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VOL. 42 | NO. 18 | Friday, May 4, 2018

Like dogs, houses can turn on unfriendly interlopers

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Houses are like dogs, and even more like horses. Really the entire animal kingdom. They can sense when people are afraid of them or do not like them and react accordingly.

With the Nashville market as it is – wild with activity – and homes selling within hours as opposed to days, buyers are forced to make important decisions that will affect years of their lives in painstakingly short order with little or no scrutiny. The houses know this.

Airlines are profiting as much from this real estate surge as anyone. Here is the way things go:

If they are married or attached in some way, couples fly into town and think they are going to buy a house. But alas, there are few houses for sale. Bereft of housing, they leave and fly away.

Once home, they monitor Zillow, Trulia and Redfin these days as real estate agents pour through the Realtracs, which shows the disposition of listings in real time. The others might be delayed by only 15 minutes or so, but 15 minutes can be the difference in this market.

When the couple, or the single person, spots a home, a flight is immediately booked and, at times, offers are made contingent upon the would-be buyer’s review of the house. In the case of couples, if the first member likes the home, he or she will beckon the partner.

That’s when the animals leave the barn.

When the second member of the couple arrives, the personality and the approach to the house is so different from the attitude of the early arrival that is difficult to understand how these people are, in fact, a couple. They would seemingly argue over whether the orb in the sky is the sun or the moon.

The first person liked it enough to have the second person invest in yet another plane ticket, as well as a day or two of time. As the travel-weary buyer approaches the house, the spouse is anxious, hoping it passes muster.

Often, the reviewer smirks upon entry, and that smirk transforms itself into a frown. In worse cases, all the senses get involved as nose twitches, eyes water and ears open for creaks and squeaks. The house senses this. Like a dog on defense, it barks loudly and show its teeth.

The house throws itself into total defense mode with doors refusing to open, hinges screaming like banshees and air handlers switch to stink setting and spew odors into the air. Rooms shrink, pulling square footage into their shells like box turtles.

The yard jumps into action, bending branches to eye level as it attempts to throw the buyer from the house. There is scorn among the thorns. Fumes from cats long gone find their way into the allergic eyes and noses. Noses run uncontrollably accompanied by a trail of tears.

The Realtor winces as the buyer minces no words in decrying the mate who foolishly thought this could be paradise. With heads bowed, all three retreat.

This buyer was not worthy. It will behave differently for the friendly buyers.

Sale of the Week

A trip down Dickerson Road was once more colorful than it is today as prostitutes flouted their wares openly.

It’s now an idyllic, urban neighborhood boasting vintage homes along pastoral lots with coffee shops, delis and restaurants located a pleasant stroll away. The modern-day street walkers push strollers and bicycles.

Leaving Dickerson Road and turning onto Meridian Street and then Hancock Street is a home described by listing agents Megan Manley and Kortney Wilson as a “renovated Bohemian Victorian.” It checks all three boxes.

Purchased for $200,000 in 2017, the home was completed renovated and passed the litmus test for a house flip, selling for more than twice the acquisition at $520,000.

The investor fared well, as did the buyers who now own a home with new HVAC, a new roof, a kitchen that the Manley/Kortney team described as “an incredible kitchen with a huge quartz island,” sounding more like travel agents than real estate agents. Their description conjured dreams of a trip to an isolated, quartz island resting in a remote location.

No home on the East Side would be listed without mentioning proximity to Five Points, and the Kortney Manley team throws in the obligatory “close to downtown.”

The structure consists of 2,187 square feet with three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a powder room.

With its $520,000 price tag, the home sold for a modest $238 per square foot. By comparison, an unfinished penthouse at the new 505 condo tower would go for $1,200 per square foot more.

Of course, the 505 penthouse has no claw-foot tub, and the master certainly is not “down,” as is the case with the master suite at 311 Hancock Street.

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

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