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The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition
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VOL. 38 | NO. 28 | Friday, July 11, 2014

Zillow lovers grouse without knowing the facts

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Here’s what some people like to do. They walk into open houses on any given Sunday and quickly proclaim that they are not buyers, merely nosey neighbors, and begin to cite four to 438 reasons why the price of the open house is too high and that the house will eventually sell for 25% off of the list price – or maybe even less.

Following their diatribes, they promise that if it sells for a nickel over their prediction, they will sell their house – that is in much better condition. Then they give an elevator spiel, that being the elevator up Mount Everest, description of the wonders of their houses, most of these wonders crafted by their own hands. And these experts arrive at 3:58 p.m. for open houses that close at 4 p.m. Your math is correct; they finally leave at 4:28.

When the house does sell for close to the list price, those nattering nabobs of negativism are nowhere to be found, lest their work fall under the scrutiny of their peerless prying peers. The Recession was their friend.

Here’s another thing they do. They go to neighborhood meetings and oppose things. Developer Steve Neighbors calls them CAVE people, for Citizens Against Virtually Everything. They attend estate sales early – first ones there – and offer ten cents for items marked 25 cents, then boast of their business acumen when they reach agreement at 20 cents.

I like them. They do not like me.

“This house is priced $200,000 too high.” From the CAVE man.

“We’ll see.” Say I.

“No really. How did you get such a ridiculous price?”

“Just took a shot in the dark.” I reply. All prices are estimates, unless they are Zestimates from Zillow. Zillow knows everything. These people love Zillow.

“You’ll never get it.”

“You never know.”

“I know! It will never, ever sell for that.”

“What’s your number? I’ll call you the day it closes.”

They vanish. David Copperfields, all.

They re-emerge at another open house another Sunday. They are busy, you see. Open house attending is one tough job.

Zillow does another thing to excite this brood and prod them into action. This is their favorite. Zillow tells the public when houses are in pre-foreclosure. For those that are interested in facts, foreclosure is a process by which a lender can take ownership of a home from the borrower, or owner, if the borrower does not make the payments as agreed.

The process is lengthy and includes the notices that are found in Nashville Ledger each week. Those houses are actually in foreclosure, i.e., the process has begun. But even once the process has begun, the borrower is able to stop the foreclosure by making an arrangement with the lender.

So, here’s what Zillow does. They somehow learn how that a person is late on his mortgage payment, and then, they publish that address and announce that it is in pre-foreclosure along with the amount the person owes on the house.

So, these wonderfully positive human beings that enjoy living lives on half truths, see that a person is behind on a mortgage, and they find that tidbit delightful. Better yet, this person owes only half what the house is worth.

So, get this. The CAVE people decide, and this is a consistent thread among these schadenfreudists, to offer the owner about $20,000 less than they owe on the house. That is most logical. A person can’t make his mortgage payment so he is then going to come up with $20,000 to bring to closing to allow another person to buy his house. Who wouldn’t take that deal?

In fact, there is no such thing as pre-foreclosure. Or maybe there is. All houses are in pre-foreclosure just as all cars are pre-repossession, and a majority of teens are pre-pregnant.

Come by any open house any Sunday and watch the show. There is no admission and a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Sale of the Week

This was a big week for sales over $1 million, and one of those was at 3654 Knollwood, and it sold for $1,350,000 after having been listed by Rick French for $1,395,000 some 73 days ago.

This one did not last long, as seems to be the case in the recent past. With 5,635 square feet, this manse brought $240 per square foot. And, remember, all of you square-foot fanatics, the larger the square footage, the lower the price per square foot.

This home has four bedrooms and four full baths along with a half bath and is constructed of wood and stone. The master is on the main floor, now a prerequisite for a quick sale.

As more homes house several generations of family members, the “in-law suite” over the garage is attractive. French mentions that the home is equipped with a solar water heater and generator.

Tom Fussell of Fridrich and Clark delivered the buyers. He had two $1,000,000 sales last week, the other being, 4518 Carlton for $1,370, 000.

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

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