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VOL. 41 | NO. 44 | Friday, November 3, 2017

Old listing, old problem: Lower the price, already

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Music City is awash in games of musical chairs with buyers and sellers changing partners on older homes.

Listings on these homes are aging and expiring, and real estate brokers’ phones are ringing with anxious homeowners ready to try something or someone different.

Recently, two of the city’s most prominent Realtors attended the same function and were verbally dancing around the issue that each was re-listing the other’s expired listings.

After exchanging seemingly unending pleasantries, one broker decided to cut in and told the other of some actions he had taken that might have riled his former clients. The other explained an offer that she had made to his new clients that did not cut the mustard.

In both cases, pricing was the real issue.

When a buyer sees the real estate sign in the front of the property change to a different company, the new sign usually comes with a reduced price. In short, the seller has the jitters.

If there is a bargain to be found among the properties in town, a property with a new sign and a new, lower price may be the best deal in town.

There was a reason the seller chose the first person, and the chances are the first agent performed well. Most do. There is only one problem. The house didn’t sell. In real estate, it takes two to tango, a buyer and a seller.

The wife of one of the agents was present during the conversation and got to “enjoy” an old real estate joke: Realtors should aspire to be someone’s first love because they are never forgotten, someone’s second spouse as they are appreciated more than the first, and the third listing agent because that agent gets the best price reduction.

There is a house that was with a broker for 175 days. That broker repeatedly told the owner the price was too high.

The owner fired the broker and hired another who reduced about 7 percent. With the new price, the house still sits and will hit day 171 with that broker by the time you read this. On the third broker, they will listen.

Every home has the perfect price. One broker has a listing that started at $1,595,000 and received no offers and no showings. There was no interest at $1.495 million, nor was there at $1.395 million.

But when it hit $1.299 million, the showings and offers increased significantly. By the way, the seller changed agents at the $1.485 mark.

And the band plays on.

Sale of the Week

Even casual observers of the Beverly Hillbillies might notice a resemblance in the house pictured here and the mansion purchased by Tennessean-turned-Californian Jed Clampett. An early episode stated they were from the Ozarks, but that was later changed to Limestone, Tennessee, which is near Johnson City.

As the verse in the show’s theme song goes, “The next thing ya know ole Jed’s a millionaire,” and the buyer of the residence at 2 Buckland Abbey in Northumberland would have to be a millionaire two times over or worthy of carrying a couple million dollars of debt.

The home used for the opening sequence and for various shots during the show’s run hit the market last August for $350 million. According to, the house is most expensive privately-owned property for sale in the United States.

In retrospect, Mr. Drysdale and Miss Jane Hathaway done good for the Hillbillies. While it appeared that the mansion on the hit television series was fashioned from limestone- befitting the Clampett’s Tennessee heritage, the house at 2 Buckland Abbey has a real stucco coating on the front of the home, according to listing agent Neal Clayton, who asserts that the side and rear exterior walls are clad in “Dryvit,” a synthetic stucco. Also, the home has “good bones.”

Clayton, of his eponymous real estate firm, was the sole Realtor involved in the sale, as is the case in many synthetic stucco sales. As is the case with most real estate veterans, Neal Clayton knows Dryvit to be innocuous, even efficient, if properly maintained.

This is a philosophy that is not shared by most of his colleagues, but he is right and his position has been substantiated.

To their credit, the detractors of Dryvit have plenty of dry powder in their ammo pouches as the material, when not maintained, can attract moisture that when absorbed by the lumber creates a termite delicacy.

Once the mites take their bites, there can be little left for the homeowner and, as John Cougar Mellencamp used to say, “The walls keep tumbling down.”

The Buckland Abbey home has 11,095 square feet with six bedrooms, six bathrooms, and four half baths. It also has a billiards room, an exercise room and a game room for real fun and games.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates can be reached at

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