Wood Smoke Devalues Real Estate

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Wood Smoke Devalues Real Estate

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:55 pm

Copyrighted © 2011 MCS America
P A G E 7
Letters to the Editor

Wood Smoke Devalues Real Estate

As a licensed Realtor with Coldwell Banker, I know that homes with adverse “material facts,” such as
proximity to negative environmental influences, should always be disclosed by Sellers to potential Buyers.
Materials facts constitute most anything that could affect another owner’s use and enjoyment of
the property. If they are not disclosed, the Buyers could come back to the Sellers and potentially sue
them for non-disclosure, claiming damages or even wanting to return the home to the Sellers.

Tax records and online real estate listing service data demonstrate that homes along busy streets with
frequent exhaust fumes, for example, normally sell for considerably less than comparable homes that
are not impacted by vehicle exhaust (or noise). Homes near wood burning restaurants or coffee shops,
with plumes of odor that trespass onto the property of others, can likewise be sued for violating the
property rights of those whose properties are negatively affected.

Similarly, when a wood smoke impacted home is listed for sale, this material fact should be disclosed to
potential Buyers, because it could affect their use and enjoyment of the property, in addition to presenting
a significant public health hazard. Many real estate forms ask the Seller to list any
“environmental defects” in the property or other “adverse material defects.” Yet if there is no such
form with a home listing agreement, disclosure is still the responsibility of the Seller and their agent.

But when persistent wood smoke is disclosed, it limits the buying pool to begin with, because few
would want to buy the same problem that the Seller has.

Today’s market is depressed and selling can be difficult even without negative adverse conditions about
the property. But from Multiple Listing Service Statistics, I have frequently found that homes along busy
streets or freeways sell for even 30% less than their less impacted counterparts, depending on different
variables, including the price range of the home, its condition compared to other comparable properties,
and market conditions in general.

To suggest that wood smoke does not affect property values is contrary to factual information that
multiple listing services demonstrate. But 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.

Julie Mellum

• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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