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VOL. 43 | NO. 40 | Friday, October 4, 2019

Want to move into a clean house? Better grab a broom

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Those with cleanliness fetishes should beware when buying homes and understand the houses they consider will not meet their tidiness specifications. Those who are concerned about sanitation often include the term “House must be cleaned by a professional cleaner prior to closing” in their offer.

As longtime real estate sage Tommy Patterson said years ago, “When buyers include language that the houses must be cleaned by ‘professional cleaners,’ the buyers should forego that formality and hire their own trusted cleaners.”

Such verbiage lends itself to the question “what is a professional cleaner?” If a person is paid to clean one house, does that person lose the amateur status tag? There are not certified cleaners. At least not yet.

There are several provisions to most real estate contracts that are misunderstood and often lead to contract terminations. Buyers unfamiliar with the termite situation in Tennessee have been known to terminate rather than exterminate.

There are some seven termite colonies per acre in the area, people in tune with pest infestation will tell you. And termites do qualify as pests. Each colony can house as many as 1 million termites, meaning a quarter-acre lot could yield 1.75 million termites.

Many who are schooled in the art of termite treatment feel that most lots are in fact housing a million bugs. Buyers should be elated when they show their faces to the termite inspectors, for those appearances force the sellers to pay for the termite treatment.

If the wood boring creatures are able to hide from sight during the inspection, the buyer will be forced to pay to ensure that there is no infestation when they decide to swarm. Termites are not on the endangered species list and can be killed.

In the case of radon, the situation is much the same, and high readings often cause buyers to flee. Mitigation of the deadly gas is easy and permittable.

If a home has a low radon rating, the seller does not have to pay. If it is high, more than four picocuries, the seller must pay. If the radon reading is low, it will not be for all eternity. All houses in the area should have radon mitigation.

Back to the dirt. Buyers should be prepared for the house to be the nastiest of the nasty and have a similar feel to the Munster’s TV house with cobwebs dangling, dust bunnies hopping, roaches running and old food festering in the frig. Consider anything short of that a bonus.

Sale of the Week

The house at 2510 Belmont Boulevard sold last week for $1.65 million, a price not unusual for the historic street. In 2017, the same house sold for $725,000, so it appreciated a mere $925,000 in a span of two years.

2510 Belmont before

Keith Merrill had the house listed when it sold for $725,000, and his real estate partner, Jonny Gleaton, listed the house this time along with Mary Beth Thomas, both hailing from the Parks real estate firm. Gleaton is a rock star in real estate and in the literal sense. He is a rock star and he is a Realtor.

2510 Belmont after

Deft in both worlds, he often melds the two, lending his creative genius to the real estate side. He can then vent his realty frustration through musical performances of his original material. The partner in Keith Merrill House + Key, Gleaton describes the house thusly:

“Lux touches + finishes, quartz counters, chef’s kitchen open to den.” To polish the description, he adds. “Sit on the front porch and watch the world stroll by.”

Co-listed with Thomas, who has sold as much new construction as anyone in town over the past 15 years, the house sold for $409 per square foot and contains five bedrooms, four full baths and one half bath.

Both listings noted the house towers 1.75 stories high, whatever that means. Another .25 stories and the house hits the two-story mark. But some buyers will not tolerate that second floor, so this checks the under two-story box.

The $925,000 gross profit earned on the house shrinks considerably when you factor the cost of renovation and restoration by Britt Development, one of the better-known and respected construction firms in the area. Britt incorporated plans are designed by Nine 12 Architects, one of Britt’s most valued assets.

Having observed foundations vents fall in and out of favor along with conditioned crawl spaces – and tankless water heaters that save some energy while running hundreds of gallons of clean water through the sewer systems – I cannot help but wonder if spray foam insulation is next to fall victim to the industry’s wrath.

Spray foam is more popular and appears to be more efficient than its fiberglass counterpart. As it is rather new to the scene, there is concern that it might be too efficient.

Inspectors and engineers alike are critical of the tightness of construction in the newer homes. They feel that the houses are being suffocated and not allowed to breathe.

With record high temperatures for September now following into October, the homes are being tested as to how they can handle the heat. Perhaps some New Mexican contractors should consider relocating.

Maybe Nashville can add the “Western” back to “Country and Western.”

The city might look good in adobe and tile. I don’t know what Johnny Cash would have thought about all the white houses.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.

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