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VOL. 36 | NO. 12 | Friday, March 23, 2012

Conflicting statistics confusing for buyers

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There has been great hubbub in the real estate industry concerning the syndication of the listings found in local multiple listing services. In this area, Realtracs provides the multiple listing service (MLS).

Here’s the skinny. Realtors around the country acquire listings from sellers and list these houses in their local MLS with photos, room dimensions, property tax information, lot sizes and other information that a buyer might find pertinent.

The listing agents must exhaust all resources in order to market the property to the best of their abilities. This would include having the listings appear on as many websites as possible in order to provide maximum exposure. These sites include Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Homes.com and others.

Realtor.com was the first to enter this national MLS arena. It paid the MLS and consequently the Realtors for doing their fieldwork for them. That is until Realtor.com caught on. At that point, they began charging Realtors for “upgraded” listings. When the others came along, the MLS services agreed to feed them their listings.

The problem is that these companies obtain information from a variety of sources such as tax records, building permits and each other. Consequently, there is often conflicting information, and these third parties must make the calls as to which to use and, in a surprising number of cases, publish inaccurate data.

For example, in Hillsboro Village, a number of attics have been converted into master bedrooms. Usually, the owners obtained building permits. At that time, they would have had to disclose any square footage that they were adding to the property. Some were unaware that they were adding any as there were no new roofs, gutters or foundations. In short, they were staying within the existing shell. OK. Some cheated.

In any regard, that square footage is unknown to anyone until such time as the home is listed for sale and measured by a professional. Due to situations such as those and others, the information is not correct. “Zestimates,” the term Zillow uses to determine value has a disclaimer citing the variance of the amount and that they might be wrong. Certainly Zillow would not understand the nuances of Sylvan Park, Sylvan Heights and Historic West Town.

Often, when sellers are considering their options for selling and eventually buying, they rely on this misinformation and are led to believe that their homes are valued at considerably less than actual values. As a result, they may miss a great selling opportunity.

As was mentioned last week, homes with swimming pools in Brentwood are suddenly hot commodities. Trulia and Zillow are not aware of that recent trend. Such current market information is vital to buyers and sellers alike.

Sales of the Week

This week, there were two interesting sales in Sylvan Park, both of which were renovated, remodeled, restored or rehabbed, depending on your region of origin. The first property is located at 4604 Nebraska Avenue, while the other represents a western state as well, being the delegate street from Wyoming, in particular, 4209 Wyoming.

Sylvan Park proper includes the western states as street names such as the Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah, as well as the previously mentioned. This area is across Charlotte Avenue from the other state streets formerly known as “The Nations,” a misnomer as they aren’t nations at all, rather states such Tennessee, Michigan, Kentucky, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia and, for some reason, California. The Wilson Group real estate firm has taken some euphemistic and mystic license and tabbed the area “Historic West Town.” It worked. With all those state, there should be a Lewis and Clark Realty there.

Back to the Park. The home at 4604 Nebraska sold for $269,000 in 2008 and for $363,000 last week. The sellers appear to have added new bathrooms, a new roof and other updates, and sold the home in a few days for $202 per square foot. Cracking the $200-per-square-foot barrier is becoming more common around Nashville once again.

The trip from Nebraska to Wyoming is a short one in Sylvan Park, and 4209 Wyoming included 2,287 square feet and sold for $445,000, or $195 per square foot. As the lot price is calculated in the square footage, houses with more square feet generally sell for a lesser price per square foot number. In any event, $195 per square foot on 2,287 square feet is healthy.

So, for your next staycation, tour Colorado, Utah, California and New York in one afternoon. Grab a burger at Bobbie’s Dairy Dip or a taco at Local Taco, a couple of beers and catch some scores at McCabe Pub, and drinks and dinner at Park Café. Or, wander into Miel for a nice meal.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Pilkerton Realtors and can be reached at RichardCourtney.com.

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