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The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition
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VOL. 40 | NO. 33 | Friday, August 12, 2016

Like an elusive chord, few Realtors ever nail it

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The great songwriter Harlan Howard described a country song as “three chords and the truth.” Most of the songs written by Hank Williams, widely accepted as the best songwriter of all time, include only three chords, those being major chords C, D and G, with an occasional F thrown in.

One thing that made the songs of the Beatles so popular and so innovative, many musicologists have written, is that they took the three-chord songs and threw in another three or four additional chords.

Therefore, in order to become the best songwriter in the history of the world, all a person need to do is learn eight or nine chords on the guitar.

Or, better yet, a person could read a couple of real estate books, know all there is to know about real estate and become the best real estate agent on the planet.

In reality, few of the people who enter the industry are successful. The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors recognizes its members who sell 15 houses with the Award of Excellence. Additionally, there are awards for those who sell 30 properties and one for those who sell either $20 million gross or 100 properties.

Even when membership reached 4,200 Realtors, scarcely 200 members – or 4 percent – sold as many as 15 houses.

In that regard, real estate agents are like songwriters. With some 20,000 pickers and writers in town, only 30 or 40 have No. 1 songs in any given year, even though thousands are writing songs all day every day.

Watch a successful songwriter’s reaction when asked if he or she would mind listening to a song written by an amateur, and perhaps add the little umph to make it a hit. The eyes will meet the back of the head.

In order to have a hit, the writer must compose the song and have access to a good demo studio – maybe a home with Pro Tools – and have quality musicians and a couple of good vocalists, then a good publisher with aggressive, connected song pluggers in order to get the work to a producer, who will have his own players, singers and studio.

These tasks are similar to the Realtors database of lenders, inspectors, appraisers, plumbers, electricians, contractors, closing attorneys, commercial brokers, photographers, surveyors, engineers, cleaners, floor-covering professionals, roofers, radon specialists, HVAC contractors, landscapers, tree contractors, movers and the rest.

Let the buyer beware of bad music and amateur agents.

Sale of the Week

It is interesting how terms work their way into the vernacular. Some 12 years after several communities in the Northwest declared war on the “tall, skinnies,” Nashvillians are, too.

The tall skinnies came into vogue here, and across the country, when smart growth and higher-density models began to be incorporated into the planning visions of many cities across the land, and architects began to design homes for that type of growth.

Utilizing single-family lots that were able to be split into two smaller lots provided opportunities to construct two homes, provided they were, well, skinny.

In order to provide a design that provides everything needed for the comfort of modern living and to meet the demands of buyers who would be inclined to buy the homes, architects were forced to think skyward in their plans. With outdoor living increasing in popularity, rooftop decks were added. Beginning in the Germantown area, the entire city can now converse among the stars.

The homes generally have garages along with a first-floor flex room that can go office or guest bedroom as it often has a full bath to go along with it. The kitchens open to a dining area that spills into the living/great room/den and the owners’ suites are on that main, although oft times second floor level.

Tall skinnies have proliferated in Midtown, East Nashville, WeHo, 12South and the previously mentioned Germantown areas, along with the Nations and infill lots all over Nashville.

And there are the not-so-tall and not-so-skinny homes that preceded the tall skinnies. They lack the rooftop living but have backyards, for the most part.

The house located at 1905 Warfield Drive in Green Hills behind Hillsboro High School in the neighborhood is rumored to be the new site of the new high school and the new mega shopping center that has been debated for years.

This home, built on a lot measuring 37 feet in width – as opposed to the 25-foot lots often occupied by the tall skinnies – was on the market for four months after its scheduled completion and sold for $613,000, far below its $649,900 list price but still coming in at $222 per square foot with its 2762 square feet.

By comparison, many tall skinnies in Germantown have slightly more than 1,000 square feet on three levels.

Most of these homes are new construction, or relatively recent construction. The market is experiencing some geographical shifts among the tall skinny type house owners as they often buy tall skinnies in other neighborhoods, experiencing one trendy community for a few years, then choosing to experience another exciting area. Many wonder how these will fare in years to come, and while their market is softening, their popularity and the positive experiences that enjoyed by those that inhabit them point to a long, tall, skinny future.

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

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