Home inspectors can save your life, real estate deal

Friday, July 28, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 30

Home inspectors can prove to be burrs in the saddles of listing agents and sellers with the many deficiencies they uncover while plying their trade.

Often accused of “nitpicking” or trying to “kill the deal,” the fact is that they are performing their duties to the best of their abilities.

Based on the scope of their work and the importance of their findings, they should be revered and elevated as a profession that can saves lives. Every home should have an inspection, every year. Things break, and some are toxic, dangerous and are downright scary.

Inspectors that have found smoldering breaker boxes that would have caused fires within hours with wiring that would make an arsonist jealous. And in a surprising number of cases, the plumbing contractors failed to connect the toilets and shower drains to the sewers or the septic tank, leaving the untreated sewage to fester in the crawl space.

Every home should have a CO2 detector and a gas detector. There are many examples of shoddy workmanship when it comes to connecting gas lines.

Recently, a home with a new gas stove, a new gas water heater and three HVAC systems had sprouted leaks in the stove line and water heater line. Nine additional leaks occurred when the main gas line was connected to the gas meter.

A recent termite inspection exposed a basement filled with brown recluse spiders. The homeowner had milled his own wood for the construction of the home, and the spiders were quite fond of the environment he created. The inspector estimated that there were hundreds of the arachnids lurking.

In heavily treed areas, the copperheads and timber rattlesnakes are more abundant than ever. By the way, a rattlesnake will consume rodents that are hosting between 2,500 and 4,500 ticks each year, so pick your literal poison.

Sale of the Week

Nestled along the hillside that runs off of White Bridge Road and heads toward the WSMV tower and into Hillwood rests the neighborhood known as Brookside.

In the 1970s, Nelson Andrews developed the property, which was composed of duplexes.

Andrews converted these to single-family units and they sold briskly in the $33,000 range. Through the years, with the exception of a recession or two, values have appreciated. Once known as “Resident’s Row” due to its popularity with physicians serving their residencies, the area is now more diverse in its non-doctor residents.

Alissa Razansky-Robinson, one of the more creative Realtors in the business and a good writer, listed the home at 810 Neartop Drive for $399,900 in late May. It went under contract in early July.

In today’s market, those 51 days seem like an eternity, yet the home sold for over the list price at $405,000. Some of those marketing days included the week of the Fourth of July, which sent the real estate world into a state of dormancy.

Alissa described the home as a “pinch me perfect cottage in a stunning location.” She also noted the separate basement that includes a fourth bedroom that “offers an inviting opportunity of a second income.” She refrained from the Airbnb word, but planted the seeds.

It has been years since there has been as big a stir in the community as this Airbnb controversy has ignited. In a brother-against-brother conflict with emotions running at fever pitches, the debate lingers.

Many homes that would be eligible for the owner-occupied provision are being marketed as such, even if the current owners had never considered their homes as candidates for an Airbnb arrangement.

At this time, most restrictive covenants ban the parking of agricultural vehicles in the yards, so there will be no party tractors touring for now.

In addition to the income-producing bedroom, there are three standard bedrooms for family and authentic guests. There are two full baths in the main living area and two in the basement. With 600 square feet in the basement, the total square footage is 2,132.

Caroline Armstrong of the newly formed WH Properties represented the buyer and proved victorious as other offers appeared even after the seven-week stint on the market.

WH Properties was founded by Allen Huggins, who has emerged as one of the city’s leading Realtors, selling hundreds of homes and serving in numerous leadership capacities.

The original owner had purchased the home in 1973 for $33,000 and sold in 1998 for $150,00. That owner sold 14 years later for $225,000, and this seller sold for the $405,000 after five years of ownership.

With or without Airbnb, a house in the $399,900 price range in the Brookside Courts will sell quickly.

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