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VOL. 45 | NO. 11 | Friday, March 12, 2021

The early bird gets nothing without an above-list offer

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1935 Green Hills Blvd

The Nashville-area real estate market is hotter than hot, as anyone involved can attest. And heading south on I-65, a reasonable solution in markets past, offers no relief.

In all of Williamson County, there were some 18 houses on the market Friday in the $550,000-$800,000 price range, with several of those entering the market Friday. These properties were in Brentwood, Nolensville, Franklin and all points between those municipalities.

Each of the listings had virtually the same showing instructions. An aside, a renowned Realtor speaking at a real estate conference once said: “Whenever anyone uses the word virtually, whatever follows is not true.”

The 10 houses new to the market attracted scores of showings, with enough Realtors and buyers streaming through to make it look like a celebrity estate sale.

Most offered showings all day Saturday and Sunday with a deadline of Sunday afternoon or Monday morning to submit offers. A home on Green Hills Boulevard in Franklin included an additional restriction: “Due to Fair Housing guidelines, buyer letters will not be presented to seller.”

In many multiple-offer scenarios, buyers often write letters gushing about how the listed property is the only property they would consider as a home for their children. The more emotional the plea, the greater the hope that it will tug at the heartstrings of the sellers.

The fact is sellers put a greater emphasis on purse strings than heartstrings, terms, conditions and possession.

The citation of Fair Housing Act as a reason to ban the letters is welcomed by many Realtors since some sellers might be influenced by them, and that must be illegal. Realtors are required to provide equal services regardless of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status and national origin in accordance with that act. Letters to homeowners could easily disclose prejudicial information in favor or against a potential buyer.

With those letters going the way of the six Dr. Suess books, the water is no longer clouded by passion, and the transaction is more of a “just the facts ma’am,” a quotation closer to the words offered by the Sergeant Wednesday character created by satirist Stan Freberg in his spoof of Dragnet than it is to the words so often referred to Jack Webb’s character Joe Friday.

The Green Hills Boulevard home was listed Sunday afternoon following the melees at the other homes listed Friday. This strategy can make matters really confusing as the photographs of the house were not ready for publication, so interior views of the home were not available.

The dilemma created was whether to make an offer on one of the homes that was listed Friday with the Sunday offer deadline or wait until Monday to see the Green Hills Boulevard house in Franklin. Apparently, many decided to skip the frenzy and tour the Green Hills house, as the showing center had 45 appointments scheduled within hours of the home being listed.

This scene is being enacted all over the Midstate area. Josh Fulmer received six offers for his house on Dayclear Drive in Murfreesboro during the first few hours of listing the $475,000 home.

With a Friday list date of so many similar homes, many weekend shoppers were confused as to which home to attempt to buy, knowing if they missed their first choice the other choices would have vanished.

The diligent Realtor working with an efficient buyer loses in the multiple-offer scenario, as William Camden’s “The early bird gets the worm” proverb is out the window. When writing his book of proverbs in 1605, Camden had many verses that withstood the test of time. Not this one.

In this case, the saying “The second mouse gets the cheese” is more appropriate. Or it could be the fourth, fifth or 20th mouse that gets the cheese as long as the offer is submitted on time.

Once there are multiple offers, it is best to hold the offer until closer to the deadline in case the listing agent is of the vermin family and likely to share the offer price with those who live in the same nest.

By all accounts in all areas to and fro, the real estate world is in a different place. And with spring around the corner, it will only worsen for buyers and improve for sellers. With sellers intending to stay in the area, there is the challenge of finding acceptable housing with a reasonable price. Downsizing is not always the answer, as some smaller homes are selling for more than larger homes, with many being demolished.

Some buyers see renting as safe haven, but rental rates are astronomical and on the rise, even in these days of COVID-19. With exorbitant rental rates high and real estate prices on the rise, compromise has become a more effective means of homebuying.

Mick and Keef had it right when they wrote, “You can’t always get what you want.” And their advice from 1969, “But if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need.”

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

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