Despite the Weather, Middle Tennessee Home Sales Remain Strong in January

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 8, 2016) – There were 2,167 home closings reported for the month of January, according to figures provided by the Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS®. This figure is up 9.7 percent from the 1,976 closings reported for the same period last year.

“As expected, 2016 home sales picked up where 2015 left off. Closings were up almost 10 percent over January of 2015,” said GNAR President Denise Creswell. “Beginning the year with over 2,000 closings is an encouraging start. The last time our region saw a January with more than 2,000 closings was 2007. Our January numbers have consistently increased since 2010.

“The continuing upward trend in home sales is a positive, however there are challenges to housing that still need to be addressed,” continued Creswell. “Most notably is the need for more affordable housing. Many buyers are going outside of the Greater Nashville area to find more affordable options, so hopefully soon there will be some additional programs in place to provide more economical options for buyers.”

There were 2,212 sales pending at the end of the month, compared with 2,204 pending sales at this time last year. The average number of days on the market for a single-family home was 64 days.

The median residential price for a single-family home during January was $242,668 and for a condominium it was $179,900. This compares with last year’s median residential and condominium prices of $215,000 and $172,250, respectively.

Inventory at the end of January was 11,352, compared with 12,663 in January 2015. “Despite inventory levels being down from a year ago, they are up from December of last year,” said Creswell. “Buyers are looking for options and, with spring on the way, we expect some additions to inventory. It’s not too soon to begin thinking about placing your home on the market, and getting ahead of the spring season could be an advantage.”

Charts: Middle Tennessee Home Sales Remain Strong in January

Real Estate Trends in Nashville for Spring 2016

A few trends to notice moving into the 2016 selling season…

AFFORDABILITY – Increased prices, stagnant wages and rising interest rates will have a negative effect on affordability. Middle Tennessee is still relatively affordable compared to other parts of the country taking into account our relatively lower prices, the still low interest rates, our low property taxes (TN ranks 38th in the country), and a median household income that is above the national median in all of our communities.

GOOD MARKET – STILL COMPETITIVE – The Middle Tennessee market remains very active, but buyers and sellers need to be realistic about the process. New regulations have complicated the loan process, but full-time, knowledgeable Realtors and Lenders can make the process easier and increase the likelihood of a successful transaction. Make sure you have the best people on your team.

DESIGN – Large showers, high end  finishes, contemporary, ranch style, open plans, quality, outdoor living, energy efficient, grey or neutral colors – these are features today’s buyers want.

INTEREST RATES – It is predicted interest rates could increase to the 5 to 5.5 percent range. Although these are low compared to past history, increases cut buying power. Buyers would fare better by getting into the market before we see increases.

FIRST TIME BUYERS – Properties under $300,000 are flying off the shelf, but there are opportunities for  first time buyers to get into a home if they are patient, prepared, pre-approved by a reputable lender, decisive, realistic about their wants and needs, and carefully consider the offer they will make.

MOVE-UP MARKET – The over $400,000 market isn’t moving as fast as the lower prices, and this presents an opportunity for homeowners wishing to move up.

RENTAL MARKET – What has been favorable for investors has been more of a challenge for those looking to rent. Low vacancy and increasing rents have caused some people to move into the outlying communities and in some cases they made the decision to purchase rather than rent. Several apartment developments are in the works which will help ease this situation.

Under the Surface

So you’ve landed “the one” that you’ve been searching for.  After six months of confusing MLS sheets, driving to see open houses, and setting up private showings, you are done.  You’re a buyer who’s found the perfect home, you submitted a killer offer, and you won the contract to make the purchase.  It’s all down hill from there.  …at least for you.  Your agent on the other hand has quite an ocean to traverse, though they may not outwardly show it — a duck fiercely paddling under the surface with a calm outward appearance.  From the time a property goes under contract to the time that it closes, there’s quite a checklist to manage.  To make it easier to see, I’ve pulled it out of the Tennessee Residential Purchase & Sale agreement (written in legalese) and summarized it.  Each task carries its own challenges, and each task is compounded by managing the multiple personalities who are involved in completing the process.  It’s not rare for a home to fall out of contract, and it takes a certain amount of attention and finesse to work through the steps to closing.  Check it out below!

Purchase & Sale Timeline

TRID is in the Air

It’s early November: The time of year for glorious amounts of Football, hot chili, and warm fires.  (If the thermometer would drop below 70, we’d be in good shape!)  It also means that we’ve been under the “new rule” of TRID for about a month.  TRID, if you’ve not been following real estate law, is a new process that the Federal government mandated to help consumers with the home buying process.  While it makes some interesting changes for the consumer, it rattled the cages of many steady loan officers, title attorneys, and real estate agents.  For loan officers, there are all kinds of new requirements to disclose important facts to the borrower and to do so according to a set schedule.  If certain disclosures happen in the wrong order or a day late, then it could mean the closing is delayed.  For title attorneys, new forms and closing procedures mean memorizing and interpreting different documentation to buyers and sellers, and requesting the proper documentation from the lender at the right time.  For real estate agents, it means a new time table has been outlined for our Purchase & Sale Agreement (a.k.a., the main home contract).  The timetable is tighter, stricter, and requires more detailed attention to the “contract-to-close” portion of the process.  For consumers, it means that buyers and sellers will experience a more streamlined process, but with greater risk for delayed closings.  Delayed closings can mean rescheduled moving trucks, additional time off work, or even temporary housing.
To avoid the stress and headaches that come from an uncertain closing, it’s ever more important for buyers and sellers to chose their team wisely!  The three major players for every transaction (lender, attorney, Realtor) have to be industrious personalities who want to see the sale close on time.  The new structure is great, as long as it’s implemented by the right people.  As an agent, I have a preferred team standing by.  They’re efficient, adaptable, and genuine people who truly enjoy their work and have experiential knowledge of implementing the new TRID processes.  Go Team!!!

Objectively Speaking: When is the best time to move?

I’ve done it in the Winter, with numb fingers trying to tape a box closed.  I’ve done it in the summer, inching through traffic, with my damp clothes stuck to the hot vinyl seats of a moving truck with no A/C!  So by far, my favorite times of year also happen to be the best times to move: a temperate Spring or Autumn day takes a huge chunk of stress out of packing up your stuff and relocating to a new home.  Not only is it easier for you, but all those faithful friends whom you call to finally return the “moving duty” favor are more likely to show up on a crisp, clear morning.  Temperature complaints aside, the warm colors of Fall happen to cast a more welcoming light on potential homes as the shoppers visit for open houses and showings.  By September, the hustle of the spring market has slowed to a comfortable pace, and all those families looking to move before the new school year have likely been satisfied in a new home.  I’m convinced, then, Autumn is the best time to move… and it just so happens, according to the almanac, Fall starts on September 23rd!  Mark your house hunting calendars.  🙂

The Fall Season is the Best Time to Move

Autumn in Downtown Nashville

East Nashville Townhouse Hits the Market

1615B Chase Street

Come tour this freshly-painted East Nashville home, built just three years ago! Walk into your new open layout, set your keys on granite, feel textured hardwoods under your feet, relax in warm designer lighting, and enjoy the sharp look of stainless steel. Open 2:00-4:00pm on Sunday, August 23nd, 2015. Located just eight minutes from downtown.

1408 Square Feet; 3 Bedrooms; 2.5 Bathrooms; List Price: $260,000

Peak at the MLS Sheet Here!

Virtual Tour:

New Pricing Scenario Brings Westhaven in Reach

1413 Eliot Road

(Monthly Payment) − (Rental Income) = Surprisingly Affordable

Not only has this adorable abode seen a recent price reduction, but having additional rental income from the In-Law Suite could make this dream home a surprising reality for the right home shopper.  Check out how LOW the monthly payment can go!


Purchase Price:                 $669,900 (Just reduced!)
Loan Amount:                   $535,920
30 Year Fixed Rate:           4.25%
P/I Monthly Payment:        $2,636
Subtract Rental Income:   ($1200)

P/I Monthly Payment:   $1436.00*

Alternatively, the suite is perfect if you need an extra space for family, in-laws, guests, teens or college kids home from school.


Technology Upgrades, an In-Law Suite, and a Unique Hot Water System Set This Home Apart. 

If you have been looking around Franklin for something immaculate, yet surprisingly affordable, take a tour of this perfectionist’s home at 1413 Eliot Road.  It includes an isolated in-law suite with its own kitchen and laundry, perfect for independent family members or to use as rentable space.  The suite is currently bringing in an additional $1100 each month, effectively reducing the mortgage payment by a huge margin.

Boasting several technology upgrades, including wi-fi connected deadbolts, Nest thermostats, and a touch-activated kitchen faucet, this living space features a hidden surprise: The continuous-flow hot water system, which cycles water in a loop throughout the home to ensure a hot supply instantly at every fixture.

Featuring beautifully crafted millwork and built-in shelving throughout the home, artificial turf in the fully-landscaped courtyard, and plenty of closets for storage, this home is remarkably distinctive.  Because each bedroom has its own full bathroom, each resident can feel like they have their own space.

Timeframe: The current owners are under contract on a new home now, and a fast close is fully possible.

Westhaven is the premier destination for Williamson County living, with beautiful, porch-lined streets and tons of amenities, including three pools, tennis courts, fitness center, Residents’ Center with planned activities, restaurants, and shopping.  A new hardware store and Neighbors Bar & Grill are opening soon, along with an on-site supermarket, which is currently being remodeled.

Schedule a showing today:  Call Kevin at (615) 358-8468.


Take a virtual tour of this perfectionist’s home.

* Pricing scenario is only an estimation of expected costs and may change based on buyer’s specific loan scenario.

Turning Tables on Contingencies

Nashville’s in its craziest buying season in quite some time.  There’s really only one way to meet the overwhelming buyer demand… and that is to CREATE more inventory by helping and educating potential home sellers.  In approaching these sellers, their main concern is typically, “but where will I move?”  And that’s a valid point given the fact that there aren’t a ton of options.  So instead of exploring their options, they stay put, limiting the inventory, and creating a real estate grid lock where no one can seem to get what they want.
Instead of remaining stationary, there’s a better response to the question, “But where will I move?”  Wherever you want, whenever you want.  It’s okay to not know where exactly you’re moving.  You can take all the time you need in order to sort out your options.  Here’s how it works…
We all know about the contingencies we use as leverage when we submit an offer to buy a house: your offer is contingent on an inspection, on an appraisal, on your ability to obtain a loan, et cetera.  But did you know that sellers can also have contingencies on their listings?  For instance, you can list your own home contingent on completing the purchase of a suitable new home. So instead of being contractually bound to close with a buyer in the next 45 days, the tables are turned, and the buyer is contractually bound to wait for you to find your new place.
We can likely find a buyer who won’t mind waiting that long.  Almost every buyer I work with has put in offers on several properties, each of them attempting to sweeten the deal by covering things like title expenses, waiving inspection contingencies, putting more money down to help create a more stable loan situation, and more.  One buyer even offered to repair a dangerous staircase on a seller’s home before she moved out.  (The seller rejected his offer and went with an all-cash deal.  Rats!)  Buyers are growing impatient, and they’ve been searching for months; they’d be happy to wait a little while longer knowing they have secured a new home.
If it might be time for you to consider selling, let’s chat.  I typically meet clients over coffee in a no-pressure setting.  No contracts to sign, no commitments, just coffee talk.

This is a win-win scenario

How many times have you felt totally screwed over on something you bought or sold?  Either you didn’t get enough for your last car sale or you feel like you paid way to much for that Valentine’s day dinner (but your love was worth it, right?)  😉  So why does it have to be like that?
Presenting: “Win-Win Logic” to the rescue!  Every time a client of mine wants to submit an offer to buy a house, I write up a quick cover letter.  The cover letter has just one idea to communicate: we are on the same page.  The first paragraph summarizes the offer being made, the second paragraph introduces the buyer and describes their scenario, and the third paragraph introduces me and my reputation.
Why do we take this extra step?  Buyers and sellers have the same goal: close on a house.  By submitting that cover letter, I’m kickstarting the win-win mentality.  The only thing to really work out between a buyer and seller is the price of the home.  After that’s been negotiated and agreed upon, we work together toward a happy closing for all.
A simple thought, I know, but the best ideas always are!

The Process: From Contracts to Keys!

I’m an infographic kind of guy.  I could make a flow chart for doing laundry and I would honestly have fun (with the chart, not the actual laundry).  Explaining things visually helps me to understand how minutia fits into broader concepts, and I have fun creating those visuals so that others can understand the concept, too.
Enter the home buying flow chart: a simple chart of how two parties work together to achieve one common goal, selling a house.  We start with a buyer and a seller, each with their respective agents, and each of them responsible for achieving several steps along the way to the greater goal.
Home Buying Process | Pareto Realty | Nashville
I know what you’re thinking, “Woah, this is way too complex of a process.”  But you’re actually overthinking it already.  It’s not like YOU have to do all this.  Really, you and your agent work together as a team to handle some of the hurdles, and the other party works with their agent to cover the rest.  That’s why the first meeting with your real estate agent is so important; the first meeting sets up the end goal and lays out your responsibilities, your agent’s responsibilities, and helps clearly define expectations for the rest of the process.
I pride myself on the process, it makes for a smooth transition for the buyer and the seller.  And I pride myself on the flow chart.  The chart PROVES that we’re all on the same team, we all have a very similar end goal!
Credit: Flow chart layout adapted from real estate king Barry Owen.