Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares…

And go downtown… things will be great when you’re… downtown… you’ll find a place for sure… downtown

So after my friend/co-worker drove me all around the entire city of Nashville a couple of weekends ago, I’ve really gotten in the “holy shit this is really happening we could really be moving to Nashville soon and the insanity that is my commute from Murfreesboro could almost be over!” spirit.

Unfortunately, houses are really effing expensive in Nashville. Even the ones in East Nashville, which I really, really liked (and which I had heard would be cheaper than most of the rest of Nashville). And sorry, I’m not moving to Antioch or Madison or Nolensville. I left Chicago to get away from the ghetto-ass neighborhoods, and I’m not going back to that in Nashville, of all places.

Apparently I have been taking my 1280 sq. feet, two bedrooms, two and a half baths, two walk-in closets all for under $800 a month for granted. Well, no, I don’t take it for granted. I fucking love it. But every time it takes me two hours to get to work, or three hours to get home, I love it a little less. This is our first house and I’m really attached to it, but god damn. Why can’t we just take Murfreesboro and LaVergne and switch them? That way I could still have my little college town that isn’t so little anymore, all my friends, and my cheap mortgage but not go batshit insane driving 75 miles a day to and fro work??

Anyway, Ian will be starting an internship in Nashville pretty soon, and when that’s over he’ll be graduating and most likely starting a new job in Nashville as well. And as cheap and as awesome as our house is, it doesn’t really make sense to have two people driving 75 miles a day, fighting traffic, risking accidents, and wasting—at a minimum—two hours a day just sitting in the car.

So right now we’re torn between buying something or renting something for a year until we are ready to buy again. On the pro side of renting, we have:

  • Makes the move easier (don’t have to be selling and buying at same time)
  • Can have time to save up a little more money for bigger/nicer house while not having the commute from hell, instead of just buying whatever we can afford and then have to buy/sell/move again in a few years.
  • Even if we just rent for a year, we’d rent a badass loft/apartment downtown, making it easy to live it up and enjoy the last years of our young, single, childless livelihood (not that we’re planning on having kids next year or anything, but let’s face it: We’re almost 30. It would be fun to live downtown and be able to party and then walk home. Think of how much liver damage we could incur!)
  • Wouldn’t have to worry about buying an old house and having to fix it up on a very limited budget
  • I have always wanted to live in a loft. Always. I used to daydream about it in school when I was younger.

But, of course, we have pros for buying another house right away, too:

  • We would have our own driveway (this would be a must with the new house). I’ve never had my own driveway, and I am the biggest parking nazi ever. I HATE when I can’t park in front of my own house here because some assbag is having a kegger and invited 40 people over.
  • It would be our own place, again. We could basically do whatever we wanted to it without worrying about having to paint it back to original color, etc.
  • Wouldn’t have neighbors in close corners. No banging on ceiling/floor/wall. I haven’t had to deal with that in almost four years, and I think it would be hard to hear bigfoot clomping around upstairs again.
  • No pet deposits or paying a bajillion dollars for parking.
  • Money we made from townhouse would go straight into new house; wouldn’t have to pay capital gains or whatever tax you pay when you don’t immediately reinvest your money into real estate again. I think. Does anyone even know how that works?

So anyway, I think this week we’re leaning toward renting a loft for a year (but last week my mind was set on buying a cute tudor or cottage-style house), and these are the places we’re going to check out sometime soon:

I really like what Mercury View Lofts look like, but they’re just too expensive, and I’m still waiting to hear back about Laurel House and Union Plaza apartments.

If y’all have any info or any feedback on any of these places, or know of some other cool lofts that aren’t ridiculously expensive, please holler at me!


20 thoughts on “Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares…

  1. Regular people with regular houses don’t have to worry about capital gains taxes even if you don’t buy another house.

    But it is a buyer’s market right now. Interest rates are low and there are a lot of houses for sale around here. Prices are going back down after taking off wildly for a few years. Did you ever look at West Meade or Charlotte Park?

    I didn’t really like living downtown, but I’m not a honky-tonker. And with the exception of the tourist junts, the place was dead on the weekends during the day (esp. the Arcade). Oh, and the noise drove me nuts. I was on the 6th floor of the Cumberland and could hear all kinds of traffic noise at all hours of the night. The worst was the back-up beeps from the garbage trucks that run all night. Yeah, I’m just not a downtown person. I like to sleep.

  2. Lesley, we did look in West Meade, and I wrote down the street addresses of most of the houses that I saw were for sale. But when I got home and looked them up, the lowest priced was still $299,000. Right now we’d be looking for something $200,000 tops, hopefully lower. :(

    And I’m not sure where Charlotte Park is… We were over by Charlotte Ave, I think, but I don’t remember seeing or hearing anything about Charlotte Park. ??

  3. Somehow I lucked into a driveway and a garage in East Nashville. I still get pissed off when someone I don’t know is parked in front of my house.

    I had no idea there were such affordable downtown rentals. I hope you find something you like.

  4. I’ve always loved the idea of a downtown loft as well… Until I read what Lesley had to say!

    I am not familiar with East Nashville so I can not really be much of a help there.

  5. Try the Woodbine area. i know you think Nolensville Rd is ‘gangland’ but you may be surprised. Property is still low and its growing.

  6. I would say hold tight as long as you can. Everything I am hearing says the housing slump will last through 2008 at least. Here is how I understand what will take place for the next year:

    1) Less overall volume in the housing market
    2) New construction will be hardest hit
    3) Mortgages will be harder to come by without 10 or 20% down
    4) Lower prices and tougher mortgage restrictions will make it harder to refinance many adjustable rate mortgages
    5) Resulting in more foreclosures
    6) Resulting is more investors taking a “buy and hold” strategy
    7) Resulting in more rentals available
    8) Resulting in rental prices lowering

    So, I would hold out as long as possible. I am thinking that regardless of whether you want to rent or buy, you will be able to do it cheaper the longer you wait.

    Having said that, you want to move now, so I say low ball every offer you make. As more people get skittish, someone will take your offer. There are a ton of condos being built downtown, and a fair number of those will end up rentals. I bet places like Market Street are a little worried and eager to sign leases now while there is less competition.

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  8. Another voice for East Nashville here. You’ll have to look west of Gallatin to find your price range, but there are lots of great houses there to choose from. Cleveland Park is a good suggestion, and also the area right off of McFerrin. (That may be considered Cleveland Park; I’m never sure where these neighborhoods supposedly begin and end.)

  9. I know you looked at East Nashville, but did you look near the airport deep in the East Side? I live near Rosebank/Preston/Porter and Stratford High School and love it. I’m a block from the north entrance of Shelby Bottoms where I take my dog all the time. The neighborhood is low key and safe as far as I can tell. Nowhere near as expensive as stuff near the 5 Points either.

  10. Megan, I live in Kingston Springs, which is just slightly west of Nashville. A trip to downtown Nashville from here takes slightly less than twenty minutes. We are about 10 minutes from Bellevue. Houses here are affordable, but property values hold steady. If you click on my name, it will take you to my blog (of course). Click on the menu bar that says Kingston Springs Listings to see examples. Of all the places outside of Nashville, traffic on the west side is probably the easiest to manuever. Even during rush hour, it isn’t that bad. Beautiful country over here. In fact, I am currently working with somebody from another state, who is originally from Rutherford County. Loves the boro but it has grown up too much for her. The public school system over here is also good.

  11. I can’t contribute much about East Nashville or downtown living but I do sympathize with your commute. We live in Springfield (Robt Co, north of town) and my hubs drives from Springfield to the Boro every day – 110 miles total a day. It’s crazy. I work in Nashville and it takes me a good 40 minutes, give or take, to get here in the am, depending on traffic.

  12. Did you look at Sylvan Heights? Right next to Sylvan Park, not as far along in terms of gentrification, but far along enough to be safe and much cheaper. Lots of rentals available still, too.

  13. I was house-hunting with my roommate not too long ago and we ran into the same issues. We rent in the West End/Vandy area right now for ridiculously cheap (860/month for 2 bedroom/1.5 bath duplex with its own deck, backyard, and parking). We looked at Sylvan Heights because there were some super cute houses over there, but I’m just not convinced safety-wise. When we were driving around on a Sunday afternoon there were some sketchy looking people hanging around on street corners.

    She ended up reserving a condo at the Park at Melrose for not too much over the 200 range. I’m moving with her and renting from her, so she can afford a little above 200k, but they have some really nice units in your price range if you’re not opposed to a condo. The townhouses are already done, although they are a little more expensive.

  14. Holy crap, I’m going to have to do another post to answer all these comments!! Thanks guys!

    But to answer Jill’s question, we are not looking to buy another condo (We’ve got a townhouse right now).

    If we rent, I only want to rent something freaking awesome like a loft downtown. Otherwise, if we buy, it will be a single-family house (no duplexes, either). I am the biggest asshole about parking and people parking where I should be able to that the only thing that’s making renting again look attractive is a cool-ass floorplan that something like a loft would offer. And even then we’d only rent for a year or so.

    Anyway, updated post later… keep the advice coming! You guys rule!

  15. I just remember that I posted one called “Why buy when you can rent” last year (

    That post has this little gem that I got from here (

    “For every $100 you spend in rent a month, you’d be better off buying up to $12,500 in property instead.”

    So $800 in rent = $100,000 house. Conversely, a $200,000 house is probably going to have a mortgage payment of $1,600/mo.

    I think it is a good time to rent. I would quit looking to buy for a while. Just think, you can rent a place for $1,000/mo and be saving $600/mo and guaranteed to never have negative equity (due to declining market).

  16. Megan,

    I’d love to show you around East Nashville. Its been my home for 8 months, and as a real estate agent, I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on what’s a good deal and what isn’t in this neighborhood.

    Shoot me and email and we can chat! I’ve got plenty of spare time and can show you as many houses as you want!

    mundiejc AT gmail DOT com

    901 603 6478

  17. hi, i came over here from music city bloggers and i just wanted to also recommend the old hickory area. it’s not as far east as hermitage, it’s closer to madison. the homes are all in your price and size range, are mostly historic and the neighborhoods are safe. no bars ont he windows! check out

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