Real estate community mourns death of Kelton

Friday, February 09, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 6


Father Time can be a cruel beast, and the results can be unbearable when he teams with the Grim Reaper, as happened last week with the death of veteran Realtor Susan Kelton.

Sue was a shining light in the real estate community where she was a licensed broker, a leader and an educator.

During her years as an instructor, she taught most of the successful brokers in the business today. Susan and her husband Mac, married for 45 years, are legendary in real estate circles as Mac owned and operated one of the more successful real estate firms in the area.

Susan Kelton is survived by three sons, Rhett, Jeremy and Clay. Clay and Jeremy have followed their parents’ footsteps and have achieved their share of acclaim. One little known fact revealed in her obituary is that Susan helped establish Christ Presbyterian Academy of Nashville. In addition to her other accomplishments, she co-founded The Nashville Giving Circle.

With her passion for life and the written word, it is not surprising to learn that she co-authored “Grandmother is Praying for Me.” Her five grandchildren can rest assured that her book’s title rings true today. We will miss her.

Sale of the Week

When the developers of Riverwalk broke ground on the project, a buzz filled the real estate community resulting in a rash of presales by future residents and Realtors alike. Located off the McCrory Lane exit of Interstate 40, the neighborhood is a few miles past Bellevue, and its sales prices and prices per square foot passed Bellevue from Day 1.

In that market, new is better. Apparently, in the minds of buyers, there is nothing nostalgic about a home built in the 1970s.

The 1930s had the bungalows and craftsman houses, the 1940s had their cottages and, of course the 1950s – being the middle of the century – had the mid-century modern ranch.

Don McLean, the writer of the song “American Pie”, refers to the day of Buddy Holly’s death, February 3, 1959, as the “day the music died.”

Somewhere in the mid-1970s was the day that architecture died in much of Bellevue.

Popcorn ceilings and wall-to-wall carpet with harvest green appliances ruled the day, and kitchens were expected to be hidden so that dirty dishes were out of view. Flooring, like Buddy Holly albums, were made of vinyl. Most houses had a few ashtrays around.

However, architecture in the residential, affordable market was resurrected in the 1980s when times were tough, and the model was broken. Suddenly, the popcorn vanished, and kitchens had their own décor. Formica left the buildings.

When Riverwalk hit the ground running, the designers were in full swing with soaring ceilings hardwood floors, or reasonable imitations of hardwood. The countertops are a solid surface, granite in many places.

Last week, 712 River Branch Court in Riverwalk sold for $374,900 28 days after Heather Thompson, one of Synergy Realty Network’s finest, listed the home for $389,900.

The sellers had purchased the house for $281,203 in February, 2008. So, Thompson’s price was aggressive, and she achieved the desired result for her client.

As compared with some of the older Bellevue homes, this home has the hardwoods, the granite, the kitchen that opens into the family room, the master suite downstairs and an outdoor kitchen. Having been a Bellevue denizen and homeowner in the 1970s, I would not have known what to think if someone boasted of an outdoor kitchen. We had decks and grills and ice chests, and life was good.

Jason Kaczmarski of RE/MAX Elite represented the buyer who will enjoy the stone fireplace, screened porch and the updated kitchen with “soft close drawers,” yet another amenity that would have confused home shoppers in the 1970s. Jason was able to whittle the price by $15,000, no small feat in 2018.

If a home had been advertised as “green” in the 1970s, it would have referred to a paint color, or perhaps age, but now this green home has an Energy Star water heater and windows. The water heater is tankless, of course.

By Nashville standards, the $138 per square foot is reasonable, and there is some turnover in Riverwalk, but each sale seems to raise the bar. This home has four bedrooms, two full baths and one half bath and was built upon a lot with .28 acres.

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