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Fatal Flaws Are Usually Not Really Fatal

I recently wrote a post about how houses don’t need to be perfect in order to be sold – or bought! Yet, many buyers seem to turn away from a home that isn’t a turnkey sale. Why is that?

In my experience, it’s usually because people who are new to homeownership don’t yet have the knowledge base to understand what’s a big problem and what’s a little problem.

Oil tanks can be a big problem. Not because it’s difficult or particularly costly to remove an underground tank. Rather, it’s because if the tank has leaked, the soil may be contaminated. And if the soil is contaminated, the property must be remediated. That's costly – usually tens of thousands of dollars – and not something you want to take on in a new home.

There are a few other things that may fall into the Big Problem category, and they will typically show up in a home inspection.

Other things, usually things that have more to do with convenience or aesthetics, are often far less of an ordeal than you might think. 

I recently showed a house that had been sitting on the market for longer than I expected. It was in good condition, on a nice block, and well-priced. Another similar home  on the block had just sold for far more. The “fatal flaw” of this house was that it did not have a door to the backyard and therefore, no indoor-outdoor flow. And the back yard itself was sloped and had too many trees.

As a former architecture student, I have the tendency to look at homes as structures that can be modified to fit a family. It wouldn’t have taken much – in terms of time or money – to create a back exit for this home, a modification that appears more intimidating than it actually is. Landscaping can usually be done over time and often without a lot of interruption to the occupants, so I think of tree removal as another “easy” project to take on.

My clients consistently identify one of my strengths as being able to provide this type of practical education to new – and even seasoned – buyers. I love houses and envisioning what they can become for a family. And I have over 20 years of experience in this area, with connections to contractors and experts on all aspects of a house, inside and out.

If you think my experience might benefit you as a buyer or a seller, do not hesitate to reach out.  I love talking about houses and how to make one “perfect” for my clients.

Talk or text: 973-809-5277

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