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VOL. 40 | NO. 20 | Friday, May 13, 2016

Upon closer inspection, you’re driving us insane

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Everyone who has dipped a toe into the Nashville residential real estate waters knows the pool is shallow and the springs are running hot.

With no inventory, the frustration level runs high and, when buyers finally find a home that is actually on the market, void of a contract and available for sale, those buyers shiver with anticipation, flinging their highest and best offers with all they have.

When that offer is accepted, relief and glee fill the air until those emotions are overcome by doubt. “Hmmm, wonder why no one else wanted it?” Or, “Did I pay too much?”

Then the second-guessing overcomes the buyer. Along comes the inspection, and the buyers are devastated to learn their dream home is a money pit. They have been bamboozled.

Steve Fridrich of Fridrich and Clark Realty fame often points to the psychological mess this situation causes when emotions of frustration, exhilaration, doubt and disappointment converge. The stream can become turbulent and the whitewater swirls in the minds of the buyers.

Years ago, the state mandated all home inspectors must be licensed by the state and, once that happened, almost all of the inspectors joined a trade organization known as ASHI, or the American Society of Home Inspectors.

In most inspections today, the inspectors use the same electronic forms and digital formats for their reporting, and it is a significant improvement over the hand-scratched cursive, three-triplicate forms used before all of the licensing.

The first several pages are titled “Repair Summary.” Initially, when these new forms were introduced, buyers and their agents scoured the summary and chose which items they felt would be reasonable to request that the owners repair. Not now.

Current practice is that the buyers request, should I say demand, that the sellers make any and all repairs included in the summary.

Some of these deficiencies could include lights that do not function. In most cases, the bulbs have ended their life and need to be replaced.

At other times there is a secret switch that activates the light. When buyers read that a number of the lights in the home are not functioning, they deem that there has been shoddy electrical work.

Some inspectors refer to all fungus as mold, and they stand a 4 in 22,000 chance of being right. Mold, understandably, terrifies.

Last week, one buyer had the water tested and requested a $7,000 water treatment system for the house. The seller found it odd that her drinking water would be dangerous, especially since Scott Potter, the director of Metro Water Services lived in the vicinity. She called him.

He had the water tested and it was in good shape.

What many buyers forget when they digest the inspection report is that they did not pay too much for the houses. They paid the market price. What they also tend to dismiss is that simply because their contracts were accepted does not mean that others did not and do not want the homes.

After negotiating with a buyer on an inspection report, one seller said she would not want to sell to that buyer as she did not want to inflict such a personality on her neighbors. She then terminated the contract.

Sale of the week

Veteran real estate agent and all-around Ensworth volunteer leader Jenny Garth Lovvorn listed the home at 923 Lynnwood Boulevard in Belle Meade for $1,475,000 and sold it for $1,325,000 in less than a month.

Lovvorn is with Fridrich and Clark Realty, where she has prospered since her real estate childhood years in the late 1990s.

She described the four-bedroom, four-full-bath, two-half-bath home as having “tall ceilings, deep molding, large windows and hardwood floors with a kitchen that is flooded with light.” She also noted each bedroom has its own bathroom, and that seems to be a requirement in many of the homes these days.

The sellers had purchased the home in 2013 for $1.2 million from owners who had paid $1,275,000 in 2004, all serving as evidence that the Recession hit Belle Meade and that Belle Meade has emerged victorious and unscathed, for the most part.

This Lynnwood, not Lynwood with one n, house hosted some 4,232 square feet and sold for $313 per square foot on a lot that was .57 acres, thereby debunking the “all lots in Belle Meade are a minimum of one acre” myth.

The home features all the requirements needed to sell for more than $300 per square foot, including marble counter tops, walk-in closets, double vanities in the owner’s suite and a two-car garage.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.

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