Even an inspector needs pro's advice

Inspector's Eye

April 08, 2001

Stress? You want to know about stress?

Try this.

Last year, in the span of a couple of weeks, I did three of the most stressful things a human can do: get married, place my and my wife's old homes up for sale and settle on a new home.

By trade I'm a home inspector, and the thought of selling and buying a home may seem commonplace by most people's standards.

Let me tell you, it not as easy as it seems when you're personally involved and everything is happening during the busiest year my company has had since it started in 1987.

Professionally, I've probably inspected more than 7,500 houses in the Baltimore metropolitan area, and in that time I have obtained a very realistic view of the kinds of homes out there as well as the neighborhoods. Nevertheless, it still took the two of us more than six months before we found the right house.

Realistic opinion sought

I was so glad to finally find a home and put a contract on it, that I was sure I could overlook a few flaws. But did I want to do my own home inspection on the home I was buying? I decided I didn't.

It wasn't only that I didn't exactly feel comfortable poking around in the closets of the family that I was buying the house from. It was more so I could turn to the advice of a third party for a realistic opinion on the condition of the house. Also, if I asked the seller to repair items, there would be issues documented in the inspection report, not just my being picky.

For those of you who don't know, a home inspector evaluates the structural, mechanical and electrical systems of the house. The inspector will investigate how the house is constructed, how it should be maintained, how systems work, where cutoff valves are located, and what problems it has that need to be addressed immediately.

A home inspection helps give the buyer an impartial assessment of the systems of the house and provides vital information on one of the largest financial investments most people make. This is an invaluable service to home buyers whether it is a starter home, handyman special, new home or retirement condominium.

Peace of mind

As it turns out, with the exception of a few items that we either addressed with the seller or handled ourselves, we got a great house that is serving our needs and will for a long time. The peace of mind that comes from knowing that is priceless.

I have been asked to write a column to answer questions about home maintenance, repair and the home inspection process. Look for coming articles on damp basements, squirrels in the attic and spring maintenance as well as any others that fall under the Inspector's Eye.

Dean Uhler has been a home inspector for more than 12 years and is president of Baltimore-based Boswell Building Surveys, Inc. Uhler is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and is the treasurer of the Greater Baltimore Chapter of ASHI.

Questions, with name, address and daytime telephone number, about homes and home inspections can be faxed to 410-783-2517, e-mailed to real.estate@baltsun or mailed to Inspector's Eye, Second Floor, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278-0001.

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