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Archive for the ‘Buying’ Category

Pocket doors & clawfoot tubs & transom lights, OH MY!

Crye Leike is scheduled to auction the former home of Lula Adeline Rackley at 862 Oak St. Chattanooga, TN 37403 (smack dab in the middle of the Fort Wood historic district) on February 11, 2010 at 5pm.

For its age and lack of updating, the house is in surprisingly good shape. With the exception of some flooring that has buckled in the living room (parlor? salon? Sunday go-to-meetin’ room?) the wood floors are lovely, if worn, and not at all wonky like most old houses. I’m not saying you could play a fair game of marbles on these floors, but they’re not bad at all.

Lula enjoyed three large rooms downstairs, all with their own pocket doors, a full (albeit small) bathroom and a kitchen that is large and remarkable for its lack of cabinets.  Upstairs, Ms Rackley rambled around in 5 bedrooms, each of which has at least one decent sized closet – not common in houses this age. The smallest bedroom is just crying out to be turned into a master bath since it shares an interior door with a larger bedroom.

For the purist, one of the best things about this house (I’m gonna need a drum roll for this one……..) NONE OF THE WOODWORK HAS BEEN PAINTED! Yeah, that deserves both a drum roll and cyber yelling. And beautiful woodwork it is.

So, if you’re interested in taking on a project of stupendous magnitude – this is not a task for the faint of heart or short of cash – call or email me and I’ll hook you up.

Click to see the photo gallery provided by the auction company.

For the eBay uninitiated, an absolute auction means that there is no reserve and no minimum. The person holding the highest bid at the sound of the gavel will be the purchaser, no ifs ands or buts.

Here’s all the legal mumbo jumbo from the auctioneer (with whom I am completely and totally unaffiliated):

REAL ESTATE TERMS: A Non-refundable deposit of 10% will be required on the day of the sale. Funds are accepted in the form of a Cashier’s, Personal, or Business check. Closings shall take place no later than 30 days after the auction. 10% Buyers Premium will apply.

Under title X the purchaser of a single-family residence built before 1978 has a maximum of 10 days to inspect the property for the presence of lead base paint. The period of inspection is 10 days prior to the auction. All bidders must sign a waiver of the 10-day post inspection period

Disclaimer: All Property sells as is, where is with no warranties either written or implied, any announcement from the Auctioneer on day of sale will take precedence over any other statements, either written or oral.

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{{You’re gonna have to hang in there with me, this one definitely gets filed under ‘boring but important’}}

Today, HUD announced new rules for FHA mortgages that will go into effect in the near future (“summer” whatever that may mean). Those who don’t eat, breathe, and live real estate finance like I do may not know this, but FHA has become the go-to loan for most borrowers, especially first-timers and lower income, but really for everyone who doesn’t have 20% to put down.

Here are the proposed changes:

Anyone with a credit score under 580 is required to put down 10%

Hey HUD, maybe we should call you Captain Obvious! In practice, most banks aren’t lending to anyone with a score of less than 620 these days anyway so this one won’t have much of an impact.

The up front mortgage insurance is being raised from 1.75% to 2.25%

For a $100,000 loan amount, this means that the house would cost you an extra $500 which can be financed into the loan. Again, not great but not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.

Seller concessions limited to 3%

This is the one that gives me heartburn. What’s a seller concession, you ask? In most cases, it’s your closing costs. With FHA, you can get a loan with as little as 3.5% down. For first time buyers without a lot of savings, that means you can buy a $100,000 house with not much more than $3,500 out of your pocket, assuming the seller pays your closing costs. That last part is the kicker. Currently, the seller is allowed to contribute up to 6%. And 6% is plenty when you are talking about a $100,000 loan. You aren’t usually going to go over $6,000. But you are probably going to go over $3,000, the new limit in this scenario.

And if you are looking at an even smaller amount, say $50,000?  Three thousand dollars would probably cover your closing costs so you could buy a $50k house for as little as $1,750 out of pocket. Now, with the seller only contributing $1,500 toward your closing costs, that almost doubles what you’re going to have to pull out of the old tin can in the back yard. That’s HUGE!  Anyone looking to live in a $50,000 – they’re rare, but they do exist in Chattanooga – probably doesn’t have that extra $1,500.

And that’s why I don’t like this change. Looking at houses in the $200,000+ range? You probably won’t notice a difference. But all of those first time buyers who are near and dear to my heart (yes, it’s far more gratifying to sell someone their first house), to put it bluntly, are getting screwed.

So to all those who need to use FHA financing and who don’t have an extra couple thousand dollars in your mattress, now just became an even better time to buy. Don’t wait until ‘summer’!

Click to search Chattanooga houses for sale.

Disclaimer: all those closing costs number I’m throwing around up there don’t mean that I (or anyone else) is offering a loan with those exact costs, those are big round numbers to illustrate the point.

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Julia Odom enjoys long walks on the beach, debating the restoration vs. renovation question and hanging out with plumbing inspectors

Visit her website to search for homes.

Do you have a Chattanooga area image you’d like to share (credit given),

a community event to promote or maybe even a crime to report?

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Another brand spanking new report, this one for my St. Elmo neighbors.

All St. Elmo Real Estate Sales through the Chattanooga MLS

All active listings as of 1/5/09: 23

Pending or contingent listings (under contract) as of 1/5/09: 1

Residential listings closed (sold) during December 2009: 2

Number of months to sell current actives at December’s sales pace: a respectable 11.5

And because everybody is a nosy neighbor, here’s what actually sold in December:

DOM= Days on Market

Notice anything there? Not much sold (although it’s a fairly small area without a great deal on the market) but what did sell, went awfully fast. I’m not saying that everything in St. Elmo goes that quickly but that just goes to show you that if you price it right it will go, and quickly.

Want to know more about this charming little community? Click here for a recent blog post or see what’s for sale right now.

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Brand spanking new report for your viewing pleasure. I haven’t done a downtown market report before. Many of these sales are going to be condos & lofts with a few single family homes sprinkled in for good measure. These statistics are for the downtown, MLK & Southside areas. The boundaries I’ve used are the river on the north and east, I-24 on the south & Central Avenue to the west.

All Downtown & Southside Chattanooga Real Estate Sales through the Chattanooga MLS

All active listings as of 1/5/09: 140

Pending or contingent listings (under contract) as of 1/5/09: 9

Residential listings closed (sold) during December 2009: 2

Number of months to sell current actives at December’s sales pace: Mmmm, looks like about 70

Downtown & Southside Chattanooga Real Estate, Under $150,000

Active, residential listings: 16

Pending or contingent listings: 1

Residential listings closed during December 2009: 0

Number of months to sell current actives at December’s sales pace: I’m going to use the one pending and call it 16

Downtown & Southside Chattanooga Real Estate, $150,000-350,000

Active, residential listings: 88

Pending or contingent listings: 6

Residential listings closed during December 2009: 2

Number of months to sell current actives at December’s sales pace: 44

Downtown & Southside Chattanooga Real Estate, $350,000-600,000

Active, residential listings: 19

Pending or contingent listings: 0

Residential listings closed during December 2009: 0

Number of months to sell current actives at December’s sales pace: Ad infinitum – this price range is where it hurts.

Downtown & Southside Chattanooga Real Estate, $600,000+

Active, residential listings: 17

Pending or contingent listings: 1

Residential listings closed during December 2009: 0

Number of months to sell current actives at December’s sales pace: Again, I’m going to pretend I don’t see that goose egg and call it 17.

The chart below shows what is under contract now or sold in December

S=Status, either Pending, Sold or Contingent; TYP= Type of Home, either residential (single family), townhouse or condo; DOM= Days on Market; Prices shown reflect list prices – not contract prices

The numbers look pretty dismal but that’s a little misleading since we’re looking at such a small, high-end inventory. Like North Chattanooga real estate, the nature of the sample size you’re working with results in some big fluctuations. And upper end real estate is suffering all over Chattanooga and Hamilton County. Since that’s the majority of what you have in this area, it only makes sense that the market here would be a little soft.

If you look at November, there were 4 sales in this area, 7 more for October. What conclusions can we draw from this? Here’s what I think. This area has been a little overbuilt for current demand in this economy but that demand is going to start catching up to the supply within the next year or so, especially as the economy & upper-end market improves.

This is overwhelmingly a lifestyle driven area, much more so than any other place in the metro Chattanooga area. Want to stumble home from the local watering hole or walk to Riverbend? – can’t really do that unless you live here. Jefferson Heights is probably the only single family community that truly is an easy walk from a commercial area (some parts of North Chatt would also qualify). Clearly, there are a limited number of buyers who want a condo/loft but those who are willing to put up with little parking and no personal green space really, really want to live in here. Life is a trade off.  As Chattanooga starts to draw more residents who are accustomed to urban living (it’s already happening, we just aren’t quite there yet), this area is going to take off like a rocket ship.

Think you might be interested in this up and coming area? Check out what’s available right now.

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Julia Odom enjoys long walks on the beach, debating the restoration vs. renovation question and hanging out with plumbing inspectors

Visit her website to search for homes.

Do you have a Chattanooga area image you’d like to share (credit given),

a community event to promote or maybe even a crime to report?

Don’t want to miss a thing?? Subscribe to Chattanooga Real Estate.

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Stats listed are coming from the 37405 ZIP code. In other words, if you’re a North Chatt snob purist be forewarned that this is going to include Stringer’s Ridge, a little of Red Bank and some of Signal Mtn Blvd too.

All Northshore/North Chattanooga Real Estate Sales through the Chattanooga MLS

All active listings as of 12/7/09: 119
Pending or contingent listings (under contract) as of 12/7/09: 26
Residential listings closed (sold) during November 2009: 13
Number of months to sell current actives at November’s sales pace: 9.2

North Chattanooga Real Estate, Under $200,000

Active, residential listings: 50
Pending or contingent listings: 17
Residential listings closed during November 2009: 4

Number of months to sell current actives at November’s sales pace: 12.5

North Chattanooga Real Estate, $200,000-400,000

Active, residential listings: 39
Pending or contingent listings: 5
Residential listings closed during November 2009: 7

Number of months to sell current actives at November’s sales pace: 5.6

North Chattanooga Real Estate, $400,000-600,000

Active, residential listings: 9
Pending or contingent listings: 2
Residential listings closed during November 2009: 0

Number of months to sell current actives at November’s sales pace: Ummm, infinity? I’m going to call it around 5 based on what’s pending.

North Chattanooga Real Estate, $600,000+

Active, residential listings: 21
Pending or contingent listings: 2
Residential listings closed during November 2009: 2
Number of months to sell current actives at November’s sales pace: 10.5

North Chattanooga is definitely where you are going to see a disproportionate share of upper end homes selling. 10.5 months worth of inventory compared to a couple of years elsewhere in Hamilton County. After all there really aren’t any cheap ones left out there (if you’ve got one let me know and I can probably find you a buyer lickety split). Most of what makes up that under $200,000 market is probably in Red Bank. Not a bad thing, just not walking distance to Coolidge. If you’ve got a decent house – maybe even an indecent one – in North Chatt and you price it even reasonably well, it’s gonna sell.

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Appraiser, inspector. They’re the same thing right? No, absolutely, unequivocally, irrevocably not. Not the same thing at all. You’re going to need both.

I always recommend that buyers have a home inspection done – even if the house is brand spankin’ new.  Appraisers and inspectors are are both people who come out to look at the house and give you an opinion. Sometimes the two get confused in brains that are already spinning with thoughts of underwriting, offers, negotiations, etc (Hey Mr. Buyer, that spinning brain would be yours!).  Here’s a little cheat sheet to tell you who you are talking about and why.

Appraisers

You’re paying for it but the appraiser is really looking out for the lender’s best interest. His/her job is to make sure that the property you are buying is actually worth what you are paying for it. In some cases, they’ll point out needed repairs and require that they be done but it’s really just a cursory look over the home. If there are issues that affect the safety and welfare of the occupants, they’ll require that they be fixed. Especially if you are using FHA financing but increasingly even with conventional loans. Some things that might be pointed out: missing or deteriorated railings, non-functioning HVAC units, obvious mold, or leaky roofs.

The key point to remember with appraisers is that, even though they may point out obvious repairs, their real job is determining a value, a reasonable price for the house.

Inspectors

As I mentioned, there’s no requirement for a home inspection. This guy (sorry, but they almost universally have a mismatched pair of chromosomes) works just for you. He doesn’t have a horse in the pricing race, he’s just there to nitpick. You want an inspector who will point out every flaw, large and small in your new home. Don’t be surprised if he gives you a laundry list a mile long, usually with a guide as to whether each item is a serious issue or just something to think about.

He’s going to test the outlets to make sure they work, check out the roof and look for minor leaks that might not be showing up inside yet. He’ll also make sure there’s adequate insulation and that the plumbing is all working OK. That crack in the basement? He’ll tell you whether it’s normal settling, something to be concerned about or perhaps that you need to talk to someone above his pay grade (that would be a structural expert).

What’s an inspector’s job? To point out everything you didn’t notice that might be wrong with the house. If you find things you can’t live with you can use your inspection contingency (you do have an inspection contingency don’t you?) to back out of the contract without a penalty, i.e. losing your earnest money.

Why do you need two different people to look at a house and give you an opinion? Because they are looking for different things, and effectively working for different people. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because you are getting an appraisal you don’t need an inspection.

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Well this isn’t one of those.

This is a great house in a lovely neighborhood with real life, full grown, honest to God TREES!

FacadeAre you the guy who likes to have the best lawn in town? Welcome home, all you have to do is keep it that way. The separately metered irrigation system will make it easy (and cut your watering bill in half).

Ivanwood Roses

 

 

Or maybe you tend to get into hot water on occasion. Stop on your way up the driveway and cut some roses (flowers always help).

Master BR

Either way, you’ll love the master suite with lots of natural light, jetted tub and separate shower with body jets and frameless enclosure.Master Shower

What else do I get with this lovely home, Jules?

  • Large secondary bedrooms, each with it’s own sink/vanity connecting to the jack & jill upstairs bath
  • 2+ car garage in addition to the unfinished storage or expansion area in the basement
  • Piped gas grill on the back deck which overlooks the fruit tree filled back yard
  • Dual HVAC systems with air filtration system and humidity controls
  • Custom draperies and plantation shutters
  • Separate dining room or office
  • Laundry room with built-in ironing board
  • Advantium Microwave
  • Maytag Gemini double oven range
  • Over 2400 sq ft per tax appraisal
  • Recently painted, meticulously maintained, nothing to do except move in
  • Uber convenient location near 27 & 153

Check out 6844 Ivanwood Dr, Hixson, TN 37343. Priced at $199,000, you won’t be disappointed. Click here for complete information.

View from porch

Trees! Real trees!

Call me at 423-521-0506 or email me to take a look inside.

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