Sellers of unoccupied homes beware!
- Seller: (ring ring)… “Hey, can you go to my house right now? I hear the fire department is there.”
- Me: “Sure, on my way.”
To make a long story short, unbeknownst to me, this seller had not been at the house for quite a while. So long in fact, that the oil tank ran out of oil. For those of you familiar with the northeast weather in the winter, you can probably guess the rest of the story. The oil tank with no oil obviously stopped producing heat. A house that sits with no heat on very cold nights gets, um, cold. And freezing temperatures turn water into ice which expands and can eventually burst a pipe or two. Or five or six. Or more.
So on the night I received this phone call, and rushed off to the house in question, water had been gushing out of the garage. In order to get into the locked and unoccupied home, firefighters had to break the front window. So in addition to water, and dropped sheetrock and insulation all over the floor, there was glass. It was truly quite a mess that greeted me.
Thankfully, the issues have been fixed, and the house is once again warm and dry. But this story should be a lesson to all sellers. If your house is on the market and you are not going to be in the house for weeks or months at a time, please make arrangements for someone to check on the house. Make sure utilities remain on, and fuel is delivered on a regular schedule. Otherwise, you not only could wind up with huge plumber, glass repair and carpenter bills, but could miss out on the buyer that was ready to write you a check….