The Problems With Carbon Monoxide Detectors

This Sacramento real estate agent is not out to solve the world-wide problems of death, destruction and mayhem, but it would be nice to figure out how to ensure a carbon monoxide detector is installed in a home at the time of sale. The small things. I like to focus on the smaller picture because those things I should be able to do something about. Making sure carbon monoxide detectors are installed is not really a newsworthy or noble cause. Not like the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, electing to personally kill, clean and consume his own food for a year.

I can barely cut off a fish head and clean out its guts. If I had to shoot my own cow or strangle a chicken, I’d give up meat. Then I’d starve to death because I don’t much care for hard, raw vegetables like eggplant or zucchini, for example, veggies that multiply and are easy to grow. I’m no Sarah Palin. Nope, nobody would ever confuse us, thank goodness.

Neither was my mother. My mother as a teenager took a job in a chicken plant. It involved plucking the feathers off of a chicken — after wringing its neck. This was in the 1940s. I would never eat chicken again if I had that kind of hands-on experience. I like my food not to resemble the animal from which it came. Let’s face it, some foods are better off being disguised, like bacon. It would be so much easier for me if I were a committed vegetarian but the truth is I like being carnivorous. I just don’t want to get all up-close and personal about it.

I have to get up-close and personal about carbon monoxide detectors, however. My job requires it. Whenever I list a home in Sacramento, I have that “talk” with my sellers. I explain what happens when the buyer’s appraiser comes out. The first thing the appraiser looks for is a reason not to be in the home, and that reason to leave is no carbon monoxide detector. If the carbon monoxide detector is missing, the appraiser can’t finish the appraisal. This means he gets to charge another $125 to come back.

When that happens, the buyer yells at her buyer’s agent. You know the direction crap rolls. This means the buyer’s agent calls me to yell. Although, I will not yell at my own client. Sometimes, I suggest that sellers put a sign on the wall with an arrow pointing down to the receptacle where the carbon monoxide is plugged in, especially if it’s a spot that is not easy to see.

When the California law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in a home went into effect a year ago in July, this forward-thinking Sacramento real estate agent bought 50 carbon monoxide detectors and stuffed them in my front trunk. If I ever rammed into the rear end of some SUV, the road would be littered with dozens of carbon monoxide detectors, but at least I’d never be without a carbon monoxide detector when I needed one. So, I used to just give them to my sellers when I listed their home. But that didn’t necessarily solve the problem.

I have almost poked out my eye on more than one occasion trying to open that theft-proof packaging. Once, I stabbed myself in the chin and drew blood, and then ran around the vacant house trying to find toilet paper. Why do people take partially empty rolls of toilet paper with them when they move? How expensive is toilet paper? The other problem with that solution is when the sellers moved out, they take the carbon monoxide detectors with them as well. By accident.

This is a huge problem for home buyers because they are the people who get stuck paying for a second trip by the appraiser. Short of handing a buyer $125 when they write a purchase offer, I think instead I’ll try to be more diligent. That seems the easier path.

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