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VOL. 45 | NO. 33 | Friday, August 13, 2021

Poll: Mortgage shoppers still seeking human interaction

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232 54th Avenue North

With the pandemic gaining speed once again, many Realtors and sellers are concerned as to how the market will be affected. With the Nashville market having its best two years in history during the pandemic, most are not worried.

Even with infection rates and deaths on the rise through most of 2020, local real estate prices and sales flourished. Other than buyers and their agents driving in different cars, donning masks and quite a bit of sanitized hand soaking, nothing changed other than rising sales and prices.

Lenders braced for a shift in the manner their business would be conducted. Cory Owen, a loan officer with Regions, noted the banking industry felt that buyers would be driven to a fully automatic digital mortgage process.

Fannie Mae conducted a survey questioning buyers about their mortgage experiences during the pandemic. Only 12% indicated they would prefer to conduct all of their lending online, compared to 7% in a similar 2018 survey.

The percentage of borrowers who would prefer to get pre-qualified online dropped from 67% to 57%. Only 38% of the those surveyed felt the pandemic drove them toward a more digital transaction.

Before reaching the conclusion that most of those surveyed were older and lacking in electronic savvy, Owen offered some explanation: “Most borrowers prefer completing an application online versus spending an hour with me taking the application.”

He added most of his clients would rather communicate via email than with actual conversation. His interpretation is that borrowers prefer to have an individual who they can actually contact when they have questions.

The model in which the entire interaction is online is not gaining traction. Clients seem to prefer a hybrid in which most of the process is electronic with some personal interaction.

One aspect of the current real estate market is how many buyers are using cash to purchase the home properties. With interest rates as low as they are, many who have the cash on hand to cover the purchase price are financing with the notion that their money can provide a better return with their investments than the rate the lenders are charging for the loans.

If they can borrow at 3.5% and their investment portfolio is performing with a return of 7%, the spread works. Others feel the real estate investment might provide safe haven for their cash should the real estate market turn.

Sale of the Week

232 54th Avenue North

There was a time when a house selling for $875,000 in Sylvan Park was headline news, especially if the property sold in less than a day for $50,000 more than list price at $443 per square foot. This week it qualifies for Sale of the Week status, it’s becoming the norm.

The house at 232 54th Avenue North is 1,861 square feet. That is not a typo. An 1,861-square-foot house sold for $875,000 on 54th Avenue North in a few hours. It was renovated, of course, but in 2015 with an open concept first floor, new electrical, plumbing and insulation and dual HVAC systems.

There are three bedrooms and two full baths, according to listing agents Leif Pilkerton and Lisa Dunaway, both of Pilkerton Realtors. Leif is the daughter of the company’s founder and legend Fred Pilkerton and sister of equally legendary Jimmy Pilkerton, who bought the firm from his father. Jimmy preceded his father in death, dying in 2016. Fred died last year.

On a more positive note, the house at 54th was finished in a style that few houses in Nashville share with the open plan including a gourmet kitchen, great room and a den. Living rooms and antiques are considered negative features by many of the buyers relocating to the area.

Christie Bradley, a veteran agent with years of Sylvan Park experience, represented the buyer and found the needle in the haystack in the tree-filled neighborhood, now renowned for its restaurants, including Park Café, Answer, the venerable McCabe’s Pub, Cafe Nonna and Edley’s resting upon the hallowed ground that once housed Sylvan Park Café. Of course, Star Bagel shines in the shadows of Edleys.

Pancho and Lefty’s replaced Local Taco, which had replaced Red Rooster. On the other side of the Park is Miel – owned by multi-talented Realtor Seema Prasad – situated across the street from Hattie B’s.

The new owner of 232 54th Avenue North might not need that kitchen, after all, not with all of the gourmets nestled in the area.

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

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