is anyone warning buyers about the wood smoke issue in this area?

Asked by Sussex County NJ Homes, Hopatcong, NJ Tue Feb 12, 2013

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Sussex County…, , Hopatcong, NJ
Thu Feb 14, 2013
Wood Smoke Devalues Real Estate

Most Realtors know that homes impacted by “negative material facts”( such as hazardous chemicals, smoke and other noxious odors, loud noise or heavy traffic) often sell for considerably less than similar homes that are not impacted by these environmental influences. A “material fact” is anything that could affect someone else’s use and enjoyment of the property. Thus it is important that Sellers and their agents disclose suchfacts to potential Buyers when listing a home for sale, or they can potentially be sued later for non-disclosure.
Homes for sale near wood burning restaurants, coffee shops or frequent recreational wood burning are often contaminated by plumes of odor that trespass onto their property. This makes them particularly vulnerable to disappointed buyers who could claim that their property rights to use and enjoy their property smoke-free have been violated and perhaps they wouldn’t have bought the property if the Sellers had disclosed this information.
Online tax records and real estate data demonstrate that homes along busy streets with frequent exhaust fumes and noise,for example, normallysell for considerably less than comparable homes that are not similarly impacted.
Lawsuits are beginning to be wonagainst homeowners with outdoor wood boilers (OWBs or OWFs), and many cities and small towns are banning these units, due to the health hazards of wood smoke, on top of their violating the property rights of neighbors who cannot use their property outdoors and who also suffer indoors from the frequent, excessive smoke.
Many real estate forms now require the Seller to list any “environmental defects” in the property or other “adverse material defects.” Even if there is no such form in a listing agreement, disclosure is still the responsibility of the Seller and their agent.Yetwhen persistent wood smoke is disclosed, it limits the buying pool to begin with, because few Buyers would want to buy the same problem that the Seller has.
Today’s market is depressed, and selling can be difficult, even for properties without negative adverse conditions. Some may argue that wood smoke does not affect property values, but this is contrary to factual information that multiple listing services demonstrate.
In summary, it is also common sense, borne out by factual data, that homes with negative material defects usually sell for less because of those conditions and because there are fewer buyers to begin with.

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0 votes
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Wed Feb 13, 2013
Sounds like buying in any community with homes equipped with fireplaces or wood burning stoves is not going to be a good fit for you. It is really hard to hide fireplaces the ,associated chimneys and stacks of split wood! . Make sure you move to a place compatible with your lifestyle. Don't more into a place that is OBVIOUSLY incompatible.
You do have a choice.
0 votes
The problem is the antiquated and inefficient stoves; combine those two with someone that has no clue how to burn properly and then there is a problem. Nonetheless, who wants that stench of old smoke in their homes? Isn't this the reason smokers go outside their own homes to smoke?
Flag Thu Feb 14, 2013
Sussex County…, , Hopatcong, NJ
Wed Feb 13, 2013
0 votes
Andrew Tisel…, Agent, Clifton, NJ
Wed Feb 13, 2013

What is the concern with Wood smoke? Is it hazardous or just annoying? Because I love the smell.
0 votes
Both hazardous and annoying; hazardous because of what you just read and annoying because most homes smell like old cigars and a plastic chemical smell that doesn't go away no matter how much you clean. You are lucky. You mentioned that you don't have many by you so you aren't having that instrusion of smoke & stench in your home. There are two kinds of people; the boy scout who can burn and it doesn't bother a sole because they are seasoned veterans burning billows of thick gray smoke covering neighbors' homes and the other individual that should never go near a wood burning device because they are clueless or lack the knowledge to operate one efficiently. By the way, everyone is different...the smoke affects the most vulnerable & then the rest of us. No amount is good...I figure if the wood smoke isn't bad for you let's not judge pregnant women smoking, smoking around our babies and start our kids young...why not.
Flag Wed Feb 13, 2013
Oh I read it. Interesting.
Did not see any mention of how much you need to inhale to make it really harmful. Not a lot of Wood burning stoves in my areas anyway.
Flag Wed Feb 13, 2013
Nina Fradl C…, Agent, Sparta, NJ
Tue Feb 12, 2013
I think you just did! I downloaded the pamphlet. Thank you.

Wood smoke in winter time is readily detectectible by all who encounter it, both indoors and outdoors. At this time it is NOT a required disclosure for sellers or real estate agents. In fact, having an alternate source of heat from a wood stove can be seen as an asset by a buyer.

So long as there are no governmental regulations preventing the use of wood for heating (some types of external wood furnaces are not permitted in some areas), it would seem that for now this issue would not be a factor in the selling process. In fact, up until 2009, you could get a 30% credit on your TAX LIABILITY for the cost of installation of an in home woodstove or pellet stove by the federal government.

For now, it seems, it is a case of buyer responsibility, much like reading food labels and making smart selections based on your personal research and evaluation of what is important for your personal well being.
0 votes
The problem around here are the outdated, antiquated wood stoves; these no longer meet EPA standards. Then you have buyers who have no clue how to operate one creating a nuisance for everyone around them. This matter is getting attention and should be changing sooner than later. Pellet stoves are excellent alternatives since no one is in any position to tell anyone you can only use oil or propane. I would say do a pellet stove instead of a wood stove...neighbors are happier and everyone is happier. The tax credit ran out a few years ago to upgrade to a new unit. I understand that there are problems with the new wood burning stoves..they are just as smokey and stinky as the old ones. There are very, very few people in this borough that know how to burn wood without creating a stench..others should leave it alone and do a pellet hahaha...seriously though. I hope you find the pamphlet useful. Thanks for writing.
Flag Tue Feb 12, 2013
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