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Home Buying For Clients with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Filed in Prescott, AZ Real Estate by on December 4, 2014 3 Comments • views: 1287

According to Wikipeia,Environmental Illness, also know as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is a  chronic medical condition characterized by symptoms that the affected person attributes to low-level chemical exposure. Commonly attributed substances include scented products, pesticides, plastics, synthetic fabrics, smoke, petroleum products, and paint fumes.

Chemical sensitivityAs a Realtor, working with people with MCS holds many challenges. However it is also very rewarding when done right and we are successful.

For people with MCS, the prospect of finding and purchasing a safe home is beyond challenging. For starters, many of these people can no longer work due to illness so money is often an issue. Many people with MCS also can not venture into stores or office like other people can. In fact, the prospect of looking at homes with a Realtor is dangerous and scary. Fragrance used in deodorant, shampoo and cologne can easily cause a very strong reaction. Fabric softeners, car exhaust, even that “new car smell” can cause serious reactions.

Over the past 4 years, my team and I have successfully worked with several clients with MCS.  The first key to success is really understanding what chemicals our clients need to avoid. For some it can be petrochemicals, and for others it could be electrical fields.
Once we have the client’s specific needs identified , the next step is to identify homes that do not contain any of the chemicals or conditions the we are trying to avoid. These homes are often in more rural areas with plenty of acreage around them. They also frequently have tile or wood flooring and most are on slab foundations . Underground utilities are also usually a benefit. The type of heating and or cooling is also important. Most prefer hot water or radiant heat.

Once we have identified some good candidate properties, we preview these homes for our clients before they visit. We are looking for are things you can’t see from the listing photos; the smell of new paint or stain, new carpet or other recent repairs. Most of our clients are looking for homes that are at least 10 years old and have not been painted or remodeled recently.

Once we have identified a good candidate for our client, we next schedule a showing. Most often these homes are vacant, but in the event they are occupied, we need to make sure the sellers are not present during the showing. My team and I also have to take extra precautions against causing our clients to have a reaction. We make sure we are not wearing any scents or perfumes. In some cases we have even had to turn off our cell phones and GPS to accommodate clients with sensitivity to electronic fields.

Once we find a suitable property, it becomes very important to have sellers who are willing to respect the needs of the buyer. This includes extra care when any work is done in or around the property. We once had a property under contract that was bank owned. And because banks often hire property management companies to inspect and maintain the properties, we had the unfortunate experience of having a maintenance guy for the bank visit the home spray pesticides all around the house.

The inspection period for a buyer with MCS is likely to be much more intense than for other buyers. It is not uncommon to complete extensive water, air and surface testing in and around the property to insure that there are no chemicals present that would cause harm to the buyer.

It is super important to keep in mind the particular sensitivities of the client from the beginning to the end of the process. Most of our clients with MCS never step foot inside our office because it is full of copiers, and electronics, not to mention other real estate agents who may be wearing strong scents. Instead we often meet outdoors and drive separate cars to the homes we are viewing.

The process of buying a home for somebody with MCS may not be easy, but with the appropriate care and planing, it can be done successfully.

Dave Conners and the Conners Team enjoy helping all of our clients, even when we have to turn off our cell phones and go without deodorant:)

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Comments (3)

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  1. Marcia says:

    Awesome! I need a Wisconsin Realtor..Any advice?

    • gotprescott says:

      Hi Marcia,

      I would be happy to suggest a great Wisconsin Realtor. In what part of the state are you living?

  2. Marcia says:

    south milwaukee

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