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VOL. 36 | NO. 44 | Friday, November 02, 2012

Be wary of contractors with 20-20 hindsight

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Suppose something in your house is broken, perhaps a commode, an HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning, by the way), or maybe something electrical. So, you consult friends, Realtors and the Internet in order to remedy the situation.

Houses aren’t people. They are not mammals, fish, reptiles or any of the other species that inhabit the earth. The good news is that whatever the ailment is, there is a cure. It may be costly, but the flip side of the “if it ain’t broke...” adage applies. If it is broke, fix it. And get bids, as many as you can.

Here’s why. In medicine, second opinions are recommended, especially considering the severity of the illness diagnosed. In many cases, second opinions save lives. Having done no research on this subject, I must rely on personal experience. In every case for me, the original diagnosis was correct and the doctor offering the second opinion concurred with every factor of the primary doctor.

In my cases, had I performed more preventative maintenance, the results would have been different.

In the case of home repair, be not forlorn if the attending contractor informs you that every single operation that has ever been performed on your home was done improperly.

“I can’t believe anyone would have ever done anything like this!” they like to exclaim. “This doesn’t even meet codes” always follows.

Then as quickly as Clark Kent transforms into Superman, the contractor becomes Ida Dunn. “Ida Dunn this” and “Ida Dunn that” echoes across the room, more repetitive than the chorus of a bad country song.

Here is a recommendation, if one contractor ever compliments another, hire the contractor. If the insults fly, it does not necessarily indicate that the flinger is bad, only arrogant, or lacking in self-esteem.

Unfortunately, past clients are not going to cure a lack of self-esteem in any contractor, as few jobs come in on time and on budget. To be fair, it is unfair in most cases to lay the blame on the contractor since they often encounter unforeseeable obstacles along the way and must make adjustments.

By the way, Band-Aids don’t work on houses. A construction Band-Aid can infect another part of the house. Find the cause of the diseased section, and cure it.

Sales of the Week

As Nashville continues to grow in population, it has experienced seismic paradigm shifts as those relocating from various regions of the country bring with them a diverse collection of real estate priorities.

One neighborhood that transplants seem to especially appreciate is the Belmont area, having become one of the most desirable locations. In that area, Oakland Avenue has emerged as the most popular street in the opinion of many.

Two of last week’s sales reflect the trend. Standing proudly upon a 50-by-170-foot lot is a stately four square at 2802 Oakland Avenue that, according to listing agent Theresa Luckett Burdge of the Wilson Group, has been meticulously maintained and includes three bedrooms, three full baths and a tankless water heater.

With the 610 square feet in the basement, the house boasted 3,620 square feet and sold for the list price of $792,000, or $218 per square foot for all the footies out there.

While it appears the owners had improved somewhat, the $792,000 sales price rewarded their work since they had paid $500,000 for the dwelling in 2002. Richard Bryan, the hardest working man in real estate, brought the buyer on board. Richard lives at Fridrich and Clark Realty, which is convenient since he has his real estate license there.

Not to be outdone, 2709 Oakland Avenue, the little bungalow that could, brought $228 per square foot with its 4,155 square feet commanding a price of $950,000.

Traditions Homes, a leading residential contractor in the area, renovated this house, which includes the all-important master bedroom, a necessity as boomers are outliving their knees.

As always, Daniel Green included green features such as spray-foam insulation, insulated windows and energy efficient mechanicals. The company has a reputation for classic and character-laden trim packages and amenities, and has filled a market niche for upper-end classic homes in the Belmont area – a segment that was overlooked by most.

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