Realtor Spotlight- Chris Childs
KW Realty- Key Focus Nashville
We recently connected with local Realtor, Chris Childs of KW- Key Focus Nashville to learn more about him and his special place in the Nashville real estate market- Urban Farming. It’s a quickly growing practice and Chris is your guru for it all- from helping his Clients find the perfect home with urban gardening potential to planning your dream garden space, to showing you what you can eat from your current yard, he’s your guy. Read on to learn more about this growing green lifestyle and about our new friend Chris.
Let’s start with a little intro, tell us about yourself, family, hobbies:
How long have you lived in Nashville? When you’re not wearing your realtor hat, what are you typically up to around town?
What’s up Nashville! Thank you, Magnolia Property Consultants, for inviting me to share my story! I moved to Murfreesboro in 2006 from West TN where I studied marketing and business at MTSU. My wife Katie and I moved to her home town of Ashland City in 2009 and our oldest son Blaze was born that December. Our youngest son, Charlie, was born in 2013 and we have a spunky dog named Molly. My interest in gardening and urban farming began in the fall of 2009 when I was given a copy of a seed catalog from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. My mind was blown when I learned about GMOs, Monsanto, and the sickening practices of the modern food system. Katie and I decided to start growing as much of our own food as possible, even though we knew nothing about gardening. Since then, we have had the opportunity to learn best practices and techniques from hours of research, working directly with local experts, but mostly from our own trial and error.
Our original urban farm started with only a few raised garden beds and grew to a larger scale that included rain barrels, a 3-stage composting system, chickens, edible and medicinal herbs, wildflowers, native plants, fruit trees, brambles, strawberries, perennial vegetables, cold frames and a hoop house. We have moved twice since then and just bought a new home this summer, North of Nashville, in Pleasant View. We have big plans to develop the first urban farm and community learning center in our front yard!
There isn’t much downtime with the Real Estate Market in Nashville, but when I’m not meeting new clients or negotiating offers, our family loves hanging out at local festivals, going to the Zoo, browsing through one of the many farmer’s markets or walking trails at parks like Edwin Warner or Bells Bend.
You occupy a very unique & exciting place in the real estate world, tell us about your fusion of real estate & urban gardening.
In 2013, I was offered a wonderful opportunity to work as the operations manager for Nashville
Foodscapes, an edible landscaping and design company. I stayed in that position for almost 2 years and learned a vast amount of plant knowledge from Jeremy Lekich, the owner. Toward the end of my partnership with NFS, I began to work toward earning my real estate license and wanted to specifically help people who were into gardening or who wanted an urban farm. It was almost a no brainer to blend the two. I had been developing my own urban farm for several years and met so many other people around Nashville doing the same thing. After getting my real estate license, I was offered a position on one of the top real estate teams in Nashville, owned by my mentor, Alex Helton. Alex taught me everything he had learned over his 10+ years in the business, plus some! After working with Alex for 2 years, I started my own team this year at Keller Williams called Key Focus Nashville.
Who is looking for sustainable living & urban farming in their properties these days? Is it a millennial movement or is the home buyer looking for these possibilities a group of everyday people?
My real estate team specializes in helping clients who are relocating to Nashville from all over the US and the world. Almost everyone we help buy a home seems to be interested in gardening these days. There isn’t one specific age range, the interest for gardening and urban farming seems to be growing everyday!
What advice do you have for folks making the move to our city as they search to secure a home with urban farming or self sustaining possibilities in Davidson or Williamson county? Are there any hurdles you can help them foresee and overcome?
Before starting the home search, you first have to have a plan and vision for what types of food you want to grow and the scale you want to grow your food on. I can teach someone how grow food almost anywhere and in any size space, but if the sunlight is low, or the soil conditions are poor, it may not be the types of food that person would enjoy eating. Once we have a clear plan, my team can go to work to find you a home or land that will be perfect. Keep in mind that homes built before 1978 could have lead based paint in the soil around the home which could be a hazard. My recommendation is to have a soil test from the UT Extension for any areas that you may want to grow food in during the inspection period of a contract.
What are you currently growing at home?
We just moved from my latest urban farm where we left behind a bounty of established fruit trees,
blueberry bushes, asparagus and strawberry patches, black berries, figs and much more! We don’t have anything growing intentionally at our new home yet although there are wild violets, plantain, onions and a few other wild edibles in our yard.
Nashville is a rapidly changing city with so many interesting pockets of culture and of course beautiful homes and attractions. What are your favorite parts of the city to show clients? Do you have your eye on any up & coming areas?
I have helped clients buy homes all over Nashville, but I have to say I really love the culture of East Nashville. You can spot a garden in almost everyone’s yard. I see a lot of potential in Bellevue, and love the urban farm at Bellevue Middle School! There is new neighborhood in the planning phase for Bellevue that will be a utopia for anyone interested in urban farming. I can’t say too much about it yet, but it will be centered around a community farm, there will be mixed use spaces with restaurants that will use produce from the neighborhood farm and each home be built energy efficient and come with its own edible landscaping.
When helping someone select their home, what is your favorite part of the process?
My favorite part of helping people find a home is FINDING THEM THE HOME! Honestly, you don’t need a real estate agent to look at homes online. The problem is, many homes that buyers see online have already sold. In the event they find one that is still available, the chances are that it will receive multiple offers. This makes it a stressful process for home buyers, especially when they lose out on the home to 6 or 7 other offers. My team takes a consulting approach, where we dive into what is important to our clients and develop a plan of action before we ever jump in the car. This allows us take the stress off of our clients and do the work for them. We will do whatever it takes to find them the right home, often times off-market. When they first see the property and their eyes light up, I know I’ve done my job well!
When/where can someone looking to bring urban gardening to their property or purchase a home with those possibilities learn more from you? Do you still do home consults or host any events?
I love to talk gardening anytime! You can give me a call, however texting usually allows me to respond faster. I definitely still do gardening & urban farming consultations and love to meet with clients at their home or at my office where we can discuss their goals and we will put a plan together to achieve them! You can keep up with events, classes and workshops we are hosting on my Facebook page, Nashville Urban Farm.
Thanks for reading!