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VOL. 38 | NO. 38 | Friday, September 19, 2014

Offer too much that dream house? Let the inspector bail you out

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While real estate rambles along on its record-setting pace, there are bumps all over the road leading to culmination of the transactions.

Many of these are to be expected, and many are results of too much television or Edgar Allen Poe, as the minds of buyers and sellers alike often sink into psychological darkness.

There are two different scenarios dealing with the listings, each spawning its own set of circumstances.

Number One

The most common scenario in this market occurs when a house sells within hours of the “for sale” sign being planted. These sales often result in prices higher than the original listing prices.

The buyers are thrilled beyond belief with their victories over the rejected masses making unaccepted offers. They gleefully call parents and friends to inform them of their negotiating brilliance and their newfound good fortune.

In the unexpected turns of the events that all too often follow, these buyers are chastised, ridiculed and rebuked for their financially cavalier attitudes, and their former allies turn adversarial, demanding that the once-happy buyers find a way to terminate the contract.

Intelligent, informed and hardworking people are reduced to mere rubbish in a few minutes. Embarrassed, sometimes angry, these soon-to-be former buyers call their well-meaning and celebratory Realtors and ask what options are available.

The Realtors usually assess the situation responsibly and remind the buyers that their contracts have appraisal contingencies. Perhaps the buyers could shift the responsibility to the appraiser. After all, they are the pros, knowing more than the parents in Oregon and New Jersey and the college friends now scattered all over the world.

“No way! We want out. Do we need to call an attorney?” they ask.

The buyers’ agents usually inform them that the inspection contingency allows the buyer to walk for any reason whatsoever, and the buyer begs for a quick inspection in order to walk.

Then, the inspector examines the house from pillar to post, only to find it has been well maintained. “There must be something wrong!” the buyers lament.

Eventually, there is a way out, and it usually concerns the water heater – not the hot water heater – the water heater. If the water was already hot, the appliance would not be needed.

Water heaters are always missing something, or maybe it’s in the attic and should not be up there.

Regardless, the water heater will usually solve the buyers’ problems. If not, HVAC installers are sometimes helpful as they never let the components that insure the structural integrity of the house to get in the way of a good ductwork installation.

It is not unusual for floor joists to be cut in two in order to allow the air to flow unrestricted through the ducts while the homes collapse around them.

Number Two

Then there are the times when the houses languish on the market and sell for much, much lower than expected. After reluctantly accepting the offer, the buyer says, “Tell them I’m not fixing anything. This is it. They beat me down and I am not fixing a thing.”

In fact, the market beat them down. Houses sell for what they are worth.

Kennedy conspiracy buffs have nothing on buyers and sellers when it comes to home inspections. They view them as one big grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza.

Buyers think the homeowners have hidden damnable flaws, and sellers think inspectors are conspiring to steal even more of their money by demanding they fix things that are functioning properly. If it ain’t broke yet, fix it anyway.

What actually happens is that inspectors follow a certain regimen dictated by ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. They inspect and report. They do not create deficiencies – at times to the chagrin of the buyers – and they do not hide things.

Eventually, some buyers buy and others walk until they find houses that no one else wants and they can buy below list prices.

Sale of the Week

Brookside Courts is a hotbed of activity these days, with the 1,741-square-foot home at 5605 selling this week for $329,310.

From the day Laron Pendergrass, a former heavy metal guitar player, listed the house until the closing, only 60 days elapsed.

Price Lechleiter, biker turned GNAR prez, had the buyer and beat the rocker down $590 off list price. That’ll buy a good used guitar or some Harley gear.

While serving as the managing broker for Fridrich and Clark’s Brentwood office, Lechleiter led the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors through some rough trails and trials, leaving the group in much better shape than when he found it, benefitting from a 20-something percent uptick in the market. All his doing, of course.

Pendergrass’ listing belted out four bedrooms and had two baths located in the asphalt jungle off White Bridge Road.

The home, he says, features an acoustically correct brick floor on the screened porch, and the kitchen had granite and stainless steel. There are hardwood floors throughout.

The buyers had purchased the home in 2012 for $269,500.

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

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