Which works best for you, Realtor or parrot?

Friday, December 7, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 49

There is confusion among some Realtors between representation and recitation, much of the issue having to do with agency and its meaning.

While it is understandable that Realtors must represent the interests of their clients to the best of their abilities, clients do not understand real estate and, for that reason, have enlisted the assistance of the real estate agent. For agents to merely parrot the words of their client is not true representation.

As anyone who has bought or sold a home knows, residential real estate transactions can be extremely emotional. People are leaving homes that are laced with memories of significant events in their personal lives. Also, there has been pride in the ownership of the home, with repairs having been made as needed in order to ensure the safety of the family and for better functionality.

For the seller to be told the house is worth less than they think, and sell for less than that, and then to be told that an inspector feels that the home is unsafe for human habitation, is enough to push some over the deep end.

At that time, a professional real estate agent, having dealt with hundreds of similar situations, can explain how these issues are generally handled and what is at stake for the sellers or buyers. During these periods of erratic behavior, the real estate agent on one side or the other or – even worse – both can begin to react as crazily as their clients.

The need to understand and perform as professionals is essential, just as it is in similar trades.

In some professions, public relations experts are called in to train clients how to say what they mean. Even then, responses to media inquiries can be answered in a way that conveys the exact opposite of the intended response. The public relations professional can rephrase the response in a manner that more accurately represents the views of the speaker.

The same is true in legal settings. Given the opportunity, clients could easily lose a lawsuit for themselves. Any attorney or PR person who merely repeats the facts as told would have a short career.

The same is true of Realtors. The closings are called closings for a reason. If there is a recital, there may not be a closing.

Sales of the Week

West Meade sprawls across the countryside on the opposite side of Harding Road from Belle Meade, wrapping around Hillwood. These homes, formerly denigrated as “ranches” or “ranchers,” have become the homes of choice and are now referred to as “mid-century modern.”

West Meade has been subject to the ebbs and flows of popularity through the years. It was developed in the 1950s, designed to fit the lifestyle of the traditional American family with its 2.3 children living with their two parents. The parents were afforded a master suite that often included a sink, a commode and a shower assembled in an area smaller than today’s closets.

These homes allowed for one bathroom adorned with pink, green or blue tiles in the main hallway. It served as the powder room and the bathroom for the 2.3 children. In those days, the commodes and sink basins were coated in blues, pinks and greens in order to match the tile work.

The kitchens were equally colorful with autumn gold, harvest gold, avocado green or deep brown shades resting atop vinyl floors and beneath Formica countertops. These fell out of vogue in the seventies.

In the 1980s, West Meade’s larger lots were more desirable than the lots being offered by new developments whose houses featured “wall to wall” carpet, a super selling tool, really keen.

West Meade’s hardwood floors were immediately carpeted, and the colors in the kitchen gave way to lighter shades of pale – white, in fact. West Meade was in demand.

Then, the pendulum swung to smaller, more manageable lots with homes that featured expansive master suites with walk-in closets, whirlpool tubs and massive showers. Kitchens had to be stainless and shiny with small bright lights. So long, West Meade.

In the fashion of the Phoenix, showing its resilience once more, and with prices in some areas of this Meade at $100 per square foot, compared to $160 or so in other areas, the neighborhood is recording record sales.

Real estate megastar Terry DeSelms listed the home at 759 Rodney Drive, which has 1.58 acres, 2,270 square feet, three bedrooms, two baths and a den with a fireplace, for $249,942. It sold for $236,900 in 77 days. It was “priced to sell,” according to Terry’s remarks, and it did.

The buyer had paid $230,000 for it in 2004, so it survived the recession. JoAnne Gauthier of Prudential Woodmont Realty walked the buyer over the threshold and throughout the transaction.

On the other end of the subdivision, which, by the way, is miles long and wide, is 505 Georgetown Drive, listed by a member of the Realtor literati, Bill Bainbridge of Keller Williams. He described the listing as a complete renovation on a quiet street with a ‘brand new kitchen, master bedroom and bath, utility and powder rooms.” Additionally, the home has a recreation room in the basement.

Mary Beth Thomas represented the buyer, and I feel certain that she did.

Richard Courtney is a partner at Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.