Spend the night on a real steamboat? You still can in Tennessee!

Although I didn’t take this picture, I remember visiting the Delta Queen one evening when it was moored at Nashville’s Riverfront Park in 2007.   The lights were dim, and all was quiet.  Puzzled by this at 9:00 pm, I approached a crew member and enjoyed a great conversation about life on the Delta Queen.  It was dark and quiet because everyone had gone to bed!

Here is a log of a 2007 voyage of the Delta Queen, including its stop in Nashville.     http://maritimematters.com/2010/09/log-of-the-steamboat-delta-queen-along-southern-rivers-part-one/

We have also passed this historic liner many times during recent years on the Cumberland, Ohio, and Tennessee Rivers.   That is a sight we won’t see any more, thanks to the US Congress, who refused to renew the Queen’s exemption from the 1966 SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) Act, an exemption that every President has signed since Richard Nixon in 1970.  Read the history of this vessel here:  http://www.deltaqueenhotel.net/#!abouth-the-dq

In February of 2009, the Delta Queen arrived in Chattanooga to become a floating hotel at this city’s vibrant riverfront.   From $89 per night, you can step back in time and experience the closest thing to the “glory days” of river travel.  If you don’t have time for overnight, why not visit for a meal?  Here is a link to the hotel website.  http://www.deltaqueenhotel.net/

It is interesting that the Queen’s “Brother Ship” the “Delta King” serves in a near identical capacity in San Francisco, where the two began service together in 1927.   http://www.deltaking.com/  Of the steamboats, the Delta Queen and King are among the luckiest.

The Delta Queen Steamboat Company owned three “Queens,” all of which ceased operating in 2008.   The “Mississippi Queen” was launched in July 1976 during our nation’s bicentennial and traveled the inland rivers until being sold for scrap in 2010.  Here’s the story:


I can remember passing the Mississippi Queen on the Cumberland River several times as well.  What a sight.

The third “Queen” is the “American Queen,” launched in 1995 as the largest steamboat ever built.  For Sale with fate unknown, she sits mothballed in Beaumont, Texas with the US Maritime Reserve Fleet hoping for better days.

 When it comes to embracing a city’s riverfront, Chattanooga is light years ahead of Nashville and should be commended for saving the Delta Queen. 

With our emerging status as a “world-class” city, would Nashville possibly consider a project using the American Queen at Riverfront Park, or even Opry Mills?  It’s an idea certainly worth consideration…especially since Bill Purcell is no longer in office to deem it a Homeland Security risk to Riverfront Park.  :0)

Even more reasons why Tennessee is the greatest 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: 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


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: As floodwaters rise, “Memphis in May” rises too!

Normally, the content of this blog focuses on New Homes and other topics relevant to Nashville and the surrounding area.  But after all, Tennessee is one big happy state and some amazing things are happening just 200 miles west.

In May of 2010, Nashville was suffering from the catastrophic flooding of the Cumberland River.   This year, Nashville was lucky.   Now, in May of 2011, the rain clouds turned to Memphis and the Mighty Mississippi.


And it couldn’t have picked a worse time.  Every year, Memphis opens its doors to the world for its month-long “Memphis in May” celebration.  During this celebration, events such as the Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest take place.

Here is information about this year’s “Memphis In May” event.  The information was published before the flooding.


And now, the floodwaters decided to attend as well. 

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The show will still go on thanks to advance preparation, quick thinking, and just plain old determination.    I really love the “reactive” ad graphics for the event.  Check it out!

Here is an update on all of the event’s festivities:


Meanwhile, flood waters continue to threaten the area.  Read here for more area information:


“Memphis in May” festivities will go on.  Meanwhile, the festivities in Tunica won’t for a while… unless water-taxi services are put in place.  Take a look:

With the casino cages quiet, those visiting Memphis will now probably have more money to spend on BBQ!

Meanwhile in Nashville, the weekend promises beautiful weather to shop for your new home.  Take a minute to visit any of our model homes in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Spring Hill, Smyrna, and Clarksville.  You’ll be amazed by the values you will see.  You’ll also enjoy the Otis Spunkmeyer cookies we’ve baked just for you!

If you can’t find the time to visit in person, start with our website!  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 homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, and Spring Hill, Tennessee

Nashville New Homes: Thank you, Sir! (or Ma’am)

November 11th is the day we as Americans celebrate and honor the sacrifice of all U.S. Veterans.   This isn’t one of those holidays created by Hallmark.  It isn’t one of those holidays to give bankers a day off.  It is a official day for all of us to say, “Thank You” to a veteran.  Let’s carry the tradition one step further and say “Thank You” to the active-duty soldiers too!  And remember, those “thank-yous” aren’t confined to November 11th, they are deserved and appreciated every day!

But why November 11th?   Back in 1918, on the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, an armistice, or treaty of sorts, was signed to end hostilities in what we now call World War I.   It was called the Great War back then because no one was planning a sequel at the time.

Here is an interesting link to the history of this all-important day:


Many are not fully aware of the differences between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day.  Here is another link of interest:


These are official days set aside to honor, celebrate, and remember.  But there is nothing at all wrong with doing that every day.  So, to all the Veterans out there, Thank you, Sir!  (or Ma’am)

There are many soldiers that have returned, or will be returning from deployment.  Please do not forget that the Homebuyer Tax Credits of $8,000 and $6,500 are extended for certain members of the US Military.  Click here for all of the information on eligibility. 


Veterans can also purchase a home with ZERO money out of pocket and take advantage of today’s incredible fixed interest rates.  And we at Ole South, www.OleSouth.com, have a new home waiting for you in Nashville, Smyrna, Murfreesboro, or Spring Hill…and coming very soon to Clarksville!  (OOPS..more on that later!)

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 Homes Blog: Let’s Pause. Let’s Remember. Don’t Forget.

Today in the Christian year is known as “All Saints Sunday,” which is always the first Sunday of November.   When I was growing up, I always referred to it as “Halloween Sunday.”   But its not really, that was last Sunday!

Who really knows exactly how Halloween evolved to be the debacle that it is, but the evening before All Saints Day,  “All Hallows Eve” was definitely its origin.  Who knows, or really cares, just how that evening became one where we are encouraged to scare the doo-doo out of people and dress up like fools.  It is what it is.  And it also can be fun.  You can’t beat fun, right?

Now back to the topic…   “All Saints Day” is always falls on November 1st and today, churches all over the world are celebrating “All Saints Sunday” to honor those that have lived and died in faith.

We are fortunate to have had all those departed souls that came before us.  They made a difference in our lives.  Without their presence here on planet earth, we would not be who we are today.   Whether a parent, a sibling, family member, friend, or acquaintance, or a total stranger, many people have played a part in shaping our lives.

So, let’s pause a few moments today.  Let’s remember everyone we miss, their presence and the difference they made while they were here.  

And don’t forget, we’re still here on planet earth, which gives us all the perfect opportunity to influence and shape the lives of others. 


P.S.  After you have paused and reflected, this is a perfect afternoon to search for a new 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.

Nashville New Homes: A First-Time for Everything…why not a NEW HOME?

Are you tired of hearing people, especially me, keep saying that NOW is an unprecedented time to purchase a new home?   Don’t get mad at the messenger…. get mad at yourself if you don’t take action!

Buying a first home is a serious decision to make.  After all, home ownership really isn’t for everyone.  Before deciding to buy your first home, you’ve got to ask yourself some questions.  Just don’t let people see you talking to yourself or they might think you’ve gone off the deep end!

1)   Are you planning to reside in your new Nashville home for at least 2 years, if not longer?  If so, lets go to the next question!  If not, keep renting or enjoy living free with Mom and Dad.

2)   Just how much of a monthly house payment can you comfortably afford?  If you are currently renting and paying $700 or more each month, you can own a new Ole South home in Nashville for about the same monthly cost.  Put some more payment money with that and the size and features of your new home can grow even more!

3)  But can I qualify for a mortgage?  Great question!  The rules and guidelines are constantly changing, but if you have a steady job and are paying all of your bills timely, there is most likely a loan for you!  A minimum 620 credit score is typically required for first-time buyers, and that number will be raised in the very near future.  As a matter of fact, many lenders are already requiring 640 or higher.

4)   How much house payment can I qualify for?  Everyone’s financial situation is different, so there is no definite answer without knowing all of your information.  For now, take your annual gross income (before taxes) and multiply that by .45.  That is the amount of money you are typically allowed for annual debt payments, including your new home payment.   Divide that number by 12.  Subtract from that figure any monthly credit card minimums, car payments, or installment debt that you have.  Don’t count your current rent, groceries, child care, utility bills, or party money…that’s already accounted for in the formula.  After deducting those payments, the remainder is typically the monthly house payment a first-time buyer can be approved for, with little to no down-payment using THDA’s Great Start program for first-time buyers.  (www.THDA.org)  

Using the Great Start program, the State of Tennessee basically pays your required 3.5% down payment, and charges a slightly higher interest rate.  If you would rather pay your own down-payment, it is possible to be approved with a higher debt ratio and also receive a lower interest rate.  Consult a mortgage professional for a detailed analysis of your financing needs.  I happen to have one to recommend, Chris Meagher or David Prince at Ole South Financial, 615.898.7152.

4)   I am now comfortable with getting a loan aproval, so what is next?   First off, please visit www.OleSouth.com for information on the many different neighborhoods you may choose to live.  We have a decorated model home in most communities, so plan a visit at your earliest convenience!  If you are working with an independent Realtor, please bring them along too!  Our on-site new home specialists will be able to direct you to the perfect new home for your needs.

5)   How much money do I have to have in order to purchase?   All that is required to contract to purchase is an earnest money deposit, which is negotiable between buyers and sellers.  At Ole South, we ask for a $500 deposit at the time of contract.  You will be responsible for bringing the balance of your down-payment to closing when you are ready to get the keys to your new home!  By the way, veterans and active-duty military are eligible for a VA loan, where no down-payment is required!

Although I am old (and fat too), I still remember buying my first home.  I had no clue about anything and was very nervous to start the process.  I am ashamed to admit that I actually could have, and should have, bought several years earlier than I did.  I was just scared of the unknown.

There is really no need to be apprehensive, or afraid to start exploring purchasing your first home… especially now!  I promise that I won’t go into the fact that interest rates are at a 59 year low and that inflation will soon kick-in.  Let me just say with confidence that NOW truly is an unprecedented time to purchase a new home if the timing is right for you.

The best part of my job is being able to assist people in making the dream of home ownership a reality.  I would love to discuss the possibilities with you as well!  Please feel free to contact me anytime at 615.593.6340 or via email, TLewis@olesouth.com.

One last thing, wherever you decide to purchase, spend some quality time in that neighborhood before you buy.  Not only will you learn more about your new area, but you’ll have more neighbors on hand to welcome you when you move in!

Have a great weekend!   And remember…..







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: Let The Cat Out!

Now that all of the excitement of the 2010 Election is all over, it is time to move on!  Regardless of who won, and what they are going to do, nothing is going to jump-start the economy until people start buying things again.  After all, nothing happens anywhere until someone buys something!

All of the bearded economists say that home sales will be the driving force of our economic recovery.  Everyone already knows that Ole South is the best at building the most affordable new homes in Middle Tennessee.  With this newest introduction, the best is getting even better! 

The cat is now being let out of the bag!  Ole South just purchased the remaining lots in the Spencer Hill neighborhood of Nashville, just minutes from downtown between Interstates 24 and 65.

Construction started today and here is a first look at the inventory homes we are building there:

Priced at $109,790 check out this 3 BR, 2 Bath home with 1133 s/f living area:

Need something larger?  Check out this 3 BR, 2 BA, 1248 s/f living area plan at $116,990: 

Here is another awesome plan with 3 BR, 2 BA and 1316 s/f living area at $116,990

And for those wanting a larger 2 story home, check out this 3 BR, 2.5 BA 1615 s/f living area home..priced at $129,990!

All kitchen appliances are included!  And we will even pay ALL of your closing costs, using Ole South Financial, our SunTrust Mortgage Joint Venture.  ZERO-DOWN financing is even available for first-time buyers!

Forbes Magazine ranks Nashville #5 on the list of most affordable cities to live.  ( I still cannot undertand why it costs more to live in Birmingham!)   If Forbes had only known about this new Ole South neighborhood, Nashville certainly would have been ranked #1!  For more information on Spencer Hill, or any of our Middle Tennessee communities, please contact me!  615.593.6340 or TLewis@olesouth.com.

Another cat got out of the bag last month and you will not believe the unbelieveable new home values we are offering in Williamson County!  Check out this monster-all-brick-home at $254,990 in Benevento East:

The election of 2008 was all about change.  The election of 2010 was all about changing the change.  You can bet on one thing, this is an unprecedented time to purchase a new home! 

Interest rates are historically low.  This will change.  Inflation, although present, is not yet being passed to the consumer.  This too will change.  The foreclosure crisis we keep hearing about is going to make lending procedures criteria more difficult, which always means more costly.  Again, more change.

So, if you’ve ever dreamed of owning a new Ole South home,  take a LOOK NOW, before more change takes effect!

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.