And now the much anticipated part 4... Environmental problems and problem materials.
Hardly an inspection goes by that I don't have to explain radon, lead, contaminated wells, asbestos, carbon monoxide or the biggest buggaboo... mold.
Okay people... I admit it, house problems rarely scare me. It's not that I'm some invincible character who thinks crawling in a crawlspace isn't gonna harm big ol' me. On the contrary , I firmly believe these issues are very real and often dangerous...but most of them are way blown out of proportion. Most people are afraid because they have little if any information to work off of.
Before you freak...or cheer , however , let me say that you should never make light of another's paranoia or their concerns. Buying a house is scary enough, but all these environmentals scare the bejesus out of most first- time buyers.
My attitude may surprise you. From a real estate point of view my advice is when you sit down with this couple in your office, as you ask all the financial questions... ask also what are your fears? What issues concern you about homes, and what issues would you not even consider buying if the home has one.
Some of my customers readily admit if there's any rats within 1 mile of their home..." forgetaboutit". If they are considering an antique home you'd better get a read on how they feel about asbestos, lead and old equipment.
If they are buying a home built before 1978 lead may be a huge issue to them especially if they have small children.
New construction may have contaminated wells, radon in water and radon in air... Some people don't even know that they really should test. That the only way to know if a home is problematic is to test.
Older homes may have odd plumbing or electrical components that are known to be problematic Some homes will have siding made from wood chips that are rotting and decks with aggressive chemicals may be eating the fasteners quicker than a relative having desert at the picnic table.
So what should you do?
My advise is put together information sheets on all of the big items. Give them web site addresses and take the time to listen to their worries. If she says she's not interested in asbestos, don't show her the old bombs, If she's worried about radon get her focused on the epa materials that explain the risk. He doesn't want a buried oil tank or to live near the high voltage towers, so be it.
The home with synthetic stucco, a wet moldy basement will rarely sell easily, nor will the average buyer accept the financial burden of a termite infestation once the inspection finds it.
But do not ignore the mine field you are walking through. When the business slows... the pressure increases and the stakes may be higher. Lawsuits come from misunderstanding as much as perceptions that we didn't give the level of service that was expected. When people are in pain they look for someone to blame.
Let your client know you are protecting them and their kids. When you see problems help them to understand them and make sure they make the important decisions, not you. When foreclosures and mortgages are on everyones watch list, we may forget the responsibility we have to be their friend and make sure they understand all the issues.
Help them to find the right house and don't be quick to settle for the wrong one.
If you are not educated enough about some of the problems we've mentioned google them and get smarter.
Its a jungle out there... wear your sunscreen.
More later... Steve