Well, it’s a New Year, and pardon my silence, but I have been hibernating down South in a far, warmer place than Nashville in the dead of winter. Waiting, so to speak, for the fruits of the past year’s labor.

And it was a hell of a first year of development in Nashville: 3 projects, 20,000 square feet of renovations, juggling a new team of over 35 subcontractors, and if it all goes accordingly, projected sales of $10m. California boasted the same, with 2 projects on the market, and 3 more in progress. Now, it is just a matter of them selling – the election is over, the holidays have passed, and the early spring market is hot in Tennessee. California is just about to gain speed. Finger’s crossed.

It’s probably a good time to reflect on some of the lessons I have learned from 2016:

–The Nashville Luxury market is a small buying pool – This was a tough one to learn coming from San Francisco, where you can’t find a 2 bedroom home for under $1m dollars. While I think this is a growing market, considering all of the people fleeing from big cities to our Music City, it is still relatively small. The key is nailing the design in the proper price range.

You can’t underestimate the value of a good contractor– I have had incredible luck with this one in finding my main guy, Jose. I have subsequently ended-up working with a huge portion of his family, among other trades. Of course, you weed out an occasional bad apple, but I am incredibly thankful for my whole bunch.

You can never have too much cash in doing spec development. Sometimes, I wish I could just go back to having an expensive shoe-buying habit.

You have to accommodate the needs and wants of your market. I always go back and forth with this one. The Fountainhead – Modernist – Frank Lloyd Wright part of me wants to help change the residential architectural landscape of Nashville. The logical business person part wants to sell homes for a profit. There is a lot of opportunity in Nashville, I know that, I think it’s just about finding the correct niche of high-end buyers to appeal to, and not necessarily trying to make everything modern because I love it. Someone else has to live in the homes that are being created for them, while still offering something different. A bit of a balancing act, I suppose.

Lessons learned, this past year was an incredibly rewarding adventure. Spanning my time from San Francisco to my new home in Nashville, I look around and am surrounded by a hardworking team, partners who I truly love personally and professionally, and a gorgeous portfolio of real estate that can sell at any moment. So, here’s to a bountiful 2017, and a future that is both exciting and yet to be determined.

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