Jim Valentine: Inclement weather and real estate

Snow, rain, and the dark of winter won’t stop your agent from showing your house. Be thankful for showings during inclement weather, those buyers are serious. Maybe they can’t make it to town because of the weather or distance. No worries. We showed a home to a couple in Hawaii the other day using Skype. We walked and talked our way through the house. They liked it a lot so we filmed it and gave them a private link to a custom video so they could study the home further at their leisure.

Real estate has changed over the years allowing for practices we could not have conceived of years ago. Buy a house without seeing it? That would not have happened 20-30 years ago. Today it is feasible due to the many photos that are now allowed to be put in the Multiple Listing Service for a property, and the many internet tools that one can use to study it from afar.

Aerial views are readily available today that allow you to look over a property to see if there is something that isn’t visible in the marketing pictures. Flood maps, zoning maps, and much more are just a click or few away. Years ago the law of the land was Caveat Emptor, Buyer Beware. Today seller disclosures require that they advise you of deficiencies, some of which are latent and you wouldn’t see them with an onsite inspection anyway. Sellers that withhold material information on a property can be subject to treble damages if they don’t disclose the matter.

One safety factor that we didn’t have in the old days was quality inspectors. Today we have wonderful vendors for pest and physical inspections that are thorough, fair, and professional. They provide an objective third party opinion of the condition of the home on a given day that is reliable. Supported by pictures and a narrative, your physical inspection is much more reliable for assessing the condition of the home than your personal onsite inspection can be unless you are a builder yourself. Because of the quality of the inspections, many buyers waive their walk through inspection as there is little to see or do other than to verify the repairs have been done and they were careful with the sheetrock when they moved furniture out.

Keep in mind that during extended inclement weather the inspectors’ ability to do their job thoroughly can be compromised. When there is snow on the roof you won’t see an inspector up there – nothing to see and the risk is too great. Snow against the home prohibits visually inspecting for earth to wood contact on the exterior. Rain and wind can also inhibit inspections depending on their severity. Be sure to keep this in mind when negotiating your escrow time frame and stormy weather is in the forecast.

Moving can be a factor if we are besieged with a good water producing storm. Moving vans can be held up, or lack the motivation to arrive until things subside. It doesn’t happen often, but be aware of the possibilities and stay flexible with your moving arrangements. Keep in mind, if you can’t move out then likely the buyer can’t move in so you can make an amenable arrangement until things smooth out.

Advice: These wonderful winter days when we recharge our water supply may slow real estate sales a bit, but they don’t stop it. Out of town buyers can make special arrangements to see your home through their agent, or to travel to see it when the weather clears. Either way, you are maintaining the momentum of your sale and move. If you are thinking of selling talk to your agent about when to bring your home on the market.

For serious buyers bad weather is a nuisance but not a hindrance. They pursue their ideal home regardless of the weather and often with greater zeal when the weather is lousy. These are the good ole days when home buying/selling memories are made! When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs.

Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. dpwtigers@hotmail.com.


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