Bizarre Real Estate Listing Photos #11

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:


I was going to buy this house, but I’m a bit overwhelmed by the responsibility of taking care of these fish. First off, what are their names? And do I need to bring them inside on cold nights? Just fill up the bath tub and plop them in?


Because there’s really no such thing as too many recliners!

Continue reading

Site Work Underway for 28 New Homes in Green Hills

The early stages of construction preparation have already begun on a new development called Graymont in the Green Hills neighborhood in Nashville, TN. Twenty-eight single family homes will be built on the corner of Woodmont Boulevard and Hopkins Street, just east of bustling Hillsboro Pike. The developers, Landmark Realty Services, are projecting sales prices starting in the $800,000’s and rising to over a million dollars for the larger homes. Sizes will range between 3,600-5,000 square feet and the initial houses should be available for purchase in autumn of 2015.


Preview of Graymont, a 28 single-family home development by Landmark Services.

The approximately $17 million dollar undertaking is on a large, 9.1 acre plot of land. There were previously five rental homes on the site that were demolished for the Graymont plans. Steve Ezell, the president of Landmark said, “We have made great efforts to save the tree canopy and we will add a half mile of new sidewalks.” He added that garages would be on the backs of houses, and private drives would serve trash and recycling pickup and mail delivery.

Landmark Realty Services has completed several other projects in the Nashville area, including Arundel Court, Dorset Park and Moore’s Landing. Highly respected architects Allard Ward will be involved in the design of Graymont, and TriMark Builders will take on the construction.

The Stunning Works of Richard Neutra

After featuring a Richard Neutra designed home in Shreveport, Louisiana as our “House of the Week,” it seemed fitting to showcase a few of his other designs. His design approach placed considerable value on actually living in the dwelling. Therefore, he included many built-ins and visualized the spaces already furnished. The venerable architect often selected furniture for his clients that complemented his house designs, resulting in the optimal cohesive final product. Wise clients accepted this advice, and ceded control to him in that category. With the appropriate furnishings and decor, his houses are pure modern masterpieces. Here are three of the best.

1. The Kaufmann House


The Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, California


Continue reading

House of the Week – Richard Neutra

The “House of the Week” is typically in Nashville, TN, but this week the featured property is so special it deserves our attention all the way in Shreveport, Louisiana. It is a rare offering of a home designed by the distinguished Richard Neutra, who is my favorite architect. Part of what makes it so rare is the geographic location. The vast majority of Neutra’s residential works are located in California, where his modern style is an ideal fit. Other than one home in Iowa and one in Texas, few known Neutra products are found outside of the west, other than a handful of commercial designs such as an auditorium, library, and chemical building. This Shreveport home is a wildly unique opportunity for a Neutra fan to purchase one of his houses east of the Mississippi River. The price of $597,298 is the second component of rarity. Compared to Neutra’s Kaufmann House, Singleton House, and Staller House which have all been for sale with price tags over $10,000,000 the Shreveport house is significantly more accessible. neutra1

The Neutra Shreveport house is a sprawling 5,137 square feet, with six bedrooms and five bathrooms. Due to it’s size, the asking price is only $116 per square foot. The listing agent, Lauren West with Keller Williams, says it is, “Not only a home, but a WORK OF

Continue reading

West Nashville Set for 98 New Townhouses

A new townhouse development named West Mill is planned in The Nations neighborhood in West Nashville, TN. HND Realty has acquired about six acres at the southwest corner of California Avenue and 57th Avenue North. The planned community called West Mill will feature 98 townhouses and a swimming pool. The homes are expected to range in size from 1,150 square foot two bedroom units priced at $199,900 to 1,425 square foot three bedroom units priced at $239,900. The completion date for the first available units is projected for the late summer or fall of 2015, according to Kristin Hostettler of HND. She said, “The Nations continues to emerge as an attractive district for reasonably priced homes.”


Photo source HND Realty

The six acres of land for the project cost about $2.45 million, which comes out to roughly $25,000 per unit, a very attractive purchase price. “It wasn’t that long ago that I had a conversation with someone who said the west part of town was going to take off. I said, ‘The Nations?’ ” said Hostettler. “This has all happened kind of overnight; that’s how it feels.” She added, “I think we just got lucky with a giant piece of land that will actually get to be its own townhouse development.” HND has completed other projects in Nashville, TN including the Park at Melrose, the Row At Berry Hill, Hillsboro Quarters I and II, and Vernon Avenue townhomes.

The Nations is an interesting neighborhood where the convenient location about five miles from downtown Nashville is driving the growth. Nearby arterial road Charlotte Pike is

Continue reading

House of the Week – S. 14th St.

East Nashville, TN is the location of the featured house of the week, where 909 S. 14th St. was just listed for sale for $359,900. A “custom” renovation was completed on this two story home that has three bedrooms, two and a half baths, and 1,580 square feet of living space. The listing agents Chad Sain and Matt Read, both with PARKS, call it a, “One of a Kind Charmer,” and instruct potential buyers to, “Stroll on Over to have All Your Dreams Come True.” Apparently the agents are fans of excessive capital letters and hyperbole. But their asking price of $227 a square foot is no exaggeration.


“Before” condition, when I briefly owned the house.

I was very interested to see the final photos of this listing, as I sold this house in July, 2014 to the investors who renovated it. They had a great idea to add a second story on top of the existing cottage, doubling the total square footage. When the sales price per a square foot has a hefty margin over the cost to build per square foot, it is smart to add on as much as the neighborhood comps can support. Interestingly, the back corner of this property is in Metro Nashville’s flood overlay zoning designation, which means Metro will not allow an increase to the building footprint, meaning the structure cannot be expanded outwardly in a horizontal direction. When that is the case, building up is the best option.


“After” condition, with a new 2nd story.

I had purchased this property at a foreclosure auction two months before I sold it to the renovators. It was a sad, dirty, single-story house that had been vacant for years. I toyed with the idea of conducting the renovation myself, but elected to clean out the trash and have my realtor put it on the MLS instead. It sold in about two weeks for $95,000, which was the cheapest priced home in the 37206 zip code at the time. The investors

Continue reading

Bizarre Real Estate Listing Photos #10

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.


The little girls on the dresser either have one tough guardian wolf-angel, or they’re about to get eaten.


We heard about these new zinnia baseboards and thought we’d give ’em a try. It said, “Just add water.” We did, and by golly, instant garden wall!

Continue reading

Amazing Repurposed Silo House

Living in an old grain silo doesn’t exactly sound very sleek or stylish. But architect Christoph Kaiser transformed a Kansas farm silo he bought online into a unique custom home that showcases inventive use of space and incredibly beautiful materials. He lives in the home with his wife in Phoenix, AZ. It is comprised of 190 square feet of living space, and has an additional sleeping loft. Ten inch thick spray foam insulation was applied between the shell of the silo and the finished interior walls, resulting in a tight, efficient dwelling. The majority of the interior wood is walnut that Kaiser purchased from Craigslist for $350. After much thoughtful planning and labor to finish the silo, it appears the Kaisers will be reaping a harvest of comfortable living for years to come.

All photos by Mark Lipczynski.



Continue reading

My $14,897 Property Tax Bill for 2014

I just finished writing the property tax checks for 2014. This year was a bad one. The worst yet. Almost $15,000 bad. The total is for eight properties. The taxes in Nashville, TN are due at the end of every February for the previous calendar year. I expect the expense each year. It is not a surprise. But just because I know I have to send off thousands of my dollars, doesn’t soften the blow when it happens. I wait as long as possible, until the deadline every year. I don’t want part with the cash until the threat of a penalty (interest) is about to be enacted. So I write this article with a full understanding that I run the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon complaining about taxes. I know that governments need funding to operate on the local, state, and federal levels. However, I want to take time to explore the subject of taxation, specifically property taxes.


Continue reading

When the Numbers Don’t Work

As a real estate investor, I tell people in the business that I am always buying. What I mean is that I will consider any property that is available for purchase, and if it seems like a good deal, I will make an offer. If it is a great deal, I won’t hesitate. Some sellers want too high of a price based on the location, size, and condition. I don’t waste time making an offer when their price and my valuation are too far apart, but I still think through the possibility. I like to contemplate lots of deals, because essentially nearly every property is worth buying at the right price. I know I can’t buy everything, nor do I want to. But analyzing hundreds of deals and thinking through the numbers is something I have practiced so much it is almost automatic. When a property comes along that is priced well below the market value, I can spot it quickly and it is a simple decision to buy. It’s easy to point to the great deals that I have purchased over the years and think they are the reason my investing career has succeeded. However, another factor is just as important: being able to turn down a deal when the numbers don’t work.

I usually have a real estate transaction every few months. I get used to the rhythm of buying and selling. Sometimes, like in the fall of 2012, I bought two houses in a five week span, and three in three months. But other times a few months goes by without any

Continue reading