Help! Help! Is there a doctor for the house?

Friday, July 20, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 29

Several years ago, OK maybe 40, an air-freshening product ran an advertising campaign offering a cure for “Houseatosis,” referring to a house with halitosis, or bad breath.

The aerosol spray, most likely referred to as “space-age technology,” as all things new were in those days, has been replaced by plug-in and other smelly gadgets that do not rid the air of the bad odor targeted, but add a more powerful, pungent odor to the mix.

Houseatosis is only one malady that can plague houses and impede their sales. Here’s a Realtor version of the Physicians Desk Reference.

Pantryitis: A home lacking cabinet space for foods, spices, etc., or sorely lacking a pantry.

Nearblightedness: A wonderful home, completed renovated, that is adjacent and abutted by blighted or rundown properties.

Fleasbiteus: It is not uncommon to wander into a vacant home and have the legs of Realtors and buyers suddenly covered with fleas. This condition is often caused by curosis of the litter.

Newer logical disorder: When everything in the house is updated except the kitchen and the master, i.e., the most important areas to update. There is no logic in the newer modifications.

Garage banned: There are many buyers who are more anal about car care than childcare or the safety of their significant others. In many areas, particularly those with historical overlays, detached garages are forbidden and the structure of the home exhausts the building envelope.

Fractured footing: Most structural issues begin at the base of the building. Bad footings can lead to trips and falls.

Art Failure: Décor is one of the most important features of the property. An overzealous or appropriately zealous fan of a presidential candidate can ruin a visit by the opposing party. Nudes are not for prudes, and prudes buy houses. Hang it after the sale.

Brain matter wall coverings: In many older homes, the wall coverings over plaster resemble orange peels or brain matter. It is not intellectually appealing in many cases.

Hardening of the plumbing arteries: The galvanized pipes from the streets serve as arteries for the plumbing veins that flow into the baths. Over time, rust builds in these lines reducing water pressure. In order to reduce hypertension in buyers, replace the lines.

Roof decay: Roofs that look bad leak, or so the buyers feel. If possible replace it, or at least brush regularly.

Inoperable flue: The fireplace has been the death of many a deal. Have the flues functioning properly and the chimney capped. Everyone and everything should wear caps in bad weather.

Heat stroke: The Nashville market, specifically in older areas, has converted attics into livable space. In many cases, theses spaces were not insulated. In others, the air conditioning was not increased enough to handle the heat. They are adequate in mild weather and sufficient in winter, but not in the heat of a midsummer night. Administer cold air to the patient.

Commodore Construction Syndrome: Brick houses have been immortalized in song. You may have noticed that there has never been a song entitled She’s a Siding House or She’s a Stucco Home. There isn’t even a country song, She’s Vinyl, but I Love Her.

Wolfphobia: A pediatric version of Commodore Construction Syndrome. Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Your children. Could the Three Little Pigs have been written by the brick lobby?

Sales of the week

This week’s featured sales come from Inglewood. One reason is there were sales there this week, unlike many areas. The middle of the month is, as a rule, a slow time for closings, but not for Inglewood.

The first sale is located at 2314 Fernwood Drive and was listed by Ivy Arnold of Parks Properties, who lists everything cool everywhere, and with good results.

This home sold in only 14 days for $196,900 after having been listed for $199,900 ($122 per square foot). Shelly Plahuta from Realty Trust Residential represented the buyer of this home in the Dan Mills Elementary School district, now considered one of the city’s best.

The home was described by Arnold, known for slight hyperbole, as a “Showstopper” with a “brilliant fenced-in backyard with a topnotch deck” and “phenomenal loving space.” It sold in 14 days. Hard to argue.

The second home was listed by Mike Gallagher, obviously no fan of Horace Greeley, who sells more houses in the East than anyone the past few years.

This property is located at 3901 Oxford Street and has 2,075 square feet, selling for $249,000 in 19 days after having been listed for $253,050. Laurie Albee from Tom Andrews’ Weichert Realtors brought the buyer to this Dan Mills Elementary-zoned home, which features two porches, the all-important master bedroom downstairs and a kitchen boasting granite and the works. Since the square footage was higher, the price per square foot was lower: $120.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with French, Christianson, Patterson, and Associates and can be reached at