By Anessa Cohen

Allergies may not be the first thing considered when the subject of real estate comes up, but for some buyers who suffer from serious allergic reactions, checking for possible allergens is front-and-center when they’re looking to purchase a new home.

These irritants can number in the hundreds, most of which a person with non-allergic tendencies may never think twice about. But someone with high sensitivities might get sick from something as common as dust found in carpeting or from general housekeeping patterns in some homes they may enter.

For the real-estate broker, the house search takes on a whole new dimension when helping buyers who suffer from allergies. Many different factors must be taken into account before actually showing them homes for sale that might suit them.

I have been in situations with people who loved a home but had to pass on it due to allergenic properties in the house that could not be resolved. When a buyer is allergic to animals, for instance, such as a dog or a cat, even removing the animals, and possibly any furniture or carpeting, from the house can be insufficient for a person who is highly allergic. Some people with allergies need to consider redoing existing sheetrock on walls in such a home if they choose to purchase it, as well as repainting all surfaces to rid them of any remaining particles which may not be visible to the naked eye but can cause dangerous allergic reactions to some if left unaddressed.

Old carpeting as well as the padding beneath it can also be a source of irritants that might not affect the rest of us. The carpeting and padding may release chemical properties that would cause troublesome side effects to a person with sensitivities to those elements.

It is not uncommon today for buyers with children to prioritize homes with wood floors as opposed to carpeting, and central air-conditioning as opposed to window units. In the case where carpeting exists, it is not uncommon for potential buyers to check if there are wood floors underneath so that they may consider a particular home even if they must remove the carpeting from the floors.

Central air-conditioning can filter allergens better than window units. I have had many a customer with allergies tell me to show them homes only with central air-conditioning, even if other homes are fabulous.

Of course, all buyers seem to be allergic to the high price of some homes. I’m sorry, but this is one allergic reaction whose remedy still eludes me!

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to


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