Bob McKinney

It’s a seller’s market for homes here in Williamson County, and greater Nashville in general, with no signs of slowing down.  

If you need proof, just scroll down on the Home Page to the real estate transactions. The prices buyers are paying will leave you breathless.  

Folks in the business tell me it’s not uncommon for a house to go on the market and the seller have multiple offers the first day. And those offers are often above asking price.

New listings commonly have language stating the sellers will receive offers only up until a certain time, anticipating the inevitable.  

So, what should empty nesters do in this market? I’m glad you asked.  

You start by having hours of conversation about it. You read the emails from your realtor friends who inform you what houses are selling for in your neighborhood.  

You look online at one of those price estimators to see how much your house might bring. You wonder aloud whether Zillow would really buy your house without seeing it.  

You clean out the garage and basement and retain a junk removal service to take stuff off your hands (three truckloads if anyone’s counting), much of which should have been removed years ago, all in preparation for the possible sale of your home. You tell your adult children if they still have anything in the house, it’s time to claim it, because you’re not going to move it and you’re becoming less sentimental with age.  

You drive around and look at neighborhoods you might like because, well, if you sell your house, you’re going to have to go somewhere and you might not be ready for a retirement community (although you might be seeing more and more positives about that.)  

Then you come home and realize, even though you might collect a chunk of change for your home of two decades, you haven’t found anything you like (that you can afford) as much as what you currently occupy.  

So you pull down the wallpaper in the last room in the house that still has it, cursing as you pull, with a vow that paper will never again cover a wall in a home you own, and you paint that room. In the same room, you pull down the heavy drapes and blinds and replace them with wood shutters. 

You renovate the last bathroom that had a sink that was so low, you had to stoop to wash your hands.  

You tear down the little playhouse (that had never served as anything but a junk receptacle) in the backyard. It either had to go or had to be completely refurbished, with you choosing the former because it was the less expensive option. 

You replace the old halogen lights in the garage and basement, most of which stopped working long ago, with LED lights that cause you to find things that have been lost for years and realize you are not anywhere near done with cleaning out those areas.   

You buy new exterior shutters to replace the ones that are rotting and, in some cases, falling off the brick. And in a final act of implicitly stating “I’m staying here and you can’t make me move,” you order replacement windows for those new shutters to adorn.   

Now I’ll go to first person. 

As you can see, even though I imparted this to you as the reader, I’m giving you a first-hand account of how my wife and I have dealt with the real estate market --  by digging in our heals and staying put, while expending some cash to update.  

Full disclosure: I didn’t really pull down the wallpaper, I hired “the guy” to do it. But I did curse it one last time as he tore.  

I am aware of the argument about getting our money out of the house when we sell. Will we, or won’t we?  

I have no good answer other than I know I detest wallpaper and I bless the day the last of it was removed, and I look forward to having windows I can clean without having to remove outer storm windows, or open without pounding them. And I like having a bathroom sink at a reasonable height. (Were people shorter when our house was built?) 

In other words, for whatever time we remain in our home, we’re choosing to enjoy it. We might move in a year or we might move in five. We might die here. But for now, we’re here. If someone from Zillow knocks on the door, I’ll listen, but I doubt I’ll take the bait.  

Will we get our money out of this house? That’s anybody’s guess, but I like the updated look.  

Back to you. If you would rather sell and enjoy that profit, knock yourself out. I can give you the name of a great junk removal company. 

Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband, proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected]. 

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