Sell my house? Nice of you to ask, but no thanks

Friday, April 30, 2021, Vol. 45, No. 18

Pretty much from the time we moved into our house, people have been trying to get us to move out.

Not our neighbors, mind you. At least, not that I’m aware. No, total strangers have been texting, calling and now appealing by mail to ask whether we might be willing to part with our digs for, as one put it, “a fair, all-cash offer.”

Let’s stop right there. Who’s to determine what is fair? I suspect there might be a substantial difference of opinion between me and the folks who are trying to usher me out the door, since economics argues against their being generous.

And am I supposed to be impressed that the proposed deal promises all cash? As opposed to what? A swap for X-number of livestock on the hoof? Mickey Mantle baseball cards? Bitcoin?

What is bitcoin, anyway? Can you buy beer with it?

No one who lives in Nashville would be surprised by any of this. Owing to the perceived desirability of life in Music City, the housing market is going – to torture a simile – like a house afire.

“Inventory is so low, and there are so many people moving to Nashville, it’s driving prices up like crazy!” our real estate agent, Caroline Dean, told me recently. “Definitely a tough market for buyers right now.”

The flip side would seem to suggest that it’s a great market for sellers, which we are encouraged to become.

Here’s the catch: If we accepted one of these unsolicited offers, we would perforce then become buyers again, a prospect about as appealing as joining a Ted Cruz fan club.

Some of the entreaties have been quite specific as to their interest, right down to mentioning our street address.

“By any chance would you consider an offer on your property at ...”

“I’m looking to buy property in the area and wanted to see if you’d ever consider an offer on ...”

“My name is ... and I am interested in making an offer on ...”

Two out of those three even addressed me by name, although the name was Joseph, indicating they don’t know me from Adam. The caller, on the other hand, didn’t mention my name at all and seemed oddly indifferent to my property.

“Doesn’t matter the condition, it could be good condition, bad condition, I’ll buy it,” he said in the phone message. “With bad tenants, with lots of repair needed, pretty much with any situation, and I’m even looking for vacant land if you have any, as well.”

His pitch left me ... unmoved.

More appealing was the letter we got from two agents who said they had clients moving here from New York – just as we did – clients who love our side of town – just as we do – and “specifically your street” – ditto.

The agents also included a note from the clients, to “express our personal interest in your lovely home and tell you a bit about ourselves.”

I’m a bit suspicious of their interest in our lovely home, since I suspect we are not the only ones on this street to have gotten the same letter. And, truth be told, not all the homes on the street are lovely.

Though ours is, of course.

In any event, this couple is moving here to be closer to her family, they said, adding that she will be joining the faculty at a local (private, expensive) university, and he’ll be working remotely at his current job. They’ve been in grad schoo, they add, and they’re looking forward to settling into a “vibrant neighborhood” with “such a strong sense of community” and that the move is “exciting and a little scary.”

All well and good, but here’s the part that got my attention:

“We will be bringing our two cats (Sunny and Pancake, both age 8) and we know they will be thrilled with the upgrade from an NYC apartment!”

I want to know more about those cats. What’s the story behind the names? (Sunny, OK, but Pancake doesn’t conjure up pleasant cat imagery.) Male or female? Designer purebreds, or hybrid rescues? How will they be making the journey down? It took walloping doses of knockout chemicals from the vet to make our cats, Chai and Mai, amenable to the 15-hour drive from New York.

Still, I hope Sunny and Pancake won’t be subjected to the indignities and risks of an airplane cargo hold. Are are they indoor cats? I hope so, for reasons to be explained in a future column. Want recommendations for a vet?

As for housing, though, their humans and all the others hoping to turn us out will have to look elsewhere. To put it in cat terms, we’ve found our forever home.

Joe Rogers is a former writer for The Tennessean and editor for The New York Times. He is retired and living in Nashville. He can be reached at