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VOL. 40 | NO. 24 | Friday, June 10, 2016

Sellers buck trend, avoid pre-inspection

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Anyone considering selling a home in the near future should be aware of some new trends and take heed as things pertain to inspections.

The home inspector is going to find deficiencies, and the buyer wants the house to be perfect. The cry from sellers is always: “Don’t they know this is an older house?” The answer is: “Yes they do, and they want it perfect.”

Along those lines, do not have an inspection prior to listing. The reasons are many, and one is that it does not mean that the home inspector will not cite issues. All the pre-inspection does is require you to fix everything that the sellers’ inspector noticed, and then, repair everything that the second inspector noticed.

The best idea is to budget about $7,000 for repair. Anything less than that is a gift.

Staying in the realm of inspections because anyone that sells a house is going to live in Inspector Hell for several weeks, when the repairs are negotiated, have the buyer agree to limit the repairs to those on the list that had been negotiated.

Lately, a home inspector returned to see if the homeowner had repaired everything he had suggested. He forgot his list, and he found something broken that he himself had missed the first time through. He had said that the seller needed to cover some exposed dirt in the crawl space in places where the vapor barrier had been moved.

But when he returned for the walk-through inspection, he said the owner had to encapsulate the crawl space, even to the point of taping a moisture barrier to the walls. The seller had not been told to perform that feat.

In that case, the buyer held the seller hostage saying they had not made the repairs. When the seller showed the buyer the list with the new items not included, the buyer said he wanted them fixed anyway or he was not closing.

So now what? The seller has a contract, and the contract says that he only has to fix certain things. The buyer now refuses to close unless additional repairs are made. Perhaps the seller could prevail in court several months from now. But the seller had a house to buy, so the buyer gets a free encapsulated crawl space.

So there can be a pre-inspection (Don’t do it), an inspection (unavoidable) and a re-inspection (have your agreement in hand) all leading to the perfect home. That is until the water heater and the HVAC drop dead the day after closing.

Sale of the Week

Hip Donelson and Marvelous Madison are the latest areas to enroll in the boom.

Both are still affordable and reasonably close. With today’s traffic patterns, both have easier, faster commutes than some of the trendy areas. The houses are resting on their original lots with their floor plans.

An example of this would be Mary O’Neil’s listing at 810 Berwick Trail in Madison that sold for $435,000 last month. The original owner died recently, and her son contacted Mary to list the property. He warned her that nothing had been done to update the home in all of these years.

Expecting the worst, O’Neil donned her rough house wear and approached the home only to find it wonderfully maintained and in pristine condition.

She describes the residence as a “Mad Men mid-century beauty” built by Braxton Dixon and noted that the “Cumberland River is its backyard.”

When staking such a claim, it is imperative to follow with the words “did not flood.’’ Those tiny three words pack a wallop these days.

Although, one of the more interesting things about this 100- person-a-day migration into Nashville is that so few of the buyers and their Realtors actually experienced the flood.

An agent in our office listed a home on the river next to Opryland a few weeks ago, and it was in rough shape. An agent called to see exactly how bad the condition was and the listing agent said, “Well, you remember Opryland, right?” And then she said, “The flood?” A pause followed.

“Remember Opryland, like tens of millions of dollars?” The buyer’s agent was unaware that a flood had occurred here.

For that agent, we have some nice riverfront property we would like to show you.

Back to Madison, the Braxton Dixon house included the original marble countertops, walk-in closets, and wall mounted toilets with push button flush. With 2,996 square feet, the $145 per square foot number is appealing and the house was built on a 1.23 acre lot.

Once listed, O’Neil received multiple offers and the owner decided to accept the offer of Russell Parrish of Parrish and Associates whose client was the son of a woman who had attended school with Braxton Dixon.

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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