Nashville New Homes: Attention Realtors: “Thou shalt have free food and fun”

Let’s face it, the economic times of the past several years has taught us (forced us is more like it) to realize that we can get by on less.  Less business, less money, and sadly…less fun. 

But for those that will pull their head out of the sand, there is still a lot of fun to be had… and a lot of it involves complimentary food and spirits too!  There is absolutely no excuse for being bored or hungry in the Real Estate business.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

This Tuesday, May 17th, all Realtors, Home Builders, and Trade Vendors are invited to a poolside mixer at the Governors Club.  The event is from 4:00 – 7:00 pm and will feature complimentary beer, wine, and appetizers.  (A cash bar will be on hand for those that cannot compromise their distinguished tastes.)  Here is a link to all you need to know about this exciting evening event:

http://www.hbamt.net/smc-mixer-0511.htm

Many thanks to Christina Cunningham and The Governors Club for hosting this fun evening!

Membership in The Sales & Marketing Council of the HBAMT is not limited to Home Builders and their on-site agents.  It is open to all Realtors whose firms are members of the association.  The SMC’s monthly meetings are great networking events where you will learn more about exciting topics, as well as enjoy complimentary breakfast.  Want to know more?  Drop by the Governor’s Club on Tuesday, contact any SMC member, or give me a call at 615.593.6340.

Summer is right around the corner and you can also be assured Ole South will host many events worthy of attending.  Our first “Yes Days of Summer Celebration” for 2011 will be held at our Preserve at Old Hickory neighborhood on Saturday, June 4th.  

Enjoy food, refreshments, games, waterslide, and prizes while you see first hand the exciting new homes that Ole South has to offer!  There will even be a community-wide yard sale.  Mark your calendars and watch the Ole South Facebook page for more updates and events.   www.facebook.com/olesouthproperties.

In the meantime, take a closer look at all the emails you receive from the many different Realtors, builders, and their organizations.  There are a multitude of great networking events happening each week.  Any one of them could change your business plan for the better!  And nothing beats free food, drink, and fun!

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: The stupid questions are the ones you don’t ask!

After the good-ole days of school, the thought of owning a home seldom crossed my mind.  I knew nothing about the process and was living under the assumption that I would have to have a large down-payment whenever the time came.  I didn’t feel comfortable asking questions.  I did not want to appear stupid.

A few years later, a friend who was a mortgage geek asked me why I had not purchased a home.  Being self-employed, I really did not know where to start, and did not want to admit it.   Swallowing my stupid pride, I finally laid all the pieces to the puzzle out there and purchased a home weeks later.  Then, I backed up to the “ass-kicking machine” for not asking someone sooner!  It really was that easy…and still is today!

Every year you do not own a home is another year you will not build financial security.  If the home you purchase does not go up in value at all, it will still be yours when it is paid for and you still have something to sell.  Home Equity loans have also put many children through college.  No apartment complex has ever managed to do that… except for its owners!

Lets address a few of the many questions that our first-time buyer of today might want to ask:

1)   How much down-payment will I have to have?     Don’t you just hate hearing the answer, “it depends.”  I do, and refuse to use that as an answer.  In most cases, you will have to have a minimum down-payment of 3.5% of your home’s purchase price.  In Tennessee, first-time buyers using THDA’s Great Start can purchase a new Nashville area home with ZERO down payment and ZERO cash out of pocket.  Of course, certain credit and income restrictions apply, but the program is relatively easy to qualify for.   Visit www.thda.org for more details.

Members of our US Military, Veterans and Active-duty, are also eligible for ZERO DOWN financing and can now receive a 1/2% reduction in their fixed interest rate under THDA’s new “Homeownership for the Brave” program.    Please contact me anytime and I will tell you all about these great options!  615.593.6340.

2)  Just what are closing costs?   Much like purchasing a car, closing costs include sales taxes and various fees.  The costs of obtaining your loan are also closing costs, and there are many options there as well.  Also included is an escrow account where you property taxes and insurance is pre-paid into the future.  Typical closing costs to range between 3 to 4% of the purchase price of your home.  This amount is due at the time of closing.

3)  Who pays closing costs?  Everybody pays in one way or another!  Who gives the money at closing is negotiable.  It is very common for buyers to negotiate with the seller to pay closing costs.  If you purchase a new home with Ole South, ALL of your closing costs are paid when using our network of preferred lenders.  In any case, we will pay 2% toward your closing costs with any lender.  We make it easy to own a new home.

4)  How much money do I need when I decide to contract on a home?  The deposit amount you place when you contract is a negotiable figure between buyer and seller.  That deposit is called “Earnest Money” and is held in escrow to apply toward your cash requirements at closing.  We at Ole South ask for a minimum $500 deposit at the time of contract.  If you use the THDA Great Start program through Ole South Financial, you will receive this deposit back at closing!

5)  When do my payments start?  Payments on your new home do not start until the home is completed and the transaction is closed.  Typical first payments are due 30 days forward to the 1st of the next month.  If you close on April 15th, your first payment will be due on June 1.

So get out there and explore the many homeownership options that are in front of you!   See for yourself how new homes are better.  Start by visiting the new home neighborhoods of Ole South.  And remember, if you have questions….. we have the answers!   www.OleSouth.com

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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: Merry Christmas!

I just cannot chance Christmas going by without putting out another plug for buying a new home. 

If Joseph and Mary had been in Middle Tennessee instead of Bethlehem, they wouldn’t have had to look any further than Ole South for a brand new, warm place to stay.  And as first time buyers, with THDA financing through Ole South Financial, they wouldn’t have needed any cash to put down.  The Three Wise Men, which might have been women, could have brought housewarming gifts instead of the herbs and ointments that were on sale that night at the local Walgreens.

 Being a church organist for most of the past 30 years, I’ve had the pleasure of serving Congregations of a variety of denominations –  Presbyterian, Baptist, United Methodist, Episcopal, and Lutheran.   I never have played at a Church of Christ.  They don’t have organs, remember?  Although each have differences, they all have one thing in common… the Christmas hymns.

I used to dislike the release of  new hymnals.  The ministers just could not wait to pick hymns that no one knew – including me.   Some in the congregation would bitch about the new hymns, and then the selections would be back to the more familiar hymns, except for one glitch…in the new hymnals, some of the words had been changed!  As the hymnals get newer, the verbage used  becomes more “inclusive.”   In other words, more liberal.   The Christmas hymns have fortunately escaped these revisions, for the most part.

As a child, I always pictured God as an old man, similar to Santa Claus, with a Charlton Heston voice.  After all, it does say in Genesis that man was made in the image of God.    Now we have that “inclusion” thing that brings that image into question.  The modern translations say man AND woman are made in the image of God.  Does this mean the first woman looked like Santa?

Could God actually be a woman?   Yes, God could be a woman.  Women get great pleasure in saying “I told you so” when you don’t believe them and they are proven right.    But we have to be realistic here.  God is more likely a man.   A woman God simply wouldn’t keep putting up with everything that goes on down here on earth!    So lets not split hairs.  What about God being a Spirit that can only be seen and felt through others?   That works. 

This past year has been difficult for Beth and I, along with many of our friends.  We have lost dear friends, family, and loved ones.  Others have been diagnosed with not-so-good news.   But at the same time, it has been a good year.   New friendships have been created, old friendships have grown stronger, and we are much more thankful for the simple things in life that we had been taking for granted.  

To fully appreciate being happy, you have to experience being sad.  To fully appreciate comfort, you have to experience pain.  To fully appreciate life, you have to experience death.  Sometimes, we simply have to sacrifice for everything to work out in the grand scheme of things.   God proved that, with Jesus. 

In the early 80’s, The Presbyterian Church released a new hymnal that included a simple hymn that has become one of my favorites for Christmas Eve.   Here are the words to this beautiful hymn:

Born in the night, Mary’s Child, a long way from Your home:
Coming in need, Mary’s Child, Born in a borrowed room.

Clear shining light, Mary’s Child, Your face lights up our way:
Light of the world, Mary’s Child, Dawn on our darkened day.

Truth of our life, Mary’s Child, you tell us God is good:
Prove it is true, Mary’s Child, Go to your cross of wood.

Hope of the world, Mary’s Child, You’re coming soon to reign:
King of the earth, Mary’s Child, Walk in our streets again.
 

May this year be your best Christmas ever!

 

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: “Needs” & “Wants”

In Nashville, new homes come in all shapes and sizes.  Somewhere out there is the perfect home that meets all of your needs, so get out there and find it!  You can start by visiting the new homes offered at www.OleSouth.com.   

One of the first questions I ask our visitors is “what in their new home is most important ?”   The answer tells if your prospect has given serious thought and preparation in purchasing a new home.   Think about it.  We are in the business of satisfying NEEDS first, and WANTS second.

Before you begin your quest for a new home, make two lists….one list of things that you need and another list of things you want.  Then, beside each item, write down how that item will make your life more enjoyable, or just how necessary that item will be.  

Many put a formal dining room at the top of the list, because their family comes for Thanksgiving every other year.  Let’s do the math!   The average home with a separate, formal dining room costs at least $10,000 more to purchase than a similar home with a breakfast room.  That’s approximately $70/month.  You will spend $1,680 in your higher payment just to have Thanksgiving at your house every other year.  That doesn’t even include the cost of the dining furniture either.   Will a few card tables and chairs in the Great Room suffice?  What about going to Cracker Barrel?

Others want a 4th bedroom because family comes to visit a week in the summer.  That extra 4th bedroom will cost at least $15,000, or approximately $100/month, not including the furniture.  Feel like you really need to pay $1200/year to give Mom and Dad their own room for a week?   A motel would be cheaper, and the visit more enjoyable too.  

Lets dig on.  Will that smooth-surface range really make food taste better?  Does an “undermount sink” actually accomplish anything?  If you have a double-vanity, will you really use both sinks at the same time?   Are you going to pay extra for a room full of hardwood, and then cover it with a rug?

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a lot of extra features in your new home.   Ole South offers a great selection of home plans and options to satisfy your wants, while our included features will satisfy most all needs.   Knowing the difference between wants and needs will lead to more happiness..not just with your new home, but everything life has to offer. 

I once had a couple that had just gotten engaged tell me they HAD to have an upper AND lower Owner’s Suite.   I was expecting to hear that they were taking care of an aging parent when I was informed that “we fight a lot and need space from each other.” 

So….  Lets get married and buy a home.  Might as well go ahead and have a baby too!

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, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: Surprised, Appreciative, and Humbled.

It is now officially Christmas Week.   There have been times that I thought 2010 would never end, and now I look back and wonder where it went!

Thursday night, I was honored to receive the “2010 Sales Manager of the Year” award from the Home Builders Association of Middle Tennessee’s Sales & Marketing Council.   It truly is an honor to be recognized by your peers.  It is a greater honor to work with the team we have at Ole South.  This year, ten of our thirteen full-time on-site agents received Circle of Excellence awards! 

The evening would not have happened had it not been for those that got off the fence and purchased a new home.  Thank you for believing in us, and the new home industry!  

We gathered at Nashville’s fashionable Hutton Hotel and enjoyed the company of other builders, industry professionals, and on-site agents that also made it through 2010.   Connie Nicley and the staff of HBAMT are to be commended for making this year’s event spectacular as always!

At this event, it became apparent that 2011 is going to be a year of recovery!  Why, you ask?

At the 2008 HBAMT banquet, only one agent received a Platinum Award for over $10 million in closed sales – our own Lynn Harrison.  At the 2009 banquet, there were no Platinum Award recipients.  This year, there were two!  Tommy Jarrett from Southeastern Builders and Joni Wilson of Norfolk Homes.   The market is turning!

This hasn’t necessarily been a banner year for the home building industry, but it has been an exceptional year for those wanting to purchase a home, especially first-time home buyers.   Those opportunities still remain, at least right now.  Those sitting on that fence are going to have blisters of regret if they keep waiting on the planets to align more favorably than they are now.   Keep waiting and pay more… in price, interest rate, or both.

Our HBAMT Sales & Marketing Council brings cutting-edge program topics and speakers to our meetings.  In September, we had the honor of spending the morning with Jeff Shore, a well-known “guru” of new home sales.   If you are in Real Estate, especially new home sales, his blog is a “must-follow.”    His Christmas Message will make you reflect, and make you proud to be a Realtor. 

http://www.jeffshore.com/blog/the-shore-thing-december-18th-2010/merry-christmas-2010/

Merry Christmas!

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: Ten more days…

Isn’t it hard to believe that in just 10 days it will be Christmas morning?   The Christmas programs that everyone has been rehearsing for will be over, another Christmas Eve will have passed, you’ll have a new supply of King Leo candy sticks, and if you need anything at the grocery store, you’ll be out of luck and have to wait, or go visit Habib at the Kwik Sak.  Get a lottery ticket too while you are there.

Its also hard to believe just how bitter cold it is right now.  Very few things beat coming into a warm home when it is cold and I had the pleasure of welcoming a first time buyer into their brand new, warm Ole South home today.  That’s always a special time, but it was especially meaningful to me today… I had left my coat in the car!

If you haven’t bought the perfect Christmas gift for the family yet, consider a new home if you don’t own one already.  Can you think of a good reason not to?    You can own a brand new home in Nashville for less than $800 per month, including taxes and insurance.  And you can also pay more if you would like!

No matter how energy efficient your new home is, cold weather like we are experiencing right now will spin your meters like a roulette wheel.   Everyone knows that new homes have proper insulation, energy efficient windows, high efficiency heating systems,  efficient appliances, etc.   But here are a few helpful hints to save a few extra heating dollars with any home this holiday season:

1)  Try setting your heat at 65.   That sounds crazy, but we started that at our house several winters ago and it really has saved a fortune.  (If you think that is cold, go outside for a few minutes and then come back in) 

2)  If you have a central heating unit, switch the fan from automatic to MANUAL mode.   Warm air rises and cold air falls – leaving the fan on manual keeps the air evenly blended and actually reduces the time the heating elements are on. 

3)  If you have a heat pump, whenever you need to set the temperature higher, do it in small increments of 2 degrees.  This will keep the electric coils from kicking in, and slowly raise your temperature. 

4)  Build a Fire?????   I know people say not to use a fireplace because all the heat goes up the chimney and I think that is a bunch of crap.   If that is true, why do people build fires in the fireplace to keep warm when the power goes out?  Just a thought….

Also, no matter what type of home you live in, keep a pair of gloves, a flashlight, and a blanket in your car and keep the gas tank full.  This time of year, anything can happen on your way home from work.

Bottom line….Stay warm and take time to enjoy the season before its gone!

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: We told you so… But its still not too late!

Remember all the talk over the recent months about NOW being THE time to purchase a new home?   Realtors and Mortgage bankers have been preaching it.  Every financial planner has been agreeing.  I’ve written numerous blog posts about it too.  Many people listened and bought a new home.  Many people did not.  They are still renting.

Well, it still is a great time to buy a home….BUT…. you really should have bought when you were asked to several weeks ago!   No one wants to hear “we told you so” so I won’t say it.  

If you haven’t heard, interest rates have inched upward in recent weeks.  Here’s the story:  http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-mortgage-rates-20101210,0,1978719.story

But rates are still incredibly low, and there are many incentives to buy a new home right now.  The fact that a first time buyer can buy a home with little to no cash out of pocket, and have a 4.55% fixed interest rate is still incredible!  If you would like to know more about buying a home, call me…or your favorite Realtor.

A good credit score is a necessity for obtaining a mortgage loan, car loan, or most any loan for that matter.  Here is an interesting article about credit scoring, or as it says, credit ranking:  And we thought we had it all figured out!

http://www.zillow.com/blog/new-twist-your-credit-score-is-a-ranking-not-a-rating/2010/12/10/

Something else to think about… You will stay WARM in the winter and COOL in the summer, all while saving energy, in a brand new Ole South home.   Think about it, why shouldn’t you own a new home?

OK, lets say it again:  “If you have any desire at all to own a home, act now.”   You will be glad you did!

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