Are they hiding something?

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You walk into a home and instantly fall in love with it. But many times the shiny floors or marble countertops can distract you from major issues with the property.

Remember, beauty is only skin deep. Be sure to hire a qualified inspector to check behind the walls. You should also bring in a qualified heating and cooling technician to make sure that the system is big enough for your square footage.

But there’s plenty the average person can unearth if they look closely enough.

Water damage can be a major issue, including possible mold contamination if it’s cleaned properly. Many sellers will try to hide water damage in the basement by putting furniture in front of it. Be sure to look at the baseboards for warped wood discoloration especially around the nails. The nails are metal and will discolor the surrounding area of the wood when water penetrates. If the basement was recently painted but the rest of the home wasn’t, that may be a sign of water damage.

Many times, when buyers check the heating and cooling systems they simply turn them on to make sure they run. Check the flow through the home as well. After you turn the system on, do you notice a drastic temperature differences from room to room? This could be caused by a poorly insulated home.

Make sure to take a look up in the attic if there is one. Is the insulation in good shape and the coverage compete? While you’re there, be sure to check the rafters for water damage. This would reveal an issue with the roof.

Something many potential buyers never look at closely enough is the neighborhood around the home. Drive the area at different hours. Are there loud dogs or unruly kids around? Is your next-door neighbor having band practice every evening in the garage? Is there a bar in the area which forces traffic into the neighborhood, taking up all the parking on the block in the evening? You can also call the local police department and ask if they have been called to the block for noise complaints.

To contact me, call 847-292-4700, e-mail or visit

About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as village trustee of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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