Nightmare on Elm-sford

If you’re considering selling a house in Elmsford, please be prepared for a nightmare of a transaction.  I’m currently in the middle of two deals in the village, both are having significant issues.  I’m not going to kill the village of Elmsford in a rant here.    It’s understandable that they feel the need to put these rules in place to keep their community safe.  It’s obvious that there is a problem with owners/tenants overcrowding dwellings to the point where it becomes dangerous.  To correct this issue, they are doing walk through inspections prior to every sale to make sure that the house matches what is on the property card.  If it doesn’t, you’re in some serious trouble.  In my opinion, this is another form of government overreach, but again, I get why they feel it’s necessary.

In most cases, the municipality doesn’t throw themselves into the middle of a real estate transaction.  The agents, lawyers and title companies check for certificates of occupancy (CO) and violations.  As long as there are no violations, the lender is willing to close.  If there are items that are missing a CO, it is up to the individuals to determine a solution.  Obviously, in many cases, a buyer would want as much to be legalized as possible.  However, in some cases, this isn’t possible.  This could be due to the seller’s financial situation, impossibility of becoming legal, process involved or several other factors.  When this happens, buyers usually have the option of a credit/price reduction, rip out the item in question or buy as is and nobody says anything.  This is a very complex topic.  It also depends on what was represented by the sellers from the beginning.

In my opinion, this new rule is having a severe negative impact on the elderly, which both of my sellers happen to be.  Well, in one case it’s an estate, but same difference.  In both cases, the village is coming down hard on them for improvements that were made many decades ago, perhaps even 50+ years.  They were certainly there prior to the current owners.  It doesn’t seem fair that they were allowed to purchase the house like this, but now be forced to correct them in order to sell themselves.  In one case it’s costing my seller over $40,000.

In closing, I want to make it clear that I am totally supportive of local municipalities, their rules and their intention to keep the community safe.  Overall, the process does provide a set of safety standards.  However, I just think we should use some common sense on how to apply these rules and consider the negative effects they are having on certain individuals.  It’s unfortunate that they can’t rule on a case by case basis.

If you’re planning on selling your house, no matter where you live, please make sure all of your improvements are permitted.  This is one of the MANY reasons I always advise to work with an agent well before you are ready to go on the market.   I understand many agents are annoying and you want to wait until you’re absolutely ready, but in many cases there are issues to clear up before entering the market.