By Gary Kelley
A North Grafton reader dropped a note to the Community Advocate that said:
“I have to say that some weeks I’ve been a bit disappointed in the various articles you publish by real estate agents. From the perspective of a buyer, I believe the articles ought to go into greater detail. For instance, I don’t think anybody needs a clinic in wallpaper versus paint, but when do these articles ever cover fireplace and chimney issues and the importance of their sound and solid construction? Strangely enough, home inspectors are not required to look closely into them as part of their report. But think about it – on the list of most important things, where do you think that should rank? How much should you know about your fireplace and chimney before you close? I’d love to see a regular column written for buyers and prospective buyers. Maybe this could be considered the first one.”
Good points, North Grafton! The real estate agents appearing in the Community Advocate pay for their space and I write every word of mine. Since my business trends 2:1 for listings, it’s a natural for me. The words flow… Every buyer’s needs are different and unique. Many of our sellers end up buying a new home with us.
One thing all real estate agents must watch is liability. Lawsuits happen in real estate every day. My brokerage has buyers sign a form (I call it the “Gary Knows Nothing” form and ask buyers to certify my lack of knowledge) covering how I know nothing about legal advice, home inspections, structural condition of property, condition of the roof, mechanical and electrical systems, wood-destroying insects, environmental hazards, square footage, lot size, acreage, boundary lines and encroachments, zoning, bylaws and building codes, sewage disposal, water supply, utility connections and related services, school district information, sex offenders, felons and other crime considerations, and tax advice. I once had a client state if they knew all this in advanced, they never would have used me buying a property. In real estate, there is a concept of not being the source, be the source of the source. When on a showing, I certainly comment on everything I see, and always add we will have to get that checked with a licensed person or checked on a website of public facts. I have a great team of resources I can call on when needed (home inspectors, HVAC, etc.).
On my YouTube channel (search for “movewithgary” on YouTube), I often have these experts on for a brief video chat. I find these topics far more interesting in a video format.
On chimneys specifically, the Chimney Safety Institute of America covers three levels of inspection. Level 1 is a visual inspection of the readily accessible parts of the chimney when no changes have taken place. Level 2 is required when any changes are required for home sales per the National Fire Protection Association standards. Level 3 is needed under severe circumstances and requires inspection of the entire chimney including removal of components to gain access – it’s pretty rough on the chimney. Check http://csia.org/inspections for more information. (See what I did there?)
I’m not a huge fan of Zillow, etc. for buyers. Here is an app for your phone/tablet tied directly to the MLS: www.homesnap.com/Gary-Kelley.
Gary is heard on WCRN AM 830 discussing “All Things Real Estate.”
If you need advice on selling your home or buying a new one, give us a call at 508-733-6005.
Gary Kelley, Realtor®