Buyers, sellers don't fret about Realtor shuffle chaos

Friday, August 9, 2019, Vol. 43, No. 32

For years, the program hawkers at athletics contests have used the same enticement to sell their wares:

“You can’t tell the players without a program!” The same can be said for Realtors over the past several months. All of this is good for business for buyers and sellers alike.

There is no need to mention names, but a few top-notch agents at one firm decided to start their own agency. As they recruited agents from their firm where they had worked before to the one they had just left, they were offered a chance to buy that company. Soon, they closed their new firm and bought their firm twice removed on their mother’s side.

Last December, there was a great commotion in local real estate firms as real estate companies were acquired and others merged. With each transaction, agents flocked to and fro from agency to agency.

Three agents started with Village, two left Village and went to Parks, then the three started Central. Then they closed Central and bought Village. Then of one of them became engaged – as in to be married – to a top Parks broker who moved to Compass.

Real estate makes strange bedfellows.

Fridrich and Clark added 15 new agents from other firms last year, and Pilkerton opened a new office and absorbed over 30 agents from Williamson County. Smaller firms with one or two agents continue to dot the landscape. And then there are virtual firms with virtually no office whose agents are still of the flesh and blood variety.

Compass has corralled a number of top agents in the area and has proven to be an equal opportunity ransacker as it has lifted agents from a wildly diverse batch of real estate brokerage houses. When the dust settled, everything was not much different than it was when the fracas began at least as far as the number of brokers at the respective offices go. Just some different faces at different places.

To further complicate matters, most of the real estate signs look just alike now. It would appear they all used the same marketing group to design the signs – perhaps the people that designed the Beatles’ White Album.

Most signs highlight one word such as Parks, Compass, Village, or Sotheby’s on a dark background. Keller Williams allows their agents to create their own signs and many are going with the dark background, one key word motif.

For buyers and sellers, the chaos is good. In order to lure agents away from the competition, real estate companies must offer something better than the other firms. In most cases, the companies offered technology packages that provided better service for the clients, be they buyers or sellers.

With technology exploding, the firms with the leading technological resources are making gains and forcing all firms to improve in their IT departments. This technology is allowing the buyers and sellers to monitor the frenzied market in real time.

One market segment that is dominating the radio sound waves is a group of companies offering to buy the homes of their customer without requiring the homes to be put on the market. Radio advertising is not cheap. Somewhere along the way, these companies are making money. If they are buying the home for market value, how can they sell it above market value?

In several cases they are not profiting from the sales, at least according to one appraiser. This appraiser was curious as to how their systems worked as he had noticed a couple of homes that had been bought by these companies and later sold for less than the company had paid for them. If there are no repercussions for the consumer in these transactions, the scenario is wonderful. This group paid too much for the house.

Of course, buying properties for more than they are worth and selling them at losses coupled with an expensive radio budget does not seem to lend itself to sustainability. More to come on that subject.

Sale of the Week

Daniel Reeder of Reeder Enterprises fame recently sold his listing at 1104 Glenview for $772,000, a respectable $256 per square foot. While the home is stunning with a rooftop deck and the over-the-top kitchen, it sold for 14% more per square foot than 1123 Glenview, a Yankee Doodle Dandy that sold on the fifth of July.

Reeder’s house has five bedrooms, three full baths, and two half baths and the square footage of 3,104 does not include the rooftop terrace, so the buyer who was not represented by an agent from another firm scored a fair value, especially with the finishes in the luxurious home located a Marcus Mariota bomb from the river and Nissan Stadium.

Loaded with energy-saving gadgets and materials, the house should have minimal utility bills. Now most new construction homes have tankless water heaters and spray foam insulation along with double pane windows, so the outside weather is not a factor. The windows have screens, formally a novelty in Nashville homes.

There are those that feel houses need to be able to breathe and that the air-conditioned, closed window lifestyle led by most today has contributed to some of the structural issues in homes that were built post 1960.

Reeder lists KIPP Kirkpatrick as the primary elementary school for the street and Hull Jackson Montessori Magnet as the secondary elementary school. For the middle school, he lists KIPP Kirkpatrick again and then Stratford for the high school.

John Hendon, the listing agent on the other sale on Glenview, listed Bailey Middle School as the middle school and that seems more reasonable as the KIPP Kirkpatrick website says in one place it is K-4 and another it has kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade. If education is important for buyers in the region, note that the Metro Public School website says the school is K-4. Although KIPP Kirkpatrick is a charter school, it has open admission according to its website.

Years ago, Frank Davis, a home builder had a listing on Chickering Road and listed the elementary school as Ensworth, the middle school as Harpeth Hall and the high school as M.B.A. That did not go over well with the people at the Multiple Listing Service or the Nashville Board of Realtors as they were known at the time.

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