WHat would you do for this inspection?

Inspected an older (1923) Chicago brick bungalow the other day. It was a complete gut and rehab done by eastern European “builder” represented by an eastern European agent.

Most of the work was done OK, but it was one of those weird inspections were some of the work was purely excellent, but there were some errors and issues that were just plain silly. Such a contradiction.

Among other things:

  • Finished basement with a basement bedroom with no proper secondary means of egress.
  • Electrical drop splice not done by the electric company (illegal hookup?) but the rest of the electrical work was excellent.
  • Older enclosed wooden back porch that had been finished out and used as living space (not allowed around here because of structural concerns).
  • The roof structure had gone through some spread and it was fixed, but the method was obviously from the Keystone Kops.

Mentioned to the buyers that this was a flip and that I could not find any record of permits pulled, etc (Bless Chicago, all building dept records are no on-line!).

Sellers agent said, “Oh yeah, but all the work was done to code. We never get permits, they are just a waste of time!”.

What part of illegal don’t these people understand?

Even the buyers agent deferred on the basement bedroom with,“Oh, every one does that. It is ‘technically’ wrong, but everyone does it.” Sure, everything is fine until someone dies in a fire!

Buyers going ahead, but at least I documented these items and made the buyer’s lawyer aware. If anything goes wrong, at least I have covered my butt.

But it seems absurd that people pay me to cover their butts, but then go ahead and complete the sale even after being warned.


Not my job to look up permits and certainly foresee the public online records as not always accurate.
In Chicago everyone uses Lawyers to do that work and I would recommend you suggest that.

Every place I see has issues which is why my reports have so many pages.
Will tell you what I suggest to all my clients.
Everything is time and money.
Who’s time and who’s money ?
Feel free to copy and use that.

Take the price at closing then add the amount required to bring the property up to par vs assessed value.
Everything else is a personal decision of my clients and not mine so do not bother worrying about it.

“Just something to think about”…“But not something to worry about”

I run into this issue once in a while here, we get a lot of out of staters looking to get their piece of the wild west. I give them a report with 40 pages and over a hundred pictures of problems and yet they plow ahead into the purchase. My phrase for it is “they have their buyers goggles on”. It is human nature, they already like the place, that’s why they hire us to look at it. Their minds just won’t let them believe that it isn’t the right home for them. All we can do is make sure we do a complete and accurate report, inform them of the issues, take the check, go to the next job.