I hope your day is full of laughter, joy and love.
Thank you for all of your continued support, business and referrals.
Adam Killgore ABR, SRES, SFR, e-Pro Realtor
Valentines Guide for a perfect Nashville Valentine’s DAY!
With Valentine’s Day just ahead I wanted to send you a friendly reminder from your favorite Nashville Realtor. Whether it’s a mother, father, wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, or simply a very dear friend, this is a great opportunity to make those special people in your life FEEL SPECIAL. I encourage you to think outside of the box this year and try to make someone extra smile this year around Valentine’s Day.
Remember, Valentine’s Day isn’t about how much you can spend. There are better ways to express your love and affection. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, PRESENTATION is way more important than COST. Try hand-written notes, surprise emails, a telephone call in the middle of the day, a shoulder massage, a foot rub…simple things can work magic when you present them with flair! Nicole and I aren’t big on gifts bought with money but gifts that are sincere and meaningful. We will skip the crowds in Nashville and Murfreesboro TN Valentine’s night and instead cook for each other at home and enjoy our precious son. If cooking isn’t your thing maybe consider a surprise lunch for your significant other and pull them away from the office for a minute. Whatever you do try to do it with love and that will be a sweet treat for your Valentine!
If you’re like me, Valentine’s Day is great excuse to make something sweet! I’m passing along a recipe that is virtually foolproof. Even if you have never baked anything before, you can wow your sweetheart with this special dessert.
Enjoy the day!
Pass The Love, Joy and Happiness,
Adam Killgore ABR, SRES, SFR, e-Pro, Realtor
The Doug Austin Team
Cherry Chocolate Sweetheart
1 package refrigerated sugar cookie dough (18 oz)
1 package cream cheese (8 oz), softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 can cherry pie filling (21 oz)
1 package milk chocolate chips (12 oz)
Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out the cookie dough and shape it into a heart shape. Place it on a cookie sheet and bake for ten minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. Let cool about 30 minutes. Beat the powdered sugar into the cream cheese and spread the mixture on top of the baked heart. Carefully spread the cherry pie filling over the cream cheese mixture. Place the chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave one minute on high. Stir. Microwave 30 more seconds. Stir. Continue to microwave at 30-second intervals until the chocolate is creamy enough to drizzle from the spoon. Drizzle the chocolate all over the cherries. (Make sure NOT to drip any water in the chips while you are melting them-and don’t use a damp spoon. You will end up with hard clumps.)
Valentine’s Day Crafts For Kids
This blog is coming to you from Nicole Killgore, Adam’s wife. As many of you know I am a pinterest, crafty, cricut, arts junkie! We recently had Liam’s 3rd birthday party and I enjoyed making everything from homemade Legos gummies to homemade soaps and the cutest gift bags!! Valentine’s Day is all about love-and not just between couples! Kids love to get in on the action and creating fun Valentine’s crafts to share is a great way to let them have a good time and make something they can give to friends and family to show their love on this special day. Here are a few easy and fun Valentine’s Day crafts for little ones.
Tissue Paper Flowers
Flowers may be overpriced on Valentine’s Day, but these easy to make tissue paper ones won’t be-and they will never die, either! Take green pipe cleaners and some sheets of tissue paper in different colors. Cut the tissue paper into squares. Layer the different colored pieces of tissue paper so that the corners all point in different directions. Then insert a green pipe cleaner through the center and carefully scrunch the paper up to make a flower. Bend the top of the pipe cleaner in the center of the flower to hold it in place. You can make a whole bouquet, or hand them out one at a time as special Valentine’s gifts! These would make great teacher, daycare, or friend gifts! I love tissue paper and always make some type of flower or décor with it for my parties. Check your local Michaels for clearance tissue paper too. My Murfreesboro TN store always has a great clearance section in the back of the store.
Your kids need a place to keep all those Valentines from friends and family, and a unique Valentine mailbox is the perfect choice. Start with a shoebox-the smaller ones that kids’ shoes come in are a great size. So, be sure to put them aside the next time you buy shoes! Pick up a couple of rolls of wrapping paper in Valentine’s Day themed colors like pink and red, or anything featuring hearts or flowers. Cover the exterior of the box in wrapping paper, and cut a small hole for cards to slip through. Then let your kids decorate any way they want-with stickers, glitter, markers, or crayons! Finish it off by adding their name so their Valentines will be delivered to the right place. So Fun, and definitely a fun way to collect all of those love notes!
Create a tasty bouquet that are as pretty to look at as flowers but tastes a lot better! Turn a Styrofoam cup upside down, and let your kids decorate it with Valentine’s colors, heart stickers, and anything else you can think of. Then help them to carefully insert the sticks of a variety of colored lollipops into the base of the cup, creating a beautiful bouquet.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to spend the day with the little ones you love most, creating these easy and fun crafts. The memory of the time spent together will mean as much as the beautiful Valentine crafts you create.
Please let me know which of these Valentine crafts your family does, and how it turned out!
Happy Love Day,
Choose the Best Lighting for your Tennessee Home
We recently moved to Murfreesboro, TN and our home is very bright, that was one of the selling points when we were looking for a home. We previously had a home with sky lights and knew we wanted a bright inviting home. I feel like in these cold winter months lighting can affect our moods in positive or negative influences. Nashville and Middle Tennessee have fairly mild winters but some weeks it seems like the sun has left the building!! Let’s talk about some good lighting guides for your TN home.
Whether it is a romantic dining room or a home office, finding the right lighting for each space in your home is essential to making it functional and inviting. So what should you consider when choosing lamps or lighting fixtures to ensure they will provide the right kind of light for your space, while still fitting in with the décor of the room?
Function Before Fashion
Naturally, you want your lighting choices to match and complement the décor of your home. If they aren’t the right functional choice for the space they will call home, your initial infatuation with them will likely fade. For work spaces such as kitchens or offices, be sure your lighting will provide ample brightness while being easy on the eyes. For rooms such as the living room or dining room, you’ll want to consider lighting sources that are adjustable to allow for relaxation and a romantic atmosphere, as well as the ability to work and play with enough light to see. It is also important to consider the financial and environmental impact of the lighting you use. Using energy efficient bulbs and dimmers can reduce your carbon footprint and your electricity bill.
If you have a small traditional dining room, choosing that large ballroom-sized chandelier you fell in love with may not be the best idea. Also, going with recessed lighting for a large foyer, while functional, can make the space feel cold and uninspired. Making sure that the fixtures or lamps you choose are proportional to the space they will call home will make the room look well designed.
Using Light as Decoration
While choosing lighting for a room requires balancing form and function, lighting can also be a great way to highlight existing features in a room. Whether it is a great painting over the mantle, a few antiques in the hall, or a unique feature in your space, using lighting to highlight them can add a finished and dramatic look to any room.
Lighting can really make all the difference in any room, and can make all the hard work you have put into choosing the other décor elements of your home worth the effort, looking finished and spectacular! Think outside of the box and use lighting to define your home.
Here are a few ideas that will brighten and spruce up your area
A small lamp in a hall bathroom is a great addition not only to the bathroom but the soft light it will produce in the hallway.
Under cabinet lights are HUGE!! I’ve seen them sell home, literally, people fall in love with lights that show off beautiful granite and backsplashes.
Outdoor Lamps on a covered porch, sunroom or protected deck are very functional as well as string lights on a patio, deck or outdoor space are like an instant inviting party that is an extension of your home.
Nashville has 70 degree days in pretty much every month so extend your home onto that porch, balcony, and patio and enjoy your backyard oasis.
Flameless candles and or tea lights are very warm and inviting. We have multiple of these in high spaces in our home and they are on a timer. The area above your cabinets is a great place to add a little décor and ambience with flameless candles.
Find décor pieces that produce light but are not necessarily a lamp for instance a scentsy scent warmer or I have a globe that lights up in my office that gives just the perfect amount of light into the hallway in the evening.
Have fun with your Lighting, picking the right type will brighten any room.
We’ve all heard it a million times….Kitchens Sell Homes!!! So today I’m going to give you some insight on what really needs to be done to your kitchen before I list your home! In today’s Nashville Real Estate market, homes are selling quickly, but, you still only have one chance to make a 1st impression on your home buyer. In our home, our kitchen is the soul, meaning we cook everyday, run our dishwasher everyday, use a ton of plates, cups, utensils, and appliances. BUT, you don’t want your home buyer to see all of that! As Always CLEAN AND DE-CLUTTER!!
Empty out your drawers and remove all the grime and crumbs that happen from life. I like to empty out the drawers and use a vacuum to get all the small stuff and then wipe down. Some clean kitchen liners and organizational pieces add a nice touch. Those few items that only get used 2 times a year, either go ahead and pack up, or toss. Less is more. You never want your buyer to think you don’t have enough storage/drawer space. If you really want to spruce up the drawers, add some nice hardware to them, this is an easy affordable DIY that adds a lot of value. Remember you don’t want anything too unique or different, just something that matches the rest of your decor.
Cabinets are very similar to drawers with the idea of de-cluttering, cleaning, lining, and sprucing up with hardware. Those plastic kids cups you’ve been collecting can go, and the holiday dishes can go ahead and be packed. Have all of your dishware, mugs, bowls, etc. in their own spot, nicely lined and organized. Remember, the more you can get rid of now, the less you have to pack and move and the nicer they will appear. That area above the cabinets to the ceiling is not supposed to be storage. It shouldn’t have more than a couple of decorative items, and don’t forget to dust and clean that area too.
OVEN and STOVE
Get a good pair of rubber gloves and a cleaning product and clean out the oven. I’ve found some elbow grease does wonders on our stove to remove all the extra “stuff”. After you get it ready to shine, pick up an oven liner. I found ours @ our local Bed Bath and Beyond. They fit in the bottom of your oven and catch-all of the drippings. These also make it so much easier to clean the next time because you can just toss and replace the liner. If you have a flat glass top surface a razor blade will help to remove all the dried up oil, food, and grime. Then my favorite product for our stove is Soft Scrub. If you have stove with electric coil burners, replace the metal inserts. These are cheap and much easier than trying to get them clean.
Same concept with the CLEANING! Take everything out of your fridge wipe down all the drawers and shelving. Show the real potential your fridge and freezer have. Unfortunately, the kids art, magnets, schedules, and pictures need to be removed also. The top of your fridge should not be a storage area for food or anything else. Remove everything from the top and clean and wipe down.
The end goal with your counters is extremely minimal. If you have granite, then you want to show it off, not the toaster oven. Even if you don’t love your countertops you still want your home buyer to see their full potential so go ahead and remove as much off of them as you can. Try to aim for 1 small appliance on the counter, of course, this is relative to the size of your kitchen, but most of the time it’s a good goal. This could be your coffee pot, Keurig, or microwave, but not all of them. A couple of accessories, new kitchen towels, a pretty soap dispenser, small plant, or a cookbook is a creative way of showing off your kitchen and still showing how wonderful your countertops are!
If you haven’t changed out your kitchen faucet, it is a great and easy DIY project that will upgrade and add value. Running a cleaning solution through your garbage disposal removes any unwanted odors. My favorite is a little baking soda and a couple of slices of lemon. Make sure your sink is empty and clean and wipe down the inside of the sink basin before it shows.
Wipe down the exterior and around the buttons to remove grime and dirt. Unload your dishwasher so it is empty and clean. You want to show the space, not last nights spaghetti.
Scrub those babies clean! Take a weekend to pull out the larger appliances and vacuum underneath. If you have tile, clean your grout with a vinegar solution or use a “re-painting Grout” product. Replace your kitchen rug and keep it stowed away and clean so you can put it out when your home is going to be shown.
If you really need to add value and up grade consider:
Re-facing or replacing Cabinet doors
Adding a Backsplash
Re-facing or replacing Countertops
Make this as easy as you can on yourself. Get your kitchen nice and clean and then keep a large tote on hand. When its time for your home to show, collect things that shouldn’t be out, put out your fresh rug and new towels. Empty your trash and wipe down countertops.
YOUR KITCHEN WILL SPARKLE!!
If you are thinking about selling your home, let me come over and I will help you get READY.
As Always, thank you for your continued support, referrals, and taking time to read my Blog!
The Doug Austin Team
Murfreesboro is one of Tennessee’s fasting growing cities. As many of you know I recently became a Murfreesboro resident with my family! I added Murfreesboro to our home search and very glad I did. It has so much to offer. We have quickly discovered when it comes to dining, shopping, entertaining, kid activities, and finding things to do, Murfreesboro has it all with a lot of value.
I moved to Nashville about 20 years ago and I remember hearing people talk about “The Boro” later realizing that was what most people called Murfreesboro. In 1817 when Murfreesboro was established it was originally named Cannonsburgh but quickly changed the name to Murfreesboro. I would imagine it didn’t take too long for “The Boro” to become its nickname.
Murfreesboro has a population of around 120,000 which is more than nearby cities of Franklin and Smyrna but much less than Nashville which is closer 625,000. Big city with small hometown values with a great motto of “Creating a Better Quality of Life”!
In 2006 “Money” ranked Murfreesboro as the 84th best place to live in the U.S. and since then it has grown more and added more attractions, jobs, housing and increased home values.
The average home in Murfreesboro is priced around $195,000 and home values have gone up 7.5% in the last 12 months with predictions that home values will rise another 4.2% in the following year! Impressive. With the commute to Nashville being about 30 miles, it is a close distance that literally sits in the middle of Tennessee.
A few things to check out in Murfreesboro:
Stones River Mall is an inside mall that has been recently renovated with great stores including Dillards, JC Penny, Victoria’s Secret, and Bath and Body Works, to name a few. As well as, many restaurants and a Chuckie Cheese for these HOT summer days.
The Avenue Murfreesboro is a great addition to Murfreesboro. It sits on 811,000 square feet making it one of the largest outdoor shopping malls in the US, housing close to 100 different stores and restaurants. A family destination for sure, with shops to make everyone happy including, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bed Bath and Beyond, Belk, World Market, Old Navy, Carters, Buckle, and so many more. It is surrounded by great places to eat including Bar Louie, Peter D’s, Newks, and Chili’s.
Downtown Murfreesboro on Main Street is where you can find the perfect gift, or home décor, with great boutiques and unique gift shops.
Not only are there more than 300 restaurants in and around Murfreesboro, but I was impressed by so much local support for local farmers with The Farmers Market and a wide selection to find the freshest fruits and vegetables. Batey Farms strawberry patch, Lucky Ladd Farms (where you can go pick your veggies), and Main Street Saturday Market of Murfreesboro are just a few options to get these selections and is an example of how Murfreesboro believes in supporting their local economy, saving natural resources, and increasing knowledge about a certain way of life! I believe that follows their motto of creating a better quality of life!
Indian Hills Golf Course, Cedar Crest Golf Course and Old Fort Golf Course
The Discovery Center
Boro Beach @ the Sports Com
Murfreesboro Bark Park
Go USA Fun Park
Greenway System with 12 miles of paved paths with 11 trailheads and future plans to expand into 173 miles of greenways, bikeways, and blueways.
Murfreesboro has so much to offer and you can get a lot of home for the money in this growing city. It’s a great place to raise a family with great school districts, holiday events, and plenty of activities to keep your family happy!
Let me know if I can help you find your next home in Murfreesboro TN.
The Doug Austin Team
Benchmark Realty, LLC
As your Nashville TN Benchmark Realty agent, I enjoy working with 1st Time Home Buyers! What’s more exciting than going through the process of being a 1st time home buyer!!! The question I get asked most is…..What will my monthly payment be on my Nashville home?? Most of the time it is less than what my client is paying in rent on their rental home or apartment in Nashville, or surrounding areas. It is important you look at your finances, money coming in, bills going out, and have an understanding of your mortgage.
Calculating Your Monthly Mortgage Payments
One of the most important factors to consider when buying a new home in Nashville TN, is affordability. As a general rule, mortgage payments should not exceed 25-30 percent of your monthly take-home pay. The best way to know what you can afford is to determine the possible payment range by comparing the price of the home with other monthly expenses.
Figure Out How Much You Can To Borrow for your home.
The Nashville TN and surrounding Middle TN real estate market is booming! It is a great time to invest in a property in Middle TN. Your first step to calculating your monthly mortgage payment is knowing how much you want to borrow. This can be determined by subtracting your down payment amount from the purchase price of the home, which will give you the amount that you will need to request from a lender. If you do not have any money to put down we can look at other financing options with a zero down payments.
Mortgage Rates for your Nashville TN Property
Rates can change daily!
The next step is to determine the current interest rates for the purchase of a home. Rates vary and may change often, so check with your lender for current rates. It’s worth noting that the interest rates you receive will, in part, be based on your credit history. This means that knowing your FICO score and credit rating will give you a good idea as to how your interest rates will be calculated. My team and I have a list of local lenders that I can put you in touch with. If you don’t have perfect credit that is OK too! We have lenders who can work with everyone and develop a plan to get you a loan too.
Choose Your Loan Term on your Middle TN Home
Your monthly mortgage payments will be determined by a number of factors, including the term of your loan. If you were to borrow $250,000 for your Nashville TN property, your monthly payments would be less with a 30-year mortgage than with a 15-year mortgage. The reason is because it would take larger monthly payments to get the loan paid off quicker, which is why you will need to select a loan term before calculating your payments. The longer your loan term, the lower your payment will be, but usually the more interest you will be paying. A lot of loans have zero penalty for early payoffs, extra payments monthly and helping you getting the principal down sooner and faster.
Additional Costs To Consider
Your total mortgage payment will include taxes, homeowner’s insurance and possibly even private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you provide less than 20 percent down and your loan requires it. Your Nashville lender will help you and explain the details and determine what is best for your personal loan.
Just The Facts & Figures on your new Nashville TN Home
Now that you know how much you need to borrow, have chosen your loan term and are familiar with the current interest rates, it’s time to calculate your payment. Our local Middle Tennessee lenders will help you calculate what the exact monthly payment will be and we get to start looking for you a NEW HOME!
Buying your 1st home in Middle Tennessee will be one of the biggest investments you have made and I will help guide you through this process, educate and answer any questions you have! Now is the time to invest and get a piece of Nashville TN! I work closely with my lenders and make sure my real estate clients are taken care from the beginning to the closing! You will not just be a home buyer, but will be part of my real estate family and that is why, thankfully, I have been practicing Real Estate in Nashville and Middle TN for over 14 years!
Are you a 1st Time Home Buyer??? Start your process now. Call, email , or text me and let’s get this ball rolling! I have an information packet with everything you need to be prepared and educated. Let me know if I should email or mail it to you. It’s time for you to stop throwing money away on rent and have your own piece of Middle Tennessee!
The Doug Austin Team
The Real Estate Housing Market in Nashville is a great investment.
Here are some interesting FACTS***
The average 2-3 bedroom home in Nashville is around $200,000, and with the interest rates on home loans as low as 2.8% on a 15 year loan, your mortgage payment could be as low as half of what you are paying in rent.
The average family renting, in and around Nashville TN, is dumping on average from $1,500/ month up to $5,000/month.
That could potentially be $60,000 for one year of rent which would make for a great down payment on your OWN home!!
When you are a homeowner, you also get tax perks. Each year, homeowners can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from their income.
Not only does owning a home bring more value to you as an individual, it is one of the safest investments available. Experts believe that home prices will continue to rise for the next few years and are predicting Nashville TN to grow by 1 million more people in the next 20 years. On average, Nashville property values are believed to increase by 11%-18% in just the next 3 years. That is a great return on your investment. As Nashville continues to grow and develop, it will also raise the value of not only Nashville properties, but for the surrounding counties of Middle Tennessee. I have seen this in the last 15 years of real estate, especially in areas of Brentwood, Nolensville, Franklin, Arrington, Murfreesboro, and Mount Juliet TN.
This is the time to BUY your home in Middle Tennessee. The 1st step in finding your dream home is finding a realtor to help guide you! I’m here to help you and make sure you’re taken care of. Call me today and I will walk you through this exciting experience of becoming a homeowner.
If you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home in Middle Tennessee, send them my way, I promise I will make sure they are in great hands.
The Doug Austin Team
Benchmark Realty, LLC
The 1st step in buying your dream home is getting the mortgage and financing process started.
If you are new to home financing, you may be a little confused by some of the common terms that are used in the process. These common terms will help simplify getting your home loan and ensure you understand what stage you are at and what comes next.
Getting A Loan
Pre-Qualification: This is a term that means you have been provided an estimate of what sort of loan you can expect to obtain based on your credit score and what’s currently available. It doesn’t guarantee you a loan or any loan terms.
Pre-Approval: This means that you have actually applied for a mortgage and the loan has been approved. Your approval is usually good for a certain time period during which you are guaranteed the terms of the loan.
Locked In: This is a term that means you have been promised a certain interest rate for a certain time period, usually 30 days.
Basics Of Loans
Principal: This is the amount that is owed on the loan, the actual amount financed excluding interest.
Interest Rate: This is the amount of interest, expressed as a percentage, that you will be paying on your loan.
APR (Annual Percentage Rate): Often confused with the interest rate, the APR is actually the yearly cost of financing the loan amount.
Term: This is the length of time over which the loan will be repaid.
Amortization: Paying off a large loan (mortgage) over a specified period of time.
Points: This is an amount of money that a buyer can choose to pay to the lender in order to get a lower interest rate. A point equals one percent of the loan amount. This is usually paid at closing in order to get a lower rate.
Completing The Process
Closing: ,This is the point at which the loan is complete and the terms become active. At closing everything will be signed and completed.
Closing Costs: Fees and other costs that must be paid at the time the loan closes in order to make the terms active.
Loan Funding: This is the time at which the lender actual provides the funds requested in the loan.
These are some of the most common terms you will hear as you go through the process of obtaining a mortgage. Be sure to talk to your broker or loan officer if you have any questions regarding these or any other terms you come across; this will ensure you feel in control of the process and are entering your mortgage agreement with full understanding of the terms. My Team and I have honorable and trustworthy Brokers that would love to help you!
Please email, call or text me today and I will send you a list of admirable local Middle Tennessee Brokers.
Doug Austin Team