Not so long ago, a $1 million house was unattainable, something available only to the captains of industry, to families whose wealth passed from one generation to another or to the super rich.
Earlier this week, though, 16 houses in Hamilton County were listed between $900,000 and $1,100,000. That price is roughly eight times the median price of all houses sold in the greater Chattanooga area last month.
As is usually the case, though, $1 million buys something in addition to a large house with the latest amenities. It might also purchase a view, acreage or exclusivity.
"You can build an 8,000-square-foot house for less than $1 million," said Realtor Steven Sharpe of Keller Williams Realty. "The pricing is often influenced by location."
Earlier this week, a Times Free Press reporter, accompanied by Sharpe, visited four of houses priced about $1 million. One lists for $1,050,000, two are $999,000 and one is $995,000. They range from four to six bedrooms and four and a half to five and a half baths, and they run from 5,900 to 7,644 square feet. The oldest was built in 1980 and the newest in 2007. Two are in Chattanooga, one is in the town of Signal Mountain and one is in the unincorporated part of Hamilton County.
Descriptions of each house are based on the tour and comparisons available from Multiple Listing Service information. Also included are comments by Sharpe (who is not the listing agent for any of the properties).
Address: 350 Walsh Road.
Schools: Red Bank Elementary, Red Bank Middle, Red Bank High.
Size: 7,480 square feet.
Bathrooms: 4 1/2.
Lot size: 105 feet by 150 feet.
Year built: 2007.
Annual taxes: Not available.
Days on market (under current listing agent): 458.
Description: Built for the HGTV "Dream House" television series in 2007, it features a magnificent view of downtown Chattanooga and the Tennessee River from most interior rooms and the main exterior decks. Two-story great room has stacked-stone fireplace, matching the partial stacked-stone exterior. Connected open kitchen has granite countertops and island bar that seats eight. Master suite is up one level and has raised, jetted garden tub with the same expansive view. Top level has observation room which opens to rooftop patio. Finished portion of basement can be bedrooms and/or office. Garages for four cars. On the down side, several basement rooms are unfinished and planned elevator was never installed (but could be). And since garages are a level below the kitchen, homeowners have to haul groceries up a floor.
Sharpe: "You're not going to find a better view of the city. ... You don't have to go anywhere for Riverbend. ... Outdoor entertaining space is very appealing. ... It doesn't work great as a family home, but you could make it work. ... If you're looking for a back yard, this would not be it. ... [This house] has to match your lifestyle. ... The cost is great for the view."
Address: 7 Rock Crest Lane.
Schools: Thrasher Elementary, Signal Mountain Middle/High.
Size: 7,644 square feet.
Bathrooms: 4 1/2.
Lot size: 117 feet by 291 feet.
Year built: 1980.
Annual taxes: Not available.
Days on market (under current listing agent): 181.
Description: Wooded entrance to property gives way to circular drive and brick and frame brow home with view of Tennessee River Gorge. Oversize door provides entree to home dominated by rear windows on main level overlooking the heated pool, huge patio area and river view. Kitchen includes top-end appliances, contemporary cabinets, custom countertops and adjacent room that affords pantry, laundry and extra dishwasher. Vaulted-ceiling master suite has roomy sitting room with fireplace and built-in shelving, walk-in closets and many other amenities. Upper floor has a guest bedroom suite with private bath and walk-in closet, plus two bedrooms connected by Jack-and-Jill bathroom. One of the bedrooms has an adjoining sitting room, and the other sports two Murphy beds. Lower level offers den with bar and wine refrigerator, media room, exercise room, office and full bath with sauna room. There is plenty of storage everywhere.
Sharpe: "[The home] is built for entertaining. ... It has a lot of possibilities. ... It is an interesting use of modern [and other styles]. ... This is as pristine a view as you get [of the gorge].
Address: 3111 Reflecting Drive.
Schools: Rivermont Elementary, Red Bank Middle, Red Bank High.
Size: 5,900 square feet.
Bathrooms: 4 1/2.
Lot size: 120 feet by 169 feet.
Year built: 2005.
Annual taxes: $14,082.
Days on market (under current listing agent): 121.
Description: Two-story, stone and brick home on level lot in newer neighborhood offers an open floor plan with design touches such as coffered ceiling and rounded doorway corners in the great room. Kitchen is compact yet practical and has features such as a cabinet refrigerator and adjacent butler's pantry. Huge main-level master suite has oversize bath with tubs, shower and walk-in closet/dressing rooms. Second bedroom off kitchen convenient as guest room. Second floor has three bedrooms which share a bonus room (or sixth bedroom, office or playroom) with a fireplace. Two of the bedrooms have a Jack-and-Jill bathroom, and walk-in closets abound. Back yard is private, screened from neighbors by foliage and features a covered porch, open patio with fire pit and hot tub. Driveway goes through portico to two-car
Sharpe: "This is a comfortable family house, a more traditional two-story with spacious rooms. ... It also has newer [decorative] touches. ... The second-floor [bonus] room also makes it nice for a family with kids to have that extra common space."
Address: 9609 Mountain Lake Drive.
Schools: Ooltewah Elementary, Ooltewah Middle, Ooltewah High.
Size: 6,800 square feet.
Bathrooms: 5 1/2.
Lot size: 150 feet by 429 feet.
Year built: 1996.
Annual taxes: $5,513.
Days on market (under current listing agent): 435.
Description: Winding driveway atop White Oak Mountain leads to grand brick home with expansive view back toward Chattanooga. Two-story entry has magnificent chandelier. Great room has 6-foot fireplace and provides access to deck overlooking in-ground pool and the view beyond. Eat-in country kitchen features tongue-and-groove ceiling and light cabinets and butler's pantry/laundry. Additional room off-kitchen offers vented grill and access to three-car garage. Formal dining room has classic wainscoting and fireplace. Main floor also includes master suite, which takes advantage of the view, and additional bedroom or office. Second floor has two additional bedrooms and huge bonus room or fifth bedroom. Basement affords recreation room with mountain stone fireplace, steam room, bath and wet bar.
Sharpe: "It's just a huge home [with] a nice presence on top of the hill. ... It feels a bit more formal than [others in this week's price check]. ... It's more of an executive home but still provides the downstairs den for entertaining more casually. ... The upstairs is perfect for a large family with the large number of bedrooms. ... It needs a bit more work than [some] others to bring it back to top shape."