Nashville New Homes: Just why are new home starts so critical to our economy?

Wasn’t it great to hear some positive news over the nation’s airwaves this week?

Although high unemployment is still a grave concern, there are signs that we could very well be in our next “recovery.”  Slow, it may be, but that beats what we’ve been hearing for a LONG time!

Like it or not, we are in a World Economy, and many European countries have far greater financial issues than the US. to deal with.  This past week brought optimism that those issues are being addressed.  News released last week was positive enough for many to “call-off” a predicted “Double-Dip-Recession” in the US.

http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2011/10/27/no_double_dip_recession_u_s_gdp_growth_2_5_in_third_quarter.html

And there was positive news for new home starts too!

http://www.census.gov/const/newressales.pdf

That brings us to today’s question…. “Why are new home starts so critical to our economy and it’s recovery?”

Could it be that new homes are one of the few remaining items that are built here in the US?  New homes aren’t built in a factory overseas and shipped in….well, not yet anyway.  New home construction provides immediate jobs to the very area where they are being constructed.  It is said that each new home start creates 3 full-time jobs for one year!

Everyone that has purchased a new home recently can be proud they have contributed greatly to our economy.  (Those that have purchased their new home from us at Ole South have contributed even greater!)

Jobs in this country are still hard to come by, but there are a lot of things that each one of us can do to make a difference.  Buy products made in the US whenever possible.   Not only will you be saving existing jobs, but creating new ones as well.  From the tube of toothpaste, to a kitchen table..it still is possible to find!

A friend forwarded an email to me this morning that opened my eyes even more.  It is about a behemoth container ship used to transport goods from China to the US.  Please read below:

The Emma Maersk, part of a Danish shipping line, is shown in the photos below.

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What a ship….no wonder ‘Made in China ‘ is displacing North American made goods big time.

This monster transports goods across the Pacific in just 5 days!! This is one of three ships presently in service, with another two ships commissioned to be completed in 2012.

 These ships were commissioned by Wal-Mart to get all their goods and stuff from China . They hold an incredible 15,000 containers and have a 207 foot deck beam!! The full crew is just 13 people on a ship longer than a US Aircraft Carrier (which has a crew of 5,000. With its 207′ beam it is too big to fit through the Panama or Suez Canals ….

 It is strictly Transpacific. Cruise speed: 31 knots.

The goods arrive 4 days before the typical container ship (18-20 knots) on a China-toCalifornia run. 91% of Wal-Mart products are made in China. So this behemoth is hugely competitive even when carrying perishable goods.

The ship was built in five sections. The sections floated together and then welded.

 The command bridge is higher than a 10-story building and has 11 cargo crane rigs that can operate simultaneously unloading the entire ship in less than two hours.

 Editorial Comment!

A recent documentary in late March, 2010 on the History Channel noted that all of these containers are shipped back to China, EMPTY. Yep, that’s right. We send nothing back on these ships. What does that tell you about the current financial state of this country? Just keep buying those imported goods (mostly gadgets) until you run outof money.

Then you may wonder what the cause of unemployment (maybe even your job) in the U.S. and Canada might be????

‘Nuff said ??

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WOW.  And that is just ONE of thousands of container ships.  Something to think about for sure.

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nashville New Homes: How can a government that prints it’s own money go broke?

Raising the US Debt Ceiling has been a topic of discussion all over this great country.  Last week, one of our trusted vendors, Tommy, asked this great question:

“How can a government that prints it’s own money go broke?”   That is a simple question.  One with very complex answers.  Very thought-provoking to say the least.

Tommy has a simple solution.  “Print up all the money we supposedly owe these other countries, stack it on pallets, and airlift it to them.  Then, simply tax them whatever they would tax us on imports and exports.”

Well, hmmm….  simple enough.  Would it work?  Let’s look further at just what our money is:

Notice at the top of the dollar bill is the phrase:  “Federal Reserve Note.”   Take a look at the history of our US Dollar:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_United_States_dollar

In summary, prior to Richard Nixon removing the “gold standard” of our currency, for every dollar in circulation, there was physical gold of the same value in storage, gold that is still stored at Fort Knox, KY.

And there is another analogy comparing our debt ceiling to a personal credit card.  As long as you can continue to raise your credit limit, you can pay your obligations and take on new spending initiatives.  When someone says NO to your request to raise your limit, you have a serious problem.  You have to STOP spending.  And if you cannot pay the minimum payment due, the issuing bank will stop your spending for you.

Many deficit hawks are pushing Congress NOT to raise the debt ceiling because there will still be ample revenue coming in to operate our government.  That is true.  But just like a credit card, when you are not able to pay your minimum payment, in this case the interest on our national debt, word spreads to all the lenders you owe, just like on your credit report. 

Ever read the fine print on your credit card statement about a late payment?  The interest rate goes up.  The same is true with our nation’s debt obligations, only the “world market” determines how much the rate goes up. 

Our nation’s budgets have been in deficit for 80% of the past 82 years, so the problem is not new.  Furthermore, our total deficit has been over 10% of GDP only 4 times in history – The Civil War, World War I, World War II (aproximately 25% of GDP) and the financial crisis of 2008.  

Here is a closer look of where we stand as a country right now, according to Tresury Secy Geithner in February of this year: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-14/geithner-quietly-tells-obama-debt-to-gnp-cost-poised-to-increase-to-record.html

And now, this dilemna lies soley in the hands of Congress.  Oh joy.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/congress-tees-up-crucial-votes-on-debt-limit/2011/07/17/gIQA40IZKI_story.html

There are many views on deficit spending and its effect on our economy, all of which have merit.  Read this interesting commentary on deficit spending by Marshall Auerback:  http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/07/marshall-auerback-there-is-no-progressive-case-for-deficit-cutting-%E2%80%93-the-myth-of-the-virtuous-clinton-surpluses.html

Now is a time that our elected officials have to put politics aside.  They have to quit posturing for the 2012 elections.  Our nation’s debt ceiling must be raised to continue any hopes of economic recovery, but we must also have serious plans in place on how the excessive borrowing will be spent.  Everyone has a right to know.

I frequently tell prospective first-time homebuyers “every day you do not own a home is another day you will have to pay for one.”

The same applies with our deficit-dilemna.  “Every day we put off addressing the problem is another day we will be affected by it.”

You know what’s really funny?  After hearing all of the many solutions being proposed, I like Tommy’s solution the best!

 

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: Bad economic news?….Another great opportunity for Tennessee!

Every time you turn on the national news, or read a national headline, there is negative news about the economy, specifically the housing market.   Many prospective buyers hear this news loud and clear, and sustain their “wait it out” philosophy.  Why?

Because no one else is talking!   I saw a great facebook post this week of a quote by Anthony J. D’Angelo, “If you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have time to do something about it.”

Yes we do!   It is our responsibility as Realtors to communicate the positive to everyone, not just those already searching for a new home, but those that should be.  Let’s start now:

Right now, low interest rates are resulting from a lackluster national economy.  Every day the overall economic news leans toward “bad” is one more day that a home buyer can take advantage of unfathomable interest rates.

From the Wall Street Journal….”Based on incomes, this is as affordable as it gets,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “If you can get a loan, these are pretty good times to buy.”

It truly is a great time to buy.  Not just because of low interest rates, but because of the programs that are available.  In this world, especially in this Congress, loan procedures are always subject to change.  Here is one potential change looming on the horizon that we have the opportunity to do something about:

https://realtorparty.realtoractioncenter.com/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1653

There are areas of the country that are suffering in this economy.  But others are striving, and those areas are attracting jobs and economic activity much like a magnet.  We are blessed that  Tennessee is one of these areas!

http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2011/06/13/tennessee-no-6-for-2010-economic-growth.html

The Clarksville/Ft.Campbell area is a magnet all by itself, bringing industry that is thinking outside the box in attracting workers.  Check out a unique approach from Hemlock Semiconductor:

Click here to learn more about Hemlock’s opportunities:  http://www.clarksvillenow.com/pages/10125186.php?

And less than 50 miles away, Nashville just keeps on retaining and creating job opportunities, as reported in the Nashville Business Journal:

http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2011/06/14/employment-outlook-in-nashville-among.html

And there is even more encouragement for young adults to begin their careers in Nashville, creating many potential “first-time buyers.” 

http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2011/06/20/nashville-a-top-city-for-young-adults.html

Education in Middle Tennessee is also in the national spotlight!  Four Middle Tennessee High Schools are ranked among the top 500 in the nation.  Below are the Tennessee schools on the list and their nationwide ranking:

          Hume-Fogg Academic High School of Nashville, #33

          Brentwood High School, #100

          Ravenwood High School of Frranklin, #284

          Page High School of Franklin, #494

The above facts are just a few examples of evidence that “Tennessee is happening”   and attracting more attention and activity, just like that magnet!   When you plan an evening on the town, you more than likely select a place that you have heard great things about, right?   Businesses and relocating families are the same way.

Tennesseans, let’s join forces and get the word out on the economy in our great state!

When you are searching for a new home, you will hopefully consider one home builder that has been providing the area’s best new home values for over 25 years:

http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/feature/ResBuilders-061711-1.html

We at Ole South appreciate everyone’s support and continue to be optimistic about life in the Great State of Tennessee.  We invite everyone to visit our model homes and neighborhoods, as well as our website, www.OleSouth.com, to discover why thousands of homeowners are proud to say:

     

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

    

Nashville New Homes: Mortgage Payment Relief Program in Tennessee

What is the difference between a recession and a depression?

A recession is when a friend or neighbor loses their job.  A depression is when you lose yours.  Job losses have affected many, with positions either eliminated, or full time hours scaled back to part time.  In either situation, through no fault of their own, many families have difficult choices to make.

Tennessee is one of few states that received money, $217,315,593.00 from the US Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund (HHF).   In January of this year, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) announced a program to help unemployed and under-employed homeowners meet their mortgage obligations in Tennessee’s hardest hit, or “targeted” counties.  Click here for a list of these “targeted” counties:  https://www.keepmytnhome.org/ppc.html

Now, this 7-year program has now been expanded and is available in ALL Tennessee counties.  Here is a synopsis of the program from the THDA website www.keepmytnhome.org

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Homeowners who qualify for financial assistance may receive up to 18 months of monthly mortgage payments and/or funds to pay past due mortgage payments to bring the mortgage current; these funds are paid directly to the loan servicer/lender.

To qualify for the Keep My Tennessee Home program, a homeowner must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be unemployed or underemployed (a 50% reduction of income) through no fault of their own. The event or incident which results in unemployment or substantial underemployment must have occurred after Jan. 1, 2008.

 

  •    *** THIS has now ben changed to a 30% reduction. ***

 

  • Have a mortgage for a single-family home or condominium (attached or detached) in Tennessee that they occupy as their primary residence. This includes manufactured homes on foundations permanently affixed to real estate that they own.
  • Have a history of timely mortgage payments prior to the job loss/reduction of income.
  • The combined amount of your mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance must be greater than 31% of your household income after the job loss/reduction of income.
  • Not have more than six months’ reserves of liquid assets, that is, liquid assets equal to six months of their mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance.
  • Have a household income less than $74,980.
  • Have a total unpaid principal balance not exceeding $226,100.

Above are the basic eligibility criteria. Meeting these criteria does not guarantee eligibility for the Keep My Tennessee Home program.

*****

In Tennessee’s “targeted” counties, homeowners can receive funds up to 18-months, up to a total of $20,000.  In all other counties, homewoners can receive 12 months of assistance, up to a total of $15,000.  Once eligibility is approved, funds are sent direct from THDA to the servicing lender and can be for delinquent payments, current, and future payments as they become due.

The assistance funds are basically a loan, set up as a “line of credit” to be used as long as the hardship circumstances continue, up to the end of the eligibility period.   The loan is then forgiven over 5 years, 20% each year, as long as the family keeps the home as their primary residence.

Another great feature of this program is that you do not have to be delinquent on your mortgage payment to be eligible.  As long as your financials fit the guidelines, you are eligible for the assistance loan. 

For more information, please visit www.keepmytnhome.org.  For more information on THDA and its many valuable programs, please visit www.thda.org.

Even in tough economic times, Tennessee is still the best place in the world to live.  Come join us.

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.

Nashville New Homes: Work Equity as your New Home Downpayment?

What is the one thing that everyone in this world has in common?   A FUTURE.  

That’s right…everyone has a future of some kind.   Although there are no guarantees in life, there are steps each one of us can take to make our future more stable and secure.  Owning a home is one such step that everyone can position themselves to take.  Your future really can be in your own hands.

Home mortgage criteria has changed a lot over the recent years, but that doesn’t mean it has to be more difficult to purchase a home.  It just means you have to provide more proof of your ability to be a responsible homeowner. 

FHA loans are the most widely used programs, where 3.5% of the purchase price is required as a downpayment, without exception. 

WAIT A MINUTE…. aren’t there ZERO DOWN home mortgages?  Technically, NO…. but actually…. YES! 

In Tennessee, there are loan programs where the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (www.THDA.org) will grant first-time buyers up to 4% of the purchase price to be used toward the downpayment and/or closing costs. 

If the seller of the property agrees to pay your closing costs, which Ole South will, you can use the THDA Great Start grant for your downpayment and administrative fees.   How does THDA do that?  What is the catch?

There is no catch.  The fixed interest rate for loans using the downpayment grants are slightly higher than those FHA loans with your actual down-payment.   If used responsibly, the Great Start program can be a very useful tool in financial planning. 

With today’s historicaly low interest rates, the money you would normally put down can be used to pay off other debts with higher interest rates.  A trusted mortgage professional can help you evaluate your options.  I happen to know many, so please let me know if you would like to know more.

There are other ways in addition to THDA to secure a downpayment.  You may have a relative or close friend that will give you the money, which has to be documented in the form of a gift letter affidavit that no repayment is required or expected.

And there is another provision that has been around a long time, but has basically been forgotten….WORK EQUITY.   Most builders hate it because it really is a pain in the ass to deal with.  BUT, it is a tool that can bring willing homebuyers to the closing table much quicker!  We offer the program at Ole South and you do not have to be a first-time buyer to participate!

FHA allows the seller to credit the buyer an amount up to $2.00 per heated square foot living area for painting the interior of the home, including all wood trim and doors.  The seller can also furnish the paint!  Please remember in your negotiating, that is the maximum allowed amount and the builder can get the same job done for 1/2 of that amount. 

You can also receive “work equity” credit toward your required downpayment for seeding and strawing your own lawn.  And the seller can furnish the grass seed and straw as well!

Lets do the math using an 1800 s/f,  $150,000 new home example, which Ole South offers plenty of choices.  (www.OleSouth.com

The required down-payment is $5,250.   Paint the home and you can receive $3,600 credit toward your downpayment.  You can seed and straw a typical new home yard and receive approximately $750.00 credit.  That leaves your total cash out of pocket at $900…. and you still get to take full advantage of the lowest rates available!

History proves that over time, owning is always better than renting.  Why not improve your financial future today by visiting one of our Middle Tennessee neighborhoods in Nashville, Smyrna, Murfreesboro, Spring Hill, and Clarksville?  Find out why thousands of home owners are proud to say:

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: Just when is Spring Break anyway?

Although it was light years ago, I still remember when the school year school started after Labor Day, and ended before Memorial Day.  It seemed like all of the area school systems had the same calendar too.  If we had snow days to make up, we would either add an extra hour to the day…or go to school during one of those teacher “in-service” training days.  Sure seemed a lot simpler back then.

I can also remember when Spring Break actually happened in the Spring.  Now, many systems are calling it “Winter Break.”   Which is it?  Well, it depends on what school system you are in… and possibly where you may travel.

At the bottom of the page are the various Spring Break schedules for the school systems of Middle Tennessee:  (Believed accurate but not guaranteed – confirm with school system if important)

RIGHT NOW, it is “Spring Break” for home buyers, especially those buying their first home!  I won’t dwell on it, but home-affordability is at a peak RIGHT NOW.   Inflation aside, the costs of purchasing a home with a FHA loan will rise on April 18th for everyone that does not have an active purchase contract in process.  Buy a new home NOW and you will get more house NOW for the same monthly payment you will have by waiting…. and that is IF interest rates and prices do not rise, which we all know they one day will.  And so will your rent.

First-time homebuyers can purchase a home with ZERO cash-out-of pocket using THDA’s “Great Start” program through Ole South Financial (898-7152).  Veterans may also purchase with ZERO DOWN using  a VA Loan.   Consult Ole South Financial, or your favorite lending professional for more information.

Even better, certain members of our armed forces are still eligible for Home Buyer Tax Credits if they purchase by April 30th, 2011 and close before June 30, 2011.  That is terrific news, especially for those returning to Ft. Campbell from recent tours of duty.  (Click below for more details.)  Remember, we have new homes in Clarksville too!   

http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/service_mem.php

Now that you know “Spring Break” is NOW for home buyers, here is when it occurs in our area schools:  (check school system for most current information regarding snow day make-up calendar)

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools     March 11 – 18          www.mnps.org

Rutherford County Schools                            March 21 – 25         www.rcs.k12.tn.us 

Murfreesboro City Schools                             March 21 – 25          www.cityschools.net

Sumner County Schools                                   March 11 – 18           www.sumnerschools.org

Williamson County Schools                            March 21 – 25           www.wcs.edu

Franklin Special School District                    March 21 – 25           www.fssd.org   (balanced schedule is 3/14 – 25)

Wilson County Schools                                     March 14 – 25            www.wcsschools.com

Lebanon Special School District                   March 14 – 25            www.lssd.org

Maury County Schools                                      March 21 – April 1   www.mauryk12.org

When your kids learn of “Spring Break” in Maury County, they will want to move there.  Why not visit the new homes we have there in Cobblestone and Meadowbrook?  Learn more at www.olesouth.com!

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: Good times ahead for Landlords.

Buying a home isn’t for everybody.  If you are not sure about your current job, marital status, or a host of other varibles, you may be better off just renting a bit longer until your life settles in.  It may also be that you are self-employed and find it hard to obtain financing with all the changes in the mortgage market.  Or, through no fault of your own, you may have lost your job and not been able to pay everything on time every month over the past years and now your credit score is hindering your ability to get a home mortgage.

For those that do not fit any of the above scenarios, but are still renting for whatever reason, you really should give serious consideration to home ownership.  Read more here:

http://www.ehow.com/info_7930598_average-apartment-rent-increase.html

Rising costs are based on supply and demand.  The cost of many materials used in the construction of new homes are increasing.  The price of oil effects the cost of everything too, and we all see what is happening there.  Good news for prospective home buyers – these rising costs have not been passed on to the consumer – YET!

But at some point they will be.  If you don’t believe me, perhaps you can believe Warren Buffett:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2010-03-01-buffett01_ST_N.htm

First time home buyers can still purchase a new home with zero cash out of pocket.  So can eligible Veterans when using a VA loan.  And don’t forget, certain members of the US Military may still be eligible for last year’s $8000 tax credit!  Here it is direct from the IRS website:

  • Members of the military and certain other federal employees serving outside the U.S. have an extra year to buy a principal residence in the U.S. and qualify for the credit. Thus, an eligible taxpayer must buy, or enter into a binding contract to buy, a principal residence on or before April 30, 2011. If a binding contract is entered into by that date, the taxpayer has until June 30, 2011, to close on the purchase. Members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community are eligible for this special rule. It applies to any individual (and, if married, the individual’s spouse) who serves on qualified official extended duty service outside of the United States for at least 90 days during the period beginning after Dec. 31, 2008, and ending before May 1, 2010.
  • So get out there and explore your possibilities!  It doesn’t cost anything to look.  But it might cost you something if you don’t…on the first day of every month! 

    Here are our newest spots from Home Center Network, Comcast Channel 49.  You can see all of our neighborhoods daily at 9:00 am & pm, as well as our website, www.OleSouth.com

    Where are YOU going to be when the rent goes up?  Why not in your very own brand new Ole South home?

    Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Spring Hill, Tennessee