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State requires licenses for home inspectors

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Despite 13 years inspecting homes and 35 years in home construction, Arthur Lazerow recently learned something new in the trade.

Lazerow, owner and senior inspector for Alban Home Inspection Services Inc., based in Frederick, took a two-week home inspection refresher course in Virginia. Other professionals in the trade will be required to take similar courses, as part of a new state law.

Home inspection, Lazerow said, once was an unregulated industry. Homebuyers typically hire inspectors to look at structural, interior, exterior, roofing, electrical, air conditioning, fireplaces and heating systems before sales are final.

‘‘Thirteen years ago, Maryland didn’t require a license,” said Lazerow, who writes a weekly column for The Gazette. ‘‘Anyone with a clipboard and flashlight could call themselves a home inspector.”

The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation will begin enforcing a state law requiring all home inspectors working in Maryland to be licensed by Jan. 1, 2008.

In response to this legislation, Frederick Community College is offering two home inspection courses: a 60-hour Home Inspection Pre-Licensure course for new home inspectors and an 18-hour supplemental course for practicing home inspectors.

According to the college’s director of conference and business programs, Richard Ammon, the course will help raise the bar for home inspectors.

‘‘I received a tremendous amount of calls in the beginning of the year,” Ammon said. ‘‘Anytime you enforce a state law there is an increase to abide by it.”

As a member of The National Association of Home Inspectors, a certified real estate inspector, and owner of Hood Inspections, LLC, Larry Hood will teach the home inspection courses at Frederick Community College.

He said that it is important for him to cover what the commission has required, as well as extra details that he believes help home inspectors.

The 60-hour course will include 12 hours of marketing and ethics lessons that Hood added to the 48 hours required by the state.

Hood wants his students to learn ‘‘everything needed to evaluate the history of a house.”

Hood Maryland’s law is ‘‘almost disappointing to some,” when compared to other states’ requirements, such as West Virginia.

‘‘At first the requirements were more difficult,” Hood said. ‘‘But then the state backed down.”

Ammon said the standardization of home inspection in Maryland should be reassuring for homebuyers and sellers.

‘‘[The law] will be very positive for both consumer and the industry,” Ammon said.

For more information Frederick Community College’s home inspection courses, contact Richard Ammon, director of conference and business programs in continuing education and customized training, at 301-846-2684 or rammon (at) frederick (dot) edu.

The Gazette

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