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Titans’ Marcus Mariota buys Gulch penthouse for $1.05M

Quarterback now calls 1,890 square foot unit at Icon in The Gulch home

(Photo: George Walker IV / Tennessean.com)

Add Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota to the list of residents of downtown Nashville’s Gulch.

The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner paid $1.05 million for a 1,890 square foot penthouse unit at the Icon in The Gulch condo complex where he now lives.

“The Gulch is definitely solidifying itself as Nashville’s best luxury high-rise community,” said Chad Wohlers, a broker with residential real estate agency PARKS in the Gulch who represented the seller in the transaction.

Currently, nearly half of downtown Nashville’s 4,902 residential units are condos, according to the July 2015 Downtown Nashville Residential Report from the Nashville Downtown Partnership that showed 2,384 condo units overall in 40 properties including at the Icon and Terrazzo towers in the Gulch. Both housing units and residents in downtown Nashville are expected to increase 18 percent from year’s end 2015 to year’s end 2016.

Across downtown’s the Icon, Terrazzo, Encore and Viridian high-rise condo buildings, the highest square-foot price so far this year occurred at Terrazzo and the Icon, according to the Partnership’s report. Three units at Icon sold for $560, $555 and $515 per square foot, respectively.

Mariota, a Hawaii native and former University of Oregon standout, bought the penthouse condo that has three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms,15-foot ceilings and a custom floor plan from Todd Cook.

The Ashton Real Estate of RE/MAX Elite, the official real estate team of the Tennessee Titans, represented Mariota in the transaction.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessean.

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Home permits for region up 21 percent

Home building, one of metro Atlanta’s economic engines, has sputtered in recent years.

Home construction in metro Atlanta grew at a rapid clip in the first five months of the year but remains well off its pre-recession pace.

The region recorded 8,250 permits for single-family homes from Januray through May, according to the Census Bureau. That was up 21 percent from the same period a year earlier.

In contrast, 25,089 permits were issued across the region in the first five months of 2006, just before the bust.

The housing construction spurt should continue both regionally and nationally for at least a few years, according to some economists.

Job growth and the increasing trend of millennials to start households will drive demand for apartments, while a rising birth rate and gradual shift from renting to owning will help spur drive demand for homes, said Selma Hepp of California-based Trulia.

Home building, one of metro Atlanta’s economic engines, has sputtered in recent years.

“High confidence among builders bode well for construction going forward,” she said. “”We may be on the path to the best year in housing recovery.”

She said numbers for both single-family and multi-family construction in the south are stronger than in other regions.

Bolstering the housing optimism was a Census report Friday that showed a surge of construction in the spring. U.S. starts in June jumped by 9.8 percent from May, and by 26.6 percent from a year earlier.

Nationally, housing permits during the past three months are on the strongest pace since December 1982, Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner wrote in a comment on the report.

“Homebuilding is set to break through its low ceiling,” he said. “Homebuilding appears set to take off.”

Separately, RE/MAX of Georgia on Friday said transactions in metro Atlanta are up 24 percent this year from last year, while inventory is 13 percent lower.

This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

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Four Flowers for Hot Summer Areas

Flowers are a great way to brighten a tired yard. Here is an easy-to-grow collection of the best perennial flowers that are perfect for any garden!

Amaranthus: These papery flowers last a long time in the garden and in fresh bouquets. Depending on the variety, flowers are white, red, pink, lilac or purple. Amaranthus need full to partial shade and a moderate amount of water.

Petunias: Petunias are one of the most popular bedding flowers. They have wide trumpet shaped flowers that are prolific bloomers. They are very slow to grow from seed. If starting from seed, begin at least 10 to 12 weeks before planting out date. For best results, Petunias need full sun, but can handle partial shade.

Marigold: Marigolds are perky yellow or orange flowers that add lots of color to a garden. Their distinctive smell keeps pests away. These flowers need regular water and full sunlight.

Sunflowers: With large seeds and gorgeous flowers, sunflowers are great flower for kids to grow. Sunflowers require regular water, and many grow as annuals throughout the country.

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Boomer Helicopter Parents Now Hover In Home Buying

You’ve probably heard about the helicopter boomer parents accompanying their Millennial kids on their first job interviews. Maybe you’re guilty of this. Well, now that the young adults are buying homes, helicopter parents are hovering over house hunts, too.


That can wind up being a bad idea for moms and dads, as well as their sons and daughters.


According to a recent Time article, 17% of parents of Millennials are helping their offspring purchase homes. Most are offering financial assistance, which is where the problems start. Like parents who contribute to their child’s wedding and want a say in the guest list, the helicopterers providing a portion — or all — of a down payment frequently want in on the house hunt, too.


Bill Golden, a longtime Realtor with RE/MAX Metro Atlanta Cityside, says parents started showing up for showings when the economy began declining a few years ago. “Part of it is parents were worried the kids would make a bad financial decision,” he says.


While those are good intentions, the road to hell… (you know the rest).


Many times, the parents insist they know more about real estate than the real estate agent their child has hired, which can irritate Realtors. “I might have spent months educating them [prospective Millennial buyers] about the market and what’s a good value and what’s not,” says Golden, “and then the parents come in, and it is hard for them to believe that kids will spend $300,000 on a 600-square-foot place.”

In addition to not understanding local market values, parents risk ruining a deal because they don’t understand the “custom” of buying a home there.


Daniel Pierson of McEnearney Associates in Arlington, Va., recalls a couple whose parents from Ohio insisted they offer only 80% of asking price, since that was customary where they lived. But in the Washington, D.C. area, Pierson says, homes typically sell for their asking price or above. No one will take a lowball offer seriously.


Sometimes, helicopter parents show up unannounced to look at a house their child is considering or interfere with the home inspection, rankling Realtors and home sellers. This kind of meddling can lead a seller to reject the otherwise worthy buyer’s offer.


“I had a situation recently where a father followed the inspector around and argued with him about everything,” says Golden. The father — no surprise —  was not a home inspector.


Mike Ferrante, with Century 21 Homestar in Highland Heights, Ohio, tells a similar inspection tale: “The father was crawling around the house and poking things,” he recalls. “I was so worried he would damage the house and tick off the sellers.”


4 Tips for Millennials’ Parents


So parents, if you want to help your kids purchase a home — either through financial assistance or just moral support — here are four tips from Realtors:
1. Speak with the real estate agent to educate yourself. When Golden has to deal with a buyer’s parents, “I will pull up comps for them and explain what’s going on in the market. Sometimes I just have to share anecdotes about how it’s highly competitive, that most homes have several offers and this is what you have to do to compete,” he explains.


2. Understand that home-buying trends change. At one point, it may have been a buyers’ market, but it isn’t today in most places, says Ferrante. Some parents are acting like it’s 24 months ago and they and their kids are holding all the cards. “We have to explain that you are not in as strong a position as you think you are,” notes Ferrante.


3. Trust the real estate pro. Chances are your children asked friends and colleagues for recommendations for a Realtor; respect their decision to work with this person. “You don’t go to a brain surgeon and tell the doctor where to start cutting,” says Ferrante. “By the same reasoning I wish folks would trust their agents.”


4. Let your kid make mistakes. Buying a house is a big investment, to be sure, and if you’re helping your son or daughter with the purchase, you want to make sure it’s money well spent. But at some point you need to let go. If not, says Ferrante, “your child will second guess [the decision] because it wasn’t their choice.”


Worse, don’t come in and kill the deal on a house your child covets. “I’ve seen this happen multiple times, even though the kids want the house. Then the kids tell me that they have this nagging feeling that they should have bought that house,” notes Ferrante. “Do you really want to be responsible for that kind of remorse?”


Leah Ingram is a lifestyle and frugal-living expert and the author of Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier on Less. She is also founder of the money-saving blog, Suddenly Frugal, and writes for magazines and websites including Good Housekeeping and Parade.com. This article originally appeared at Forbes.com.

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2015 Real Trends “The Thousand”

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National Survey Ranks Top Real Estate Agents and Teams

Results find RE/MAX Affiliates Outnumber Competitors


RE/MAX has more of the nation’s top real estate agents when ranked by transaction sides than any other brand, according to The Thousand, an annual survey compiled by REAL Trends and showcased inThe Wall Street Journal.

Among the 250 individual agents and 250 agent teams closing the most residential transaction sides, 125 are RE/MAX professionals, which is 25 percent of the total. Keller Williams finished second with 90 transaction rankings, while Coldwell Banker had 64. Century 21 was fourth with 33.

“The RE/MAX agents who appear on this list are some of the very best in the entire industry,” says Dave Liniger, CEO, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of RE/MAX, LLC. “They provide a level of service to their clients that’s hard to match and keep RE/MAX competitive in this survey year after year.”

RE/MAX teams averaged 389 sides and 27 ranked in the top 100, with three in the top 10. RE/MAX individuals, 20 of whom ranked in the top 100, averaged 177 sides. In addition to transaction sides, The Thousand also ranks agents by sales volume and average sales price. Two RE/MAX teams finished in the top 20 for sales volume, while RE/MAX individuals ranked by average sales price posted an average of $5.9 million.

RE/MAX leaders by category include:

  • Team closing the most residential transaction sides – 3rd/1,265 sides, Ryan O’Neill’s Minnesota Real Estate Team, RE/MAX Advantage Plus, Bloomington, MN
  • Individual closing the most residential transaction sides – 3rd/457 sides, Joe Kadaf, RE/MAX Leading Edge, Dearborn Heights, MI
  • Team selling the highest residential sales volume – 14th/$280 million, Ryan O’Neill’s Minnesota Real Estate Team, RE/MAX Advantage Plus, Bloomington, MN
  • Individual selling the highest residential sales volume – 48th/$162 million, Mike Sedar, RE/MAX The Woodlands & Spring II, The Woodlands, TX
  • Individual with the highest average sales price – 90th/$7.1 million, Jonathan Taksa, RE/MAX Commercial and Investment Realty, Los Angeles, CA

The REAL Trends The Thousand ranks participating U.S. agents based on their total 2014 residential production. The top 250 teams and top 250 individual agents are ranked in each of three categories: most transaction sides, highest sales volume, and highest average sales price.

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Home Sales Continue Upward Trend … May Average Price is at Record Levels

Published on June 22, 2015 in Ohio

May home sales in Greater Cincinnati continue to climb, up + 1.3%, compared to a year ago. Homes sold (closed) last month were 2,308 compared to 2,277 in May 2014.

“The Cincinnati housing market is in great shape,” said Joe Mock, President of the Cincinnati Area Board of REALTORS®. “The number of listings under contract is up over last May, which is good. There appears to be a slight backlog of listings waiting to close, which is not bad, but may be a result of changes to lending policies and government restrictions,” said Mock.

“Even though our housing market is strong, we will begin to see, later this summer, a slowdown in the reporting of sales and an increase in the time it takes to close on a property due to these lending restrictions. This is even MORE reason to contact a REALTOR to assist you through this process,” said Mock.

The May average home price set new records climbing to $195,110 vs. $182,630 a year earlier, a + 6.8% increase. The average price has increased year-over-year for 39 consecutive months. At the same time, the inventory of homes for sale, as of May 31, continued its year-over-year declining trend to 8,679 from 9,554 a year ago, down – 9.2%

Local home mortgage rates in May averaged 4.00% for a 30-year fixed rate loan. The rates were higher at 4.13 a year ago. At these fixed rates, the monthly principal and interest payment on a $100,000 home loan with no money down would be approximately $478.

“The fact that the May average price is at record levels is a result of a few things: the inventory is at record lows; interest rates remain low; once listed, if the property is priced correctly and in move-in shape it will sell quickly; and with the demand high and the supply low of good housing, the prices are increasing,” Mock continued.

“This is simple Economics 101. However, consumers need to realize that this type of market will not last. This is why if you are thinking about selling your property, do not wait. Contact a REALTOR to assist you,” said Mock.

“Remember, a Realtor is your source for real, accurate information about the current market. Call one today!”

Nationwide, May home sales were up + 5.1% from April on a seasonally adjusted basis, and were up + 9.2% from May 2014.

Click here for the full report.


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The long and short of it

You’ve been reading mixed stories about the housing market, and while some areas are still experiencing a slowdown, our market is prime for you to pursue the American Dream.


Regardless of whether housing is up or down, individuals and families will always have a need to buy or sell. Home sales were not as brisk last year, but we’re experiencing a great market this year. Interest rates are at historical lows, which is creating an excellent atmosphere for qualified buyers.


When reading the gloom and doom about foreclosures, it’s important to keep the reports in perspective. Most defaults were a result of sub-prime adjustable mortgages. Most were no money down loans with the seller paying for the buyer’s closing costs and down payments. Those days are gone.


Buyers need to put down at least 5 percent for a conventional loan and 3.5 percent for an FHA loan. Sometimes the down payment may be a gift from a relative. Check with your lender for their loan guidelines. Buyers can still get no money down VA or USDA loans. There are restrictions with both.


Now is the time to seek the advice and guidance of a trusted local real estate professional, whether you’re buying or selling. Keep a level head and take advantage of positive forces in the current housing market. Now is a great time to buy a home.


This article originally appeared at housecall.com

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Atlantic Station condo filled with art, city views

Atlantic Station condo filled with art, city views
Christopher Oquendo Photography

A cocktail party conversation in 2014 sparked Vicki Hooten’s move to a Midtown Atlanta condo.

Friends shared how happy they were with their decision to downsize to a condo in Buckhead. Hooten began to wonder why she was holding onto her Morningside home of 27 years.

The next week, she saw her real estate agent, Julie Sadlier with RE/MAX Metro Atlanta Cityside, in the grocery store. Her home was on the market three weeks later.

Hooten wanted to remain close to Piedmont Park and her job in Buckhead. About 20 condos later, she viewed a unit with floor-to-ceiling windows in The Atlantic, a high-rise condo in Atlantic Station.

“I saw that I got to see Midtown and downtown with my view and then when I look down, it is historical trees,” she said. “It kind of looks like a mini Central Park.”


Resident: Vicki Hooten, who works for ABC National Television Sales

Location: The Atlantic, Midtown Atlanta

Size: 1,828 square feet, two bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths

Year built: 2009

Year bought: 2014

Builder: Novare

Architect: Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates

Architectural style: Art deco

Favorite architectural elements: Floor-to-ceiling windows

Renovations: Bertolli Floors installed American Scrape Walnut floors from Armstrong in all the rooms. Synergy Multimedia installed Lutron QS wireless shades compatible with RadioRa 2 and HomeWorks QS automation system, and an Apple TV, Sonos Playbar and Sonos wireless sound system.

Interior design style: She describes it as comfortable and inviting with a touch of humor.

Favorite pieces: Dining room table from Crate & Barrel, which is paired with an oversized bronze mirror. “It is a statement piece and reflects the city,” she said.

Favorite artwork: Pieces by her son, artist Christopher Derek Bruno, and multiple mixed media pieces by artists Samuel Ruder and Dawne Raulet, which join other original pieces of art.

Favorite outdoor features: Balcony and the pool, which she can view from her condo.

Favorite collections: Sid Dickens Memory Blocks

Resources: RH Gallery, Bobby Berk Home, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, Mathews’ Furniture Galleries, Cantoni, Pottery Barn, Eco Denizen, RH Gallery, The Dump

Decor tip: Just because you see a piece of furniture that you really like, stop and ask yourself: Does it have a place in my home, and if so, what am I going to get rid of?

This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

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Big Gain in Pending Home Sales to Start Summer Selling Season

Published on June 8, 2015 in Featured, Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 8, 2015) – There were 3,558 closings reported for the month of May, according to figures provided by the Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS®. This represents an increase of 15.6 percent from the 3,079 closings reported for May 2014.


Year-to-date closings total 13,402. That is an 11.6 percent increase compared to the 12,012 closings reported through May 2014.


“The summer is always a hot time for home sales. Middle Tennessee hasn’t seen a month of May this strong since 2007, said Cindy Stanton, GNAR President. “This is the first time since June of 2007 that we have exceeded 3,500 units sold in one month. The steady increase in home sales is the sign of a vibrant market.


“The excitement continues with the number of pending home sales. There were 3,730 pending sales at the end of May. We haven’t experiences pending sales numbers like these since June of 2006. While not all of those pending sales may make it to the closing table, they are a good indicator of the the solid activity in the housing industry we can expect in the coming months.”


A comparison of sales by category for May is:

  May 2014 May 2015 
CLOSINGS 3,079 3,558
 Residential  2,544  2,953
 Condominium  347  411
 Multi-Family  21  19
 Farm/Land/Lots  167  175

There were 3,730 sales pending at the end of the month, compared to the 3,108 pending sales at this time last year. The average number of days on the market for a single-family home was 61 days.


The median residential price for a single-family home during May was $235,000 and for a condominium it was $175,000. This compares with last year’s median residential and condominium prices of $209,900 and $174,000, respectively.


Inventory at the end of May was 13,764, down from 15,962 in 2014. The current inventory of properties by category, compared to last year, is:

  May 2014 May 2015 
INVENTORY 15,962 13,764
  Residential  10,414  9,067
  Condominium  1,128  980
  Multi-Family  146  130
  Farm/Land/Lots  4,274  3,587

“Inventory remains a deterrent for buyers, with a three month supply for single family homes and two months for condominiums. Many properties rapidly leave the market and some never make it to be listed in the multiple listing service,” said Stanton. “A Realtor’s market knowledge, both of available and coming properties, is invaluable in these circumstances.”


The Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS® is one of Middle Tennessee’s largest professional trade associations and serves as the primary voice for Nashville-area property owners.  REALTOR® is a registered trademark that may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict code of ethics.

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