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VOL. 40 | NO. 46 | Friday, November 11, 2016

Elections, home buying bring out our ugliness

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Many observers to this year’s election process have noted that the respective, not to be confused with respectable, campaigns have “brought out the worst in everyone.”

Perhaps the hostility of the election has worked its way into mainstream America, even the Southerly hospitable Athens of the South.

Yes, here in this “It City,” there are arguments complete with name calling and accusations of fraud, conspiracy and evil in residential real estate transactions. Try as we may, Realtors are not able to prepare sellers for the battles that ensue after listing a house.

First, there are the showings that are scheduled – all at the exact worst time imaginable. Perhaps they come on the one day the owners did not make up the beds and clear the breakfast plates, or the time the baby naps. Some buyers have the audacity to request showings during times that are convenient to them rather than the sellers, such as Saturdays, Sundays or after work.

And no, they do not know that the big game is on television at that time.

Then, when they visit the home, their actions are unfathomable. They leave doors unlocked, security systems unarmed, use the commodes and fail to exercise the flush option, eat food from the refrigerator, throw their own smelly food in the trash cans and let the pets out of the house.

Their agent refuses to leave feedback for the listing agent.

When forced by the listing agent, the buyer’s agent informs the seller’s agent that the house reeked of cat urine and diaper pail odor, and the cobwebs and dust bunnies showed that the sellers were unable to maintain a home.

The only thing worse would be the house not being shown at all.

These sellers would welcome bad feedback, would stock the refrigerators with the buyers’ favorite foods and offer allowances for fumigating even when the unshown houses are often in pristine condition.

The inspection woes are beyond comprehension, as sellers feel everything should work, and buyers feel they have maintained the flawless home to perfection. They know someone who knows someone who would pay more for the house, anyway.

Sellers feel all inspection reports are filled with lies. The process is rigged against the sellers with these inspections, missed deadlines and appraisers. One seller recently described the process as a “ruse” perpetrated by the real estate agents to beat people out of their homes and money.

It does not matter if the seller received the highest price per square foot and the highest price in the neighborhood. When the appraiser comes in low or the inspection finds deficiencies, it is a conspiracy.

And buyers have felt beaten for this entire four-year boom as they have been forced to pay list price or more for the right to buy the property, only to be told they are the back-up contract and should not request repairs.

One good thing for everyone is that things are slower now. Fewer showings mean fewer inconveniences.

But wait a minute, if the house is not shown, it cannot sell. And if it sells, it will be inspected.

Sale of the Week

People often ask about the cost of Belle Meade city taxes and are usually surprised when the taxes are less than they had expected.

Last week, Jody Hull’s listing at 315 Walnut Drive in Belle Meade sold for $1.4 million.

Hull, who is with Bainbridge Realty Group, says the home has 4,892 square feet with five bedrooms, four full baths and a half bath. There also are “lovely original hardwood floors, walnut study, three fireplaces, handsome walnut study and located on one of Belle Meade’s most desirable streets.”

Metro had appraised the house for $1,493,400, and Metro taxes for the property are $14,650, in keeping with the non-scientific rule of thumb that taxes on most properties are about one percent of the value. On the Walnut Drive property, the Belle Meade taxes were $837.42 per year.

Then many ask what services Belle Meade residents receive for these additional taxes. There are several.

As many have noticed on their sojourns through the neighborhood, Belle Meade has its own police department, which protects and serves their constituency with zeal and great passion.

A trip to the Belle Meade traffic court should be mandatory for anyone who visits Nashville. It also might be a good TV show.

Although, there would be no actors, it would be inaccurate to categorize it as reality TV, as it is surreal and wonderful. It is one of the more entertaining venues in town, Mayberry meets the Downton Abbey with a dose of Perry Mason. Neither Davy Crockett nor Mark Twain can compete with Judge Brooks.

There are some quirks in the Belle Meade boundaries. For example, Nichol Lane, a destination for trick-or-treaters from all over town and one of the most popular streets in Belle Meade, is only half in Belle Meade. The odd numbered homes are in Metro and the even numbered houses are within Belle Meade city limits.

There are rumors of people who live in the odd-numbered homes dragging tree limbs across the street to be retrieved by the Belle Meade limb removal vendors, who run more frequently than the Metro version.

Grace O’Neal Clayton, Belle Meade born and bred, represented the buyer, as she is prone to do in the area, although she sells everything everywhere. She is with Neal Clayton Realtors.

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

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