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VOL. 8 | NO. 3 | Saturday, January 10, 2015

OK, It’s a Great House! Can We Please See It?

RICHARD COURTNEY | The Ledger

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In Nashville real estate circles, it is difficult to say goodbye to 2014. We loved that 2014 and she was wonderful.

Missing her already, we hope she returns in 2015. But for the current trend to continue, Nashville is going to need some inventory.

In order to sustain such growth, about 40,000 homeowners will need to make the decision to sell their homes. In so doing, many will interview Realtors to help them.

All Realtors were created equal, but they didn’t remain that way. Some are better.

During interviews, sellers will hear things that sound great and make them feel good, but actually can have a negative impact on the transaction.

Over the next few weeks, we will delve into several factors with today’s lesson focusing on the showing.

All the marketing, advertising, connections and social media in the world cannot sell a house if the buyers and their agents cannot gain admission to the house. More important, there are no showings if they cannot gain admission when potential buyers want to see it.

During many listing appointments, sellers will tell the agents of improvements they have made, and most of these are relevant for several reasons.

The first reason is that when the buyers are performing their due diligence, they will often research to see what the seller paid for the property. If the current price is much greater than the owner’s acquisition expense, the buyer will suggest that the seller has some “splaining” to do as to how they could ask so much more than what they paid for the home when they bought it.

Consequently, new HVAC systems, appliances, roofs, additions, electrical upgrades, etc., are important in justifying the price, or at least making the buyers feel good about spending the money they must spend in order to buy the home.

But, showing where walls once were doesn’t really matter. Some agents wax eloquently on the importance of them being there personally for the showings inasmuch as they, and only they, can make the buyers aware of all of the wonders of the sellers’ brilliant architectural abilities and sense on interior design.

Here’s the rub. In today’s market, scheduling appointments for showings days in advance is an utter waste of time.

For example, if a buyer’s agent knows that her clients will arrive on a Friday and want to see houses on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, those appointments should be made on Thursday, lest the tour be ruined as most of the listings – at least the good ones – will sell between Monday and Friday.

If the listing agent must be present for showings, the prospective buyers might not be able to see the house Friday, as the listing agent may be busy or, even worse, unable to be reached.

On most showings, the buyer’s agent will call an appointment center contracted by the listing company. Most of the larger firms in Nashville use the same one.

The best scenario goes like this:

Ring Ring

Phone person at Centralized Showing Service: This is centralized showing. What may I help you with?”

Agent: I would like to schedule a showing

Phone person: What is your name and showing code?

Agent: Susan Jones and Sergeant Pepper.

Phone person: What may I do for you?

Agent: I would like to show 123 Elm Street at 2 p.m. Friday.

Phone person: That is a go and show. There is a Sentri Lock on the front door. Please leave a card and turn out the lights. The dog’s name is Bob, and there is a cat that cannot go outside.

Then the agent knows that he can show the house. The other scenario goes like this:

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

Voice mail: This is Duke Sebastian with ABC real estate and I am with a client right now. Please leave your name and number, and I will call you at my earliest convenience.

Agent: Duke please call me I have people that would like to see your listing.

Great. At some point Duke may call back and work you in when he can make it.

It usually takes Duke a while as he, like most, is spending more time showing than in the past as it takes longer for buyers to find homes and actually get them under contract than it did in all the years up to now.

In this market, the buyers’ agents show all that is available then await the right homes to become available, then hustle the buyers out to buy that day. In most cases, there are multiple offers, so to only one victor go the spoils. The other seven or eight, or 12 or 17 buyers and their agents have to start over.

If they can’t get inside the house they cannot buy it. And that means the others can’t get in and that means no frenzy, no multiple offers, no more-than-list price sale.

But at least the listing agent was able to meet the other agents’ clients and regale them with irrelevant babbling.

Sale of the Week

The “Perseverance of the Year Award” for 2014 goes to real estate veteran Jane McCracken of Keller Williams Realty for her sale of 6204 Gardendale Drive in the Forest Hills community. She merits this award because she sold the house at least three times before it actually stuck.

6204 Gardendale Drive

The Great Flood of 2010 still looms large in the minds of Nashvillians, and Jane was forthright in her Realtor remarks in stating that the owners carried flood insurance and added “NO water in the house, but back yard was under water. Less than $500 per year.”

The home is as lovely as McCracken states in her description: “Classic one level living with open, updated kitchen. Hardwoods, tumble marble baths and kitchen, lots of storage, gorgeous master suite with his/her walk in closets, fabulous patio overlooks level acre lot. Separate office.”

The home was inspected by the judicious and diligent John Watkins of Nashville Home Inspections, and he found the home to be in good shape. The couple with the house under contract was concerned, as their insurance agent told them that to insure the office over the garage and the dwelling would be more than $2,500 per year.

The sellers saw no need to insure the house, as it was not submerged or visited by the waters of a 500-year flood, and the lenders did not require flood insurance. They were not anticipating a 501-year flood.

Nonetheless, the buyers terminated the contract and moved on. When the inspector heard of this, he was surprised since he had informed the buyers that he felt it was a good, sound house.

But since the inspection revealed some water invasion on the property and in the garage, the buyers were within their rights. So, McCracken lost some marketing time, but alas, in comes other buyers. These want to close quickly since they had sold their house.

The sellers agreed to the quick close and went about packing in an organized pell-mell fashion.

Then, those buyers, through no fault of their own, are unable to secure financing at that time. Strike two.

Then McCracken, behind 0-2 in the count, got an assist from Guy Ritchie of Worth Properties, who delivered the buyer. The home sold for $735,000 and closed on December 29.

With its 3,546 square feet – not including the out building – the home brought $207 per square foot.

That’s a great number for the sellers, and the buyers can rest easy with a house that has been through four different inspections.

Richard Courtney is affiliated with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 94 2,713
MORTGAGES 16 37 1,820
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 10 23 298
BUILDING PERMITS 303 621 6,322
BANKRUPTCIES 138 138 1,115
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 68 559
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0