• The Nashville Ledger VOL. 36 | NO. 22

    The practice of real estate is often misunderstood. Clients often make comments like: “I know that you want this to go through so that you can get your commission, but…” At that point the buyers or sellers begin to pontificate on several reasons why the transaction would not be attractive to them.

    One of the most invoked statements concerns inspections: “I know you want this deal to go through, but I want a thorough inspector, not someone who is just going to say everything is all right.” If each real estate agent only needed one sale during his entire career, such logic would be sound. However, the truth is Realtors live and die by referrals, and good inspections are vital to a successful sale. Equally important are reputable lenders, closing attorneys, surveyors and the bevy of HVAC contractors, electrical and plumbing technicians.

    Those most skeptical of all parties that Realtors confront are a group of participants known as parents. Parents of first-time homebuyers view the potential homes their children have chosen as booby traps set by Realtors. These scalawags have somehow brainwashed their children – perhaps placed them in a hypnotic trance – in an effort to force the unsuspecting victims to purchase a home. Never mind that the children, husband and wife, often, have graduate degrees and starting salaries eclipsing what the parents made after 20 years on the job. Many of these youngsters have far-reaching responsibilities, managing key personnel or controlling millions of dollars.

    There is no more dreaded phone communication from the unsuspecting first-time homebuyer to his agent than the “I’d like my parents to stop by and take a look” call or e-mail. At that point, regardless of any and all conditions, the deal is most likely dead. Upon their arrival at the home, the children proudly fling the front door open, smiling from ear to ear and embracing each other as they display their future abode, the home of the parents’ yet-unborn grandchildren, the American Dream in 3D. The scowls, hisses, overall looks of dismay and disdain from the parental unit take the youngsters by surprise as the Realtor places tongue between teeth and begin to meditate and chant. “They are only trying to help. They are only trying to help.”

    Sherlock Holmes, Frank Lloyd Wright and Detective Columbo could not find more deficiencies than the parents. Oliver Stone couldn’t constructi a conspiracy theory to match any envisioned by the parents of first-time homebuyers. The parents approach the agent with an atitude of “How could you do this to my child?” “Have you seen the roof?” they ask. The agent replies that there will have an inspection that may include as many as 25-35 requests for various repairs. “At least!” the parent exclaims. “I’m afraid this isn’t the layout for you,” the mother laments, even though the children are in an apartment and, more than likely, this home is larger than the parents’ first home. “They are only trying to help. They are only trying to help.” The son calls the next day and informs the agent that his father has done some research. The local municipality’s tax appraisal is 2 percent lower than the price the buyer is paying. Oh, that any agency could appraise any 400,000 structures within 2% and that the evaluation would hold for four years through recessions and recovery.

    And now for the coup de grâce: This research has revealed that the current owner paid less for it eight years ago than the son is paying now. Heaven forbid, over an eight-year period, the house appreciated. Conventional wisdom would provide that a parent might want their child to invest in a neighborhood on the rise, perhaps a neighborhood that would allow that child to realize a profit when he or she sells in seven years. Nah. One of the more interesting aspects of the ordeal is that the children have argued with their parents since the children were able to utter phrases. They don’t agree on politics, the color of the table cloths at the rehearsal dinner, the Kennedy assassination or iPhone vs. BlackBerry. Yet in this issue, the children cave, even if the spouse is in love with the house. And the agent must smile and recall the Robert Young television series “Father Knows Best,” even when he doesn’t. Who needs 3.75 percent interest rates anyway?

    Sales of the Week

    The first is an eye opener at 1500 Linden. The parents must have stayed home when the kids bought his one. Once again, the Belmont/12South area scores big with a 3,718-square-foot house selling for $1,250,000 with Village’s Barbara Moutenot covering both sides – seller and buyer – of the sale. The house was sold in 2009 for $240,000, then completely renovated and sold for $800,000 in 2010. Meanwhile, in Belle Meade, the Fincanes of Fridrich and Clark sold 323 Walnut for $1,675,000 after having sold it to these buyers for $1,125,000 in 2004. According the Realtracs data, the house grew by 719 square feet during that time, but a nice return nonetheless. So Moms and Dads, real estate is appreciating. Rates are low. Cut the kids some slack.