Get a home inspection by reliable third party A way to make sure everything is OK from basement to roof


Dear Mr. Gisriel:

I'm planning to buy a house shortly. Should I get a home inspection? Also, what should a good home inspection include?

R. Lambert


Dear Mr. Lambert:

A home inspection is always a good idea.

A home inspector will inspect the home and its structural components objectively and without emotion. The inspector should be an independent third party.

The base price for a home inspection in the Baltimore metro area is about $175. However, homes with sales prices over $175,000 are usually slightly more expensive because larger homes often have more bathrooms, more kitchen appliances, and more family rooms that require extra time to inspect.

A good home inspection should include, but not be limited, to the following:

* Interior plumbing system and its components.

* Heating and cooling systems.

* Roof, both as to structural soundness and leaks.

* Siding.

* Walls, ceilings and floors.

* Foundation (and basement).

* Built-in kitchen appliances and their components.

Many inspection companies also provide additional services, such as screening for radon gas, evaluating the septic system, well evaluation, water-quality testing, lead-paint and asbestos testing. You may find a "package" that offers various combinations of these services at reduced prices.

How do you find a good home inspection company?

Often your real estate agent will suggest several names of home inspection companies with whom they are familiar, or they may suggest you call as many as five or six. There are a number of questions that you should ask over the telephone:

* The cost of the home inspection.

* What the home inspection includes.

* Availability -- can the company perform the inspection at a time that is convenient for you?

* Inspector's background and/or training.

* Insurance -- whether the company has coverage to back up its home inspection conclusions.

* Whether the company issues an on-site report at the conclusion of the home inspection.

* Whether the inspection company will provide post-inspection home maintenance assistance.

Pub Date: 9/15/96

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