Five Considerations to Keep in Mind when Considering where to Purchase a Home

  • Schools

Schools are an especially important aspect to think about when moving to another home or city, even if you do not yet have children. You be sure to seek out the graduation rates, the activities that the schools have to offer, and the location of these schools in relation to your desired home location. Make sure before you move somewhere to check out the school systems! It will help you a lot!

  • Commute Time

Commute time is a huge factor when it comes to moving to a new city. Every neighborhood and city are different in traffic. Make sure to look for a home that will be close to your job. Even moving ten minutes up the street make a huge difference in traffic. Also, another thing to consider is your commute times to nearby grocery stores and restaurants. Great things to think about when moving!

  • Amenities

Amenities surrounding a home or neighborhood are also very important when determining what neighborhood is best for you. What is an especially important amenity that you want close by to your home? Restaurants, movie theatres, parks, golf courses, and hospitals are all things you should consider when moving to a new neighborhood or city. So, get a sense of what you and your family enjoy and make sure that any potential neighborhoods you are looking into offer those attractions!

  • Neighborhood

This is a particularly important one for me. You want to make sure your neighborhood is safe for you and your family. You also might want to think about the features the neighborhood offers like the Home Owners Association, pools, and common areas, among other things. Make sure you find the right neighborhood that will give you a great quality of life!

  • Quality of Life

Last, but not least, is the quality of life! Make sure you have everything you want in a home and in the surrounding area. For example, if you go to the gym regularly, make sure you have access to a nearby gym! Or if you love entertainment, find out what the entertainment is like around your neighborhood. The quality of life a neighborhood or new home offers is potentially the most important consideration.

Author: Austin Anderson

FAQ’s to Realtors

The purpose of a real estate agent is to make your home buying or selling process as easy as possible for you and your family. There are many questions I have heard along the way that I would love to share with you about the buying and selling process. Below, I am going to identify the top five questions I have come across!

  • What is the first step when it comes to home buying? Where do I start?
    • Great Question! The very first thing I tell my clients is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. You need to know how much you can afford and borrow. There numerous costs associated buying a home, including closing costs and your down payment. The lender can estimate how much you can afford so you are not wasting your time looking at houses that are outside of your price range.
  •  How much do I have to pay you to help me?
    • If you want to buy, then nothing! Many first-time homebuyers unaware that a realtor works for you for free! The sellers pay the buyer’s agent’s commission. If you are listing your home, you can expect to pay about 6% of the selling price, which will be split between the buyer and listing agent. From a seller’s perspective, although you will be paying the commission out of the proceeds from the sale of your home, hiring an agent will ensure that you get the best deal possible, not to mention save you time and effort.
  • How much do I need for a down payment?
    • Many homebuyers think that you must put 20% down, but that is not true! Mortgage companies allow homebuying to be easier now than ever! There are loans available that are suited for each buyer’s individual needs. Typically, first-time homebuyers put down 3-5% on a home. You can, of course, put more than 3-5% down on your home, but even with only a 3-5% down payment, you can become a homeowner!
  • When is the best time to buy or sell?
    • For sellers, I would say the spring or summer. The market tends to really heat up when the temperature along with the temperature. Also, you want to make your house look as good as it can. You want to make sure you have green grass, leaves on the trees, and flowers blooming. For buyers, I would say the fall or winter. Sellers tend to get a little antsy after the summer ends so the prices usually decrease as summer draws to a close and even more so in the winter because of the decrease in potential homebuyers. 
  • What is earnest money?
    • Earnest money is a good faith deposit. When you want to buy a home, this money shows the seller that you are really interested and motivated to seal the deal. The larger the deposit, the stronger the purchase offer will look, making your offer more competitive. When you close on your new home, that earnest money usually goes towards the down payment! I always recommend your earnest money be no less than 1% of the listing price to signal to the seller your strong intent to buy.

The Three Biggest Myths When it Comes to Buying

Prices continue to rise every year, which can occasionally make people a little hesitant to hop into the real estate world. But did you know that buying a home is easier now than ever? In this blog, I am going to highlight the THREE biggest myths surrounding buying a home!

  • Buying a home requires a 20% down payment.

Many people think that when they buy a house, they are required to put at least twenty percent of the purchase price down; that is just not the case! Did you know it is possible to only place a 3.5% down payment and still buy a house? That’s very low! There are loan programs suited for every person’s needs, particularly the needs of first time homebuyers.

  • It is cheaper to rent then buy.

Personally, I believe this is the biggest myth when it comes to homebuying! Renting does not build personal wealth. Every year you rent, you are essentially throwing that money away instead of investing it into something you own by building equity. Renting might be cheaper for a year or two, but down the road, you can build up thousands and thousands of dollars. Home values tend to increase yearly, so even without doing any renovations to the home you are still building equity as a result of paying down your mortgage and increasing home valuations. A home is a great investment.

  • You can save money by not using a realtor.

This is completely false. Realtors are so crucial to the home buying process that you cannot afford to forgo using a realtor. The buyer does not pay a fee to his or her agent at all, the seller must pay his or her agent a fee, a portion of which is then shared with the buyer’s agent. Essentially, I am working for you for free! I can save you time and navigate you through the buying process! There are so many contracts and procedures involved in a real estate transaction that get very confusing. A  realtor will help you through all of the procedures and contracts along the way and will be available to answer any questions that may arise during your home buying journey.

Author: Austin Anderson

Top Books of the Summer

by Hunter Anderson

There is no better time to read a book than the summer. There is just something particularly satisfying about reading a book when relaxing by the pool, at the beach, or on the porch. The number of books can seem endless and finding the right one can be daunting. So, looking for a good book this summer? Here are several that I recommend that cover a wide array of genres.

Fiction

Thrillers

  1. A Gentleman in Moscow – by Amor Towles

This novel is about a Russian man sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, an impressive hotel across from the Kremlin, during the Russian Revolution.

Towles is brilliant in his development of the main character, Count Alexander Rostov, the man sentenced to house arrest. Rostov is witty, composed, and observant throughout the book. To really fall in love with the book, you must appreciate Count Rostov.

Towles also creates a world inside of the Metropol that is remarkably vivid and alive, which compares to the incredible world of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. As the reader learns about the events unfolding in the Metropol through the eyes of Count Rostov, the Russian revolution unfolds right outside its doors.

  • American Dirt – by Jeanine Cummins

Lydia Quixano Pérez runs a bookstore in Mexico, and her husband is a journalist. One day the new cartel leader in the region walks into the bookstore to buy a few books. They become close friends, bonding over literature, yet Lydia has no idea who this man really is. Lydia discovers his identity through her husband’s journalistic work. When Lydia’s husband publishes a scathing article on the new cartel leader, Lydia’s remaining family is forced to flee and make their way to the United States – as migrants.

This novel will grip you from the very first page. It is a story interwoven with joy, terror, love, despair and yet hope. I would say it is one of the best reads of the year.  

Science Fiction

  • The Long Winter Trilogy – by A.G. Riddle

In this science fiction series, a new ice age has hit earth. As humanity is struggling to survive, a group of scientists look for answers both on earth and beyond, in space.

I have never read a science fiction novel before this series. I was skeptical at first about the science fiction genre, but not after reading the first book in this series. Even better, the second and third books are just as riveting as the first. Riddle creates a plot that is not too far-fetched and involves real science.

If any reader is looking for a science fiction book to read, I recommend this entire trilogy.

Adventure / Family

  • A Dog’s Purpose – by W. Bruce Cameron

This book stands apart from the other recommended books. This is a much lighter read intended for younger readers or dog lovers.

The plot involves a dog’s search for its purpose over the course of multiple lives. The story is even told from the viewpoint of a dog. I really enjoyed this unique book.

If you need a light read and love dogs, this book is for you. The book is now even a motion picture.

Nonfiction

Memoirs

  1. Long Way Gone – by Ishmael Beah

I first read this book as a junior in high school for summer reading. This is one of the few books that I enjoyed for summer reading, and it is the book that eventually got me into reading books outside of school.

This book is a memoir, the firsthand account of a collection of memories in a person’s life. Ishmael Beah writes about his experiences as a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone, which took place between 1991 and 2002. Beah’s experience in war changed him, turning him from an innocent boy into a soldier, capable of many violent acts.

There are not many firsthand accounts of child soldiers that are this in-depth. Ishmael’s story is fascinating, unique, and almost unbelievable. The amazing aspect about his story is that it is very much true.

  • Educated – by Tara Westover

Educated is about Tara Westover’s journey from being a child in a survivalist Mormon family to eventually getting her PhD at Cambridge. Growing up, Tara’s father did not believe in the formal school system or hospitals. Therefore, Tara did not receive a formal education until she was 17. Throughout the book, Tara learns there is a vast world outside of the mountains of Idaho with people that have far different beliefs and experiences than she does.

Educated was arguably the book of the summer last year. Like A Long Way Gone, Tara’s story is unique and equally captivating. Throughout her memoir, Tara transforms from a young child who believes everything she is told into a woman who is curious about the world. Tara is inspiring, and every reader should pick up this book at some point.

History

  • Three Days at the Brink – by Brett Baier and Catherine Whitney

Three Days at the Brink focuses on the Tehran Conference during World War II, a meeting between Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin. The meeting would be crucial to planning D-Day and bringing an end to the war.

While the book concentrates on the Tehran Conference and FDR’s journey to the presidency, Baier and Whitney give a clear picture of WWII from beginning to end. The “Big Three” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin – move beyond just being names in a history book. They come to life, having personalities, habits, and characteristics.

To anyone wanting to learn more about WWII and one of the decisive moments of the war, this is the perfect book for you.

  • Beneath a Scarlet Sky – by Mark T. Sullivan

This book is based on actual events. A young boy named Pino helps Jews escape the Nazis over the Alps into Switzerland. Eventually, Pino’s parents try to protect him from being caught by forcing him to enlist in the Nazi army. He becomes the personal driver for one of Adolf Hitler’s most trusted generals. Pino courageously decides to spy on the general for the Allies, endangering himself and his family in the process.

While this book is a true story, it reads like a thriller. Pino is a very passionate and courageous character, who is willing to do anything for what is right. The story is filled with suspense, love, action, and the horrors of war. Not a page in this novel is dull. One of my all-time favorite books.

Author: Hunter Anderson

Why you should buy instead of renting?

Buying rather than renting is a better choice for several reasons, primarily including the opportunity to build equity and the stability that home ownership offers, as rent prices continue to increase every year. Below are three reasons outlining why buying is a better option then renting:

Equity

Building equity is a key consideration to most homebuyers when deciding to transition from renting to ownership. Buying your own home with a fixed rate mortgage essentially acts as protection from inflation in the rental market. Every year rental prices will increase, no matter the area in which you live, leading you to sink an ever-increasing amount of money into your housing expenses. However, with a fixed rate mortgage, your annual payment remains fixed across the term of your mortgage essentially holding your “rent” i.e. mortgage payment constant for fifteen or thirty years depending on your loan, while your friends will be stuck paying ever increasing rent.

Home valuations continue to increase consistently meaning that your investment in your home will increase in value. In the long run, it is actually more cost efficient to own your own home! The money that you are currently using to pay for rent could instead be used to build equity in your home. Owning a home helps build a valuable asset for you and your family!

It’s Yours

You can do whatever you want with it! Your home, your call! Instead of getting a landlord’s approval or being constrained by rental guidelines, you can do whatever you want to your house. You can fix flooring, you can add appliances, you can essentially do anything! Since this house is your home, it is worth investing time and money into it. You can create your dream home!

Stability

Tired of moving? Need to get away from your roommate? Well, you can stop moving! When you own your own home, you can enjoy a level of stability missing in rentals and can finally settle down! You can live there as long as you want! It is a pain to keep moving and to constantly be making decisions about where to live next or renegotiating your lease. Owning your home frees you from making those constant decisions!

Don’t look back! Now is the time to buy, especially in 2020! Interest rates are very low and homes are particularly affordable. Buying a home will be one of the best decisions you will make!

Author: Austin Anderson

Why you should consider buying in Nashville

Nashville is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country over the last decade. It seems as if everybody from every state is moving here! The boom in this city has been tremendous. Beyond just being considered Music City, Nashville is known for it’s sport teams, barbecue, schools, churches, a great job market while maintaining a cost of living, which is comparatively low for other large cities.

Economy

Nashville is growing rapidly every day boasting the third fastest growing economy in the United States as of 2017. Nashville is home to the second largest music production center behind New York City, and the music production industry brings in over 50,000 jobs a year. Nashville is also the hottest housing market in the United States! Compared to other cities, Nashville also has one of the lowest unemployment rates. If you are looking for a first job or a place to continue your career path, I would really consider looking into Nashville.

Sports

If you are a sports fan like me, then Nashville is the place to come. Nashville has a professional hockey team, a professional football team, a college football team, a minor league baseball team, and regularly hosts college tournaments and college bowl games, such as the SEC Basketball Championship.  Nashville is nicknamed “Smashville” because of the Nashville Predators who are a member of the National Hockey League (NHL).  The fans here in Nashville are some of the most passionate fans I have ever seen. There is nothing more exciting than to watch the Preds play at home in Bridgestone Arena! Also, Nashville is a huge football city, given it is the home of the Tennessee Titans. You can attend just about any sport event here in Nashville. If you have a family and want to get your kids involved with sports then Nashville is the place to be.

Entertainment

Nashville is not nicknamed Music City for nothing! Entertainment is a big reason why Nashville is a huge tourist attraction. Nashville has some of the best entertainment in the United States. Downtown Broadway is one of them!  If you like going bar hoping and hanging out with friends then you will love downtown Broadway. Nashville is also home to many great concerts. Venues throughout Nashville hosts shows just about every weekend. You can also enjoy live music downtown any day of the week. The buzz in this city is outstanding. You will never get bored!

Food

Food is probably my favorite thing about Nashville. Although barbeque might be the first thing that Nashville brings to mind, there is so much more! Nashville has so countless varieties of restaurants. I grew up in the New Jersey and New York area so I have been to my share of restaurants, but Nashville is truly number one when it comes to food. They have great steakhouses, as well as many family owned, unique spots, and restaurants in every category of food you could dream of.

Family Friendly

Nashville is great for families! It is a huge reason why my family and I moved here eleven years ago. Nashville is full of great neighborhoods with a lot of great families. Nashville also has great school system. Both the public and private schools in the Nashville area are top notch. They are some of the best in the United States. Nashville is the entertainment city, which is a great place to get your children involved in schools, groups, churches, and numerous other activities. Finally, Nashville hospitality cannot be beat, making Nashville an ultra-welcoming place, which is an especially important factor when deciding where to make your new home.

Nashville is truly one of the best places to live in the United States. You get the best of everything! If you want good food, good entertainment, and a great job then come to Nashville. Reach out to me and let me find you your dream home in a great neighborhood! Let’s do this!

You can reach me directly at 615-478-1328 or send me an email: austin.anderson@parksathome.com

Why you should hire a real estate agent, like myself?

Realtors are not just agents that help you buy or sell a home; they are professionals at what they do! Realtors spend countless days and nights looking over market conditions, searching the Multiple Listing Service, and making sure that they satisfy their clients’ needs. Below are three reasons you should hire an agent:

We are professionals. Buying and selling homes can be very complicated. There are countless forms and disclosures to fill out. We, as your agent, help you get the best deal possible and also help avoid costly mistakes. We also know the market very well, and we are familiar with different neighborhoods and school zones in the area. We have all the tools and resources to make sure you get the house of your dreams and you get best selling price possible!

It can save you time. Selling and buying houses is basically a full-time job! When you are working and providing for your kids, real estate agents come along and make your life a whole lot easier. They put in the work everyday to make sure your needs are met. I can’t imagine having a job and also having to search for homes, holding open houses, or trying to advertise your property, it’s impossible. We “as agents”, can save you a lot of time!

We have experience. We do this every day. Every morning when we get up till we go to bed, we are studying the market and satisfying clients’ needs. We have been trained countless hours on real estate. We have passed our exams and also continue to complete continuing education classes. We are professionals in this field! For example, if your toilet is leaking, are you going to fix it yourself or hire a plumber? I hope a plumber! It’s the same thing with real estate! Our experience is very valuable and worth the cost involved!

I am here to help you buy or sell!

Phone: (615)-478-1328

Email: Austin.anderson@parksathome.com

Best Places to Watch a Game at?

Watching sports is one of my favorite pastimes, and if you’re anything like me, you are also counting down the days until live sports will be broadcasted again/return! I’m looking forward to watching the Tom Brady and Peyton Manning with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson golf match on May 24th. In anticipation of sports returning, I compiled five of my favorite places to watch a game at and catch up with friends.

DOUBLE DOGS

Double Dogs has consistently been one of my favorite places to watch sport games. Their Hillsboro Village location has over twenty-five tvs, offers incredible wings, and, perhaps most importantly, ice cold beer! It seems to be always packed so make sure that you plan to arrive early for any local games!

YEEHAW

Yeehaw is an excellent place to hang out with friends, watch a game, and sample new local brews. Given that they are primarily a brewery, their drink selection is typically limited to beer, but they have a massive screen that they always air the biggest games on. Additionally, they have a great outside area with even more tvs, which makes it one of my favorite places in Nashville.

NEIGHBORS GERMANTON

Neighbors is a classic sports bar in a great location in Germanton. It is always humming with activity so make sure to get there early if you’re looking to watch a game. Also, come hungry because they smoke all of their meats in house and have over twenty beers on tap!

BREWHOUSE

Brewhouse has several locations around the Nashville area, and all of the locations are great! They have nearly fifty tvs so you can follow any game or multiple games at once! To top it off, they have one of the most extensive beer selections I have ever seen. Personally, this is my favorite place to watch basketball and baseball games.

HEADQUARTERS BEERCADE

This bar might just have the largest screen in all of Nashville. Headquarters Beercade is a unique and cool bar to visit. Not only can you stop by for a drink and to watch game, they also have several arcade games to keep you busy. Headquarters Beercade plays every Predators game as well as NFL games and cater to Michigan Wolverine fans when football season rolls around. Be sure to take advantage of/on the look-out for their game day specials too!

Top 5 Restaurants to go to after quarantine:

  1. Date Night

Barcelona Wine Bar

This is one of the best places I have ever been too. Excellent tapas selection, great cocktails, awesome vibe, and, most importantly, great wine! I really recommend the patatas bravas-it is one of my favorites! This is one of the first places I am going to hit up with my fiancé once it reopens.

2. Casual Dining

Rock Bottom

Rock Bottom is located in the heart of downtown Nashville, right on Broadway. It is great if you are hungry downtown and want a bite to eat! They have great beer and also great food, especially the nachos! This will be one of my first stops after quarantine!

3. Dinner with Friends

Von Elrod’s

Von Elrod’s is the perfect place to go with some of your buddies. They have a great beer selection and great atmosphere. Located just outside First Tennessee Ballpark, they have a great patio where you can hang out with friends, enjoy a beer, and play some games!

4. Fine Dining

Kayne Prime

Kayne Prime is easily one of the best restaurants in Nashville. Their steaks are cooked to perfection and prepared at an extremely high level of expertise. The atmosphere is unparalleled. From start to finish the staff will ensure that you are getting the best possible service while enjoying one of the best meals Nashville has to offer.

5. Favorite Lunch spot

Five Points Pizza

Five Points pizza is the closest you will get to authentic New York style pizza while at home in Music City! It is my favorite in Nashville, and is a great lunch spot if you are feeling a slice! I highly recommend it! Also, you have to get the garlic knots–they are the best in town!

Quarantine Cooking

As you all know, we have had a lot more time spent at home due to COVID-19. During this time, my fiancé and I have been doing a lot of cooking, and we have enjoyed having the opportunity to experiment and try new recipes that we normally do not have the time to make. This post highlights some of our favorites. I hope you and your family are staying healthy and are also able to enjoy some more time in the kitchen:

Above you can see pictures of Chicken Kabobs, Pasta Bolognese, Ribeye Steak with homemade French Fries, Tapas, Rotisserie Chicken Salad, Steak Burgers, and Philly Cheesesteak

My personal favorite: Pasta Bolognese

Recipe

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup whole milk
  2. 1/2 cup chopped onion
  3. 2/3 cup chopped celery
  4. 2/3 cup chopped carrot
  5. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  6. 3 tablespoons butter
  7. Salt
  8. Pepper
  9. 1 cup dry white wine
  10. Dash of ground nutmeg
  11. 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  12. 1 lb cooked pasta
  13. Parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  14. 1 lb beef ground beef chunk
  15. Garlic Powder

Instructions

  1. Combine oil, butter, and chopped onion in a heavy bottomed pot. Put the pot on medium. After the onion has softened, add the chopped celery and carrot. Cook for three minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the ground beef and let it cook until browned. Then add some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir until combined.
  3. Add milk into the pot and let it simmer. Make sure to stir frequently until the milk has evaporated. Then add a dash of nutmeg.
  4. Then add the wine and simmer until wine has also evaporated. Then you add tomatoes. Make sure to mix everything up so it is all coated. After about 5 minutes, turn the heat to simmer and cook for about three hours. After your Bolognese sauce has simmered for approximately three hours, season to taste, and add in your favorite cooked pasta—mine is pappardelle!