Knoxville Tennessee Real Estate Trends

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 3:10 pm, February 21st, 2012  

2012 Real Estate Trends: Comparing Knoxville to the rest of Tennessee

By guest author Emma Crawford

With 2012 getting in full swing this February, a number of real estate markets around Tennessee are analyzing their original goals to see where they are stacking up. A number of cities such as Memphis and Nashville are looking to seek improvements in the market in 2012. With one month underway, a look at the Knoxville real estate market’s place in comparison to the rest of the state and nearby cities is a great way to measure early success.

For the entire state of Tennessee, median prices are sitting at $129,000 right now. Knoxville’s average listing price of $240,000 in February is certainly superior to the statewide average, which is a great positive for area sellers. In comparison, Memphis’s current median prices are sitting at $145,000. When it comes to median prices, Knoxville is certainly holding an advantage over other the rest of Tennessee right now.

Mortgage rates are certainly an important part of real estate these days. As they’ve hit record lows in 2011, buyers have been able to take advantage of rates lower than a lot of rent prices. Compared to the state’s two biggest cities, Memphis and Nashville, Knoxville is currently home to the lowest 30 year fixed rate mortgages of the three. Knoxville’s current APR of 3.88 is highly comparable to Memphis and Nashville, which are both sitting at 3.977 APR

Just as mortgage rates have gone down, apartment rental rates continue to go up throughout the country. While this is one area where Knoxville is similar to the state’s other big cities, the trends could be positive for area sellers. Knoxville’s rentals are up almost four percent over the past three months, while Nashville apartments have gone up nearly eight percent in the same time frame. With apartment rentals going up all over the state, it’s possible that those who are on the fence between renting and buying could decide to pull the trigger on the purchase of a home in 2012.

Right now, Knoxville has comparable inventory to Nashville near 3050, although it’s short of Memphis, who has 3095 homes on the market. However, even though Memphis has a better inventory right now, homes are staying on the market for a lot shorter time in the Knoxville area. Right now, the average Memphis-area home is on the market for 121 days, compared to just 100 on average for a home in the Knoxville area.

Certainly there are some gives and takes when it comes to Knoxville’s current status compared to other large real estate markets in Tennessee. One huge positive is the clear advantage in listing price that Knoxville currently holds, which will be a boon for area sellers. Hopefully the record low mortgage rates in the state, combined with rising rental rates can help continue to drive a strong 2012 in the Tennessee real estate markets.

Visit for all your Knoxville area and east Tennessee real estate needs.


Great Smoky Mountains National Park webcams | Knoxville Tennessee

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 3:48 pm, July 29th, 2010  

Near the town of Knoxville, Tennessee lies the 521,086 acre (more or less) 😉 Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A scenic mountain range that attracts over 10 million annual visitors to view the scenic beauty of the rugged mountains and beautiful pastoral valleys.

A couple of strategically placed web-cams can give you up to date views of what the local weather and scenery looks like most anytime during daylight hours. I’ve seen some very beautiful scenes from looking at these webcams periodically no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

It’s also fun to watch the change of seasons on these webcams. One great use is to monitor the leaves as they change color in the fall if you’re coming for a visit.

One of my favorites is the one at Look Rock just off the Foothills Parkway below Maryville, Tennessee. This is a recent photo from the Look Rock webcam just before dark in late July around 9:00 PM.

night falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Knoxville, TN This is from the Look Rock webcam

Night falls over the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP)

The mountain in the middle foreground with the three peaks on top is Rich Mountain; Cades Cove lies just behind it.

Here’s what you’re looking at in daylight on a clear day.

great smoky mountains national park near knoxville, tennessee

Here's a handy photo of what you're actually looking at.

Another great webcam is the one on Purchase Knob on the south side of the park. This camera is actually just inside the park boundary but faces east to northeast towards Bald Mountain, Johnson City, Tennessee, and Asheville, North Carolina to the east.

Here’s a shot from the Purchase Knob camera with prominent landmarks identified.

purchase knob great smoky mountains national park near Knoxville, TN

Did you ever wonder what you're looking at on web-cam shots? Here's some help

East Tennessee and the greater Knoxville area are known for natural and scenic beauty; pay a visit soon and look around. Lots of folks do and end up deciding they want to live here. is a great resources to find a home, condo, or land in and around Knoxville.

Technology dos and dont’s for your listings | Knoxville Tennessee Homes For Sale

Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 6:59 pm, July 7th, 2010  

For some strange reason the post below I wrote several years ago popped on a Google alert. After re-reading it I decided it was still very relevant to today and hopefully you will find it worthwhile:

Play VisualTour

BTW, this is a pretty cool listing of mine in North Knoxville just in case anyone has a buyer. This listing is NOT several years old.  😉

I just received my July/August issue of “The Real Estate Professional”, a great magazine sent to all REBAC (Real Estate Buyers Agent Council) members.

A feature story is titled “Technology and Home Sales: How the Internet is Changing the Real Estate Industry”. Boy, ain’t that the truth. 😉

I found some of the technology do and don’ts for using technology in your listings to be especially relevant.

  1. I think a lot of us don’t quite realize yet is that most buyers (and sellers) are way more tech savvy than the average Realtor. Probably something to do with their average age being in the 30s and ours being in the 50s.
  2. The time to make a first impression is shorter than ever before. This is especially important on your websites. You have very, very little time to catch and hold someone’s attention before they’re bored and/or ready to move on to a site that gives them what they’re looking for. In order for your website to be effective it must be:
  1. Easily findable by consumers.
  2. Deliver the content they’re looking for
  3. Have compelling reasons to cause them to contact you to do business.
  • Don’t try to overwhelm consumers with lots of bells & whistles on your site, i.e. lots of flash or downloads, NO MUSIC, and make sure your website is compatible with current popular browsers such as Internet Explorer (still the most widely used), Firefox, & Mozilla.
  • Photos. Some panoramic photos tend to distort a room, so stills only or stills plus a panorama are best to appeal to the lowest common denominator of viewers.
  • 9 ways to make your Knoxville house sell faster without cutting the price.

    Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 6:59 pm, June 27th, 2010  

    You hear a lot these days about lower price, lower price, and lowest price as the only way to get a house sold.

    Here are 9 things you can do that will make your house stand out from the crowd, appeal to more potential buyers, and probably sell faster. None of them have anything to do with cutting the price.

    1. Curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal! I can’t emphasize this one enough. Buyers have to be attracted to your home to want to see it. I’ve had lots of buyers say: “Let’s pass this one buy.” when we’ve pulled up to a home that was not attractive from the street.
    2. Bright, shiny, and inviting entry. Once you get buyers out of the car and walking up to your front door, you want to continue to set a good tone for your showing. Make sure your front entry is spotless, sweep away the cobwebs over your door, clean front door, paint if necessary, bright, shiny new door hardware if necessary, a new light fixture if the old one is rusty. All these things go a long way towards keeping the mood for showing positive.
    3. PAINT! Biggest selling bang for your buck possible. Neutral paint is the word of the day, no bright or funky colors. A fresh, uniform coat of paint throughout your house if needed will bring a faster sale and more dollars in your pocket.
    4. Your kitchen. Lots of Realtors and buyers say the kitchen is what caused the sale. De-clutter your counter tops, cabinets, pantries, and storage space so buyers can see it.
    5. DEEP CLEANING! It’s gotta be not just spotless but “white glove” inspection clean. No grease on kitchen appliances, bathrooms including tubs, showers, and sinks spotless and clean smelling, all light fixtures wiped down or washed including  the bulbs, clean the blades on your ceiling fans, cobwebs from along ceilings and underneath. In fact it will likely pay you to hire a professional house cleaner to do the job for you.
    6. Straighten up,  “lean out” and neaten all your storage areas especially your closets. Don’t forget the fresh paint here too.
    7. Let the sun shine in. All blinds and shades should be open for showing even in the evenings. Of course your windows need to be included in the deep cleaning too.
    8. Get a pre-sale home inspection. This will alert you to potential problem areas you might not be aware of and let you fix or repair them at your leisure and also prevent a buyer from using some minor issue as a negotiating tool.
    9. No funky odors or smells. This one is tough because you live there every day and some odors might not be apparent to you. Ask a friend, neighbor, or real estate professional to give your home the “smell test” to see if there might be something there you’re not picking up on. Don’t get carried away with scents to mask odors; too much is almost as bad as the odors you’re trying to cover up. Get rid of the cause of the odor.

    You can find lots selling tips as well as get a free copy of my 52 page e-book titled “450 Ideas To Help Your Home Sell Faster” at www. or just send a blank email to [email protected]

    Anatomy of a Knoxville TN short sale

    Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 7:01 am, June 9th, 2010  

    Over this past weekend,  I wrote an offer on one of my listings which is going to be a short sale. I thought it would be interesting to keep an online journal of the process to see how it shakes out and if the lender will approve this price.

    Today is Tuesday, March 30th, 2010, I have just faxed to the lender (who shall remain nameless) all the documentation they requested. As of today they have asked for:

    1. A HUD 1 closing statement detailing all the charges and net proceeds to seller/lender.
    2. The Purchase & Sale Agreement
    3. A copy of my listing agreement with my seller
    4. The listing history of this property (it’s been listed twice before at higher prices).
    5. A hardship letter from my sellers explaining why they’re unable to pay their mortgage.
    6. I also sent another copy of a letter signed by my sellers authorizing the lender to talk to me about their loan.

    So the short sale process is underway. I’ll keep this post updated as we move through the process.

    UPDATE: April 6,2010 Called lender for update and status.

    Lender: “We don’t have your authorization form to talk with you about this short sale.”

    Me: “Yes you do, I’ve faxed it to you twice now and a third time when I submitted this package on March 30th. Happy to send it again if you like.”

    Lender: “Oh wait, here it is. OK, what do you want to know?”

    Me: “Offer status”

    Lender: “In 3 to 5 business days you will receive a call from the negotiator that’s has been assigned to this transaction. They will take it from there.”

    Me: “OK, thank you, I’ll look forward to hearing from someone by next week.

    So 8 days later that’s where we are. Stay tuned for the next update.

    UPDATE: April 13, 2010, Realtor called and said she had been asked by lender to furnish them BPO (Broker’s Price Opinion). I told her to go ahead into the property.

    UPDATE: April 16, 2010. I called lender to follow up on negotiator not contacting me in  “3 to 5 business days” like I was told last time I called. 

    Lender: “Don’t know who told you that but blah, blah, blah.” We did get the BPO back and I am sending it right now to the RMV (Reconciliation Market Value) department. Once they complete their analysis you can call back and talk to the negotiator”

    Me: “OK, that’s nice, when should I call back?”

    Lender:  “Call back next Tuesday.”

    OK, so we’re now waiting for next Tuesday to call back and talk with the negotiator. Stay tuned for the next installment.

    UPDATE: April 21, 2010 Negotiator called me today and said short sale was approved subject to several conditions. All minor and acceptable subject to “management approval” from negotiator’s boss, we’re going to closing. So, not too bad for short sale approved.

    I believe the lender is taking about a $30,000 hit on this sale so it’s not a huge loss for them and certainly more than they would net if they foreclosed and had to start from scratch marketing this property.

    Now to see how fast I can get this one closed; stay tuned for update.

    FINAL UPDATE: June 9, 2010 Today was closing day so it’s finally done. I didn’t do any updates in May because there wasn’t really anything related to the short sale going on. The new buyer’s lender was processing his loan and all the stuff related to a ‘normal’ transaction.

    We did have to ask for and receive a 2 week extension on our short sale approval because of the time frame in getting the new buyers loan approved. I called Gus, our bank short sale contact and he granted the extension on the spot.

    The original contract date is March 30th and we closed June 9th so about 70 days total from start to finish. The whole process went pretty smoothly:

    • The original lender took about a $30,000 hit letting the sale go through for that much less than the mortgage balance. However who knows how long it would have taken to foreclose and what they could have sold for.
    • The sellers salvaged some of their credit and can rebuild it quicker than a foreclosure.
    • The new buyer got a pretty good deal on the house and their lender now has a new, paying loan on the books.
    • And I got paid for doing my job; listing and selling houses.
    • A win, win, win, win for all.

    Please call or email if you have a Knoxville property you’re thinking of selling.

    Visit to see all of Knoxvilles  Realtor listings for sale.

    Buy a Knoxville TN home | get a green card

    Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 6:00 am, June 9th, 2010  

    Here’s a simple solution to our current housing dilemma.

    We all know there are too many houses on the market in most areas that are not selling.

    Play VisualTour

    There is also a problem with too many illegal immigrants.

    One simple solution I ran across recently is to just give a green card to every legal immigrant who wants to come to the US and buy a house.

    Democrats should love it because it allows more immigration.

    Republicans should love it because the new immigrants would be well documented. Mortgage bankers ask for lots more documentation than the INS.

    This offering should not apply to illegal aliens currently in the country.

    I believe that would be a huge slap in the face to our country, our laws and those who obey them, and all other immigrants that took the time and trouble to go through the process legally.

    Personally I don’t see a downside, do you?

    Buy a house, get a green card.

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    Quick, easy, and delicious Carrot Cake recipe

    Posted by Jim Lee, REALTOR® @ 8:41 am, April 1st, 2010  
    Carrot Cake
    Image via Wikipedia

    An old family friend named Jean gave me this terrific Carrot Cake recipe many years ago. I’ve made it lots of times and it’s always delicious as well as quick and easy. Quick, easy, and delicious meet all 3 of my food preparation criteria.

    Give one a try for Easter; you’ll be a star with the folks that eat a piece.

    Jean’s Carrot Cake

    • 2 cups of self rising flour
    • 2 cups of granulated sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 1/2 Cups of Vegetable oil
    • 1 Cup of chopped pecans (I often substitute Black Walnuts)
    • 3 Cups of fresh grated carrots, firmly packed

    Mix all ingredients in order listing and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes

    Cream cheese frosting

    • One 16 ounce box powdered sugar
    • 1 large block cream cheese softened
    • 1 stick (1/4 pound) butter or margarine (butter is best)
    • 2 Tablespoons of pure Vanilla Extract

    Mix thoroughly and spread on cooled cake, reserve a few nuts to sprinkle on top for garnish.

    carrot cake compliments of knoxville realtor jim lee

    Try this delicious Carrot Cake recipe for Easter

    Give this one a try soon, I promise this will be the easiest carrot cake you’ve ever made and one of the best tasting.

    Happy Easter

    By the way, if you need a new yard to hide your Easter eggs in, try to see all the greater Knoxville area listings for sale.

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