Get a home inspection – even if you’re not selling

Friday, September 27, 2019, Vol. 43, No. 39

Even as we continue with our monthlong drought, the water intrusion issue continues to plague homeowners and hamper the sales of many homes. Heavy rainfall followed by days of hot, dry weather can cause the soils to move about and change the flow of stormwater. When this happens, the building foundations can be affected.

Another consistent issue in inspections is the work performed by various contractors after the home is built. Often, homeowners are forced to replace aging, galvanized pipes or ductwork for HVAC systems. At times, houses are found to have knob and tube wiring that has been identified by insurance companies as hazardous, even though the wiring has been in place for 60 years without incident.

To remedy those issues, owners hire contractors who inadvertently compromise the structural integrity of the entire house while installing the systems, pipes or wiring. While the improvements made by these companies pass the various inspections with the flying colors, the houses are left to fend for themselves as the joists beneath have been butchered.

The employees of these companies often notch the joists that are supporting the load of the home. When a 2-by-8-inch joist has a 6-inch notch cut into it, it is no longer as stable as the 2-by-8-inch joist, and the weight of the house can cause the joist to bend and, in some cases, break. At that point whatever is above it in the home will shift downward.

Many times, those discarded notches are left behind, making tasty bait for the termites and their wood-boring relatives.

Workers crawling through the crawl spaces, which are less than optimal working spaces, to say the least, will sometimes move vapor barriers, jeopardizing their ability to block vapors and moisture.

Fiberglass insulation can be seen as an itchy nuisance and is often cast aside. If the workers are conscientious enough to try to put the insulation back from whence it came, they will most likely choose to reinstall the material with the paper side, rather than the fiberglass side, showing. In short, it is replaced backward, losing much of its capacity to insulate.

Periodic home inspections can be beneficial, even if a move is not imminent.

Sale of The Week

While Belle Meade proper includes only about 1,120 houses, the neighborhoods surrounding the city have hundreds of residents. There are the Courts of Belle Meade, the Belle Meade Links and the largest of the three, the Belle Meade Highlands, officially the Highlands of Belle Meade.

115 Lincoln Court

The residents of these neighborhoods reap the financial rewards from the association with their neighbors and many actually feel their houses are in Belle Meade. That is until they mention it in conversation with a person who resides within the friendly confines of Belle Meade. They are often quick to correct.

With the exception of the services of the city, the adjacent landowners have the benefits of the location. On Nichol Lane, where the odd-numbered houses are not in Belle Meade but the even-numbered houses across the street are in Belle Meade, many an odd-numbered resident has been known to drag yard waste across the street on wood chipping days in Belle Meade.

The Courts of Belle Meade include Lincoln Court, Lafayette Court and LaSalle Court, which are two horseshoe shaped streets off Leake Avenue. Lincoln Court makes a full horseshoe, while LaSalle changes its name to Lafayette in mid-shoe. Or Lafayette changes its name to LaSalle, depending on which side is entered.

Both are lazy, quiet streets, entered only by those with reasons to be there. The houses have remained, for the most part, intact and have escaped demolition. There have been houses razed, with builders incurring the wrath of nearby Belle Meade Links residents who are neither quiet nor lazy when it comes to protecting their land.

One campaign against new construction in the Courts was complete with billboard-type signage denigrating the taller homes that replaced the one-story original dwellings. The signs were draped across the rear of the Links home and visible to all visiting the Courts.

One of the homes originals to the community is 115 Lincoln Court. Built in 1949, the house was listed by songbird Chris Simonsen, who has graced many a church service with his stunning vocal abilities. Although he is a real estate broker by day, his voice is heard at most funerals and weddings within earshot of Belle Meade and its links, highlands and courts.

Simonsen listed the home for $735,000 before selling it for $728,000 in 35 days. At $321 per square foot for its 2,288 square feet, the house includes three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and one-half bathroom. Stephen Delahoussaye of Compass Tennessee LLC represented the buyer, who can now boast of having a Belle Meade-area address.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Fridrich and Clark Realty and can be reached at