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Steve Ritchie | Railey Realty

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Deep Creek Home Inspections

An integral part of the buying process at Deep Creek Lake is the home and property inspections. After the contract is executed, the agreed-upon inspections are then scheduled. All inspections must be completed within the agreed-upon timeframes in the contract. In our area, the inspections are typically completed within 14 to 21 days from the date of contract acceptance and done at the purchaser's expense. The inspections are performed by licensed professionals in each field of expertise to discover defects that might otherwise not be found by visual inspection. After each inspection is completed, a written report summarizing any defects is then provided to the purchasers. If the standard Property Inspections Addendum is used, the purchasers can then either void the contract or request the sellers make repairs before closing. If repairs are requested, the sellers have 5 days to respond from receipt of the request that they will either make all of the requested repairs, some of them, or none of the requested repairs. If the seller's response is that they only agree to make some or none of the requested repairs, the purchasers then have 2 days from the receipt of the seller's response to respond that is acceptable to them or void the contract. If there is a disagreement at this point, usually both parties, with the assistance of their REALTORS, use this time to work out some type of agreement.  Below is a list of the common inspections available in the Deep Creek Lake area:

Home Inspection

A Home Inspection is an examination of the home's interior and exterior, performed by a licensed home inspector to ascertain its condition and to discover any mechanical or structural defects. This inspection covers the entire home, including but not limited to: appliances, mechanicals, windows, doors, fixtures, roof, siding, electric, and plumbing. The report describes the condition of these areas but does not guarantee future condition of these systems or components.

Mold Inspection

The most common form of mold testing is air sampling. Indoor and outdoor air are sampled, and their mold-spore levels are then compared and can determine if elevated conditions exist inside the home. If elevated conditions exist, the first step in mitigating is determining where moisture is coming into the home, since mold needs a source of water to grow. After the source is determined, then a professional mold remediation company is consulted to determine the next steps to mitigate and fix the problem. 


Testing for radon in the air is accomplished using a device known as a radon canister, which is placed in the home over a period of time, usually 3 days. The canister is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. Some professional home inspectors can determine the results at their home lab. In Maryland, a radon air level above 4.0 pCi/l is recommended for corrective action.

Water Bacteria

A water bacteria test determines if the water is safe to drink. A sample is taken and then sent to a lab for e-coli and coliform bacteria testing. If either of these are present, typically the well and water lines are chlorinated to remove the bacteria.   

Chimney Inspection

A licensed chimney inspector will thoroughly examine the entire chimney and fireplace. This includes the hearth, firebox, damper, and flue. They will also inspect and test the gas insert if it's not a wood-burning fireplace. 

Buffer Strip

If the house is lakefront, a representative from DNR will do a visual inspection of the buffer strip land. They will look for any violations such as un-permitted paths, fire pits, decks, sheds, or electrical light posts. The written report is also used as an eligibility letter for a buffer strip use permit, which provides written verification the property qualifies for a boat dock.

Hot Tub

A licensed tech will do a visual and thorough examination of the mechanicals, tub, and cover, to check that all parts and features are in working order. They will also check the tub for leaks and make sure the cover is still in working order.  


A survey is performed by a licensed surveyor for an assessment of the property's lines, to determine the exact amount of land owned, and to discover any easements or encroachments on a property. A house location drawing survey is generally satisfactory for the purposes of purchasing a house or refinancing but does not identify or mark the property lines and corners. A full boundary survey is a bit more expensive but will identify and mark the property lines and corners. 


TVRU is the abbreviation for Transient Vacation Rental Unit. In Garrett County, all vacation rental homes located inside the Deep Creek Lake Watershed Zoning district must obtain a TVRU license to be able to rent. To obtain a TVRU license, a property must have the required number of parking spaces, a bear-proof trash container, an emergency exit plan, the posting of quiet hours, and a fire extinguisher. The county health department will also test for septic compliance and potable drinking water. Proper window egress will also be checked. Click here more information about renting your vacation home at Deep Creek Lake.  

Septic Evaluation

A septic evaluation occurs for properties not on public sewer. The inspector will put a blue dye in all water and disposal lines. After a period of time, the inspector will then walk the outside septic field and visually inspect to see if any of the blue dye is percolating upwards towards the ground surface.  

Termite/Wood Destroying Insect Inspection

The inspection for termites and wood-destroying insects is performed by a licensed exterminator. They will perform a visual inspection of the entire property for evidence of termites and other wood-destroying insects. Termites are possible in the Deep Creek area but rare because of our climate. Carpenter ants are much more common.