My New Home: House hunt ends happily with the help of Crye-Leike’s Bernie Black-Garwood, Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN, USA

My New Home: House hunt ends happily with the help of Crye-Leike’s Bernie Black-Garwood, Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN, USA
Justin and Stephanie Guthrie have lived in their 2,200-square-foot home since March. The three bedroom, two bath features a mix of tile, hardwood, and carpeted floors with a bonus room. The couple enjoy the kitchen design and island with the faux granite counters. (Photo by: Chris Desmond - Special to The Commercial Appeal)

By Stacey Wiedower, Memphis Commercial Appeal


Sunday, June 7, 2009


It’s a buyer’s market. Right?


That’s what new homeowners Justin and Stephanie Guthrie thought when they set out on the search for their Bartlett home.


“We kind of thought we’d be the only people out looking for a house because the market was so awful,” Stephanie said. “We could not have been more wrong.”


High inventory, deflated prices and the first-time buyer federal tax credit have enticed plenty of people looking to take advantage of the down market. The Guthries found themselves in unexpected bidding wars.


“We put bids on five or six different houses, and we actually bid the full asking price on a couple of them,” Justin said. “And we still didn’t get them. If it was a good-priced house, and the owners were really trying to get rid of it, people would pick it up like that.”


But the couple’s home-buying difficulties worked out to their benefit. They estimate they looked at 80 to 100 houses with Realtor Bernie Black-Garwood of Crye-Leike Realtors’ Germantown/Forest Hill-Irene office, before they found the home and neighborhood they wanted.


“This is our favorite house out of all that we looked at,” Stephanie said of the couple’s 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath house in the Kings Crossing subdivision in Bartlett. “So I’m really glad we didn’t get any of the other ones.”


The Guthries purchased their new home in early March for $182,500, a marked drop from the home’s original asking price.


“We were checking Web sites every day,” Justin said. “This one had dropped in price. The seller came down $12,000 to $15,000 because he was relocating. By the time we came to look at the house, it had dropped another $5,000.”


Among the Guthries’ favorite features of the home is its open floor plan.


“It’s almost one continuous room,” Stephanie said of the main living area, where the dining room, kitchen and great room flow smoothly into one another.


The couple has two dogs, so they love the home’s big backyard.


“I think we have the biggest backyard in the whole neighborhood because it’s a corner lot, and we’re up on a slope,” Stephanie said.


After living in Midtown while attending Rhodes College, the Guthries — who were married in September 2007 — were ready to spread out in the suburbs. Although they both work Downtown — Stephanie as a nurse at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Justin in store development at AutoZone — they don’t mind the commute.


“You kind of feel like you’re out in the country,” Stephanie said. “But it’s still convenient to get to things.”


Inside, the tiled foyer leads to a great room with high ceilings and a long plant ledge with recessed lights that accent artwork. The couple chose a red suede sofa and loveseat for the room to go with a contemporary area rug in hues of red, green, gold and brown. A giant flat-screen TV tops the room’s corner fireplace.


The connecting kitchen has laminate countertops with cherry cabinetry and a pass-through breakfast bar large enough for two leather barstools. The room also features a center island and stainless steel appliances.


The adjoining dining room has hardwood floors and space for a table and six chairs. Blue and brown vases give the room a punch of color.


Off the kitchen, a short hallway leads to a laundry room and a back stairway that leads to Justin’s “man-cave,” which he painted a deep gray. The room sports a large sectional sofa, card table and chairs, and an elaborate gaming system.


“This is the only room I didn’t have anything to do with,” Stephanie said. “I was not allowed.”


She did, however, have her way in the guest bathroom, which she painted an apple green, adding brown and green accents.


“We decided we’d give each other free reign in one room,” she said. “The others we decorated together.”


The master bedroom sports ocean blue walls accented by blue and brown bedding and brown curtains. Stephanie painted a large canvas that hangs on one wall in the spacious room. The attached bath features a whirlpool tub and separate shower, dual sinks and a large walk-in closet.


Aside from painting walls in a few rooms and adding rails to the back deck, the Guthries say they had little work to do in their new home.


“I liked the balance in that the house was move-in ready but there were still little things we could do to make it our own,” Stephanie said.