A foreclosure tops November's list of the biggest home sales in town, but more interesting transactions can be found a few notches down. Among the properties changing hands last month: The Belle Meade Boulevard manse of an embattled former CEO, a relocating record-label honcho's new place across from the Gores, and a 23-year-old rock star's Green Hills showpiece.
The $17.9 million in total sales represented by November's top 10 amounts to only 2 percent more than October's totals, but in more typical years the number could have been expected to decline as the wintertime sales trough approaches.
The performance of such a small subset of the housing market is not a solid economic indicator, but the month-over-month improvement does coincide with positive anecdotal signals, as there is talk among agents of busier workdays and more crowded open-house events. Still, home purchases ought to slacken seasonally in the next three months or so, meaning we may not see a clear trend until the crocuses pop out.
Largest single-family home purchases recorded in Davidson and neighboring counties in November 2009, ranked by dollar value:
1. 1641 Whispering Hills Drive, Franklin, 37069
Buyer: Reliant Bank
Sale price: $3.08 million
Seller: Marc T. McNamee, trustee in foreclosure against Brian D. & Jan B. Shaw
Agents: none of record
Reliant takes title to a mansion owned by the proprietor of Nashville-based Brian D. Shaw Trucking LLC and his wife, in the Laurelbrooke gated enclave off Vaughn Road. Williamson County property records indicate the house was built in 2008 and contains almost 11,900 square feet of living area.
In September, a different lender foreclosed on another home the Shaws owned in Laurelbrooke, at 1458 Willowbrooke Circle. It changed hands for $1.06 million and is now on the market at $989,000.
The Shaws filed for bankruptcy liquidation in September. In addition to secured debt on the two houses, they reported $1.3 million in unsecured obligations. A bankruptcy trustee is now seeking to have their case either dismissed or converted to a Chapter 11 reorganization, claiming it would be an "abuse" of bankruptcy law for the couple to be able to discharge those debts.
The trustee placed the Shaws' disposable income at $25,000 a month and said they are capable of paying off their debts under a Chapter 11 plan. The Shaws have responded that their income is nowhere near that high. The matter remains pending.
2. 1103 Belle Meade Blvd., 37205Buyers: David F. & Cynthia Arnholt
Anna and Jim Shaub had lived in this renovated 1930's home since 1999. For most of that time, Jim Shaub ran Waffle House franchisee SouthEast Waffles LLC. Court filings revealed he paid himself salaries of more than $1.4 million in each of the company's last two fiscal years before it declared bankruptcy in 2008, even as SouthEast Waffles racked up millions in unpaid taxes and other past-due debts.
Creditor SunTrust bank has sued him and Becky Sullivan, longtime chief financial officer of the company, whom Shaub has accused of running a check-kiting scheme without his knowledge. Among the bank's allegations: The Shaub family's "lavish personal expenses took complete priority over the liabilities of SouthEast Waffles," and company funds covered the cost of renovating the home. That case remains open, while the bankruptcy winds down after franchisor Waffle House Inc. took over the restaurants SouthEast Waffles used to run.
Co-buyer Cynthia Haslam Arnholt is a daughter of Jimmy Haslam III, president of Knoxville-based Pilot Corp. Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, a current candidate for Tennessee's Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2010, is her uncle. She and her husband have given more than $34,000 to GOP candidates and causes since 2003.
3. 14 Colonel Winstead Drive, Brentwood, 37027
Buyer: Harry Allan IV
Sale price: $2.13 million
Sellers: Ronald M. & Susan R. Thomason
Sellers' agents: Judy & Richard Williams (Crye-Leike)
Buyer's agent: Judy Williams (Crye-Leike)
This Governors Club property first listed for $2.45 million in February. Along with five bedrooms and six full baths, it features what the listing termed a "dramatic entry with turret office and a wine cellar in the dining room."
Allan is CEO of ClearTrack Information Network Inc., a supply-chain technology provider based in Brentwood
4. 313 Lynnwood Boulevard, 37205
Buyers: John & Chantel Esposito
Sale price: $1.85 million
Sellers: Clay M. & Jeannette J. Whitson
Sellers' agent: Steve G. Fridrich (Fridrich & Clark Realty)
Buyers' agent: Amy Smith (French Christianson Patterson)
Situated across the street from Al and Tipper Gore's pad, this home was built in 1917 and has been updated with a 500-bottle wine cellar, heated swimming pool and top-of-the-line fixtures throughout.
Warner Music Group recently moved John Esposito from New York City to Nashville and put him in charge of Warner Music Nashville, a newly formed umbrella for the Warner Bros. Nashville, Word Entertainment and Atlantic Nashville record labels.
5. 3540 Trimble Road, 37215
Buyer: MJF Living Trust, for Jared Followill
Sale price: $1.83 million
Builder/seller: C. Rogan Allen
Seller's agent: Amanda Wachtler (Pilkerton Realtors)
Buyer's agent: Lana Murphy (White House Realtors)
It's good to be Jared. Last month, the bass player for hugely popular alt-rockers Kings of Leon turned 23 years of age, reportedly dumped his supermodel fiancée for Twilight Saga: New Moon star Ashley Greene, and bought what can only be described as a rock-star home perched on a hillside overlooking placid Trimble Road.
Rogan Allen, who has reshaped much of the Trimble-Wallace-Sneed neighborhood by replacing 1950s ranch houses with stylish mansions, built this contemporary home on spec and initially listed it at $2.3 million. It was on the market for a little over nine months. Soon after the sale to Followill closed, Allen sold another new home on Trimble for $1.52 million. That deed was recorded Dec. 1, and so the home will likely appear in next month's "Headline Homes."
6. 507 Excalibur Court, Franklin, 37067Buyers: Surama A. & Amit A. Choksi
7. 201 Thornhill Crescent, Brentwood, 37027Buyer: Stephen C. Zeger
8. 1216 Taggartwood Drive, 37215Buyer: J. Michael Morgan, trustee of the Taggartwood Trust
9. 10 Castlewood Court, 37215Buyers: Lesa Penny Blackwell & Timothy S. Blackwell Sr.
Check out www.tinyurl.com/headlinehomes to see Headline Homes for every month since January 2008—an ongoing chronicle of life at the tippy-top of the local real estate market. And be sure to send your tips about Nashville-area home activity to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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