Author Archives: Greg Karkowsky

One of Elvis’s Favorite Homes Is About to Be Torn Down and Replaced With a Car Wash





GETTY IMAGES | Steve North
JAN 6, 2017
Graceland may be the King of Rock and Roll’s best-known abode, but Elvis Presley’s home away from home was actually a modest three-bedroom stone house in Madison, TN. But after four years on the market, the property is now dangerously close to being demolished by a developer that wants to replace it with a car wash.


Listed for $650,000, the property at 1215 Gallatin Pike South belonged to Elvis’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. It’s where the legend stayed while recording more than 250 songs in the area.
Steven North
“I remember it as a teenager,” current owner Steve North, who used it as a law office, told the New York Post. “We would drive by the house, and we would look to see if the pink Cadillac was there. If the pink Cadillac was there, we’d know Elvis was in town.”
Steve North
The house, which still features some very retro décor from the good old days (read: wood paneling), even doubled as Elvis’s fan club headquarters and publicity department. “I’ve seen pictures of the gold lamé suit hanging in a closet,” North told the newspaper. “I’m talking the sequined jumpsuits that he performed in, tens of thousands of unpublished photographs, the gold albums. In 1992, every fan letter Elvis Presley ever received was in that house.”

Steve North
But alas, it’s not viewed as a historic property, meaning it’s unprotected—a common issue in Nashville, where music landmarks are often threatened by developers.
Steve North
A zoning hearing scheduled for yesterday was deferred until January 19. “If there is an outside chance of a different buyer wanting to preserve the property, especially with the spotlight now shining, this is the last moment, as the property has been for sale now for four years,” Nashville Metro Council, District 7 councilman Anthony Davis tells

Although North told the Post he’d prefer to sell to “somebody who would appreciate it and preserve it,” Davis says the deal with the car wash buyer could close any time. “The BZA [Board of Zoning Appeals] matter is for variances they are requesting, they don’t actually need a full rezoning of the property.”

Currently, Davis is reviewing the company’s requested variances to see if they are warranted, “but there is no historic protection of the home, so another buyer willing to save the property would have to come forth quickly for it to be saved.”

City of Pittsburgh Die Test !!!

I often have folks asking about this… I know…it’s as dry as a Martini.

Dye Testing Ordinance
City of Pittsburgh Ordinance No. 3 of 2006

All city of Pittsburgh property owners who wish to sell their property, must be in compliance with the Dye Testing OrdinancePDF File.

Before the sales transaction is completed, the property owner must contact The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) and receive an Evidence of Compliance Certificate.

The property owner must complete the top portion of the form and return it to PWSA for review along with a $25 processing fee. Effective February 1, 2010, the processing fee for the duplicate issue of a Dye Test Certificate will be $25.

Please allow ten business days for your review to be processed and completed.

PWSA’s review will determine whether or not the property is located in a combined sewer area or a sanitary sewer area (see Map). Upon the determination of the property, the property owner must do the following:

If it is determined that the property is located in a combined sewer area
No dye test is required and the property owner will receive an Evidence of Compliance Certificate and will be able to move forward with the sale of property.
If it is determined that the property is located in a sanitary sewer area
​A dye test must be performed and the results must be reported to PWSA.
If a dye test is required and the property passes the dye test
No further work is necessary. The property owner will receive an Evidence of Compliance Certificate and will be able to move forward with the sale of the property.
If a dye test is required and the property fails the dye test
Corrective actions must be taken. After the corrective actions have been made, a subsequent test is required.
When the property passes the subsequent dye test, the property owner will receive an Evidence of Compliance Certificate and will be able to move forward with the sale of the property.
More Information:

Please read the information below for we feel that it will address some of the additional questions and/or concerns that you may have in regard to the Dye Testing Ordinance.


Evidence of Compliance CertificatePDF File

Dye Testing results FORMPDF File
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why is the Dye Testing Ordinance being put into effect?

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has required each local government to adopt a corrective action plan in order to control the overloading of the sanitary sewer system.

One of the requirements of the plan is to reduce the overloading of the sanitary sewer system by removing rain or stormwater from the sewer lines.

What’s the problem if drains or downspouts are connected to the sanitary sewer?

Sanitary sewers are designed to accept a rather constant flow of sewage from household water. The sudden, rapid flow of rainwater from roofs, patios, driveways, etc., can overload the sanitary sewer causing them to overflow and pollute adjacent streams, creeks, and rivers.

What regulations are violated by connecting rain downspouts to a sanitary sewer?

To prevent the overloading of sanitary sewers, the connection of stormwater to sanitary sewers is not permitted. Regulators enforcing this matter are:

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Environmental Protection Agency
Allegheny County Health Department
City of Pittsburgh Ordinance No. 3 of 2006
Who does this ordinance impact?

All city of Pittsburgh property owners who wish to sell their property.Before the sale of the property is completed, the property owner must contact PWSA in order to determine whether or not their property is in a combined sewer area or in a sanitary sewer area.

A form and fee will be processed in order to make the determination. Upon the conclusion of the review, if PWSA determines that the property is in a combined sewer area, no further action by the property owner will be necessary. If PWSA determines that the property is in a sanitary sewer area, the property owner will be required to hire a plumber to perform a dye test and report the findings to PWSA.

What is a dye test?

Dye testing involves placing a non-staining water soluble dye tablet in the drain or downspout of your property and flushing it with water. The area is then examined for the appearance of traces of dyed water.

What does the dye test determine?

Upon the conclusion of the dye test, the plumber will determine whether or not the property is properly/improperly connected to the sanitary sewer system. If the property is properly connected, no further action will be necessary. However, if the property is found to be improperly connected, further work will need to be conducted in order to have the property properly connected to the sewer system and stormwater re-routed elsewhere.

If I am notified that I have an improper connection, what do I need to do about it?

PWSA recommends consulting a plumber or general contractor with underground utility experience to help determine the best corrective action plan.

Who is responsible for the repairs?

The responsibility of the costs associated with the dye testing and all other work that may be necessary in order to be fully compliant with this ordinance falls solely on the property owner. PWSA and/or the city of Pittsburgh will not be responsible for any of the costs associated with this ordinance.

Tips to Selecting a Plumber, Contractor and/or Company:

Ask friends and neighbors for the names of plumbers, contractors and/or company they have used and recommend.
The best referral is a satisfied customer.
Seek a plumber, contractor and/or company with a proven track record – one that conducts business in a professional manner.
Make sure they have a permanent business address and phone number.
When you feel that you have three to four qualified candidates, ask them to come out and give an estimate, then do some background work on each one.
Call the Better Business Bureau to find out if there have been any complaints against the plumber, contractor and/or company.
Make sure they carry liability and worker’s compensation insurance.
Ask to see their certificate.
Make sure they offer a warranty on both materials and workmanship.
This warranty should be included in the written contract.
Never give a plumber, contractor and/or company more than 10% of the total job cost at the start.
For more information about the Dye Testing Ordinance, please contact:

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

Sanitary Sewer Maps

Feel free to look at the neighborhood maps below to see if your property is in a combined sewer area or a sanitary sewer area.

Please note that these maps are subject to change because of ongoing research and field investigation. They are intended to be a guideline for property owners only.
For an exact determination of a property, an Evidence of Compliance Certificate form must be completed.

How much Bathroom? The age old question.

If you’re at a party and you want to start a good ‘ol fashion argument, you can bring up Taxes, religion, states rights or the difference between a 1/2 a 3/4 or a full bathroom.

For every person you ask, you will get a different answer. Everything from, a toilet and a sink is a 1/2 bath. A toilet/sink is a powder room. A toilet/sink/shower is a 3/4 bath. Yudda, yudda , yudda.

Here is what I’ve come up with….

By code, you can not have a toilet without a sink. they go together like peanut butter and jelly.

But you can have a sink by itself.

1e9e60ad6e12  powder room?

New half marble bath (2) imagesfghj   A toilet-sink is a  1/4 bath?

fixture-b2 ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????   A toilet-sink-tub is 1/2 bath.

bath3    Unknown    outstanding-really-small-bathroom-ideas-with-modern-white-toilet-light-brown-tile-floor-with-white-modern-vessel-sink-unique-wall-light-glass-door-shower

A toilet-sink-shower a 1/2 bath.

These two may be confusing. but if you think about it, you can take only a bath OR a shower.

large     images     bathroom-inspiration-elegant-white-porcelain-pedestal-sink-also-nice-white-toilet-and-tub-as-well-as-single-white-window-frame-glass-in-half-bathroom-ideas-with-wood-floor-design-thrifty-half-bathroo

A toilet-sink-tub/shower combination is a 3/4 bath.

With this you can take a shower and a bath. Depending on how dirty you are.

However that still does not do justice to the toilet-sink-tub and a separate shower. Now that sounds like a full bath!

Small-Bathroom-Shower-Remodel-Ideas          Small-Bathroom-Remodel-Ideas         retro-brown-eye-architects

Of course, this is still just a working theory and does not take into consideration the bidet or the advent of the home urinal.


GFCI what’s it all about

A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) or Residual Current Device (RCD) is a device that shuts off an electric circuit when it detects that current is flowing along an unintended path, possibly through water or through a person. It is used to reduce the risk of electric shock. It works by measuring the current leaving the hot side of the power source and comparing it to the current returning to the neutral side. If they are not equal, this means that some of the current is flowing along an unintended path, and the GFCI shuts the power off. When the problem is corrected, the GFCI can manually be reset by pushing the reset button. There is also a test button that can be used to verify that the GFCI works. It is recommended to test GFCIs at least once a month. GFCIs are required in kitchens, bathrooms, unfinished basements, garages, outdoors, and anywhere near a sink. GFCIs are available in two types for permanent installation, the circuit breaker type that installs in the panel, and the receptacle type that installs in a normal electrical box. GFCIs that attach to appliance cords are also available. These are often found on hair dryers. Although GFCIs are designed primarily to protect from electric shock, they can also prevent some fires, in particular fires that result from a live wire touching metal conduit.


GFCIs can be used to upgrade older two-prong (non-grounded) outlets to three-prong (grounded) outlets without installing any new wire. This is safer than using the two-to-three prong adapter, as the adapter may not connect the appliance to ground at all. The GFCI is installed in the electrical box without connecting the ground screw (as there is no ground wire). A label that says “No Equipment Ground” must be placed on the GFCI outlet and all downstream outlets. Several of these labels are usually included with the GFCI.


To the POINT

I’ve been collecting images of pencil sharpeners that I have come across in the houses during inspection.

We had one in my parents home.  As a matter of fact  –  it is still there.

My dad built the house in 1968. I can still remember when he screwed it to the side of the shelf in the sign shop. lots of pencils.

I think they give a home good karma.

hgfds    oiu    asfd    trew


Then I came across this cool blog…… nice to see others have taken notice.

The Pencil Sharpener
October 17th, 2012
Pencil Sharpener
I find wall-mounted pencil sharpeners, like the kind I remember seeing in elementary school, in many houses. They are often in the basement stairs, but sometimes they show up in bedroom closets too. It’s a fun game that I like to play when showing homes – find the pencil sharpener!

Why did so many people have a commercial grade pencil sharpener? I don’t understand. Do you have one in your house right now? Did you have one growing up? And if you did have one, why? Were you really that serious about homework? Did you run an illegal standardized testing center? How many pencils need to sharpened?


I just don’t get it…

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 at 9:53 am and is filed under Fun. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Karma said at October 17th, 2012 at 10:01 am
Had one growing up and wish I had one now. If you see any lying around let me know, will you? Ha.

Jody said at October 17th, 2012 at 10:13 am
Always love seeing these when I show houses – you know it’s got good bones and is a decent house when there is a tried and true pencil sharpener still standing. It’s usually on basement staircase – I agree.

Tom said at October 17th, 2012 at 10:20 am
We had one growing up. Top of the basement/side entrance stairs, next to the wall of coat hooks. Six kids = lots of pencils to sharpen.

Brooks said at October 17th, 2012 at 11:01 am
We had one growing up that had a suction base. You would bring it out from the cabinet, then flip this little lever and it would stay stuck to the counter while you sharpened.

When we bought our house, I ordered one for the basement. It is semi-permanately mounted on the work bench. It is a requirement for all modest DIYers. also, very useful for crayon sharpening. 🙂

Hardly said at October 17th, 2012 at 2:50 pm
Kyle, when I was a kid in the 60’s and early 70’s we could not use pens in school or for homework(a computer was some huge thing that NASA had) and so we had lots of pencils to sharpen. Further, nobody had an electric pencil sharpener (though I imagine they were around). So we all had pencil sharpeners that looked like this.

Jim said at October 22nd, 2012 at 7:29 am
We had one in our Pantry. It was used all the time in our house because we made so many mistakes on our homework. i want one for my house because all the hand held sharpeners.

Jen said at October 22nd, 2012 at 6:19 pm
We had one when I was a kid in the pantry, too. And yeah, I wish I had one now–the little handheld guys are pathetic compared to the wall-mounted machine.

Brooks said at October 23rd, 2012 at 10:20 am
Jen, you can still get the old school ones very easily on Amazon, or at your local office supply place. I got mine from Amazon, it works great.





west-milton-houses-buy-ohio-homes-with-no-money-down_300                          abandoned-mansion-france1

Here is a valid question  I am frequently asked:

“Do you think this house will pass the inspection?  We hope it doesn’t fail.”

That gives me the chance to explain that a home inspection is not a win/loose – pass/fail, situation.

My job is to gather information about the property in question.

Knowledge is power.

A good inspection will give the buyer and the lender, a good, complete image of the property.

I am a non biased third party.

It will be up to the buyer to decide if they want to move forward or walk away.


No house is perfect, except maybe this one:   annabella-house-slider


An issue that is a deal breaker for one person, may be not be a big deal to someone else.

For instance:

A house may need to be up-graded from 60 amp electrical panel to 100 amp.

The doctor may not have the time to get involved and look decide to look elsewhere.

……but the young couple? Well, her brother is an electrician. No biggie.

This multi-million dollar spread has grass growing in the Foyer……. 20120717-120835

This one comes with a piano…… aband-1

This little place is in a sub-par school district…….. 254_902138.

These two are right on the beach……….House-on-the-beach-Tampa-Bay        desert06

These folks just closed on their dream house:   the-first-6-things-every-lottery-winner-should-do  tumblr_le3zpa3ggh1qzf08jo1_400

They plan to level it and build a parking lot for their airport.