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The Ultimate Guide to Home Inspection in Maryland

by Uneeb Khan


Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make in your life. Before signing on the dotted line, it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect the property so you know exactly what you’re getting into. A professional home inspection can uncover issues that may affect the safety, function and value of the home. This guide will explain everything you need to know about home inspection in Maryland.

Why Get a Home Inspection?

A home inspection allows a qualified professional to thoroughly evaluate the condition of the home. The inspector will check the roof, foundation, electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC, major appliances and more. An inspection can reveal defects like:

  • Structural problems
  • Faulty electrical wiring
  • Leaky plumbing
  • Heating and cooling issues
  • Infestations by termites, ants or other pests
  • Mold growth
  • Foundation cracks or flaws
  • Roof damage or leaks

Finding these problems before you purchase the home allows you to negotiate with the seller, walk away from the deal or budget for repairs. Skipping the inspection means you risk buying a money pit filled with expensive surprises down the road.

When to Get an Inspection

It’s recommended to get an inspection as soon as you decide you’re interested in purchasing the home. This allows time to get quotes for repairs and negotiate with the seller prior to closing.

In Maryland, buyers have the right to cancel a purchase contract within 5 days of receiving the home inspection report. Getting the inspection early prevents losing your deposit if major issues are found.

What Does the Inspector Check?

A standard home inspection examines the physical condition of the following areas:

  • Roof and attic
  • Exterior siding, trim, windows, doors, decks and porches
  • Foundation and basement
  • Crawl spaces
  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing systems
  • HVAC systems
  • Major appliances like water heater, furnace and AC
  • Ventilation and insulation
  • Fireplaces and chimneys
  • Garage and carport

The inspection covers structural soundness, wear and tear, leaks, damage, functionality and safety issues. The inspector will also check for evidence of termites, ants, rodents or other pests.

What Isn’t Covered in a Home Inspection?

While thorough, a standard home inspection has limitations. Inspectors do not check every single aspect of the home. Areas not covered include:

  • Code compliance
  • Quality of cosmetic finishes like paint and wallpaper
  • Minor flaws like nail pops, scratches, chips or dents
  • Cracked window panes
  • Signs the home was used to manufacture illegal drugs

Optional add-ons like radon testing, sewer scope inspections and mold testing check for additional issues not included in the basic inspection.

Choosing a Home Inspector in Maryland

Maryland doesn’t require home inspectors to hold a license, so anyone can call themselves an inspector. Make sure to choose an experienced, qualified professional. Look for:

  • Certification by InterNACHI, ASHI or CREIA
  • Engineer (PE) license
  • At least 5 years and 500 inspections of experience
  • Strong reviews and references
  • Errors and omissions insurance
  • Sample inspection report provided

Avoid inspectors charging unusually low fees or who only inspect areas requested by the buyer. A comprehensive inspection protects your interests.

What to Expect During the Inspection

Plan for the inspection to take 2 to 3 hours. The inspector will start outside, checking the roof, siding, windows, foundation etc. They’ll take photos and make notes on an inspection form.

Expect to accompany the inspector during the inspection. This allows you to observe issues first-hand and ask questions. Be prepared to climb ladders to access the roof, attic and other areas.

After visually examining the home, the inspector will operate equipment like running water fixtures, testing electrical outlets, and checking the furnace, AC and appliances. Systems that require destructive testing are checked last.

Once finished, the inspector provides a detailed inspection report. Expect this within 24 hours. Use the report findings to request repairs from the seller or renegotiate the purchase price.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

Home inspection fees vary based on the size of the home, add-on services and your location. Expect to pay:

  • $300-$500 for a basic inspection of a single family 1,500 sq ft home
  • $400-$700 for a 2,000-3,000 sq ft home
  • $100+ for add-ons like mold testing or sewer scope

Get quotes from 3-4 inspectors before choosing one. Avoid choosing by price alone, as a thorough inspection protects your investment.

What to Do After the Inspection

Carefully review the inspection report, including photos and inspector notes. Follow up on any areas that need clarification. Use major flaws like structural issues to renegotiate with the seller.

For minor repairs, consider setting aside money in escrow at closing to complete work after moving in. If repairs would exceed your budget, consider walking away from the deal. Don’t buy a home needing major work unless the purchase price reflects repair costs.

Disputing Inspection Results

Get a second opinion if you disagree with inspection findings. Review credentials of the original inspector and check they followed Maryland Standards of Practice. Document any areas where you feel the inspection was incomplete, negligent or inaccurate.

Major discrepancies may point to a poor quality inspection. But second opinions also frequently differ. Work constructively with your real estate agent if inspection disputes arise.

Top Issues Found in Maryland Home Inspections

Common problems found in Maryland home inspections include:

  • Water damage from roof, gutter and window leaks
  • Heating and AC equipment at or beyond useful life
  • Electrical issues like faulty GFCI outlets
  • Cracked foundations and basement leaks
  • Termite damage and outdated pest treatments
  • Supply pipe leaks causing mold and mildew growth

Inspectors flag these issues so you can address problems before move-in.

Home Inspections and Sellers

Sellers can also benefit from getting a pre-listing home inspection. An inspection allows the seller to make repairs in advance and head off issues that might derail a sale.

Buyers are more likely to accept a property “as-is” if the seller provides a recent inspection report. Disclosing problems upfront prevents haggling after the buyer’s inspection.

For urgent repairs, sellers may provide buyers a credit at closing to make updates. Either way, an inspection gives the seller power to control the narrative on the home’s condition.

The Bottom Line

Skipping a home inspection often leads to costly surprises and regrets for buyers. In contrast, an inspection is a minor expense that protects your investment and peace of mind.

In Maryland, home inspectors identify an average of 150 issues per property. Don’t buy a home before getting a professional inspection. Know the full scope of repairs needed so you can budget wisely.

Use this guide to learn the home inspection process, benefits, what’s covered and average costs. Thoroughly inspecting a property before purchase can save you from buying a problematic money pit. Partner with a trusted home inspector and real estate agent to make your dream home a stress-free reality.

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