Only the nimble buyers, sellers survive in this market

Friday, April 7, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 14

Yes, the spring real estate market is here and is better/worse than ever, depending on whether the situation is viewed from the perspective of the buyer or the seller.

Houses that were shunned in the fall and decided to hibernate in the winter have re-entered the fray and sold with multiple offers on the first day.

Upper-end sales are being revived with 12 closing in Davidson County last week. Some buyers have chosen to wait for the bubble to burst, even though the math and statistics are not in their favor.

Prices are increasing at rates of five to 10 percent – 15 to 20 percent in some areas – and if the bubble actually bursts in four years, prices will still be higher than they are today.

The speed of the market is not lost on buyers who are now making same-day offers. Such statements as “let me sleep on it” and “I need to put a pencil to it” are obsolete.

This is no city for slumbering or ciphering.

What is sad for listing agents is when sellers deny showings and later wonder why the houses have not sold. Buyers cannot buy a house if they can’t see it.

Now that buyers are programmed to move quickly they pounce and quickly devour any property they find is remotely close to what they had hoped to buy.

The house with cleaners coming or unmade beds don’t get a second chance. Sellers need to sell. Buyers are buying.

If a car blows an engine, the owner needs a car that day. If she goes to a car dealership only to be told that their cars are not clean and cannot be shown that day, she goes to another dealership and buys a car there. That’s how real estate works.

The Lawrence Welk Show, which ran on the networks from 1955 to 1971, in syndication from 1971 through 1982 and lives on in Nashville on WLPN (Saturday nights, 7 p.m.), featured an opening sequence with hundreds of bubbles floating about with graphics magically appearing within the bubbles.

From 1955 through 1982, not one bubble burst.

Consider Nashville the Lawrence Welk of real estate.

Take Paul McCartney’s advice. If “someone’s knocking at the door or someone’s ringing a bell. Do me a favor. Open the door and let him in.”

Sale of the Week

With houses being demolished at the rate of several each day for the past four years, it is not uncommon to see a house advertised with verbiage similar to “house being sold as-is, could be easily updated or tear down and build your dream home.”

Such was the case on the house at 1700 Chickering Road that included the description; “the electricity is on, but some light fixtures are missing.”

Must be a dump, right?

This home sold for 90 percent of list price, a number not uncommon with teardowns that are properly priced, as the market for construction and major renovation is reduced from those seeking shelter.

What some may find unusual is that the house was listed by Steve Fridrich for $2.25 million and sold by one of the brokers in his office, Betty Finucane, a wily real estate veteran who often finds herself on the other side of Steve Fridrich sales.

The buyer paid $2 million for an “as-is” house with missing light fixtures, and that’s a steal in 2017 Belle Meade, thanks to the 6.5 acres on the home as it stands and its architecture.

The owner, who purchased the house for $1,764,000 in 2015, made off with a handsome profit – and perhaps a few light fixtures.

Fridrich has been a leader in upper-end sales for years, and selling a potential teardown for a few million dollars is nothing new for him.

In the case of 1700 Chickering, he noted this home was not purchased with the intent of future demolition.

However, when plans are drawn and construction bids begin to trickle in, starting over can often be less expensive than renovation.

In this case, however, it appears the house might survive.

With nine-foot ceilings, four bedrooms and five full baths, the home could be a renovator’s dream. Most of the floors are hardwood, and the boxwoods lining the entrance would cost a fortune, even in McMinnville.

One of the largest “teardowns” lately was another Fridrich transaction at 1303 Chickering. In that sale, the buyer paid more than $5 million and leveled the home.

Both 1030 Chickering and 1700 Chickering were situated on multi-acre tracts, and the land obviously had more value than the structures.

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