A simple fix could save your home and family

Friday, October 3, 2014, Vol. 38, No. 40

Following the grueling negotiations between buyers and sellers over issues such as price, possession and the list of appliances that remain with the houses, the inspection ensues.

Following the inspection, many sellers feel as if they have been punched in the stomach and that the inspector was overzealous and the buyers’ demands are extravagant.

In these situations, a common response is something like: “I have lived here 15 years and I never had a problem with it. If they want to fix it, they can fix it themselves.”

Usually, when given time to simmer, the sellers acquiesce to most requests.

There is one item in particular that has been included in a number of inspection reports that I have seen over the years that hit home – literally – this week. The citations made by the inspectors pertain to canned, or recessed, lighting.

This type of lighting became popular in the 1980s when ceiling heights were lowered to conserve energy. Yes, energy conservation has been around awhile.

With the lower ceilings, chandeliers and large light fixtures gave some rooms the appearance that the ceilings were lower than they were. By recessing the lighting into the ceiling, there was more space.

Today, lights are designed and manufactured with safety features that were not practiced in the earlier models. Additionally, insulation has become more fire retardant over the years.

In the 1980s, when early canned lights were making their way into homes, insulation that was blown over and around the cans may actually burn or smolder to a point that it can ignite wooden ceiling joists, which can produce flames that may engulf the rafters.

In the past, I have seen several inspectors note insulation too near the lights. The suggested repair is usually sweeping the insulation at least 15 inches away from the light. This is one of those annoying observations that cause homeowners to feel abused.

The inspectors were right.

We had a small electrical fire in the Courtney household over the weekend, and the first indication was the smell of smoke around the lights. A closer examination revealed the light was extremely hot and, when the can was pulled from the ceiling, sooty, smoldering insulation dropped to the floor.

Almost every house in the area has some sort of canned lighting. Homeowners should check the insulation and, if there is not significant clearance, the insulation should be adjusted.

If the fixtures are of older “unrated” variety, they should be replaced.

Frankly, anyone living in any residence, rented or owned, would be wise to have a home inspection performed. It could be the best $500 they will ever spend.

Sale of the Week

When families relocate to Nashville, many are surprised at the lack of contemporary, single-family homes.

The home at 824 Nanearle Place off Franklin Road might provide some answers as to why the contemporary home genus is near extinction here.

Built in 2008, this stunning 4,145-square-foot home was offered by Kevin Pellatiro for 321 days it sold.

Pellatiro, one of the top Realtors in Middle Tennessee, pulled out all of the marketing stops on this one, hosting lavish catered open houses with fine wines and over-the-top hors d’oeuvres, exciting graphics, print materials and extensive advertising. He threw the party, but no buyers came.

He described the residence as a “Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Prairie style home with impressive entertaining spaces inside and out.”

He also posed the questions: “Are you tired of McMansions and do you need something unique?” The answer from the market was “Give me McMansions.” And that is disappointing.

Pellatiro described this as a “forever” home. It must have seemed like forever during those 321 days that the house lingered on the market, and this house is one of the finest homes in Nashville.

The buyer was finally delivered by the reliable Susan James, who has been with Viva Properties forever it seems, and the wily veteran continues to represent some of the more interesting buyers and properties in the region.

This home include four bedrooms, four full baths with two master suites on the first level, an enormous living room with a fireplace, a breakfast room and a library. The pool was well-designed and constructed, and the home has a three-car garage and was constructed on a lot that is .98 acres, every inch of which was immaculately landscaped and maintained.

This home screams what spec home builders have known about contemporary construction here for years, and that is “If you build it, they will not come.”

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