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My Own Home Renovation Experiences Allow Me to Help My Clients


I like to think that I am different from other attorneys and other women.

I married a man who helped build his families’ homes from the time he was 7-years-old. He is a perfectionist who rips out and redoes his own work if he is not satisfied with it. He had me lugging buckets of plaster down three flights of stairs from our first condo and helping him move sheets of drywall up those stairs—I was equal to the task with pride

I watched him chip out brick to make room for new electrical service and weld the piping for a new baseboard hot water heating system. For a girl who grew up with a father who had us running for cover if he so much as picked up a hammer, it has been a 40-year “apprenticeship.”


Through the Eyes of My Apprenticeship


When I look at an inspection report, I view it through the eyes of my apprenticeship.


I worry if my clients will need to make repairs for which they don’t have the skills or the funds. You see, I have a deep sense of what that will mean not only to the integrity of the building, but also to the quality of life of the occupants.


I NEVER see the home, but I review the inspection report for those items I deem important:

  • Electrical issues which could cause the house to burn down

  • Water seepage that could ruin everything stored in the basement

  • Roofing problems, not just for leakage, but for pest infestation

  • I understand how changing landscaping to assure that water flows away from the property can prevent leakage, but it can also have an impact on your relationship with your neighbors, as you might be directing the flow toward their property.

  • I know to look at property where walls have been removed to create open space and ask the questions: Were building permits obtained? Were supporting walls removed without compensating for the lack of support by adding support in the lower level? Is it a beautiful look that will ultimately show signs of cracking in the walls and floors because the supports were removed?

  • I know to check on building permits and to see what was done and whether they are closed out. For example, the building may be beautiful and just what the buyer wants, but if the developer ("flipper") did not obtain permits, it’s possible that the city/village will catch it and hold the buyer responsible for permitting. If they are held responsible, the buyers face fines and will have to endure having their walls opened up to have plumbing and electrical work inspected.


Details, Details, Details

It’s important for buyers to investigate inspection reports prior to committing to a sale. This becomes easier when working with the right real estate lawyer who can advise clients on what to watch for.


Understanding and navigating inspection reports save home buyers money over time. It also saves buyers from getting into deals they should avoid. Things like grading, electrical, heating, and even walls make a difference in the final amount a buyer will pay to renovate a home.


As you can see, my 40-year apprenticeship can spare your clients headaches, save them time and money, and give them the peace-of-mind they deserve when purchasing a home.



The Minchella & Associates Difference


With over 40 years of experience in Illinois real estate law, Erica Minchella has represented thousands of home sellers and buyers, landlords and commercial and investment property owners. For more information, schedule a consultation today.

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