Graying Brentwood has glut of big homes – The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Graying Brentwood has glut of big homes – The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Sue Harris stands in front of her 6,000-square-foot Brentwood home that sits on an acre of land in the BrentMeade subdivision. She and her husband are trying to sell it after finding themselves with an empty nest. (Photo by: JEANNE REASONOVER, THE TENNESSEAN)

By Nancy Mueller ? FOR WILLIAMSON A.M. ? October 9, 2009


BRENTWOOD ? With their children grown and their golden years upon them, Sue Harris and her husband are ready to sell their large Brentmeade house with its big yard and live in something smaller.


But the housing slump and the competition for buyers in their price range have made it very hard.


After trying to sell their 14-room home for $959,000 last year, they gave up in December and decided to bide their time.


“It was just not worth it, trying to keep everything clean all the time for showings and waiting for a phone call that wouldn’t come,” Harris said.


In the meantime, the 61-year-old must continue to confront the maintenance and cleaning demands of a one-acre yard and 6,280 square feet of house.


Crye-Leike agent Janell Glasgow-Hall, who is Harris’ friend and neighbor, says she does a good job of it, describing the house as “immaculate,” the kind of place that would have sold quickly in 2004 or 2005.


But in ’08 she couldn’t sell it, and she’s noticed that neither can some of the other baby boomers around Brentwood, where the empty nests are bigger than average.


Slump scares some!


“My phone is ringing off the hook from people who are scared and anxious,” she said.


Glasgow-Hall says they want to sell, but they are scared they’ll lose equity by having to slash their price to get a sale.


“Their 401(k) and pensions have been hammered by the recent stock market debacle.


“They are now behind the curve financially. . . . They want to sell their house, but not in this buyers’ market.”


Glasgow-Hall has another friend in Brentmeade who has been trying to sell her 5,549-square-foot nest for about three months; she’d really like to get into a one-story home because she’s developed arthritis in one knee and her three-story house has a lot of stairs.


Yet another would-be seller is consulting with Glasgow-Hall on how to best fix up his house while he waits for things to get better and ponders a lower asking price.


“It’s a giant waiting game for a lot of people, and it is creating a logjam of inventory,” Glasgow-Hall said.


The way she sees it, the logjam began when fewer buyers moved into Williamson County because of fewer corporate transfers.


The resident baby boomers, who aren’t selling their empty nests as a result, also aren’t free to buy the smaller homes.


Glasgow-Hall said she believes the problem may be worse in Brentwood than in other places because of the size of the homes, the price ranges and the relative scarcity of homes and neighborhoods that meet the needs of those downsizing, once they are able to buy.


Brentwood grays faster!


She cites a recent market analysis of Brentwood by HTG Consultants that said Brentwood is “going gray” twice as fast as the rest of Tennessee and three times as fast as the national average.


If true, that would imply that Brentwood will be the site of a lot of buying and selling once the recession eases, as a disproportionate percentage of the city’s population tries to downsize.


Glasgow-Hall, who is a senior real estate specialist, said she believes that a fair number of these people will end up migrating to some of the Davidson County neighborhoods that are close to the Williamson County line and have more of the kinds of homes that these empty nesters want.


What they will seek out are the one-story and 1?-story homes with smaller yards and located in neighborhoods with easy egress and convenient amenities.


Locations that are within walking distance of groceries, drug stores, coffee shops, restaurants, parks and doctors’ offices will be highly sought-after, she predicts.


At the moment, homes that fit those criteria are easier to find in Davidson County neighborhoods than in Brentwood.


Pretty, relatively new one and 1?-story homes on smaller lots can be found in Nashville neighborhoods such as Christiansted Valley, Windy Hill, Winfield Park, Hearthstone and Hemmingwood, which are in Davidson County but are just a stone’s throw from Brentmeade, where the Harrises live.


The prices for these kinds of homes run in the mid-$300,000s to the mid-$400,000s, which is considerably less than some of the single-story homes in Brentwood that come with bigger yards.