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Air Date 3-30-13: Maggie Koerth-Baker-Author/Columnist

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Special Guest: Maggie Koerth BakerAuthor / Editor / Columnist

Science Editor: Boingboing.net

Topic today, Maggie’s New Book: Before the Lights Go Out

Maggie joins The Housing Hour series, Energy Efficiency in Homes, by discussing her latest book, Before the Lights Go Out. The book is  a wonderfully crafted historical journey of electricity and the genesis of our nation’s power grid with anecdotal stories that make this read fun, fascinating and educational. She tackles our energy problems by pointing out there is no single solution  or silver bullet but a series of smaller, practical, hard choices that we must do as a country.  This book is not a technical journal but a story of how it started and where we need to be focused. Order your copy today and read this book  Before the Lights Go Out!

About Maggie:

  • Science editor at BoingBoing.net, one of the most-read blogs in the United States with millions of monthly readers.
  • Columnist for The New York Times Magazine. Her column, Eureka, covers the intersection between science and culture. It appears monthly.
  • Freelance science journalist whose work has appeared in magazines like Discover, Popular Science, and New Scientist, and on websites like Scientific American and National Geographic News.

Our Last Segment:

We talk with Jim and Joey Hackworth. You have to listen to this truly American story:

knoxhome1

Home prices rise: Biggest increase since housing bubble!

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Home Prices Rise

Mortgage Investors Group

Home prices continued their recovery, rising 8.1% in January!

Home prices rise. The S&P Case-Shiller index, which tracks the 20 largest markets in the nation, showed the biggest year-over-year gain in prices since June 2006.

“This marks the highest increase since the housing bubble burst,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

In a separate government report Tuesday, new homes sold at a 411,000 annual rate in February, down nearly 5% from the January sales pace but up 12% from year-earlier levels. The typical price of a new home sold in the month was $246,800, up about 3% from both the January and a year earlier.

Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist for Deutsche Bank, said that bad weather in February could be partly responsible for the slowdown in sales. But he said market fundamentals suggest that the market for new-home sales should remain strong.

“Despite the pullback in sales in February, the uptrend in housing remains clearly intact,” he said. He is forecasting even stronger sales in the second half of this year.

The Case-Shiller report shows the recovery in home prices is widespread. All 20 markets posted a year-over-year gain, and the pace of increase picked up in every market except Detroit.

Some of the markets hurt the most by the bursting of the housing bubble have enjoyed the biggest gains, led by a 23% rise in Phoenix. Prices were also up more than 10% in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Detroit, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Miami, all markets that had been hit hard by foreclosures.

New York posted the smallest rise, up only 0.7%.

Even with the recent rise in home prices, the overall index is down 28.4% from the 2006 peak.

But experts say they see a lot of strength in the current market.

“The market still has a long way to go nationally, but the healing process — and a return to a normalized housing market — is definitely well underway,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors.

Home prices have been helped in recent months by a number of factors, including tight inventory of homes available for sale, near record-low mortgage rates and a drop in homes in foreclosure. A decline in unemployment is also helping the housing recovery.

The housing recovery itself is helping support overall economic growth, as builders scramble to hire workers to meet the renewed demand. The lift goes beyond the impact of increased construction on the economy, as the rise in home prices lifts household wealth.

Rising home prices also reduce the number of people owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. That, in turn, can help them to refinance those loans at a lower rate, freeing up money to spend on other goods and services.

CNN

History of the Kitchen

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Mortgage Investors Group has recently announced that they are partnering with The Ten City Challenge starting on March 18, 2013!  “MIG is a family, and we want our family to have the tools they need to be healthy and happy in their lives.  The Ten City Challenge is going to empower us to begin that journey,” stated Chrissi Rhea, President of MIG, at the Invest Well, Live Stronger kickoff event.

Why the challenge?

Tennessee is the 4th fattest state in the country with 31.9% of its population obese. The other top 9 states are Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Arkansas and Michigan. There are many reasons for obesity; a quick Google search pulls up things like idle lifestyles, environmental, cultural, genealogical, medical, emotional, age…..the list continues to grow.

The Housing Hour would like to add another reason to the lengthy list: The Kitchen. A subtle but significant change has occurred over the last 150 years or so, in the construction styles and technological advances in the kitchen.
A little history first.

basement kitchenBasement Kitchen
The Kitchen has fully evolved over the last 150 years. The Industrial Revolution changed how and where we live. Americans moved from rural farm lands into large populated cities. The kitchen was typically located in the basement among city dwellers. The hot summer days made it necessary for the cooking fires to be located in an area that tended to be cooler. This also helped protect the family from the choking conditions of the smoke from cooking.

In rural areas, acreage created an opportunity that city dwellers did not have; an entirely separate building for the kitchen. Kitchen fires were just as prevalent as they are today, but firefighting techniques were primitive compared to present day. The security of having a separate building for cooking helped keep families safe.

However, fires were not the only dangerous aspect in kitchens of the past. Spoiled food and poor storage practices caused illnesses such as botulism. As we entered into the modern era of cooking, significant technological inventions made cooking easier and safer.

By the late 1800’s, gas stoves allowed the kitchen to be moved into the main living areas of homes. The threat of an open flame was still real, but control knobs made it much safer.By 1920, electric stoves began sweeping across the country with close to 60% of the homes owning one. The electric oven and newly invented refrigerators revolutionized how we prepared, cooked and stored food.

1920's Gas Stove1920’s Gas Stove
By the 1940’s, kitchens began to be a focal point and emerged as carefully designed centers of  homes. The kitchen became the meeting place for families as activities, of all types, occurred around the kitchen table.

1940's kitchen1940’s Kitchen
Today, the main expense of construction is the kitchen. The modern home invests a lot of attention to practical, stylish and comfortable designs making the perfect kitchen that reflects the owner’s interests and personality.

Today’s Style kitchen
Furthermore, in the last 10 years, kitchens have started to flow into outdoor living areas. This has led to to the creation of elaborate patios and decks featuring luxuriant and functional kitchen designs.

Love for food, fun and family bonding, has made The Kitchen, the number one place to congregate in the home.

So it is easy to see that the availability of fresh food, ease of preparation and the proximity to the family, makes constant eating (or grazing) convenient and always accessible. Therefore, it is necessary to add ‘The Kitchen’ to the bulging list of obesity causes.

Air Date 3-26-13: Sam Mullen, Expert/Author: Emergency Planning for Utilities

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We continue with our Series on Protect Your family.

Our Special Guest: Sam Mullen: Expert/Author:  Emergency Planning for Utilities

Sam Mullen has more than 30 years experience in utility operations, planning, and management. He is the author of three books on contingency and emergency planning and technical communications, including Emergency Planning Guide for Utilities (2nd Edition), and Critical Communications: An Operations Guide for Business. After a long career in power system operations and system control, Mullen founded MPS in 1994, a practice working primarily with utilities. Sam consults on a full range of projects involving power system emergencies.

An increase in major natural disasters—and the growing number of damaging events involving gas, electric, water, and other utilities—has led to heightened concerns about utility operations and public safety. Due to today’s complex, compliance-based environment, utility managers and planners often find it difficult to plan for the action needed to help ensure organization-wide resilience and meet consumer expectations during these incidents. Emergency Planning Guide for Utilities, Second Edition offers a working guide that presents new and field-tested approaches to plan development, training, exercising, and emergency program management.

The book will help utility planners, trainers, and responders—as well as their vendors and suppliers—to more effectively prepare for damaging events and improve the level of the utility’s resilience. It also focuses on planning needed in the National Incident Management System and ICS environment that many utilities are embracing going forward. In doing so, utilities will be able to improve the customer experience while reducing the impact that damaging events have on the utility’s infrastructure, people, and resources.

Check out Sam’s latest book: Emergency Planning Guide for Utilities (2nd Edition)
Emergency Planning Guide for Utilities (2nd Edition)

The Bidding Wars Begin

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The Bidding War large

The Bidding Wars Begin

Let the Bidding Wars begin! The battle lines have been formed and expanded since 2007. This is a battle that no powers or principalities will be waging. In the truest sense, it’s a duel; “An encounter between two or more individuals with equal numbers on each side that results in combat where both parties are equally armed….”. However, these duels will spill no blood. The weapons used are only pen and paper. And to be sure, with any duel, there are rules,  or Code duello. In this war, the Code duello, is enforced and managed by Realtors, expertly trained in the art of negotiation and real estate laws. It’s a scary place to be without a Realtor.

Why the bidding war?

Answer is simple there are not enough homes for sale to handle the recent explosion of buyers onto the market.  Mortgage Investors Group Loan Officers are being told by customers and agents that multiple contracts on homes are occurring within a very short period of time of one another. Also, market data is revealing that the percentage of sales price to list price  are increasing. Typically markets trend to run about 92% to 95%, but some markets across the country are seeing percentages in excess of 98% with some areas over 100%. In Tennessee, Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin are at or near the 98% range as far as the ratio of sale prices to list price, putting them in the number one ranked position in the Core Based Statistical Area for May. Nashville area is presently considered one of the most affordable markets in the United Stated and one of the best places to get a job.

This is a great sign for our economy, but these conditions create challenges for all parties, not to mention creating new home price bubbles; sound familiar? As these bidding wars ramp up, other issues will occur, such as appraised values. For example, once the bidding war has bid up a home’s list price, the question arises, will it appraise for that amount? If it doesn’t, the buyer will have to put the difference down in cash or risk losing that hard, fought duel.

What’s being done?

Realtors are trying to add more inventories to their MLS. Builders are scrambling to build more units, but they are finding it hard to find construction workers in some areas. Plus, the sudden increase in building permit requests have created big delays in local government offices. It’s true, the sudden change in our economic environment has created some issues in the home buying and selling markets, however, it will eventually seek some form of normalcy as things stabilize and balance.  If you’re a seller, now’s a great time.

The great news is simply this, the housing market is back!

Check out this CNN video:


Mortgage Investors Group understands there are a lot of choices when it comes to financing the purchase of a new home or refinancing an existing one. Our licensed and experienced loan officers are here to help you gain a better understanding of those options and answer your questions about the loan process, qualifying and the different features of each loan program. We offer everything from conventional mortgages to government loans.

Call us today and take advantage of these incredible market conditions!

The Skinny on Fannie

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the skinny on fannieThe Skinny on Fannie

The Skinny on Fannie

Here’s the skinny on Fannie. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been the lead financial stories since the housing collapse in 2008. These GSE, Government Sponsored Enterprises, are private companies that have the full backing of the Federal Government, whose full purpose is to keep money flowing in the housing market.. On the brink of insolvency, the Feds pour millions of US Tax payers’ money into these companies to keep them from going under. To date, the amount of dollars spent is close to 170 million, with about 37% of that having been paid back to the US Gov in the form of treasury dividends.

Here’s some good news, the economy is starting to take off and the housing market is leading the charge. As a result, FNMA and Freddie Mac are starting to make money. Because of their new found profitability, the Federal government has taken steps to speed up repayment of their debt to the tax payers. Before, FNMA/Freddie were only required to pay back 10% in the form Treasury dividends. They were obligated to make that 10% repayment even if they had an income loss. A loss would require them to borrow from the Treasury to pay the Treasury dividend payment. In the mortgage business we call this negative amortization; in home finances, we call this robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Now there is a much better plan. Since FNMA/Freddie are returning to profitability, the government is requiring that all profits be swept to the repayment of the outstanding debt. If there are no profits, no payment will be required. However, it is fully expected that their profits will continue to rise due to the simple fact that FNMA/Freddie/FHA finance 9 out of every 10 homes. That means that 90% of all home loans are still financed, basically, by the Federal Government.

Which lead us to another point.

There has been a lot of talk about dissolving FNMA/Freddie but until someone figures out how to reduce the government’s financing of 90% of the housing market, FNMA/Freddie will be the main player in supplying the market with liquidity. “I can see FNMA and Freddie Mac merging, perhaps, but I can not see them being totally eliminated, at least not in the near term.” Jesse A Lehn, Executive Vice President, Operations, Mortgage Investors Group.

Here’s the bottom line: the housing market is strong and there is plenty of money to lend.

Mortgage Investors Group understands there are a lot of choices when it comes to financing the purchase of a new home or refinancing an existing one. Our licensed and experienced loan officers are here to help you gain a better understanding of those options and answer your questions about the loan process, qualifying and the different features of each loan program. We offer everything from conventional mortgages to government loans.

Call us today and take advantage of these incredible market conditions!

Timings everything, now’s the time!

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timing

Timings everything, now’s the time!

Timings everything, now’s the time. Mortgage Interests rates are on the rise! The main reason for the increase is simple; the economy is recovering and picking up momentum. The stock market is strong and bonds are no longer in favor, creating an environment of higher mortgage interest rates.  According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates have hit a six month high.

There is no question, millions of homeowners have been able to take advantage of the historic low interest rates.  It’s true, the main source of mortgage loans have been refinances over that last few years. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, a little over 70% of total mortgage activity have been refinances. But those numbers are changing. Home sales last year significantly rebounded, as well as new construction starts.   Buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines are now entering back into the market. Quality listings are quickly replacing the previous foreclosure inventory.  Boomerang Buyers, consumers who had previously lost a home at the start of The Great Recession, are now in a position to enter back into the housing market. it is estimated that 1.5 million of them will be eligible for loans by 2014. Business and factories are borrowing money at almost 12.5% above last year which points a better job market and hopefully higher wages in the near future. And don’t forget one other thing, rising home prices. According to S&P Case-Shiller home prices rose 7.3% in 2012.

Here’s the bottom line, expanding economy + rising home prices + rising mortgage interest rates = time to buy.

Timings everything, now’s the time.

Mortgage Investors Group understands there are a lot of choices when it comes to financing the purchase of a new home or refinancing an existing one. Our licensed and experienced loan officers are here to help you gain a better understanding of those options and answer your questions about the loan process, qualifying and the different features of each loan program. We offer everything from conventional mortgages to government loans.

Call us today and take advantage of these incredible market conditions!

The Knox Homes Magazine

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Knox Homes Magazine

Knox Homes Magazine

The Knox Homes Magazine  is a family-owned business dating back to 1976 with the founding of The Apartment Guide of Knoxville, which is still in business. The first full color homes magazine was started in 1984. Now Catalyst Media is a multi-faceted company with proven experience in printing, multimedia publishing, distribution and technology development. We specialize in multimedia platforms, digital and print including full color real estate magazines and fully integrated digital websites including mobile search engines complete with interactive text request functionality and more.

Catalyst Media has been a leader in integrating new technology such as ADapproval, a premier multimedia advertising management technology that combines the power of print and digital advertising. ADapproval is proven to better integrate digital advertising media with traditional print media and is in use by Real Estate companies, Associations, brokers, and thousands of Agents throughout the country. ADapproval provides a multimedia suite that includes a print magazine, Internet Search, Mobile-enabled smartphone capability, Interactive Text Request, data distribution and results that are tracked, monitored and proven.

Our ADapproval’s multimedia suite is proven to provide Boards of Realtors, Brokers and Agents with the improved capability to:

  • Win more listings and sell more homes
  • Reduce their overall advertising expense
  • Compete more effectively
  • Strengthen their Mobile, Print, and Internet Advertising
  • Extend the reach of their advertising dollars
  • Appeal to a greater number of buyers and sellers

The multimedia advertising suite seamlessly integrates mobile search, mobile messaging and website search, with our printed magazines providing Agents and brokers with more qualified leads and an overall reduction of their advertising expense, while giving consumers access to detailed listing information on the internet, on their smartphones and directly from the print publication.

The Housing Hour is excited to have Knox Homes Magazine a part of sponsorship family!
Ask about:

  • REALTOR® Board magazines & websites
  • Single brokerage magazines & websites
  • Area magazines & websites
  • Office Websites
Knox Homes Multimedia
Jim Hackworth 865-250-2639
Jim@jimhackworth.com
Joey Hackworth 865-776-2428
Joey@theknoxhomes.com
Sandra Estes
Ads@theknoxhomes.com

 

Air Date 03-16-13: The Ten City Challenge – SVP Sharon Rivers

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Ten City Challenge

The First Segment we introduce our newest Sponsor:

Knox Homes Magazine

A family-owned business dating back to 1976 with the founding of The Apartment Guide of Knoxville, which is still in business. The first full color homes magazine was started in 1984. Now Catalyst Media is a multi-faceted company with proven experience in printing, multimedia publishing, distribution and technology development. We specialize in multimedia platforms, digital and print including full color real estate magazines and fully integrated digital websites including mobile search engines complete with interactive text request functionality and more.

Contact:
Jim Hackworth 865-250-2639
Jim@jimhackworth.com
Joey Hackworth 865-776-2428
Joey@theknoxhomes.com
Sandra Estes
Ads@theknoxhomes.com

Our Special Guest will be Sharon Rivers, SVP Closing/Post Closing Operations.

Sharon shares her story and success through the years with MIG. She has helped guide Mortgage Investors Group from the pre-techology days into one of the most technological departments in the  mortgage Industry.
Also, Sharon shares her Health tips and discusses her new initiative:

You won’t want to miss this inspiring interview!

director-lending-div

Sharon Rivers

Sharon joined Mortgage Investors Group in 1989 after relocating back to East Tennessee. Prior experience as a Processor and Closer for First Federal Savings Bank and America City Bank in Tullahoma was a natural fit for her to create and manage the Closing Department for Mortgage Investors Group when the company formed. She assumed the role of managing the Post Closing area in the summer of 2006 as well. Her teams are responsible for timely and efficient closing transactions, warehouse lending, imaging, loan audit, MERS, government insuring and final documents. A focus on technology, new ideas and empowering staff has lead to industry leading turn times.

Home Staging: Things You need to know!

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Home Staging: Top Ten Reasons NOT To Stage Your Home

(Tongue in cheek version )
By Bonnie Allen
Click to Email
865-591-3001

Home StagingHome Staging
By Bonnie Allen

Here’s a List You Haven’t Seen Before

There are lots of “Top Ten” lists out there but this one for home staging you haven’t seen before.   We’ve seen them for best jobs, movies, songs, books, schools, cities for singles, cities for families, cities to retire in, but here’s one I bet you haven’t seen.

It’s the “Top Ten reasons NOT to Stage Your Home”.

What’s that you say….ten reasons not to stage your home?

Well, read on, if you have ever sold a home, I’ll bet you have said or at least thought of at least one of these reasons.  However, once you have seen the benefit and results of a professionally staged property, you will do as I did and get a chuckle out of this list.

For those who have never seen the difference between a staged home vs. a non staged home, some of these reasons may even seem to make sense…but don’t be fooled, today’s buyers are informed and have high expectations of what they demand in a home and if your home doesn’t meet those expectations, those buyers have no problem moving on to the next listing!

So read on and enjoy and be sure that you are not using any of these reasons in your during your selling process!

Top Ten Reasons NOT To Stage Your Home

1. We want to test the market for 90 days.And on the 91st day?  Price reduction–and 90 days worth of potential buyers who have already eliminated your property.

2. It costs too much money. I have never seen a home where the staging costs would have exceeded the first price reduction.  And that doesn’t even factor in the monthly carrying cost of the home.

3. We can’t stage the house, we’re living in it. One common misconception is that staging is only for vacant homes.  Every home/condo can be staged, and you can actually live in it after staging.

4. We didn’t have to stage any of the other properties we sold over the years. Yes, once upon a time you could generate three offers by 5 p.m. on the same day your Realtor put the For Sale sign in your yard.  Not now.  Buyers are picky and they have a lot of homes to choose from.

5. Everyone loves our house so buyers will love it, too. What you, your friends and relatives love about your house may not be what today’s buyer wants.  Sellers are often baffled by the feedback they get after showings–amazed that buyers have found things they don’t like about the property.

6. We can clean the carpets and declutter without someone telling us how. Yes, you can (and should) do this, but it is a tiny piece of staging.  Do you know what separates  “clutter” from “asset”?  And what about all the other things that staging encompasses, like traffic flows, highlighting architectural features, updating, and appealing to your target market?

7. We have no desire to remove/change our _______________ (wallpaper/mirrored tile/gold faucets/paneling/dated light fixtures . . .). And neither do buyers.  Better to keep your home or be ready to sell at a deep discount.

8. The view alone will sell this place. Then why many months later are these great view homes/condos still on the market?  Could it be that buyers want something to go with the view–like a comfortable, move-in ready home?

9. We would rather let the buyers makes their own paint/flooring choices. And that equals a price reduction.  If buyers do make an offer on your home they will double or triple the cost of these items and reflect that in their discounted offer price–which includes a deduction for the inconvenience.

10. Our home is professionally decorated. A professionally decorated home is tailored to the owner’s particular needs.  Does it work for the new buyer’s needs?  You could see #1 above . . . .

These are all great reasons–

  • for price reductions
  • for extended time on the market
  • for buyers not coming to look at your home
  • for buyers not coming back for a second look

There are dozens of reasons not to stage, but only one good reason to stage–getting your home sold faster for the highest possible price.  Staging is preparing your home for sale and creating a home that buyers want to buy.  If you want to be in the best competitive position in this market today, consult with Classic Designs Home Staging before listing your property for sale.

As a special offer for the listeners of The Housing Hour with Kevin Rhea and Mark Griffith, any client who mentions the show will be eligible for a $50 discount off  the price of a home staging consultation.

Call today for more information and to book your appointment.

Bonnie Allen
Classic Designs Home Staging
865.591.3001
Classicdesigns1@gmail.com
Classicdesignstaging.com