They Want How Much?
Tennessee WaltzSeven-year-old brick traditional in highly desirable town 20 miles south of Nashville
By Carolyn Bigda

(MONEY Magazine) – • 4 bed, 3 bath, 3,260 square feet • 735 square feet of outdoor decking • List price: $374,900 • Sale price: $374,900 (sold in three days)


Back in 2001, this Franklin, Tenn. home sat on the market just shy of a year before Kevin and Lisa Gabhart bought it for $314,000--$11,200 less than the original owners had paid. It also had a 15-foot-by-11-foot backyard deck that wasn't really roomy enough to grill on and eat on comfortably, so the Gabharts enclosed and screened in the original area and added another 570 square feet of deck, using maintenance-free materials, for $24,000. They also painted the 1998 house's off-white rooms with warm colors. "Paint," notes Kevin, "doesn't cost a lot of money."


At $115 a square foot, the asking price was fairly high for the neighborhood, which averages $108 a square foot. ReMax real estate agent Bruce Jones at first worried that the bedrooms and family room might seem too small to prospective buyers, but a walk out on the deck typically ended such fears. "The comments were 'Boy, I could see myself spending a lot of time back here,'" Jones says. The deck technically is not counted as actual living space, but since it is indeed near-year-round turf it helped drive down the home's per-square-foot cost in many buyers' minds, he reports. Within three days, the Gabharts got their $374,900 asking price.


Home prices in Franklin (No. 58 on MONEY's 100 Best Places to Live list) are up an estimated 16% since 2002. Jones figures the deck's size and craftsmanship--plus the shelter of the screened porch--added $10,000 to the sale price. The Gabharts see another value in it too: "We did it for ourselves," Kevin says. "We wanted a place to enjoy all year, even in the rain." --CAROLYN BIGDA

NOTES: As of July 22. Largest funds by assets. [1]Annualized. SOURCE: Morningstar.