Knoxville Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Multiple Offers in Seller's Markets: Sometimes homebuyers wonder if it's even worth trying to compete against other buyers in a seller's market. It's not unusual for a seller to receive two, three, four, or even more offers when there's very little inventory on the market.

It's almost always a good idea to write an offer anyway. Somebody will be the winning offer. Why can't that person be you? 

Write Your Best Offer: Don't hope for negotiation in a seller's market. Offer your highest price, one you can live with if your offer should be rejected. Do your best!

Tim Sharp 865-705-2062  REALTOR “listing agent and buyer’s specialist Realtor”.  He can be reached by phone, email, or even by text messaging. Just Listed Knoxville Real Estate

Oct. 27, 2021

Fountain City Social, An 80’s-Themed Bar In East Tennessee

Celebrate The 1980’s At The Fountain City Social, An 80’s-Themed Bar In East Tennessee

The 1980s may be in the past, but there’s really nothing quite like a step back in time on date night to spice things up. Fountain City Social just opened in Knoxville, Tennessee, and although this ’80s themed bar is still fairly new, the quality is top-notch and the experience is one you can’t replicate. If you’re looking for a fun night out and about in the city, we’ve found exactly where you need to be…

During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.

What a fun place to visit! Did you know there was an ’80s themed bar in Tennessee?! You can learn more about Fountain City Social either at its official website or Facebook page.

Happy fall, Tennessee! Don’t miss out on the fall foliage map that shows you when to see fall colors in Tennessee. It’s a pretty neat season we have coming up, and we can’t wait to experience it alongside all of our favorite Tennesseans.t

Address: Fountain City Social, 4842 Harvest Mill Way, Knoxville, TN 37918, USA
Posted in Community News
Oct. 22, 2021

TVA River Neighbors - October 2021


Greetings, River Neighbors!

Fall is one of the best times to enjoy some downtime on TVA’s public lands. After such a long, hot summer, it’s refreshing to enjoy some nice fall temperatures.

Our six managed campgrounds are scheduled to close for the winter on November 15, so you still have time to plan a trip. And don’t forget, there are plenty of dispersed recreational areas open year-round where you can enjoy some time with nature. If sleeping in a tent isn’t your preference, enjoy the comforts of home in your RV while still visiting TVA campgrounds.

What better time than Halloween to learn about bats? Bats get a bad rap, you know. International Bat Week is this month and it’s a good time to learn about what TVA does to help protect these important species.

As it gets cooler, winter drawdown will arrive at TVA reservoirs. You can stay on top of the latest information with our Lake Info app.

In our next issue we’ll include ideas and suggestions for enjoying the outdoors even in the chill. Until then, we invite you to visit a new trail, perhaps a lake you haven’t seen before. Feel free to use the hashtag #tvafun so we’ll see your pictures. Have a safe and enjoyable autumn.

Allen Clare
VP, TVA River & Resources Stewardship


Little fish, big comeback

The snail darter is a tiny fish that once halted an enormous project—Tellico Dam. TVA and its partners set to work making sure this endangered species was no longer endangered. Now, that milestone has been reached. Learn more about how it happened!


Speeding up the process – Section 26a permits

Any construction activity along or in the Tennessee River or its tributaries requires a Section 26a permit, often called a shoreline permit. Watershed Representative Jori Chatman and her colleagues assist applicants in obtaining their 26a permits. Discover what Jori’s day is like and how she works to make site visits happen sooner and get requests in the hands of TVA’s expert reviewers more readily.


TVA biologists find rare “livers of the rivers”

TVA biologists ended the summer by surveying the mussels of Elk River tailwaters — a 130-mile stream that flows from the base of Tims Ford Dam in Lincoln County, Tennessee to Alabama’s Wheeler Reservoir.


Hydro “remote control” system gets a reboot

TVA is investing $20 million to upgrade these systems that are crucial to operating our generating fleet and managing flood control.


Please – leave no trace when you camp

TVA’s campsites are popular attractions all year round, hosting thousands of visitors. But by leaving behind trash and litter, some campers spoil the experience for the next ones who arrive. Please help us curb littering and illegal dumping. Find out how.


Find your inspiration this autumn in the Valley

For as long as paint has existed, autumn has inspired artists as they blend just the right color for leaves drifting across the canvas. But a painting cannot imitate the sounds of geese flying south nor the stunning shafts of afternoon light on a fall day.

The Tennessee Valley, with its numerous streams and lakes are made for cool-weather camping, fishing or hunting. Others enjoy hiking through swirling orange and yellow leaves or trying to capture the splendor with a camera. TVA Natural Resources encourages you to find out what inspires you this fall, by discovering Explore TRV, the map guide of the Tennessee River Valley.


Colorful autumn hikes

The Tennessee Valley is at its best when fall brings out glorious color in the trees. Here are six spectacular hikes that even the most jaded leafers will absolutely love.


Ladies and gentlemen, start your paddles

Five new communities have been accepted to the Tennessee RiverTowns Program as part of the Tennessee RiverLine, North America’s next great regional trail system. As one of program’s benchmarks, these communities must each host two paddle events annually. Bottom line, ten, brand new paddling events will be available in the Valley in 2022. This is in addition to annual paddle events currently being hosted by those already in the program. Talk about a reason to travel the valley in 2022, this is it! Ladies and gentlemen, start your paddles!


Full-on fall camping weather is here

What do hardcore and fair-weather campers have in common? October is their favorite month to rough it in the deep woods or visit a Camp-Right Campground with everything from pup tents to a state-of-the-art RVs.

Along with the temperature, the humidity is perfect. And because October is the valley’s driest month, chances are good that every activity, from biking to fishing to photographing fall’s stunning wildflowers can be enjoyed in ideal weather. TVA Natural Resources encourages you to peruse the list of eco-friendly campgrounds that are proud to be certified Tennessee Valley Camp-Right Campgrounds.

P.S. Don’t forget to make your 2022 reservations!


Tennessee Valley Clean Marinas

Environmental excellence no matter the weather
It’s that time of year, when lake levels on many of TVA’s reservoirs are dropping in preparation for the heavy rains of winter. TVA prepares for the winter flood season by lowering the level of flood-storage reservoirs to make room for the runoff produced by winter storms. Discover more about the drawdown, and don’t forget to stop by a Tennessee Valley Clean Marina for information on how to safely navigate the river during fall and winter months. Get additional safe boating tips.


The Wayback Machine

Are you ready to pitch a tent? People come from near and far, year after year, to enjoy TVA’s campgrounds. Here, campers enjoy Rushing Creek on Kentucky Lake in August, 1966.


Explore with the Tennessee River Valley MapGuide
Looking for new places to explore by foot, car or boat? Check out the Tennessee River Valley MapGuide. There are plenty of things to see and do close to home.

Got a question? Pick the PLIC
TVA’s Public Land Information Center (PLIC) is your single source for answers to questions about a variety of public land topics including recreational opportunities and shoreline permits. Call (800) 882-5263 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET or submit your question using the online form.

Maintenance news
Keep up with road closings, bridge repairs, and other news.

Past issues
Browse the River Neighbors archive.

Boone Dam Project
We publish this newsletter to keep TVA's stakeholders informed about the programs and projects associated with TVA’s environmental stewardship, recreation and river management efforts.

Our mailing address is:
Tennessee Valley Authority
400 West Summit Hill Drive
KnoxvilleTN 37902

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Posted in Community News
Oct. 3, 2021

Inflation to remain high well into 2022 ® As always, I want to keep you informed of the latest happenings in our local real estate market.

Inflation to remain high well into 2022 “Fed Chair Powell” For homeowners today, as well consumers looking to buy a home, inflation is your friend. “ John Burns Real Estate Consulting, LLC.” 

Your monthly mortgage costs will be fixed for 30 years while home prices continually rise creating more home value.

Bottom, your income goes up and your biggest expense stays flat if you are a homeowner. 

Posted in Buying
July 12, 2021

What to Know About Home Inspectors.


The record-setting pace and sale prices in Tennessee’s real estate market are the talk of news stories, office water coolers and social media. While the Volunteer State’s strong housing market is proof that Tennessee has the right mix of leadership, employment and recreational opportunities, some consumers and real estate professionals may find themselves caught up in the breakneck pace and overlook crucial information when it comes to the role that home inspectors can play in the purchase of a home.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) and the Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) want to eliminate confusion that may arise when it comes to home inspections and the role home inspectors play.

Home inspections are an educational asset that can help buyers make informed choices about the home they are considering purchasing. A licensed home inspector is an independent professional apart from the real estate agent or mortgage lender who provides a visual evaluation of the property.

TREC reminds real estate professionals and consumers alike to learn what a home inspector actually does during an inspection. During an inspection, a home inspector visually inspects a home’s structural components (foundation, floors, roof and walls), windows, heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical systems. When the inspector has completed his or her inspection, the inspector then creates a detailed report explaining the areas of the house that require repair or could potentially become problematic in the future.

Learning what a home inspection does not entail is equally important as many consumers mistakenly think home inspectors have more duties than they are actually required by law to include.

Home inspectors are not required to:

Walk a home’s roof.

Enter a home’s crawl space.

Look for mold or microorganisms though the report might note their presence, but probably need follow-up by a specialist.

Offer or perform any act or service contrary to law.

Offer or perform any other job function requiring a license such as engineering, architectural, plumbing or electrical work.

To help eliminate confusion, TREC is sharing a new message with licensees including a press release and a blog post highlighting the work of licensed Tennessee home inspectors. For other questions or concerns please reach out to us at or (615) 741-2273.


Caitlin Maxwell

TREC Executive Director

Posted in Buying
Jan. 8, 2021

Instant Reaction: Mortgage Rates, January 7, 2021

BlogsEconomists' Outlook

Instant Reaction: Mortgage Rates, January 7, 2021

January 7, 2021Mortgage FinancingBy: Nadia Evangelou

Mortgage rates started the new year with a new record low. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropped this week to 2.65% from 2.67% the previous week, although the 10-year Treasury yield is moving upwards. In fact, the 10-year Treasury yield hit 1.04% for the first time since March when the pandemic began. Yields, which rise when bond prices fall, are climbing as investors’ sentiment has been buoyed by the possibility of additional stimulus and higher government spending from the new administration that could fuel economic growth. Although yields increased sharply this week, remember that they are still historically low around 1%. In fact, yields ranged from 5% to 9% in the 1990s and 3% to 6% in the early 2000s.


Given that mortgage rates usually track with the 10-year Treasury note, we should closely follow the trend of the 10-year yield. Historically, the difference between the 30-year fixed-rate and the 10-year Treasury yield is around 1.8%, implying that mortgage rates will also pick up this year. However, expect mortgage rates to rise modestly hovering near record lows this year. NAR is forecasting the 10-year yield to average 1.1% and mortgage rates 3.1% in 2021, respectively.

Posted in Mortgage
Jan. 4, 2021

15 New Real Estate Reality TV Shows

Curious about what new shows you can enjoy in the new year? Check out these noteworthy picks (air dates listed if available), and learn which one (or few) is perfect for you.

1. 'Ty Breaker'

Carpenter Ty Pennington rose to fame as the host of "Trading Spaces" and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," and now he’s heading back to TV with his new HGTV show, "Ty Breaker," which will premiere on Jan. 11.

In this series, Pennington is joined by HGTV stars Alison Victoria ("Windy City Rehab"), Grace Mitchell ("One of a Kind"), and Sabrina Soto ("The High Low Project"), who rotate as the show's guest designers as Pennington helps conflicted homeowners decide whether to fix up their current home or start over with a new place.

This show is perfect for people torn between embarking on a big renovation or a big move, exploring the challenges and rewards of both paths.

2. 'Home Town: Ben's Workshop'

Ben Napier is known for his HGTV show "Home Town," where he and his wife, Erin Napier, rehab old homes in Mississippi. In the show, Ben is always building custom furnishings to make the houses feel more like home—and now he's getting his own show where he'll get to focus on those crafty creations.

In this new Discovery+ series out on Jan. 4, Ben will be joined by celebrity guests as he shares his expertise in carpentry and craftsmanship. This show is sure to be a win for "Home Town" fans and carpentry buffs alike.

3. 'Home Town Takeover'

It looks like the Napiers will have a busy 2021. In addition to Ben’s new solo show, the couple will premiere a new HGTV series, “Home Town Takeover,” where they renovate an entire town.


Watch: Exclusive: HGTV's Orlando Soria Gives Us a Tour of His Home

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The town they chose for this season is the community of Wetumpka, AL, which has a population of just 8,278. That may be small, but transforming the whole neighborhood is nonetheless a massive undertaking. Take a look if you're curious about what goes into transforming the community outside your own front door.

4. 'Frozen in Time'

"Frozen in Time" follows designer Dan Vickery and Maureen McCormick(who played Marcia in "The Brady Bunch") as they team up to fix old Southern California homes that are stuck in the past. They'll take homes that were built in the '50s, '60s, and '70s and modernize them—while still preserving their vintage charm.

Fans of stuck-in-a-time-warp old homes will love seeing them morph into modern marvels on Discovery+ on Jan. 4.

5. 'Restoration Road'

Chip and Joanna Gaines are premiering many great new series on their Magnolia Network, but one—"Restoration Road"—stands out since it stars an old "Fixer Upper" friend.

The show follows Clint Harp, who's best known for his furniture creations on "Fixer Upper," as he travels the country in search of the most exciting restoration and renovation projects, like run-down barns and historic inns. It's a can't-miss for those interested in extreme fixer-uppers and beautiful destinations across the country.

6. 'Bespoke Kitchens'

Another one of Chip and Jo’s new Magnolia shows, "Bespoke Kitchens," follows Paul O'Leary, a furniture designer, and Helen Parker, an interior designer, as they whip up the most beautiful kitchen spaces.

This show is a perfect choice for any homeowner who cooks up a storm, and wants to make their kitchen even more functional and fabulous than ever.

7. 'Home Work'

While Chip and Joanna have so many exciting shows coming to Magnolia, “Home Work” speaks specifically to families who are outgrowing their homes. In this show, parents of seven Candis and Andy Meredith take an old schoolhouse and make it their dream home via some genius renovations. It's sure to inspire all who need to find clever ways to carve out more space at home for a nursery, home office, or otherwise.

8. 'Home Again With the Fords'

You may know Steve and Leanne Ford from HGTV's "Restored By the Fords," but in 2021, this brother and sister team is expanding its empire with another HGTV show.

"Home Again With the Fords" will follow the Fords as they help clients renovate their childhood homes. Anyone who's ever dreamed of making over their childhood home will love how the Fords update these spaces while preserving treasured family memories.

9. 'Everything But the House'

Need some organization motivation for the new year? Lara Spencer, host of HGTV’s “Flea Market Flip,” will star in "Everything But the House," where she helps homeowners declutter and arrange their belongings, and even auction off some surprisingly valuable items hiding in attics and basements. Whether you're curious if your antiques are worth something or just eager to let them go, here's that kick in the pants you need.

10. 'Cabin Crew'

Have you ever dreamed of living in a cozy cabin? Then you'll dig HGTV’s “Cabin Crew,” where husband and wife Ben and Loana Sargent transform old Vermont cabins and cottages into fabulous dream homes. It's a must-see for anyone who wants a little house in the woods that's decked out with all the luxuries of modern life.

11. 'Fresh Starter'

Not all homeowners have big budgets, which is why HGTV's "Fresh Starter" stars couple Austin Coleman and Raisa Kuddus as they help young clients create custom starter homes on small budgets. If you want to renovate on a shoestring, this show will give you plenty of ideas.

12. 'Self-Made Mansions'

While "Fresh Starter" focuses on starter homes, "Self-Made Mansions" is all about luxury living. This new HGTV series stars Clinton Kelly (from "What Not To Wear"), who helps self-made millionaires find the perfect home. It’s a must-watch for those looking for high-end real estate, but it's also perfect for those who just like to dream.

13. 'My Lottery Dream Home International'

If you won millions in the lottery, you'd buy a palatial mansion abroad, right? In HGTV's "My Lottery Dream Home International," British interior designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen will help lottery winners find their dream home in Europe. It's perfect for those fantasizing about an overseas escape in 2021.

14. 'Unfinished Business'

Have you ever started a home project and failed to finish it? HGTV's "Unfinished Business" is all about those halfway done projects. In the series, contractor Tom Reber will help families finally complete their handy home undertakings—timely inspiration for viewers dragging their feet on those quarantine upgrades they swear they'll do someday.

15. 'Inside out'

In quarantine, many Americans realized just how important outside space can be. And HGTV's new show "Inside Out," starring designer Carmine Sabatella and landscaper Mike Pyle, provides plenty of ideas to make the most of your home—inside and out. From jungle gyms to fire pits to pools and beyond, these renovations are great fuel for anyone with a large backyard and no idea what to do with it.

Jillian Pretzel is a Southern California writer who covers lifestyle, relationships, home, and money management.
Posted in TRENDS
Jan. 4, 2021

National LGBTQ non-profits

National LGBTQ non-profits listed below. We will never stop defending, supporting, and fighting for our LGBTQ community.

The goal of the Family Equality Council is to advance legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families and those who wish to form them by strengthening our communities, transforming hearts and minds, and by leading the way for policy change. 


Matthew Shepard Foundation has been working to erase hate for over 20 years. Through outreach, advocacy, and resource programs, empowering individuals to embrace human dignity and diversity, replacing hate with understanding, compassion, and acceptance.


NLGJA is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators, and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBTQ issues. NLGJA is dedicated to the highest journalistic standards in the coverage of LGBTQ issues.


The GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that has been providing peer-support, community connections, and resource information for people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity since 1996.


The National Center for Transgender Equality advocates for meaningful policy change and improves societal understanding and acceptance of transgender people. NCTE envisions a society in which transgender people not only survive but thrive.


Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.


Dedicated to elevating openly LGBTQ leaders. Through our training and professional development programs, each year assisting hundreds of individuals who go on to influential careers in politics, government, business, and advocacy.


The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the largest LGBTQ advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States. The organization focuses on protecting and expanding individual LGBTQ rights advocating for anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation.


Point Foundation is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students of merit. Point promotes change through scholarship funding, mentorship, leadership development, and community service.


GLAAD is a media company that has been accelerating acceptance of the LGBTQ community for over 30 years. Their mission is to tackle tough issues affecting the LGBTQ community and provoke meaningful dialogue that changes our culture for the better. 


Equality California brings the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people.


Lambda Legal, founded in 1973, is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit legal organization. They are committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights for the LGBTQ community, and anyone living with HIV, through impactful litigation, education, and public policy work.


Transgender Law Center changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.


We make aging better for LGBT people nationwide. We show up and speak out for the issues that matter to us. We teach. We answer your calls. We connect—generations, each other, allies. We win. And together, we celebrate.


The World’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and advocacy. Building on decades of expertise, we understand the reality of HIV/AIDS and empower a healthy life for all. GMHC fights to end the AIDS epidemic and uplift the lives of all affected.


The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union — beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.


Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice is focused on issues related to LGBT and intersex rights. The organization provides grants to individuals and organizations, promotes philanthropy, and provides capacity-building assistance.


The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives.


MISSION: Creating a vibrant community by helping LGBTQ people along their way. VISION: Thriving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, living authentically in support inclusive communities. VALUES: Respect, Excellence, Inclusiveness, Fun, Integrity


Equality Federation is the movement builder and strategic partner to state-based organizations advocating for LGBTQ people. From Equality Florida to Freedom Oklahoma to Basic Rights Oregon, we amplify the power of the state-based LGBTQ movement.


Ultimately, we strive for a day when: race is not a barrier to health and wellness; substance use is not stigmatized; HIV status does not determine quality of life; and HIV transmission is eliminated.

Posted in TRENDS
Jan. 1, 2021

Turn Over a New Leaf with an Organized, Decluttered Home

A busy life and a bustling household can make it tough to keep clutter under control. While some disorganization in your home is simply a sign of living a normal life, being surrounded by clutter can cause feelings of anxiety and inhibit productivity and creativity. If you want to transform your home — and your life — now is a great time to get organized. These tips and tricks will help you create a tidy home so you can enjoy your space stress-free.

Benefits of Decluttering and Organizing

Decluttering and organizing make your home look and feel cleaner, and it helps you maximize your space and more fully enjoy your surroundings. But the benefits don’t end there. These are some of the far-reaching advantages of getting organized at home.

Reduce stress and anxiety

When your home is organized and free of clutter, you’ll feel a reduced sense of stress and anxiety. Being surrounded by too much “stuff” can feel overwhelming and get in the way of your ability to relax or stay productive.

Improve Focus and Creativity

Uncluttered surroundings make it easier to stay focused on the tasks at hand—you’re not getting distracted with having to look for things, and you don’t have that nagging feeling that you should be tidying up. Once you organize your home, you’ll probably start to feel more creative, and your productivity will improve.

Promote Better Sleep

The more cluttered your bedroom, the more likely you are to suffer from a sleep disorder, according to a recent study. When everything is in its place, it’s much easier to relax and unwind at the end of the day, and when you step into a clean, tidy bedroom, you’ll feel calm and content as you slip into bed.

Improve Energy Flow

Decluttering is an effective way to improve the flow of energy and foot traffic in your home. Unimpeded by clutter, your spaces will feel calmer, brighter, easier to navigate, and more pleasant to be in.

Rediscover Old Treasures

In the process of decluttering, you’ll probably find some treasures you haven’t seen for a while, like boxes of family photos or videos, packed-away baby keepsakes, or a pile of newspaper clippings or special art the kids made. Set these aside, and make a project out of turning them into albums, scrapbooks, edited videos, or other memorabilia.

Make Someone’s Day

You’ll also probably find some things while you’re organizing that make you wonder why on earth you’ve been holding onto them all these years, like abandoned sports equipment, rarely-used kitchen gadgets that just take up space, and that huge collection of suitcases you don’t need. You’ll get a warm feeling when you give these items to someone who’s happy to take them off your hands.

The Best Time to Organize Your Home

Anytime is a good time to get organized! Many people use the changing of the seasons to carve out some time to declutter and deep-clean. Spring and fall are ideal times for washing the windows, steaming the carpets, and cleaning and turning the mattresses. But other circumstances may also present the opportunity to do a quick declutter — or a major overhaul of your belongings:

  • During the holiday season, getting organized will help you keep your home tidy for visitors, highlight your festive decorations, and make hosting a breeze.
  • Any time you move into a new place, take the opportunity to go through every single belonging you have and say goodbye to things you no longer want or need.
  • If you’re in the mood to remodel a bedroom closet or clean out the pantry, do a deep dive into the stuff that you’re storing there, and pare it down.
  • Parents of older children who are moving out can take advantage of the extra space by doing some decluttering — but don’t throw anything out until you run it by the offspring!

Home Detox Decluttering, Room by Room

To truly declutter your home, you’ll need to do a thorough “detox.” Most of us focus on the bathroom, bedroom, and closets when we think of organizing, but there are many other areas of your home that could probably use some extra organization. If you feel overwhelmed, start with small spaces first and work your way toward larger rooms as you go.

Hallway and Living Room: Store coats and shoes in a closet or storage bench, and tidy up the living room by putting away toys, stacks of clothes, books, and miscellaneous items that are in the way.

Yard Shed/Garage: Sort through your shed and garage, and decide what you no longer need. Use a pegboard to hang small tools, and install sturdy hooks on the walls and ceiling to hang bicycles, lawn and garden tools, and sporting equipment.

Laundry/Kitchen: Make it a habit to tidy up these two areas every day if possible. Put your clean laundry away, wipe down kitchen countertops, and keep your sink free of dirty dishes (as often as you can!).

Home Office/Important Documents: Go through all of your bills, receipts, tax and legal documents, and important items. Some records should be shredded, but you’ll want to keep some documents, like IRS filings and other tax-related paperwork, for approximately five years.

Playroom/Craft Room: Organize toys into bins, and keep craft items organized in storage boxes with a label. Determine what to donate and what to throw away every time you declutter these rooms to keep excess stuff to a minimum, which makes playing and crafting more enjoyable.

Storage Areas: Declutter closets and pantries often to make it easy to find the things you need. Tackle areas like the basement and attic, sort items into categories items by category, making sure that only the things you truly need are still there.

Create Sorting Categories

A home detox starts by determining which items you plan to keep, and which items you don’t. You can make the process easier by creating specific sorting categories for every single item that moves through your hands. Label boxes, bags, or baskets with the category, and if an item in question doesn’t go back into the space you’re cleaning, put it in the appropriate receptacle. Here are some helpful categories, but use what works for you and the space you’re organizing — you may need a pile for mending when you’re organizing clothes, or a pile for hazardous disposal when you’re organizing under the sink.

Donate: These items can be anything that you feel a charity or nonprofit organization would benefit from. Think about where you plan to donate items first, and find out where to drop them off. Make sure the items are in good condition before you add them to your “donate” category.

Give Away: Whether it’s your child’s old bike that’s now the perfect size for his cousin, or you’re sorting through your clothes and have friends in mind who might like something, consider giving some of your items away to friends or family members who’d love to have them.

Toss/Junk Removal: Throw away smaller, worn-out items that can’t be upcycled or recycled. If you don’t have a way to haul larger items like furniture or appliances to the dump, contact a local junk removal company to haul them away.

Recycled/Upcycled: Some items, like old clothing or furniture, can be upcycled into something new. Give an old table some creative TLC, and use it on the porch. Turn a bag of old t-shirts or a bunch of old jeans into a quilt. If an item is irreparable and can’t be upcycled, see if it’s recyclable. If not, it’ll have to go in the trash.

Put in Storage: Some of your belongings — seasonal wardrobes, holiday decorations, or a crib you’re planning on using again — may simply need to be put into storage. Decide where they’ll go, and make an appropriate pile.

How to Know What to Keep

As you begin your decluttering adventure, it’s important to set some criteria for determining what’s worth keeping and what isn’t. Here are two major questions to consider:

Do you (or someone in the household) use this item? If you’re deep inside a closet and find the ironing board you haven’t seen in seven years, get rid of it. If you have a complex, hulking food processor that you used once in college to make hummus ditch it. Only keep these types of items if you use them on a regular basis and nothing else will do.

Do you (or someone in the household) love this item? Sentimental items are tricky things. If you’re keeping the ugliest placemats you’ve ever seen in your life just because your late aunt gave them to you, don’t feel bad getting rid of them. Someone out there will absolutely love them and give them the place of honor they deserve at the table. On the other hand, if your baby blanket is in complete tatters, but you love it with all your heart, that’s a no-brainer: You keep it.

Transform your space this month with some serious decluttering. You’ll enjoy a great feeling of accomplishment as you make a fresh, new start in an optimized, organized home, where you’ll feel better, sleep better, and find things more easily. Make your checklist today, and get started on a thorough home detox for a clutter-free life.

You might also like:
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Posted in Thing To Do
Dec. 30, 2020

Buying A House In 2021: A Step-By-Step How-To



DECEMBER 04, 2020



*As of July 6, 2020, Quicken Loans is no longer accepting USDA loan applications.

Are you ready to take on the challenge of buying a home in 2021? Make sure to read our how-to guide before you jump in.

How To Buy A House In 11 Steps

Most home sales involve the following 11 steps:

  1. Decide Whether You’re Ready to Buy A Home
  2. Calculate How Much House You Can Afford
  3. Save For A Down Payment And Closing Costs
  4. Get Preapproved For A Mortgage
  5. Find The Right Real Estate Agent For You
  6. Begin House Hunting
  7. Make An Offer On A House
  8. Get A Home Inspection And Appraisal
  9. Ask For Repairs Or Credits
  10. Do A Final Walkthrough
  11. Close On Your New Home

Let’s take a closer look at what each of these steps involves and what you’ll do along the way.

Get approved to buy a home.

Rocket Mortgage® lets you get to house hunting sooner.

Step 1: Decide Whether You’re Ready To Buy A Home

Buying a house is a major commitment. Before you begin shopping for properties or comparing mortgage options, you need to make sure you’re ready to be a homeowner.


Let’s look at some of the factors your lender will consider when they look at your loan application.

Income And Employment Status

Your lender won’t just want to see how much money you make, they’re going to want to see a history of your income to make sure your income source is stable and reliable.


Preparing your income is all about pulling the right documentation together to show steady employment. If you’re on payroll, you’ll likely just need to provide recent pay stubs and W-2s. On the other hand, you’ll need to submit your tax returns and other documents the lender requests if you’re self-employed.

Debt-To-Income Ratio

Debt-to-income ratio is another financial instrument lenders use to evaluate your loan application. DTI helps your lender see how much of your monthly income goes to debt so they can evaluate the amount of mortgage debt you can take on.


DTI is calculated by dividing your monthly debt by your gross monthly income. For example, if your monthly debts (credit card minimum payments, loan payments, etc.) total $2,000 per month and your gross monthly income is $6,000, your DTI is $2,000/$6,000, or 33%. Your lender will use the debts shown on your credit report to calculate your DTI.


It’s smart to review your DTI before you apply for a loan. In most cases, you’ll need a DTI of 50% or less to qualify for a mortgage, although this number varies based on your lender, loan type and other factors.

Liquid Assets

Buying a home with no money down is possible, but most homeowners need to have some cash for a down payment. A down payment is the first major payment you make on your loan. The amount of money you’ll need to save depends on your loan type and how much money you borrow.


Many home buyers believe that they need a 20% down payment to buy a home. This isn’t true. You can buy a home with as little as 3% down. If you put at least 20% down on a conventional loan, you won’t need to pay for private mortgage insurance.


PMI protects your lender if you default on your loan. You can cancel PMI when you reach 20% equity in your home. A larger down payment means a lower monthly payment, so you might want to save before you buy a home.


You’ll also need to pay for closing costs before you move into your new home. Closing costs are fees that go to your lender in exchange for creating your loan. The specific amount you’ll pay in closing costs will depend on where you live and your loan type. It’s a good idea to save 3% – 6% of your home’s value for closing costs.

Credit Health

Your credit score plays a huge role in what loans and interest rates you qualify for. Your credit score tells lenders how risky you are to lend money to.


Taking steps to improve your credit score and reduce your debt can pay off big as you prepare to get a mortgage. Better numbers mean better loan options with lower interest rates.


Your credit score is based on the following information:

  • Your payment history
  • The amount of money you owe
  • The length of your credit history
  • Types of credit you’ve used
  • Your pursuit of new credit

What score will you need to qualify for a home loan? Most lenders require a credit score of at least 580. A score of 620 will allow you to qualify for more options. A score above 720 will generally get you the very best loan terms.

Willingness To Live In One Place

A mortgage can be a 30-year-long commitment. Though you don’t need to live in your home for the entirety of your mortgage term, it’s still a big decision. When you own a home, it’s more difficult to move. In many cases, you’ll need to sell your home first, which can take time.


Decide whether you’re ready to live in your current area for at least a few more years. Consider your career goals, family obligations and more. Each of these factors will play a major role in the type of home you buy and where you buy it.

Step 2: Calculate How Much House You Can Afford

Once you decide you’re ready to buy a home, it’s time to set a budget. A good place to begin is by calculating your DTI ratio. Look at your current debts and income and consider how much money you can reasonably afford to spend each month on a mortgage.


Homeownership comes with several costs you don’t need to worry about while renting. You’ll need to pay property taxes and maintain some form of homeowner’s insurance. Factor these expenses into your household budget when you decide how much home you can afford


Having trouble coming up with a number? Use Rocket Mortgage’s® Home Affordability Calculator to get a rough idea of how much of a mortgage you can afford.

Step 3: Save For A Down Payment And Closing Costs

In most cases, you won’t be able to get a loan for 100% of the purchase price of the home. That’s why you make a down payment. A down payment is a large cash payment you make when you buy your home.


A larger down payment typically means you have more mortgage options. Putting more down usually means you’ll get a smaller monthly payment and a lower interest rate. If you’re getting a conventional loan, putting 20% of the loan value down means you can avoid paying PMI.

How Much To Put Down

A 20% down payment isn’t realistic for many first-time home buyers, so there are many options for buyers who can’t pay those upfront costs. You can get a conventional loan for as little as 3% down. FHA loans have a minimum down payment of 3.5%. VA loans and USDA loans even allow eligible and qualified borrowers to put 0% down.

Covering Closing Costs

You’ll also need to save money to cover closing costs – the fees you pay to get the loan. There are many variables that go into determining how much you’ll pay for closing costs, but it’s usually smart to save 3% – 6% of the home value. This means that if you’re buying a home worth $200,000, you might pay $6,000 – $10,000 in closing costs.


The specific closing costs you’ll need to pay for will depend on your loan type, your lender and where you live. Almost all homeowners will pay for things like appraisal fees and title insurance. If you take out a government-backed loan, you’ll typically need to pay an insurance premium or funding fee upfront.

Considerations Based On Loan Type

Your loan type might require a specialized inspection as well. For example, you must get a pest inspection before you take out a VA loan. Most lenders will schedule this inspection on your behalf and pass the cost along to you at closing.

Understanding The Closing Disclosure

Before you close on your loan, your lender will give you a document called a Closing Disclosure, which lists each of the closing costs you need to cover and how much you’ll need to pay at closing. Look over your Closing Disclosure carefully before you close to know what to expect and to catch any errors.


There are many ways to save for your home purchase, including through investments and savings accounts. If you have relatives who are willing to contribute money, you may be able to use gift money toward your down payment. A letter confirming it’s a gift and not a loan will be required.

Get approved to buy a home.

Rocket Mortgage® lets you get to house hunting sooner.

Step 4: Get Preapproved For A Mortgage

When you’re ready to start house hunting, it’s time to get preapproved for a mortgage. When you apply, your lender will give you a preapproval letter that states how much you’re approved for based on your credit, assets and income. You can show your preapproval letter to your real estate agent so they can help you find homes within your budget.


To get preapproved, you need to apply with your lender. The preapproval process typically involves answering some questions about your income, your assets and the home you want to buy. It will also involve a credit check.


There are multiple types of mortgage loans. Knowing your options can help you make the right decision. Here are some of the most common types of mortgage loans.

Conventional Loans

Conventional loans, sometimes called conforming loans, are loans that aren’t backed by the federal government. Conventional loans are a popular option for home buyers, and you can get one with as little as 3% down.

FHA Loans

Backed by the Federal Housing Administration, FHA loans are less of a risk for lenders because the government insures them if you stop making payments. As a result, FHA loans have credit score requirements that aren’t as strict. You can get an FHA loan with a down payment as small as 3.5%.

VA Loans

VA loans are mortgage loans for active-duty members and veterans of the Armed Forces. You can get a VA loan with 0% down if you meet service standards. VA loans are insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

USDA Loans

Another type of government-backed loan, a USDA loan, helps people in rural and suburban areas buy homes. You can get a USDA loan with 0% down, but your home must be in an acceptable rural area and you must meet income eligibility rules.

Step 5: Find The Right Real Estate Agent For You

Your real estate agent is your representative in the transaction. Your agent will look out for your best interests by finding homes that meet your criteria, get you showings, help you write offers and negotiate.


As a buyer, you can usually work with a real estate agent for free. In most cases, the seller will pay the buyer’s real estate agent’s commission. The commission is usually 3% of the purchase price.


A real estate agent represents you and helps you understand how to buy a house. Your agent will show you properties, write an offer letter on your behalf and assist in negotiations. Real estate agents are local market experts and can also advise you on how much to offer for each property.


It’s possible to buy a house without a real estate agent or REALTOR®. This isn’t recommended, especially for first-time buyers. The homebuying process can be complicated and emotional. Having an agent by your side can help you navigate the housing market, submit a legally sound offer and avoid overpaying for your property.


How can you find the right real estate agent? Begin by asking family members and friends for recommendations. Direct referrals are often the best way to get unbiased information on agents in your area.


Consider working with a Rocket HomesSM Real Estate LLC agent. Rocket HomesSM agents have proven track records of success and are at the top of their field, so you know you’ll be getting expert information.

Step 6: Begin House Hunting

Your real estate agent will help you begin looking at properties within your budget. It’s a good idea to make a list of your top priorities. Some of the things you might want to consider include:

  • Price


  • Square footage


  • Home condition and possible need for repairs


  • Access to public transportation


  • Number of bedrooms


  • Backyard/swimming pool


  • Local entertainment options


  • Local school district ranking


  • Property value trends


Rank your priorities from most to least important and show this list to your agent. Your agent will then show you homes that fit your criteria. You may need to spend some time searching for the perfect home, so don’t get discouraged if your hunt takes longer than you expected.


Only you can decide which property is right for you. Make sure you see plenty of homes before you decide which one you want to make an offer on. You should also be sure to get an inspection before you decide to buy a home.


Go through each line of your inspection report and look for major problems. If a home has a serious health hazard (like lead paint or mold), ask the seller to correct the problem before you close. If you can’t reach an agreement, you may want to move on and consider other options. Read over your inspection results with your agent and ask whether they noticed any major red flags. We’ll talk a little more about inspections in a later section.


Once you find a property you like that fits your needs and budget, it’s time to make an offer.

Tested. Trusted. Top-rated.

Visit Rocket HomesSM to get a proven real estate agent that’s handpicked just for you.

Step 7: Make An Offer On A House

When you decide to make an offer on a home, you must submit an offer letter in writing. Your offer letter includes details about yourself (like your name and current address), the price you’re willing to pay for the home and more. It will also include a deadline for the seller to respond to your offer.


Most offers also include an earnest money deposit. An earnest money deposit is a small amount of money, typically 1% – 2% of the purchase price. Your earnest money deposit goes toward your down payment and closing costs if you buy the home. If you agree to the home sale and later cancel, you typically lose your deposit.


Your agent will almost always write the offer letter on your behalf, but you can write it yourself if you choose. Your agent will then get in contact with the seller or the seller’s agent to submit the offer.


From here, the seller can respond in one of three ways:

  • Accept the offer. If the seller accepts the offer, you can move onto the next step.


  • Reject the offer. If the seller rejects your offer, the ball is back in your court. You can choose to submit another offer or move onto another home.


  • Give you a counteroffer. The seller can also come back with a counteroffer of their own. They may change the purchase price or the terms of the sale. You can accept the counteroffer, reject it or make another counteroffer.


Negotiations may go on for some time after you submit your offer. Let your real estate agent help you manage negotiations – don’t be afraid to walk away if you can’t reach an agreement. Once you and the seller agree to an offer, it’s time to move on to the appraisal and inspection.

Step 8: Get A Home Inspection And Appraisal

An appraisal is a review of your home that gives you a rough estimate of how much the property you want to buy is worth. You must get an appraisal before you buy a home with a mortgage loan.


Lenders require appraisals because they can’t lend out more money than your home is worth. If your appraised value comes back lower than your offer, you might have trouble getting financing. Be thoughtful about your offer and consider contesting the results of the appraisal if you believe the appraised value is too low.


An inspection isn’t the same thing as an appraisal. During an appraisal, a home value expert will give you a rough estimate of how much your home is worth. An inspector will go through your home and specifically look for problems. They will test electrical systems, make sure your roofing is safe, make sure appliances are working and much more. After the inspection closes, the inspector will give you a list of problems they found in the home.


Lenders usually don’t require inspections to get a loan. You should still get both an inspection and an appraisal before you buy a property. When you receive your inspection results, go over each item line by line and look for major issues. You may want to ask your real estate agent or inspector to go over them with you as well.


You’ll be liable for any major repairs after your sale closes. A clogged toilet or a sink that won’t drain aren’t major issues. However, if your home has an expensive problem (like cracks in the foundation or poorly installed windows), you may want to reconsider the sale.

Get approved to buy a home.

Rocket Mortgage® lets you get to house hunting sooner.

Step 9: Ask For Repairs Or Credits

After you view your inspection results, you might want to ask your seller to correct some of the problems you found. You can do this in one of three ways:

  • Ask for a discounted purchase price considering the results.


  • Request that the seller give you credits to cover some of your closing costs.


  • Ask that the seller have the problems fixed before you close.


Your real estate agent will submit your requests to the seller’s agent. If you’re buying a house that’s for sale by the owner, your agent will negotiate with the seller directly. The seller might accept your request, or they might reject it. If your seller rejects your request, it’s up to you to decide how to proceed. If you have an inspection contingency in your offer letter, you can walk away from the sale and keep your earnest money deposit.

Step 10: Do A Final Walkthrough

You should do one last walkthrough alone in your new home before you close, even if you’re 100% committed to the property. This time allows you to check and make sure that the seller has made the repairs you requested and cleared out the property.


Walk through the home and make sure the seller hasn’t left any belongings. Check your repair areas if you requested them and keep an eye out for pests. You may also want to double-check your home’s systems one final time to make sure everything is in working order. If everything looks good, it’s time for you to confidently move toward closing.

Step 11: Close On Your New Home

Your lender is required to give you a document called a Closing Disclosure 3 days before closing, which tells you what you need to pay at closing and summarizes your loan details. Read through your Closing Disclosure and make sure the numbers don’t vary too much from your Loan Estimate, which you would have received 3 days after your initial application.


Once you’ve reviewed your Closing Disclosure, it’s time to attend your closing meeting. Bring your ID, a copy of your Closing Disclosure and proof of funds for your closing costs.


You’ll sign a settlement statement, which lists all costs related to the home sale. This is when you pay your down payment and closing costs. You’ll also sign the mortgage note, which states that you promise to repay the loan. Finally, you’ll sign the mortgage or deed of trust to secure the mortgage note.


After closing finishes, you’re officially a homeowner.

Final Thoughts On Buying A House

The steps to buying a house can be a long process. First, you’ll need to be ready to be a homeowner and set a budget. Next, you’ll begin shopping for properties. Having a reliable real estate agent at your side can make everything easier. Once you find a home, your agent will help you submit an offer and negotiate with the seller.


When you reach an agreement, you’ll get an appraisal and inspection. If the inspection turns up a major issue, you may want to negotiate repairs or credits with the seller. You’ll also do one more walkthrough in the house before you buy it. If everything looks OK, you can finally move to close and enjoy your new status as a homeowner.


Do you think you're ready to buy a house? Contact Rocket Mortgage® today to get started or learn more.

Get approved to buy a home.

Rocket Mortgage® lets you get to house hunting sooner.

See What You Qualify For

Victoria Araj


Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Quicken Loans and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.

Posted in Buying
Dec. 28, 2020

TVA River Neighbors - December 2020


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December 2020

Season’s greetings!
You may have already guessed this just from looking out your window, but 2020 was another record-breaking year for rainfall. In fact, it is now officially the wettest year ever recorded in the Tennessee Valley. The “old” record from 2018 (actually not very old!) was broken as of midnight Dec. 14.  TVA has now managed three straight years of record rainfall.

In the River Forecast Center, we’ve stayed on the job the entire time, as have our teams at TVA dams and power plants, of course. You may have seen our staffers who work in the field, marking boundaries, conducting prescribed burns and other activities; Mother Nature doesn’t come to a halt just because of the pandemic.

No matter what the weather might do, this is a wonderful time of year for those who enjoy the brisk air and the solemn beauty of the landscape when it’s cold and quiet outside. If you’re getting restless from being stuck at home, check out our website for some ideas on getting outside for a breath of fresh air.

But remember—do it safely!  We urge you, as always, to comply with all safety directives, and do not congregate in public areas. Please enjoy TVA-managed land, trails and lakes only while practicing guidelines for social distancing.

Have a wonderful holiday season and you’ll hear from us again in February.    
David Bowling
Vice President, River & Resources Stewardship

Another 2020 first: it’s the wettest year on record in the Valley
As of midnight, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, TVA recorded 68.27 inches on average across the Valley, surpassing the old record of 67.01 inches set in 2018.  With 2019 now the third wettest year on record at 66.47 inches of rainfall, TVA has now managed three straight years of record rainfall.

Did you know you can check our lake levels with an app?
Get the most up-to-date information on each reservoir TVA manages, including today’s levels, predicted elevations, planned generation releases at the dams, reservoir operating guides, ecological health ratings, fish population survey results, recreation facilities and more.

Fly fishing is the cool thing to do
Who would have guessed that old-fashioned fly fishing would captivate a whole new generation? But it’s true: the Zen-like practice is attracting millennials by the boatload.

Here’s our 2020 report card—and our plans for 2021!
TVA is not just a power provider—part of its core mission is environmental stewardship. In our Natural Resources Year-end Report and Stewardship Book, you’ll find a comprehensive list of projects both planned and completed. Find the ones close to you.

New Year hiking inspiration
If you made a resolution to get more exercise, what better day to start than January 1? Here’s how to have fun and stay safe while starting off 2020 with a walk in the woods.

While you’re hiking, keep an eye out for one of these
Winter is prime time for TVA staffers to walk public land boundaries and make sure they’re marked. You might spot one of these special markers while enjoying TVA’s public lands.

A better nesting place for some big birds
Nesting birds and electricity don’t mix, so TVA is taking a proactive approach to relocating ospreys in order to protect both the birds and our power structures. Ospreys are federally protected birds of prey and can create enormous nests.

How do you know if you need a permit from TVA? Start here
If you were asked, “What is Section 26a permitting?” on a television game show, would you know the answer? In the Tennessee Valley, this permitting process serves as a vital link between TVA and property owners on the Tennessee River.
Recycle that Christmas tree the right way
It’s a great idea to recycle your live Christmas tree, but don’t just chuck it into one of our reservoirs! There’s a right way and a wrong way to safely and effectively dispose of it.
One Bee at a Time
Douglas Dam Reservation in Sevier County, Tennessee, is the location of a new 10-acre pollinator habitat. It’s part of TVA’s efforts to encourage and preserve pollinators like bees and butterflies.

The Wayback Machine
TVA’s agriculture industry demonstration program involved the use of experimental fertilizers. As part of this work, fertilizer trials in western North Carolina showed significant improvements in the quality of Christmas trees being grown for commercial markets. In fact, in 1971 a Fraser fir from an Avery County, NC, tree farm was chosen to deck the halls of the White House. (Photo: White Pine trees on Christmas tree farm in Avery County, North Carolina, 1969)

Explore with the Tennessee River Valley MapGuide
Looking for new places to explore by foot, car or boat? Check out the Tennessee River Valley MapGuide. There are plenty of things to see and do close to home.

Got a question? Pick the PLIC
TVA’s Public Land Information Center (PLIC) is your single source for answers to questions about a variety of public land topics including recreational opportunities and shoreline permits. Call (800) 882-5263 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET or submit your question online.

Road closings? Bridge repairs? Stay informed
For the latest notices, check out TVA new and announcements.
Boone Dam Project
We publish this newsletter to keep TVA's stakeholders informed about the programs and projects associated with TVA’s environmental stewardship, recreation and river management efforts.

Our mailing address is:
Tennessee Valley Authority
400 West Summit Hill Drive
KnoxvilleTN 37902


Posted in TRENDS