Sunday, 31 January 2016
The Super Bowl Kicks Off Another Great Year in Real Estate

The countdown has begun to the biggest football game of the year. Next Sunday the Super Bowl will celebrate 50 years, and the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers will take the field for an epic battle for the coveted title of Super Bowl champions. Last year 114.4 million Americans tuned in to watch the game, so I think it's safe to say the game continues to be an American tradition.

So, what does the Super Bowl have to do with a real estate blog? Well, if you live in one of the warmer states in America, the day after the Super Bowl is traditionally a time when the real estate market starts to heat up again. New listings slowly start to pop up, and many other homeowners begin the process of sprucing up their homes in hopes of listing when Spring officially hits.

There's no exact science behind the reason for the uptick, but most experts assume it's the anticipation of warmer weather, and more importantly, with football season officially at an end, men are more willingly to get off their couches to go look at new real estate on the weekends. People also gain more time on the weekends to get to work on their neglected honey-do lists so they can get their properties on the market!

Whatever the reason, right now is a great time to start thinking about selling and buying in Middle Tennessee, so give me a call. Let's get you in your dream home in plenty of time to prepare for next year's Super Bowl party.



Posted on 01/31/2016 11:49 PM by Jarod
Wednesday, 20 January 2016
2016 Mortgage Rate Predictions

Many of my clients ask a lot of questions about interest rates for mortgage loans when they are shopping for houses. I have asked Todd Wiggins, a loan officer with First Community Mortgage in Brentwood, Tenn., to be my guest blogger today so he can answer some of your interest rate questions for 2016.

"I'm often asked about mortgage interest rates and where they are headed. Of course, if I knew the answer, I'd be on Wall Street (or Las Vegas) and not originating mortgage loans. However, even the "experts" can't predict where rates are going. Still, I subscribe to and follow mortgage market experts and share their knowledge with my clients to assist in their lock decisions. Here is some of what I'm hearing about mortgage rates in 2016.

First, let me dispel the myth that mortgage rates go up when the Fed increases their rate, as done in December. The Fed Funds Rate does not directly correlate with mortgage rates, and its influence on mortgage rates is marginal, at best. So what does this rate do? It is the target rate at which banks lend money to each other on an overnight basis. That rate has been near zero percent for around eight years. Why has it been so low? The over-simplified answer is that it's to stimulate the economy. The cheaper it is to borrow, the more likely we are to spend, which stimulates growth. However, a low Fed Funds Rate can lead to inflation and have other ill effects on our economy as a whole. The Fed has been watching inflation, unemployment numbers, and a myriad of other factors waiting for the right moment to increase the rate as they did in December. There has been much speculation as to further increases, however most recent forecasts I've heard project little to no increase in the Fed Funds Rate for the remainder of 2016.

So, if the Fed doesn't directly impact mortgage rates, what does? Rates are tied more directly to the bond market. As bond prices rise, mortgage rates tend to fall and vice versa. Generally speaking, a strong US economy will attract investors and risk-takers, making the more conservative bond market less attractive. This results in lower bond prices and higher mortgage rates. Conversely, an uncertain stock market can help bonds and mortgage rates. Bond markets are often influenced by events abroad. In today's world economy we are seeing our US markets impacted more frequently and directly from geopolitical events. Take a look at how China's devalued currency has affected our markets recently.

With so many factors influencing mortgage rates, one can see how difficult it is to predict their future. The experts I listen to are less optimistic about our U.S. economy than our administration, and they see potential issues abroad that could drive investors into the safe-haven bond market. While this is not likely to lead to a significant drop in mortgage rates and another refinance boom, it will likely help to maintain the current rate environment throughout the year.

I advise my clients that buying a home should not be predicated by interest rates but by the need or the opportunity. When it is time to consider that move, it is helpful, though, to have a mortgage advisor who has the resources to help you understand the market and to make the most of your dollar. While I can't predict the future, I can certainly help you understand and assess your present."

Todd Wiggins, Loan Officer
750 Old Hickory Blvd, Bldg One, Ste 262
Brentwood, TN 37027
615-938-7499 direct
615-620-4705 main
615-620-4706 fax

Posted on 01/20/2016 10:12 PM by Jarod
Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Buyers Are Drawn to Williamson County for the Great Schools

If you were to write a list of requirements for your next home, would "good school district" make your list? If it does, you're not alone. According to the National Association of Realtors in a 2014 profile survey, 29% of home buyers had that as a high determining factor on their list when buying a home.

It's no secret that homes in highly ranked school districts tend to sell faster than homes located near lower-quality schools, and history has proven that the majority of these homes hold better value, even during downturns in the economy. With this in mind, even if you don't have school-aged children, it is worth noting local schools as you look for a home.

The Middle Tennessee area is home to many of the state's top-ranked schools. For the past several years, Williamson County has been identified as a mecca for a majority of those great schools, which has led to an influx of home buyers and an increase in home values in the county. So what is it that makes Williamson County Schools so good? The Tennessean recently posed this question in an article, and the answers they came up with are: strong district leadership and goals, highly educated teachers who invest long-term in teaching, and overall strong community and parent involvement within the schools and with their children. The article states that 9 out of 10 relocations in the Middle Tennessee area are driven by the school system. To read more, click here.

So, how can you find the best schools no matter where you are? Real estate Web site Trulia lists these factors as leading ways to determine the quality: age of schools, condition of facilities, student-to-teacher ratios, and standardized test scores. rates schools by state according to the most recent standardized test scores in TCAP Math, Reading/Language, and Science. According to their most current report, Williamson County stands out in the state once again. Out of all public schools in the state of Tennessee, Williamson County is home to 16 of the top 40 elementary schools; 7 of the top 25 middle schools; and 8 of the top 30 high schools. They also boast a 94.4% graduation rate, a composite ACT score of 23.8, and currently have 21 schools that have achieved the status of "reward school."

With great schools, great home values, and a great supportive community, maybe it's time you took at look at Williamson County for your next home! Give me a call!

To learn more about Williamson County Schools, click here!




Posted on 01/13/2016 4:29 PM by Jarod