Is that home in good physical shape?

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It doesn’t always take a home inspector to find the problem points on a property that you’re looking to buy. Many times, all it takes is a keen eye during your first walkthrough.

Before you leave for the walkthrough, grab that old pair of binoculars, and start on the outside of the home you’re looking it. This will help you get a closer look at the roof. Are the shingles worn or missing? And how is the concrete around the property? Is it broken or cracked? Does it pitch towards or away from the foundation of the home? The latter problem could lead to water entering the basement.

When you enter the home, look past the shiny hardwood floor and examine the walls for cracking or bubbling paint. That could be a sign of a roof leak. While you’re looking at the walls, check the areas surrounding the electrical outlets for darkened areas, which could be a sign of an electrical problem.

Make sure you turn on all the faucets and check for leaks underneath the sinks as you make your way though the home. And let the water run for a while. If it starts backing up, that could be a simple clog or it could indicate a problem with the main line to the sewer system.

While you’re in the kitchen, take a close look at the cabinets. Do the doors and drawers close properly? While you’re there, turn on the appliances to make sure they work. Is there an attic access panel? Those are usually in a hallway or closet. Take a quick peek inside, many times no one has looked in the attic for years and the current homeowner may not even know there is an issue in there.

Pay extra special attention to the basement. That’s where a majority of your mechanical systems are, along with your major plumbing and electrical lines. Take a look at the electrical panel and the plumbing pipes to see how old they are. And check the baseboards and flooring for water markings that reveal previous flooding.

Looking past the sparkle could save you a lot of time and trouble down the road. As always consult a qualified real estate professionals as you journey toward home ownership.

To contact me, call 847-292-4700, email 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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