If you’re looking to get a good deal by buying a foreclosure in Chicago, keep in mind that many of the homeowners not only didn’t have money for the mortgage; they probably didn’t have money for the upkeep of the house either.  If you’ve found a home you’re interested in, here’s a short checklist to follow even before you decide to contact a home inspector.



For some Chicago foreclosures, structure is a definite issue.  Pay close attention to the following, as they may indicate more severe problems:


  • Are the interior walls in good condition?  Any cracks and stains?
  • What’s going on in the basement – water damage, visible cracking
  • Are the floors in good condition?  What are they made of?  Some floors are made of substandard materials, unsafe for more than casual use.
  • Is the roof in good repair & what type of a roof is it – rubber, tar, shingle?
  • Are the gutters, downspouts and flashing in good condition?
  • Do the doors and windows stick or glide freely?  When closed, do they block out weather or is there a draft?


  • Is there mold and mildew on the basement walls or a dark, scaly surface?  This can indicate too much moisture, and can mean a leak in the foundation.
  • Is the ceiling bubbling, have brown spots, patches or new paint?  New paint might be a sign of covering up stains from water leaks.
  • Are there drainpipes and downspouts around the foundation?  Do they lead away from the foundation?  Are there cracks or a lot of weeds around the area? 

Inside Hazards

Many older houses haven’t been updated or may not be up to code.  Here are some of the more common issues:


  • Is there asbestos around exposed pipes for the furnace, heating system or water heater?
  • Can you see any signs of vermin or insects?  Mice, termites, cockroaches and bats all leave signs of habitation behind.

It might even be worth having an inspection prior to writing an offer, this way you already have a sense of what costs to expect and it might give you a head start if you’re looking at doing an FHA loan with the 203k rehab loan for the renovations. While doing multiple inspections can get expensive if you’ve found multiple homes of interest, I think it’s better to be as informed as you can when writing an offer to purchase a foreclosure in Chicago. Personally, I like to use Bruce Niedzwiedz at Inspectorbruce@aol.com. His reports are very thorough and he can do or connect you with other specific types of inspections – mold, radon, lead based paint, etc.


Although there are many other things to consider when looking purchasing a Chicago foreclosure, these three are essential to a healthy living environment.  Most importantly, make sure you’re an informed buyer.  If you’re looking to buy a foreclosed home, I can help.  Call me on my mobile – 312.953.8685 – or email me at Doug@LincolnParkLiving.com for more information.