The Champlain Towers Collapse: What REALTORS® Can Learn With Linda Olson

Expand all


The collapse of the Champlain Towers has been a mysterious and important event in the real estate world, especially for the families deeply affected by the tragedy. It brought to light some of the essential things to note for environmentally-challenged properties; all buildings do degrade and are affected by the elements of nature. Our guest, Linda Olson is a REALTOR® and environment consultant in Florida. This episode focuses on how we can best advise our clients when they are purchasing condominium properties or properties in environmentally challenged areas. What can the rest of us learn from the tragedy in Surfside?

[2:55] Linda's background and what she does today as an environmentalist and REALTOR®.

[5:52] Building codes in Florida and the state's rules and regulations.

[11:13] Regulations differ from state to state, and even between the state and local levels. Most areas leave it up to the local governments to decide building codes, etc.

[15:00] Causes that contributed to the Champlain Tower collapse, and environmental factors that came into play specifically due to location.

[25:50] The difference in the inspection process between residential real estate and condo buildings.

[28:50] What REALTORS® can do to help their clients when they are purchasing a unit in a condo.

[33:13] A "condo checklist" that you could use with your clients so they have an idea of what types of things to check out before buying a property.

[38:12] Monica shares some information from Robert Nordlund about the physical and financial health of a building and its homeowner's association, and a few of his tips for REALTORS®.

[42:05] Predictability in the natural wear and tear and degradation of properties and the life expectancy of buildings, and how appraisers use this when valuing a property.

[46:45] Upkeep and maintenance of apartments compared to a condo or townhouse

[49:20] REALTORS®' responsibility to educate our sellers and our buyers, to act as professionals, and to advise our clients of the concerns to be aware of, and what they should consider prior to closing on a property.


"Even if there are building codes, when inspections are done by the local government, they are only looking to make sure that the building code standards have been met at a minimum. They don't inspect the quality of the work." — Linda

"I think it's part of our responsibility as REALTORS® to be able to advise our clients as to things that may affect them before they purchase a property. If you don't take the time to learn how it can affect it, you don't have any advice or assistance that you can give your clients." — Linda

"Deferred maintenance is a big deal. If we don't take care of things when they come up and replace them when appropriate, the building will go back to the Earth." — Monica

About Linda Olson

Linda Olson, REALTOR®, GREEN is with D. Basile Real Estate, LLC in Melbourne, Florida. Linda specializes in all non-residential property types, especially vacant land.

Linda brings a unique perspective to the real estate field as she also has 20 plus years of experience as an environmental consultant. Linda uses this experience to assist owners and buyers regarding the intricacies of developing/optimizing/selling and buying environmentally challenged property. Linda also uses this expertise to assist landlords and tenants with property leasing.

During both Linda's environmental and real estate careers, for more than 10 years, she was actively involved with the local Home Builders and Contractors Association. The additional knowledge that she gained from this association and the contacts she has with builders, remodelers, and distributors of products gives her unique information and insight into "green" building techniques for improving a home's energy efficiency.

Using both careers, since 2010, Linda has authored and teaches courses that have been approved by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation for continuing education for REALTORS®. Linda has been a Florida REALTORS® Faculty Member since 2013.

Since 2016, Linda has been an approved instructor with the Georgia Association of REALTORS® through their Partners in Education Program and an approved provider and instructor through the Tennessee Real Estate Commission.

The classes that Linda has authored and teaches in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee are centered on environmental concerns, green/energy efficiency, commercial real estate, the development process, residential construction and negotiating, networking, and commercial and vacant land contracts.

Linda has been awarded the National Association of REALTORS® Green designation and is an approved Instructor for the NAR's Green designation program as well as their Discovering Commercial Real Estate course.

Linda has a Bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in Wildlife Management and a Master of Science degree from the University of Florida in Ecology. She is a member of the National and Florida Association of REALTORS®. Linda is married, has five rescued cats, and resides in Cocoa, Florida and Morganton, Georgia.