By Kari Powell
I recently attended a luncheon at Wilson Bank & Trust where Michael Leidel, regional director of Tennessee for metro study, spoke to investors, real estate agents and builders about the health of the Nashville housing market.
Historic rainfall slowed the new construction market in the Nashville area as well as home buyer’s motivation to get out and look for a new home. Now that the clouds have separated, there has been new light shining for buyers and sellers. “Music City continues to experience historically low unemployment rates and is a popular destination for corporate relocations and job growth. Some recent announcements affecting the local economy are Philips and Alliance Bernstein, both creating over 1,000 new jobs each. Plus, Amazon is opening their Operations Center of Excellence in downtown Nashville, creating over 5,000 new positions, possibly more now that Amazon is no longer opening their HQ2 in New York. 2019 is positioned to be a great year for Nashville and surrounding counties,” said Michael.
I personally toured new construction homes in our area with buyers in the $400-$500,000 range recently, and it was eye-opening to see the inventory shrinking with sold out lots and contracts on homes that had been sitting there a few months during winter and spring. With less supply, builders are also able to cut typical expectations for a more substantial profit. As we were leaving one of the homes my clients thought might be a good contender, we ran into the builder who greeted us to see if we had any questions. It was still down to the studs, and he informed us the home would be around $500,000 completed with an unfinished bonus room. We were a little shocked that one of the most prominent selling features for this family of four would have been the large bonus room over the garage. Unfortunately, he said that would be an extra $40,000 to finish.
However, new construction does have its benefits with home warranties and the latest trends and styles of fixtures, hardware and more open floor plans buyers are looking for these days.
During the luncheon with metro study, Leidel confirmed that the majority of millennial buyers are looking for more low maintenance homes with more efficient layouts over large square footage. There is even a trend for more townhome and maintenance-free living among families than ever before in our area.
Resales of preexisting homes offer many overlooked benefits as well such as window treatments, plantation blinds, irrigation systems and upgrades which have already been added. If you are planning to sell in the next several months and are contemplating what areas of your home to address before hitting the market, remember these critical factors about today’s buyers and what they are looking for:
WHAT DO TODAY’S BUYERS REALLY WANT?
1. Today’s buyers want a home to be ‘turnkey’ when they move in. Everyone’s busy. People don’t have time to buy a house and fix it up like our parents did.
2. Generation X is focused on family, requires more bedrooms, places for kids to play and at least two bathrooms.
3. People want houses that are modern and don’t need repairs. If there is cosmetic work that can be completed, go ahead and do that. Be sure to fix any plumbing or roofing issues too.
IF YOU’RE THINKING OF SELLING SOON, WHAT SHOULD YOU CONSIDER DOING?
1. Most of the time, it pays to put in some kind of investment to market your home. There’s nothing wrong with investing $2,000 to $5,000 if it helps speed things along.
2. Don’t gut your kitchen if you don’t have to, but do paint cabinets, change hardware and buy new lighting fixtures to give rooms a modern look.
3. Also, unclutter every room. Sometimes moving furniture around or removing a piece altogether to open up more space can make a big difference.
If you want to sell a house fast, remodel the kitchen and bathroom or even fix a roof, but that isn’t likely to bring you a windfall unless you have a lot of equity or are competing with new construction homes in your price range. Depending on the price and size of the house, a complete kitchen renovation with new appliances might run between $15,000 and $30,000, a bathroom renovation could cost $10,000 to $20,000 and a roof repair $6,000 to $12,000 for a typical two-story or ranch-style home in Sumner County. Those fixes help sell, but they don’t guarantee more profit on certain price points.
The first thing you should do when thinking about buying or selling is to contact a trusted real estate agent who has first-hand knowledge of what is going on in your market right now. You don't need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who does. Henry Ford once said that “when you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are.” The trick is to find the right person. For the most part, they all cost roughly the same, so why not hire a person with the experience and education? We're all looking for more precious time in our lives, and hiring pros gives you just that!