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VOL. 37 | NO. 46 | Friday, November 15, 2013

It was a good run, but the real estate sales boom is over

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The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors’ sale figures for October show there were 2,469 closings for the month, up 6.79 percent from the same period last year. It was noted in this column last month that pending sales for September were up only 8.7 percent, signaling the end of double-digit increases.

In the past, actual sales have topped pending sales, as some closings occur without the property hitting the official pending status. Yet this month, some of the pendings did not close.

In October 2013, there were 2,401 pending sales, compared to 2,367 for October 2012, a scant 34 more sales pending, which is the lowest increase in 30 months.

So, the boom is over. Nashville is the normal, healthy It City, void of wackiness in the residential real estate market. But what a run it was with 2011 sales six percent better than 2010, 2012 up 28 percent compared to 2011, and 2013 up 20 percent compared to 2012.

It was exciting.

So for all of those who bought in the wildness and chaos, what should you be doing with these homes – most likely your biggest asset – in order to insure they maintain or increase in value?

Enlist the assistance of professionals, with the first call going to an interior designer. As designers go, Nashville’s Kathy Anderson of Anderson Design Studio is one of the leaders in her field, even on a national level.

She notes that those in her industry work with architects and contractors and assist in the supervision and management of the projects.

Her approach to design is to design for one person, incorporating that person’s tastes and unique traits in a way that will appeal to the masses. With Anderson, her work does not need to be undone and neutralized in order to sell the house, rather it sells the house.

One of her first priorities is to design in a manner that will not be dated after its completion. In so doing, she begins by focusing on the permanent components of the home such as the counters, the floorings and the countertops.

Anderson suggests to her clients that they “don’t go trendy on those.” She recommends that they have fun with the fixtures such as lighting and plumbing and with wall coverings.

She notes that “quality looks good a long time” and feels that the lighting design is of utmost importance and has joined the LED movement as she enjoys the quality of the light and its flexibility.

The development and refinement of the manufacturing of porcelain tiles has earned her respect as she said that the tiles now look so much like stone that it is difficult to tell the difference. And that provides the designer “with more to work with.’

As for the solid surface aspect of the home, she says quartz is now the leader over granite, marble and other solid surfaces, and whenever possible she installs a horizontal drain under the bench in the shower.

Kitchen design is always evolving, Anderson says, adding the “chef” kitchen is still in demand with stainless steel abounding. For those that want the kitchen to be the center of attention, she adds, appliance doors with panels that match the cabinets are an attractive option.

As for the master suite, she says big Jacuzzi tubs have waned. She is a proponent of low maintenance improvements using sturdy materials.

As for the hardware, Anderson is using oil-rubbed bronze, as well as nickel, noting brass has reinvented itself and is not being done right. As for costs on kitchens and master baths, Kathy estimates tricked-out, done-to-perfection kitchen can be done for $80,000, and a master suite for $70,000.

Overall, Anderson prefers colors to whites on ceilings, recommending robin egg blue.

Colors, she says, should be similar, lest the visitor look about the room only to notice the door frames. In these rooms, she prefers a stone color on the trim and linen colors on the walls. Trim paint should be gloss; walls flat.

She compares her work to that of a psychiatrist in that she takes the dysfunctional house apart and puts it back together in a harmonious state.

Sale of the Week

HUD homes (foreclosures) tantalize the amateur entrepreneur and can prove profitable for savvy investors, as well.

Here’s one that worked at 348 Blackman Road in Crieve Hall.

HUD paid $307,249 at auction for the home in December of 2012, and it was purchased from HUD for $200,000 in May of 2013.

For those who are curious how the government spends so much money, this is $107,249 plus closing costs, commissions and repairs, all of which could total another $15,000, bringing the grand total to almost $125,000. If that happened 1 million times, that would be $125 billion.

Does that answer where all the money goes? Not according to Congressman Jim Cooper, who has this rule of thumb: A million seconds is 12 days. A billion seconds is 32 years. A trillion seconds is 32,000 years. So foreclosures did not kill the economy.

348 Blackman may have stimulated the economy, at least after the purchase.

The buyer paid $200,000 in May and sold for $340,000 in November. His agent, Ben Wilson of team Wilson Real Estate Partners, says the very desirable location will “WOW you!! Remodel with Spacious and open floor plan. Sand and stain hardwoods. Gourmet kitchen and a huge master suite.” It has 3,591 square feet with four bedrooms and three baths

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

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