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Phone: 301-704-6964

lenn harley
Lenn Harley, BrokerHomefinders.com
Maryland and Virginia

Phone: 301-704-6964

ASK THE HOME INSPECTOR

Homefinders knows you have questions about home inspections. We have collected the most recent questions from our buyers and sent them to a local, licensed Home Inspector to provide answers. If you have any questions about home inspections, send them to us and we'll get answers for you.

Q. Does my agent have to attend the home inspection?
It is always preferred that your agent be present during the home inspection so that any problems discovered during the inspection can be reported to the agent. That way, he or she can facilitate arrangements for repairs and provide for smoother negotiations.

NOTE: From the Broker at Homefinders.com: Some Home Inspectors require that at least one agent, Buyers Agent or Listing Agent be present during the home inspection.

Q. My agent says that Home Inspectors are licensed in Maryland. What about Virginia?
At this time, Virginia does not require home inspectors to be licensed. However, Virginia does have a voluntary state certification law for Home Inspectors. This law indicates that regardless of qualifications, Home Inspectors may not label themselves as "Certified" in the Commonwealth of Virginia without first applying for state certification and being approved by their "BOARD FOR ASBESTOS, LEAD, AND HOME INSPECTORS." However, "uncertified" Home Inspectors may perform home inspections in Virginia.

Q. Will you be able to check the gas furnace in the home I want to buy?? I understand it's 40 years old.
Yes, whenever possible I will check the furnace. I am only allowed to use normal controls to start the furnace, so if the furnace is shut down for a particular reason (for example, the gas valve is turned off), it cannot be tested. The Home Inspector should always err on the side of caution and not start-up a system that has been shut down because it is unknown if it was shut down due something as serious as a gas leak, or simply because it was the middle of the summer, or the house was vacant. Also, if ambient temperatures are above 65 degrees, the heating system may not be tested for fear of overheating the system and the home.

Q. I'm ready to make an offer on a house in Maryland. The roof is about 25 years old but it doesn't leak.
How will that affect the home inspection? Can I ask for a new roof?
Life expectancies of different roofing materials can vary greatly. If you are referring to an asphalt-tab roof covering, I would say that you can always ask for a new roof but you should speak to your agent and review your sales contract to determine how much negotiation you can do. On a 25 year old asphalt-tab roof, I would report that the old roof could need replacement at anytime, even though it does not presently show any indications of leakage since the average asphalt-tab roof covering only lasts about 15 years. On the other hand, a slate or clay roof covering has been known to often last up to 100 years.

Q. If you find defects in the home I'm planning to buy, will you give me an estimate for repairs?
Home Inspectors should not give estimates for needed repairs since repair costs can vary greatly from contractor to contractor, county to county, and from year to year with rising costs. For example, I would not want to indicate to you that the cost to replace an antiquated heating system would only be about $5,000 and then one year after you purchase the home you receive estimates in the neighborhood of $7,000. I always advise my clients to get estimates for repairs from the appropriate licensed contractor that performs the kind of work needed.

Patrick Coulter
Cross County Inspection Services, LLC
www.CrossCountyInspections.ORG
(410) 440-5750
* Serving Howard County, Montgomery County, Frederick County, Carroll County, Baltimore County, Harford County, Anne Arundel County , Prince George's County and Washington D.C.