Leiper’s Fork, Frankln, TN

LEIPER’S FORK — In mid-February, a couple in a white Jeep pulled onto the 11-acre farm of Dorene and Stephen Pearson’s luxurious Leiper’s Fork estate.

The Pearsons wanted to sell, and the couple wanted to buy.

A contract was signed for the $5.3 million home and repairs were designated. The Pearsons bought a lavish dinner for the couple, Kim and Phil McDowell, and gave them four $250 bottles of wine.

But two weeks later, after the Pearsons paid more than $60,000 for the requested renovations, the excuses began. Kim McDowell, the charming wife who spoke in a British accent, had been in a car wreck, then she had cancer, then the millions she’d inherited from her family in Wales was trapped in a New York clearinghouse and several lawyers were working around the clock to free the money up.

Meanwhile, the Pearsons, who have five children and an elderly parent living with them, had all but moved out of their home. Three-quarters of their belongings were in storage. The house the Pearsons wanted to buy in downtown Franklin went to another buyer.

Six months later, the couple still receives messages almost daily from Kim McDowell, saying the money is coming. The Pearsons don’t believe it.

We didn’t extend our contract past the two weeks when they said they could close,” Stephen Pearson said. “The agreement was verbal after that. After all, their realtor said (the McDowells) provided a proof of funds, so we believed they had the money.”

As the Pearsons spoke to families in Leiper’s Fork, it appeared others had been similarly duped, paying thousands of dollars in renovations and lavish entertainment for the McDowells, who posed as prospective cash buyers accompanied by an entourage of staff and proof-of-funds letters.
Along the stretch of Leiper’s Fork where the Pearsons live, several homes are priced in the $5 million to $6 million price range and the Pearsons said most of the families know one another. Prospective home buyers with sufficient funds to close on such large purchases, especially with the kind of cash on hand the McDowells claimed to have, is often a rarity, even in some of the most affluent corners of Williamson County.
The Pearsons were disgusted and confused as to how they could have been victim to a scam. A Realtor had vetted the couple and the McDowells brought an estate manager and a professional chef to help evaluate the Pearsons’ property. A local property inspector also came and spent a day examining the home, Dorene Pearson said.
“Finally, I’d had enough,” she said. “I wanted answers. I wanted to face Kim, and I wanted her to tell me that this was all a lie.”

The McDowells listed an address on documents the couples exchanged, so Dorene Pearson drove to the home in Spring Hill.
“I knocked on the door, and a young woman answered,” Dorene said. “I asked her if she knew Kim and Phil McDowell. As soon as I said their names, the color drained from her face. She looked like she was afraid.”

READ THE COMPLETE STORY:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/319282324772750/permalink/1222988004402173/

The Tennessean
Reporter Jordan Buie can be reached at jbuie@tennessean.com or on Twitter @jordanbuie

4 Things Sellers Need to Know About Open Houses

Edit Profile close
Trulia Pro BlogFor Real Estate Professionals
FEATURED
4 Things Sellers Need to Know About Open Houses

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
March 3rd, 2014
33
inShare

Sometimes, just getting the listing agreement signed and price agreed-upon seems like the end of an intense, effortful, laborious process. But as you well know, it’s really just the beginning of helping your new seller through all of the twists and turns of selling a home.

In the course of working through these items with internet-savvy sellers, agents may run into increasingly vocal, surprisingly strong opinions on a seemingly innocuous topic: Open Houses. Camps are divided pretty neatly between sellers who think that open houses are a total waste of time and those who think that open houses are the go-to way to getting a home sold at top dollar and in record time.

Inquiring sellers want to know, which is it: a waste of time or time well-spent? If you want your sellers to come out of this question on the side of “time well-spent,” here are a handful of talking points and scripts about open houses you can use.

1. There are different types of open houses, and type matters.

There are two basic types of open houses, a Broker’s open house and a public open house. Public open houses are the traditional Sunday afternoon affairs where local buyers, neighbors and looky-loos alike peruse your property.

Broker’s opens are held for the benefit of the real estate brokers and agents in town, who can stop by one-by-one or may visit in groups or caravans. Most often, listing agents will hold the Broker’s open house on the day of the week that brokers usually tour the neighborhood, and will try to time it very soon after the home goes on the market—before the public open house.

Over 90 percent of qualified buyers will start their house hunt online, so it’s essential to make sure your home is well-marketed, digitally speaking. But over 80 percent of qualified buyers will ultimately work with an agent or broker, so sellers can’t afford to miss them, either!

Broker’s opens are an efficient way to expose a home in its best light to a large number of brokers who are on the lookout for their buyer clients at one moment in time, early in the life of your home’s listing. They also create a rich opportunity for local brokers to see the home in close succession to similar, nearby listings—so if the home is well-prepared, well-staged, and well-priced against the competition, Broker’s opens make that very clear.

On the flip side, if the home is staged, marketed or priced in a way that puts it at a competitive disadvantage, local brokers and agents will often give the listing agent that feedback during the Brokers’ open—giving the seller the opportunity to course-correct or put some final touches on the home’s staging before most buyers see it.

Verdict: Broker’s Open Houses = Time Well Spent.

2. The role of the open house has shifted.

To maximize their chances of successfully finding a property that meets their needs, today’s buyers have to see a lot of houses—and they have to get out and view properties as soon as possible after they come onto the market.

At the same time, though, buyers live busy lives, and so do their agents, which makes the prospect of making an individual appointment to see every listing that comes on the market daunting. If a buyer views 30 or 40 properties before they buy, imagine how many individual appointments that is to wrangle! One strategy many smart buyers and buyer’s agents are adopting is to keep a standing appointment every Sunday afternoon during the time homes are normally held open and view as many properties as possible in one fell-swoop.

Open houses aren’t just to help early-stage buyers discover listings anymore, they serve as a convenient way for serious buyers to access and view them, too.

Verdict: Time well-spent.

3. Few homes are actually “sold” at the open house, but occasionally one is.

No doubt, open houses take a lot of time and energy to prepare for, and sellers don’t want to do all that work, have a well-attended Open House and end the week with no offers.

But think about this: A listing only needs one buyer. Ask your seller if the inconvenience of having to clear out for a couple of afternoons worth missing the potential opportunity to find your home’s ultimate buyer.

They won’t want to miss the opportunity.

Also, there of course other ways open houses can indirectly lead to a sale. Buyers use homes not just to discover new listings, but to actually access and view homes they’ve seen online. And sure, those neighbors that may seem like looky-loos might be curious about the home decor choices, but they also might have friends, colleagues or relatives who’d be interested in buying the home.

Verdict: Could go either way, but the chances the time is well-spent are greater than they seem at first glance.

4. Prepping for an open house is time well-spent no matter its outcome.

The truth is, the time a seller will need to invest in sprucing and primping the home to prepare for an open house is not much greater than the time they would ideally invest in doing these things to put the home on the market even if they weren’t holding it open!

Setting a time and date for an open house and marketing it widely is a powerful “forcing factor.” It provides both a hard deadline for property preparation efforts and sets a higher bar for the prepping and staging of a home than a seller might set otherwise.

Verdict: Time well-spent.

IT’S THE PRICE THAT SELLS A HOME

Location affects the value of a home, but it’s price that sells a home.

Oceanfront, mountainside, or penthouse, the most desirable location in the world won’t sell at the wrong price.

Every property has a potential buyer, but like rock, paper, scissors, it’s sometimes hard to know which factor is going to win the showdown.

A good location will sell at a fair price. A bad location will sell at a fair price, too. It just won’t be as a high as it would be for a good location.

A home in good condition will sell for a fair price. A home in poor condition will also sell at a fair price. Again, it won’t be as high as a comparable home in better condition.

But neither location or condition will sell any house. Only one thing does that – price.

So if you’re a seller waiting for that “special buyer” who will appreciate your faded pink and black bathroom tile, your vintage orange shag carpet and is willing to help you put your kids through college because of your real estate prowess, you’re going to have a long wait.

So if your home is represented by an agent, and it’s been on the market for a long time, chances are it’s your own fault.

Maybe you didn’t listen to your agent when he said you’re pricing your home above the market. Maybe you got mad at the first few folks who looked at your home and didn’t make offers.

When the showings stopped completely, maybe you accused your agent of not doing a good enough job.

You put the blame on everyone except where it belongs – on you. It’s not about you, what you want, or how much you need for your retirement.

It’s about the price.

Happy Holiday Handhelds Top 5 Apps For Stress-Free Merrymaking

Want to make this year’s holiday season the most enjoyable and relaxed one on record? From tracking your spending to hosting a holiday party to keeping the kids entertained at Grandma’s, making your life easier requires looking no further than these handy holiday apps.

Food 52. Food 52 Party planning just got easier for iPhone users. Armed with recipes, tutorials, and event-planning tips and tricks of experts, this “Entertaining Handbook” helps you plan for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Passover, Easter and more.

Pickie Gifts. pickie GiftsWracking your bran to come up with the perfect gift for someone? Help is on the way with Pickie’s algorithm-based gift ideas culled from your friends’ Facebook Likes and other Facebook activity. Early reviews say the gift suggestions are right on the money.

Postage am. Postagram. Takes your favorite photos from Facebook, Instagram, phone, or computer and transforms them into actual postcards, then snail-mails them to family and friends! Need we say more?

Flightcaster. FlightcasterPredicts flight delays by analyzing ten years of flight data combined with real-time information up to six hours before the airline announces the delay. For iPhone and Blackberry devices.

FarFaria. FarFariaWith over 500 children’s books in the queue, and new books added each week, FarFaria is the premier story time app for kids ages four and up. Features include offline access to books, an audio “Read To Me” option where any book is read aloud by a storyteller, plus songs, games, personalized libraries for each child, and much more for a monthly subscription of $3.99.

20131101-174510.jpg

Pumpkinfest Save the date for Saturday, October 26

Historic Downtown Franklin is gearing up for its 30th Annual Pumpkinfest, one of the town’s favorite traditions on and around Main Street on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. The free festival, presented by Bank of America, is in full swing from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and festivities will include live music, children’s activities, a Franklin Tomorrow chili cook-off, a costume contest and more to highlight the fall season.

Pumpkinfest activities include:

More than 75 arts and crafts booths will feature handcrafted fall and holiday items. Booths will be set up from the Public Square and East Main Street to First Avenue from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Children’s activities on Third Avenue North will include pumpkin painting, free games with small prizes offered by several local non-profits, inflatables, games and more.
Returning this year is the Great Pumpkin, delivered to Main Street by Franklin’s Sister City—Carleton Place, Canada. The fun will last from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, with some free activities.
Entrance to the festival is free and open to the public.
Live music, anyone? Two stages will offer continuous entertainment from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Main Street and Fifth Avenue, and on the Public Square.
The annual Franklin Tomorrow Chili Cook-off will feature at least 10 teams, who will serve up to two-ounce portions of chili per person. An $8 ticket includes 10 samples from local chefs! The tent is at Third Avenue South, between City Hall and the Courthouse, and they’ll be serving from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Children can compete in four categories during the annual costume contest on the Public Square. The categories are: pets; children, ages 0-5; 6-13; and 14+. The entry fee is $2, and sign-up is next to the stage in front of City Hall, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is a maximum of 50 contestants in each category. Contestants must be entered and present on the Public Square by 3 p.m. to participate.
For some spooky fun, tours of downtown Franklin’s two historic cemeteries on North Margin Street (two blocks from Main Street) will be offered from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday evening. In “Grave Matters: Stories Behind the Stones,” costumed actors relay fascinating stories of the cemeteries’ inhabitants. Tickets are $15 for ages 14 and up, and $5 for ages 7 to 13. Tickets may be purchased at www.franklinonfoot.com, at the Heritage Foundation office at 134 Second Ave. N., or at the gate the night of the event.

Now in its 30th year, the annual fall event is produced by the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County and its division, the Downtown Franklin Association. Pumpkinfest is presented by Bank of America, Waste Management, the City of Franklin, Williamson Medical Center, Publix Super Markets, Fox 17, Williamson A.M./The Tennessean, Clear Channel Radio and Williamson Medical Center.

20131024-165213.jpg

Delightfully Frightful Halloween Decor on a DIY Budget

Decorating your home for Halloween doesn’t have to be scary (unless, of course, you want it to be).

Some home owners go all out in a manner more often reserved for Christmas. David Gugel, for instance, takes Halloween decor to stop-and-gape levels. It’s no surprise to learn that he once designed retail window displays for Disney. About.com featured before-and-after photos of his otherwise typical suburban home transformed into a wild October frightfest. If you’re like us, there’s never enough time to pursue all the wild home styles that people create.

For those of us with less dramatic homes, budgets and taste, a little sweat equity can still bring a delightfully eerie air to your abode. Herewith, some relatively simple do-it-yourself ways to capture the spooky season.

Front Yard

Pumpkins and mums add a classic seasonal touch with minimal effort. They can welcome guests at the foot of a driveway, line a walkway to the front door or gather around a tree. The tree itself could sport eyes, cut from felt and held aloft with environmentally friendly adhesives. The truly ambitious could carve Styrofoam headstones, but the faint-of-heart, beware — that’s a half-day project.

Front Door

Classy or ghastly? The options run amok. Amazon sells bloody footprints on paper, but why not make your own? A roll of kids’ mural paper from any craft store, some red acrylic paint, a bit of soap for those dirty feet afterward, and before you can say “wrap the body in a rug,” there are telltale prints leading to your door.

Or stick with simple. Hang a witch’s hat on the front door as you would a wreath. Sit the kids down with scissors, black felt and a stencil, and create a colony of bats. Paint Chinese paper lanterns like jack-o’-lanterns and hang them from the eaves — no scooping innards or tossing rotting (gourd) flesh.

Living Room

Tossing a sheet with eyeholes over a kid’s head and calling them a ghost may be a cliched holiday cop-out, but the same idea can feel almost fresh on furniture. White sheets covering the furniture can lend an air of mystery to a room, as guests (or inhabitants) ponder what goes on underneath. And don’t underestimate the power of low light. If your circuits are on dimmers, you’re ahead of the game, but even candlelight or a well-placed dim bulb can throw unexpectedly fun shadows.

Fireplace

Burn the evidence — but not all of it. Dirt piled where the logs go can host fake bones peeking through. Perhaps there’s mulch left from summer planting? Put it to good use. While it is possible to make your own plaster bone molds, $20 on eBay goes far, too. If you don’t dig dirt, a handful of red glass votives in the fireplace can add a ghoulish air.

Dining Room

For a creeptastic look, think red and black. Yard-sale candlesticks, the more dented the better, covered in high-gloss black spray paint can hold red candles. They’ll give off an eerie glow atop a red tablecloth. Sprinkle plastic bugs around the plates and drape gauze or cheesecloth between the candles and across the table. Watch your guests shudder.

Bonus Bucket

One tip for the frugal: Start thinking about next year now. Come Nov. 1, if not earlier, stores will deeply discount their Halloween offerings. Even if you don’t have the time or funds to spruce up the house this year, some judicious shopping could get you all set for 2014.

If the monsters haven’t gotten you yet, we flipped over some the home styles bursting with gourds and color pictured here — the looks can transfer to any home, even on a smaller scale. But if you want to go big, you have company. Don’t even bother counting the skeletons — of course, there are 13.
By Anne Miller, Realtor.com

20131024-164505.jpg

Franklin Party with a Pupose

Join us Saturday, October 19th from 10am to 2pm at Stoney Creek Farm in Franklin for an arts and crafts show featuring local vendors! You will be able to shop early for unique Christmas presents for your family and friends. Local Artisans in jewelry, crochet, monogramming, lamps, paintings, “to die for” fudge, jams/jellies, bread and baked goods, Christmas ornaments…and so much more! Bring the whole family for a Farm Fest Picture and then kids can play on the farm, see the chickens and goats and walk down the nature trail.

The Fall Fest will be benefiting “Leaving the Cocoon” – a ministry established for women reentering life after prison, through mentoring, counseling, and a ‘continuum of care’ services.

Complimentary refreshments will be provided. List of vendors coming soon. Hope to see you all there!

Please visit our Facebook Page and share with your friends to help us support “Leaving the Cocoon”.

https://www.facebook.com/stoneycreekPWP

Stoney Creek Farm
4700 Coe Lane
Franklin, Tennessee 37064
Phone: 615-591-0015
www.stoneycreekfarmtennessee.com

20131004-143653.jpg

25 Percent of Tennessee Firms on Inc. 500 Located in Williamson County

August 20, 2013

Nashville Business Journal
By Jamie McGee

Seven Middle Tennessee companies have landed on the 2013 Inc. 500 list, which features the fastest-growing companies in the U.S.

Value Payment Systems, a financial services company based in Nashville, ranked seventh, climbing 17,404 percent in three years to $25.5 million in revenue, according to Inc. ASE Direct, a Brentwood-based company in government services, came in at No. 83, climbed 3,924 percent in the same period to $26.2 million in revenue.

The Inc. 500 list also included area companies Reboot Marketing (No. 306), EHD Technologies (No. 383), Santa Rosa Consulting (No. 415), PlayMaker CRM (No. 453) and Medical Direct Club (No. 463).

Several area companies made the larger Inc. 5000, which lists the 5,000 fastest-growing firms. Those include the following Middle Tennessee companies: Reliant Realty, Ingenuity Associates, Continental Health Alliance, LPS Integration, Cumberland Consulting Group, Vertek Solutions, Qualifacts Systems, W Squared, Advance Financial, Advent, Brand Imaging Group, Medi-Copy Services, Confirmation.com, Teknetex, Concept Technology, Rustici Software, Music City Tents & Events, CentreSource, Automates Collection Services, Mankin Media Systems, Werthan, SRS, Trades Unlimited, Metova, Hiller Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Centerre Healthcare, Vaco, Randa Solutions, Stringfellow Technology Group, LetterLogic, NovaCopy, Allen Printing, Jonathan’s Grille, Comfort Supply, Associated Packaging and Latitude 36.

WCS Breaks Own ACT District Record

August 22, 2013

Williamson Herald
By Kerri Bartlett
Williamson County Schools announced today that the district’s Class of 2013 achieved an ACT average score of 23.4, the highest score in district history, breaking their 2012 record score of 23.1.

Brentwood High School scored 25.4, the highest in the district with a .3 increase from 25.1 in 2012.
Middle College High School achieved the most gains by increasing from 19.1 in 2012 to 20.5 in 2013 – a 1.4-point, an “unheard of” increase, according to Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney.
WCS board members, high school principals, staff and county representatives gathered for a press conference today at WCS unveiling the highest scores since the district’s commencement in 1899.
“This didn’t just start today,” said WCS Chairman of the Board Pat Anderson. “It didn’t just start with the strategic plan several years ago, each of you in this room have played a role in student’s success today.”

Anderson also added that she believes that the scores represent the results of the board’s work in developing a strategic plan to achieve a district average score of 24 by 2017 – a goal that WCS is swiftly approaching.
“We can stand should to shoulder with any other school district in the nation if not the world,” said Board Member Eric Welch.
Looney reported that the national average of ACT scores is 20.9 according to reports, while the state average is 19.5.
Dr. Donna Wright, assistant superintendent of high schools, attributes the increase in district scores to the collection and review of student data based on ACT practice test analyses.
Practice exam results allow teachers to focus on the areas in which students need additional academic interventions to increase scores.
Franklin High School puts data to use by offering a semester class – an ACT review course – for students who score below 21 on practice tests.
“There’s a big push for prep classes. We identify student weaknesses and focus on strategies to address those weaknesses,” said Principal Willie Dickerson.
FHS scored an ACT average score of 23.9, up a tenth of a point from 23.8 in 2012.
“It has been an incredible effort in the alignment of curriculum and focusing on instruction in which every student has the opportunity to learn. It begins as early as the third grade,” Wright said.
“I’ve never seen a bump like this in my thirty years as an educator.”
Looney said as part of “Ladders for HOPE,” the district is striving for all high seniors to qualify for the Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, which requires an ACT score of 21.

“It’s never been done in Tennessee or America,” Looney said. He stated that the district has 150 more studnets to go to achieve the goal.

“We are committed to stay the course,” Looney said.

FOR BUYERS: HOW TO FIND A REAL ESTATE AGENT WHO HAS YOUR BEST INTEREST AT HEART

Before starting your home buying journey, it is always a good idea to find an agent who has your best interest at heart. As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®), my business is helping buyers every step of the way. Also, as a member of the National Association of Realtors® I believe in, and follow a strict code of ethics that let me best serve you in your home search. If you have any questions, please contact me. I look forward to working with you.

Buyer’s Agent

20130912-180237.jpg