Great migration continues to drive Midstate home sales

Friday, November 13, 2020, Vol. 44, No. 46

Real estate sales are so strong in the Greater Nashville area – an area long-recognized as one of the hottest markets in the country – that it’s really difficult to comprehend.

Sales data released by Greater Nashville Realtors shows there were 4,364 October sales in the Great Nashville area, an increase of 17% compared to October 2019.

And, if you’ll recall, there was no such virus as COVID-19 in October 2019.

“Much of the influx of home sales stems from more and more companies who continue to expand their work from home policies,” says GNR President Kristy Hairston.

Many buyers, Hairston adds, are fleeing larger cities in order to find more affordable housing and landing in Nashville, which offers many amenities, all without a state income tax on individuals.

Again, as has been the case, sales continue to climb while inventory shrinks each month.

In May, there were 10,001 properties in inventory, and in June that number fell to 9,682. Available properties fell from 8,962 in July to 8,459 in August, then to 7,847 in September and 7,457 in October.

Here’s the rub. A rising number of closings are not occurring on time.

Often, when a seller receives an offer with a 30-day close date, it trumps an offer with a 60-day close. When the 30-day offer takes 49 days, it can create problems for the seller, who then might not be able to close on a house in Hoboken, home of Bob Delevante’s John Wayne.

Another issue that has become a trend is the inability of the various sub-contractors and tradespeople to complete repairs in a timely manner. In many cases, the buyers require that the monies required to pay for the repairs be placed in an escrow account, not to be released until the work is completed.

Most often, the closing attorney insists that 150% of the cost of the repairs be held. That provides an extra incentive for the seller to hurry the contractor along so that the seller may receive his funds in addition to paying the handy person.

The problems arise when the required repairs are completed, yet the buyer will not release the funds held in escrow due to the discovery of other deficiencies in the house that were not uncovered during the inspection.

The buyers’ attitude is the owner “had to know these faults were in existence and failed to disclose them.” They hold everyone hostage until repairs that had not been requested earlier are made.

One solution is for the seller to refuse to close unless the buyer takes a payment for the cost of the repairs and close with no escrow. If the buyer refuses unless there is an escrow, the agreement must be very tight with a remedy outlined for the situation of the buyer refuses to release the funds.

Sale of the Week

The homes in the Belle Meade Highlands continue to bring big numbers, as evidenced by the sale of the property at 152 Cheek Road last week. Listed for $1.375 million, the home garnered multiple offers before finally selling for $1,425 million, or $50,000 more than list price.

152 Cheek Rd

The offers fell like manna from heaven, not surprising as the seller was a man of the cloth. When he was the pastor of the Walnut Street Church of Christ in Dickson, he was impressed by the piety exhibited by one of his youthful parishioners.

When the time came to sell his house on Cheek Road, he told his children that there was only one person he would consider, and that was the dutiful, angelic Tommy Fussell. A native of Dickson County, the young man once known as Tommy has blossomed into Tom Fussell, one of the most successful Realtors in Nashville for the past 35 years.

Also known for his golf abilities, Fussell is often invited to join topflight golfers in a sport that causes many participants to lose their religion. Long off the tee and quick with a quip, he often preys on his competition as his quiet, unpretentious demeanor often lulls the other golfer into a false sense of security.

A disciple of the Gail Chickey school of real estate, he relies more on results than fanfare, much like his golf game. He might have sandbagged the Cheek Road listing, thereby luring more buyers into the fray at the lower price and enticing the proverbial bidding war, with the house getting as much attention as Tiger Woods at the Masters.

The house sold for $402 per square foot, par for a Michael Shears home, especially in the Highlands, where he walks on water. In Michaels Shears’ Highlands, there are many mansions, although this home was a modest 3,542 square feet with five bedrooms, three full baths and on half bathroom.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate real estate broker with Fridrich and Clark Realty, LLC and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.