Wood Smoke Devalues Real Estate
Most Realtors know that homes impacted by â€œnegative material factsâ€( 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 â€œmaterial factâ€ is anything that could affect someone elseâ€™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 wouldnâ€™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 â€œenvironmental defectsâ€ in the property or other â€œadverse material defects.â€ 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.
Todayâ€™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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