Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Q: I am due to close on the sale of my house in a few weeks. I think that I've done everything that the buyers and agents have asked me to do.

Now they are telling me I have to install carbon monoxide alarms in the house.  I have a 100% electric house!  I don't have any gas appliances or anything.  So what's the big deal?

A:  Beginning April 1st of this year all homes sold will have to have CO,carbon monoxide alarms installed.  They are not expensive and everyone should have them in their home anyway.  It doesn't matter that your home is all electric.  Use of fossil fuel heating (oil, natural gas and propane) is common here and should be a priority for this alarm, which notifies residence that there is a leak of carbon monoxide in the house.  It doesn't smell and you can't see it so it really is a silent killer.

  Sadly, the main reason that even all electric homes have to install the alarm is due to people operating portable heaters in their homes when their power is off.  People die every year from CO poisoning mainly from propane or kerosene heaters being used inside the house or even gas barbeque's!  Once again we have to have a new law trying to protect us from our own ignorance.

  Over 4,000 people go to emergency rooms every year to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.  They're the lucky ones.  400 per year die.  I know it's an extra expense but it's worth it.  Spending a few dollars to save someones life is an investment worth making, don't you think?

  I should add that the smoke alarms have been mandatory in homes for a long time and yet, I still see homes without them.  Some of these homes even have small children living there.  These are simple things we can all do to protect our families.  Congratulations on your sale, by the way.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Q: Last spring you told us that our house was worth about $415,000 to $420,000.

You gave us a list of things to do to get ready to go on the market this spring and now the listing agent we've chosen to work with is saying that number is too high.  She wants us to list it at $375,000.  We're really upset that you gave us a higher figure and with that number in mind we spent money fixing things up.  We're going to barely get what we owe on it if we sell at her lower price.

A:  There are several reasons why the listing broker would come up with a lower figure.  First, our market did take a drop of about 9% last year, particularly in the lower price ranges.  In addition, and this is far more important, the appraisers have to work from those comparable sales that have happened in the preceding six months.  If there have been few sales that are comparable, or if a couple of properties sold for a great deal less, it will bring down the appraisal on your property. 

  The reason the appraisal is so critical is that most buyers will be getting a mortgage.  The lender will do an appraisal and that's what they will loan.  Even if a buyer falls in love with your place and is willing to pay more, the lenders will not finance more.  Your listing broker was probably looking at the current comparable sales that an appraiser will find.  That helped her come up with a price that was reasonable given our current market.

  As for the work that you did on the place, you would be looking at an even lower asking price if those repairs had not been made.  Buyers are picky.  They don't want to buy a place and then be looking at thousands of dollars of repair work.  Cosmetic changes, like paint color or floor coverings are expected by most buyers, but fixing leaking plumbing, dealing with a flooding basement or putting on a new roof are not.