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VOL. 42 | NO. 52 | Friday, December 28, 2018

Great rental for half the going rate? It’s likely a scam

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With the single-family home rental market tightening even more, scoundrels have once again invaded internet rental marketing venues, “renting” houses they don’t own to unsuspecting – sometimes desperate – victims.

They normally target unfurnished homes listed for sale – not for rent – and then offer them for rent after they perform some research to make the listing look legitimate.

They find the names of the property owners and then create a website and email account for that person.

Then they download the photographs that are online and create an ad, often on Craigslist, and offer the property for rent for an amount considerably less than the market rate.

In many cases, their grasp of English is poor and they are unfamiliar with the order that the sellers’ names should be placed.

Here’s a sample response to a potential renter:

“Thanks for your interested my house. my name is” (using an alias here), JONES SUSAN B. “I would love to show you the house myself, but I already left for work. My initial plan was to sell the house but the realtor in charge keeps inflating the price that was why I decide to rent out the house myself so should in case you see for sale in the house, the house viewing sessions is concluded and I had to leave due to emergencies new job and I have to go with my family, but you are free to drive by, look around and also peek through the window to see inside has house keys and house documents here with me. I apologies for any inconvenience it may seem and we beg you to please bear with us for we aren’t permitted out of work to come down there.”

In spite of all of the typos, poor sentence structure and warning flags, some renters are so anxious to find a home that they send money to these thieves. Let the renter beware.

Sale of the Week

In real estate, as in most investments, timing is everything.

While often criticized for his conservative bent on all things financial, best–selling author, radio talk show host and the founder of his own empire, Dave Ramsey, advises those investing in stock should do so with a plan to hold said stock for several years.

There are often occasional spikes that might warrant selling, but for most investments the long term is better than speculating on making a quick buck. If the long term on stock purchases ended a couple of weeks ago, that would have been a good thing. But there usually is a rebound.

Real estate investors should follow the same path.

For example, the condos known as 5th and Main, aptly named as they occupy a lot located on the corner of 5th Avenue and Main Street, fell victim to the real estate gallows during construction.

After auctions, foreclosures, receiverships, liens, death and ruined lives, the building finally rested on solid, stable ground years after construction began. The land upon which that unit rests was deeded to the development partner in 2006, and in 2011, a new developer purchased the real estate for $9,335,500.

Last week, unit #320 sold for $248,000. The first actual sale of this condominium unit as a single transfer was in 2012 for $125,900. That owner held the property until 2017, selling for $256,000, doubling her money in those five years.

A quick check of the Dow Jones average at the time of her purchase reveals that the Dow Jones was at 13,000 and rose to almost 21,000 at the time of her sale, a healthy 61 percent gain if she had chosen the right stocks.

However, that falls short of the 103 percent gain she realized in her home purchase versus sale.

The current buyer paid $248,000 less than a year after the seller paid $256,000 for the home.

Represented by Lauren Thetford of the Franklin Village office, the home was listed for $266,900, and Thetford made every effort to assist the owner in recouping her original investment.

Well known as a savvy, progressive real estate broker, Thetford and her team at Village fought for every penny.

But the market dictates the price, and the 5th and Main development now has some age on it. Also, newer condominiums in the area are applying pricing pressure.

The buyer’s agent was Joy Smith of Benchmark Realty, LLC, and her buyer was able to purchase the unit for slightly less than the owner had paid. Such a transaction is always considered a victory.

Smith migrated to Nashville from Tupelo via Belmont University and soon will begin her third year in real estate. She is recognized as a rising star in the industry.

Although it would seem that even a 3 percent loss in this booming Nashville market would be unfathomable, when compared to what has happened to the stock market during the past 52 weeks, the 3 percent loss seems a blessing.

The seller should place a bust of Lauren Thetford on his new mantle.

During the past 52 weeks, the Dow Jones has dropped from a 52-week high of 26,951 to last week’s close of 22,445, a 16.7 percent drop.

The condominium has one bedroom, one full bath and 904 square feet, a big number for a one-bedroom.

The homeowners’ association fee is $267 per month, but Lauren Thetford is quick to note that the fee includes heat, air, trash, recycling pickup, a dog park and a rooftop terrace.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Fridrich and Clark Realty and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.

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