When An Ice Storm Hits Your Listing, What Should You Do? Harold Spiegel of Preservation Tree Offers Advice

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Broken tree trunk

We know that Icemaggedon doesn’t discriminate between homes it hits, and while you may have worked tirelessly to get your listing ready for MLS, a downed branch or broken limb is a huge issue when it comes to showing a home.

So, what should you do as a Realtor if one of your listings was hit hard by our recent history-making ice storm? Harold Spiegel of Preservation Tree Service says that you shouldn’t do a thing — let a trained arborist handle it.

Pear tree split“Potential buyers are looking for big mature trees, but the key is a healthy tree,” Spiegel says. He recommends homeowners partner with a Certified Arborist to help them achieve this goal. “Tree work should be completed only by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees, because your home’s value depends on it.”

Of course, just like our last catastrophic ice storm, tree companies will litter neighborhoods with flyers and business cards, but Spiegel warns that not all tree trimmers are created equal.

“There are many individuals with no more than a truck and a chainsaw who sell themselves as ‘tree care professionals’ or ‘arborists,’ ” Spiegel adds. “They’ll tell you they can take care of your trees and happily take your money; only to leave you with what translates to a butcher job and trees that will most likely succumb to decline from poor treatment.”

To avoid these “tree fakers” as Spiegel calls them, follow these tips:

Always ask for ISA Arborist certification numbers for staff they say is certified. Will one of their certified arborists come inspect the trees beforeany pruning work or treatments are performed? Are they accredited and insured? If they damage your property, will they be responsible, or will you? A logo doesn’t equal legitimacy. Nor does simply calling oneself an expert.

If you are trying to sell your home, Spiegel recommends you prioritize tree care and pruning, especially after an ice storm, because this is important to curb appeal and a huge selling point. “Trees add value to the property, help cool your home and neighborhood, break the cold winds to lower heating costs in the winter, and provide food for wildlife,” Spiegel said. “Homes with healthy mature trees also sell faster.”

Of course, when weather like Icemaggedon hits, firms with trained arborists and tree-trimming experts are often backlogged with customers, especially in areas with tons of mature trees like East Dallas and the Park Cities. Patience is important, Spiegel says.

“Don’t let anyone come in with a chainsaw,” he warns, “because they could cause irreversible damage to the structure of the tree, leave it susceptible to disease, and even harm the curb appeal and beauty of the tree, which will cost the homeowner money.”




Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for CandysDirt.com. While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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