Fireplace, Family Home, Showings


Dear David,
We are getting ready to sell our home. Do we need to do anything with the wood burning fireplace if we never use it? – Smokey the Bear

DEAR SMOKEY: When selling a home with a wood burning fireplace or a wood stove, it’s a good idea to get a WETT (Wood Energy Technology Transfer) Inspection, whether or not you use the appliance. A WETT inspection is a thorough examination of the wood burning appliance, completed by a certified WETT inspector. Most insurance companies will require it to be completed.

Wood burning appliances can develop issues due to age, cracked flues, or other concerns, and as a seller, you’ll want to get in front of any kind of problem. Should you sell your home and an issue is found on inspection, you may be put in the potentially disadvantageous position of having to re-negotiate the deal, or you could end up losing the perfect buyer. A WETT inspection is usually performed in conjunction with a chimney sweep. I would recommend finding a service provider who can do both at the same time. If you don’t have someone in mind, I would be happy to make a referral.

Dear David,
My husband has fond memories of the home his grandparents built in the 1960’s. We have the opportunity to buy it, should we be excited or cautious? – Keeping it in the Family

DEAR FAMILY: It’s a good time to be both! While you’re obviously excited, it’s important to balance your nostalgia with an honest assessment of the condition and value of the home.

Part of establishing value is taking stock of the “functional updates” that have been completed over the years. Is the house in a good state of repair? Does the plumbing and electrical service meet modern standards? Homes of this age with a single owner are typically where we might find issues such as oil heating or 2-prong, ungrounded electrical service. Are the windows and roof in good condition? Is there UFFI in the home? Depending on how it has been maintained, the house will likely fall somewhere on the scale between move-in ready, or a major (and costly) project.

In a case like this, it’s important to take a step back from the emotional side of things and think of the purchase as a business transaction. An honest assessment of the home’s current condition can help to establish fair value. While it feels good to follow your heart, you don’t want fond memories to be tarnished by major problems or expenses that catch you off guard.

Dear David,
Our agent wants us to leave our house every time there is a showing. Is that really necessary? – Homebody

DEAR HOMEBODY: While it can feel like an inconvenience, I fully agree with your agent on this one. Someone once said to me that “having the seller at home is like asking clients to buy a house without cupboards or closets.” What they meant is that your presence can cause potential buyers to feel like it’s an invasion of privacy for them to look in these areas and as a result, they may rush through the showing without giving your property due consideration. A buyer can imagine themselves living in your home when they feel relaxed – and that’s hard to achieve when they feel like an intruder.