Some roofs can last up to 200 years


January 07, 1996|By MICHAEL GISRIEL

Dear Mr. Gisriel: How long do most roofs last? When looking for a house, what about the roof should I be worried about?

John Searles Parkville

Dear Mr. Searles: The average life of a typical asphalt shingle roof is 20 years, according to Dean Morekas, home inspector with Boswell Building Surveys Inc. However, he cautioned that the life expectancy can be significantly reduced if attic ventilation is poor or if there are multiple layers of shingles. The optimum conditions are cool and dry with less than two layers.

A slate roof, however, can last from 40 to 200 years, depending on the quality of the slate shingles. A home inspection can tell you the materials used in your roof, the age and life expectancy of the roof, and its maintenance.

Dear Mr. Gisriel: On the sale of a $100,000 house, the sales commission is 6 percent or $6,000. How much typically does each agent get?

# Rita M. Schmidt White Marsh

Dear Ms. Schmidt: The commission is split between the listing broker and the co-op broker, who brings in the buyer. A broker is the company a real estate agent works for. So $3,000 goes to each broker.

The portion of the commission retained by the listing agent depends on the agreement between the broker and agent, normally based on performance. Newer agents may get 50 percent -- or in this case, $1,500 -- while more experienced agents may get closer to 90 percent -- or $2,700. Some listing agents pay their brokers for office expenses and retain 100 percent of the listing portion of the commission.

N Dear Mr. Gisriel: What are "comps" and how do you use them?

John Benner Baltimore

Dear Mr. Benner: "Comps" are Multiple Listing Service listings of homes that recently sold in the area near the home you want to buy.

You should get the selling price of at least three homes that are similar to the one you're looking at. The homes should be similar in location, square footage, lot size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and amenities. This will give you a price range when contemplating an offer on a home.

In addition, Rufus S. Lusk & Co. reports all property transactions, sorted by county and street. This information is available at many libraries.

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