Houlihan & O’Malley in Bronxville is dedicated to making home buying and selling a great experience for clients. Co-owner Joe Houlihan answers some questions below about the firm’s real estate concierge services, which connect clients with vetted vendors and ease the process of moving into or out of a house.
What types of concierge services do you offer to homebuyers?
“Think about anything you would need when you move into a house – an electrician, a plumber, handyman, painter, gardener. We have a tried and true list of service providers that we are happy to share with our clients. It’s made up of companies that are dependable and highly recommended by our staff and former clients.”
What concierge services seem to be most helpful to sellers?
“Probably the most important service we can offer is arranging for a pre-inspection of your home. It is very important for the seller to hire an inspector to go through his/her house before putting it on the market. This inspection is specifically for the seller so there are no unwanted surprises when the buyer comes to inspect your house. I like to say it’s the best insurance policy you can get to protect you from the consequences of buyer’s remorse.”
Can you give us an example of a pre-inspection discovery that needed to be remedied by the seller before putting his/her house on the market?
“We helped a client by arranging for a pre-inspection of their Tudor home, which they had moved into back in 1974. They had heated their home with gas. A pre-inspection showed there was an underground oil tank in their yard that they didn’t even know existed. That tank violated certain environmental codes. We helped them file the permit to pull the tank and found an expert to remove it.”
What about helping with a certificate of occupancy?
“Any time you build an addition to your home, you must have a certificate of occupancy [C of O]. If you don’t, you will have huge problems when you go to sell. In fact, some 25 percent of deals have C of O issues that have to be addressed before the sale closes. We helped one couple in Crestwood who wanted to put their house on the market but had expanded their deck from 10 by 10 feet to 30 by 18 feet. They had two choices − to legalize it or restore it to the original dimensions. After considering all the options, it turned out it was easier to restore it. So, we connected them to a contractor who was familiar with the current building code and could restore the deck to code.”
What is one of your concierge service stories with the happiest ending?
“We helped a family of six grown children sell their deceased parents’ home in Yonkers that was located on one-third of an acre. We advised the family that there was a good possibility that they could subdivide the property. Our office got them in touch with the municipality and helped them get the surveys done. In the end, they made an extra $150,000 by creating an additional building lot. That’s a nice chunk of money.” – Edited by Georgette Gouveia
For more on residential real estate, look for WAG’s December “Power Brokers” issue.