Bizarre Real Estate Listing Photos #7

While looking through the Nashville, TN real estate listings on the MLS, I come across some rather peculiar photos. They reveal some unusual lifestyles and inexplicable design choices that are normally hidden from view. Thankfully, the well-compensated, professional real estate agents think that somehow these photos will help their listings sell, so they make them available for the world to see. Therefore, we have the pleasure of enjoying our weekly installment of Nashville’s most Bizarre Real Estate Listing Photos.


It looks like you need to fertilize that tree growing out of your headboard.

yard sale

We’ve always loved flea markets. In fact we love them so much we decided to turn our spare bedroom into a year round rummage sale!

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The $500 Rustic-Glam Cabin Built For Sunsets

Nick Olsen and Lila Horwitz crafted this off-the-grid cabin in the mountains of West Virginia for an incredibly cheap $500. An abandoned barn provided most of the building materials, but the couple provided the labor themselves. Although it doesn’t have electricity or plumbing, the getaway cabin’s greatest attribute is its connection to the natural surroundings. The wall of reclaimed windows maximizes the sunsets, “when everything inside is on fire,” says Horwitz. The natural wooden elements of the interior floors and walls blend with the bucolic views and make this enchanting short-stay cabin a place you don’t want to leave.


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The Top Six Myths About Real Estate Investing

Whether you have heard stories from a distant uncle, watched dramatic renovations on HGTV, or read dozens of books about real estate investing, there is a lot of misinformation floating around. It can be hard to know what to believe. The Urban Investor is here to divide fact from fiction and unveil The Top Six Myths About Real Estate Investing:

6. You need to have a business name, logo, contractor, accountant, attorney, etc. before buying an investment property. This idea of having everything lined up perfectly before buying a property is a chapter out of a generic “tips for successful business” book and simply not true. Don’t spend time and money on all of these things before you know if you even LIKE investing in real estate. One of the best parts of investing is that you can do as little or as much of it that you like. Start out small and stay small, or grow incrementally if you desire. If you get to the point of pursue investing as a career, you will naturally make connections with people that you need to know and be able to get referrals when you need to. Don’t worry about if you need to be an LLC or an S-Corp if you are just starting out. Focus on knowing the values of property in the market that you want to invest in. Be patient and get a good deal. It doesn’t have to be a home run, but start out with a winner.

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House of the Week – 22nd Ave. North

Our featured house of the week was just listed days ago in an incredibly desirable area near downtown at 333 22nd Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37203. The location is between West End Avenue and Charlotte Pike close to several medical centers and other offices. The house was built in 1899, and according to the MLS listing has 3,527 square feet. The tax records have that figure at 5,613 square feet from multiple additions that were made to the original structure. One of those additions has literally collapsed to the ground, and another is sagging badly and is not salvageable. I think the listing agent, Patricia Corcoran with Allison James Estates and Homes of Tennessee, went ahead and deducted the collapsed square footage to arrive at her more accurate figure. I went to view this property within an hour after seeing that it was for sale. Why the urgency? It is priced at only $239,000.

Despite the very poor condition of the building, the price is very enticing. Metro Nashville’s tax appraisal for the land alone is $273,000, and their assessments have been lagging behind the market values for the inner-ring neighborhoods for about two years. Adding just a minimal value for the original structure easily puts this property over $300,000.


The foursquare still has lasting curb appeal, despite the poor decision to enclose the front porch.

The property is zoned MUG-A (mixed use, general, alternative), which according to Metro Planning is, “Intended for a moderately high intensity mixture of residential, retail, and office uses.” The location would be perfect for a law, medical, or accounting office. The building could even house a small design or marketing firm. MUG-A zoning provides the opportunity for creative uses of the space, including making the top floor and basement levels residential units, while the main floor is an office.

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The Dwindling Supply of Cheap Houses in Nashville, TN

According to Realtracs MLS listing service, there are 2,885 total listings for sale in Nashville, TN, within Davidson County’s borders. I got that number from Red Panda Properties, and I was informed that 616 of those listings are pending. The pending houses already have buyers lined up who have passed the inspection and appraisal periods, and are simply waiting until the closing date. Essentially those properties are already taken. That leaves 2,269 that are active listings, available for purchase. Out of those, only 147 are priced below $100,000, a meager 6.5% of the listings. There are plenty of markets across the country where $100k isn’t considered cheap at all. But in Nashville, that amount can buy only one out of every fifteen houses for sale. In short, there aren’t many options.

Corresponding with the dramatic drop of cheap house inventory, the quality of house that $100k buys has diminished as well. These available properties are typically not in highly desirable locations, and the houses are small and usually in desperate need of major updates, if not entire renovations. Some have moved into the category of being considered more for the land value, where the existing structure is simply torn down in favor of a newly constructed house. The result is that prospective homeowners and investors across Nashville are faced with fewer choices of houses, higher price tags, and a lesser quality product. Welcome to Music City’s real estate market in 2015.

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One Deal Lost, Negotiating Over $5,000

A little over a year ago I came across a small vacant house for sale in Nashville, TN near one of my target investment areas. I spoke with the owner over the phone about some of the facts of the house and got as much information as I could. He was a friendly guy with a southern accent, what many from this region would call “a good ol’ boy.” His asking price was $40,000, which was incredibly cheap, but the house was only 672 square feet and it had been moved to that parcel from a different location. The fact that it hadn’t been built on-site was definitely a concern for future resale, as many buyers worry about the unusual. I asked him what his lowest price was for an all cash, no contingency offer, with no inspections and a quick closing. He said $30,000. Wow. Had I really gotten a drop of 25% of the sales price that fast? Could it be that easy? My typical negotiating approach is to initially get the seller to say their lowest price and then counter-offer a bit below that. I got him down $10,000 with one question. That was sweet, but I wasn’t satisfied. How cheap could I get this little cottage for?

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Bizarre Real Estate Listing Photos #6

While looking through the Nashville, TN real estate listings on the MLS, I come across some rather peculiar photos. They reveal some unusual lifestyles and inexplicable design choices that are normally hidden from view. Thankfully, the well-compensated, professional real estate agents think that somehow these photos will help their listings sell, so they make them available for the world to see. Therefore, we have the pleasure of enjoying our weekly installment of Nashville’s most Bizarre Real Estate Listing Photos.rustic

We are big fans of the rustic stable look. I was able to rent out the barn and have my horse live inside with me. 

bus route

Nothin’ better to do on the toilet than memorize the mass transit routes.

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The Best First Investment

Many aspiring real estate investors want to have a plan for how to succeed and build a strong portfolio. They want to build wealth and have heard stories about other investors making lots of money through flips or rentals. But what is the best first step? There can be so many “voices of wisdom” and so much “advice” that it can become paralyzing. New investors want to know how to get started on solid footing and make a strong first purchase. I know I did. So what is the best way to begin on the real estate road to riches? Is there a strategy or formula to follow? How do you start with a winner?

My real estate story started pretty simply, and I think that my approach is the easiest way to begin to build wealth through property. I believe that buying a well-appreciating primary residence is the best first investment. In 2002, when I was buying my first home in Nashville, TN, I took time to understand the real estate market. I learned how to look at every property with an eye toward its potential profit. I was searching for a good deal, for a property that already had some equity in it and one in which I could also increase its value through improvements. The more I looked at properties on the computer and in person, the more I started to grasp the characteristics of the different neighborhoods around town. I learned which neighborhoods were out of my price range, which ones were stagnant or declining, and which ones were improving. I soon narrowed my searching to two zip codes, with my focus being about 80% on the zip code that I thought had the most upside.

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News Briefs: Inventive Rope Loft, Foreclosures Down, $60M London Penthouse

1. Inventive Rope Loft. I’m not sure if rope walls would pass a building codes inspection in the U.S., but they did in Slovenia, where this stone house maximized space and light in the sleeping loft. The principal architect Aljosa Dekleva said, “We wanted the upstairs gallery that connects the two bedrooms to be as open as possible.” Mission accomplished. But I’m wondering how are these ropes fastened at the ends?

rope loftrope loft2

rope loft3    photos from dwell      rope loft4


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The Five Components of a Beautiful Street

Have you ever turned onto a street for the first time and felt a magical quality that appeals to your senses? You look to the left and right and think, “Wow, this is nice.” Why are some streets charming and memorable, while others are bland and forgettable? What characteristics create an aesthetically pleasing streetscape? Last week, while writing about the The Five Most Beautiful City Streets in Nashville, TN, I realized there were similar qualities in each one. They each had The Five Components of a Beautiful Street:

5. Evenly sized lots and setbacks. The consistent arrangement of houses in equal distances from the street creates a pleasant sense of order. It is visually satisfying. When executed for several blocks, the houses take on the look of a perforated wall. When both sides of the street achieve this, it provides an environment of enclosure. On the other hand, haphazard setbacks and erratic lot spacing feel confusing and less regulated. Equal spacing and setbacks allow all of the structures to contribute together as a team, and their sum is greater than the individual houses.

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