What “Professionalism” Sometimes Means in the Real Estate Game


To My Realtor Friends Who May Read This,

Please accept my preemptive apologies for some off the cuff, unvarnished notes rants from the field. I know quite a few agents who bring tremendous value to their clients and who have the best interests of those clients in the forefront. We love working with those kind of agents on a collaborative basis and we cherish those relationships. Having said that, I’d like to talk about yesterday’s 2 unit ‘vintage’ apartment building inspection. Continue Reading

A Chicago Alley Tale


If you live in or around Chicago then you know that a huge ‘buzz’ in the real estate industry lately is the new ‘606 Trail’ aka ‘Bloomingdale Trail’. It’s a section of an abandoned railroad line that has been converted to a very pleasant hiking/biking trail. If you live in or around Chicago you also know that our politicians have a long history of taking advantage of real estate opportunities. Continue Reading

The Time is Right for LED Bulbs

For reducing energy costs and reducing environmental impact from energy usage, there’s no easier way than replacing standard energy-wasting light bulbs with more energy-efficient products. After seeing a display at a home improvement store, I decided to do a side-by-side comparison, and believe LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs are the way to go. Continue Reading

Flatlining…Chicago style

“….Life in the Flat lane, surely you can lose your mind…”

Sounds familiar, right?  Well, that’s our little lyrical spin on the well known Eagles tune as it pertains to flat roof ventilation.   It a challenging topic and one we are seeing more and more roofers and builders getting wrong.  So what can we do to get them back into the fast lane?

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Green Ideas: Sources for Historic Restoration and Re-Purposing in Chicago

Whether you are restoring a period home, have an affinity for the aesthetics of a certain decade, or are looking for unique materials to bring character to your living space, Chicago has some great options for finding vintage fixtures and materials. And re-using salvaged items is environmentally friendly to boot. While eBay has myriad salvage items, shipping larger pieces can be an issue, and sometimes you just need to see something with your own eyes to know if it’s right for your home. Here are some great places to start:

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What Do You Expect Out of an Inspection?

After performing fee based inspections full time for the past 6+ years I find myself asking a repeated question–am I giving clients what they need to make the best decision?  My immediate answer is that I’m pretty damn close.  Why not 100% you might say?  I’ll tell you why….no inspector can deliver the perfect product to every client because every client’s needs are slightly different than the last.  A first time homebuyer will want to know as much as they can because they’re a bit nervous, excited and typically don’t have the building knowledge to know what is minor and what is major in terms of defects.  Veteran homeowners, on the other hand, may tell us to not worry about the little things and really focus on X, Y or Z.  That’s understandable and often times expected.  So what can we do as inspectors to fulfill these needs?  Anything and everything we can to deliver as much information about the property we’re inspecting so that we can allow our clients to make the best decision possible with the best information.

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Radon Testing: Why and When You Should Do It

We are very strongly urging our home inspection clients to have a radon test performed before making a final decision about whether to purchase a home. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can be dangerous when it builds up inside of confined spaces. It is estimated that 20,000 people die each year due to exposure to radon, and it is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers (number two overall). 25% of homes within Chicago and 40% of those in the suburbs that have been tested have come back with results showing radon levels above EPA safety guidelines. Due to the relatively small number of homes that currently get tested, the percentage of homes with dangerous levels of radon could actually be much higher.

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Tap Water Contaminants: What You Can Do

Tap Water Contaminants: What You Can Do

For the health and safety of you and your family, we strongly recommend installing a whole-house water filtration system. While not cheap (the most effective models can cost $800-1,200+, plus installation and maintenance), if you can afford it, you should consider doing it. While under-sink, faucet-mount and refrigerator models work for drinking water, they won’t protect you from the chemicals your body can absorb while bathing. For an in-depth article on the dangers posed by unfiltered tap water, visit

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