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VOL. 42 | NO. 21 | Friday, May 25, 2018

Goldilocks had the right idea about finding a Realtor

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Chris Elizer is a Realtor with Keller Williams in Lewisburg and has been in the real estate business since the Great Recession. Yes, he entered the industry as it lay dying.

He says that the day he ventured into the hallowed ground of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission to get his license there were 12 people in line ahead of him, all retiring their licenses.

When his turn came, and he went to meet the representative who would assist in the processing of his license, she laughed when he told her he was there to acquire rather than retire a license. He said she rose at her desk and announced to her colleagues that she had a person who was applying for a license, prompting several office staff to rise and observe who in the world would dare begin this upstream swim.

To give some perspective, the organization then known as the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors had peaked at slightly more than 4,500 members in 2008. Its membership dropped to under 2,500 by the end of the Recession but has since rebounded to more than 4,600 members, a new record.

The 2,100 new members are not necessarily among the 2,000 Realtors who left. Most of those left for good. The new members are just that, new. They are new to the industry.

Elizer had a long, successful career in the cable television industry, but had always dabbled in real estate investment and wanted to be able to represent himself and others in the purchase and sale of real estate. He felt his timing was fine and he has done quite well in his relatively new endeavor.

Having been in the business world for several years, that experience has served him well, and he has been able to bring fresh eyes into the industry. And along the way, he has been able to assess his competitors and colleagues and divide them into three categories:

Many Realtors, he opines, have been in the business too long. They are cranky, slow to respond, impatient and living in the past.

Others have not been in long enough. They, too, are non-responsive, uneager to learn and slow to gain the facts required to represent a property well. The real estate Facebook pages are filled with complaints about this group and their lack of follow-through and thoroughness.

The third group has been in the business just the right amount of time. Almost a three bears situation.

He is quick to add that age and years in the business are not factors in the different designations. For some people, 10 years in the business is just right, while for others it can be too long or not enough.

Megan Smithwick, a Realtor with the Green Hills office of Parks, knows real estate. The daughter of real estate legend, Gail Smithwick, Megan was able to listen in on more real estate transactions before she left her mother’s womb than many Realtors observe in their careers.

Gail Smithwick left the business after a storied career and is remembered for her sense of fairness, expansive knowledge and spirit of cooperation. Her deals closed on time and without fanfare. She never reached the third stage of the Realtors’ career, that of staying in the industry too long.

Daughter Megan has reached Stage 2, now having years of experience under her belt and an excitement brewing with each transaction. Last week, she listed the property at 1012 Acklen Avenue, a challenging address since there are as many streets called Acklen as there are as there are mayoral candidates.

This Acklen is the street off of 12th Avenue South near the 24-hour, emergency animal hospital, a place most of the area residents know all too well. Smithwick listed the home for $690,000 in what proved to be a brilliant strategy her sellers wisely accepted. Most sellers still scoff at the idea.

In the 2018 real estate market, like its predecessor in 2017, the market will come to the price. Sellers need not worry about underpricing their homes. The market will not tolerate such behavior, and homes priced at less than market usually sell for more than market, while homes priced more than market value sell – eventually – for less than market.

In her description on the Multiple Listing Service, Smithwick laid the ground rules, beginning with submit all offers by 8 p.m. As an opening line, buyers viewing the listing on Zillow, Trulia, Redfin or any of the other sites know that this is a hot property.

Knowing that all four bedrooms are on the second floor, and that that feature can prove to be viewed as a negative in this market, she goes to the strength of the house and explains it is “not an HPR.”

Sophisticated buyers – the breed of buyers that sellers want – are aware of what an HPR is, that being a horizontal property regime. HPRs are immensely popular and have allowed semi-affordable living on infill lots around Nashville, but the letters HPR conjure images of tall skinnies for some and small, if any, yards for others.

In reading Smithwick’s description of the property, the buyers swell with the thoughts of true home ownership, the American dream, a house with a lot that has not been subdivided. Land Ho!

One of the stickier points of a real estate transaction is the possession date.

In most sales, the seller must evacuate the property the day of closing. Unfortunately, many houses do not close on the date both parties agreed upon in the contract.

In her remarks, Smithwick defined the terms of possession stating that the owners would like to close in 30-45 days and then lease the home until June 30. That allows the seller to know the house is sold and closed and then take some time to move.

This provision might not be acceptable to all buyers and could reduce the pool of prospects, but if possession under these terms is required by this seller, then they did not want buyers in need of immediate possession anyway and have not lost anything.

In this case, it worked. She listed the house for $690,000 and it sold for $725,500 with the possession and close date suitable to both parties. These days price low, sell high. Price high, sell low.

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

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