Nashville New Homes: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Peace, and Joy!

Do you ever wonder how the world would be if the things that happened way-back-when happened now instead? 

What if Joseph and Mary were in Middle Tennessee this year, instead of Bethlehem hundreds of years ago? 

One thing for certain, they wouldn’t have had to look any further than a new Ole South neighborhood to find a warm place to stay.  And with the increased income and purchase limits offered on THDA loan programs, they could even live in Williamson County if they wanted to – without a single penny out of pocket using the “Great Start” program!

And what about the Three Wise Men?  Could we even find three?  Or could they have been women?  Would they have arrived by camel, on horseback, on a John Deere Tractor, or maybe even a Chevy Volt?

 

Either way, would they have brought gifts of I-pads, smart phones, and flat screens?  Or would they have simply brought gift cards?

This time of year can bring out the best in people.  Attention is directed toward the less fortunate, families gather, and good times are shared.  Why can’t we do that all year? 

We live in a complicated world, a world that is full of diversity.  Over the years, I have had the priviledge to work with many home buyers from all different cultures and religious beliefs.  I am eager to learn about their cultures and religions, and feel they are eager to learn of ours.  Why can’t we leave it at that? 

Why do the “politically correct” step in and screw it all up for everyone.  After all, the Jewish people have tolerated Christmas for many years and generations and not thrown a fuss.  

Let’s make it simple.  When it is my birthday, you do not have to celebrate it.  It is your choice to even acknowledge.  You don’t have to do anything that you do not want to do, but you cannot change the fact that it is my birthday.  And the same goes for your birthday. 

 

Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and nothing can take that away. 

Click here to read the full Christmas Story, as told in Luke.

Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Men (and women too) can certainly cross religious and cultural boundaries. 

And musical masterpieces can also:

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Peace and Joy to everyone!

Nashville New Homes: The “Short Sale” can of worms.

I was showing one of our brand new Ole South homes this week to a first-time home buyer.  They loved the home and all of its many features, especially the fact that everything was NEW and under warranty too.

They had learned through others that new homes offered the best value for the money, and that in most cases, a new home could be purchased for the same price, or even less, than an older resale home comparable in size and features.  They had looked at other resales, and told me everything that was important to them, even the price range.  Well guess what?  We have the perfect home nearing completion!

This particular home was $169,990, complete with all appliances and closing costs paid.  Using THDA’s Great Start program for first-time homebuyers, their monthly payment, yes PITI, would be approximately $1153 with zero cash out of pocket at closing.  If they chose to place their own down-payment of approximately $5950, their monthly payment would drop to approximately $1076. 

They really liked the -0- down option, but developed a perplexing look on their faces.  They really wanted a NEW home, but there was another home, similar in size, just 2 miles away they had seen online.  It was listed for $84,900.  It was a “short sale.”

They asked, “Just what does that mean?”   I explained the basic process where the bank would hopefully agree to allow the current owner to sell the home for less than the bank was owed on the property.  “You mean to say the bank is going to let them sell that home for 84,900?”  No, not necessarily.  “Then why is it listed for that price?”

Great question.  And we Realtors know the answer.  It is just like fishing.  We know the list price is just to attract a prospect, who will then be encouraged to make an offer, which the bank, at some unknown point in time, will accept or counter.  We all know that in most cases, the bank will not approve a listing price on a pre-foreclosure home until an offer of some kind is on the table.  The general public does NOT know that.

So, in the meantime, those shopping for homes receive a unrealistic picture of home values.  Neighborhoods suffer.  Those trying to sell their homes without financial difficulty suffer.  Zillow’s “z-estimates” seem to pick up on the suffering too, lowering those home values that are automatically calculated.  People believe those values because they saw it on “the internet.”

Okay, let’s go ahead and open the can of worms.

 The “short sale” can be a great alternative to foreclosure and I know many Realtors that are very successful negotiating the sale of homes in this situation.  It can be a win-win situation for all involved, but only if extraordinary levels of patience can be applied.

Let’s be serious.  Wouldn’t our whole real estate economy be better off if a property could not be listed at an arbitrary price that is basically pulled out of the sky?  

Many will disagree, but ANY home listed for sale on our MLS should be able to be purchased at the price listed.  Period. 

Why can’t our MLS require all short sales to be classified a separate way without a list price, followed by the instructions?   Or, if a price has to be present, enter $1.00.  At least that way, the playing field is more level.  I know there are data fields already for short sale notations, but that still leaves the “pie-in-the-sky” listing price.  Simply put, it is “bait and switch.”  

Again, there are many great Realtors that specialize in “short sales.”  If you would like a recommendation, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Bad things happen to good people all the time.  If you know anyone that has suffered a 30% drop in income or more, that may need assistance in avoiding a foreclosure or short sale, don’t forget about THDA’s newest program, www.keepmytnhome.org.

And always remember, better times are ahead.

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: Even lower mortgage interest rates? Coming soon.

That’s right.  Even lower interest rates are on the horizon for first-time home buyers, thanks to the folks at Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA).  Visit their website, www.THDA.org for more information.

Here are the new program rates that go into effect September 1, 2011 for all files submitted ON OR AFTER that date:

Great Rate – 3.95%       For the first-time buyer that has their own down-payment funds and closing costs, if not paid by a seller.  Perfect for those with front and/or back ratios below 45%.  

Great Advantage – 4.25%     Buyer receives a 2% grant that may be used toward down-payment, or closing costs if not being paid by seller    

Great Start – 4.55%     Buyer receives a 4% grant that may be used toward downpayment, admin fees, and closing costs if not paid by seller.

Remember!  When you purchase a new home from Ole South in Nashville, Smyrna, Murfreesboro, or Spring Hill, and use Ole South Financial (our SunTrustMortgage Joint Venture), ALL CLOSING COSTS are paid!  (note:  certain conventional loans limit seller contributions to 3%)

YES!       A first time buyer can purchase a brand new Ole South home with ZERO CASH DOWN AT CLOSING and receive a 4.55% fixed interest rate 30-year FHA loan.   Find yours at www.OleSouth.com

NOW – an unprecedented time to take advantage of unprecedented opportunities.

 

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: Changing the rules…another great reason to buy now.

Perhaps the best reason to buy a new home in Nashville now is “the rules” and furthermore, knowing that the rules are going to change.

For example, on October 1, 2011, if passed by Congress, FHA loan limits will decrease in 669 counties across the nation.  These 13 Tennessee counties will be affected by the new limits:

Cannon, Cheathan, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson.

Currently, a home buyer can acquire an FHA loan up to $432,500.  After October 1, 2011, the proposed limit will be $393,300.  Those wishing to use FHA financing on loans up to $432,500 need to act now!

http://government-mortgages.com/fha/fha-loan-limit-decreases.html

For those looking to purchase a new Ole South home in the immediate future, these changes will have no effect.  Other than with our custom built homes, our most elegant offerings are far below these proposed limits, even though they compare very favorably to homes in the 400’s.   You’ll have to see it for yourself to believe it!  www.OleSouth.com

So, if this change will not affect Ole South directly, why my great concern?

The moral of the story?  All rules and lending criteria are subject to change at any time.   

Purchase a new Ole South home using an FHA loan through Ole South Financial, and Ole South pays all of your closing costs.  There are proposals out there to restrict the amount of closing costs a seller can pay, meaning YOU will pay the difference out of pocket.  Things can changeAct now.

Currently FHA loans require a 3.5% down payment, which can also be funded by THDA for eligible first-time buyers using the “Great Start” program.   There have been numerous proposals floating around to raise the down payment requirement.   Things can change.  Act now.

According to many experts nationwide, home affordability is at a peak.  Especially in Nashville.  Now truly is the time to buy a new home, before the rules that we know change again.

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: Zero downpayment available to even more home buyers.

This morning, while reading Leneiva Head’s blog about THDA’s foreclosure prevention program, it hit me that I had forgotten to do something.

http://leneivahead.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/theres-a-way-to-keep-your-home-foreclosure-prevention-assistance/comment-page-1/#comment-61 

Yes, I had forgotten to post about some recent changes from the great folks at THDA, who are always on the forefront of ways to boost home ownership!

Everyone should know that down-payment funding for FHA loans is still available for eligible first-time buyers through THDA’s “Great Start” program.  To be eligible, your household income cannot exceed certain limitations and the price of the home you are purchasing must fall below a certain amount.

 On August 1st, the income limitations were raised!  These revised limitations bring the reality of home ownership within the reach of many more first-time buyers.

Lets look at the Greater Nashville area, including the adjoining counties of Rutherford, Williamson, Sumner, Cheatham, Wilson, and Robertson:   A first-time home buyer can purchase a home with ZERO out of pocket if the home price does not exceed $226,100.   A buyer’s household gross annual income cannot exceed $79.440 for 1-2 person households.  If the household contains 3 or more, annual gross income can be as high as $92,680.

For eligibility in nearby Maury County, the home purchase price cannot exceed $200,160, with gross income limited to $70,320 for 1-2 person and $82.040 for 3 or more person households.  Maury County is a designated “target” county and you do not have to be a first-time buyer to take advantage of THDA programs.

Like with any loan program,  there are additional credit score and debt ratio requirements for eligiblity.  Visit www.thda.org for all the details.

If you are looking to purchase a new home, and like the idea of keeping your down-payment, you will want to explore this program.  We have homes available right now in almost every community that can fit within the guidelines.  Visit us today and find out why Ole South is Tennessee’s # Home Builder!

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: Need more reasons to buy now? You’ve got em!

If you’ve been waiting for the planets to become perfectly lined up before buying your first home, wait no longer!

Buying your first home is a big decision, and if you haven’t thought much about it, you need to start now.  According to HUD, home prices have stabilized and will start rising.

Read more…..

http://www.housingzone.com/housingzone/sales/hud-secretary-home-prices-set-rise

If you have a stable job, and plan on staying in the Nashville area, what are you waiting for?  The rent to go up?

No agency is better developing programs for first-time buyers than the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, THDA, who announced today a further drop in their program rates effective Monday, July 18th.  Check this out:  (shown are current rates, edited January 2012)

THDA Great Rate – 3.95%     This loan is perfect for a first-time buyer that already has their 3.5% downpayment funds secured, but has high “front-end” ratios.  With this loan, the house-payment can actually be as high as 44.99% of gross income, as long as no other installment debt is present.

THDA Great Advantage – 4.25%   This plan is great for those that may be just a little short on cash.  With this plan, the buyer receives a 2% grant, which can be used toward the required downpayment, or closing costs.

THDA Great Start – 4.55%   This plan is terrific for those wishing to save their cash for other plans.  The buyer receives a 4% grant, which can be used toward the required downpayment, administrative, and closing costs.  With a seller paying all closing costs (which Ole South does), this is truly a “ZERO CASH REQUIRED” loan.

Homeownership for the Brave – Veterans and active duty military ned to explore this great program.  Pick any plan listed above and subtract 1/2% from the fixed interest rate.  No first time buyer requirement, and if you have another home financed through VA, you can still use this program and not sell that other home…as long as the new home will be your principal residence.

Targeted Counties – The first-time buyer requirement is waived in designated “targeted counties.”  Maury County is one such area and you will want to explore to great selection of new homes in Ole South’s Meadowbrook and Cobblestone neighborhoods of Spring Hill.

Detailed information is available at THDA’s website, www.THDA.org.

 

Want to learn more?   Whether you are exploring purchasing your first home, looking to move-up or downsize, or would simply like to know more about all home financing issues and programs, drop by Bridgestone Arena this Sunday, July 17th from 1:00 to 5:00 pm for the 2011 Mayor’s Homeownership Fair.   THDA will be there.  And so will Ole South!

For more information, visit the website  http://www.nashville.gov/housingfair/

Come on down and learn more about why NOW is the time to purchase a new home!

And you are always invited to drop by any of our Middle Tennessee model homes.  We’ll be excited to explore your options with you!

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.