Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Dreaded Home Inspection

The following is an excellent article by Boston Globe Correspondent and Real Estate Broker Marjorie Youngren.

The mere thought of a home inspection can cause anxiety in buyers and sellers. Although a buyer’s offer has been accepted, it is often contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection, keeping everyone on edge.

Consider this scenario: The seller has lived in his home for many years and doesn’t see anything wrong with it other than the fact that it’s, well, older. He’s “never had a problem.’’ The buyers, about to make the biggest purchase of their lives, want their new home to be perfect. The home inspector’s job is to pick the house apart and let his or her clients, the buyers, know what is wrong with it. Finally, there are two realtors with opposing interests, one representing the buyer and the other the seller, and both are trying to do the best by their clients. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it doesn’t have to be, as long as everyone has the proper expectations heading into the inspection.


The buyers need to understand that a home inspection really is not meant to be used as a negotiating tool. It is to provide additional information about the home they are purchasing, a reference point. Good buyer’s agents will explain to their clients that in New England many properties are older and that reasonable wear and tear is expected — no home is perfect. The buyers should be concerned about health and safety issues that weren’t disclosed or observed before they made their offer.

Negotiable examples uncovered by an inspector could include things like mold; code violations, such as no fire door between the garage and interior of the home; or electrical issues, such as double-tapped circuit breakers. Issues like the last two could keep the owner from collecting insurance after a fire, so it would benefit the seller to address them. Usually, however, the seller prefers to issue the buyer a credit to cover the cost of the fix.

One way or the other, these are justifiable negotiations, and it is the responsibility of the seller’s agent to explain this. Conversely, items that are visible to the eye ¬— tired roofs and furnaces, wood rot, cracked tiles — are expected in older homes and not items for which a seller should have to compensate the buyer. They were already considered when the agent priced the home to sell.

Finally, in a seller’s market like this, with limited inventory and high demand, it behooves a buyer to have a home inspection prior to making an offer. Buyers should expect to be involved in multiple-offer situations on newly listed properties, and they need to do whatever they can to have theirs stand out. A pre-inspection enables the buyer to uncover issues ahead of time and put in an offer without including a home-inspection contingency.

The fewer conditions the sellers see, the more attractive the offer looks, and the more likely it is they will accept the offer.

If you are buying or selling you should have an attorney. Negotiations can get hairy at times. Call today for a free consultation. 781-924-5326.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Fitzgerald Law!

What you don’t know about the history of St. Patrick’s Day

If you’re from around here, you may also know that March 17 is Evacuation Day, a local holiday that commemorates the day in 1776 that the British troops left Boston. But it’s only a holiday in Suffolk County. Revere City Hall and the Boston public schools will be closed, but most municipal offices and school systems will be open for business as usual.

Here are things you should know about this infamous dual-holiday that falls on March 17.
1. Patrick wasn’t Irish. The man who would become known as Ireland’s patron saint was born to a rich British family in the late fourth century, and his initial trip to the Emerald Isle was not by choice. According to Philip Freeman’s book “St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography,’’ Patrick was kidnapped when he was 15 years old and sold to an Irish farmer, and spent the next six years working there as a slave. He eventually escaped and made it home to Britain, but ultimately decided to return to Ireland to preach the Christian gospel. Many myths persist about Patrick to this day, including stories of him driving snakes away from Ireland and using shamrocks to teach people about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “I’m afraid the shamrock story is indeed a myth,’’ Freeman said in an e-mail to The Globe. “There’s no evidence at all Patrick ever used it. Also, he couldn’t have driven the snakes out of Ireland since Ireland never had snakes.’’ Patrick is believed to have died on March 17, but that too may not be true. Freeman says the date “is little more than a guess’’ and even the year of his death remains unknown.

2. Origins of these holiday(s). March 17 became a legal holiday in Suffolk County in March 1941. The Globe reported that Governor Leverett Saltonstall was at his home in Chestnut Hill recovering from an operation when he signed the bill, making March 17 – Evacuation Day and St. Patrick’s Day – a legal holiday in Suffolk County. The governor signed his name with green ink.

3. We’re wicked Irish. According to the US Census Bureau, 22 percent of Massachusetts residents claimed Irish ancestry in 2014. Some Bay State cities and towns are more Irish than others. In Braintree, for example, 42.3 percent of the population claims Irish ancestry. Several other communities south of Boston — including Scituate, Hanover, Marshfield and Norwell — are also close to having a majority Irish population.

4. Irish roots run deep here. When did the first Irish immigrants arrive in this country? If you guessed during the famine of the 1840s, you’re wrong. Irish folks settled here long before that, and have been making their mark ever since. The Charitable Irish Society formed in Boston in 1737, and is still going strong today (the society’s 279th St. Patrick’s Day Anniversary Dinner will take place at the Omni Parker House Hotel on March 17). Irish Bostonians held the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 1862, according to Michael Quinlin, creator of Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail and author of “Irish Boston.’’ “The 1862 parade may have been the first well-organized parade in Boston (though with the Irish, I’m sure there were earlier attempts made),’’ said Quinlin. That inaugural parade started at Boston Common and went through many different neighborhoods. By 1901, the starting point of the parade moved to South Boston.
5The South Boston parade. This year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston will be held March 20 at 1 p.m., and the shorter route has angered some parade organizers. City officials have planned for the parade to start from the intersection of West Broadway and Dorchester Avenue, and proceed along West Broadway and East Broadway before coming to an end at Farragut Road.