Santa can come in another way...

Dated: December 9 2020

Views: 54

If you've worked with me to either buy or sell a house, you know how much I dislike chimneys. Basically holes in the top of your house, they are easily forgotten, full of possible problems, and often little more than ornamental in homes without fireplaces. And if the home has a fireplace, they can be even more fraught with peril. Oh the number of times I've been assured by the sellers' representative that "the chimney is fine...they never use it." I'm sure that's true for the squirrels nesting in it, but probably isn't representative of the actual structural soundness or safety of the "never used" fireplace and it's chimney. Not using a chimney doesn't freeze it in time. It simply means its likely been neglected.

So, I was thrilled when this article popped up in my email today, Improvements First-Time Homeowners Should Tackle First. A fine compendium of problem areas for nearly any house, it is also a great reminder that just because a house has new countertops and stainless steel appliances doesn't mean it's basement and roof don't leak. And not only do they discuss chimneys, they also hit on another item I point out to clients that too often gets forgotten...trees. Trees are beautiful additions to a home landscape. They provide homes for birds and shade for you (often decreasing your air conditioning costs in the summer). But as the article points out, they can also drop limbs on your house, get diseased, and their roots can clog sewers.

Something the article doesn't mention is tree removal costs. Trees don't live forever. Sooner or later, they will have to be removed. And in cities with smaller lots, locations of trees can have a huge impact on the cost to remove them. A silver maple at the end of its life (not an unlikely thing to find in the Madison area) that is in a fully fenced backyard without easy access can cost thousands to remove. This, per arborists I've consulted, is because much of the removal cost is due to equipment access. If they can't get the right equipment to a tree, it will be much more labor intensive, and expensive to remove it. This is why I always recommend having a tree plan to buyers, which includes having an arborist check your trees at least every 3 years. 

These are all, by the way, more great reasons to work with a skilled Realtor when you are purchasing a home. More than just the folks who open the doors for your showings, we are deeply knowledgable about not just the real estate transaction, but houses themselves. We see lots of homes, attend almost countless inspections, and know the warning signs of potential trouble areas. Which can help you get a house that will come with peace of mind, rather than one that will fall to pieces. 

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David Pausch

In November of 2000, I closed on my first house, a rough-around-the-edges 1922 colonial with lots of sun, not a lot of storage, and an enormous oak tree in its postage stamp-sized back yard. From the ....

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