professional inspections

You have a lot of options when choosing an inspector. We believe that we have the experience, know-how, and support network to provide you with the information you need to make educated decisions about your property.

Ross Neag, owner and head inspector of Chicago Building Inspections (CBI), has been in the real estate industry full time since 1999 and providing expert-level building inspections since 2007 – earning a solid reputation as one of the most thorough in Chicagoland. Ross has extensive experience with the rigors of running both single and multi-inspector firms and has substantial quantity of recommendations on many social media outlets around the web. Making sure that prospective home owners, investors, builders and associations understand the condition of their current property or what might soon be called home is, quite simply, our goal.

CBI inspectors are not a tire-kickers; we are extremely thorough, efficient, and fair. Our fees reflect the effort it takes to stay on top of the ever-changing world of construction materials and methods of installing them. It is a rare week when we're not in communication with several tradespeople to get a better understanding of something new we've seen or want to investigate further.

We have inspected thousands of buildings and units over the past decade and uncovered volumes full of building practices we wish we’d never seen. However, that's what has helped motivate us to become tenacious inspectors, looking for what others may not even know is missing. Having passed the gauntlet of energy auditing and surveys via RESNET and BPI, extensive HVAC and thermal imaging training, and countless moisture intrusion inspections and investigations, we are prepared to help you understand what lies ahead.

CBI inspections are unique, provide more information, and better prepare you for how a building will perform rather than just what's wrong.

Services

  • Pre-purchase condo, home and multi-family inspections
  • Pre-listing inspections for Sellers
  • Moisture Intrusion – Roof, Masonry, Windows/Doors, Foundations, Split-face or Concrete Block
  • Energy Audits & Comfort Inspections/Surveys
  • Thermal Imaging
  • HVAC Inspections and Recommendations
  • Property Condition Assessments (PCAs) and Reserve Studies
  • Association 'Common Area' Inspections – major systems
  • Expert Witness or 3rd Party Inspection/Documentation (legal action typically involved)
  • Radon Testing – Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas found in every county in the country. For more information about this silent killer, visit our FAQ.
  • Construction Consulting – make sure your project moves smoothly or you're getting what you paid for

Pricing

  • For most condos, prices range from $375 up to $500+ for larger 3 or 4BR or duplex units. Yes, we look at the exterior and roof of most condos (many mid-rise and high-rise buildings are not applicable).
  • Small single family homes start around $500 and can rise quickly based on square footage, complexity, age, # of HVAC units or systems, etc.
  • Multi-famliy dwellings (2 units and up) start around $650 and are typically reflective of how many units are being inspected.
  • Moisture Intrusion inspections run from the simple roof leak up to serious masonry/roof investigations with multiple trips and reports. Please call/email to discuss any specific issues for pricing options.
  • Expert Witness, Consulting, Quality Assurance (new construction phased inspections, remodeling, project milestones) – please call/email to discuss your particular project.
  • Radon Testing starts at approx $200 and goes up for additional monitors when required
  • Thermal Imaging – we can do stand alone thermal imaging inspections, predictive maintenance, insulation performance and new install quality assurance, etc.
  • Commercial Inspections – please call/email for proper quote, as commercial buildings range greatly in size and scope.

professional reports

The inspection is only part of the process. What you’re really paying for is the report. That’s where those findings are communicated and recommendations are made. An inspector is only as good as his/her report.

Not all inspectors or inspection reports are equal. The first thing any potential client of ours should do is survey the local competitions' sample reports to get a feel for their defect recognition and level of detail they provide. Then, look at CBI's. We provide a myriad of sample images, links, PDFs and best practices to help you 'see' the right way versus the wrong, the ideal vs the existing. Our reports are always being updated with newer techniques or images since what we find in the field changes on a nearly daily basis. They lay out with more important items upfront and can include estimates*, if desired by the client.

An additional benefit we provide is a prioritized summary of the items found to help you better prepare for the important repairs vs maintenance or 'can wait' items. This is hotly debated among inspectors because some view it as a liability by steering clients away from other lower cost repairs that also carry risk. We approach it from the perspective of what we would fix first if we were buying this home/property. You're entrusting us with an incredibly important role and helping you understand the major from the minor should be part of the inspector's duty. Many deals die from 'report overload' where a mere phone call or 5–10 minute discussion about the home or property could have helped someone better understand the report findings and make a more informed decision. A property with dozens of deficient items might be a better buy than one with just a couple significant, expensive defects.

*Estimates are a range-based on our experience but, ultimately, the competency of the contractor and scope of work determines the final cost. Consumers should always prepare for contingency costs and concealed or latent damage once work begins.

  • CBI Sample Report
  • CBI Sample Report
  • CBI Sample Report
  • CBI Sample Report

professional results

We are committed to helping you make educated decisions about your property. Having an unbiased expert in your corner is an incredibly valuable asset. That’s why our clients have trusted our findings and recommendations and repeatedly recommend us to friends and family.

"Ross is professional, thorough, and takes the time to explain things. I trust his judgement and would not use another inspector. He is honest and forthright. The beauty of the service is not only to uncover unsafe items, which are paramount, but the report gives you a guide for maintenance of your new home! We LOVE Ross!"

Joanne Bratta

"Ross surpassed my expectations for a home inspector. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable but he is also a very friendly personable guy. He is punctual and very easy to talk to. During my first inspection Ross was very honest and told me the unit needed over 150k in work. Given this valuable information, I walked away from a potentially costly investment. I respect his integrity and will definitely continue to use him in the future."

Dev Patel, CEO

"I have worked with many home and energy inspectors over the years. Working with Ross has shown me what professional inspectors can do to help their clients. They really know buildings."

Jonathan Smith, Owner, Effective Air,
Heating and Air Conditioning

"Ross is extremely knowledgable and has done excellent work for my condo association. I will definitely use him for any inspections I need in the future!"

Ben DeBruin, Teacher

"Ross is very knowledgeable about all things for your home. I hired him 3 times for home inspections and each time he gave me great results and the straight truth. I would recommend anyone looking to purchase a home have Ross take a look at it."

Roshan Soni, Consultant

Read More Reviews

FAQ

How long will the inspection take?

It depends. A high rise condo may be completed under an hour while a McMansion may take 4 to 5. As a rule of thumb, a standard 2 to 3 bedroom condo takes about 1.5 to 2 hrs and a 3 or 4 bedroom single family detached home around 2.5 to 3 hrs.

Do I have to attend?

No, you don't have to but at a minimum its a good idea to be there at the end if that's all you can afford. Being onsite provides first hand exposure to what we see which can be difficult to translate solely through the report.

For condos, do you look at the roof … mechanicals … garage … exterior?

High Rise Condos: High rise buildings are incredibly complex structures both inside and out. They staff engineers and professionals at all levels to keep them operating safely. The vast majority of these larger components are outside the scope of our inspection and, more often than not, usually not accessible to us.

Low Rise Condos: Since these size buildings are much more accessible we will survey the exterior and roof (again, if accessible) to help you understand their overall condition and what will be needed to bring them up to speed. Since low rise condo owners own a much larger percentage of the building and common elements, not inspecting these areas is a disservice to clients.

Can I shadow you while you complete the inspection?

Sure, but first and foremost we have a serious job to do and it requires serious attention. While we fully understand that you're excited to learn from us and 'see what we see', there isn't enough time in the day to teach you everything we'd love to during an inspection. We've always encouraged our clients to stick around but also to give us space to do what we've been hired to do. There's a lot of physical motion during an inspection – back and forth, up, down and around – and quarters often get tight.

Should I be concerned about my children during the inspection?

When possible, it's best to leave young children out of the physical inspection to minimize distractions as well as inherent safety risks. We understand this isn't always possible but encourage it when feasible.

How long until I receive my report?

In short, we strive for 48 hours OR LESS to keep things fresh in our minds and the transaction moving forward. Illinois law allows for inspection reports to be delivered 2 business days after the completion of the inspection. If your inspection took place from 12–2p on a Monday, we are required to deliver the report by the end of day Wednesday which is the 2nd business day AFTER the inspection. Note: holidays and weekends ARE NOT included.

Given the amount of information and level of detail in our reports, they take longer to produce. We always try to have them in your hands within 48 hrs but during periods of high demand, we may prepare you that an extension may be necessary to protect you and your interests. Always, always, contact your attorney to understand and ensure you are legally protected regarding an attorney/inspection extension.

Do you use thermal imaging or infrared during the inspection?

Yes, we carry infrared cameras and use them religiously and are also properly trained to do so. Ross received his certification through Snell Infrared, the nation's leading thermal imaging education company and spent a couple years learning from one of the midwest's best technicians. Infrared imaging is an absolutely remarkable technology but has limitations just like any other. We can't see through walls or tell you if there's paranormal activity, sorry. Physics be damned.

Do you do energy audits?

Over the past several years, we've learned a thing or two about how homes perform with respect to energy and their mechanical systems. Ironically, the term 'energy audit' is really a poor one because 99% of people calling are really complaining about comfort issues and they just want them to stop. Since we look at the property from a different perspective and have ZERO interest in selling you any ancillary energy service or products, we are poised to help you FIX your issues rather than mask them.

Energy surveys, as we like to call them, will help point out your home's weaknesses and how to address them. Sometimes, the solution is simple. Often times there's a handful of ways to improve performance and differ based on budget, how long you'll remain in the home, etc. Call us to discuss your needs and we can typically provide a quote over the phone.

What is radon and do you test for it?

If you value indoor air quality and your health, you should test for this odorless, colorless and radioactive gas. Radon is a silent killer and the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. 21,000 deaths a year are attributed to radon-induced lung cancer – that's more than accidental drowning and carbon monoxide poisonings combined.

Elevated radon levels have been found in every county of every state in the United States. Radon can enter any building regardless of age, structure, foundation, or style. New homes, old homes, homes on slabs and crawlspaces can all have elevated radon levels. There is no way to know unless you test. In fact, it is recommended in Illinois that all residential dwellings below the third floor test for radon.

Illinois has proactive radon laws in place to protect public health and consumers in residential real estate transactions. One such law, the Residential New Construction Act requires all new single-family and duplex homes be built with a radon-ready 'passive' venting system. New Construction home buyers should proactively test for radon before purchasing and moving in to the home. If elevated levels are found, only a licensed radon contractor is permitted to activate the builder's passive system, if at all possible. Confirmation that your builder has enacted such methods should be given to you in writing and demonstrated on site complete with warranty information.

Typical test fees start around $200 for one monitoring device but often a second or third detector is required to comply with Illinois radon laws that require testing in a livable space over each foundation. Remediating elevated radon levels with an active radon mitigation system typically ranges from $1200 for standard installations up to $2500 for complex installations such as in homes with multiple foundations.

Chicago Building Inspections, Inc. only retains or recommends the highest quality radon contractors with extensive industry experience and sufficiently insured.

For more information on Illinois radon laws or general radon information, please visit http://www.illinois.gov/iema/NRS/Radon.

Contractor Referrals

CBI, Inc. has no affiliation with the following contractors nor receives any compensation or 'bird dog' fees. They are recommended in good faith based on experience, personal and professional, and are committed to 'doing things right'. As such, their pricing may be higher than other estimates or bids. Should you have any difficulty or negative experience please bring it to our attention immediately. Despite such acclaim, we cannot be held responsible for their future workmanship or performance.

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