Our client's safety - what is our responsibility?

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty CA license 01873017

Should we think about our buyer's safety when deciding what houses to show?

A recent post by Debe Maxwell about her recovery from a fall  reminded  me of a concern I have when showing homes to buyers. Debe's fall occurred when she didn't realize that she was stepping into an area with a 4 inch drop. I don't know Debe but it sounds as if she is fit and healthy and it has taken her a year to recover. Now imagine if this had been someone in poor health or with substantial bone loss - they might not recover from such an accident.

Is a house potentially dangerous to a buyer? What's our responsibility?

I've decided that when showing a house I will discuss with *everyone* the safety issues from falls that sunken floors can pose. My experience is that most people don't worry about the issue - but that it makes some people stop and think. I've had buyers decide against a house because of a sunken floor. Do I hate discouraging them? Of course! But I feel better knowing that I brought up the issue.



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Gordon Lane is a Woodland resident and Yolo County real estate agent who works in Woodland, Davis and the surrounding communties of Dunnigan, Esparto, Winters and Dixon. His family has lived and farmed in Yolo and Colusa Counties since the 1870s.

Tamara Schuster
Naperville Glen Ellyn Lisle Plainfield Wheaton Illinois - Naperville, IL
Realtor Broker - Naperville

Interesting blog. I personally have a family room that is a step down with a large opening and a 15ft step acrooss down to the floor. I have many people over and it has never been a problem and the step down family room really makes a great impact on the floor design and how you view the room. I really enjoy the sunken family room.

Maybe this is different than your referring to.

Sep 23, 2010 09:05 AM
Gordon Lane - serving the Sacramento Region
eXp Realty - Sacramento, CA
Making selling or buying a home easy

Tamara, I agree with you that from a design perspective sunken floors can be great, and that for most of us it's not an issue. But I have relatives who get around with a walker - sunken floors are a pain. And I have an aunt in her 80s - if she takes a fall and breaks a hip she will probably never be able to resume independent living. And as someone who spent 3 months on crutches in my 20s I know we are all just a fall away from a disability.

Sep 23, 2010 09:12 AM
Sherilyn M. Whistler
ERA Herman Group Real Estate-NoCo - Loveland, CO
Need a Referral, Call Me !

Gordon : I have found that most older clients want ranch style homes anyway. But I agree you should bring up "watch your step" BUT not discourage a particular home. Most people, if you show concern like that will be aware and take caution. As they tour the home and if they show that the steps are an issue, they will realize it and you might be able to just say "would a single level be more comfortable for you". Most people once seeing the home and going through it will decide whats best for them. Good luck !

Oct 13, 2010 06:36 PM
Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
Your Realtor Down the Shore!

I have a home listed with a sunken family room...I'm constantly tripping and warning about that step!  This is a valid concern.

Oct 13, 2010 10:19 PM