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5 Things to Ask During Your Home Inspection: An Interview with Mike Kokenes of Smart Choice Home Inspections, LLC

By Mike Kokenes

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

My name is Mike Kokenes president of Smart Choice Home Inspections located in Plainfield IL. We have been in business for 10 years. We perform home inspection for buyers and sellers, we also offer Radon and Mold testing. We service Chicago and the surrounding suburbs seven days a week.

Is it important for a home inspector to be licensed? Can you briefly explain why or why not?

It is extremely important and an Illinois law for the inspector to be licensed. Years ago Illinois did not require inspectors to be licensed, so we had a lot of people doing inspections with minimal to no knowledge about home inspections. Now if you want to become an inspector it is a 60 hour course that you must take, pass the exam and file for the license. If you have a current license you need 12 CE (Continue Education) hours in order to renew your state license. I feel it should be more than 12 hours every 2 years but I don't make those decisions.

Who should the home inspector technically be working for (or not working for)?

Inspectors should work for the client. The home inspector should do an honest inspection of the property, and not worry about if the agent will get mad if they find issues. Some inspectors don't do it this way, as they feel like they may lose the agent if the deal falls apart because of the issues found. Most agents understand that we are looking out for the buyers, and we need to do our job, but some don't understand that and are more concerned about the sale.

What is one of the best questions that a client has asked you during an inspection?

One of the best questions asked to me at a inspection was: It is funny now but not when it happened. We were inspecting a house that was just de-winterized, the house was located in Joliet, it was an older house. The water valve was stuck in the off position, and I told the agent and buyer we don't turn valves that are off to the on position. Well the buyer forced the valve and it cracked the water pipe resulting in water spraying everywhere, soaking them, me, the basement, everything. The question he asked was how we turn the water off now that the pipe is broke? Needless to say, the city was called and had to turn it off from the street.

What are the types of questions that a potential home buyer should ask to follow-up on any defects you find?

When issues are found in the home inspection, we tell the clients to ask for documents for the repairs. Always ask for receipts or warranty documents for the repairs. This way the buyer knows that the repair was performed by a qualified professional. In some cases it may be better to ask for a credit for an item, this way the buyer can hire who they want to do the repair.

Do you have a few tips for anything that people should not ask their home inspector?

I really don't have any tips for anything that people should not ask their home inspector, I feel if they have questions, ask away. The one question that many inspectors wont answer is the "would you buy it question", We get that at almost every inspection.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

They can call us at 708 646 4377 or email us at Or go online to our web site Share this:


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Phone: 708-646-4377

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