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VOL. 37 | NO. 10 | Friday, March 08, 2013

A price to be paid for getting full asking price

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The spring market has hit and is in full swing, or maybe half swing as many are awaiting the daffodils to come forth.

Even with the 18-month, dare I say it, boom that Nashville has experienced, many buyers are slow to offer list price for houses, even the first day houses appear on the market.

There are those who do not want to pay full price and should make it a habit to visit only houses that have been on the market more than three or four days without an offer.

Otherwise, they are in for disappointment in most cases. From Bellevue to 12South, East Nashville, Green Hills, Belle Meade, Germantown, high-rise, mid-rise, no-rise condos, it’s all the same. The market is hotter than a two-dollar pistol.

Consequently, inspectors are now called upon to be more thorough as the buyers have paid asking price, or more, and want sellers to bleed. And the buck stops, or begins, with the inspection.

If a buyer can submit a repair request of several score and seven more, it brings some sense of satisfaction since the seller has lost the market momentum and is forced to relent to the demands of the buyer.

Then there’s the feeling of concern by the buyers of having paid too much for the dump with four score and seven items to be repaired.

In real estate, there is no proposition that all homes were created equal. So a not-so-civil war begins between buyer and seller. If the repairs are grave, would the seller have to disclose them on a new property condition disclosure, thereby causing concern to future prospects? The buyers’ agents often embrace that strategy.

The sellers may counter that strategy by calling in the cavalry and having another expert render the inspector’s findings to be inaccurate, thereby opening a new debate altogether. In most cases, it is better to have both experts present their arguments to each other in order to bring peace to the battlefield.

After bombarding the seller with data suggesting the house is filled with shortcomings and belittling the seller for having misrepresented the condition, the buyer buys and the seller sells.

Weeks later, the new buyers have a dinner party boasting of their negotiating skills. They have acquired the perfect house for a minimal price. Life is good.

Sale of the Week

540 Jackson Blvd.

The sale of the week this week is most deserving of this honor. So much so that it could be Davidson County’s sale of the decade since there are no records in Realtracs for a sale of this magnitude, and Realtracs has been the multiple listing service for Nashville since 1997. In Realtracs’ first year, there were only 18 sales of $1,000,000 or more countywide, so this could be the record Davidson county sale in Realtracs history.

The property at 540 Jackson Boulevard sold for $7.2 million and closed on March 1 after going under contract on Oct. 17, 2012. So what does $7.2 million get you these days? The answer is a home with 9,857 square feet and a 1,225-square-foot pool house resting on 3.85 acres in the heart of Belle Meade.

Listing agent Gail Chickey of Fridrich and Clark Realty states the home was ‘built in 1990 from slave stone walls. Gracious home with exquisite details … Architect-Charles Waterfield.”

Louis Belote, also with Fridrich and Clark, represented the buyer for the home that is zoned for Julia Green Elementary, John T. Moore Middle School and Hillsboro High Schools. Realtracs requires that public schools be included in all listings.

Years ago, high-end builder Frank Davis listed a similar property and designated the elementary school as Harding Academy, the middle school as Harpeth Hall and the high school as Montgomery Bell Academy. While more accurate than the public schools, he was ordered to amend the listing to reflect the public schools.

Chickey’s information shows the main dwelling consists of five bedrooms and six baths, along with two half baths and a three-car garage. The home also features an enormous living room and a 21-foot by 17-foot dining room, a den replete with bookcases, a 25-foot by 17-foot library for the overflow of books. See children, if you read you will sell a house for $7 million dollars some day. So read a classic, in this house, some Twain might be a good idea. Maybe Sandburg’s Lincoln.

With the popularity of Kindle and its clones on the rise and a book market that sells more e-books than those of the paper variety, it is not unusual to show homes that have no books in the house. Now, to be sure, those houses will not have the $7 million price tag, but they exist.

Interestingly, the house was listed for $8,850,000, which means the seller came off his sales price by some $1,770,000. That is a not a conversation often heard in real estate circles:

“Say, I have a buyer who is interested in your listing. Do you think they’d come off the list price a couple of million bucks?”

Richard Courtney is a partner with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com or @movetonashville.

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