HOME FRONT : Love Amid the Fault Lines

Everything about real estate is shaky these days--property values, interest rates . . . tectonic plates. You may have no control over the first two, but SeismoView Information Services in Alhambra can help you with the latter.

Last year, Chris Jones, a software engineer, returned to Los Angeles after a stint in Seattle. While house hunting, he was as concerned about earthquakes as he was with down payments. He wanted to know if that 3br 1 1/2 bath w/view was sitting on a fault line.

"I spoke to my sister, who's a seismologist; no one was offering this service," he says.

So Jones and his partner, Patrick Lubow, created SeismoView--which uses data from the U. S.Geological Survey and other sources to help home buyers and homeowners assess the quake risks at a specific address. Nearly 300 people have purchased a $60 "Seismo Report," which identifies faults closest to a house, their maximum capabilities and the probabilities of temblors occurring within the next 30 years.

Now if we could just get a handle on the prime rate.

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