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VOL. 39 | NO. 22 | Friday, May 29, 2015

Finding dream house becomes a nightmare

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As has been documented, there are more buyers than sellers these days, hence more demand than supply.

While the sales figures are well-reported and month after month seem to report the same news of sales going skyward along with prices, the humanity side of the equation is often lost.

Having been around the business for 37 years, there are many in the community who are aware of my occupation and, three or four times a week, I am approached by people with well-meaning comments like “I know you are having fun these days,” alluding to the fact that the market is so hot.

In fact, area Realtors are suffering along with the buyers who are frustrated and psychologically battered over the difficulty in purchasing a home, an act that was not so complicated in the past and is performed with more ease and dignity in other geographic areas even now.

Most buyers who are working with real estate agents are enrolled in an automatic email program provided by Realtracs, the multiple listing service for the area. Just after midnight, each morning, buyers are emailed all of those properties listed during the previous day.

In many cases, by the time the clock strikes midnight and those listings are sent, the properties are under contract.

To combat this situation, agents are running “hot sheets” every few minutes in order to monitor any new listings. Additionally, they are relying on Facebook pages closed to all but certain Realtors.

Most agents have a network of agents from different firms with whom information is exchanged several times each day.

I have heard estimates of 85 to 150 people relocating to Nashville each day. I believe it could be the higher number, although I have no data other than three of four calls each week from people on the way. And there are 4,500 Realtors out there receiving the same calls.

An example of that call:

“Hello, this is Susan Vernidies, and Roscoe Bono referred me to you. We have sold our house here in San Monadino and are moving to Nashville and need to close by the end of next month. We can come in this weekend to find a house,” she beams.

Those words would have thrilled any Realtor in Nashville at any point from the day James Robertson pulled the boat ashore until 2013. Now it causes nausea in the receiving Realtor.

“Uh, uh, uhum,” the Realtor stammers,” Have you heard anything about the Nashville market?”

“I have heard it is hot,” she replies, “We can’t wait to see the city.”

Then comes the explanation that they will likely be unable to buy over the weekend. Possible, but unlikely.

Then, the more likely situation is described in which the Realtor will serve as a tour guide showing various parts of town, tour some schools, have meals in the wonderful new restaurants and visit whatever leftover listings remain.

After a day of that, and once the buyers’ needs have need assessed, the Realtor will network like a fiend trying to find some off-market homes that fit those criteria.

If any of these fit the bill, the buyer will be forced to pay asking price or above and allow the seller to set the close date and, more important, the possession date. They usually have to lose a house or two before reality wins.

Over last weekend, a buyer went through those paces and made an offer $15,000 more than list price. The seller decided to have the listing agent contact other agents in an attempt to declare the coveted “bidding war.”

The sellers refused to counter or accept for 48 hours, during which time the buyer sat virtually handcuffed in a hotel. Each passing hour brought more anxiety.

The offer was then accepted.

Of course the buyer worried that he paid too much. That was until checkout at the hotel when they saw another couple in town “to buy a house.”

The wife was crying. They had made three offers and missed all three.

Their agent and the couple had started over three times and will have restart No. 4 next weekend. No, this is not fun.

Sale of the Week

Grace Clayton of Neal Clayton Realtors listed 4002 Vailwood Drive on Jan. 22, a few weeks prior to Snowmegeddon, and sold it in 111 days. Nashville was frozen for a large portion of that period, and the owner let it go for $1,092,000 after. Clayton listed it for $1,189,000.

The cold never bothered her anyway.

Anne McGugin of Fridrich and Clark Realty represented the buyer, who awaited warmer climes to purchase the home, which has five bedrooms, five and one-half baths and 5,350 square feet. Clayton described it as having incredible flow with high ceilings and huge rooms.

In a testament to the hot market, the current owner had paid $855,000 in December of 2011. Buying in December and selling in May is always a good plan, especially if there happened to be a real estate boom in between. And the city is on one now.

The 4002 Vailwood home is one of 63 sales of $1 million or more this year in Davidson County, compared to 38 at this time last year with another 39 under contract. An additional 13 sales are pending.

Assuming most of those sales close by the end of June, there will be 115 closed sales of $1 million or more in the first half of 2015. Those sales compare to the 67 closed sales $1 million or more for the same period in 2014, and the numbers are trending upward.

In Williamson County, sales are following the same trend with a recent surge showing 40 pending sales and 27 under contract to go along with the 68 closed sales.

By June 30, Williamson County should have 135 closed sales for over $1 million or more, compared to 75 for the same period last year.

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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