspection would cost about $10,000 and take weeks!

Hire a Professional Home Inspector and receive the peace of mind that you need and deserve.

Clickhere to read the Standards or Practice for today’s Professional Home Inspectors