We lived in the Bay Area for many years in a housing development built in the late sixties/early seventies. It was a very nice neighborhood and we had very few issues with the property. We'd been using our masonry fireplace for years without a problem. Having witnessed a chimney fire years before we made sure to have our chimney swept every year.
It was a surprise, therefore, when we were selling the property, that our Realtor advised us that the chimney inspection revealed a crack large enough to make the chimney unfit for use! He explained that the building codes weren't as stringent when the house was built and the age and location of the property were obvious factors in the chimney's demise. What a reality check!
Our Realtor prepared us for the consequences of this; we'd need to make a concession to the buyer reducing our sell price to allow for the chimney to be replaced or an insert constructed. This was a considerable amount of money, but that was the reality.
The lessons learned from this true story are twofold:
- Hire a CERTIFIED chimney sweep, trained and knowledgeable about fire places and safety issues.
- Hire a good REALTOR to sell your home - one who knows the area and the properties he/she is selling. We had a wonderful Realtor who worked hard for us. He paid attention to detail, kept us informed and got us the best price possible for our home.
When we moved to the North State we were referred to a professional chimney sweep (Bob at White Glove Chimney) by our local Realtor, Karyn Lamb (thank you Karyn). We learned that chimney safety requires more than just a brush and a drop cloth! As a homeowner, if you don't have a referral you can find a professional chimney sweep in your area through the National Chimney Sweep Guild (www.ncsg.org)
From a marketing perspective opportunity exists for chimney sweeps with Realtors, (though it's worth noting that establishing a good relationship with those Realtors can go a long way to overcoming the "deal breaker" image sometimes applied following chimney inspections). Insurance agents and contractors are also good referral sources.
Living in a rural area I often find myself talking to neighbors who confess they've not had their chimney swept in years. It's a safety issue and people just don't realize that. For our area I always refer them to White Glove because we've had such a positive experience with them. If I meet someone from out of the area I suggest they talk to their local Realtor for a referral.
We'd be interested to get some feedback from others, with their experiences and recommendations for chimney sweeps. Also, any tips from chimney sweeps would be welcomed!