Connect with Real Estate Agents on Facebook

Connect on Facebook

Connect on FacebookI know what I am suggesting appears to fly in the face of the inherent secrecy within the real estate community, but real estate agents should connect with each other on Facebook. Yes, I know that you are friends with your clients on Facebook and you fear that I am going to sift through your Facebook friends in the middle of the night to ferret out a prospect or two. But, you must realize that 99% of Realtors respect your agent/client relationship…and the rest of us are too busy to spend that kind of time sorting through your beer guzzling college pals and funny looking cousins from Arkansas for a client (only kidding).

Hear me out – Facebook presents real estate agents with one of the most powerful free tools available to our industry – the power to network outside of our normal purview. Let me give you an example: last month I reconnected with a past client who wants to acquire several Burger Kings in the Northeastern United States. Clearly, I am a real estate broker in Nashville and have no knowledge of real estate, let alone, Burger King availability in New York or Pennsylvania, so I post the following status update: “I have a Burger King approved franchisee who would like to purchase 5-10 existing locations in the Northeast USA. Will need 2 years of P&L statements. Serious buyer.” You can probably guess the rest of the story, but I’ll tell you anyway. A commercial broker in Philly responds with her phone number and asks me to call. I pick up the phone and whammo, I am now working a several million dollar purchase that I NEVER would have had access to without Facebook.

Facebook can be a Realtor’s Best Friend

Granted, not every real estate agent’s primary use of Facebook is for business, but there are tens of thousands that do and I suggest that you friend them immediately. While you may never need a commercial broker in Philly or an ultra luxury specialist in Maui, you also never know where your next deal or referral may lead you.

Start the day off right, connect with me on Facebook:

While you’re at it, considering connecting with me on LinkedIn:

Oh, and what the hey, how about a little Twitter action too:

Downtown Nashville Residential Statistics and Trends

Scroll down to see the 2011 Nashville Downtown Partnership’s research and trend analysis for residential and retail use in downtown Nashville. Many will be surprised by the fact that downtown only offers a total of 3,823 residential units, both rental and ownership. This is an incredibly small number considering the fact that Nashville maintains a 1.6 million MSA population. To put this number into perspective, the 2010 average attendance for a Nashville Sounds minor league baseball game was 5,000. Dissenters will tell you it’s because there’s nothing to do in downtown, that only tourist go downtown at night. They’ll say things like: “you can’t really walk to the grocery store” and “what are you supposed to do if you don’t go to bars?” Let’s put some perspective on these common assertions.

Ten years ago, the above assertions were true. I’ll also concede that downtown development is truly in its infancy. Most don’t realize that downtown residential development was forbidden by metro building codes from 1963 until 1993. Developers who would have otherwise built in downtown were forced to matriculate to the suburbs. It was not until then-Mayor Phil Bredeson created an incentivized urban redevelopment zone around the CBD that residential and retail development began in earnest. If it were not for the so called “Bredeson Box”, residential development in the urban core may still be non-existent. But Mayor Bredeson did kick start development and since 2000, public-private investments in new downtown development have exceeded $2.8 billion. There are 2 downtown grocery stores, 2 dry cleaners, 2 pharmacies, 5 museums, 4 dentists, 9 bakeries, 20 art galleries…and more retailers moving downtown every week. It’s hard to maintain an aversion to downtown Nashville when so much growth is taking place.

Downtown Nashville Residential and Retail Presentation

Note: The absolute numbers in this presentation are a moving target and subject to change. New residents and retailers are moving downtown every day. Big thank you to Tamara Dickson for the use of the Partnership’s presentation!

ICON Sets Record Condo Sales Price Per Foot in TN

Icon Penthouse Condo

Gwyneth Paltrow Nashville CondoOn April 1st, 2011, April Fool’s Day, the Icon in the Gulch quietly recorded a $1,180,000 condo sale in the MLS. While any condo sale over a million dollars in Tennessee is notable, it is not the price that turned heads, it’s the price per square foot. You see, this 22nd floor penthouse condo is 1,928 square feet and that makes the sales price per foot $612.03. I placed a few calls to the Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga MLS operators and have confirmed this condo sale to be the highest price per foot in Tennessee’s history. Whoa.

As many may recall, this particular penthouse is where Gwyneth Paltrow chose to live while filming Country Strong. It is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath jaw dropper that features unreal skyline views, 25 foot vaulted ceilings and sleek finishes not typically found outside of the plush pads dotting the Hollywood Hills.

Significance of this Record Sale

Legit. The downtown residential market in Nashville is not some fantasy shared by a few greedy developers, it’s legit. Of course, many of those who live and work in downtown already knew it, but the media en masse has not jumped on board. Remember, downtown residential development was forbidden by Nashville building codes from 1963 until 1993. We’re only in the 18th year of development. It’s time to realize that our sleepy little town has awakened and has begun to live up to its billing as Music City USA.

As for the future of downtown development, you’ll think I’m off my rocker, but there will be 5 new buildings under construction within the next 12 months. 2 will be high-rise towers and 3 will be mid-rise buildings. I’d love to tell you which ones, but the only project I am allowed to divulge is the old Polar Ice site in the Gulch which will become Eleven North, a 302 unit apartment building.

Pictures of the Gwyneth Paltrow Penthouse

Icon Penthouse Condo

Icon Penthouse Condo Living Room

Icon Penthouse Kitchen

Icon Penthouse Master Bed

Icon Penthouse Master Bath

Icon Penthouse Downtown View

Real-time Crime Mapping for Nashville

Nashville Crime Rate Mapping

This may be one of the most useful tools to be placed into a real estate agent’s hands since the online MLS was created 2 decades ago. It may also be an agent’s worse nightmare as we all become more aware of criminal activity in the greater Nashville area. This crime mapping system makes it painfully obvious that crime is all around us…even in Belle Meade.

(Click on the Map to Check it out)
Nashville Crime Rate Mapping

How the Crime Map Works

There are sixteen icons on the map. Each one represents a different type of crime. For example, a red fist is an assault, a blue dollar sign is a larceny and a green “F” is a fraud. Click on the icon and you get an incident number and a location. You can also receive crime alerts through email. If a crime happens within two miles of your house, you’re getting an email with that information almost instantaneously. This is a whole new level of neighborhood watch. Happy crime watching!

200 Years of Health and Wealth in 200 Countries Video

Robert Shiller Historic Home Prices

Hans Rosling, a world renowned medical doctor and statistician, spent a lifetime collecting health and wealth data from over 200 countries. This video is the result of that data assimilation compiled and animated to show and predict the average health and wealth for each country and continent. I find it fascinating to see how the United States ranks in comparison to the emerging superpowers.

While the Hans Rosling video does not directly map real estate, the content matter certainly correlates. As I watched the United States rise during the industrial revolution and post WWI boom, I realized that I had seen statistical housing charts that mirrored the Rosling animation. In fact, Bill Marsh of the New York Times had recently mapped Robert Shiller’s historical home prices through 2006.

click to enlarge graph
Case Shiller historical home prices

The anomaly that grabs my immediate attention is that both Rosling’s and Shiller’s data track very closely until 1998 when home prices outpace the average wealth exponentially. Granted, the Shiller data needs to be updated for the last 5 years, but until the average US home price in aggregate returns to 2000 levels +/- 2 years, we may continue to experience a very soft national real estate market. That does not mean don’t buy real estate. That means, buy real estate below replacement cost in the areas of historical desirability and you’ll be just fine. The American dream is still homeownership, but it’s no longer the white picket fence version.

Updated Hans Rosling Video

Auburn Football National Champions Video

Burnt Orange Sky 2010 Iron Bowl

This certainly does not pertain to real estate, but as an Auburn man, this video was too well produced to not proudly display on my website.

I Believe in Auburn and Love It

The 2010 Auburn Football season was one I will probably never forget. I suspect that I’ll be telling my son and grandchildren about it until the day I die. As part of the Auburn family I am sure you too understand just how special this season was and always will be. It was the season we saw Bo Jackson return to Pat Dye field and kiss Michael Dyer’s sweaty head as he broke Bo’s freshman season rushing record. It was the season was saw a quarterback find an unknown gear to accelerate past the best defensive player in the country. It was the season we came back from a 24-0 deficit at Bryant-Denny Stadium as the sky turned a gorgeous shade of burnt orange. It was the season in which a Heisman trophy winner stood at the podium in the Downtown Athletic Club and realized what it meant to be part of a family. It was the season Oregon Duck fans showed up in shorts and tee shirts while we dawned our button downs and sun dresses. This was Auburn’s season. It was our season and I am forever grateful.

2010 Iron Bowl Burnt Orange Sky

Burnt Orange Sky 2010 Iron Bowl

Orange Sky over Bryant Denny Stadium

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