Winter Sunrise over MLK

If you are coming from downtown Chattanooga, cresting the hill on MLK going toward Highland Park & Missionary Ridge, this is what you’ll see.

I will not even pretend that I get up all raring to go and take photos of gorgeous downtown Chattanooga. I have a child who goes to school at Brown Academy right there in front of UTC, otherwise I would totally have snoozed through this bit of loveliness.

That dark blurry bit at the bottom right corner is Park Place, the old school building turned loft/condo. The various units have square footage from 790 all the way up to 2,750 so there’s a good choice of space, whatever you may need. And for buyers with kids who may have avoided downtown condos in the past due to a lack of outdoor play areas, Bryant Park – a fenced playground – is right next door.

It’s a pretty easy walk to UTC and the nightlife of downtown, especially Nightfall and the Bessie Smith ‘Strut’.

Want to hear about another great perk when it comes to buying at Park Place? As of right now, the Lyndhurst Foundation is offering a $10,000 grant to buyers. Yep, you can negotiate your best price on the condo of your choice and then Lyndhurst will give you a $10,000 credit at closing. In some cases you might even be able to use this cash as part of your down payment (your mileage may vary – check with your lender on this).

Click here to see what’s currently for sale at Park Place. None of these are my listings, FYI…

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Fort Wood Diamond in the Rough

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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St. Elmo Real Estate Market Report for December 2009

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 over to see a recent post I wrote about St. Elmo (Chattanooga) or see what’s for sale right now.

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Downtown Chattanooga, MLK & Southside Market Stats for December 2009

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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Adventures in Historic Homeownership – the Yucky Stuff

What, what, WHAAAT? There’s yucky stuff in home ownership, Jules?

How could that possible be?

One of the pitfalls into the money pit that CAN be historic homeownership is the sewer line, the mother of all yucky stuff. Anyone who knows me knows that I LURRVE old houses. Along with that love comes a price to pay. I bought my house for a veritable song, so little that I won’t even bother telling you how much (but did you know that it’s a matter of public record?). I knew when I acquired the old gal that lots of work was going to be needed to bring her back to her former glory. What I didn’t know was that, lurking beneath the weed infested lawn, was an insidious force that was going to cost me $5,000 more than I thought.

A broken sewer line.

Was the sewer system/line working when I bought the house? Sure it was. Of course, no one had lived there in a few months so any slow or backed up lines wouldn’t have been apparent anyway.  The sewer line wasn’t actually broken to the point of disconnection, just enough that one part of the break was offset from the other part. Could it still have functioned that way? Absolutely, at least for a while.  But do you really want a monster lurking in your front yard ready to announce itself with sewage in your bathtub? I thought not.

Here’s the thing about a lot of these old houses in Highland Park, St. Elmo & North Chattanooga: many of them got some of the first sewer lines ever installed in Hamilton county. And they are quickly nearing the end of their useful lives. They might even already be broken or cracked and offset like mine was. The only way to tell is to have a camera run through the line. And that’s NOT something that your home inspector is going to do. It’s going to cost you another couple hundred bucks to have it done. If you are planning on a renovation that includes plumbing work, the city inspector is going to want to see that riveting footage before he signs off on the final inspection anyway. So you might as well get it done now when you still got the chance to ask the seller to pay for the repair if necessary.

Take it from someone who knows – you don’t want to add $5,000 to your renovation budget three days after you close. You should save until at least the next week.

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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.

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North Chattanooga Real Estate Market for November 2009

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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