After an extended period of an excess of buyers and too little inventory, buyers are hoping that the local real estate market is beginning to even out. But whether it is a seller’s market or a buyer’s market, all parties want the transaction to progress as smoothly as possible. If you are considering listing your home this spring we recommend taking some time now to make sure that buyers don’t expose any unexpected surprises when they review the files on your property at Town Hall.
1. Check the tax assessor’s files related to your property.
Does the tax assessor’s field card correctly list the lot acreage, livable square footage in the house and all structures on the property? Note that you may not want to correct the field card if doing so might cause the property taxes to increase, but you should be aware of any issues and be prepared to address or respond to any discrepancies.
2. Make sure that there are no open permits listed in the building department files related to your property.
If there are, speak to the contractor that did the work and ask them to go back to close out the permit or see if you can close it out yourself. Generally, open permits can be closed without too much time and effort. Also make sure that you received all necessary permits for any work done on the property during your period of ownership. If there was unpermitted work done, consider getting an after-the-fact permit. If you can’t, consider speaking with an attorney to review the issue before you list the property.
3. Check with the fire marshal to confirm that any paperwork on a removed oil tank was properly filed and that there is no indication of remaining contaminated soil.
Full removal paperwork was not routinely filed with the fire marshal until relatively recently; therefore, if the paperwork seems incomplete, check to see if you have more complete paperwork in your personal files and if you do, consider filing it with the fire marshal.
4. Know whether your property is in a flood zone or if there are wetlands on the property.
You will need to disclose these facts to any potential buyer. If the property is in a flood zone, find out if it is possible to transfer your flood insurance to a buyer and consider obtaining an up-to-date flood elevation certificate.
At Rucci Law Group our goal is to assist our clients with reaching a successful closing that is as stress-free as possible. If at any time you have questions regarding your property—whether you are a current client or a potential client— please reach out. We are always happy to help.
Amy S. Zabetakis is one of the founding members of Rucci Law Group, LLC. She practices primarily in the areas of real estate and zoning. Amy can be reached at 203-202-9686 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.