Spring Time Maintenance

Spring Time Maintenance

by, Mark Hayes, West Nashville Living

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With all the rain & cold weather we have had, you might think when is Spring really going to be here. Next thing you know it will be blazing hot. So here are three home maintenance issues  you should address during the warm & hot months.

These are not only 3 separate maintenance issues but they can be all interconnected if one is not addressed.  

A) Drainage & Leaks

Water is your home's worst enemy whether it be from a hard rain or a plumbing leak. Water can cause wood rot, foundation problems, and mold just to name a few. Nashville gets several hard rain events throughout the year but during colder months it is difficult to take on a drainage project if the ground is frozen or mushy.  Here are some steps to take for solving this issue:

1) During and after a hard rain watch and see where water is draining around your home.
2) Evaluate if your gutters are large enough, clean from debris, and draining away from your home.
 3) Buy a cheap tyvek suit and crawl under your home after a hard rain. In the summertime it feels pretty cool in a crawl space. Look for any standing water from a drainage problem or a plumbing leak. While you are under there pull out any debris you might see.
4) Check water heater, washer connections, and all sinks & faucets for leaks & drips.
5) If you think you need a professional opinion, contact landscaping companies that handle drainage issues.
6) If determined there is a plumbing leak that requires more than tightening some threads, call a professional plumber.


B) Make sure your wood is good

If your wood is not in good condition, it can bring pests & rodents and even cause a trip to the emergency room. Wood expands & contracts and in Nashville we have cold temperatures and very hot & humid temperatures. Follow this guide to avoid a larger, more expensive problem years later.

1) Walk around the exterior of your home and look for any rotten wood in your siding, soffit, or fascia. If you do not have a ladder, use binoculars.
2) Carefully inspect your wood deck for any boards with popped up nails or screws.  This could avoid a bodily injury.
3) If you have a wood privacy fence, consider staining it or applying a coat of polyurethane before it turns gray. If already gray, pressure wash it to bring it back to life.
4) Most rotten issues will involve some carpentry skills to patch & fix, then paint. Most handymen or a skilled carpenter could be hired if you do not have the skills or tools.


C) Pests

Once the temperatures warm up in the Spring and Summer a lot of bugs, rodents, and snakes come out and start exploring.  They key is to let them explore in places other than your home & yard. 

1) Cleanliness inside & out. If you leave some crumbs on your kitchen floor or porch after a party you are asking for the ants to start marching in. If you leave food in your sink or don't take out your trash often, don't be surprised to see a roach motel open up.

2) Did you know a mouse can squeeze thru a hole the size of a nickel? If you notice any holes coming up from the floors or cabinets, the easy fix is to caulk the hole.  Typically, if you take care of the rodent problem, the snakes go elsewhere.

3) Although most carpenter bees do not sting (only females can sting) they can cause damage to your wood. Carpenter bees prefer to excavate their nests in soft, unpainted wood. To avoid a big issue, simply fill holes with caulk or putty and paint.

4) Pest control. The preventive measure is to hire a pest control company to spray as needed. This service is affordable and they use better methods than what you can purchase at a home improvement store.


As you see, water & leaks can cause wood rot that then can cause pests. Evaluate and repair and you will prevent any or all 3 of these summer time issues at home.

Richland Creek Revival

Richland Creek Revival
by Mark Hayes, West Nashville Living

  England Park in West Nashville bordering Richland Creek

England Park in West Nashville bordering Richland Creek

It is hard to believe it was almost 8 years ago when the infamous flood of May 2010 hit Nashville.  I remember being cooped up at home that weekend with my wife, a newborn, and our dog in awe of how much rain kept coming wondering when it was going to stop.  Then the flood started to recede and I drove around West Nashville checking on our homes. I witnessed the aftermath of numerous people hauling personal belongings out to the curb.  One of the places hit the hardest was the Urbandale neighborhood that runs along Richland Creek bordered by Morrow Road.  

Sadly, an older couple, the England's, passed away in their home that weekend.  

Metro Nashville then gave some of the property owners along this area an option to sell their property at appraised value.  Turning a devastation into something good, Metro then turned 17 properties into England Park in memory of that couple.

Other homeowners quickly renovated their homes and recently new homes are being built as the Nations has become a popular place for many Nashvillians & visitors.

A stones throw from Richland Creek is 910 Trice Drive.  We purchased this property in July 2017.  Even though the lot is smaller than most of the lots in the Nations, the property is zoned to build 2 homes.  Since the property is partially in the flood zone there were not many developers looking to take on this project.  With these factors, we wanted to bring a new and unique product to the market.

  Interior of a similar home to 910 Trice Drive

Interior of a similar home to 910 Trice Drive

This home is a single family home with a flexible secondary apartment.  The main portion of the home is a two-story 1706 square foot home with a master suite downstairs (3 bedroom, 2.5 bath). The "guest quarters" is a 521 square foot 1 bedroom, 1 bath with kitchenette and separate utilities. Here are the many options for this home:

-Live in the main home and rent out the guest quarters.
-Live in the main home and use guest quarters for family and out of town guests.
-Live in the guest quarters and rent out the main home for higher rent income.
-Live in the main home, short term rental main home on weekends & stay in guest quarters on weekends.
-Live in the guest quarters as your personal residence, short term rental guest quarters and stay in the main home while rented.
-Use entire home for yourself.

With the recent short term rental changes that passed there are not as many available options but still a lot of people looking for accommodations others than hotels.

Multi-generational living is another phrase you may of heard. You may be a younger family or couple moving to Nashville, and your parents want to be close to you and  their grandchildren (or future grandchildren).

This home is the solution for you.

We will be completing this home in March so check out our instagram, facebook, or website for updates to setup a viewing.    

For more information, visit our For Sale Page.  

Transitional in Charlotte Park

 A wide ribbon of glass is cooled and cut as it moves along the float line at the Nashville Carlex plant (formerly Ford Glass) Source: https://nashvillepublicmedia.org/blog/2011/06/02/carlex-brings-stability-to-nashville-glass-plant/.

A wide ribbon of glass is cooled and cut as it moves along the float line at the Nashville Carlex plant (formerly Ford Glass)
Source: https://nashvillepublicmedia.org/blog/2011/06/02/carlex-brings-stability-to-nashville-glass-plant/.

The Charlotte Park neighborhood in West Nashville has been changing like the rest of Nashville over the past few years but it is still rich in history.  With street names like Thunderbird, Comet, Galaxie, and Continental, people often wonder why they are named after Ford vehicles. A recent Nextdoor post asking this question sparked over 70 replies in 2 days that encompassed a lot of "remember when..." posts of old businesses and ferry rides across the Cumberland.    

The Ford glass plant was built in 1956 at 7200 Centennial Boulevard and brought many jobs to the area. 

Section 1 of Charlotte Park subdivision was platted and recorded on February 5, 1957. 1 story brick ranch homes were then built with other sections that followed into the 1960's.  According to one of the long-time residents of Charlotte Park, James Catron, " These homes were built by independent contractors, some of which I know or knew at that time. The street names were used as a "thank you" to Ford for bringing employment to Nashvile."

There is also the adjacent neighborhood, Croleywood, with street names such as Alamo Place, Croley Drive, Leslie Avenue, and Stevenson Street.  Recently this community has been lumped into the name Charlotte Park.  James Catron clarifies: " Streets that run off Robertson Rd and other nearby streets have tried to become part of Charlotte Park but these were built before Ford Glass Plant came here.  This has been a very good neighborhood for years and I have been in my home for 52 years."

The general rule of thumb is if it is a brick ranch it is Charlotte Park, if it is not, it is Croleywood.

A neat trait of this part of town is the variety of older and newly built homes. Brick ranch homes built in the 60's  were typically built very stout. Since they are 1-story with efficient floor plans, people can age in place like Mr. Catron and many of his neighbors. Croleywood provides a good mix of renovated cottages on larger lots than one can find in the Nations. These homes along with the new homes brings diversity thus a strong community.

As these neighborhoods are in transition we decided to build one of our recent homes with a "transitional" approach at 625B Waco Drive just off of Robertson Road.

 Transitional Designed Home at 625B Waco Drive

Transitional Designed Home at 625B Waco Drive

Holly Sweetman, our in-house designer describes the home:

"The style of 625 B Waco is Transitional which is a beautiful marriage of traditional and contemporary to create a timeless design. The aim of creating in this style was to make a home that feels warm and cozy, while remaining simple and sophisticated.  We did this by picking finishes and materials that are classic so they won’t be dated in a few years, like the chrome plumbing fixtures and the gray tile and paint pallet. While also picking features that have straight lines and rounded profiles to remain modern and on trend, such as the clean line range hood and the arch entering the living area. The combination of these qualities create a home that feels fresh and modern but will transition over the years and feel ageless."

If you or you know someone looking to move to West Nashville, fill them in about the interesting history while also telling them about this unique one-of-a-kind home they can enjoy for years to come. 

For more information, visit our For Sale Page. 


Home Design from Start to Finish

Home Design from Start to Finish
by Mark Hayes, West Nashville Living

December 2017

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Modern Farmhouse Style

This month I'd like to explain how we get from a vacant lot to a new home. 

This process is probably why I enjoy what I do the most.  We all have some creative side to us and so to take a vacant lot or an old home and transform it to something new or different is pleasing to me and the new homeowner.

The first step is figuring out from zoning and codes what size home or homes can be built on the lot. The factors are the zoning setbacks from the front, back and sides.  In the "urban core" of Nashville the big factor is how wide the homes can be.  

I then look at the homes on the block and the surrounding streets to get a sense of what style of home would fit.  If the lot is near more industrial buildings or streets it might make sense to do more of a modern style home.  If the lot is tucked away on a residential street with a mix of older & new homes we might lean toward more cottage style or traditional style.

While surveyors, engineers, and architects are working, we setup any demo and/or tree removal or trimming to get the site ready for building.

Once we get a survey complete and the house plans finalized we start the permit process with Metro codes and zoning. There are several departments that have to review your site plan and design such as public works for driveways and sidewalks and storm water for grading, eroding control, and green infrastructure controls such as rain gardens or modified french drains. 

After permitting and paying all permit fees we are ready to dig footers and start construction.  For one home our general contractor, Dave, coordinates with over 30 subcontractors and vendors as well as utility companies and codes inspectors.

After the plans but before we begin construction, Holly, our in-house designer, starts an inspiration board with exterior and interior photos to give potential buyers an idea of the finished product. This also helps when selecting tile, paint colors, and light fixtures.  She also drafts the spec sheet that details the finishes we plan to use.

The average time to build a home around 2000 square feet or less takes 5-6 months.  As we are 80-90 percent complete, I look toward our trustworthy real estate agent, Alice Walker, about the sales price of the home.  Once the home is 100% complete we start the codes final inspections and "sign-offs" to get the U&O (Use & Occupancy) Letter.  Similar to permitting to start there are several metro departments that need to review & inspect the home. 

 The last step: Marketing. We list the home on the MLS as well as social media outlets and our website. Soon after, we welcome a new homeowner.

Speaking of new homeowners, we have just listed 625 Waco A & B located in Charlotte Park neighborhood.  One home has a farmhouse yet modern feel while the other has a "transitional" style.

For more information visit our For Sale page at www.westnashvilleliving.com    

To setup a showing Contact Alice Walker, listing agent with Pilkerton Realtors:
 AWALKER@realtracs.com, 615-506-2425.

Affordable Live/Work New Construction in the Nations

West Nashville Living

November 2017

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Are you tired of looking at new homes out of your price range in the Nations?

Are you looking for a little privacy yet still convenient to all the hip joints?

Are you looking for a home where you could have a home office or workshop?

Well then look no longer. Welcome to 6127 Louisiana Avenue.

This home has a great Master Suite on the top floor with a flexible guest bedroom/office on the main floor. 

With private alley access this is the only new home on the market with a garage under $400,000 in the Nations!


Last but not least, Affordable New Construction priced at $319,900. See our breakdown of estimated costs and contact our preferred lender: Steve Roadman with Franklin Synergy Bank  615-499-5515. If Steve is your mortgage officer, we will pay $2000 of your closing costs. *

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To setup a showing Contact Alice Walker, listing agent with Pilkerton Realtors:
 AWALKER@realtracs.com, 615-506-2425.

To View More Photos & Listing:


May/June Blog

Profile: Molly Sandlin, Office Manager


We have a new team member, Molly Sandlin, join us a couple of months ago and she fits in well with our group. Here is a little more background about her:


1)       Where are you from? Tell us about your family.


I was born and raised in the greater Chicago area and moved to Nashville in 2002. Although moving to the South was an adjustment, I immediately fell in love with the city and all it had to offer.  Ten years ago I married my husband, Micah. We have since been blessed with two incredible sons, Dylan (9) and Cale (5). Moving to Nashville on the brink of a real estate explosion has been an exciting experience. Back in Chicago my father and grandfather owned a mortgage, title, and insurance company. I can remember playing on the office switchboard, sending envelopes through the giant machines in the mail room, riding around with my dad taking pictures of homes for appraisals, collecting payments from his tenants in side real estate projects, and visiting jobsites to see how his side real estate endeavors were coming along. My first job was with a title company when I was 16 filing and taking old Polaroid photos of homes. At West Nashville Living, it is like reliving those days but with email and digital plans. My husband works in the wholesale HVAC commercial and residential business for one of the high end manufacturers and distributors. I have really gotten to see the inner workings of just how much Nashville has exploded peeking at projects he has worked on the last ten years. We will often drive through one of Nashville’s up and coming neighborhoods, and Micah will point out properties he has worked on with HVAC projects, local contractors, and engineers. It amazes me how much a city can grow in just fifteen years. It has been very exciting to be a part of that as a transplanted Nashville resident.



2)      What do you find rewarding about working with WNL?  


Becoming a part of West Nashville Living has been such a unique experience yet also very familiar. Now that my children are older, I finally have the availability to transition from the education business back over to the exciting world of real estate and development. Within just my first few months of joining West Nashville Living, I have already been able to see the unique intricacies of locating a new property, the process of making it beautiful, and the reward of passing it on to someone who is looking for just the right space to call home. I feel particularly rewarded at West Nashville Living because it is such a solid and welcoming team. In the admin role, I get to dabble in each part of the process and work with each person on the team in one facet or another. It is ever-changing, exciting, and all the more enjoyable being a part of team who is ethical, hardworking, and also fun!



3)         What would you do if you were not working at WNL?


If I was not working at West Nashville Living, I would most likely still be hunting for a professional team to join that I enjoy just as much with little to no avail!



4)      What do you enjoy doing when not at work?  


As a married mother of two boys (three counting my husband), much of my downtime is spent on the soccer fields and exploring this great city through their inquisitive eyes. I also love to read, kayak, fish, travel, and find relaxation in my hot yoga practice.


April Blog

Home Spotlight: A Unique Mid-Century, April 2017


Here at West Nashville Living, we enjoy building different style homes that still complement the neighborhood. 4617 Michigan is a mid-century modern home completed in January 2017. Our goal was to stick to the design aesthetic while also making it livable and affordable. Here are a few core elements of mid-century design that we incorporated into the house:


  • Open Space:

A clean and open space made with warmer materials was a key component of this house. You will find that we incorporated this by making the kitchen, dining and living area all one continual space.  We kept the stairwell as open as possible so it could lead into a space to be used as an open office or sitting area.  We brought in the warmer materials by having all of the hardwood, cabinets, doors and vanities stained in varying warm colored stains.


  • Minimal, Functional & High Quality:

We used simple and clean cabinets that emphasized minimalism by using no cut-outs or elaborate hardware, but by using flush cabinets and hardware with angular design. The flat interior doors are all heavy solid-core for long-lasting durability. For the lighting we aimed to combine the iconic mid-century style with a contemporary silhouette and color palette. We selected fixtures with mid-century shapes like the globe pendants in the kitchen and an angular living room fan, but we choose brass and black finishes that kept them modern.


  • Simplified Colors:

We kept the color palette in the home simple yet elegant. The paint color palette consisted of varying shades of gray and white that started on the exterior brick and trim and continued throughout the whole interior. To keep with the simplicity we used flat white tile for all the wall tiles (showers and backsplash) and neutral colors for the tile floors. This allows the resident to bring in their own pops of color with their furnishings and home decor.   

  •  Full of Light

Incorporating light and a view of nature is an important aspect that we wanted to bring into this house. Since whole walls of glass were out of the question due to privacy purposes, we included as many windows into the home so that natural light could fill the space as much as possible. This is especially true in the downstairs living space.

  • Furniture Conversion

One of our favorite parts of this house is the master bathroom vanity that our General Contractor Dave created from an original mid-century buffet / credenza! We found the piece at Vintage Market in Bellevue.

From that beautiful vanity down to the solid wood doors, this home rented very quickly. The aim was to create a beautiful simple, efficient, and elegant home. Thank you to ProMark designs for creating the floor plan and elevations. We hope you loved taking a look inside.

January Blog

  Profile: Alice Walker, Real Estate Transaction Expert

Profile: Alice Walker, Real Estate Transaction Expert

I met Alice over 10 years ago when she represented some buyers purchasing a home I renovated. In conversations with her back then, I thought, "Wow, she knows what she is doing".  A lot of people think being a real estate agent is kind of glamorous.  They drive people around showing them pretty homes until they find one their clients want to buy and then they get a check about 30 days later.  That is not even part of the job.  A large part of an agent's work is once an offer is made and that is where Alice is so good.

To be a real estate agent you have to be a fair negotiator and be able to relate to buyers, sellers, and other real estate agents of all different backgrounds.   Alice treats everyone with respect, is friendly, and can be firm when she needs to be.  A real estate transaction has a lot of moving parts and Alice keeps it all together.  She is great with getting to the bottom of a problem and finding solutions quickly.

She also has a great feel for design, knows what buyers are wanting in a home and is not afraid to give her opinion.   In 2008, I had looked at a home to renovate in Sylvan Heights a few times and could not figure out how to make the floor plan better. I called Alice, she walked into the house and said, "Your gonna, knock down that stone fireplace, right?" After hearing her great suggestions she has been our main real estate agent ever since. 

Here is a little more insight about Alice and her work:

1) Why did you become a real estate agent?

I was given a great opportunity by a wonderful friend and incredible mentor, Christie Wilson.  I saw real estate was a chance to blend my passions and strengths into a career.

2) What is most rewarding about being a real estate agent?

I love so many aspects of my job.  Helping guide clients through one of the largest financial transactions of their life, introducing out of town clients to a new city they’ll soon love as much as I do.

One of the most rewarding is when after a transaction my client asks me if they can talk to me about getting their real estate license.  I always say of course and ask them why.  They reply, “because I love people and looking at houses like you.”  I think if that’s what they take away from a real estate transaction I’m pretty happy.

3) What are some of the changes you have seen in the business since you started?

Technology has had a major impact on real estate.
        ~ Mobility, not being at a desk or office or even at a computer.  Having the ability to complete a transaction without pen and paper has been an incredible game changer…but has also had it’s challenges.
        ~ Accessibility, smart phones with IM and DM and texting makes you accessible to your clients and other agents 24/7, not all changes are good.
        ~ Marketing,  the days of glossy, multi-page, spiral bound “mini book” information packets for marketing have been replaced by video tours, open houses by Emma email blasts

Information Philosophy Shift - this has seen many different stages.  First, came the shift from keeping our listing information guarded (I know, sounds crazy right!!) to trying to get as many people to see the information as possible.

Realtors being apprehensive about the public’s knowledge of the market to wanting to give them information and educate them on the market and trends in their area.

4) If you were not in real estate what would you do?

Prior to becoming a Realtor, I planned and coordinated events and dinners for a variety of clients ranging from non-profits, entertainers, professional athletes and vice presidents.  I would have continued in that area.

November Blog: West Nashville History Trivia

November Blog: West Nashville History Trivia

 Photo of the "Treaty Oak" near 61st & Louisiana Ave

Photo of the "Treaty Oak" near 61st & Louisiana Ave

This month I thought we would have a little fun & also learn a little about West Nashville history. There is a famous book called "West Nashville-its people & environs" written by Sarah Foster Kelley. The book was written in 1987 as a celebration of West Nashville's 100th birthday. 1887 was the year the Plan of West Nashville "New Town" was platted that consists of most of the Nations neighborhood today.

"West Nashville" is full of detailed history of people & places. There were only a few hundred copies published and so today the book is worth over $250. We have a copy at our office if you ever want to come by & browse thru it.

Play some trivia by answering the multiple choice questions.  Answers are at the end so don't cheat.

1) Who was the originator/developer of "New Town"?

                A) Dr. William Morrow

                B) Dr. Henry Pierce

                C) Colonel E.W. Cole

                D) Mark Cockrill

2) Who was the lead promoter of the "New Town" of West Nashville?

                A) James Robertson

                B) Mark Cockrill

                C) John Donelson

                D) John Cockrill

3)  Why were the street names named after States in "New Town"?

                A) To bring peace during Civil War times

                B) To help educate children on US geography

                C) To promote people from other states to move to West Nashville

                D) To resemble the game Monopoly

4) Approximately how many people showed up on the morning of May 24, 1887 for the auction of the lots for "New Town"?

                A) 500

                B) 1000

                C) 2000

                D) 5000

5) Why is the Nation's neighborhood called The Nations?

                A) James Robertson and tribal leaders of Chickasaw Nations signed a pact in this area

                B) Because of the state street names

                C) Named after the United Nations

                D) In memory of the Chickasaw Indian nation

6) Whose log cabin was relocated and today sits on Charlotte Pike near Nashville West Shopping Center?

                A) Isaac Johnson

                B) John Cockrill

                C) Mark Robertson

                D) James Robertson

7) Why did James Robertson name the creek flowing thru West Nashville, "Richland Creek"?

                A) Because of the rich people nearby

                B) The Indians called it Richland

                C) Because of the fertile creek bottomlands

                D) After his son, Richard

8) Who is Charlotte Avenue named after

                A) The city of Charlotte, NC

                B) Charlotte Rae

                C) Princess Charlotte

                D) Charlotte Robertson, wife of James Robertson

9) What business resides in the oldest building of the Richland Park Shopping District along Charlotte Avenue between 48th Ave N & 51st Ave N

                A) Global Education Center

                B) Rhino Bookstore

                C) Southern Thrift

                D) Cool Stuff Weird Things

10) Why are we naming our new development "Westwood Flats"?

                A) Because of all the natural resources of hardwoods in the area

                B) Because of nearby properties that used to be lumber yards

                C) Because of the former Bruce Hardwood flooring production plant on Centennial Blvd.

                D) All of the above


1) B: Dr. Henry Pierce was general manager of the Standard Charcoal Iron & Chemical Company before forming the land company with other prominent businessmen.

2) B: Mark Cockrill was the director of the Nashville Land Improvement Company. He founded Cockrill School and the Presbyterian Church of West Nashville. 

3) C: To promote people from other states to move to West Nashville

4) D: An astounding 5000 people showed up from all over such as the Pacific coast, Maine & Chicago.

5) A: James Robertson and tribal leaders met at the Treaty Oak (which once stood at the corner of  61st and Louisiana Ave) to sign a pact guaranteeing the rights of the Chickasaw Nations. There was a stone plaque below the tree and kids used to think an Indian was buried there.

6) D: James Robertson. The log cabin home was originally on James Avenue and was their home until they built Robertson's Travelers Rest (better known as "Richland") at 5904 Robertson Road.

7) C: Because of the fertile creek bottomlands.

8) D: Charlotte Robertson, wife of James Robertson. People who knew her said she was kind, tenderhearted, industrious and a friend of the poor.

9) A: Global Education Center. The building known as "Richland Hall" was built in 1894 by the Nashville Land Improvement Company where Mark Cockrill served as president.

10) All of the above


 Coming Soon:  Westwood Flats, a 4-unit Live/Work Community located in The Nations at New York Avenue & 57th Ave N.

Coming Soon:  Westwood Flats, a 4-unit Live/Work Community located in The Nations at New York Avenue & 57th Ave N.


Moving to Nashville? How to Find a Home for Rent

We keep hearing that 80-100 people are moving to Nashville on average every day. People are moving here from all parts of the country for different reasons. Some are young and looking for opportunity. Some have grown kids and want to be close to their grandchildren. Some have a job lined up, while some do not.

If this is you, here are 5 tips when finding a home to rent:

1) Rent for 1 year even if you can buy a home:
A few years ago a family moved here from another state. They came into town about 1 month before the new job started, looked at homes to buy in 1 weekend, found a home they liked, and made an offer. They purchased the home and moved in. Within 1 year of living in Nashville they realized they did not like the house, they did not like the schools their kids were attending, and they preferred another area.  So, they sold that home & moved and lost over $10,000.  Lesson to learn: Rent first, get acquainted with Nashville and the areas of town, then depending on your job, schools, and local amenities look at purchasing a home.

2) Where to look:
Before you start looking on Zillow or craigslist, narrow down what areas of town you want to live in by making a list of questions to ask yourself.  Some questions could be, how far do I want to drive, walk, or ride my bike to the grocery store, shops & restaurants? How far do I want to be from friends or family? Drive around the neighborhood and if you see someone in their yard, ask them what they like and dislike about the neighborhood.  Also, if you are new to town talk to friends, family or co-workers about different neighborhoods. Get multiple opinions.  A good online site to read & ask questions is: http://www.city-data.com/forum/nashville/  . If you have a job lined up look for places within a 30-minute drive (including rush hour). That sounds obvious, but I used to work with people that drove over 1 hour (not including rush hour) to get to work one-way. When you find a house your interested in, try driving your work day commute from that location before applying.

3) Where to look part 2:                                                                                                              Once you have narrowed down your areas of town, figure out your rent budget. Our criteria for applicants is you must have proven gross income of at least 3 times the monthly rent. Some places criteria is 4 times monthly rent. I would recommend 4 times especially if you have some student loans you need to pay off.

There are numerous websites to view homes such as Zillow & Craigslist. Beware of scams on craigslist. We post our homes for rent there as well as numerous other sites but scammers will repost our rentals for a much lower rent. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.    

4) Act fast/Be Organized:                                                                                                           Nice affordable rentals go fast so if you see one you like, be ready to apply. Did you know property managers are suppose to process applications in order that they are received?  All applications are going to ask for your current and past rental history, Social security # to pull credit and criminal background, and current & past job history.  So, have all that information ready.  Proof of income, such as check stubs for the last 2 months, will also speed up the process. 

As property managers, we pay special attention to the rental history and what the previous landlords say about you.  As for credit score, if you have zero credit that is better than having bad credit.

5) Interview the property manager:                                                                                             This step is often skipped when perspective residents are looking to rent a home.  Most of the time they are only looking at the home itself.  You really need to do some research and ask questions to the property management company.  We get a lot of new residents because they are unhappy with their current landlord situation. Most times it is because the landlord will not do repairs or they overpromise before someone moves in and do not deliver. If they do not run an application or have a written lease that is also a bad sign they are not professional and you could run into disagreements in the future.  

Most professional companies have a website or some form of social media (Facebook page, etc.). Look at online reviews.  Ask them how they handle maintenance requests? How quickly they respond if there is an issue.  Ask for a copy of the lease to read over before you sign it.  Ask how they take rent payments.  Try to ask the current tenant if they are still living there about maintenance issues and why they are moving. If your gut tells you it doesn't feel right, go with your gut. 

We hope you have learned a little about the renting process and this helps you find your new home soon.

Affordable Design; You Bought a New Home, Now What? Part 2

  An old sewing machine frame found in grandma's basement. Added reclaimed wood to repurpose for a table. 

An old sewing machine frame found in grandma's basement. Added reclaimed wood to repurpose for a table. 

Last month's blog Holly wrote about some great retail spots to furnish your home along with some tips to save on home decor. This month we are "thinking outside the box" to re-design older items.

From Alice Walker, realtor:

My favorite place to shop is among the items you already have or ones tucked away in a parent's or friend's storage space...

~ an old antique bed, too small to use anymore, remove the headboard paint and hang above a sofa or on a large empty wall to fill space.

~ don't hide memories in an old scrapbook, instead create "living artwork"   Chances are you've got a few menus, movie tickets, playbills, and keepsakes you picked up along the way from dinner with special friends, anniversary evenings, and vacations; frame a few of them in simple inexpensive black frames and group together on a wall.

 ~ don't be afraid to mix and match.  That old, wooden,  odd sized dresser you had when you were a kid, then in college and you swore would never make it past your first apartment...paint it with a chalk paint, add new knobs and use as an end table in your living room along with a interesting floor lamp on the other end. 

~ your mom's old sewing machine in the attic.  Yes, the one in the back corner you've never actually seen her use but always tell yourself your gonna learn to sew on one day.  Well, let's pull it out in hopes of actually making a set of curtains for the guest room.  In the meantime, it's the perfect height for a bed side table in a guest room.  Once again, paint is the great equalizer.  A coat of paint, a great looking lamp from Homegoods or Target and your all set.  If you really want to be bold, re-upholster the stool that comes with it in a funky animal print. 

Affordable Design: You bought a new house, now what?

This month's blog we thought it would be helpful to post about furnishing your home. After you put down a down payment and pay the movers you need to save some money but also furnish your home to show off to your friends. Holly, our in-house designer, has some great tips below: 

  Home we built at 5704 Burgess Ave Staged with furniture

Home we built at 5704 Burgess Ave Staged with furniture

There are some absolutely beautiful home shops here in Nashville! If you are moving into a new home though, you are likely having to buy a lot to fill in the gaps at your new place. So when you first move in you need to find some budget friendly spots in town that can make your dollar stretch far. Here are some of my top picks for affordable shops to try both in town and online:

·  World Market: For nice pieces that add a bit of class but don't break the bank! My go-to for rugs, patio furniture, dining room furniture and fun accents (candles, faux plants, colorful kitchen pieces). Plus, it is very convenient right here in West Nashville at the Nashville West Shopping Center!

·  At Home: Another West Nashville shop that has a bit of everything but is my top pick for affordable night stands and end tables, as well as a great selection of mirrors in all sizes! 

-  Homegoods (in Brentwood and Mt. Juliet): This is a go to place for your decorative pieces such as frames, bathroom rugs, hand towels, table lamps and decorative pillows. This is also where I shop for all of my bedding because I can get high thread count and high end brands, such as Tahari and Calvin Klein Home, at majorly discounted prices! Warning: If you see something you like you better grab it or it will be gone the next day. The good news is they have a lot of turnover so they get in new stuff every day.

·  ModerNash: We all know that IKEA has some brilliant pieces that almost every home should have, but sadly Nashville doesn't have an IKEA (yet! fingers crossed). Well ModerNash brings IKEA to you. They deliver (and even assemble if you would like) IKEA furniture, saving you the 4-hour trip to Atlanta or the crazy shipping fees that IKEA charges.

·  Target: While you’re picking up your shampoo why don't you also shop for your "trendy" items. Want to try the faux fur stool trend? Go for it! But don't do it at the expense of your budget. For decorating pieces that will likely be a fad and be out in a year or two, buy these pieces at Target so that you get them at a cheap price. You can always sell them or donate them later to help recoup the cost, too.

Online stores:

·  20X200: Unique art work that you can buy in multiple sizes and with or without a frame.

·  Wayfair: Anything and everything you could want! Constantly rotating inventory of unique finds for every inch of your house, and all at great prices. 

 Decorating tips for a new homeowner on a budget:

·  Add mirrors! A large floor or wall mirror will help make any room fill bigger. Even adding smaller mirrors to your wall art will help brighten up a room by reflecting light. 

·  Throw pillows are your best friend! They help your furniture look fresh (even if you are in desperate need for a new couch) and they can be easily changed out with the seasons if you want to try and be festive. You can find affordable pillows at Target and Home Goods. 

Profile: Michelle Holt, keeps the office engine running

 If you are looking for a rental in West Nashville, stop by our office & see Michelle or give her a call. 

If you are looking for a rental in West Nashville, stop by our office & see Michelle or give her a call. 

When I interviewed for an office manager over 3 years ago I was looking for someone with various and specific skills.  I needed someone that had exceptional customer service skills, bookkeeping skills, real estate background, and someone always looking to improve our systems and efficiency.

Michelle has all of those traits and has been a great fit to the team of West Nashville Living. 

What I liked about Michelle when I first met her was she brought ideas to the table.  She is eager, organized and a very hard worker. 

If you call or email our office about a home for rent she is the first one you meet.  Michelle is very cordial with everyone on the phone and goes the extra mile to help them out.  One time over a year ago I remember someone had moved to town looking for a place to rent.  We had just rented out a place that was in their budget.  Michelle helped them with showing them listings & other websites that had places to rent.  Her willingness to help people allows her to connect with them.  Those same folks continued to follow up with us.  When we had a place open up they were the first to apply.  

I asked Michelle some questions below so you can learn more about her.

1) How did you get into property management/real estate services? 

My background is in Customer Service, Business Administration and Bookkeeping and most jobs I have had, have been a compilation of all three in some way, shape, or form.  The transition to Real Estate seemed logical in the current market.  I am pretty good at paperwork and in Real Estate you are required by law to have a ton of it.

2) What is your favorite part of working at WNL? 

I like meeting and talking to people wanting to move to our lovely neighborhood.  Nashville is my hometown and it makes me happy that other people want to be here as well. 

It gives me a sense of pride when I hear nice things about the company I work for and the people I work with.  It reminds me that we are doing our jobs in a respectful way. 

3) What are some of the bigger changes you have seen in the rental market since you started in the business? 

Aside from the monetary differences, the influx of “relocatees” to our beautiful city has been astonishing.

I was just as amazed a couple years ago when I started seeing more new construction homes in the rental market.  It is not just the demand for homes that has increased but residents are wanting higher quality and are willing to pay for it.

4) If you were not working in real estate what would you be doing? 

I think I would enjoy office management consulting so I could help people set up functional offices and teach people about different programs and how they can be utilized for optimal work flow.  I think that would be fun and I know a lot of people could use my help.  I could then set aside time to do some tax prep during the season. 

Good Neighbor Developer: June 2016

 New Home at 5704 Burgess:  Currently FOR SALE

New Home at 5704 Burgess:  Currently FOR SALE

We are living in interesting times in Nashville right now.   New homes are going up in almost every neighborhood in the urban core.   Low interest rates and Nashville being labeled the "It" city are driving up prices.  Terms like "gentrification", "affordable housing" and "tall skinny homes" are getting tossed around in numerous conversations.  Have you heard the acronym NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard)?

Our goal at West Nashville Living has always been to build & renovate quality homes that homeowners & renters can enjoy for years.  

Another goal we have is to be good neighbors during and after construction.  We understand living next door or nearby a construction site is not convenient.  Construction creates temporary noise and mess.  

So here are ways we try to be good neighbors during construction:

1) Build Relationships: We always try to meet the adjacent neighbors before we build.  Dave Davelaar, our general contractor, will introduce himself and give them a business card and tell them to let him know if they have any issues.   Recently, a homeowner next door to a new build asked us to pressure wash off their home after we were done with the exterior to get any sawdust that got on their home.  We said, "no problem."  

2) Clean Site Inside & Outside: We know the importance to keep a clean construction site outside and in.  This practice keeps our site more safe and trash from impeding into other yards. 

3) Workdays: Did you know if you are not the homeowner, you can not conduct construction on Sundays according to Metro Codes? We think that is a great rule.  We all need at least 1 day of rest and we also do not want to disrupt others rest by making noise.  

4) Thinking Long-term:  Our company name has "West Nashville" in it for a reason. We are not building a few homes & leaving.  This is the only part of town where we build homes and have rental property.  We started renovating homes in the Nations when most people in Nashville had never heard of "The Nations".  We desire to build quality homesand quality relationships because we want to stay in business in the area for years to come.     

We are human and we have 30-50 different subcontractors per home so we are going to make mistakes. If you see a problem or an issue at one of our construction sites, please contact Mark Hayes or Dave Davelaar so we can handle the issue. 

 Before at 5704 Burgess

Before at 5704 Burgess