The house either speaks to you or it doesn’t

Friday, July 5, 2013, Vol. 37, No. 27

In residential real estate, the houses speak to the buyers and the buyers listen and buy them. Or they run screaming into the safety of the Realtor’s car.

And it’s that one ear that hears that home’s voice that makes the difference.

Soon, the house is a statistic. It has an MLS number that now falls into the “closed sale” category. The deed will be filed at the courthouse and it will become public record.

But why? Because the house spoke to the buyer.

In pricing homes, agents pour over millions of records and find homes with the exact square footage and the same appliances, even if they are identified as specifically as those in the “Sale of the Week” section below.

If the price is somewhat higher than some in the market, the showing agent might chastise the listing agent. But it only takes one, one buyer with keen eyesight and good ears. And they will pay for it.

In many cases, a house will linger and languish on the market for month after month before finally selling. After such hibernation, the Realtor may forget, or not feel the need to mark the listing as under contract. During the time of the buyer’s due diligence, a period lasting 60 days at times, the house will not be shown at all. Even though it is not known by the masses that the house is under contract, there are no showings.

In a surprising number of transactions, the person that purchased the home is the only buyer in the market.

It is easy to price a property so low that only a fool would pass it by. In the National Hockey League draft last week, a similar situation presented itself to the Predators.

For those who do not follow hockey, the Predators had the worst year in some time with most of the blame centered on the offense’s inability to score goals. They often went game after game failing to score even two goals.

Based on the lack of offense, most if not all of the hockey experts predicted the Predators would concentrate on offense. These same experts felt a defenseman named Seth Jones would be the No. 1 pick in the draft.

The Preds had the fourth pick and, for some reason, Seth Jones was available. While the last thing the Predators need is a defenseman, he was too good to pass up. Giddy with glee, David Poile stepped to the microphone and announced Seth Jones was a Nashville Predator.

Those in the know speculate that with a player of Seth’s potential, the Predators can use free agency to buy some offense or make a trade.

The same is true in real estate. If a property is priced low enough, the buyer can afford to make alterations to make it perfect for them.

It is important that the buyer let the house know of his plans on the front end. House whispering is one of the best means of communications, but the buyer should listen for the response. And listen closely. The seller at 1304 McKennie Avenue had good ears and a handsome wallet.

Sale of the Week

Back to Eastwood Neighbors neighborhood we go for this week’s featured sale. The property is located at 1304 McKennie Avenue, which is reached after following Woodland to 14th and across Eastland over to Greenwood.

This house is listed by one of Nashville’s best-suited for the industry, as he has a good head on his shoulders and is always fair in his dealings. For that reason, along with some heritage, he is known as John Fairhead, as that is his name as well as his character.

A good writer and describer of properties is he, and he described this listing as an “immaculate grand four square” with a “gourmet kitchen.” He then he describes the appliances. One by one, he calls them by name: Wolf, Fisher and Paykel, and Dacor.

He notes there is a remarkable master and that the house has six fireplaces and a climate-controlled wine room.

In the “over-the-top” category, the baking station – every home has a baking station, right? – there is a Kitchenaid retractable shelf. Seems the owner had missed a top-of-the-line name brand and hustled out to get a KitchenAid, and all they had in stock was a retractable shelf.

Two of my favorite Fairheadisms are “Timeless finishes with modern flair.” I may forget the quotation marks the next time I write that.

Then his closing line is “This is one.” That’s it – “This is one.” Maybe the character count got him, but then again, that’s how some of the best catchphrases originate.

Later he concedes that the lights are hand blown and that there are three high-efficiency/ low-pressure water heaters. Don’t call them hot-water heaters. If the water was hot, it would not be necessary to heat it.

The buyer had purchased the residence in 2006 for $90,000, and evidently he and the house communicated quite well over the next six years. Their partnership yielded a nice return, selling for $509,900, according to Chandler Reports, a real estate market data service.

And what firm would you imagine might have a buyer for this home that is one? None other than Village Real Estate Services, home of the creative, hip, haute and other fairheaded folk. Mike Zeller delivered the buyers, and they should place a bust of his head on any one of the six mantles for showing them the palace.

Richard Courtney is a partner with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney and Association and can be reached at or followed at @movetonashville