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VOL. 40 | NO. 32 | Friday, August 5, 2016

Contracts are seemingly meant to be broken in this market

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Offers for real estate should be delivered in containers marked “Fragile: Handle with Care.” Perhaps “Explosive” should be added to the warning.

In this seller- friendly market, sellers are not so friendly at times. It’s their house and they will sell it for what they want and move when they want. Really? Yes, really. It worked for their friend in Inglewood a couple of months ago.

Unfortunately, not all houses were created equal. They do not have inalienable rights, nor do the sellers. In this market, buyers walk. That means they terminate the contracts. They go away and they do not come back and, usually, the next seller that raises his head is not as generous as the first person that appeared.

One of the major and most difficult roles of the Realtor in a contract negotiation is making the buyers and sellers aware of facts and tendencies of buyers and sellers during negotiations. In reality, the Realtor should prepare clients for what may come so that the training does not come in the heat of battle when the client thinks that the Realtor is merely trying to get a commission.

The fact is most Realtors are more concerned about representing their clients well than they are about that one commission. One satisfied client could refer scores of buyers and sellers and any one scorned client could kill an equal number of sales for the real estate agent.

Year in and year out, buyer’s market or seller’s market, the most damaging event in a transaction is when either party, be it buyer or seller, is not warned that a certain reaction to a situation could result in contract termination.

In this market, secondary contracts – sometimes called back-up contracts – are prevalent. Following an inspection, if a buyer requests repairs that are viewed as excessive, the seller may refuse the repairs and terminate the contract. That happens often in this market as the seller may have a secondary contract in hand better than the contract in place.

The same scenario can be played by a buyer who has identified a home better than the one he has under contract. His goal is to make the seller blink. He can make the insane repair request – a new roof, new HVAC, etc. – in hopes of being rejected. When the seller blinks, he walks.

Ask any real estate veteran, and they will confirm that there are more contracts being terminated than at any time in the past 35 years. Offers should be stroked once received as the recipient would stroke a kitten. Avoid the catfight.

Sale of the Week

Inglewood is an architectural gem of a neighborhood found off of Gallatin Road slightly north of East Nashville, but no one calls it Northeast Nashville. Nashville only goes majorly directional in defining areas – North, East, South and West.

Even then, only East Nashville and North Nashville have established their own identities. With its newfound popularity, Germantown is in the process of stripping the term “North Nashville” of its reason for being.

A trip into Inglewood reveals classic 1930s and 1940s architecture with an inordinate number of stone homes with some Tudors sprinkled into the mix. The trees are mature and provide a canopy over much of the area that managed to escape the tornado that hammered East Nashville. There is an Anglo-Saxon aura over the mead and the house on Golf Street could be on St. Andrews golf course, perhaps Lahinch.

The Copeland clan has laid claim to much of the real estate in the Inglewood area with Molly Mitchell Copeland ruling as the listing agent of the home at 1605 Golf Street. She is a relatively new addition to the realty royalty known as the Copelands, having married Brad Copeland, a Greater Nashville Association of Realtors board member, recipient of the GNAR Rookie of the Year and a graduate of Leadership GNAR.

Brad’s brother, Brian, who will be knighted as president of the Tennessee Association of Realtors (TAR) next month, was dubbed the GNAR Realtor of the Year in 2011 and has served in numerous leadership positions while finding time to hit the speaking circuit, where he is a big hit.

Molly is a 12-year real estate veteran and needed every minute of those 12 years to understand this transaction.

She listed the house for $374,615 – the 615 suffix denoting that it is a Copeland clan listing – and had multiple offers for the three-bedroom, two-bath home situated on a lot with its own creek.

The winning contract was negotiated with L. Randall Veatch of Reliant Realty ERA Powered. The offer was for $5,000 more than whatever an independent appraiser decided the home was worth in “as-is” condition. That is a roll of the dice.

It worked. The home appraised for $400,000, and the sale price was set at $405,000, leaving the the Copelands to search for more buyers and listings.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at richard@richard@richardcourtney.com

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