Memphis Daily News Chandler Reports Nashville Ledger
» Subscribe Today!
The Power of Information
The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Article
VOL. 42 | NO. 37 | Friday, September 14, 2018

Winning in The Nations: Buy, upgrade, sell, repeat

Print | Front Page | Email this story

The Nations is the neighborhood located off Charlotte Avenue and is so named to memorialize a treaty between James Robertson and the Chickasaw Indians in which the Chickasaw were guaranteed certain boundaries in exchange for protecting the settlers. That’s one theory, even though the Chickasaw were one nation, failing to reach plurality.

Once seen as a derogatory term, the Wilson Group unofficially renamed the area “Historic West Town,” and it was during that period that the misnomered land gained popularity. Later, purists and history buffs proudly reverted to “The Nations,” and the neighborhood has continued its upward surge.

The area could be referred to as Flipsboro as of late, as there are more houses being flipped than there are dolphins in the ocean, seemingly.

The property at 1017 44th Avenue epitomizes the act of buying, holding and selling for profit, at times with an update or two.

Back in 2006, when the bottom fell from the financial world, the Nations was an area inhabited with inexpensive homes, commonly known as workforce housing, or homes for families having an income of 60 percent of the median income. Workforce housing once was known as low-income housing before graduating to affordable housing and eventually landing on workforce, the argument against “affordable housing” being that all housing is affordable to someone.

All the while, as the Nations flipflopped names and the 60 percenters were being euphemized, the area grew. As the Great Recession set in, the lower-income homeowners were the hardest hit, and 1017 44th Ave. N. felt the sting of foreclosure, selling for $45,404 to its lender in April of 2006.

Enter real estate entrepreneur Jake Sogga, a person highly skilled in negotiating foreclosure acquisitions from financial institutions.

Banks were quick to befriend anyone with cash in those days and embraced Sogga’s offer of $28,500, as a loss of $17,000 on a property was palatable and relived the balance sheet of one more foreclosure. Sogga held the house for three months, sold it for $48,000 the following February and moved on to his next venture.

The buyer held the home from 2007 until 2016, selling it in a better market for $110,000. That buyer sold the house the next week for $140,000, Metro tax records show, with the warranty deeds reflecting two different corporations located at two addresses in Nashville.

The corporation that bought the house for $140,000 renovated it, adding a new roof and HVAC, updating the kitchen and adding subway tiles to the baths.

Those who travel subways daily must find it interesting that the tiles they view as they whisk through the darkened tunnels would become so popular and would eventually adorn every new or renovated home in Nashville. Perhaps residents of the area realize subway tile is as close as they will ever be to a subway while living in Nashville.

Back to 44th Avenue North, where the renovating flipper sold the house for $268,800 to a buyer represented by the esteemed Laura Graham of Remax Elite. Graham’s client purchased the home in April of 2017, some seven months after the owner has purchased the property for $140,000 and updated the expensive components. It is unknown whether the buyer was a beer lover or not, but Doug Brooks Berkshire Hathaway, who was the listing agent in 2017, promoted the home by stating the owner could “walk to the new Fat Bottom Brewery.” Perhaps she did.

Nonetheless, she sold the house last week for $299,000 about a year and a-half after purchasing it for $268,800. Most appraisers will say that the perfect comp is the house that resales with no improvements. And no, maintenance does not count as an improvement.

With that in mind, renovated and new construction has appreciated 11 percent over the past 18 months.

Statistics will show home prices have increased at a much faster pace, but those would include properties that were demolished or dilapidated. The recent transaction involving the home on 44th is exemplary of the increase in value. The gain is healthy but would not fall into the “boom” category.

Sales data released last week by the Greater Nashville Realtors reflects that unit sales are off slightly for the year with a .2 percent decrease, while prices have risen with a median sales price of $305,000 in single-family homes compared to $285,000 last year.

There were 3,152 properties under contract in August, compared with 3,939 last August, suggesting that the unit numbers might continue to drop. But prices are stable and rising.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at