The Avoidable Fee That Too Many Sellers Pay

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Did you know that after someone buys your house, they can make you pay for repairs?

It’s not pleasant when it happens. The good news is that it’s completely avoidable.

When selling a property, owners must inform potential buyers of maintenance or repair issues. So, if you know that the furnace makes a noise when it starts up, the dishwasher dribbles a little, and the A/C smells like hot wires every now and then – you have three options.

Repairing the issue on your own is by far the best option. This way you are in control of what gets fixed and how much you’re willing to spend. Also, once the problem is solved, it may not need to be disclosed as an issue. This is ideal – no one wants to buy a house with a long list of disclosed ‘issues’.

Confessing the issue is an option too. This informs the buyer and removes the seller’s responsibility for repairs. The problem though, is that the buyer doesn’t want to pay full value for a house they know they will have to repair.

The third option is to pinch your eyes shut and pretend everything is fine. Don’t tell anyone and imagine that the new owner will somehow not hear the clunking furnace. This is the unfortunate choice some sellers make. It has, at times, been called fraudulent misrepresentation. The result? The buyer now must repair the broken furnace, and the seller gets to pay. Guess how frugal the buyer is going to be with someone else’s money? I know of someone who went through this recently. What could have been a $150 repair turned into a nearly $600 repair bill because someone else was in charge of deciding what it should cost.

Paying high repair bills is avoidable. By facing the issue instead of dodging it, you are in control of how much it’s going to cost you.


Have you ever been stuck with repairs on a home you bought?

How did you handle it? 



Would You Say Yes If Offered a Free House?




What would you say if someone offered you a free house – and yes, people do give away houses – all you would have to do is move it. Would you take it, or pass? (oh, it’s so hard to resist free things, isn’t it?) I know several people who have either given a house, or considered an offer of a house. It can be a tough decision to wrestle through!

We would probably all initially jump at the chance to have a free house -to resell, or give to a friend, or maybe to make our very own cabin. But… it wouldn’t  take long to realize that even a free house is not free at all.

To get this free house, one would have to pay for a whole list of things:

  • Moving the building (think in thousands for that price tag)
  • buy land on which to place it (you need 20% down for that)
  • prepare the land – basement / foundation, driveway
  • water / electricity hook-ups – well, septic, hydro, natural gas…

That’s to say nothing of the renovations that will probably be needed. (think tens of thousands for that price tag).

A free house could easily cost $50,000 without renovations or upgrades. (and I’m being extremely conservative – you’d have to already have land to make this price tag)
If you can make that price tag though, $50,000 is about the cheapest house you could hope for in this area.

What would you do? Would you take it, or pass?




I’m Not A Paramedic, And That’s Okay



It’s funny how blind we can be to our own bad habits, isn’t it?

I didn’t realize that, for years, I’ve had the nasty habit of acting like a paramedic. I don’t mean I carried around a medic bag or offered to check people’s vitals, as fun as that might be… It was more a habit of allowing other people’s emergencies to become my own.

It’s one thing if a friend or family member has immediate needs – being there for each other is just part of being friends and family. It’s quite another if it’s a client’s -or worse, a strangers – “emergency”.

Strangers have called demanding an immediate property showing for example, and I’ve hopped and dashed to serve them like crazy. After all, that’s what excellent service is, right?

Thanks to a good friend, I realized that it is unnecessary to bow to other people – strangers in particular – who demand emergency-response time just because they said so. If I am expected to behave like a paramedic, I am not being respected. I don’t want to train myself to work with people who don’t respect me.

I’ll run, dig, hunt and serve like crazy. Stellar customer service is my thing – it’s what I’m about.

But I’m not a paramedic, and I’m trying to remember that that’s okay.


Where do you draw the line between excellent service and giving too much?


The Gift No One Wants (So Stop Giving It!)


Imagine a pick-up truck parks in your driveway. You don`t know the men who climb out, but they smile and wave. You wave back, confused. They slip on work gloves, pull open the tailgate and  begin unloading their heap of junk and garbage onto your front lawn. It crosses your mind this could be a joke. It isn’t. The two burly men smile as they climb back into their truck.  You’re stunned into silence. You do notice though, that the heap left behind is a mangled mess of dish racks, lamps and old paint cans. As the men drive away waving, you hear them sing, “You’re welcome!”. They seem to think they have done you a favor.

This kind of thing happens all the time.  Usually though, instead of using two guys in a pick-up truck, people use the sale of their property.

Maybe you’ve had this happen to you. Or maybe you’ve been the one to leave behind old paint cans thinking the owners will appreciate the thoughtful gesture. Maybe you’ve even blessed them with a few other things you no longer need – a couch or deep freeze perhaps.

Garbage is not a blessing.

One man’s junk is only another’s treasure if they want it. Most home buyers do not want their new home filled with someone else’s things. I have had buyers insist that the seller come back and remove whatever they left behind.I have had sellers consider ‘removing’ items as placing bulk items by the street for the sanitation crews to deal with.  Garbage crews do not take tires. Or couches. Or mattresses. Or a hundred other things.

If you’re selling, you are responsible for cleaning up your property. Leaving it at the curb and thinking it will be alright does not count.

Calling it a present does not count.


What kind of garbage have you received as a present?





The Funny Thing About Stopping To Rest


I’ve got to tell you, my first scheduled time off was incredible.

The day filled with ‘firsts’. Some friends generously lent me their beautiful cabin by the beach. There, I did something that has for years been unthinkable – I headed for the beach and left my phone inside.
I left my phone inside!!
I can’t describe to you how awesome that felt.

It’s awesome like the new mom of a colicky infant who finally, after months, gets to be baby-free for a few hours.

It’s awesome like finally sharing a deep secret you’ve struggled with, to discover that you`re loved anyway.

It’s awesome like finally making the last mortgage payment on your property.

It’s freedom, baby, and the best toes-in-the-sand time I have enjoyed in years.

The funny thing about stopping to rest though, is what can be felt in the stillness.

When we buzz around, dashing from one pressing matter to the next, there is not alot of time to sit down and feel the feelings. When it`s go time, we go. We deal. We just keep moving. Then, when we finally stop to rest, all the dust we kicked up seems to waft over.

I forgot about that…

The emotions of that stillness surprised me. I was able to feel the sadness of the things that have happened with people around me in recent months.  In this space, on the sand, by myself, I could let go of the machine side of me that dashes and does, and embrace the human side of me that feels. Maybe it sounds weird. It felt weird. But I feel incredibly refreshed.

I really did take the break. (It helped to know I was leaving my business in the hands of solid, trustworthy professionals.)


What did you do on your last day off?

Did you really rest, or keep on buzzing around?




Victorian What-What?

Can you describe a Victorian house? What features make it inherently ‘Victorian’, and what does that even mean? Can you describe it?


Me either.  I wanted to know though, so I thought I would share what I discovered.

Interesting Fact #1
Victorian is really more of an ERA than a style

As neon and legwarmers belong to the eighties (and please, let them stay there), so Victorian ‘style’ belongs to the Victorian era – Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837-1901. The British and French had a “custom of naming architectural styles for a reigning monarch” (reference here) The same is true for Colonial architecture – the ‘style’ is based on the era of the America Colonies (1600-1900s in case you were dying to know.)

Interesting Fact #2
Victorian style was kind of … vain.

Sorry, I mean beautiful. Aesthetically pleasing. …Intricate? As this HGTV writer points out, “The Victorian styles evolved largely from the imposing, elaborate Gothic style, which appealed to the romantic Victorian idea that fashion, architecture and furnishings should be beautiful rather than practical.

Interesting Fact #3
Victorian Houses Can Look Very Different.

Check out the features on these:







The tower is a classic ‘Victorian’ feature. The detailled trim
and porch roof are another give away.




The dormers are a castle-esque feature of the Victorian ‘style’ too.
Well, that and the extravagant tower…




Ickworth House – NeoClassical, one of the many
different types of Victorian style



Detailed decorative trim qualifies as going beyond  ‘just functional’







check out that detailed trim and decorative roof line – even a plaque  on the wall!




If that’s not Victorian, I don’t know what is.


Church or house?



It’s a little small, but still.

Victorian is not my favorite style. I’m not sure what would be. Something rustic…
What would be your favorite style?