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VOL. 38 | NO. 6 | Friday, February 07, 2014

Even for John Lennon, it was all about location

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In case you missed the special edition of Life, Newsweek, People and Rolling Stone, along with specials on all 1,298 cable networks, this week marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles invasion, or as they like to refer to it, first trip to America.

On Feb. 9, 1964, the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and nothing has been the same since. Many of their song titles can relate to real estate.

“She Loves You” – If the wife loves the house, the house is sold. If not, the husband is in for more shopping.

“From Me to You” – How the sellers usually send the title along to the buyers.

“Please Please Me” – The buyers plea in this inventory-starved market. Upon entering every home, they beg the homes to please them.

“I’ll Get You” – What sellers say to buyers after selling their houses below what they had hoped.

“You Can’t Do That” – The bankers’ response to many would-be buyers.

“Can’t Buy Me Love” – You would be surprised how often spouses will buy homes for their partners in efforts to save doomed marriages. It doesn’t work. Paul McCartney knew this in 1963.

“I’ll Follow the Sun” – The buyer’s response to a bad inspection report. Especially a home with a bad roof. The line is “though tomorrow may rain so I’ll follow the Sun.”

“I’m a Loser” – When the house endures months on the market.

“Eight Days a Week” – A Realtor’s typical work week. Just ask their families.

“Tell Me Why” – The opening line of the song is “Tell me why you cried and why you lied to me.” This is often a question sellers ask buyers as to why the disclosure developed amnesia.

“Fixing a Hole” – An act performed after receiving the inspection report.

“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” – The tool required to fix special holes

“Hello Goodbye” – This song is slightly changed to “You say good buy and I say hell no” and is part of the dialogue between the buying and selling parties.

The childhood home of John Lennon played a large role in the development of his songs and proved that location is most important, and that the formative years of a child’s life are indeed the foundation. In choosing a home, parents should, and normally do, remember the children.

This story is not widely known and was told by Steve Forbert, the Meridian Miss., native and now Nashville-based singer/songwriter who scored a hit with “Romeo’s Tune.” While touring England, he had an engagement to play in Manchester, a town only 90 miles from Liverpool. A friend suggested they make the trek to the birthplace of the Beatles, and Forbert was particularly interested in the home of John Lennon.

Lennon lived most of his youth with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle Harry after his father left to become a merchant marine and his mother had other interests, hence Lennon’s song “Mother.”

They lived in an upper-middle class home on Menlove Avenue in a home they called Mendips. Forbert visited the home only to find that it was closed that day.

In a stroke of luck, the caretaker lived across the street and approached Forbert to let him know he should be on his way. The caretaker then recognized Forbert and offered to allow him to spend as much time in the home as he wanted.

Mendips has a garden in the rear of the house and a tall wall enclosing the courtyard. On the other side of the wall was an orphanage named Strawberry Field (singular). The caretaker told Steve a couple of stories of young Lennon.

In his spare time, Lennon would climb the wall and sit atop it and watch the orphans as they played in Strawberry Field. As time went on, he befriended several and would wander over the fence to play with his neighbors.

Aunt Mimi has a reputation for being quite the disciplinarian and chastised her nephew for fraternizing with the orphans, yet young John continued. Then, one evening, frightening news broke on Menlove Avenue that three of the orphans had escaped from the home.

Aunt Mimi blamed John for the escape and said she felt the escapees had seen Lennon climb the tree and had used the arbor as a means. Lennon checked his tree and reported back “No one is in my tree.”

Again she scolded him for his association, and he asked what punishment might befall him in this manner: “Well, they’re not going to hang me for it.”

This would later be sung as “Nothing to get hung about.”

Now you know. And who knows what inspiration your next home purchase will provide the next John Lennon.

Sale of the Week

This week’s sale is a first for this column – a duplex. It is surprising that there are so few multifamily properties in Nashville, excluding condominiums, which are actually single-family, oddly enough.

The duplex at 3417 Pleasant Valley Road is in Green Hills off Woodmont Boulevard in close proximity to Woodmont’s change of identity to Thompson Lane and, therefore, is near 100 Oaks and all of the good things Vanderbilt is doing there.

This 2,343-square-foot structure was listed by Suzie DeYoung with Fridrich and Clark Realty and has two units, hence its duplex designation. Each unit has two bedrooms and one bath. DeYoung says “each side has a separate driveway and private fenced-in courtyard.”

The property sold for $375,000 after 196 days on the market, and James Prewitt of Exit Realty Music City delivered the buyer.

Assuming each side included half of the building or 1,121.5 square feet and a rental rate of $1.75 per foot per month, each side could rent for $1,965/month.

That equates to $3,935 total or $47,103 per year. With taxes of $5,100, flood insurance (if required) of $3,000, property insurance of $4,000, and reserves for repairs and maintenance of 10 percent of the rent ($4,700), the net income could be $30,300.

So, a buyer could park $375,000 and net a minimum of 8 percent with an appreciating asset and, historically, rental rates have continued to rise in the area. Yet, few of these properties change hands.

In all of Davidson County, only 176 multifamily units sold in 2013, and that number includes triplexes, duplexes and quadraplexes.

Richard Courtney is a partner with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney and Associates as well as the co-author of Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com

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