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VOL. 40 | NO. 42 | Friday, October 14, 2016

After the gold rush: Midstate market slows

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The long-awaited slowdown has finally appeared in the Greater Nashville residential real estate market.

A recent visit to a Realtor Facebook page included a question from one of the members to the group: “How do you feel the market is right now?”

The responses were:




The page was peppered with other remarks echoing those sentiments.

While these responses were individuals, and each person’s market activity is certainly based on advertising, branding and marketing that had been done months’ prior, the fact that 20-25 industry leaders who sell in Williamson and Davidson counties had all ended up with the same assessment is surprising.

There is always one “I closed five houses last week and put four more under contract and listed three that sold in 15 minutes.”

That person does not exist today, even the braggarts who stretch a number or two.

What has happened is healthy in many respects. Buyers are able to view several houses in a single day with no fear they will sell before they can make offers. A buyer has the luxury of returning to the home, perhaps with a trusted family member or spouse, evaluate the features of the home and have the opportunity to escort that person to the competing properties to compare and contrast the homes.

The list price now reflects a number that a seller would like to have for the property, but no longer is that price a launching pad awaiting offers to launch into orbit. Real estate signs now share front lawns with political signs, and the listings that are accumulating are remaining active.

For the first time in years, buyers are not on call, forced to drop everything to get to a property and, even if the property is not disgusting, then offer several thousand dollars more than list price with no contingencies.

Buyers are relaxing, but what about the sellers?

Many of them are lamenting the fact that they did not sell last year, with some couples pointing fingers and lobbing an “I told you so” into listing presentations.

Alas, prices are not lower than last year or even this past spring. It simply takes longer to get there.

Well-priced homes in good condition sell quickly. Now, more than ever, it seems condition is of utmost importance.

Buyers want the perfect home and, in almost every area, new construction is competing with existing homes.

In this new environment, sellers who felt open houses only attracted “nosey neighbors” and “Looky Lous” are now demanding them.

And the sellers want their houses listed on all of the websites.

What is commonly misunderstood is how listings and open house appear on sites such as Redfin, Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com and all of the others.

All of the 48 and counting real estate sites work with Realtracs, the Middle Tennessee Regional Multiple Listing Service.

These sites snag whatever data they like from Realtracs and sometimes season it with some conflicting data from various courthouses so that the information may or might not be accurate.

Some of the websites allow the Realtors to log in and tinker with the listing, and some do not, presenting whatever information they choose.

Most of the companies allow the Realtors to pay fees to enhance listings, even though they paid for the photographs, measured the rooms and provided all of the pertinent information to the site.

If open houses were tremendously successful, all Realtors would want to hold houses open all of the time.

There are documented sales that result from open houses. It is not unusual for a fulltime Realtor to have from one to five open houses each week.

And since a Realtor can’t be in five places at once, the houses are hosted by Realtors from within the listing agents’ firms and, if the house sells as a result of the open house, they often pay the hosting agent a fee.

In order to earn this fee, the buyer need not buy that day, but could buy at any time in the future. Studies show that the fee is paid every 700 to 800 open houses.

All of these homes that have been held open over those two or three years have sold, but not from buyers who attended open houses.

Sale of the Week

The Woodbine neighborhood remains a hotbed of activity even as sales slow in the Greater Nashville area. Located at 523 Raymond Street in Woodbine is evidence of the popularity of the area.

New construction in Woodbine now sells for $182 per square foot.

The 2,000-square-foot home with three bedrooms and two and a-half baths sold for $365,000 and closed moments after its completion.

Ryan Long from Village Real Estate Services represented one of the many buyers flocking to the area.

With a downstairs owners’ suite with enormous closets and a sizzling bathroom, the house offered the now standard fare of granite countertops and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. The Harvest Gold and Lime Green appliances never made the comeback that was ballyhooed a few months back.

Carolyn Wood of Realty Trust Residential, LLC, was one of the first believers in Woodbine and has represented the Collins family of builders, which has been redeveloping the area over the past several years.

The builder provides covered decks and detached garages and has a backlog of buyers.

For those unfamiliar with Woodbine, the community is near the Nolensville Road exit of I-440 and falls on both sides of Nolensville Road along the quiet side streets that are blossoming with new construction.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at Richard@richardcourtney.com.

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