Pulse: Style: Marketplace: CBS3 On Your Side: House Rules

1. WHO: When hiring an inspector, get recommendations from family and friends. Ask to see sample inspections, and avoid referrals from your realtor, since he or she has a vested interest in the sale.
Home inspectors in Pennsylvania aren’t licensed by the state, so look for members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI). Pennsylvania law requires that inspectors carry errors and omissions insurance, but not all do. This could be your only defense should your inspector miss a costly problem.

2. WHAT: A home inspection will give you a good idea of the overall physical condition of a property. A qualified inspector should alert you to obvious problems, but don’t expect him to uncover everything; inspections are limited to visually accessible areas. A good home inspection should include the foundation, the roof, and the plumbing, electrical, heating and air-conditioning systems. Accompany your inspector on the inspection, and ask lots of questions.

3. HOW MUCH: A typical inspection costs between $400 and $700; the fee can vary according to the age, purchase price and square footage of a house. Targeted inspections, for mold, termites or radon, may cost extra and are often performed by outside companies. Ask your inspector for a referral.

Have a question for Jim Donovan?
E-mail him at donovan@kyw.com