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September 17, 2019

Important updates for EKEY

Supra Keyholders -

On Thursday, September 19, Apple will release iOS 13 for iPhones and iPads. BEFORE you update to iOS 13, UPDATE your eKEY app. Otherwise, you may not be able to access keyboxes if you use a previous version of the
eKEY app with iOS 13.


To update to the latest version of the eKEY app:

  1. Go to your iPhone or iPad home screen and tap the APP STORE icon.
  2. Tap the UPDATES icon in the bottom right of the screen.
  3. Scroll to locate the eKEY app and select UPDATE (or select Update All at the top of the screen to update all of your apps).

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September 11, 2019

2020-21 Officer & Director Candidates & Online Voting Info

Online voting begins Thursday, September 19, when each REALTOR® member eligible to vote will receive an email from announcement@associationvoting.com that contains secure voting credentials unique to the email recipient. Voting will remain open until 5 pm on Wednesday, September 25. Election results will be announced on September 26.

The Nominating Committee presents the following Candidates for the 2020 Board of Directors:

2020 PRESIDENT-ELECT

Robert Backer, ABR, CRRS, GRI, NHS, e-Pro (Coldwell Banker Pryor Realty)

I wish to continue to serve our local Board of Chattanooga. I understand and appreciate the importance of helping members and representing them well. I would like to be part of the continued good path created in recent years and take my 4 years serving as a Director to the next level of service. I think it’s important to be involved and give back to our industry to still be knowledgeable.

LOCAL: 2018 REALTOR® of the Year, Board of Directors (2015-2018); Community Involvement Committee (2017-2018); Grievance Committee (2000-09); Leadership Development Committee (2015-16 Director Liaison); MLS Committee (2019-20), Professional Standards Committee (2015-16, 2019 Chair)

STATE & NATIONAL: 2015-2016 State Director

BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Principal Broker for Coldwell Banker; 2015-2016 Real Trend Top Agent; 2000-19, Coldwell Banker Top Agent Ranking

2020 SECRETARY-TREASURER

Denise Murphy, ABR, CRB, CRS (Keller Williams Realty)

I believe that it is essential as Officers and Directors to hold ourselves to a high standard both professionally and ethically. Our decisions and input should benefit all members, with no hidden agendas for ourselves or our companies. We need to be level-headed, good problem-solvers, and good examples to our fellow Realtors and members of the Community. I strive to achieve these qualities and hope to be given the opportunity to serve our members for another term on the Board. I hope to encourage more members to become involved and to see the importance of our local board and what can be achieved with a collective effort.

LOCAL: Board of Directors (2015-16, 2018-19) Community Involvement Committee (2018 Director Liaison); Grievance Committee (4 years); Diversity Inclusion Committee (2016), Professional Development/Education Committee (4 years); Professional Development Committee (Chair, 2011); Professional Standards Committee (2016); RPAC Committee (2018 Director Liaison)

CHAPTERS & COUNCILS: BNI, 2004-13 (the following at least twice: President, Treasurer, Membership Committee, Education); CNC, 2013-present (President, Governance Committee; Membership Committee); CRS local events

COMMUNITY: Chambliss Children’s Home; Habitat for Humanity; Served food to homeless on many Thanksgiving & Christmas Days. Put on “Jump Rope for Heart” events 10+ years with American Heart Association; Snack Pack Volunteer

BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Realty Center-Rising Star, 2004; Keller Williams-Agent Leadership Council, 3 years; Keller Williams Hixson Managing Broker; served on various committees at Keller Williams and occasionally teach classes.

2020-2021 DIRECTORS (Select 3)

Brian Erwin, ABR (Scout REALTOR® Group)

We have made great strides to expand member involvement and community outreach, yet there remains much to do. I want to work collaboratively with leadership to showcase our association’s value to its members and influence in our community. We have a platform and a duty to grow the REALTOR® brand and protect our industry.

LOCAL: Community Involvement Committee (2018 Chair, 2015-2018); Education Professional Development Committee (2019 Chair); Governmental Affairs Committee (2017); Leadership Academy Graduate (2017); MLS Committee (2019-2020); RPAC Committee (2018); Strategic Planning Task Force (2019)

CHAPTERS & COUNCILS: WCR Member (2017-18)

COMMUNITY: Chattanooga Preparatory School Mentor Program (2019-2026); Habitat for Humanity Volunteer (2016-present); Emerging Leaders United Way of Greater Chattanooga (2015-present 2019 Executive Committee)

STATE: Tennessee REALTORS® Fall Conference (2018)


Ryan May, ABR (Real Estate Partners)

I believe the best way to stay current regarding what is going on in our industry is to be involved with your local board. I hope to bring to the board my past experience from working in the corporate world. I also hope to bring representation of the non-franchise companies to the board.

LOCAL: Community Involvement Committee (2018); Education/Professional Development Committee (2019); Grievance Committee (2019)

STATE/NATIONAL: RPAC Major Investor

COMMUNITY: Clifton Hill School (Adopted School of Real Estate Partners); Snack Pack Ministry Volunteer


Rolanda Pullen, CMS, CNHS (Coldwell Banker Pryor Realty)

As a Director, I would have the opportunity to serve the REALTOR® Community. I want our Association to thrive and benefit, not only the members but also the community. I will help other REALTORS® in our Association to achieve goals that have been set for the committees on which they serve. I will contribute my time, energy, and willingness to work.

LOCAL: Community Involvement Committee (2017-18); Grievance Committee (2019); Leadership Academy Graduate (2016); Government Affairs Committee (2017); Leadership Development Committee (2017, 2018 Chairman); Strategic Planning Task Force (2019)

COMMUNITY: Member of Olivet Baptist Church (1998-present); Member of the PTA & Volunteer at Wallace A. Smith (2017-present); Order of the Eastern Star (2013-present, Secretary for 2 years)

BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Coldwell Banker International Diamond Society (2016-18); Coldwell Banker Circle of Excellence (2017-18); Coldwell Banker Office Top Listing Associate Runner-Up (2018); Coldwell Banker Honorable Mention (2018); Coldwell Banker Multi-Million Dollar Producer (2016); 2011 Featured in Hamilton County Herald


Robyn Ring (Choo Choo Realty)

I believe that I am a valuable member of the Board of Directors, given my property management background. Not being a “traditional” broker, I can bring a different perspective to the table.

LOCAL: Board of Directors (2017-18); Community Involvement Committee (2018 Director Liaison); Governmental Affairs Committee (2015-18, 2017 Director Liaison); Grievance Committee (2009 Chair; 2006-2008 Member); Leadership Academy Graduate (2017); Professional Standards Committee (2010-2016); RPAC Committee (2018, 2019 Chair)

STATE: Governmental Affairs Committee (2015-18); State Director (2018)

CHAPTERS & COUNCILS: WCR Member (2015)

COMMUNITY: Habitat for Humanity (individually, as well as with the Community Involvement Committee); Mountain Education Foundation Board (2007-08)

BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Property Management Company of the Years (2007); Leadership Academy Graduate (2017)


Tyler Rogers, RENE (KW Commercial)

I am proud of the direction the Association is going, and I want to be part of the leadership responsibilities involved in shaping that path. To me, service is an important function of an Association.

LOCAL: Community Involvement Committee (2017-19); Diversity Inclusion Committee (2019); Education/Professional Development Committee (2019); Leadership Academy Graduate (2018); Leadership Development Committee (2019 Chair); RPAC Committee (2018)

COMMUNITY: North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy Board (2018-present); Snack Pack Ministry Volunteer (2017-present)

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September 10, 2019

Safety Protocols to Expect When Working With a Realtor

In a few days, the National Association of Realtors will release their 2019 Member Safety Report, which surveys Realtors around the nation about how safe they feel while on the job, their personal safety experiences, and the safety procedures and materials provided by their real estate brokerage. This report is released each September for Realtor Safety Month. Yet, safety is a focus for Greater Chattanooga Realtors® all year long.

In previous years, a small but noticeable amount of respondents reported they experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information. Realtors understand better than anyone the safety risks associated with real estate transactions, so it is imperative to create and share safety protocols with home buyers so they can learn about what they may encounter when working with a Realtor. Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is committed to protecting home buyers and sellers and their personal items by making sure they have the resources and education to stay safe and secure.

Here are some safety protocols and guidelines that consumers should expect and keep in mind when working with a Realtor and to ensure a safe experience for all parties involved.

Meet your agent at their office. Instead of meeting for the first time at a property, a Realtor may set-up the initial meeting at their office. Most people agree that meeting at a real estate professional’s office is much more comfortable and appropriate for the first meeting. Generally speaking, meeting a stranger at an unknown location can be an uneasy notion, and this is no different for that initial real estate transaction.

Secure your personal information. Your agent may make copies of your driver’s license and mortgage preapproval letter for their records. This allows the agent to keep a record of your information at their office to be stored in a secure place.  So be sure to have these items on hand for your initial meeting. According to the 2016 Member Safety Report, 69 percent of real estate offices have standard procedures for safeguarding client data and information. Keeping this information safe and secure is a crucial step in maintaining a safe agent and client relationship.

Stay away from carpooling. When viewing a property, your agent may ask you to drive separately. This is a safety precaution for you and your Realtor – so do not feel offended. Most people don’t pick up hitchhikers so you can understand the importance of not transporting strangers to a property showing. Driving separately is also important, as many times, you or the agent will have an appointment to go to afterward.

Your agent might walk behind you. Realtors typically let potential buyers take the lead when exploring a home. This is a common safety protocol and also allows you to view each room on the property first and make your own impressions.

View a vacant property by day. Your Realtor may only show vacant properties by day, so you can see what safety hazards exist, such as loose floorboards or any other defects. So when viewing a vacant, or even an occupied property, expect to view it during daylight hours.

Safety is our priority year-round. Realtors are focused on protecting our clients and ourselves. That’s Who We R.

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September 3, 2019

Realtor® Safety Month: Cyber Safety

Every year, Realtors recognize September as Realtor® Safety Month. While threats of physical violence are usually the first thing that comes to mind when talking about safety, electronic crimes are becoming more and more common. These offenses can include identity theft, email hacking, and wire fraud.

Buying and selling property is stressful enough without having the threat of cyber crime looming over the transaction. Apart from digging a hole in your back yard, throwing your computer in, dousing it with gasoline, and lighting it on fire, there's no foolproof way to protect yourself from cybercrime. Since few if any Realtors would work without a computer or smartphone, industry pros are addressing the threat head-on to protect their clients.

“Cybercrime is a global problem, one that's becoming more prevalent and more urgent," said Jessica Edgerton, Associate Counsel with the National Association of REALTORS®. And it’s not just government agencies or large multinational corporations that are targets. Smaller and midsized real estate companies—where transactions involve multiple players and large sums of money—are an ideal target for criminals, Edgerton said. Among small businesses victimized by a successful cybersecurity breach, she said, 60 percent go out of business within six months.

Hackers can gain access to email accounts through simple schemes. Hacking can come in the form of an infected attachment or link that appears to come from a benign sender. “Clicking is something that’s deadly dangerous,” says Edgerton, whose motto is “Think before you click.”

Opening a bad link or attachment can trigger a key logger, which is malware that reads keystrokes to capture your passwords. It can also open ransomware that will encrypt everything on your system it can reach, including connected drives and networks.

Another way hackers gain entry is through brute force attack on your email password. If you use a simple password, hackers have software that can usually crack it in seconds. Hackers may also be stalking your online profiles and social media accounts, looking for names and dates that are meaningful to you that you may also be using in your passwords.

Once hackers capture your email password, they can search for messages related to real estate transactions. They can then send a spoof email to a buyer that looks virtually identical to an email from the Realtor’s account providing “new wiring instructions" that will divert funds to the hacker's account. If a buyer takes the bait, the funds are usually gone for good.

If you're hit with a ransomware attack, disconnect your computer immediately. Talk to your IT people, report the hack to the FBI, and decide if you want to pay the ransom. Also, consider these solutions to help minimize the risks of becoming a victim of cyber attacks.

Easy solutions include keeping your operating systems up to date and checking your social media privacy settings. Less obvious tips include using complex passwords, and changing your passwords on a regular basis. Perhaps even consider using a password manager.
Once your password is compromised, hackers can put a rule in your settings that will forward certain emails to their account. Realtors (and our clients) should try to avoid sending sensitive information via email when possible. Attaching forms, financials, and confidential files to an email is an efficient way to communicate, but criminals are looking to take advantage of that.

Educating our clients on these dangers is a top priority. We do our best to make sure the public Knows the prevalence of wire fraud and we advise clients to call and verify information before they wire funds. To ensure they're reaching the right person, buyers should contact their Realtor using numbers provided in advance.

Safety is our priority. Realtors are focused on protecting our clients as well as ourselves. That’s Who We R.

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August 27, 2019

Fail to Shop Around for Mortgage, It’s Your Loss

A piece of advice I often give to homebuyers is to shop around - not just for their property, but for their financing. It might seem that most buyers would do this, but new findings from Fannie Mae in their National Housing Survey showed that more than a third of home buyers did not shop around before selecting their mortgage lender. That means that many people potentially are missing out on thousands of dollars in savings.

In the survey, respondents say they received only one quote because they were more comfortable with the particular lender they chose. They also said they had less concern with competitive terms when selecting a lender and put more weight on other priorities like responsiveness and having an account with a lending institution.

As Realtors, we are often sources of advice in many areas, including lender selection. Because of this, Realtors have a key role in encouraging homeowners to seek multiple quotes when mortgage shopping says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist.

Comparison shopping for a mortgage can be time-consuming and complicated. “Simply evaluating the ‘price’ of a mortgage involves looking at several interrelated components—including rates, fees, and points—and making an assumption about how long a borrower will stay in that mortgage,” Duncan notes. “While it’s easy to find ‘teaser’ rates advertised online, a true mortgage quote is based on a handful of variables that are unique to each buyer and evaluated differently by each lender.”

In fact, another study from LendingTree shows that women are specifically missing out on deals on their mortgage. LendingTree’s study shows that first-time buyers and repeat borrowers who are women reported being less familiar with all aspects of the mortgage process. “It seems women are paying a higher price to access homeownership than they should,” researchers note in the study. Single women accounted for about 20% of the 7 million home sales in 2018, and researchers say they may have overpaid by more than $1 billion because of failure to shop around for a mortgage.

Credit history, down payment, and the ratio of monthly debt payments to income are usually given the most weight in determining a mortgage offer. But other factors besides rates can affect a loan. Fees and points can also impact the “cost” of a loan.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to obtaining a loan. A Realtor can guide you through the process to help you feel more comfortable and less overwhelmed. That’s Who We R.

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August 21, 2019

Respectfully Serving Our Community

We have all received them…the annoying telemarketing call or knock at the door, interrupting family dinner night. You thought they would eventually go away, especially after you registered your phone number on the do-not-call list. The reality is that that pesky telemarketers will risk almost anything to try to reach people, including breaking the law.

And it’s not only phone calls. Many people I know have had people knock on their doors and ask if they want to list their house for sale. These people haven’t asked for assistance and have not made any indication that they’re even considering moving.

Believe me, I understand that we are in a tight market. Finding that perfect house for a client in a certain price range can be a challenge. We are trying to help our clients with their housing needs, and lower inventory has many of us scrambling to find the right options.

Lately the targeting of consumers to list their home for sale is being done more and more aggressively through phone, mail, and in-person driving through neighborhoods and catching people in their yards. In this climate of low housing inventory, not only are expired listings being targeted but also those that have never been on the market.

I can say that Realtors® do not consider ourselves telemarketers. While we don’t employ the aggressive tactics typically associated with telemarketers – some of my colleagues might be surprised to learn that they too must comply with telemarketing laws, including compliance with the do-not-call registry.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, prohibits telemarketing calls to consumers who place their personal phone number on the national do-not-call registry. Operated by the Federal Trade Commission, the Do-not-call registry offers consumers protection against unwanted telemarketing calls.

Phone numbers listed on the do-not-call registry may not be called by persons or entities placing telemarketing calls, or more simply put, calls that solicit the purchase of goods or service. This includes calls seeking to list or buy a consumer’s property. There are a few important exceptions, however.

The registry only applies to personal phone numbers, not business lines or business to business calls. If you have a prior business relationship with a consumer, meaning you listed or sold a person’s house, you may call that person for up to 18 months after you last did business with them, even if their phone number is listed on the do-not-call registry. You may also call consumers for up to 3 months after the consumer makes an inquiry about services. Additionally, you may make calls to consumers otherwise listed on the registry if you obtain express written permission from the consumer to contact them by phone for marketing purposes.

Among Realtors®, two commonly misunderstood scenarios related to the do-not-call registry are For Sale By Owner listings and expired listings. First, agents often incorrectly believe they can call a For Sale By Owner listing under any circumstance. That is not the case. If the seller’s phone number is registered on the do-not-call registry, an agent is prohibited from calling the For Sale By Owner listing except where the agent has a client interested in the listed property. Also, it is prudent to cross-reference FSBO listings in the MLS, as those listings might be exclusively listed by a fellow REALTOR® for which the seller has instructed a real estate sign not be placed in the yard.

Second, there is an uptick in class action litigation involving calls made to consumers with recently expired MLS property listings. These class-action lawsuits are expensive to defend against and by statute hold violators liable for up to $1,500 for each violation.

Realtors should be mindful of the TCPA’s prior consent requirements before employing a marketing strategy that includes text message solicitations and autodialed calls. Check with the National Association of Realtors® for resources to assist you with your telemarketing compliance questions.

For those in the community who feel annoyed by solicitations to list your home – I get it. I know it can be an annoyance. Simply conveying that you are not interested will most times stop any further follow-up. Just know that all of us are fortunate to call this area our home, and that so many people are looking to make it their home as well.

To my fellow Realtors, be mindful that some people might feel targeted by aggressive marketing. Some groups, including the elderly and infirmed, find these methods off-putting. We all should try to not let our enthusiasm to help consumers come off as pushy or greedy. Realtors are bound to our Code of Ethics, and we see people in our community not as dollar signs, but as partners. We serve our clients and their ever-evolving needs in an ethical and transparent way. That’s Who We R®.

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August 15, 2019

HUD FHA Condo Rule Announcement

On Wednesday, HUD finalized new FHA condominium loan policies. The guidance affords property owners greater flexibility in the qualification process for loans insured by the FHA. Lenders will be able to issue FHA loans for single condo units, and buildings with a greater number of investor-owned units or greater percentage of commercial space can qualify for FHA financing, among other changes HUD released Wednesday.

NAR expects the new rules, which will go into effect Oct. 15, to revive a condo market that has been stifled since the Great Recession. For more on this, check out the REALTOR® magazine article.

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August 13, 2019

July Housing Market Statistics

In July, the U.S. economic expansion that began in June 2009 became the longest in the nation's history. That run marked 121 straight months of gross domestic product growth and surpassed the 120-month expansion from 1991 to 2001. The average rate of growth during this expansion has been a milder 2.3 percent per year compared to 3.6 percent during the 1990s. Although the economy should continue to perform well for the rest of 2019, some economists see a mild recession on the horizon.

During the record-setting 121-month economic expansion, the unemployment rate has dropped from 10.0 percent in 2009 to 3.7 percent. Yet, many consumers continue to struggle financially. Low mortgage interest rates have helped offset low housing affordability. However, high home prices are outpacing median household income growth. In a move to stoke continued economic prosperity, the Federal Reserve reduced the benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to about 2.25 percent, marking the first reduction in more than a decade.

The Greater Chattanooga area market remains hot, and the increase in inventory and the increase in homes sold reflect that.

For our area, New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 3.3 percent to 1,300. Pending Sales were up 15.2 percent to 1,068. Inventory levels shrank 8.4 percent to 2,770 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 12.7 percent to $210,250. Days on Market was up 5.0 percent to 42 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 13.9 percent to 3.1 months.

Markets may change, but Realtors’ commitment to serving our clients doesn’t. Navigating a market that
can shift quickly is just one reason why consulting a Realtor is so important. We keep a watchful eye on
trends locally and nationally that might affect our clients and community. That’s Who We R®.

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August 7, 2019

Federal Interest Rates Cut Will Have Little Effect on Housing

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut interest rates for the first time since the Great Recession of 2008, but the National Association of Realtors® don’t think it will have a huge impact on residential purchases… at least in the short term.

In a recent discussion, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, said that the move is not likely to deliver significant juice to an already favorable borrowing environment for home buyers. The federal funds rate, which is what banks charge one another for short-term borrowing, will now hover between 2% and 2.25%, according to news reports.

The Fed made the decision to lower interest rates to stave off the threat of an economic downturn. But it's unlikely to translate into additional mortgage savings for many buyers. With the interest rate for a 30-year loan already hovering below 4%, the Fed’s move may be more meaningful for buyers with other types of financing, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®. “Many borrowers will benefit, especially those with adjustable-rate mortgages and commercial real estate loans,” Yun says. “The longer-term 30-year fixed-rate mortgages will see little change in the near future because they had already declined in anticipation of this latest move by the Fed.

“These low interest rates will partly help with housing affordability over the short-term. Both rents and home prices have been consistently outpacing income growth. The only way to mitigate housing-cost challenges as a long-term solution is to bring more supply of both multifamily and single-family homes to the market," adds Yun.

The housing market and borrowing rates can move quickly. That’s why being pre-approved for a home loan and working with a Realtor® is the best way to make sure you’re purchasing at the best possible time. That’s Who We R.

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July 29, 2019

Schools’ Major Impact on Real Estate

It’s hard to believe, but it’s already back-to-school time. As a Realtor, every day I see how important schools are to families looking to buy a home. Luckily our area has many outstanding schools, which makes my job easier. It’s easy to show houses to people who are excited about the great schools that their kids will attend.

Buying and moving into a new home is stressful, but moving with school-aged children adds an entirely different set of requirements and stresses. The unique needs of homebuyers and sellers with children under 18 are explored by the National Association of Realtors® in a recently published study, the 2018 Moving With Kids Report.

Unsurprisingly, schools play a critical factor in the purchasing decisions of buyers with children. Fifty percent of buyers with children say the quality of a neighborhood’s school district is important, compared to 11 percent of buyers without children. Convenience and proximity to schools is also a crucial consideration to buyers with children, with 45 percent saying it is important factor. Just six percent of buyers without children agreed.

When choosing a home, buyers with children tend to purchase larger homes than their child-free counterparts. The average buyer with children under 18 purchases a 2,100-square-foot home with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, while the average buyer with no children chooses a 1,750-square-foot home with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Both groups prefer a single-family, detached house.

More than a quarter of all buyers with children, 27 percent, said childcare expenses delayed the process of buying a home. Those expenses also have an impact on the buying process, forcing buyers with children to make compromises on the house they purchase. Thirty percent of these buyers compromised on the size of their home, 29 percent compromised on the price of the home and 22 percent on the condition of the home.

When it comes to selling a home, 24 percent of those with children choose to sell because their house is too small. Only 8 percent of people without children at home sold their house for the same reason. This is further demonstrated when sellers were asked what they want most from their agent. Sellers with children want their agents to sell their home within a specific timeframe (22 percent), more so than sellers without children (20 percent). However, sellers both with and without children expect their Realtor to provide a broad range of services and manage most aspects of their home sale, 80 and 79 percent respectively.

For sellers with children, urgent is the word that most often describes their selling situation: 26 percent of sellers with children qualified their need to sell as 'very urgently' and needed to sell their home as quickly as possible. Compare that to only 14 percent of sellers without children.

Buying a house is rarely just a financial transaction, especially when children are involved. Realtors® help buyers navigate every emotional and financial factor to ensure families find their dream home. That’s Who We R.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

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July 24, 2019

5 Sure-Fire Methods for Annihilating Bugs in Your House`

Summer brings out the creepy-crawlies. Ants march one-by-one toward your kitchen, fruit flies swarming your ripe farmers’ market peaches, and wasps sending you and your guests scrambling from the barbecue.

Don’t panic. You can kill bugs in your house naturally — without expending too much effort, as long as you follow these expert-approved do’s and don’ts from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Keep ants out by sealing up their entrance. These pesky crawlers seek out any “sugary, sweet substances, crumbs on your countertop, and food spillage on the floors,” says Nancy Troyano, Ph.D., a board-certified entomologist and director of technical education and training at Rentokil North America Pest Control.

Ants lay a trail of pheromones to food their family can follow. Cut off their food supply by keeping your space spotless — wipe up spills and clear the crumbs from the bottom of your trash bin. If you spot their tiny parade, Troyano says to grab a tube of sealant and follow the ants until you find their itty-bitty entrance. Combining sugar and borax is another DIY method that hurts more than helps. While borax will kill the ants, it’s also an irritant that can be toxic to pets. Plus, the sugar “may end up attracting ants that wouldn’t have been there in the first place,” Troyano says.

Ban roaches by super cleaning or calling a pro. These nasty crawlers are “nocturnal and secretive in nature,” says Troyano. What’s worse is that they travel in groups. “If you spot one, it’s searching for food because the other roaches are eating all the rest,” she says. “Roaches hide so well in such tiny cracks and crevices and niches,” Troyano says. “Unless you’re trained to think like the roach, it’s very difficult to be able to get them all.” While store-bought roach traps and bait can help, to truly kill an infestation, you must remove any food sources, and hire an exterminator.

Stop wasps by killing them and removing their home. Wasps can be the worst warm weather pests, and they’re difficult to prevent and a pain to kill, literally, as you might suffer a sting or two in the process. Our backyards are most commonly home to either yellow jackets or paper wasps. During winter, the queens tuck away in the yard, wood piles, or other small holes, and they emerge when the weather warms in search of a home for their next colony.

To kill a single wasp or an entire nest, Troyano recommends aerosol insecticide. If you’re concerned about toxicity — these sprays typically include pyrethrins, which can cause respiratory problems if used incorrectly — hire an exterminator. If you’re brave enough to tackle a nest yourself, only do it at night when all wasps are back and sleeping. Stand as far away as the spray allows (most work from 20-plus feet) and wear thick, full-coverage clothing. Plan your escape route before spraying.

Of course, hiring an exterminator is safer — and necessary in some cases. Yellow jacket wasps like to build nests underneath siding. Some homeowners might be tempted to starve them out by plugging the entrance, which is a terrible mistake. “Yellow jackets are chewers,” she says. They’ll chew through the other side of their nest to get inside your house. “Every year, we get calls from frantic people because they see a soft, wet hole in their drywall, and they’ll poke it, and yellow jackets come spilling out,” Troyano says.

Control mosquitoes by removing their breeding grounds. Check birdbaths, storm drains, potted plants, any place water can collect, then dump any you find. Mosquitoes only need one or two weeks to breed, so hurry! Can’t dump it out? Treat standing water with larvicides that kill bugs before they start biting. But look out for products containing Bti, not methoprene, which is toxic to fish, causes vomiting in some dogs, and can irritate your skin. To keep them from attacking you when you’re relaxing on your back porch, simply blow them away, literally. A simple fan will do the trick (but a ceiling fan would be way cooler!).

Trap fruit flies with vinegar. Summer brings these frequent fliers in droves, and nothing seems to keep them away. The best way to keep your home fly-free is by cleaning up your garbage disposal or trash can and putting all of your food in the refrigerator immediately. Cleaning the produce bowl daily and removing any food with broken skin can stave off flies, but Troyano says putting everything away is the only fail-safe. Even after a thorough scrubbing, you still might find a few little guys hovering in your kitchen. A homemade trap, created by placing a small amount of cider vinegar in a jar and covering it with plastic wrap punched with a few holes, can help eliminate the flies’ last stand.

If these tips don’t help control your pest problem, ask your Realtor. Realtors build relationships with exterminators and other service providers, who can help homeowners enjoy their investment. That’s Who We R.

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July 17, 2019

June Housing Market Statistics

The relationship between our nation’s economy and the housing market is complicated. On one hand, residential real estate markets across the country are performing well within an economic expansion that will become the longest in U.S. history in July. However, there are signs of a slowing economy.

The economy is still performing well due to factors such as low unemployment and solid retail sales, but uncertainty remains regarding trade tensions, slowed manufacturing and meek business investments.
The Federal Reserve considers 2.0 percent a healthy inflation rate, but the U.S. is expected to remain below that this year. The Fed has received pressure from the White House to cut rates in order to spur further economic activity, and the possibility of a rate reduction in 2019 is definitely in play following a string of increases over the last several years. When you put all of these factors together, you can see the delicate balance between the housing market and our economy.

Locally, in June New Listings in the Chattanooga region decreased 7.9 percent to 1,283. Pending Sales were up 11.1 percent to 982. Inventory levels shrank 6.3 percent to 2,794 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 7.5 percent to $214,900. Days on Market was up 4.7 percent to 45 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 11.1 percent to 3.2 months.

Markets may change, but Realtors’ commitment to serving our clients doesn’t. Navigating a market that can shift quickly is just one reason why consulting a Realtor is so important. We keep a watchful eye on trends locally and nationally that might affect our clients and community. That’s Who We R.

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July 9, 2019

Home Buyers Rank Commute Time Above Square Footage

Home Buyers Rank Commute Time Above Square Footage

I know a lot of people, but I don’t know anyone who loves sitting in traffic. Sitting still on the road keeps us from doing what we want to do, and I hate it. And I’m not alone. In fact, an interesting new study shows that commute time is extremely important to buyers when they're deciding on a home to purchase. Eighty-five percent of buyers say they would sacrifice other home features, such as lot size, square footage, and home style, in order to shorten their commute to work, according to a survey of more than 600 realtor.com® users. Forty percent say they are looking to reduce their commute time by up to 45 minutes.

Because of this survey, realtor.com® has announced a new tool that enables buyers to filter their home-search results according to rush-hour and off-peak commute times. “Our commute time filter gives buyers the ability to toggle between rush-hour and off-peak commute times,” says Chung Meng Cheong, chief procurement officer for realtor.com®. “With a more holistic view of their drive to and from work, people are able to make more informed decisions about where to live and, hopefully, reduce some unnecessary stress from their daily lives.”

Home buyers can enter basic search information, such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and location desired. They can then filter listings to match their preferred commute time. Commute times are offered in 10-minute increments up to 60 minutes or more. All of the available homes that match the search parameters and commuting distance will then be displayed.

Listening to our clients and their needs when they are searching for property is one of the most important roles of a Realtor. Realtors use the latest in technology to better serve our community. That’s Who We R.

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July 2, 2019

An App Runs on a Code. A REALTOR Stands By One

Friends often ask me, “What’s the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®?” People often use the terms interchangeably, but there are differences between REALTORS® and real estate agents. Although both are licensed to sell real estate, the major difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR® is a that a REALTOR® must subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

Our Code of Ethics is our way of policing ourselves to make sure that we are always working for the benefit of our clients and community. We believe in the Code of Ethics so strongly that we are required to attend training sessions to maintain our membership.

On June 27th, we participated in National Real Estate Ethics Day. This training event, hosted by best-selling author and Realtor Leigh Brown, was live-streamed to Realtor associations all over the country. Our association, the Greater Chattanooga Realtors®, was proud to participate in this event with Realtors from 160 other associations across 22 states.

And if that wasn’t enough, Realtors took this day as an opportunity to raise $23,000 for the REALTORS® Relief Foundation. This fund was established after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and over the past 17 years, the REALTORS® Relief Foundation has collected and distributed over $29 million in relief aid for more than 70 disasters in 37 states and territories.

So what does all of this mean? It means that Realtors do more than sell real estate. Realtors consistently set themselves apart by their focus on professionalism and ethics. We are advocates for homeownership, and that’s something that a website or an app can’t do. An app runs on a code.
A REALTOR® stands by one. In our Code of Ethics, we promise to put people first. That’s Who We R.

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June 28, 2019

Single Sign-On Issue & Resolution For Accessing Tax Data

Flexmls users access CRS via Single-Sign On (SSO) by clicking on the “CRS Tax Data” button on the Detail Tab of any listing in Flexmls. Typically, no additional sign-in should be needed.

Due to a recent programming change in Flexmls, a few MLS users are getting a CRS login page instead of being logged in automatically to CRS. Whether you are on a Mac or PC, you’ll need to make changes in your browser (Safari and/or Chrome). Our friends at CRS created these help sheets to walk you through it:

Need additional assistance accessing CRS Tax Data? Contact CRS at gethelp@crsdata.com OR 800-374-7488.

 

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June 26, 2019

We Love Where We Live

Let’s face it- we know how great Chattanooga is. Even if you haven’t lived in Chattanooga very long, it’s easy to see why we love our town so much. But sometimes it’s important to get an outside perspective to see how others view our town. Recently I read an article from Anthony Sanfilippo at the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) in which he discusses how great our city is, how far it’s come, and why so many people are moving here:

People have different reasons for wanting to buy a home in a certain city or town, or even as specific as a community or a neighborhood. Whatever the reason for moving might be, finding the right place to live is important for a would-be homeowner, but it’s also not the easiest task.

Home prices and mortgage rates are to rise this year and the available housing supply within a buyer’s parameters may shrink.

But some markets are better than others. Realtor.com recently released their hottest markets list for 2019, and coming in at No. 4 is Chattanooga, which had remade itself over the past decade or so into a vibrant city attracting a younger, hipper generation into its environs.

Economists for NAR continuously track home prices, availability and how quickly homes will sell. To make this list, they combine that data with markets that are hotbeds for job growth, are experiencing an influx of new construction and are flush with millennials – the generation making up a majority of buyers in the U.S.

Though Lakeland, Fla., Grand Rapids Mich. and El Paso, Texas ranked ahead of Chattanooga, this up and coming Tennessee city that has a lot of momentum.

Chattanooga continues to expand its downtown with new restaurants and amenities, such as the popular Chattanooga Film Festival. It has a lively nightlife scene, which is attractive to millennials – whether they are looking for a place to dance or a place to chill.

Although Chattanooga still maintains a small town feel in many places, it has also been reshaped by the tech boom. It houses the fastest internet broadband in the country and has attracted tech businesses both of the homegrown variety (like Bellhops) and outside companies (like Carbon Five) which are making Chattanooga their new home.

It has easy access to lakes and mountains for those that love the outdoors and still maintains weekly farmer’s markets and a wide assortment of small-town mom-and-pop shops that give it a traditional look and feel.

Chattanooga also offers a diverse cross-section of neighborhoods, with more than 40 unique and welcoming neighborhoods. It’s also an especially affordable city with an average median home price of $161,595, nearly $100,000 below the national average.

What makes Chattanooga’s affordable prices so attractive is that new construction can also be purchased for very reasonable prices.

Isn’t that great to read? As Realtors, we have pride in our community. We love where we live, and we are thrilled to help our community find the property that works for them; whether it’s for a business or for a home. That’s who we R®.

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June 21, 2019

NAR Legislative Updates

Flood Insurance Updates

Private Flood Insurance:

On February 20, 2019, five federal regulatory agencies - the Federal Reserve, FDIC, OCC, Farm Credit and National Credit Union Administrations - published final regulations (link is external) clarifying lender acceptance of private flood insurance. These rules will take effect on July 1.

The final regulations implement Section 239 of the Biggert-Waters Reform Act, which generally requires that lenders accept private flood insurance meeting a strict statutory definition. More specifically, the rules:

  • Adopt the same definition of private flood insurance as the statute; this definition has been an ongoing source of confusion, particularly for smaller lenders.
  • Provide compliance aid for lenders to determine whether a private policy meets the definition and thus must be accepted in satisfaction of federal flood insurance requirements.
  • Clarify that lenders have broad discretion to accept private policies that don’t meet the strict definition if the policy provides sufficient protection of the loan consistent with safety and soundness principles.

NAR has been working as part of a coalition to make it easier for lenders to accept private flood insurance, which often offers better coverage at lower cost than the NFIP. Read our latest regulatory comment letter (link is external). These rules do provide lenders with important clarifications, compliance aid and regulatory certainty. They do not change FEMA or FHA guidelines that generally fail to recognize private flood insurance policies for purposes of federal assistance.

NAR will continue working with Congress and the Administration to clarify any remaining issues of continuous private flood insurance coverage and address these issues as part of NFIP reauthorization and reform legislation.

House Committee Passes Flood Bill:

On June 12, 2019, by a unanimous vote of 59 to 0, the House Financial Services Committee approved HR 3167: the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Reauthorization Act, sending the bill to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

The NFIP Reauthorization Act would extend the program for five years and include significant reforms to strengthen flood mapping, enhance mitigation investments and remove several barriers to private flood insurance options. It easily cleared the first hurdle of the legislative process because it was the product of extensive, bipartisan negotiations between Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC).

NAR supported committee passage because the bill represents a long-term solution to NFIP and a breakthrough of the two-year deadlock that has resulted in 12 short-term extensions and two brief lapses so far.  The bill is not only a sensible, bipartisan pathway forward, but also includes numerous NAR-championed provisions and is consistent with long-standing NAR policy principles.

Next, the House of Representatives must vote on the measure but the timing is not yet clear. NAR will urge the House to take up the NFIP Reauthorization Act at the first available opportunity and move the bill to the United States Senate. Currently, NFIP’s flood-insurance-writing authority is next set to expire on September 30, 2019.

NAR’s Letter of Support (link is external)
HR 3167, The National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (link is external)
Section-by-Section Committee Summary (link is external)

Congress Passes VA Loan Bill

The President is expected to sign H.R. 299, the "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act." This legislation includes language which will eliminate the cap on the VA home loan guarantee. Veterans, under this legislation, will be able to purchase any home they qualify for using the VA home loan (with zero down payment).

As introduced, the legislation would slightly increase some of the guarantee fees for all veterans using the VA loan program, in order to pay for the healthcare component. NAR opposed this language, and in conjunction with other groups, was able to mitigate the impact of these increases. NAR will continue to work with the VA on implementing the loan limit provision and assuring all veterans have access to the home loan benefit.

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June 21, 2019

The Importance of Pre-Approval

When looking to purchase a home, sometimes buyers can put the cart before the horse. It’s easy to get swept up in the idea of buying a new home. One piece of advice I give to anyone is to get a pre-approval for your home loan. If you don’t seek a loan pre-approval before you start looking, you might actually prevent yourself from finding and buying your dream home. Here’s why:

Streamlined Hunting With Pre-Approval
Most homeowners start out by browsing homes for sale online to get an idea of what neighborhoods and housing styles they like. If you don’t know what you can afford, you may be looking out of your price range and wasting your time. You may also be looking below what you would have qualified for and not getting the right home for you. If you start off by getting a pre-approval, you can search by price, identify the right neighborhoods, and find your dream home much faster.

Better Results From a REALTOR®
The bottom line is this: REALTORS® prefer to work with home buyers who have a pre-approval in hand for two reasons.

First, a REALTOR® knows the deal isn’t likely to fall through. Second, when they know what you want and what you can afford, so they are able to do a better job of finding your dream home. For example, you told a REALTOR® you want a historic home, but the asking price for these homes varies widely. If they don't know what you can afford, they can only do a general search across several price ranges and may miss hidden gems.

On the other hand, if you have pre-approval, a REALTOR® would know what exactly what to focus on and would be able to suggest different neighborhoods, sizes and conditions of homes to match your needs—making it easier to get you exactly what you want.

Higher Acceptance Rate for Buyers With Pre-Approval
Once you find the perfect home, the next step can go two different ways depending on a pre-approval.
If you’re not pre-approved and you find a home you want to make an offer on, you’re taking a gamble. REALTORS® and sellers are less willing to accept offers from a buyer without a pre-approval. Odds are, they’ll go on to the next offer—and you’ll miss out. However, if you are pre-approved, you have more room to haggle. Sellers may be more willing to lower the asking price, include appliances, cover closing costs or make other allowances to work with a pre-approved buyer.

Less Stress With Pre-Approval
Finally, skipping this step can wreak havoc on your stress level. If you aren’t pre-approved, you’ll spend longer looking for homes, and you may not feel like you’re getting great service from a REALTOR®. You may get turned down once you’re ready to make an offer. All of this adds more time and stress to what should be a very exciting time in your life.

On the other hand, if you’re pre-approved, you have less to worry about: you know you’re a qualified buyer, you know there are lenders willing to work with you, and you can feel pretty confident when you make an offer.

As Realtors, we are here to help guide people through this process, and getting pre-approval for a home loan will definitely make the process much smoother.  Realtors give expert guidance because That’s Who We R®.

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June 12, 2019

May Housing Market Statistics

At this point in the year, we are getting a good sense for how the housing market is likely to perform for the foreseeable future. Although it is not a particularly exciting forecast, it is a desirable one.  Markets across the country are regulating toward a middle ground between buyers and sellers. While it
remains true that sales prices are running higher and that inventory options are relatively low, buyers are beginning to find wiggle room at some price points and geographies.

An extended trend of low unemployment, higher wages, and favorable mortgage rates have been terrific drivers of housing stability in recent years. What is different about this year so far is that prices are not rising as quickly. Some of the hottest Western markets are even cooling slightly, while some Northeast markets are achieving a state of recovery after a decade of battling back from recession. As a whole, the selling season is looking fairly stable across the nation.

In the Greater Chattanooga area, New Listings increased 7.7 percent to 1,428. Pending Sales were up 18.8 percent to 1,156. Inventory levels shrank 0.7 percent to 2,680 units. Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 10.8 percent to $205,000. Days on Market was down 12.2 percent to 43 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 6.1 percent
to 3.1 months.

The housing market is always subject to change, so seeking the expertise of a Realtor will ensure homebuyers and sellers know all of the information available to them. That’s who we R®.

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June 3, 2019

4 Reasons Why Summer Is the Best Time to Move

On the fence about moving this summer? Realtor.com highlights these reasons that might make you want to take the plunge and jump into the hot housing market.

Long days with plenty of sun
The weather conditions in the winter can make moving difficult. But warm weather means you won't have to deal with snow or cold, which can make a move difficult or uncomfortable. Warmer weather means longer days and more daylight that gives you more time to move in and out of a home. This is especially helpful for those who are not hiring a moving company and will be doing the heavy lifting themselves.

Children are not in school
For those with families, moving in summer means no disruption of the school year or daily routine for the children. Plus, you won't have to plan your move around a school schedule, and you'll have extra hands on deck to help you out with the move. Disrupting the school year with a major move can be difficult, not only with all the school activities, but also with after-school activities and sports activities. This can be a great way to put all of their youthful energy to work.

Yard sales galore
Summer also brings more neighborhood yard sales, which can be beneficial to both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you can team up with neighbors and share the task of promoting the yard sale and bringing in foot traffic. As a buyer, you will have more yard sales to peruse for any items you need. Plus, yard sales can be a great way to reduce the amount of stuff you have to move—and who doesn’t like the extra cash?

The selling season peaks in summer
The summer housing market heats up for sellers, so if you're antsy to move, you'll probably have an easier time finding a new place and getting out of your current house. June tops the list as the best month to sell, based on seller premiums. And, in case you needed an added incentive, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate just fell below 4%. This is the first time this has happened since January 2018, so the time to buy might be right now.

When you partner with a Realtor®, what your circumstances might be, you can be sure that you’re working with an expert who will work tirelessly on your behalf. That’s who we R®.

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May 27, 2019

Baby Boomers: Why Should We Downsize?

I’ve noticed that millennials are often talked about in regard to housing, but baby boomers, mostly between the ages of 54 to 73, are making news as well. I read an article from USA Today which noted that a growing number of baby boomers are choosing not to downsize in retirement. Instead, they’re opting to remain in the homes where they raised their children. But their reluctance to move is contributing to low inventory across the country, says realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale.

Baby boomers are working longer and, therefore, putting retirement off longer than previous generations. Also, their millennial children increasingly are living at home with them and staying well into adulthood.

Baby boomers also may be struggling to find a smaller home to move into. Housing analysts have pointed to a dire housing shortage of less expensive entry-level homes—the type downsizing baby boomers could be seeking. The shortage has caused home prices to increase, and that may be erasing some of the incentive to downsize, housing analysts say. Locally, the median sales price for April 2019 was $199,000. This is a 11.5% increase just since April 2018 ($178,500).

Fifty-two percent of baby boomers say they’ll never move from their current home, according to a Chase Bank survey of 753 boomer homeowners conducted this year. Separately, 43% of 45- to 65-year-olds say they plan to remain in their current home through retirement, according to a 2017 Ipsos/USA Today poll.

And downsizing may be losing its appeal. For baby boomers who do plan to move, 43% say they want their next home to be the same size as their current one. Twenty-two percent say they want their next home to be even larger, according to a January survey of 50- and 60-year-olds by Del Webb.

Whatever your housing situation might be, working with a Realtor ensures that an expert is working on your behalf to make transaction as smooth as possible. That’s who we R®.

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May 22, 2019

Realtors Meet in D.C. For Hill Visits & Presidential Address

Last week members of the Greater Chattanooga Realtors, joined more than 10,000 Realtors from across the nation in Washington D.C. Our purpose was to further our work with Congress to advance policy initiatives that strengthen the ability of Americans to buy, invest, own and sell commercial and residential real estate.

This trip is so satisfying because we are able to see firsthand the importance and impact of advocacy on a state and national level. It reminds me personally that our business and the rights of propertyowners must never be taken for granted.

This year, we advocated for several legislative initiatives including equal protection for the LGBT community under the Fair Housing Act, housing finance reform, national flood insurance program reauthorization and housing affordability and accessibility.

We heard the latest market forecasts from National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun, who was the keynote speaker for our 2018 Economic Update Luncheon co-hosted with the Home Builders of Greater Chattanooga. While in D.C., we even had the attention of the highest office in the land. Every year NAR invites the sitting President of the United States to speak to our group, should their schedule allow. The last President to address our conference was President George W. Bush in 2005. President Trump addressed Realtors saying, “Homeownership and what you do as Realtors is a part of Americana. You work hard, you love people, you love this country.”

So why do we take the time to make this visit? 2019 National Association of Realtors President John Smaby put it best. "The day-to-day business dealings of Realtors are directly impacted by the decisions made by our policymakers and regulators, making it vitally important for leaders on Capitol Hill to hear from our members.”

As a member of America's largest trade association, my fellow Realtors and I know the importance of making sure our voices and the voices of homeowners from across the nation are heard. An app doesn’t advocate for equal protection under the Fair Housing Act. A website doesn’t fight for access to flood insurance. Realtors do. Realtors fight for homeowners because that’s who we R®.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

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May 2, 2019

Buying a House – Step By Step

Buying a home is a big move, literally and figuratively. Buying a house requires a serious amount of money and time. The journey isn’t always easy. It isn’t always intuitive. But when you get the keys to your new home — that can be one of the most rewarding feelings pretty much ever.

The key to getting there is knowing the home-buying journey. Knowing what tools are at your disposal. And most importantly creating relationships with experts who can help you get the job done.

With so many people looking to purchase a home this spring, it’s important to know the entire process. I’ll show you some of the major steps you’ll take during the home-buying process, and explain the relationships and experts you’ll need along the way.

Ready to live the dream? Here we go.

Do Your Homework. Before you set foot into a foyer, you should identify your list of “musts” and “wants.” This list is an inventory of priorities for your search. And there’s so much to decide: Price, housing type, neighborhood, and school district — just to name a few. If you’re planning to buy a home with a partner you will certainly want to be on the same page. If you’re not, you’ll be less able to give Realtors or lenders the information they need to help you. And you risk wasting time viewing homes you can’t afford — or don’t even want in the first place.

Start Shopping. Once you know what you’re looking for, the next step is to start looking at listings and housing information online. (This part? You’re going to crush it.)

Find Your Realtor®. Your relationship with your Realtor is the foundation of the home-buying process. Your Realtor is the first expert you’ll meet on your journey, and the one you’ll rely on most. That’s why it’s important to interview Realtors and find the one who’s right for your specific needs.

Choose Your Lender. Once you’ve found your Realtor, ask them to recommend at least three mortgage lenders that meet your financial needs. This is another big step, as you’ll be working with your lender closely throughout the home-buying process.

Pick A Loan. Once you’ve decided on a lender (or mortgage broker), you’ll work with your loan agent to determine which mortgage is right for you. You’ll consider the percentage of your income you want to spend on your new house, and you’ll provide the lender with paperwork showing proof of income, employment status, and other important financials. If all goes well (fingers crossed) you’ll be pre-approved for a loan at a certain amount.
Look Around. Now that you have both a Realtor who knows your housing preferences and a budget — and a lender to finance a house within that budget — it’s time to get serious about viewing homes. Your Realtor will provide listings you may like based on your parameters (price range, ZIP codes, features), and will also help you determine the quality of listings you find online. Then comes the fun part: Open houses and private showings, which give you the unique opportunity to evaluate properties in a way you can’t online.

Make An Offer. Once you find the home you want to buy, you’ll work with your Realtor to craft an offer that not only specifies the price you’re willing to pay but also the proposed settlement date and contingencies — other conditions that must be agreed upon by both parties, such as giving you the ability to do a home inspection and request repairs.

Time To Negotiate. Making an offer can feel like an emotional precipice, almost like asking someone out on a date. Do they like me? Am I good enough? Will they say yes? It’s stressful! Some home sellers simply accept the best offer they receive, but many sellers make a counteroffer. If that happens, it’s up to you to decide whether you want your Realtor to negotiate with the seller or walk away. This is an area where your Realtor can provide real value by using their expert negotiating skills to haggle on your behalf and nab you the best deal.

Get the Place Inspected. If your offer is accepted, then you’ll sign a contract. Most sales contracts include a home inspection contingency, which means you’ll hire a licensed or certified home inspector to inspect the home for needed repairs, and then ask the seller to have those repairs made. This mitigates your risk of buying a house that has major issues lurking beneath the surface, like mold or cracks in the foundation. (No one wants that.)

Ace the Appraisal. When you offer to buy a home, your lender will need to have the home appraised to make sure the property value is enough to cover the mortgage. If the home appraises close to the agreed-upon purchase price, you’re one step closer to settlement — but a low appraisal can add a wrinkle.

Close the Deal. The last stage of the home-buying process is settlement, or closing. This is when you sign the final ownership and insurance paperwork and make this whole thing official.

When it’s all said and done, you’ll have the keys to your new home! As you can see, the home buying process can be challenging. That’s why it’s so crucial to have a Realtor by your side. Ethically serving our clients through their biggest investment- That’s Who We R®.

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May 1, 2019

MLS Rules Amended April 2019

At their February 2019 and April 2019 meetings, the Board of Directors approved recommendations from the MLS Committee to incorporate NAR-mandated language into our local MLS Rules, as well as a local clarification that the list price cannot be modified after an offer has been accepted. These amendments have now been incorporated into the MLS Rules and accomplish the following:

1. Clarify that the list price cannot be modified after an offer has been accepted. 

2. Incorporate NAR-mandated amendments to:

  • Upon request by the cooperating broker, require the listing broker to provide written affirmation that the offer has been submitted to the seller OR that the seller waived the listing's broker's obligation to present the offer.
  • Provide a dispute resolution mechanism for complaints alleging the unauthorized use of listing content (i.e., photos), including a prohibition of Participants taking legal action against another Participant for alleged MLS Rules violations unless the complainingParticipant first uses the remedies provided in the MLS Rules.
  • Clarify the representations and warranties Participants make when submitting listing content to the MLS, including the Participant's agreement to defend and hold harmless the MLS and other Participants from liabilities taken when submitting listing content to the MLS.

Click to review the verbatim amendments to the MLS Rules & Regulations.

Click to access the MLS Rules in their entirety.

Questions? Contact MLS Director, Tonya Bell: 423.698.8001 / tonya@gcar.net

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April 24, 2019

Helpful Tips For Open Houses

I’m so excited that our Annual Greater Chattanooga Realtors® Open House Weekend is scheduled for this weekend, April 27-28. It allows the public an opportunity to preview more than 100 homes in southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia - and a chance to win prizes!

Why hold an Open House? It’s a chance to throw open the doors and dazzle buyers. Whether you’re a part of Open House Weekend, or if you’re looking to list later in the year, these tips will help make your Open House a hit.

Let Your Realtor® Take the Lead. Your job is to make your house look like a million bucks. The job of your Realtor, an expert on your local real estate market and what makes buyers tick, is to take care of the rest. The Realtor® will take the lead on hosting the Open House, communicating with potential buyers' and their agents, and communicating any feedback to you following the Open House.

Try Some Simple Staging. You want your home to look its best while it’s on the market especially during the Open House. Many Realtors say the best way to primp your home for its big day is to stage it.

Depending on what your Realtor recommends, staging may involve renting new furniture or decor for certain rooms in your home. Consider displaying a bouquet of fresh flowers in the entryway, setting your dining room table to make it look inviting, or turning on your outdoor sprinklers shortly before visitors arrive to make your lawn sparkle.

Clean Like Crazy. When your home is on the market, you need to keep it in showing shape — not only for the Open House, but also for any scheduled showings with buyers. Even though you’ve already (hopefully) cleaned and organized your home for its listing photos, there’s a good chance you’ve let clutter or dust pile up again, especially if you have children or pets.

Make sure appliances, windows, and mirrors are fingerprint-free. Clean and organize your closets, cabinets, and under the sinks (during the Open House, buyers are allowed to be nosy). Clear every bit of clutter and get rid of it or put it in storage.

Don’t have the bandwidth to do a deep clean? Hire a house cleaning service to do the work for you. A professional cleaning service costs around $115 to $230 on average. If you’re not sure about which service to hire, ask your Realtor to recommend cleaners.

Do a Smell Check. If buyers get a whiff of something funky, they’re going to run — not walk — out of your Open House. Prior to the Open House, ask your Realtor or a neighbor to do an honest, no-holds-barred smell check. If your house has the aroma of your beloved pet(s), deep clean the carpets, relocate the litter box, and take steps to eliminate traces of Fluffy. If the basement is dank and musty, buy a dehumidifier to remove air moisture and run a fan to circulate the air. If the kitchen drain stinks, drop in a cup of baking soda, then two cups of white vinegar. Enjoy the bubbling, then let the mixture sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Finally run hot water for 15 to 30 seconds to flush the odor.

Put Your Pictures (and Valuables) Away. Personal belongings such as family photos, awards, and religious art can distract home buyers and make it harder for them to imagine themselves living in your home. You don’t have to go overboard — the idea isn’t to eliminate every trace of yourself — but consider temporarily hiding some pictures and personal effects out of sight during the Open House. Also, there’s a safety element to stowing your personal belongings. It’s important to remember that you’re inviting strangers into your home. Consider securely storing personal items (checkbooks, jewelry, prescription medications, etc.). Also be sure to lock windows and doors afterwards.

Let the Light In. Light doesn’t only (literally) brighten up your space. It also makes rooms look and feel larger. On Open House day, open all curtains and blinds to let natural light in. Replace every single burnt-out light bulb in and outside the home — buyers should see a working light every time they flip a switch.

Draw Attention to Your Home’s Best Features. Even though you won’t be there, you can still draw visitors’ attention to features in your home that you’d like to highlight. Prior to the Open House, post (friendly, aesthetically pleasing) signs around the house with calls to action such as, “look down, new hardwood floors,” or “gas fireplace, push this button.” Buyers will likely appreciate the help, and that they’re working with a conscientious seller.

After the Open House ends, your Realtor will share with you what questions buyers asked and any comments they overheard by visitors. The important thing is to stay open to buyers’ feedback, and to follow your Realtor’s advice about how to respond. Based on buyers’ reactions, your Realtor may recommend that you make certain repairs, do some painting, or invest in additional staging before your next Open House. Whatever they advise, it’s not personal — it’s just the business of selling your home.

Hopefully these tips will make your Open House a success. Potential buyers who visit during Open House Weekend can register for a chance to win one of five $150 gift cards. Get details and preview scheduled open houses at www.gcar.net.

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April 22, 2019

March Market Statistics

Nationally, increasing housing prices and housing affordability remained a concern in many markets, but locally sales prices and inventory levels remained steady. One big takeaway from March is the sharp increase in people listing their property for sale.

New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 8.2 percent to 1,282. Pending Sales were up 8 percent to 1,084. Inventory levels shrank 1.1 percent to 2,501 units. Prices were fairly stable. The Median Sales Price increased 0.7 percent to $190,000. Days on Market remained flat at 54 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 3.2 percent to 3 months.

The Federal Reserve recently announced that no further interest rate hikes are planned for 2019. Given the fact that the federal funds rate has increased nine times over the past three years, this was welcome news for U.S. consumers, which carry an approximate average of $6,000 in revolving credit card debt per household. Fed actions also tend to affect mortgage rates, so the pause in rate hikes was also welcome news to the residential real estate industry.

All of these factors are looking to make a hot spring buying and selling season. To prepare for this flurry of activity, the Greater Chattanooga Realtors will be hosting our annual Open House Weekend on April 27-28. This event will feature more than 100 Realtor-hosted Open Houses throughout southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia. Potential buyers who visit open houses this weekend can register for a chance to win one of five $150 gift cards. Get details and preview scheduled open houses at www.gcar.net.

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April 10, 2019

Homeowners More Likely to take on D.I.Y. Remodels, Says Realtor Survey

Homeowners looking to add personality and individuality to their home are more likely to undertake a do it yourself remodel than hire a professional, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2019 Remodeling Impact Report: DIY. The report also shows that cash-strapped millennials are the most likely of any generation to take on a DIY project.

The report examines the differences between remodeling when hiring a professional compared to homeowners who pursue “do it yourself” projects. The report also differentiates between projects that were undertaken to benefit the homes of consumers and those that benefit consumers’ pets.

In fact, a recent study from the National Association of Realtors® showed that nearly half of all animal owners surveyed (52 percent) undertook home renovations to accommodate their animal. The most popular projects included building a fenced yard (23 percent), adding a dog door (12 percent), and installing laminate flooring (10 percent).

According to the report, homeowners reported a “Joy Score” of 9.9 for projects done themselves (Joy Scores range from 1 and 10, and higher figures indicate greater joy from the project). That is compared to a score of 9.6 for projects completed by professionals. DIYers also expressed a greater sense of accomplishment with a finished project, with 97 percent of respondents indicating a major or minor sense of accomplishment, compared to 93 percent of those who hired a professional.

Nearly three-fourths of Generation Y and Millennial consumers (73 percent,) over half of Generation X (51 percent) and 50 percent of Younger Boomers choose to DIY home projects. Seventy percent of the Silent Generation indicated that they hired a professional to complete their project – the highest of any generation.

Anyone taking on remodeling projects should speak to a REALTOR® to get guidance on getting the most bang for the buck on resale. REALTORS® have unique and instrumental insights into which projects and upgrades bring the most value to your home – That’s Who We R®.

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April 8, 2019

New Policy & Fee Schedule for IDX, VOW and Back-Office Data Feeds

In January 2019, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® modified its policy on how we will charge for IDX, VOW, and Confidential Back-Office system data feeds. This policy, as outlined below, ensures the MLS has an accurate accounting for MLS data transmitted to third-party vendors providing IDX, VOW, and Confidential Back-Office systems; provides a mechanism by which Participants and Subscribers are reminded to inform the MLS should a data feed no longer be required; and avoids an unreasonable cost to Participants and Subscribers for providing feeds to accommodate IDX, VOW and Confidential back-office systems. The policy is to:

1. No longer charge IDX/VOW vendors $400 per Participant with whom that vendor works to provide IDX/VOW services;

2. Charge a non-prorated fee of twenty-five dollars ($25) as outlined below to Participants and Subscribers, who would be billed initially at the time a data feed is provided and annually with the MLS subscription renewal; and

3. Provide data feeds required for IDX, VOW, and Confidential Back-Office systems, provided each Participant and/or Subscriber requesting the feed executes an IDX, VOW, or Broker Data Release agreement, whichever may apply:

  • $25 to each Subscriber, who (with their Participant’s approval), enters into an agreement with a vendor to provide a service to said Subscriber
  • $25 to a Participant, who enters into an agreement with a vendor to provide a service for the entire firm, partnership, corporation or limited liability company with which the Participant is affiliated.

Our MLS Staff is compiling a spreadsheet of IDX, VOW, and Confidential Back-Office feeds, which once completed will be provided to each Office, Participant, and/or Subscriber currently receiving a feed. Our intent is to provide this information ahead of the annual MLS subscription renewal so that we can terminate any feeds no longer in use. The next step will be to add the $25 fee to each account, so that this amount will be included with your MLS renewal invoice. For questions, please contact Rheta@gcar.net or Tonya@gcar.net.

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March 27, 2019

Eight Lawn Care Tasks You Need To Do Now

It might not be glamourous, but we can all agree that a lush, green lawn definitely adds to a property’s curb appeal. And if homeowners are looking to list their property for the coming spring buying season, it’s a good idea to get started on these tasks so that they can make their property look its best when it hits the market.

Here are some tips to help your property stand out to homebuyers this spring:

#1 Seed the Lawn
Before soil temps reach 65 degrees, spread grass seed over any bare or thin spots. The sooner the grass roots, the faster it can box out weeds. Or better yet, put down sod — it fights crabgrass and weeds better.

#2 Clean Out Debris
Your yard is waking up from a months-long slumber, and it’s lookin’ a little groggy with branches, leftover leaves, and clumps of yard debris scattered about. Clean that unsightly stuff from your lawn and gardens after the overnight air temps consistently rise above freezing. (Before that, it actually helps protect your grass, like a toasty blanket.)

#3 Apply Fertilizer with Pre-Emergent Herbicide
It sounds like an old gardener’s tale, but even master gardeners follow it: If the bright yellow forsythia bushes are beginning to bloom, it’s time to apply a slow-release fertilizer with pre-emergent herbicide to fight crabgrass. Apply before it germinates — when the soil warms to about 55 degrees, which is when forsythia hits peak bloom.

#4 Plant Bare-Root Plants
Once the soil in your garden is thawed and dry enough to crumble, rather than clump, in your hand — you can get your green thumb back into action outdoors. Cool-season growers like pansies, snapdragons, and bare-root trees and shrubs all get a boost from the cool, wet conditions.

#5 Wash Away Salt
Most plants don’t grow well if they’re feeling salty (unless they’re saline-tolerant, like daylilies). So once roadside soil has thawed, give your exposed plants a good watering to dilute any salt that sprayed up from slushy winter traffic.

#6 Prune and Fertilize
As long as your soil crumbles instead of clumping (revealing it’s sufficiently dry), now’s the time to prune fruit trees, shade trees, and summer-blooming shrubs, and remove old growth from perennials that didn’t receive a fall pruning. You’ll also want to fertilize trees and shrubs before they begin their spring growth.

#7 Preorder Perennials
Even if you can’t plant them just yet, take advantage of the 10-20% off deals offered by many nurseries in early spring. Bonus: Being an early bird means you’ll also get the best selection.
#8 Get Your Mower Ready
Once grass reaches 2.5 to 3.5 inches tall, it’s time for your mower’s annual maiden voyage. So prep now for a season of success, rather than stalling, wheezing, and cursing. Get an oil change, new spark plugs, and a clean air filter, and sharpen the blades to ensure a clean first cut.

Follow these handy tips and you’ll be sure to have your property ready for the annual Greater Chattanooga Realtors’ Open House Weekend, which will be held on April 27-28. Stay tuned for details about this annual event to showcase the local inventory of available homes.

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March 21, 2019

Tax Time & Homeownership

The deadline to file taxes is less than a month away, and for some homeowners the new tax code has changed what to expect when filing their taxes. As with all financial matters, it’s recommended that you consult a certified professional.

The new tax code doesn’t automatically mean that your taxes are going up, but there are some significant changes that homeowners should be aware of.  The biggest change? Many homeowners who used to write off their property taxes and the interest they pay their mortgage will no longer be able to. The new law caps the mortgage interest you can write off at loan amounts of no more than $750,000. However, if your loan was in place by Dec. 14, 2017, the loan is grandfathered, and the old $1 million maximum amount still applies. Since most people don’t have a mortgage larger than $750,000, they won’t be affected by the cap.

Some other highlights of the new tax code are:
1. Single people may get more tax benefits from buying a house. Evan Liddiard, a CPA and director of federal tax policy for the National Association of REALTORS® says. “Single people can often reach [and potentially exceed] the standard deduction more quickly.”
2. Student loan debt is deductible. Now, up to $2,500 is deductible if you’re repaying, whether you itemize or not.
3. Charitable deductions and some medical expenses remain itemizable. If you’re generous or have had a big year for medical bills, these, added to your mortgage interest, may be enough to bump you over the standard deduction hump and into the write-off zone.
4. If your mortgage is over the $750,000 cap, pay it down faster.  Homeowners can add a little to the principal each month, or make a 13th payment each year.

Again, each person’s circumstances are different, so be sure to consult a tax professional to help navigate this new tax territory.

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March 13, 2019

February Market Statistics

I think most of us would agree that winter has lingered a bit longer than expected this year. I mention the weather because February has turned in some impressively cold and rainy days that have stalled some buying and selling activity for our area, and for large portions of the country. Nevertheless, housing markets have proven to be resilient despite predictions of a tougher year for the industry. It is still too early to say how the entire year will play out, but economic fundamentals remain positive.

New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 6.5 percent to 1,005. Pending Sales were up 13.7 percent to 869. Inventory levels shrank 1.9 percent to 2,537 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 3.7 percent to $182,000. Days on Market was down 12.3 percent to 57 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 6.3 percent to 3.0 months.

The National Association of REALTORS® recently reported that national existing-home sales were down slightly during January 2019 and that pending sales were up in year-over-year comparisons. It is worth noting that some softening of sales was anticipated, as was a positive sales bounce during January 2019 after a slow end to 2018. Weather-related events have hampered some activity during February 2019, yet buyers have shown determination toward achieving their homeownership goals.

The weather is starting to be a bit more favorable, which means spring will be in full bloom soon. Then things will really heat up. In fact, we’re already making plans for Greater Chattanooga Realtors Open House Weekend, which will be held on April 27-28. Stay tuned for details about this annual event to showcase the local inventory of available homes.

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March 11, 2019

Greater Chattanooga Realtors Lobby For Property Rights & Participate in Realtor Day on the Hill

On March 5th, forty-one Greater Chattanooga Realtors joined an estimated 400 other Tennessee Realtors in Nashville for their annual Realtor Day on the Hill on March 5th. Realtors from across the state met with elected officials to discuss issues pertinent to real estate and property owners.

“It was great to so many of our Realtors participate in Day on the Hill, and for many of them it, was their first experience with Realtor advocacy,” said Kim Bass, 2019 President of Greater Chattanooga Realtors.

This year, the state association, Tennessee Realtors® focused on maintaining affordable housing, protecting landlord rights, and repealing the Professional Privilege Tax.

“These issues not only impact Realtors, but also many of our clients. For example, affordable housing is crucial in areas experiencing increased growth such as ours and must continue to be a priority so that more people can attain homeownership,” said Bass.

“As a Realtor, I know the importance of building business relationships and today we built stronger relationships with our representatives. I know who to call when there’s a real estate issue,” said Jill Christy, 2019 Governmental Affairs Chair of the Greater Chattanooga Realtors.


Greater Chattanooga Realtors’ Governmental Affairs Committee, of which many of the participants belong, examines policies that may impact the ability of REALTORS® to conduct their business successfully and ethically, and promotes the preservation of the right to own, use, and transfer real property. They work with elected officials on issues impacting property values and quality of life in Greater Chattanooga.

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March 5, 2019

Advocating for Homeowners: That’s Who We R®

As a Realtor, my job isn’t just putting “For Sale” and “Sold” signs in the ground. In fact, as the 2019 President of Greater Chattanooga Realtors, much of my job is advocating for the rights of property owners in our area.

As I write this, I’m on a bus with 40 other Greater Chattanooga Realtors. We’re on the way to the Tennessee State Capitol building in Nashville, where we’ll join with an estimated 400 Realtors from all over the state. Collectively, we will discuss crucial real estate issues on behalf of current and future home and property owners across Tennessee.

This year, the state association, Tennessee Realtors®, will focus on maintaining affordable housing, protecting landlord rights, and repealing the Professional Privilege Tax.

These issues not only impact Realtors, but also many of our clients. For example, affordable housing is crucial in areas experiencing increased growth such as ours and must continue to be a priority so that more people can attain homeownership.

Realtors are the leading advocates for homeownership and commercial real estate, which is why it is so critical that we connect with lawmakers and ensure they understand the issues facing the real estate industry and their constituents – of which many are home and property owners. Supporting home and property owners through smart legislation and regulatory initiatives is essential to advancing our nation’s economy, as well as our communities, so Realtors are continuing to engage lawmakers on the issues that impact real estate.

We’re always fighting for property owners and for private property rights. That’s who we R®.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

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February 27, 2019

Serving Clients Better Every Day: That’s Who We R®

When it comes to buying or selling property, consumers want the best. The best price, the best property, the best location, the best process. What many don’t know is that they also have the right to the best real estate professional. Realtors are professionals, and that’s why we abide by our Code of Ethics, which was established in 1913.

The REALTOR® Code of Ethics isn’t just words on a page, but is a pledge of honesty, integrity, professionalism and community service. Partnering with a REALTOR® delivers the peace of mind that can only come from working with a real person. A real advocate. A real, trusted professional who is committed to their clients’ futures.

A Realtor friend of mine was working with a first time homebuyer who was going through a divorce and had to find a home for herself and her two daughters. At the time this single mom was paying an exorbitant amount on her monthly rent. The Realtor was able to get her client prequalified for a house that was significantly less than what she was paying in rent. My friend said that these types of interactions make her strive to serve her clients better every day.

Before becoming a Realtor, my friend was an elementary school teacher. She is a Chattanooga native, and deeply loves this town and all it has to offer.

That’s who my friend is. She is one of the more that 2,200 Greater Chattanooga Realtors, and the 1.3 million Realtors nationwide who serve our clients day in and day out.

Over the next few months, you’ll be hearing similar stories about who we are as Realtors. We want the community to know whether you’re looking to buy, sell, invest, or lease space, partnering with a Realtor is more than just a transaction.

Realtors are more than access to property and housing data. Realtors are not apps.  An app runs on code. A REALTOR® stands by one. In our Code of Ethics, we promise to put people first. Realtors are humans helping humans find dream homes, build dream communities, and turn business dreams into realities.

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February 22, 2019

Housing Scams Still Persist

Buying or selling a house can be an intense experience, and unfortunately there are scammers that hope to capitalize on the sometimes hectic real estate transaction process.

A fellow Realtor recently told me that he receives calls almost daily from people who are at risk of being scammed. One way these people try to fool the public is by taking images of properties that are for sale and posting these images online as a property available to be rented. When someone is interested in the “rental” property, the scammer asks to be sent money so that they can show the property.

Unfortunately, this is just one of the ways that dishonest people can prey upon people looking for housing. Properly handling client’s data and privacy against cons and scammers seems to be a constant issue in this digital age.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) takes the protection of our clients very seriously. When concerning data privacy and security, NAR “strongly supports efforts to protect consumers' sensitive personal information, and the REALTOR® code of Ethics and Standards of Practice explicitly acknowledges a REALTOR's® obligation to preserve the confidentiality of personal information provided by clients in the course of any agency or non-agency relationship—both during and after the termination of these business relationships.”

If you start to become suspicious of a business interaction, here are some steps to take:
• Be cautious when completing credit checks and rental applications.
• Contact the website owner(s) and ask to have the property removed.
• Keep paper trail of all your communications.
• Report the fraudulent activity to the authorities (local and federal).

Sellers and Listing Agents should also sign-up for Google Alerts and get an email anytime the property’s address is published on a website.

I urge the public to be aware of these types of scams, and to be vigilant. It’s always a good idea to check with your Realtor with questions about what is required for a transaction. Our expertise as Realtors can protect our clients and help prevent these potentially devastating mistakes.

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February 14, 2019

Security Cameras & Audio Recordings in Listings

Recently Tennessee Realtors® addressed a question about audio recordings through home security systems. Here'sd the question and response:
Q: Regarding security cameras with audio in listings, if we are the listing agent do we have to let the buyer know about this? If we are the buyer’s agent, are we required to ask the seller if they have cameras with audio?

A: Let’s look at applicable state law and recommended best practices.

In Tennessee, a person may record oral conversations where either the person is a party to the conversation or at least one of the participants has consented to the recording, per TCA §39-13-601(b)(5). A person may not photograph or record, for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, a person when the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy if the image would offend or embarrass an ordinary person, per TCA §39-13-605(a).

If you have a listing and the seller has recording devices in place, it is advisable to disclose this to each person looking at the house. You can disclose this in the MLS listing or in emails to buyer’s agents. Just be sure the disclosure is in written form.

Tennessee law re: audio recordings says that a person may record if they are a party to the conversation or if they have the consent of one of the participants. Under this, you would be wise to have a potential buyer sign a consent form to being recorded before entering a house with a recording device.

As a buyer’s agent, it is good practice to remind your clients this is a possibility before entering any house. If this is a concern to your client, you may want to ask each listing agent (via email) before entering a property whether or not there are recording devices. Then you will have written documentation that you asked and whether or not the agent disclosed.

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February 12, 2019

January Market Statistics

Despite a strong U.S. economy, historically low unemployment and steady wage growth, home sales began to slow across the nation late last year. What could be causing the slowdown? Economists point towards a combination of high prices and a steady stream of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. In a move described as a patient approach to further rate changes, the Fed did not increase rates during January 2019. The lack of increase seems to be the Fed’s response to the growing affordability conundrum.

Nationally, home affordability will continue to set the tone for the 2019 housing market. Early signs point to an improving inventory situation including in several markets that are beginning to show regular year-over-year percentage increases. In Greater Chattanooga for January, New Listings increased 15.6 percent to 1,082.

As motivated sellers attempt to get a jump on annual goals, many new listings enter the market immediately after the turn of a calendar year. This is true nationally and here in the Chattanooga region. If home price appreciation falls more in line with wage growth, and rates can hold firm, consumer confidence and affordability are likely to improve.

While New Listings were up for January, inventory levels did see a slight decrease of 1.2 percent top 2,635 units. Pending Sales were up 9.3 percent to 796, which is an increase of 9.3% over last year.

As expected when inventory is low, prices continued to gain traction for January. The Median Sales Price increased 1.1 percent to $180,000, and the Average Sales Price increased 2% to $216,752. Days on Market was down 8.8 percent to 62 days.

Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 6.1 percent to 3.1 months. As we move toward Spring and the typical time the market sees more activity, we anticipate the 3.1 Months Supply of Inventory to improve. This increased activity will make our annual Open House Weekend on April 27th and 28th that much more exciting!

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February 4, 2019

4 Things to Do in February to Avoid a Yucky Spring

This time of year, winter is a lot like that friend who can’t take a hint to leave. Help give winter a push with these four easy tasks from the National Association of Realtors® that will help usher in spring.

#1 Deep-Clean Your Entryway
Snow. Salt. Boots. Shovels. Your entryway floors, baseboards, rugs, and more have had a rough few months. Give that smallest of rooms some deep cleaning love now, before the salt crust becomes a permanent part of your entryway decor in spring.

#2 Make an Anti-Mud Plan
Mud may be the least of your frozen worries now, but it’s a-coming. Be prepared with a remediation plan. With your yard in its frozen-tundra state, you can easily see the troublesome spots.

Research potential ground cover, like gravel, a rain garden, decorative rocks, or the right grass that’ll soak it up. Then you’ll be ready to execute your anti-mud plan the moment it’s warm enough — and do it in time to keep the mud at bay.

#3 Organize Your Cleaning Closets and Laundry Room
Before the madness of spring cleaning begins, organize (or even renovate!) your laundry room and clean closets or cupboards. This will not only breathe a new life into these oft-ignored areas, but perfectly pampered cleaning stations can seriously rev up your spring cleaning motivation.

#4 Hire a Handyperson
Spring and summer are peak handyperson seasons. Skip the surge pricing and the agony of waiting for callbacks by hiring someone now. At least for the indoor chores. Plus, you may be surprised at what outdoor chores can be done. You’ll be spring-ready before the first flower buds.

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February 1, 2019

Supra eKEY App Update

Supra has informed us about an increase in calls to their call center about the new eKEY app due to a couple of issues, and they wanted us to pass along the following information:

AUTHORIZATION CODE: It has been reported some users are being asked to reauthorize their eKEY app and the app is not accepting the authorization code and giving an Authorization Invalid error. We are working on a fix for this issue but in the meantime the following steps can be done:

1. Delete the eKEY app
2. Re-install the eKEY app from the app store
3. Generate and enter a new authorization code

UPDATE CODE: Supra is seeing some instances of keys requiring update codes during the day when the keys are already updated. Supra has identified a fix for this and will be releasing new versions to the Android and Apple app stores this week. In the meantime, users can generate an update code by logging into SupraWEB at www.supraekey.com or navigating to supraweb.suprakim.com on their smartphone or by calling KIM voice at 1-888-968-4032.

LOCKED OUT MESSAGE: Supra is also seeing a few rare instances where a user whose keyholder record is deactivated due to the keyholder being inactive, on hold, or unpaid and their key is locking up. This is caused by repeatedly tapping the Update icon 10 times in a row and results in a Locked Out message. To fix this issue, the keyholder needs to resolve the reason for the key being in a disabled status, then either wait the 60 minutes for the key to unlock or they can reset the authorization by selecting More, About eKEY App, and Reset Authorization, and then enter a new authorization code.

ROSTER FOR EKEY PRO: In addition, a new version of the Android app was released to the app store yesterday that fixed an issue with searching on the roster for eKEY Professional users.

Supra apologizes for the inconvenience and appreciates your patience while they work through these issues. Supra can be reached at their support line at 1-877-699-6787, or by emailing suprasupport@fs.utc.com.

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January 29, 2019

2018 Housing Market Review


The Greater Chattanooga Realtors recently released their 2018 Annual Report on the local housing market, and 2018 was a very busy year.

The average sales price was nearly $223,000, which is a 5.5% increase over 2017 ($211,000).
This increase might reflect a decreased housing inventory. More than 10,000 homes were sold in the Greater Chattanooga area in 2018, which was a 1.9% increase over 2017 (9,826 homes).

Inventory dropped slightly from 2017. In 2017, there were approximately 3.3 months of inventory, while that amount dropped to 3.1 months in 2018. Maintaining a consistent housing inventory is critical, which is why Realtors continue to work with our elected officials to make sure homeownership remains attainable. and affordable for those in every income bracket.

The Days on Market (the average amount of time a property takes to sale) was 50 days. That is 15.3% faster than 2017, which was 59 days. Just to give some perspective, the average Days on Market for 2014 was 109 days. In other words, in 2014 houses took 54.1% longer to sell than in 2018. That’s a fast market!

For those who feel like they might’ve missed out on the chance to own a home, Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research for the National Association of Realtors® had some interesting insight in a recent interview. “The mortgage rate had been at 5%, and home sales in the latest month reflect those mortgage rates. The mortgage rate has dipped a bit to 4.5%, and it's giving a second chance opportunity for buyers, and some will take advantage,” said Yun.

When addressing predictions for 2019, Yun said that consumers should expect home sales to flatten and home prices to continue to increase, though at a slower pace. "The forecast for home sales will be very boring - meaning stable," said Yun.

2018 was a fast market, but the Greater Chattanooga Realtors worked tirelessly for their clients in a competitive market. No one can be sure what 2019 will mean for real estate, but the Greater Chattanooga Realtors will be prepared to assist their clients; no matter what how the market behaves.

For more information on the 2018 Annual Housing report, visit gcar.net/consumer-tools.

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January 25, 2019

Own Your Story


My family, friends, and clients hear me talk about “leaning in” a lot. When we lean in, we give everything we’ve got to something we’re passionate about. It becomes part of our story.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has chosen “Own Your Story” as their theme for 2019.
As our local Association’s President, this year I’m asking the Greater Chattanooga Realtors to lean in to their story, and so I’ll start with my mine:

I’ve held many different jobs over the years. I’ve worked as an X-Ray technician. I’ve sold advertising, worked in customer service, and was even a bookkeeper. As different as these jobs sound from one another, they had a common thread; these were positions where I dealt directly with the public. I wanted to serve those around me.

I worked with a young woman who had a wonderfully sweet five-year-old daughter who had special needs. This young mother was also a war widow. Her husband had been killed in Afghanistan while she was pregnant. Her daughter had learning difficulties and needed to be in a certain school that had the right programs to help her. It was difficult at times, but we worked together and found a place that met all of her needs. 

That was a number of years ago, and we still talk. Her daughter is thriving, and she thanks me for my help in her time of extraordinary need.

That is one chapter in my story. That’s why I am a proud Greater Chattanooga Realtor.

Every day more than 2,000 Realtors in Greater Chattanooga get the honor of serving our community’s property needs, whether it’s buying or listing a house or commercial property. We are here to help guide our clients through a major point in their life.

We’re proud of our story, where we’ve been and where we’re going. As you work with your Realtor, help him or her best serve you by sharing your story – what are your goals as related to buying, selling or investing? Contact a REALTOR® today to start writing your next chapter.

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January 16, 2019

December 2018 Home Sales

By Kim Bass, ABR, CNHS, GREEN, RCC

President, Greater Chattanooga Realtors

 

Home prices were consistently up again in most markets in 2018 but at reduced levels compared to recent years. High demand for few homes for sale fueled price increases, but evidence is mounting that inventory will finally improve in 2019. This may apply some downward pressure on prices for beleaguered home buyers. A fourth interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in 2018 spooked the stock market to close out the year. The Fed has indicated that the number of rate increases in 2019 will be halved, which may be of little comfort to an already compressed consumer.

 

New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 4.2 percent to 689. Pending Sales were up 2.0 percent to 625. Inventory levels shrank 4.5 percent to 2,615 units.

 

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 8.9 percent to $195,000. Days on Market was down 16.9 percent to 49 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 6.1 percent to 3.1 months.

 

Unemployment rates remained remarkably low again in 2018, and wages continued to improve for many U.S. households. It is generally good for all parties involved in real estate transactions when wages grow, but the percentage of increase, on average, has not kept pace with home price increases. This created an affordability crux in the second half of 2018. Housing affordability will remain an important storyline in 2019.

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January 9, 2019

Realtors®, Real Estate Professionals, and Ethics

By Kim Bass, ABR, CNHS, GREEN, RCC

2019 President, Greater Chattanooga Realtors®

 

As I prepare to lead the Greater Chattanooga Realtors® into 2019 as their elected President, I’ve been reflecting on what is means to lead. I believe that leading is listening. I call it “leaning in.” I’ve been leaning in to learn from my clients, my colleagues, and my community.

One topic I’ve been “leaning in” to is what sets us, as Realtors, apart from other real estate professionals.

Did you know that not all real estate professionals are Realtors®? Yes, we both must be licensed in our state to participate in a real estate transactions, but there’s more. Realtors operate under a strict Code of Ethics that imposes duties above and beyond those imposed by law which apply only to real estate professionals who choose to become Realtors®.

Ethics and accountability matter when the public trusts us to handle something as financially significant as buying or selling real estate. In fact, The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) released a study that shows the massive impact that home sales have on our economy. In Tennessee alone nearly $58,000 affect our economy from just a single home sale.

NAR adopted their Code of Ethics in 1913, and ensures consumers are served by requiring Realtors to cooperate with each other in furthering clients' best interests. Article 1 of our Code of Ethics states that “...when serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, Realtors remain obligated to treat all parties honestly.”

NAR believes so strongly in abiding by the Code of Ethics that they require each of the 1.3 million members (which is also the largest trade organization) to complete Code of Ethics Training every two years. If a Realtor fails to comply with this requirement, they risk suspension and termination of membership.

And, in the event that there is a complaint, there is a formal process to have these issues addressed. The Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) registers and regulates all real estate brokers, affiliate brokers, and real estate firms, and also makes and enforces rules addressing the professional conduct and standards of practice for the profession.

So what does all of that mean to you?

That means that we, as Realtors, are your trusted source for any information regarding real estate. We have a multitude of resources to make sure we are well equipped to serve you and your family’s real estate needs.

We are experts in real estate locally and statewide, and the Greater Chattanooga Realtors® are the voice of real estate in the greater Chattanooga area.

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January 4, 2019

Year-End Flood Insurance Success and 2019 Market Indicators

By Kim Bass, ABR, CNHS, GREEN, RCC
President, Greater Chattanooga Realtors

With each new year comes a time of reflection and planning, both personally and professionally. As I take over the reins from 2018 President Geoff Ramsey, I am grateful for his leadership and excited to be part of the ever-evolving role that Realtors play nationally and in our local communities.

For example, amidst the federal government shutdown, Realtors were able to secure a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reversal on new flood policies. On December 21, Congress passed legislation extending the National Flood Insurance Program until May 2019. With the extension came an unexpected FEMA policy change, which prevented insurers from issuing and renewing policies during the government shutdown.

National research shows that 40,000 home sales are lost every month that flood insurance is not available. In late December, Realtors and other national groups urged policy makers to reevaluate the decision, which was reversed the last few days of December. We are relieved and grateful to have assisted in preventing a potential market disruption had there not been a continuation of flood insurance.

As Greater Chattanooga Realtors looks towards to what the future holds for real estate, I am reminded of recent comments by the Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors®, Lawrence Yun, who gave his 2019 projections during our national convention in November.

Yun anticipates we will see a continued, yet slower, rise in home prices and for home sales to flatten. "Ninety percent of markets are experiencing price gains while very few are experiencing consistent price declines," said Yun. He added, "2017 was the best year for home sales in ten years, and 2018 is only down 1.5 percent year to date. Statistically, it is a mild twinge in the data and a very mild adjustment compared to the long-term growth we've been experiencing over the past few years."

When asked about another housing bubble, Yun dispelled such speculation stating, “The current market conditions are fundamentally different than what we were experiencing before the recession 10 years ago.” He added, “Most states are reporting stable or strong market conditions, housing starts are under-producing instead of over-producing and we are seeing historically low foreclosure levels, indicating that people are living within their means and not purchasing homes they cannot afford. This is a stronger, more stable market compared to the loosely regulated market leading up to the bust.”

After the year-end numbers come in for 2018, we will be able to analyze better what we might expect nationally and locally for the housing market. In late December we saw an increase in new listings and pending sales. We continue to monitor the housing affordability index, which has decreased slowly in the local market. However, the local index remains strong at 135 percent, meaning the median household income is 135 percent of what is necessary to qualify for the median-priced home under prevailing interest rates. In addition to national efforts, Greater Chattanooga Realtors will continue to work with local decision-makers on issues that impact housing affordability and inventory.

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December 18, 2018

New Supra eKEY app Scheduled to Release December 19

A message from Supra to eKEY Users

Dear eKEY User:

We are excited to announce that an all-new Supra eKEY app is targeted for release on Wednesday, December 19.

How and when will the app be delivered? 

If you have automatic app updates turned on, the app stores will automatically deliver the app to your phone. The app stores stage rollouts over 7 days so it could be a week before it is downloaded to your phone.

If you do not have automatic updates turned on, you can download the new eKEY app as soon as it is available on the app stores. Launch the app store on your device and locate the Supra eKEY app to manually download it any time after December 19.

If you want to enable or disable automatic updates:

  • On an iPhone, tap Settings > iTunes & App Store and enable or disable the setting for Apps.
  • On an Android device, open the Google Play Store app and tap Menu > Settings. Tap Auto-update apps and choose the option.

Do the apps need a new authorization code?

The eKEY app does not require a new authorization as long as it is installed on a device that already has an authorized eKEY app.

Minimum Requirements for the new eKEY app: The minimum requirements for the new eKEY app are:

  • Apple iOS 10 or grater
  • Android OS 5 or greater

If you do not have either of these operating systems, the new eKEY app will not install. The old eKEY app will continue to work but it will no longer be updated.

Will all of the new features be available immediately? 

Some enhanced features in the eKEY app including the ability to see listing photos, Supra Home Tour, and upgrade to eKEY Pro within the app will be rolling out over the coming weeks.

For more information on the new eKEY app please go to www.supraekey.com and select Customer Support > eKEY Resources or visit this page.

If you have any questions, please contact our agent support team at 1-877-699-6787.

Regards,

Supra

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December 17, 2018

November Home Sales Report

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

The booming U.S. economy continues to prop up home sales and new listings in much of the nation, although housing affordability remains a concern. Historically, housing is still relatively affordable. Although Freddie Mac recently reported that the 30-year fixed rate is at its highest average in seven years, reaching 4.94 percent, average rates were 5.97 percent ten years ago, 6.78 percent 20 years ago and 10.39 percent 30 years ago. Nevertheless, affordability concerns are causing a slowdown in home price growth in some markets, while price reductions are becoming more common.

New Listings in the Chattanooga region decreased 6.3 percent to 849, and despite this drop in New Listings are up 3.1 percent year-to-date. Pending Sales were up 1.5 percent to 678. Inventory levels shrank 5.9 percent to 2,889 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 6.2 percent to $190,000. Days on Market was down 14.0 percent to 49 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 7.9 percent to 3.5 months.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the national unemployment rate was at 3.7 percent. Low unemployment has helped the housing industry during this extensive period of U.S. economic prosperity. Home buying and selling activity rely on gainful employment. It also relies on demand, and builders are showing caution by breaking ground on fewer single-family home construction projects in the face of rising mortgage rates and fewer showings.

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December 13, 2018

Position Statement on Hamilton County’s Proposed Wastewater Treatment Plant

Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® presented the following statement at the December 12th meeting of the Hamilton County Commission.

In recent weeks there have been discussions regarding the proposed wastewater treatment plant in North Hamilton County. The Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® would like to start by thanking all parties involved for engaging in a healthy discussion about such an important issue regarding Hamilton County’s future. Our mission is to “promote the highest ethical and professional standards and cooperation among its members; provide products, programs, and services to meet the evolving needs of the real estate industry and consumers; and advocate for private property rights and community involvement.” Prior to making a formal statement, we felt it necessary to thoroughly research and evaluate all information in order to make an educated decision about the issue of a new wastewater treatment plant.

State Wastewater Report Card
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) periodically issues infrastructure report cards for each state. Included in those reports are individual grades for various infrastructure categories including wastewater. Unfortunately, the State of Tennessee received a “D+ Grade” in the category of wastewater due to aging infrastructure. A “D Grade or Poor Grade” is considered “At Risk” and is defined as “The infrastructure is in poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life. A large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration. Condition and capacity are of significant concern with strong risk of failure” (“2016 Tennessee Infrastructure Report Card.” ASCE's 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2017, www.infrastructurereportcard.org/state-item/tennessee/.). This report card is not only a concern as it applies to the State of Tennessee but based on information released by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) is indicative of the situation in Hamilton County. 

Impact on Future Development 
WWTA has stated that new wastewater infrastructure is necessary in order to provide future services for the anticipated growth planned for the North Hamilton County area as well as provide some relief to ongoing wastewater issues in Hamilton County. We are in agreement with this assessment. As we all know, infrastructure is key to growth and development to any community and typically has a positive impact on a community through increased property values. We believe that new wastewater infrastructure is necessary to stimulate development in this desirable area of Hamilton County. As job opportunities grow so does the need for additional housing and based on assessments, North Hamilton County is the desirable area for future growth.

In addition, the moratorium implemented by TDEC in the Ooltewah region raises concerns of the negative impact that will continue to affect the future of development in this area if wastewater infrastructure is not updated to meet demand. If industries are looking to develop in Hamilton County, a moratorium could cause them to look elsewhere again resulting in a loss of job opportunities and tax revenue. If a new wastewater treatment plant could alleviate the issues that have caused a moratorium to be put in place, then it is important that we consider that to be a positive impact on Hamilton County. Once again, a new wastewater treatment plant appears to be an important key to satisfying these concerns.

Projections from the 2016 Regional Planning Agency Study shows that an increase of 1,521 homes in the area of Highway 58/Harrison and Northeast County Areas combined is expected through the year 2026 (“Hamilton County Real Estate Market Study.” CHCRPA, The Chattanooga Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency (RPA), Nov. 2016, chcrpa.org/index.php/project/hamilton-county-realestate-market-study/.). The WWTA has estimated that it will take approximately five (5) to seven (7) years to complete construction of a new wastewater treatment plant. In the past five (5) years, home inventory numbers in Hamilton County have decreased from 3,283 homes in October 2014 to 1,631 homes in October 2018. It is our fear that the longer Hamilton County delays this project the greater the risk of delaying and potentially losing future development opportunities in this area. This loss of development opportunities potentially means much-needed tax dollars going elsewhere, which Hamilton County cannot afford to have happen.

Murfreesboro Wastewater Treatment Plant
During our research, we discovered a wastewater treatment plant in the vicinity of a residential area in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. We reached out to individuals in the Murfreesboro area regarding their wastewater treatment plant and whether they could provide information regarding surrounding properties. Although the treatment plant was built first, and the upscale homes were built later, it is our understanding that properties closer to the plant as well as downwind have appreciated significantly over time. Based on the information provided, the wastewater treatment plant no longer appears to be an issue of concern in the Murfreesboro area. 

Proposed Wastewater Treatment Plant
Regarding the proposed location of the wastewater treatment plant, information provided by WWTA outlines the extensive work performed over the past year to determine the best and most cost-effective site. According to WWTA other sites did not meet necessary pre-requisites and would increase project costs due to topography, archaeological, environmental, and geotechnical issues associated with those properties. It is important that the effect on all customers impacted is considered when analyzing this project. This includes the approximately 3,300 current WWTA customers (homes) that will benefit directly by the wastewater treatment plant as well as the other WWTA customers that reside outside this region. As costs increase, the burden would be placed on all WWTA customers and not just those living in the vicinity of the new wastewater treatment plant.

In addition, much has been discussed as to why WWTA has not provided specific information to the public regarding the design and technology for the proposed new wastewater treatment plant. After speaking to both WWTA and TDEC, we have been informed that it is very difficult to provide specific details regarding the proposed plant at this point. TDEC referred to the fact that WWTA is in “no man’s land” in the sense that they are limited on what details they know at this point especially since the property has not been formally purchased. According to TDEC once the property is purchased then WWTA and TDEC will work in conjunction to make all decisions necessary to finalize the details for the wastewater treatment plant.
 
It is important that we evaluate all the benefits from a new wastewater treatment plant. One positive impact that has not been discussed regarding the new wastewater treatment plant is the creation of new jobs. It is our understanding that approximately 20-25 new jobs will be created once the plant becomes operational and this does not include new jobs created during construction of the plant. The more jobs we create in Hamilton County the bigger economic impact we have on our community. 

As always, the Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® are available to assist consumers, WWTA, and Hamilton County in any way possible regarding the future of the wastewater treatment plant. Again, the purpose of this statement is to reiterate that the need for a wastewater treatment plant is crucial to the continued development and success of Hamilton County. Our goal as stakeholders is to have a positive impact on our community and the citizens who reside within its boundaries, and not just today, but years to come. The dire nature of our current wastewater infrastructure and the knowledge that a new wastewater treatment plant is necessary for the future of North Hamilton County is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

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December 10, 2018

4 Easy-Peasy Must-Do’s for Homeowners in December

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

In the midst of decorating, entertaining, and holiday parties, December is also a month to save. Yes, really. As the close of another year approaches, tackle these suggested four tasks from the National Association of REALTORS® for a bright (and money-saving) new year.

1. Clean Light Bulbs and Fixtures. There are two great reasons to clean your light bulbs – you want as much light in your house as you can get as the days grow shorter, and, you’ll save money. Dirty bulbs apparently shed 30% less light than clean ones, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Wipe bulbs with a cloth dampened by a mix of 1 oz. dish soap, ¼ cup white vinegar, and 3 cups of water. Get to it December 1 so you’re ready for the curtain fall on the shortest day of this year – Thursday, December 21.

2. Evaluate Homeowner's Insurance. The holidays. You love them, but they do seem to eat up more cash than other times of year. Sure, you can scrounge around for change under your couch cushions, but that’s not going to offset much.

Why not get a home insurance checkup? Call your agent to go over the type of coverage you have, how much you really need, and how you can lower your premiums before your next monthly installment.

3. Pack a Home Emergency Kit. The last thing you want during the holidays is for an emergency to chill your family’s cheer. Prepare for power outages and weather-related emergencies with an easy-to-find emergency kit.

Some items to include are bottled water, a hand-crank radio, a flashlight, batteries, a portable charger for your phone, warm blankets, and of course, a first-aid kit to patch up any boo-boos. Singing carols ‘round the flashlight may not be ideal, but it’ll beat trying to celebrate in the dark.

4. Buy Holiday Lights (After December 25). It’s tough to think about next Christmas when you’re still stuffed from a holiday dinner with all the trimmings. But think you must if you want to save on next year’s holiday. From December 26 through year’s end, big-box stores try to clear the shelves of all that glitters.

See, that wasn’t so overwhelming, was it? Taking time for a few small tasks now will be worth in the long-run to save money and provide some peace of mind.

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December 3, 2018

Checklist for Getting Your House Guest-Ready

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

It feels great to have a clean, organized, well-functioning home when you’ve got guests coming, especially around the holidays. It’s like your gift to you. Use this checklist from the National Association of REALTORS® to get that satisfying feeling, no matter how much time you have.

Three (or More) Weeks to Go. Think big picture. Get anything that requires a pro or installation out of the way now. No one wants calamity to strike when guests are pulling into the driveway.

  • Get your HVAC maintained if it’s overdue.
  • If you have a self-cleaning oven, clean it now. An oven is most likely to break down during the cleaning cycle, so don’t save this task for last.
  • Replace any appliance on its last legs. You don’t want your hot water to go out or fridge on the fritz with a houseful of guests.
  • Steam-clean upholstery. (Or hire a pro. It’s a big job)
  • Hire a handyman for those repairs you’ve been putting off.
  • Check outdoor lighting. Replace old bulbs and call an electrician to address any bigger issues.

Two Weeks to Go. It’s not panic time yet. Focus on decluttering and a few deep-cleaning tasks now, and you’ll have a more manageable to-do list when the clock really starts ticking down.

  • Do a deep declutter. It’ll make things easier to keep clean.
  • Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures, and high-up shelves.
  • Wipe down baseboards.
  • Clean out and organize the fridge.
  • Wash windows to make the entire house feel brighter and cleaner.
  • Toss washable shower curtains and drapes in the washing machine and re-hang. Easy.

One Week to Go. It’s strategic cleaning time. Here’s what to tackle now — things your family won’t easily undo before your guests arrive.

  • Declutter again.
  • Vacuum and dust guest rooms. If they’re low-traffic, the cleanliness should hold with just a quick wipe-down right before they arrive.
  • Wipe down walls.
  • Wipe down kitchen and dining room chairs and tables, including the legs. You’d be surprised how grimy they get.
  • Deep clean the entryway — and make room for your guests’ stuff.

72 Hours to Go. The final cleaning stretch is on the horizon.

  • Do another declutter.
  • In the kitchen, toss stove burners, drip pans, and knobs into the dishwasher for an easy deep clean.
  • Wash kitchen cabinet fronts.
  • Scrub the kitchen floor.
  • Clean and shine appliances.

48 Hours to Go. Now it’s time to get serious.

  • Clean and sanitize garbage cans to banish mystery smells.
  • Wipe down doorknobs, faceplates, and light switches. They’re germ magnets.
  • Clean the front door.
  • Deep clean the bathroom your guests will use, and close it off if possible.
  • Wash guest towels and linens.

24 Hours to Go. Your guests’ bags are packed. Time for final touches.

  • Do a final declutter - by now it shouldn’t take more than five minutes.
  • Give one final wipe-down to toilets, tubs, and bathroom sinks.
  • And another final wipe-down in the kitchen.
  • Do all the floors: mop, vacuum, sweep, etc.
  • Make guest beds and set out clean towels.
  • Plug in nightlights in guest baths.
  • Put out guest toiletries so they’re easy to find.
  • Add a coffee or tea station in the guest room or kitchen.
  • Get your favorite smell going, whether it’s a scented candle, spices in water on the stove, or essential oils.
  • Use rubber gloves to wipe off pet hair and dust from furniture. It works.
  • Do the full red carpet: Sweep or shovel porch, steps, and outdoor walkways.

With this countdown roadmap, you’ll have a perfectly clean guest-ready home, no matter how much (or little) time you have.

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November 26, 2018

Hosting for the Holidays: Home Features for Entertaining

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Do you dream of hosting the perfect family Christmas celebration? Is it your fantasy to throw a New Year’s party that all of your friends remember? If you are currently house hunting, these are things you should let a REALTOR® know.

REALTORS® work every day to help their clients find the ideal house that feels like home. If to you, home is where you invite your friends and family to celebrate the holidays, then your REALTOR® will help find you the perfect home in which to make those memories.

But what exactly is the perfect home for hosting holiday parties? You need to ask yourself, “What kind of parties do I want to host?” and “How do I plan on entertaining my guests?” Once you have a vision, your REALTOR® can help identify homes to help make it a reality.

Here are a few things to consider when looking for your perfect holiday-hosting home.

Size of Parties: When you throw a party does your invitation list usually consist of three or four people or 10 or more people?  If your get-togethers tend to have guests numbering in the double digits, you will want to look for a home with larger living and dining rooms or outdoor space. Otherwise, be prepared to move some furniture around to make more space.

Open or Closed Kitchen: Do you like the idea of interacting with your guests while you prepare the party food, or do you prefer to keep the cooking behind closed doors? An open kitchen layout means your living room or dining room will flow directly into the kitchen, so you can still be a part of your party while you prep and cook.  If you tend to make a mess when you cook and would rather keep it hidden then a closed kitchen is for you.

Kitchen Island: If you enjoy making food preparation an aspect of the gathering, an island is a must-have for your dream party house. An island is not only an excellent way to add more prep space to your kitchen. It’s a place to sit and chat with your guests, decorate cookies or mix drinks.

Dining Room: If you envision a sit-down dinner being the main draw of your holiday party then a formal dining room should be on your list of must-haves. Consider how large a dining room and table you will need to seat your desired number of guests. It’s always a good idea to bring a measuring tape with you to a showing, that way you can know for sure the table that fits your guests will actually fit the room.

Work with a REALTORÒ. Be sure to work with a REALTORÒ, a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, who can share more tips for listing your home this holiday season. 

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November 12, 2018

October Home Sales Report

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

If the last few months are an indication of the temperature of housing markets across the country, a period of relative calm can be expected during the last three months of the year. A trend of market balance is emerging as we approach the end of 2018, and this is normal for the Greater Chattanooga market. Prices are still rising in most areas, and the number of homes for sale is still low, but there is a general shrinking of year-over-year percentage change gaps in sales, inventory, and prices.

New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 15.5 percent to 1,171, which is an encouraging sign after last month’s reported -6.7 percent. Year-to-date New Listings are up 3.8 percent.

Pending Sales shrank slightly and were down 1.9 percent to 829. Year-to-date Pending Sales are up 2.4 percent. Closed sales rose again this month by 5.3 percent to 860 and year-to-date up 2.6 percent.

Inventory levels shrank 5.9 percent to 2,963 units. Days on Market was down 12.7 percent to 48 days and year-to-date down 15.3 percent. However, Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 7.9 percent to 3.5 months. While still lower than ideal, this slight drop in Months Supply of Inventory is the only month-to-month change in the single digits our region has seen in more than a year.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 4.2 percent to $184,000. The Average Sales Price increased 1.2 percent to $213,306. The gradual, continued price increases are a result of low inventory, which can trigger multiple offers in some areas. Plus, the local market is holding steady at a mid- to upper-95 Percent of Original List Price Received.  

In October, stock markets experienced a setback, but that does not necessarily translate to a decline in the real estate market. The national unemployment rate has been below 4.0 percent for three straight months and during five of the last six months. This news is exceptional for industries related to real estate. Meanwhile, homebuilder confidence remains positive, homeownership rates have increased in the key under-35 buyer group and prices, though still rising, have widely reduced the march toward record highs.

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November 8, 2018

Local Realtors Focused on National Issues

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Elected leadership representing Greater Chattanooga Realtors recently joined more than 20,000 real estate professionals and industry leaders from around the country at the 2018 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Boston from November 2–5. With this year’s conference theme of “Ready, Set, Boston,” local Realtors® took advantage of new technology and innovations shaping the industry, educated ourselves on the latest market trends and real estate issues, and made new contacts with real estate professionals from across the globe.

With hundreds of information and education sessions featuring more than 300 nationally recognized speakers and industry experts, we learned about a broad range of real estate issues. While these discussions were from the national perspective, they were in line with issues facing the local real estate market – innovation and business technology, affordability issues related to inventory constraints, marijuana laws’ impact on commercial real estate and blockchain transactions, to name a few.

During the meetings, we previewed Commitment to Excellence (C2EX), a program by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) that empowers REALTORS® to demonstrate their professionalism and commitment to conducting business at the highest standards. More than 100 years ago, we defined professionalism in this industry by adopting the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. C2EX takes professionalism to the next level by enabling NAR members to assess their expertise in 10 (11 for brokers) elements of professionalism ranging from customer service to use of technology.

As the most trusted source for real estate information, REALTORS® tirelessly educate and immerse ourselves in the latest trends and developments affecting our industry. This conference was an incredible opportunity for local leaders and me to reflect on this year’s successes, identify solutions to problems facing the housing market in the year ahead, and strategize efforts to keep homeownership and real estate issues front and center on the national agenda. This national perspective is key to addressing issues here at home. 

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October 26, 2018

Around the House Checklist for Fall

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

With cooler temperatures, not only is it time to pull out the flannel shirts, but also tackle a few simple household chores to make winter more pleasant and prevent some nasty surprises next spring. Not sure where to start? Here’s a simple checklist from the National Association of REALTORS®:

Clean and stow your mower. your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Add fuel stabilizer to your gasoline to keep spare gas from degrading and in good condition over the winter. Top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.

Remove garden hoses from faucets to prevent water from backing up in the faucets and plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. Otherwise, if freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage. Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet. While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.

Drain your sprinkler system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads. Turn off the water to the system at the main valve. Shut off the automatic controller. Open drain valves to remove water from the system. Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace. If you don’t have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. 

Seal air leaks. Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk and make a journey around your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive and most important of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy. 

De-gunk your gutters. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts. If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage and determine whether it’s time for a new roof. Evaluate your downspouts, which should extend at least five feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions. 

Eyeball your roof. If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground. Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately. Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for an evaluation. A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar called a boot that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape. 

Direct your drainage. Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks. Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.

Check your furnace. Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit. Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.

Prune plants. Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.

Give your fireplace a once-over. To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches, and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney. Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. Your fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year.

With these preventative maintenance tips, you can enjoy the fall and winter without stressing about additional repairs when spring arrives. If you need guidance on various providers to help you tackle these chores, contact a REALTOR® for their suggested providers.

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October 18, 2018

How to Sell a Haunted House

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Every house has a history, but what if the house you’re trying to sell has a past that is a bit more ghoulish than most? If you or your community believes a house is haunted, it can make selling a bit more difficult. However, there a several options for someone with a spooky property to sell. Just follow a few simple steps to get the haunted house off your hands. 

The first thing you will want to establish is if you are required to inform potential buyers of their future paranormal roommates. To answer that, you will want to consult your REALTOR® about your state’s disclosure laws. Haunted houses fall into the category of stigmatized properties.

The laws in both Tennessee and Georgia provide that a property owner or real estate licensee cannot be held liable for failure to disclose whether a property was site of a homicide or other felony, suicide or death of any kind. Required disclosures include facts related to a property’s physical structure and condition. Yet, REALTORS® are obligated by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics to “treat all parties honestly” and should answer truthfully when they have factual knowledge.

Regardless of required disclosures, it’s still a good idea to give your buyers a heads up and to discuss with the seller the merits of proactive steps. If your house is known around the community to be haunted, the spooks themselves (or a neighbor) will eventually let the buyer know. It can create a lot of goodwill if can tell potential buyers to expect a couple of bumps in the night.

There is a chance that your haunted house may even be a selling point. Strange as it may sound, there are people who would love to live in a haunted house. A survey from realtor.com®, revealed that 33 percent of respondents would consider buying a haunted house. You can work with a REALTOR® to tap into that market in your community, perhaps marketing to clubs or organizations with an interest in the supernatural.

If you can’t find an amateur paranormal investigator to buy your house, it might be time to lower the price. That same realtor.com® survey showed that about 40 percent of people who are open to a haunted home said they’d want to see that home price go down to put money down on it.

If you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, bringing the selling price down might be your only option. If ghosts and ghouls have generated interest in your property, than a bargain price should do the trick.

For more information about buying or selling a home – haunted or not – contact a REALTOR®, a member of the Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

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October 12, 2018

September 2018 Residential Market Report

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Some economy observers are pointing to 2018 as the final period in a long string of sentences touting several happy years of buyer demand and sales excitement for the housing industry. Although residential real estate should continue along a mostly positive line for the rest of the year, rising prices and interest rates coupled with salary stagnation and a generational trend toward home purchase delay or even disinterest could create an environment of declining sales.

New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 0.1 percent to 1,051 and were up 2.7 percent year-to-date. Pending Sales were up 4.4 percent to 806 and were up 3 percent year-to-date. Inventory levels shrank 12.2 percent to 2,917 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 3.9 percent to $187,000. The Average Price increased 4.3 percent to $224,172

Days on Market was down 25 percent to 42 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 14.6 percent to 3.5 months.

Tracking reputable news sources for housing market predictions makes good sense, as does observing trends based on meaningful statistics. By the numbers, we continue to see pockets of unprecedented price heights combined with low days on market and an economic backdrop conducive to consistent demand. We were reminded by Hurricanes Florence and Michael of how quickly a situation can change. Rather than dwelling on predictions of a somber future, it is worth the effort to manage the fundamentals that will lead to an ongoing display of healthy balance.

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October 5, 2018

What’s Causing Those Spooky Sounds and Smells?

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

It seems that we start earlier each year on decorating for the next upcoming holiday, and Halloween is no exception. In showing homes recently, I’ve already encountered porch columns covered in fake spider webs and the cute scarecrow and pumpkins adorning either side of the front door.

It’s never too early to address some of the “scary” aspects of home ownership – strange noises and weird odors. Before you get yourself too worked up, rest assured that with the proper maintenance, you’ve got more than a ghost of a chance to rest easy. The National Association of Realtors shared the following tips to address things that go bump in the night.

Are creaking and popping noises waking you at night? The many materials that make up your house — wood framing, plywood, glass, metal ducts, nails, plumping pipes – all expand and contract at different rates. When a house cools at night, these materials may move slightly, rubbing against each other and making noises. Occasionally, they’ll contract with an audible pop.

These sounds tend to be more noticeable in fall when warm days give way to rapidly cooling nights. The bad news? Not much you can do about it. The good news? Those sounds are harmless and normal.

Do you have trouble locating the source of zombie odors? It’s either time to throw out the garbage, or you’d better call your gas utility to check on your gas lines and connections. Natural gas is odorless, but natural gas suppliers add a foul-smelling odorant — butyl mercaptan — to alert occupants to any leaks. The smell is like rotten eggs.

Leaks can occur at your gas-fired water heater, fireplace, clothes dryer, and any gas line. Leaking natural gas is potentially dangerous — leave the house and call your natural gas provider to assess the situation. Most utility companies perform safety checks for free.

Do you hear footsteps in the attic? Amplified by an unfinished attic space, a raccoon or even a good-size squirrel on your roof might sound like an ax murderer is doing the polka overhead. These rooftop transits are normal for critters — roofs offer a nice long unobstructed highway.

Make sure your soffit, rafter, and gable roof vents are covered with screens and in good shape, or your rooftop buddies might find their way into your attic for real. Trim back branches that provide critters easy access to your roof.

Do you smell something burning? You can smell the odor of burnt wood, but the smoke detectors aren’t going off and there’s no smoke in the house. The culprit could be your fireplace — even if you haven’t had a fire for days.

The probable cause is a drafty chimney and negative air pressure in your home, meaning that outside air is infiltrating down your chimney, bringing stale burnt smells with it. Stop drafts by making sure your damper has a good seal. Regulate air pressure by adding more cold air return ducts to your HVAC system. You’ll get rid of the odor and save on your energy bill, too.

What’s that moaning and clattering? These classic spooky sounds often show up when the wind blows and there’s a storm brewing.

Vents for clothes dryers, bathrooms, and water heaters exit out the roof or the side of the house. To prevent backdrafts, these vents have dampers — flaps designed to let vented air out and prevent outside air from coming in. These flaps sometimes move and rattle in high winds. Because dampers often are located in attics or in between floor joists, the sound can be difficult to pinpoint. You may need a new damper. Problem solved.

Instead of getting spooked, keep these home maintenance tips in mind, and your fears will dissipate as fast as Casper the Friendly Ghost. 

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September 28, 2018

REALTORS® Tackle Environmental Concerns

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

As I thought about a topic for this week’s column, I kept coming back to all the rain lately, not just in our area but across the country. In addition to that issue, other communities have been battling wildfires. Recently, homeowners across the country have been evacuated for both of these natural disasters, and as a REALTOR® it is not lost on me the importance of our industry continuing to work on behalf of all property owners.

When the REALTOR® organization lobbies on behalf of property owners, our efforts are known as the REALTOR® Party – a bi-partisan group of industry professionals monitoring laws and regulations and going to bat for consumers. We tackle a variety of issues from preserving the mortgage interest deduction to improving federal mortgage programs, which allows more families to join the ranks of homeownership. Yet, we also have our finger on the pulse of environmental issues, including flooding and wildfires.

Several topics related to environmental and property rights concerns are on the REALTOR® Party’s radar and include clean water, endangered species, energy efficiency, natural disasters. National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), lead paint, and wildfires, to name a few. What do these topics have to do with real estate? Each of these issues can have a significant impact on property owners and the costs to own and maintain those properties.

Did you know that flood insurance is required for a mortgage in more than 20,000 communities nationwide? Millions of small business and homeowners depend on the federal program to protect their property against flooding, the most costly and common natural disaster in the United States. Without the NFIP, more property owners could become uninsured and turn to the Federal government for taxpayer-funded disaster relief and rebuilding assistance after major floods.

It’s likely you or someone you know in another part of the country has faced raising insurance rates following a natural disaster such as a hurricane, wildfire, or earthquake. Or worse, perhaps the policy was denied. Without federal involvement, affordable property insurance will continue not to be available in many parts of the U.S. to protect against the next mega-catastrophe caused by a hurricane, earthquake, or other Act of God. Without insurance, it is the taxpayer – not the property owner – that pays when Congress reacts to the latest disaster by providing millions of dollars in financial disaster assistance to rebuild under-insured properties and communities.

What would it look like if energy efficiency were federally mandated? REALTORS® believe property owners’ ability to sell their home or building could be at risk without first having to conduct energy audits and improve its heating and cooling system, windows, insulation and/or lighting. Also, older homes that do not meet adequate energy efficiency requirements or score poorly on energy use assessments may lose value compared to newer, more efficient homes. REALTORS® support improving energy efficiency through voluntary incentives, commercially reasonable approaches and education in lieu of individual building mandates, and we oppose applying existing laws/regulations that are not designed for global climate change to try to address these issues; provisions that impose undue economic burdens on property owners or managers; or triggering such requirements at the time when real property is sold.

As you can see, the REALTOR® Party identifies, analyzes and acts on a variety of issues that affect the real estate industry and private property owners. It is critical for REALTORS® to come together and speak with one voice about the stability a sound and dynamic real estate market brings to our communities. That voice is the REALTOR® Party working on behalf of you. 

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September 27, 2018

2019 BOARD OF DIRECTOR CANDIDATES

2019 PRESIDENT-ELECT

Russ Elliott, CCIM, SIOR (Pointe Commercial Real Estate)

I wish to serve in this capacity to ensure Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® embraces all real estate disciplines, including the commercial voice, as well as firms of all sizes, from the locally-owned to the national franchises.

LOCAL: Board of Directors (2003, 2008-12, 2015-16); Budget & Finance Committee (2008-09); Governmental Affairs Committee (2017, 2013); Grievance Committee (2006); Leadership Academy Graduate (2006); MLS Board/Committee (2012 President, 2010-2013 & 2017-18 Member)

CHAPTERS & COUNCILS: Southeast Tennessee CCIM Chapter (1997 President); Commercial REALTORS® Council (2003 & 2015-16 President, CRC Member Since 2001); SIOR East Tennessee Chapter (2010-11 President, 2008-09 Vice President, 2006-07 Secretary/Treasurer)

BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS: One of only three people in the State of Tennessee that holds both the Office and Industrial Designations from SIOR.

Brandi Pearl Thompson, ABR, CRS, GRI (Keller Williams)

I wish to keep moving Chattanooga forward. I wish to keep Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® as the voice of real estate in Chattanooga. Staying plugged into trends and new opportunities are all things I want to bring to the President-elect position. I want to continue making the world a better place.

LOCAL: 2018 Secretary-Treasurer; Board of Directors (2013, 2016-17); Affiliate Task Force, Budget & Finance Committee (2018 Chair, 2017); Community Involvement Committee (2010); Governmental Affairs Committee (2009-12); Professional Development Committee (2016); RPAC Committee (2014-15); RPAC Trustee (2017-18)

STATE & NATIONAL: State Director (2014, 2017); Tennessee REALTORS® Diversity Inclusion Committee (2018-19 Chair); Tennessee REALTORS® Governmental Affairs Committee; Tennessee REALTORS® Academy Graduate (2011), National Association of REALTORS® YPN; Past Participant in the Tennessee REALTORS® Spring & Fall Conferences and National Association of REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Fall Convention

CHAPTERS & COUNCILS: Member and Former Officer of CRS-Chattanooga

COMMUNITY SERVICE: 2017-18 YMCA Basketball Coach for 5-6 year-olds; The MOMentum Network; 2011 Board member for Young Professional of Chattanooga

BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 2010 Top-50 finalist in National Association of REALTORS®’ 30 Under 30; Top Team for Keller Williams Downtown 2 years in a row; 2016-17 Top Five Teams in Tennessee for Keller Williams

2019 SECRETARY-TREASURER

Robert Backer, ABR, NHS, e-Pro (Coldwell Banker Pryor Realty)

I wish to continue to serve our local Board of Chattanooga. I understand and appreciate the importance of helping members and representing them well. I would like to be part of the continued good path created in recent years and take the past four years of my serving as a Director to the next level of service.

LOCAL: 2015-2018 Board of Directors; Community Involvement Committee (2017-2018); Grievance Committee (2000-09); Leadership Development Committee (2015-16 Director Liaison); Professional Standards Committee (2015-16)

STATE & NATIONAL: 2015-2016 State Director

BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 2005-Present PE Coldwell Banker; 2015-2016 Real Trend Top Agent; Top Office producer for listings

Joyce Smith, ABR, PMN (Keller Williams)

Our Association would not be what it is today without passionate leaders dedicated to making our industry better to serve our clients. I am one of those dedicated REALTORS® committed to the industry and willing to work for the betterment of others. Serving as Secretary-Treasurer will give me the opportunity to influence change as needed for our colleagues and residents of our community.

LOCAL: Board of Directors (2008-09, 2018); Budget & Finance Committee (2017); Diversity Inclusion Committee (2017); Governmental Affairs Committee (2015-16); Leadership Development Committee (2018 Director Liaison); Professional Development Committee (2006-07); RPAC Committee (2015);

STATE & NATIONAL: Tennessee REALTORS® Convention Committee (2016 Chair, 2015 Vice Chair, 2009-12); Tennessee REALTORS® Diversity Inclusion Committee (2013 Chair); Tennessee REALTORS® Forms Committee (2017-18); Tennessee REALTORS® Leadership Academy Graduate (2009)

CHAPTERS & COUNCILS: WCR-Chattanooga (2007 President); WCR-Tennessee (2012 Governor, 2011 President, 2009 Secretary, 2008 Treasurer); WCR-National (2016-18 Budget & Finance Committee, 2012 Forum)

COMMUNITY: Chattanooga Housing Resource Board (1998-1999); Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Chattanooga Alumnae (1976-current); New United Baptist Church (2009-17 various leadership positions); THDA Advisory Board (2010-2013); YMCA Board of Directors (1993-2005)

BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS: WCR-Tennessee Member of the Year (2013); WCR-Chattanooga REALTOR® of the Year (2010)

2019-2020 Directors

Beverly Boss (RE/MAX Renaissance)

I wish to run for the Board to excel my leadership skills and become more involved in the REALTOR® community. As a Board member, I will be dedicated to the Association and tasks at hand. Participation in Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® is important to me, as I am incredibly invested in Chattanooga, the REALTOR® network, and my career as a REALTOR® in Chattanooga. As a “newer” REALTOR®, I’ve spent the past four years learning about the business and actively participating in a variety of committees. I feel that my outlook comes with a new perspective and can be used well within the Board.

LOCAL: Community Involvement Committee (2016-18, 2018 Co-Chair); Diversity Inclusion Committee (2017); Leadership Academy Graduate (2017); Leadership Development Committee (2018); Professional Development Committee (2018)

COMMUNITY: Habitat for Humanity; Volunteer at elementary schools to help with small groups; Volunteer at Shelters

BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 2008-09 Teacher of the Year; 2017 Leadership Academy Graduate

Derek English, ABR, MRP (RE/MAX Renaissance)

I wish to continue my participation and involvement in Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® by becoming a Director on the Board. I have served on many committees since becoming a REALTOR® and have participated in many local, state, and national events. I believe my experience in our industry and my knowledge of issues that currently are facing our members and our clients will be a benefit to the Board, and I feel an obligation to serve at this next level. I appreciate the membership’s consideration of this request, and I am ready if so elected.

LOCAL: Community Involvement Committee (2015-2018); Governmental Affairs (2017-18 Chairman, 2017-18); Grievance Committee (2018); Leadership Academy Graduate (2016); Leadership Development Committee (2017-18); RPAC Committee (2018)

STATE & NATIONAL: State Director (2017); Tennessee REALTORS® Spring & Fall Conferences (2016-18); National Association of REALTORS® Legislative Meetings (2017-18)

COMMUNITY SERVICE: I support many local and national non-profit organizations. I am active in many campaign/political functions as a host and a donor. I have been involved in fundraising and donated my construction experience to local schools and churches.

BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Multi-Million Dollar Producer for the past four years.

Brian Erwin, ABR (RE/MAX Renaissance)

I want to continue to contribute to our Association with my time, presence, and influence. Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® has made great strides to expand member involvement and community outreach during my brief tenure of membership. The Chattanooga Area as a community and real estate market is rapidly evolving, and we as an Association must expand our influence as professionals and leaders. I hope to increase significantly our member participation at the local level and, in turn, statewide and nationally.

LOCAL: Community Involvement Committee (2018 Chair, 2015-2018); Governmental Affairs Committee (2017); Leadership Academy Graduate (2017); RPAC Committee (2018)

CHAPTERS & COUNCILS: WCR Member

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Habitat for Humanity Volunteer, 2016-present; Emerging Leaders United Way of Greater Chattanooga, 2015-present; Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce

STATE: Tennessee REALTORS® Fall Conference (2018)

Rachael Henderson, ABR, AHS, CRS (Crye-Leike)

I wish to run for the Board of Directors so that I may give back to and be part of the Association that has supported me and my business over the last 10+ years.

LOCAL: Grievance Committee (2018); Leadership Academy Graduate (2018)

CHAPTERS & COUNCILS: CRS Member, WCR Member

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Chattanooga Bach Choir & Orchestra (Former President, 2015 Member/Volunteer)

Robyn Ring (Choo Choo Realty)

I believe that I am a valuable member of the Board of Directors given my property management background. Not being a “traditional” broker, I can bring a different perspective to the table.

LOCAL: Board of Directors (2017-18); Community Involvement Committee (2018 Director Liaison); Governmental Affairs Committee (2015-18, 2017 Director Liaison); Grievance Committee (2009 Chair; 2006-2008 Member); Leadership Academy Graduate (2017); Professional Standards Committee (2010-2016); RPAC Committee (2018)

STATE: Governmental Affairs Committee (2015-18); State Director (2018)

CHAPTERS & COUNCILS: WCR Member (2015)

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Habitat for Humanity (individually, as well as with the Community Involvement Committee); Mountain Education Foundation Board (2007-08)

BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Property Management Company of the Years (2007); Leadership Academy Graduate (2017)

Steven Sharpe, ABR, GRI, e-Pro (Keller Williams)

Working on various committees and seeing the work performed by the Board of Directors has shown me the importance of the Board and the impact it has on our membership and the industry as a whole. I would like to participate in that advocacy and advisory role to build the entire industry and the perception of our members in the community.

LOCAL: Bylaws Committee (2018 Chair; 2017 Member); Budget & Finance Committee (2018); Grievance Committee (2010-12); Professional Standards Committee (2017 Panel Chair, 2014-2018 Member)

STATE: Bylaws Committee (2018-2019); Professional Standards Committee (2014-2015)

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Founder of Camp Horizon, Inc., a camp for children with physical disabilities (2005-current)

Kevin Wamack (Real Estate Partners)

I was on the Board the past two years and feel I have learned a lot and can parlay that into more input and experience to help serve our Association and members to the highest level possible.

LOCAL: Board of Directors (2017-18); Community Involvement Committee; RPAC Investor; Leadership Academy Graduate (2017); Leadership Development Committee (2017-18); Professional Development (2018 Director Liaison)

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Eagle Scout; Habitat for Humanity; Snack Packs

BUSINESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Top 50 producing agent in Chattanooga for the past three years; Leadership Academy Graduate (2017)

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September 21, 2018

National Market Overview

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

In the wake of last week's local residential market statistics, here's the associated national perspective.

Nationwide, total existing-home sales did not change from the previous month and remained at a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.34 million. Nationally, home sales are now down 1.5 percent from a year ago to 5.42 million.

The national median existing home price for all housing types is up 4.6 percent to $264,800, marking the 78th consecutive month of year-to-year gains.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, recently said existing home sales appear to have hit a plateau with robust regional sales.

"Strong gains in the Northeast and a moderate uptick in the Midwest helped to balance out any losses in the South and West, halting months of downward momentum," he commented. "With inventory stabilizing and modestly rising, buyers appear ready to step back into the market."

Inventory remains a national concern not limited to Greater Chattanooga. Locally, inventory is down 13.2 percent, while across the country, inventory remained unchanged. Days on market across the nation is up slightly to 29 days, while in Greater Chattanooga, we're averaging 41 days.

Yun said, "While inventory continues to show modest year-over-year gains, it's still far from a healthy level, and new home construction is not keeping up to satisfy demand.

"Homes continue to fly off the shelves, with a majority of properties selling within a month, indicating that more inventory – especially moderately priced, entry-level homes – would propel sales."

Realtors in Greater Chattanooga continue to explore ways to address the inventory shortage and work to meet buyer demand for housing opportunities.

Get a more detailed look at home sales numbers and connect with a Realtor on www.gcar.net. Whether you're looking to buy, sell, or simply stay in-the-know with what's happening in Greater Chattanooga real estate, you can count on us to keep you in the loop.

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September 13, 2018

August 2018 Home Sales

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Rising home prices, higher interest rates, and increased building material costs have pressured housing affordability to a ten-year low, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Keen market observers have been watching this situation take shape for quite some time. Nationally, median household income has risen 2.6% in the last 12 months, while home prices are up 6.0%. That kind of gap will eventually create fewer sales due to affordability concerns, which is happening in several markets, especially in the middle to high-middle price ranges.

New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 11.7 percent to 1,291. Pending Sales were up 8.7 percent to 938. Inventory levels shrank 13.2 percent to 2,906 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 6.2 percent to $188,000. Days on Market was down 18.0 percent to 41 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 14 .6 percent to 3.5 months.

While some are starting to look for recessionary signs like fewer sales, dropping prices and even foreclosures, others are taking a more cautious and research-based approached to their predictions. The fact remains that the trends do not yet support a dramatic shift away from what has been experienced over the last several years. Housing starts are performing admirably if not excitingly, prices are still inching upward, supply remains low and consumers are optimistic. The U.S. economy is under scrutiny but certainly not deteriorating.

Get a more detailed look at Home Sales numbers and connect with a Realtor on www.gcar.net. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or simply stay in-the-know with what’s happening in Greater Chattanooga real estate, you can count on us to keep you in the loop.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.


For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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September 6, 2018

REALTOR® Safety Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI

President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

 

This month, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) released its 2018 Member Safety Report, which surveyed over 3,000 Realtors®, members of NAR about how safe they feel while on the job, their personal safety experiences and the safety procedures they follow.

The report found that nearly a third of Realtors experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information, and 43 percent of Realtors choose to carry self-defense weapons.  

Realtors understand better than anyone the safety risks associated with real estate transactions. Because of that, it is imperative for members to share safety protocols with home buyers so they can learn about what they may encounter during the home buying process.

The most common circumstances that resulted in fearful situations were open houses, showing vacant and model homes, working with properties that were unlocked or unsecured and showing homes in remote areas. Here are some safety protocols and guidelines from Greater Chattanooga Realtors you should expect and keep in mind when working with a Realtor in order to help ensure a safe experience for all parties involved.

Meet at your agent’s office. Instead of meeting for the first time at a property, a Realtor may set-up an initial meeting at his or her respective office. Most people would tell you that meeting at a real estate professional’s office for the first time is much more comfortable, appropriate and makes both parties feel safe.

Secure your personal information. Your agent may make copies of your driver’s license and mortgage preapproval letter for their records. This allows the agent to keep a record of your information at their office to be stored in a secure place, so be sure to have these items on hand for your initial meeting. According to the report, nearly 70 percent of real estate offices have standard procedures for safeguarding client data and information. Keeping this information safe and secure is an important step that ensures a safe agent and client relationship.

Don’t view vacant properties at night. Your agent may choose to show vacant properties during the day in order to be more aware of potential safety hazards that may exist, including loose floorboards or any other defects. So when viewing a vacant property, expect to view it during daylight hours.

For more information on Realtor and consumer safety, visit www.realtor.org/safety.

Connect with a Realtor to get off on the right foot in your home search. They will provide more tips on how to safely navigate our housing market and go from a potential buyer to new homeowner. Visit www.gcar.net to find a Realtor today.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.


For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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September 5, 2018

Revised Fines Policy for Violations of MLS Rules & Regulations

The MLS is moving away from the courtesy notifications and towards automatic fines for specific violations of the MLS Rules. Enforcement of fines will begin on October 1, 2018.

To educate all MLS users on the revised policy for assessing fines, our MLS Staff is auditing listings related to various violations included in the automatic fines. In general, these MLS Rules are not new, and the revised policy provides for automatic fines (in lieu of courtesy notifications).

The amendments to the MLS Rules have been approved by the MLS Committee and Board of Directors and accomplish the following:

1. Replace the former practice of courtesy notifications with automatic fines for:

  • Failing to file a listing within 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays)
  • Failing to provide legitimate directions to the listed property.
  • Including personal information for company or listing subscriber in public remarks and public fields.
  • Branding of images, virtual tours and/or framing for images or virtual tours with any information or additional images.
  • Failing to update status, including reporting sales and leases within 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays)

2. Incorporate the former remaining MLS Policies into the MLS Rules;

3. Provide clarification for appropriate use of the Active status; and

4. Provide a definition for appropriate use of the Closed status.

Click to review an Overview of MLS Fines.

Click to review the verbatim amendments to the MLS Rules & Regulations.

Questions? Contact MLS Director, Tonya Bell: 423.698.8001 / tonya@gcar.net

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August 30, 2018

To Buy or Not to Buy? That is the Question Non-Homeowners Are Asking

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Despite weakening optimism from non-homeowners at the end of last year that now is a good time to buy, an overwhelming majority said they do want to own a home in the future and believe homeownership is part of their American Dream.

That is according to new consumer survey data from the National Association of Realtors®(NAR), which additionally found that non-homeowners’ lifestyle changes and improvements in their financial situation outweigh seeing their rent increase as the main motivators for deciding to buy a home.

NAR’s Aspiring Home Buyers Profile analyzed 2017 quarterly consumer insights from its Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey to capture the housing expectations and sentiment of non-homeowners – both renters and those living with a family member.

When asked for the primary reason non-homeowners currently do not own, an increasing share of them over the past year said it was because they are unable to afford it. 56 percent of non-owners indicated they could not afford to buy a home each quarter, with the share feeling this way reaching its highest in the last three months of the year.

The swift price growth and painfully low supply levels in much of the country in 2017 also appeared to have dealt a blow to the confidence among non-owners that now is a good time to buy. After reaching a high of 62 percent in the third quarter, the share of non-owners who believed now is a good time to buy slipped to 58 percent at the end of the year.

Even with the dip in morale about buying over the past year, respondents’ views about homeownership are still overwhelmingly positive. Roughly three-quarters of non-owners each quarter said that they eventually want to own a home and also believe that owning a home is part of their American Dream.

As for the main reasons non-owners would buy a home in the future, a change in lifestyle such as getting married, starting a family or retiring was the top choice (24 to 32 percent each quarter), followed by an improvement in their financial situation (26 to 30 percent each quarter) and the desire to settle down in one location (12 to 16 percent each quarter).

According to the survey, roughly half of current renters expect their rent to increase this year (51 percent). If in fact their rent does increase, most indicated that they would resign their lease (42 percent) or move to a cheaper rental (25 percent). Only 15 percent of renters said they would consider purchasing a home.

Housing demand in 2018 has been fueled by more millennials deciding to marry and have kids and the expectations that solid job growth and the strengthening economy will push incomes higher. However, increasing prices and mortgage rates also have caused affordability pressures to persist. That is why it is critical to see an increase in new and existing housing supply. Otherwise, many would-be first-time buyers will be forced to continue renting and not reach their dream of being a homeowner.

Buying a home can be a challenging, overwhelming process, but with a little work and a Realtor in your corner now just might be the time to start looking for your next, or first, dream home. Connect with a Realtor to get off on the right foot in your home search. They will provide more tips on how to navigate our housing market and go from a potential buyer to a new homeowner.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.


For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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August 23, 2018

REALTOR® Code of Ethics Protecting Homeowners for More Than 100 Years

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Working with a Realtor® gives buyers, sellers, and investors many advantages they need to succeed in today’s real estate market. One of those advantages is the assurance that Realtors subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics which provides clients with the highest degree of professionalism, ethics, and service. Adopted by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) in 1913, NAR was only the second trade or business group in the U.S. to adopt mandatory ethical standards for its members.   

Not all real estate licensees are Realtors. Only those who are a member of NAR can use the term “Realtor®” and subscribe to the Code of Ethics as a condition of NAR membership. Realtors are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have access to advanced educational opportunities and training in real estate specialties, bringing value to buyers, sellers and investors.

The Code is a comprehensive document spelling out professional responsibilities owed to clients, other Realtors, and the general public. All Realtors must take comprehensive training on NAR’s Code of Ethics at least once every two years to retain their membership with the current 2-year cycle ending December 31, 2018.

Real estate is a business based on trust and working ethically is a way to build trustworthy relationships.  Buying and selling property is a major, life-altering decision, and buyers and sellers need to be able to depend on their Realtor to guide them through the process with their best interests in mind. The Code helps provide an added layer of security to help Realtors do just that.

Consisting of 17 articles organized into duties to clients and customers, the public and Realtors, the Code outlines numerous professional responsibilities. For instance, Realtors must be honest with all parties in the real estate transaction, including their client, other Realtors, or real estate agents and their clients. Realtors should also be forthcoming with all parties by disclosing all pertinent facts regarding the property and the transaction. If something seems questionable about a property, the Realtor is obligated to investigate and make recommendations that buyers consult their own expert and inspectors. In addition, Realtors must be truthful in advertising and communications with the public. When distributing newsletters, creating websites, or placing advertisements, Realtors must represent only their work and not take credit for the work of another real estate professional.    

Consumers can read more about the Code of Ethics and can find a summary of the Code that explains how it benefits them at www.nar.realtor/codeofethics.

If you’re a Realtor and needing to take a Code of Ethics class or check to see if you still need to take the class, visit www.gcar.net to register for a class or email info@gcar.net.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.


For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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August 16, 2018

July 2018 Home Sales

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Housing price bubble chatter has increased this summer, as market observers attempt to predict the next residential real estate shift. At Greater Chattanooga Realtors’ Economic Outlook Luncheon on August 15, keynote speaker Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for National Association of Realtors® spoke to Greater Chattanooga’s economy as strong because of low unemployment rates, new jobs for the past 8 years, and low interest rates.

It is too early to predict a change from higher prices and lower inventory, but the common markers that caused the last housing cooldown are present. Wages are up but not at the same pace as home prices, leading to the kind of affordability concerns that can cause fewer sales at lower prices. At the same time, demand is still outpacing what is available for sale in many markets.

New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 7.1 percent to 1,256. Pending Sales were up 7.9 percent to 956. Inventory levels shrank 16.0 percent to 2,830 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 1.9 percent to $186,500. Days on Market was down 25.9 percent to 40 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 17.1 percent to 3.4 months.

Consumer spending on home goods and renovations are up, and more people are entering the workforce. Employed people spending money is good for the housing market. Meanwhile, GDP growth was 4.1% in the second quarter, the strongest showing since 2014. Housing starts are down, but that is more reflective of low supply than anything else. With a growing economy, solid lending practices and the potential for improved inventory from new listing and building activity, market balance is more likely than a bubble.

Get a more detailed look at Home Sales numbers. Lawrence Yun’s presentation, and connect with a Realtor on www.gcar.net. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or simply stay in-the-know with what’s happening in Greater Chattanooga real estate, you can count on us to keep you in the loop.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.


For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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August 9, 2018

REALTORS® Help Buyers Navigate Tight Market

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Schools are back in session which means we are inching a little closer to the end of what is typically the busiest time of year in real estate. However, the market in Greater Chattanooga continues to remain competitive and shows no signs of slowing down. Housing inventories are near decade lows which directly puts pressure on home prices.

Recent data shows there is more demand than supply in the Greater Chattanooga market, which means conditions broadly favor sellers. Meanwhile, buyers are out there looking to purchase homes. Buyer traffic is 25 percent above a year ago and sellers are often receiving multiple bids. The large millennial population is expected to continue entering the market as buyers, causing home prices to increase.

The good news for potential buyers is home construction is rising which helps keep housing affordable and a there is “no housing recession over the horizon” according to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS®.

Despite a competitive market, homeownership remains desirable to many renters who are all feeling the pain of a reported 13.2 percent increase in rental rates in Chattanooga. The benefits of homeownership are still very evident and opportunities for buyers exist. Just because the current market tends to favor sellers doesn’t mean buyers can’t still find their dream home.

Here are a few tips for potential buyers in today’s market.

Know Your Budget Before Window Shopping. Knowing your budget before falling in love with homes out of your price range will help guide a realistic road to homeownership. Lenders will evaluate your income, savings and credit history to qualify and approve you for a mortgage.

Identifying Neighborhoods of Interest. Whether you’re a millennial wanting to live in thriving downtown Chattanooga, looking to move into a more desirable school district, or wanting to downsize choosing a few options for where you would like to live is important in aiding a home search. Once you have a good idea about what you’re looking for, it’s easier to know it when you see it.

Work with a REALTOR®. Most importantly, work with a Realtor. Realtors understand the local markets and can negotiate on your behalf - helping save you time and money. Buying and selling a home is one of life’s biggest decisions and a Realtor can guide you through the process.

Connect with a Realtor to get off on the right foot in your home search. They will provide more tips on how to navigate our housing market and go from a potential buyer to new homeowner. Visit www.gcar.net to find a Realtor today.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.


For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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August 8, 2018

Greater Chattanooga Realtors is Signature Sponsor for Habitat’s Raise The Roof Fundraiser October 3

Over the past 31 years, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga has built 276 homes providing more than 1,000 women, men, and children with stability and the joy and security of Habitat homeownership.

Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® is proud to be the Signature Sponsor for Habitat or Humanity's annual Raise the Roof fundraiser on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 11:30 a.m. at the Chattanooga Convention and Trade Center. Associate Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Founder of Fresh Raise for Life Ministries, and Associate General Counsel of Habitat for Humanity International, Natosha Reid Rice, will deliver the keynote address.

Tickets are $65 and tables (seating eight) are $500. To purchase tickets or tables, visit eventbrite.com or call 756-0507.

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August 2, 2018

Consumers Continue Interest in Sustainable Home Features

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Sustainable home features and environmentally friendly neighborhoods are becoming an even more important factor for homebuyers when choosing a home.

According to the 2018 Realtors® and Sustainability Report, 61 percent of surveyed members of the National Association of Realtors® reported that consumers have an interest in sustainability when it comes to buying a home. The report surveyed Realtors about sustainability issues facing consumers in the real estate market and ways Realtors are setting their own goals to reduce energy usage.

As consumer demand trends toward green and sustainable home features, Realtors continue to work to promote environmentally responsible features and better business practices. For the second year in a row, data has shown that more Realtors are marketing energy efficiency in property listings to homebuyers, with more information fields in the listing to identify a property’s green features.

To keep up with the growth in consumer interest in green features, four in 10 Realtors stated that sustainability and green data fields are included in their Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Among those that have green data fields, almost 40 percent use them to promote green features, 27 percent to promote energy information and 16 percent to promote their green education certifications.

Consumers look hard at the transportation and commuting option in a community as important environmental considerations when purchasing a home. Realtors find that consumers want easy access to highways (82 percent), short commute times and distance to work (81 percent), and walkability (51 percent).

Realtors are growing their expertise in home performance and efficiency, as 39 percent are comfortable or extremely comfortable in the subject. Nearly half of Realtors say they are confident or extremely confident in their ability to connect clients with green home lenders.  

Realtors are also beginning to have a more in-depth dialogue about sustainability and commercial real estate properties with their clients. Seventy percent of agents and brokers indicated that promoting energy efficiency in their commercial listings was very or somewhat valuable. The top building features that clients specified as very or somewhat important are utility/operation costs (80 percent), efficient use of lighting (64 percent), and indoor air quality (62 percent).

Realtors with commercial and residential expertise alike are building their understanding of sustainability as a greater wave of green properties and sustainable home features are hitting the market. Realtors® are leading the way to promote sustainable practices to better influence potential homebuyers and communities across the country. 

NAR initiated the Realtors Sustainability Program as a platform for dialogue on sustainability for Realtors, brokers, allied trade associations and consumers. The program’s efforts focus on coordination and articulation of NAR’s existing sustainability resources, while also supporting a growing area of interest for consumers, helping Realtors® to assist home buyers and sellers.

Visit www.gcar.net to see available residential and commercial properties or to connect with a Realtor and to learn more about buying or selling a green or sustainable home.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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July 26, 2018

Smart Home Technology in Gig City

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Many of us grew up with the idea that one day we would all be living like the Jetsons’, the 1960s cartoon about a family living in the future – in 2062 to be exact. While we must wait a little longer before closets button our shirts and showers comb our hair, living in Gig City allows residents to truly enjoy available smart home features because of affordable access to the fastest internet in the United States.

Technology has forever changed the way we live in and interact with our homes. Want to save money and time? We all do. Smart technology in homes can do that and help ease anxiety. No more stressing about whether you closed the garage door and if the iron is unplugged – there’s an app for that! 

Here are a few ways smart home technology can be utilized:

Security. New products allow homeowners to monitor their homes from a distance – even internationally. Owners can lock doors and turn lights off and on from their mobile app or simply by speaking to a smart device that has voice recognition. It’s not just about keeping the property safe, it’s about keeping homeowners, families, and pets safe. Fire, carbon monoxide, and gas leak alarms that connect to your smartphone provide peace of mind that everything is safe and sound.

Energy Savings. Smart thermostats allow homeowners to program their home’s temperature and adjust it even after they’ve left – avoiding any needless heating or cooling of an empty house. Automated lighting programs allow owners to turn the lights on and off from anywhere in the world. Smart green features have been in high demand for years now. These products not only help the environment but also bring electricity and water bills down, saving you money. Looking to buy? See what’s available using our new “Green Features” filter.

Convenience. One of the main appeals of smart homes is that they can make the homeowner’s life easier. A garage door opener connected to your smartphone and a sprinkler system that syncs with the weather forecast so the lawn is never watered when it’s raining are all features that simplify life. Instead of checking the refrigerator to see if anything is running low, a homeowner can receive a text message from their smart kitchen reminding them to buy eggs.

Although technology provides many benefits, it is important not to lose sight of the risks smart homes can pose to privacy. As smart technology becomes more common, it becomes even more important that the necessary precautions are taken to protect data and privacy. Ask your Realtor for guidance on a smart home checklist so you can stay in control of the privacy and security of your smart home.

Join us August 14 for the Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon, co-hosted with Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga. We will look at how the Chattanooga region has thrived and changed in the past year and what’s to come. Tickets go quickly so purchase yours today: 423.698.8001 or email info@gcar.net.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
RSS Feed

July 19, 2018

Realtors Offer Guidance for Foreign Buyers

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Foreign buyers continue to see the U.S. real estate market as a secure and safe investment as Realtors® are experiencing an increase in the number of international clients over the past five years, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

NAR’s 2018 Commercial Real Estate International Business Trends report analyzed cross-border commercial real estate transactions made by Realtors during 2017.

Of the 59 percent of Realtors who indicated they completed a commercial real estate transaction last year, 18 percent reported closing a deal for an international client. Realtors have the expertise and knowledge of working with clients from different countries and real estate practices, so international buyers using a Realtor are at a true advantage and can rely on their global market perspective.

The study found that most Realtors who specialize in commercial real estate reside in smaller commercial markets where the typical deal is less than $2.5 million. Foreign investors are attracted to smaller-sized properties in secondary and tertiary markets, helping the profile of smaller commercial markets grow. 

Realtors’ international clients found U.S. commercial real estate markets to be a good value last year. NAR’s report shows 70 percent of Realtors reported that international clients view U.S. prices to be about the same or less expensive than prices in their home country.   

The top countries of origin for buyers were China (20 percent), Mexico (11 percent), Canada (8 percent) and the United Kingdom (6 percent). While sellers were typically from Mexico (20 percent), China (15 percent), and Brazil and Israel (both at 10 percent).

Florida and Texas were the top two states where foreigners purchased and sold commercial property last year, with California being the third most popular buyer and seller destination.

Foreign buyers of commercial property typically bring more cash to the table than those purchasing residential real estate. Seventy percent of international transactions were closed with cash, while NAR's 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate found that half of buyers paid in cash.

NAR’s commercial community includes commercial members, real estate boards, committees, advisory boards and forums; and NAR commercial affiliate organizations – CCIM Institute, Institute of Real Estate Management, Realtors® Land Institute, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors®, and Counselors of Real Estate.

Approximately 80,000 NAR members specialize in commercial real estate brokerage and related services including property management, land counseling and appraisal. In addition, more than 200,000 members are involved in commercial transactions as a secondary business.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors are the most trusted resource for real estate information in southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia and maintains a list on www.gcar.net of Realtors who are fluent in languages other than English. Whether you are looking to buy, sell, or just want to make sure you are prepared when that time comes, connect with a Realtor to have the advantage needed in today’s market.

On August 14, join us for the Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon, co-hosted with Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga. We will look at how the Chattanooga region has thrived and changed in the past year and what’s to come. Tickets go quickly so purchase yours today on www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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July 16, 2018

Flexmls Launches Guided Help Feature

Whether you’ve been using Flexmls for a few years OR are new Flexmls user, chances are you’d like to learn more about certain features. You’re in luck! Launching July 16 in Flexmls is the Guided Help function, which:

  • Provides interactive walkthroughs to help you learn how to use different features in Flexmls
  • Gives you quick access to new feature announcements, webinars, and more!

Learning all that Flexmls offers has never been easier! The Guided Help feature launches JULY 16, and will be available to all users. Click here for a 2-page PDF overview of the Guided Help feature.

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July 12, 2018

June 2018 Home Sales

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Housing markets across the nation are most assuredly active this summer, and buyer competition is manifesting itself into several quick sales above asking price. While the strength of the U.S. economy has helped purchase offers pile up, the Fed recently increased the federal funds rate by 0.25 percent, marking the second rate hike this year and seventh since late 2015. Although the 30-year mortgage rate did not increase, buyers often react by locking in at the current rate ahead of assumed higher rates later. When this happens, accelerated price increases are possible, causing further strain on affordability.

New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 8.7 percent to 1,388. Pending Sales were up 9 percent to 932. Inventory levels shrank 17.7 percent to 2,756 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased to 11.7 percent to $201,000. Days on Market was down 27.9 percent to 44 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 19.5 percent to 3.3 months.

Inventory may be persistently lower in year-over-year comparisons, and home prices are still more likely to rise than not, but new listings may finish the summer on the upswing. The housing supply outlook in several markets is beginning to show an increase in new construction and a move by builders away from overstocked rental units to new developments for sale. These are encouraging signs of an already healthy marketplace.

On August 14, join us for the Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon, co-hosted with Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga. We will look at how the Chattanooga region has thrived and changed in the past year and what’s to come. Tickets go quickly so purchase yours today on www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.


For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
RSS Feed

July 9, 2018

Office Renovations Begin at Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

We're excited to announce that renovations are officially underway at Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®' office! In a few months, the office will include a spacious member lounge area, modern technology throughout the office, and a more convenient layout to better serve members.

Renovations are expected to wrap up in late-2018 and we promise to update you every step of the way with photos and even a video here and there. Here's a rendering of the finished layout.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter plus make sure your Flexmls/Catylist dashboard include the message boards so you can be aware of the latest announcements.

Here's what you need to know

  • The Association's office will be open per the usual, Monday-Friday at 8:30 am-5 pm. While we do not anticipate the office needing to close much, if at all, during construction, we will notify all members as soon as possible. In short: have no fear, Association staff is here.
  • Building Entry & Parking: Park furthest away from construction and use the temporary entrance on the left side of the building. Phase I of the renovations include the main entrance and entire right side of the building (where most staff offices are). By the end of this week, Association staff will relocate to a temporary space and cozied up on the other side of the building. The temporary entrance will be marked with signs.
  • Member Services: When submitting a membership application, TREC form, address/info change request, etc. please email to info@gcar.net.
  • We strongly encourage calling or emailing before unplanned office visits. As you know, construction comes with its fair share of surprises and that will allow Association staff to best serve all 2,000+ members. We would love to try and have office visits scheduled whenever possible. 423.698.8001 / info@gcar.net
  • Continuing education class locations: Throughout renovations, all classes will be held at Chattanooga State. More details to follow.
  • Contact gold mine: info@gcar.net. That email address forwards directly to staff and we will make sure it goes to the right person for a timely response. Stopping by in a couple hours, but not exactly sure when? Email info@gcar.net. Can't remember if you need to take XYZ class? Email info@gcar.net. Need to pick up a new eKey or having problems with one? Email info@gcar.net.
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July 5, 2018

Don’t Let Flood Insurance Program Expire

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Did you know that unless members of Congress take action, authority for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will expire July 31?

If that happens it would be detrimental for our community. For families living along streams, lakes, rivers, oceans, or just about anywhere snow melts or rain falls, floods are an ever-present threat. In fact, over the past century, floods have claimed more lives and caused more property damage than any other natural disaster.

As the leading advocate for private property rights and housing issues in the Chattanooga region, Greater Chattanooga Realtors® strongly believes that affordable insurance is critical to economic growth and development. It’s time to get serious about mitigating the flood risk that homeowners face around the country while keeping insurance rates on a gradual glide path to market rates; reducing rates through risk mitigation is a “win-win” for taxpayers and property owners alike.

Congress created the NFIP in 1968 to address the failure of the private market to provide affordable flood insurance. While there is a small but growing private market today, the NFIP ensures access for more than 5 million American home and business owners across 22,000 communities where flood insurance is required for a mortgage.

The NFIP also works to discourage Americans from living in the highest risk flood areas, enabling homeowners to assume the risk and full cost of flooding. This means property owners no longer must rely on expensive taxpayer-funded disaster assistance and instead can make their own, informed decisions about rebuilding and relocating.

Given the widespread devastation that floods cause in areas where there is still not a private insurance market, the federal government ends up involved in these efforts one way or another, either through billion-dollar post-disaster rebuilding programs, or through a federally backed flood insurance program with premiums attached.

One thing that is indisputable is that without the NFIP, millions of properties would be uninsured. And by the increasing number of self-insured properties and reducing the cost of post-disaster government assistance, the NFIP saves taxpayers money.

Along with my fellow Realtors in Greater Chattanooga and across our great nation, I will continue following NFIP reauthorization. I believe that American home and business owners deserve a flood insurance program that is solvent, effective, and able to continue providing protections for decades to come.

Tell Congress to Reauthorize NFIP: Visit www.realtorparty.realtor/renewnfip to send a message directly to Congress.

On August 14, join us for the Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon, co-hosted with Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga. We will look at how the Chattanooga region has thrived and changed in the past year and what’s to come. Tickets go quickly so purchase yours today on www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.


For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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June 25, 2018

The City Made Their Budget, Time to Update Yours

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

On Tuesday, June 26 Chattanooga City Council members passed the first reading of Chattanooga’s 2019 budget which includes a controversial increase in water quality fees for the next five years. Residents will notice an increase on their tax bill beginning this October. Administration promised to look at the water quality fee structure to see if it can be made fairer to people with lower incomes and low-income seniors participating in the City’s tax relief program will be exempt from quality fees.

As the leading advocate for private property rights and housing issues in the Chattanooga region, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® is committed to protecting current and future home and business owners. Part of that responsibility is protecting the dream of homeownership and paying close attention to one of today’s hottest topics: housing affordability.

Chattanooga’s continued growth can positively impact our city and its residents. But only if growth is handled responsibly and with integrity. For Chattanooga to continue thriving, it’s vital that there is cooperation and proper communication between local stakeholders and the City of Chattanooga.

The 2019 budget for the City of Chattanooga includes stormwater/land development fees that many believe could be devastating for housing affordability in our community. Pending any surprise in next Tuesday’s final vote by the City Council, Chattanooga will have the highest water quality fees in Tennessee. Not only are the proposed fee increases extreme, stakeholders were not made aware of or included in conversations regarding potential increases.

I understand fees have not increased in some time, so it may be necessary to support Chattanooga’s growth. However, proper communication needs to happen first so that the City and stakeholders can do our due diligence to make sure fee increases is the best decision for our city as well as it’s current and future residents.

It is likely that developers will seek opportunities outside Chattanooga and once again the City of Chattanooga will be left searching for new revenue streams.

There is no doubt that higher stormwater/land development fees will impact the citizens of Chattanooga. Although the City continues to say that the development community will be assessed the increased development fees. Fair enough. But let’s call a spade a spade. Ultimately, those fees will fall to those purchasing homes, goods, and services.

Let’s say a business owner with a property including storage units with 36 Equivalent Residential Units (ERUs) currently pays $4,147.20 in water quality fees. Under the City of Chattanooga’s proposed increase, that business owner will see that fee skyrocket to $6,607.44 in 2023.

To recoup the added costs, the owner will need to increase the cost of renting the units.

On Tuesday, June 19, at the City Council’s meeting, I shared the following request on behalf of Greater Chattanooga Realtors: “Vote against a budget with this fee increase included or remove the fee increase from the budget to allow the issue to be addressed separately from the City’s 2019 budget.”

We welcome the opportunity to work with the City of Chattanooga and other stakeholders regarding issues that impact development and homeownership. Issues such as an increase in stormwater and land development fees should be a conversation we have today, not four or five years from now when it will likely be too late to recover from the damage these increase fees may cause. As home prices continue to rise in the City of Chattanooga, the dream of homeownership will continue to dim for many.

The National Association of REALTORS’® tagline is The Voice for Real Estate®. As The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga, I and my fellow Realtors promise you – our families, friends, neighbors – to continue to fight to protect the American dream of homeownership and housing affordability in our region.

It is my hope that the City of Chattanooga will be more transparent in their budgeting and decision-making process so proper due diligence can be done by stakeholders and residents can be fiscally prepared. Transparency will lead to trust and confidence in the City’s decisions and leadership.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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June 21, 2018

Win for Internet Sales Tax Fairness

In a win for commercial real estate, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a ruling today that states should be able to require online sellers to collect and remit sales tax on purchases. The National Association of REALTORS® submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of this position because it helps create an even playing field between brick-and-mortar retailers and online businesses. In the case, South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., the Court ruled that the “physical presence” requirement which previously controlled is out of date in an e-commerce era.

NAR’s position is that online retailers today have an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores. Brick-and-mortar stores must charge sales tax on purchases while the obligation to collect taxes in online purchases does not fall on the retailer.

Access the decision.

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June 21, 2018

Realtors Take a Stance Against Extreme Water Quality Fee Increase

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

As the leading advocate for private property rights and housing issues in the Chattanooga region, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® is committed to protecting current and future home and business owners. Part of that responsibility is protecting the dream of homeownership and paying close attention to one of today’s hottest topics: housing affordability.

Chattanooga’s continued growth can positively impact our city and its residents. But only if growth is handled responsibly and with integrity. For Chattanooga to continue thriving, it’s vital that there is cooperation and proper communication between local stakeholders and the City of Chattanooga.

The 2019 proposed budget for the City of Chattanooga includes stormwater/land development fees that could be devastating for housing affordability in our community. If approved as is, Chattanooga will have the highest water quality fees in Tennessee. Not only are the proposed fee increases extreme, stakeholders were not made aware of or included in conversations regarding potential increases.

I understand fees have not increased in some time so it may be necessary to support Chattanooga’s growth. However, proper communication needs to happen first so that the City and stakeholders can do our due diligence to make sure fee increases is the best decision for our city as well as it’s current and future residents.

Should these drastic increases pass, it is very likely that developers will seek opportunities outside Chattanooga and once again the City of Chattanooga will be left searching for new revenue streams.

There is no doubt that the proposed stormwater/land development fees will impact the citizens of Chattanooga. Although the City continues to say that the development community will be assessed the increased development fees. Fair enough. But let’s call a spade a spade. Ultimately, those fees will fall to those purchasing homes, goods, and services.

Let’s say a business owner with a property including storage units with 36 Equivalent Residential Units (ERUs) currently pays $4,147.20 in water quality fees. Under the City of Chattanooga’s proposed increase, that business owner will see that fee skyrocket to $6,607.44 in 2023.

To recoup the added costs, the owner will need to increase the cost of renting the units.

On Tuesday, June 19, at the City Council’s meeting, I shared the following request on behalf of Greater Chattanooga Realtors: “Vote against a budget with this fee increase included or remove the fee increase from the budget to allow the issue to be addressed separate from the City’s 2019 budget.”

We welcome the opportunity to work with the City of Chattanooga and other stakeholders regarding issues that impact development and homeownership. Issues such as an increase in stormwater and land development fees should be a conversation we have today, not four or five years from now when it will likely be too late to recover from the damage these increase fees may cause. As home prices continue to rise in the City of Chattanooga, the dream of homeownership will continue to dim for many.

The National Association of REALTORS’® tagline is The Voice for Real Estate®. As The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga, I and my fellow Realtors promise you – our families, friends, neighbors – to continue to fight to protect the American dream of homeownership and housing affordability in our region.

So, City of Chattanooga, can we please take the proper time to discuss the potential need for stormwater/land development fee increases?

I respectfully request stakeholders be allowed time to do our due diligence in assessing this potential need of a fee increase. We owe it to our fellow citizens – we owe it to Chattanooga. Oh, and happy National Homeownership Month.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
Economic Outlook Luncheon 2018
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June 20, 2018

Greater Chattanooga Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon on August 14

2018 Keynote: Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist & Senior Vice President of Research of the National Association of REALTORS®

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (June 20, 2018) – Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® and The Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga will co-host the annual Economic Outlook Luncheon on Tuesday, August 14 at the Chattanooga Marriott Downtown and Trade Center for its members, local businesses, and community leaders.

The event, which will begin at 11:30 am, will feature the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research, Lawrence Yun, Ph.D. as this year’s keynote speaker.

Dr. Yun will discuss recent developments in the national and local housing market and how those developments will impact the Chattanooga region’s economy. Dr. Yun will provide insight for Chattanooga’s real estate market and the direction of home prices in the next 12 to 24 months. In addition, Dr. Yun will review past housing cycles and low oil/strong dollar impact to forecast Chattanooga’s economy and housing market.

Dr. Yun oversees and is responsible for a wide range of research activity for the association including NAR’s Existing Home Sales statistics, Affordability Index, and Home Buyers and Sellers Profile Report. Dr. Yun creates NAR’s forecasts and participates in many economic forecasting panels, among them the Blue Chip Council and the Harvard University Industrial Economist Council. He appears regularly on financial news outlets, is a frequent speaker at real estate conferences throughout the United States, and has testified before Congress. Dr. Yun appears often as a guest on CSPAN’s Washington Journal and is a regular guest columnist on the Forbes website.

A capacity crowd is expected. Advanced tickets are required and available for purchase through Greater Chattanooga Realtors by calling 423.698.8001 or email info@gcar.net.

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Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

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June 18, 2018

Greater Chattanooga REALTORS Teams Up With Nationally Recognized Speaker for National Ethics Day

Leigh Brown to Moderate National Ethics Event

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (June 18, 2018) – Leigh Brown, CEO of RE/MAX Executive, Leigh Brown & Associates, is spearheading a nationwide fundraiser and training event on June 27. Brown will teach the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Code of Ethics class to participating associations across the United States. Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® is proud to sponsor this event which is a nationwide fundraiser for the REALTORS® Relief Foundation (RRF).

The RRF was launched by NAR, within hours of the devastating September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks—raising more than $8.4 million to provide assistance so that surviving family members could stay in their homes. Since then, more than $25 million has been raised for victims of disasters, including wildfires, tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes.

“Born out of my passion for the REALTORS® Relief Foundation (RRF), this National Ethics Day fundraising event is going to knock the ball out of the park! I wholeheartedly believe that the Code of Ethics should be incorporated into your business every day and this class is the first step,” said Brown. “My classes are never dull and never boring, so let’s talk professionalism and ethics! And if I can host this national event with Greater Chattanooga Realtors, all while benefiting the amazing REALTOR Relief Foundation, then I consider that a win-win!”

The National Code of Ethics class will be live streamed Wednesday, June 27, from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST and Greater Chattanooga REALTORS will be hosting this class at Chattanooga State Community College (HSC Building, Room 1085) to accommodate for more attendees. More information about the event can be found on Facebook. Register to attend through the calendar on gcar.net, email info@gcar.net, or call 423.698.8001.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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June 12, 2018

May 2018 Home Sales Review

May 2018 Home Sales InfographicBy Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Just like last year at this time, prospective home buyers should expect a competitive housing market for the next several months. With payrolls trending upward and unemployment trending downward month after month in an extensive string of positive economic news, demand remains quite strong. Given the fact that gradually rising mortgage rates often infuse urgency to get into a new home before it costs more later, buyers need to remain watchful of new listings and make their offers quickly.

New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 3.0 percent to 1,323. Pending Sales were up 8.4 percent to 1,019. Inventory levels shrank 23.3 percent to 2,467 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 5.1 percent to $186,000. Days on Market was down 12.5 percent to 49 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 25.0 percent to 3.0 months.

Although home sales may drop in year-over-year comparisons over the next few months, that has more to do with love inventory than lack of buyer interest. As lower days on market and higher prices persist year after year, one might rationally expect a change in the outlook for residential real estate, yet the current situation has proven to be remarkably sustainable likely due to stronger fundamentals in home loan approvals that were in place a decade ago.

Get a more detailed look at May 2018’s Home Sales numbers and connect with a Realtor. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or simply stay in-the-know with what’s happening in Greater Chattanooga real estate, you can count on us to keep you in the loop.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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June 7, 2018

National Homeownership Month: Why Homeownership Matters

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

June marks National Homeownership Month, which recognizes the value of homeownership and its positive impact on families, communities, and the nation’s economy. This month allows a time to celebrate and promote the American Dream of homeownership and identify the many benefits of owning that roof over your head.

Most consumers know that homeownership is among the soundest investments an individual can make to begin building their personal wealth. However, owning a home is not just the best interest of the homeowner. Homeownership provides social stability, builds communities, and is a driving force for the national economy. Realtors care about our communities and are dedicated to advocating for the protection of private-property rights and making a difference by volunteering and securing grants for improvement.

Below are some of the benefits of reaching the American Dream:

Brings families together: Along with being more involved in their communities, homeowners are often active and connected to their own families. Family dinners and game nights at home could mean a more-connected, happier family.

Social stability: Improved educational performance, lower crime rates, and improved health are a few social benefits linked to homeownership. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth, which opens doors to more engagement in communities through volunteer work, involvement in social activities, and electoral participation.

Strong communities: Homeowners tend to stay in their homes longer than renters, dedicate more money to improve their home, and are more engaged in enhancing their community. Homeowners are often more invested in their home and their surroundings which leads to stronger neighborhoods and communities and increased interaction between neighbors.

Economic force: Being a homeowner also has a positive local and national economic impact. That is because homeownership creates jobs through remodeling, landscaping, lawn service, furniture and appliances, home improvement, and real estate services. When a home is sold in the United States, the income generated from real estate-related industries is over $20,000 and additional expenditures on consumer items is about $4,500 – a boom to the economy.

Home is where people make memories and feel comfortable and secure. Homeownership Month is an opportunity to reiterate that anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream and enjoy the many benefits that come along with it. As your voice for real estate in The Gig City, Greater Chattanooga Realtors will continue advocating for our communities by working closely with public officials and doing our part to protect the private-property rights of homeowners.

Join the celebration on social media with #HomeownerHero and you could be featured by the National Association of REALTORS®. Learn more about National Homeownership Month and keep up with house-related tips, news, stories, and policy issues through Homeownership Matters (homeownershipmatters.realtor) and HouseLogic (houselogic.com).

For more information about buying or selling a home, contact Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® to speak with a REALTOR®.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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June 1, 2018

Rental Rates Rise Five Times Faster Than Wages

Apartment rental rates rose nearly five times faster than worker wages in Chattanooga last year as demand for rental housing continued to grow, even as more properties were...Keep Reading

Source: Article by Dave Flessner with Times Free Press
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May 31, 2018

Dreaming of a Vacation Home?

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

With the onset of summer and vacation travels, you may be dreaming of buying a vacation home. The beauty of a second home is that it’s a great get-away, as well as a good long-term investment.

To begin the process of finding just the right vacation home, look where you’ve vacationed before. Or if you are considering a new geographic region, rent a home for a season to make sure it suits you.

Think about what sort of vacation home you want – perhaps a cabin, a house, or a condo.  Condos come with homeowners’ associations, which have certain rules and fees but also offer many benefits that are often attractive for owners who are not always on the premises.

According to NAR’s 2017 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, the typical vacation property is located 200 miles from the buyers’ primary residence. Investors typically purchase a second home within 20 miles of their primary residence. Despite inventory challenges in recent years, vacation home buyers have been active.

In listing the reasons for purchasing a vacation home, forty-two percent of vacation home buyers plan to use their property for vacations or as a family retreat, 18 percent plan to convert their vacation home into their primary residence in the future for retirement, and 12 percent because of low real estate prices and the buyer found a good deal.

For investors, thirty-seven percent purchased the home to generate income through renting the property, 16 percent purchased for potential price appreciation, and 15 percent because of low real estate prices.

Once you have a general idea of the area and type of vacation home you want, contact a Realtor locally to learn whether they also list in other markets. Or perhaps they can refer you to a peer in your desired market. Once you settle on a Realtor, ask how many vacation home listings they have, how many years they’ve worked in the business and about any particular specialties.

A Realtor can help you determine how much you can afford and will coach you through the personal and financial data you will need to apply for a loan. Additionally, a Realtor will be familiar with current real estate values, taxes, utility costs, municipal services, and facilities and zoning laws that may affect your property.

Ask your Realtor about renting your vacation home to others – he or she can advise you on potential restrictions, advantages and disadvantages, and tips for making your vacation home a premium investment, as well as fun get-away.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
REALTOR® Party VOTE. ACT. INVEST.
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May 24, 2018

President Trump Signs Dodd-Frank Reform Into Law

On Tuesday, May 23, 2018, The House of Representatives passed S. 2155, also known as the Economic Growth Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. Two days later, President Trump signed the bill info law. The bill rolls back reforms from the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and promises to provide regulatory relief to credit unions and community banks. All signs point to a signature of the legislature by President Trump and passage into law. 

Key Points
• Additional tailoring provisions both via this legislation and through the regulatory process
• Tailoring that matches regulation to the risks in the system while promoting economic growth
• This bipartisan legislation is the product of years of work by Senators seeking common-sense solutions to help regular people access capital

What does S.2155 do?
• Increases access to online banking (MOBILE Act)
• Provides greater protection for senior citizens against fraud
• Enhances community leaders’ ability to increase mortgage credit access
• Promotes investment in local and state building projects
• Tailor's regulatory requirements to allow a greater focus on lending

Learn More

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May 24, 2018

The New York Times Spends 36 Hours in Chattanooga

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May 24, 2018

Greater Chattanooga Realtors in Nation’s Capital to Advocate Policy Issues Affecting Homeownership,

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® recently joined more than 9,000 Realtors® in Washington, D.C. for the 2018 Realtor Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo to discuss and advocate for crucial real estate issues on behalf of current and future home and property owners across the country. We also met with regulatory agency staff and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss and advocate real estate issues affecting the Chattanooga region’s real estate industry, businesses, and communities. 

The main areas of focus included several significant issues including fair housing, flood insurance, and internet neutrality. 

Realtors are the leading advocates for homeownership and commercial real estate, which is why it is so critical that we connect with lawmakers and ensure they understand the issues facing the real estate industry and their constituents – of which many are home and property owners. Supporting home and property owners through smart legislation and regulatory initiatives is essential to advancing our nation’s economy, as well as our communities, so Realtors are continuing the fight to keep Congress’s attention on the issues that impact real estate most.

While in Washington, Greater Chattanooga Realtors met with Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and Representative Chuck Fleischmann on Capitol Hill to discuss and advocate for public policy decisions affecting Americans’ ability to own, buy, rent, and sell residential and commercial real estate.

When speaking with elected officials, we acknowledged the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act and urged Congress to adopt sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under the Fair Housing Act, bringing it in line with the National Association of REALTORS’ strict Code of Ethics. Additionally, Realtors advocated for strong net neutrality protections; fought to extend and reform the National Flood Insurance Program; and urged Congress to index homeownership deductions for future inflation and permanently extend the tax exclusion on mortgage debt forgiveness.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors are proud to lead the way toward greater equality in housing opportunities and are committed to furthering policies that support sustainable and inclusive communities without discrimination.

During the meetings. we also heard from industry experts and leaders, including Acting Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Mick Mulvaney, who spoke about the latest initiatives out of the CFPB, plans for improved efficiency of agency operations, as well as his perspectives on issues shaping the real estate industry. 

In addition, attendees heard from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, who discussed the nation’s commitment to fair housing during the conference’s General Session; U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), who shared a personal story with attendees about the importance of safe and affordable housing for all Americans; realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale, who provided an overview of current conditions in the residential and commercial markets; Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator William “Brock” Long, who addressed a broad range of disaster and emergency management topics, such as National Flood Insurance Program reauthorization and federal disaster relief; and NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, who shared residential and commercial real estate market updates and forecasts for the remainder of 2018.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors also had the opportunity to explore the latest industry innovations and receive the most recent information on the products and services from more nearly 100 industry-leading companies that participated in the trade expo.

Want to be the first to know when a Call-for-Action arises? Sign up for Realtor Party mobile alerts by texting the word REALTORS to 30644 (click here to sign up online). Learn more about the key issues in real estate and what Greater Chattanooga Realtors is doing to advocate for our community, www.gcar.net.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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May 17, 2018

April 2018 Home Sales Review

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga Realtors®

Many sellers and builders are in a good position for financial gains, as the economy continues to favor putting existing homes on the market and building new homes for sale. We are finally beginning to see some upward movement in new listings after at least two years of a positive outlook. There may not be massive increases in inventory from week to week, but a longer-term trend toward more new listings would be a good sign. Low inventory should continue to create a competitive situation for buyers, causing price increases over the next several months.

New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 6.1 percent to 1,202. Pending Sales were up 6.4 percent to 970. Inventory levels shrank 27.6 percent to 2,331 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 3.5 percent to $179,000. Days on Market was down 5.0 percent to 57 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply was down 30.0 percent to 2.8 months.

This winter and spring exhibited unseasonal weather patterns in much of the country. As the season change to something more palatable, wages and consumer spending are both up, on average, which should translate positively for the housing market. Being quick with an offer is still the rule of the day as the number of days a home stays on the market drops lower. If that wasn’t enough for buyers to mull over with each potential offer, being aware of pending mortgage rate increases is once again in fashion.

Get a more detailed look at April 2018’s Home Sales numbers and connect with a Realtor. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or simply stay in-the-know with what’s happening in Greater Chattanooga real estate, you can count on us to keep you in the loop.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

For media inquiries, including a request to receive the monthly sales report and press releases, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432
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May 14, 2018

Tennessee Legislative Wrap-Up

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May 10, 2018

5 Must-Know Tips for Buying a Home in a Competitive Market

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga Realtors®

The 2018 housing market in the Chattanooga region is going to continue to be challenging for buyers as the market remains strong and there simply isn’t enough inventory. Fact: it’s a seller’s market. There’s no point in sugar-coating it. Homes are selling on average within three weeks and often staying on the market less than 48 hours. However, that’s doesn’t mean it’s a bad time to buy.

The reality of the high cost to rent and the prospect of mortgage rates increasing has buyers continuing to flock to the market. It’s important for buyers to be a little flexible when assessing their must have’s and have not’s so to power through the competition and find a buy a home they’ll love. Follow these tips to be closer to owning the home you want.

Get a Realtor. The resources, experience, and skills of a Realtor are priceless when it comes to buying in a seller’s market. Every detail matters, especially in a hot, fast-moving market. Working with a Realtor can make all the difference and save buyers lots of time and stress. Using a Realtor can make all the difference and get your name at the top of the list because listing agents are often more apt to go with a buyer working with a Realtor that is reputable and can get the deal done efficiently, especially if their seller needs to turn around and purchase a home quickly after the sale.

Get preapproved. Even with a competitive market, some homeowners begin visiting homes without a mortgage approval letter from their lender. Fact: in this market, preapproval letters are key to a smooth homebuying process. Anyone can make an offer, but a true bonafide offer has either a preapproval letter or proof of funds documentation. A preapproval means a lender has examined your credit and other expenses to determine how much mortgage you could afford given their underwriting guidelines. Submitting an offer with only a prequalification letter could sink your bid in a hurry because prequalification only shows how much a house you could afford based on income. Submitting an offer with a preapproval shows you’re a serious buyer, ready and financially able to close the deal.

Be prepared to make strong, flexible offers. Have your Realtor ask for the seller’s preferred closing date. Your contract may very well be accepted simply because of your flexibility on timing. In a competitive seller’s market, your offer not only needs to be complete, it needs to be clean. And clean means no contingencies. Try your best to overlook cosmetic changes a home needs that you can fix after moving in. In addition, if everyone else is offering 10-day due-diligence periods, and you and your Realtor are confident it’s a great home, make your due-diligence just 5-days. Little things can make a big difference.

Gather your best down payment. Present an offer with the highest down payment that you could reasonable manage. Sellers are more likely to accept an offer from a buyer with a larger down payment for a variety of reasons, including the belief that a buyer with a larger down payment is going to more smoothly quality for a mortgage.

Be prepared to make a quick decision. Possibly the most difficult part of a seller’s market is having to make rush decisions. Buying a home is typically the largest investment you’ll ever make but moving quickly can mean the difference in whether you get that dream home. Most buyers are only able to view a home once before decision whether to make an offer. One way to make those decision easier is to determine your priorities ahead of time and share them with your Realtor.

Connect with a Realtor to get off on the right foot in your home search. They will provide more tips for how to navigate our housing market and go from potential buyer to new homeowner. 

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.
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May 3, 2018

It’s National Home Remodeling Month

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga Realtors®

May is National Home Remodeling Month, a time of the year when many homeowners may daydream about sprucing up their homes to gain equity, resale value, or simply find more enjoyment from their property.

According to the National Association of Realtors®, many homeowners find the idea of a remodeling project too overwhelming to take on. In fact, 35 percent of homeowners in the U.S. said they would rather move than remodel their current home.

Yet, after completing a remodeling project, 75 percent of homeowners said they have a greater desire to be in their home; 65 percent say they have increased enjoyment in their home; and 77 percent feel a major sense of accomplishment when thinking of their completed project, according to NAR’s 2017 Remodeling Impact Report.

Realtors understand how remodeling a home can benefit the homeowner looking to sell, whether by impressing potential future buyers, increasing the number of offers or growing equity in the home. Interior projects, such as kitchen renovations, hardwood floor refinishing and insulation upgrades, often yield the largest financial returns for homeowners.

Realtors also understand that some homeowners undertake these projects to get more enjoyment from spending time at home. Here are four remodeling projects that scored a perfect Joy Score from consumers, indicating the greatest happiness from a completed project: 

Added bathroom: The desire to improve livability, especially as a family grows, often leads to home renovation projects. According to the survey, 6 out of 10 homeowners said they have a greater desire to be home since adding a new bathroom, and nearly 80 percent of owners feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think of their project.

Complete kitchen renovation: One of the most used rooms in the home, consumers oftentimes draw up their plans for renovating their kitchen first. Ninety percent of consumers have a greater desire to be home since renovating their kitchen, and the top reason for the renovation was to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes and materials.

Closet renovation: A dream renovation for many consumers, renovating a closet to improve organization and storage was the top reason for 50 percent of homeowners who flipped their closet. Seventy-one percent of homeowners have a greater desire to be home since completing their closet project and 65 percent have an increased sense of enjoyment when they are home.

New fiberglass front door: Consumers have energy efficiency in mind for many renovation projects, with over 40 percent choosing to install a new fiberglass front door in their home. Consumers find that the most important benefit of a new fiberglass door is better functionality and livability, as well as durable and long-lasting results, materials, and appliances.

The 2017 Remodeling Impact Report surveyed Realtors and consumers who have completed remodeling projects. The report explored homeowners reasons for remodeling, the success of certain remodeling projects and the increased happiness found in the home once a project is completed. See the full report. 

Set yourself up for remodeling success by visiting www.gcar.net to connect with a Realtor who can help you make an well-informed decision on which remodeling option is best.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.
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April 30, 2018

Fewer Commercial Deals Will Need Appraisals

A new federal rule is expected to exempt nearly one-third of commercial sales from needing an appraisal. Under the new rule, commercial property sales of $500,000 or less are exempt from appraisal requirement...Keep Reading

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April 26, 2018

Local Resources for Spring Cleaning and Decluttering

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga Realtors®

It is finally beginning to feel like spring, but before going outside it might be time for some spring cleaning – especially if you’re planning to move to a new home. Decluttering makes staging, selling, and moving much easier – and less costly. The Chattanooga region has many resources locals can use.

The Habitat ReStore. In addition to building affordable housing in our community, Habitat also has ReStores located in downtown Chattanooga and Ooltewah. The ReStores recycle and repurpose new and used cabinets, appliances, lighting, hardware and other household items donated by local individuals and businesses. In short, they accept just about everything except clothes and mattresses. Items can be dropped off at the ReStores or schedule a time for items to be picked up. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that! Do you really need that waffle iron you received for Christmas five years ago that’s still in a box?

Area Food Banks/Pantries. Clean out your pantry while helping provide groceries to families in need. A quick internet search will show numerous neighborhood organizations and churches in our community that accept pantry item donations they distribute to those in need. For example, The Chattanooga Area Food Bank depends on donations to be able to continue providing hunger relief to over 20 counties in southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia. From pasta and canned vegetables to instant oatmeal and powdered milk, help stock the pantries of others while decluttering your own. Also, if you have a green thumb and your garden produces more than you need, fresh produce is accepted too!

Brush, Plants, and Bulky Trash Collection. Whether spring cleaning, updating your home’s curb appeal before selling, or making updates to your new home, figuring out what to do with brush, plants, and old carpet and appliances can be daunting. Don’t stress! There are many resources available to help dispose of large items that can no longer be used. City of Chattanooga residents can call 311 or visit chattanooga.gov to find a complete list of items accepted for curbside pickup and directions on how to schedule a special pickup if you have a lot of items. Non-city residents can find many, free alternatives for drop-off locations that are most likely just around the corner with a quick internet search.

Recycle. City of Chattanooga residents can call 311 to schedule curbside pickup for cardboard, newspapers, plastic, and aluminum, steel cans and even some batteries. Materials must be placed in blue bags, clear bags, or covered bins marked “Recycle” and do not need to be sorted. Not a city resident? No problem! A quick search on the internet will provide many recycling centers throughout the Chattanooga region that will either pick up items or provide drop-off locations.

Whether you’re moving out, moving in, both, or spring cleaning, remember that there are many local resources available to help make things a little easier.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.
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April 19, 2018

Cybercrime in Real Estate

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga Realtors®

I have been working with buyers and sellers in the Chattanooga region for almost two decades. In real estate, every transaction involves multiple persons and companies – buyers, sellers, Realtors, title companies, and lenders to name a few – making it an ideal target for cybercriminals. Opening a bad link, sending personal or financial information in an email that’s not encrypted, and installing malware posing as antivirus software can quickly cause a real estate deal to fall through.

A few years ago I requested and received a new debit card from my bank. The same day, I received what appeared to be an email from the bank asking me to reset my password. You guessed it! I took the bait. Within five minutes of clicking a link to reset my password, my personal account was drained to 73 cents. The cybercriminals withdrew all they could without closing the account, so I wouldn’t be notified. I felt helpless. Fortunately, my bank replaced the money which took about two weeks. 

Here are a few tips and practical strategies to help you not become the next cybercrime victim.

Tip #1: Update Firewalls, Usernames, and Passwords. Regularly check that you’re using the most up-to-date firewall and anti-virus technology. Updating passwords often is a standard line of defense against cybercrime, but when is the last time you updated a username? When updating one, make it a habit to update the other. Word to the wise, if your password is “password” or “123456” it might as well be your bank account number as these are the most commonly used passwords.

Tip #2: Do Not Open Suspicious Emails. While this is a tip you’ve likely heard before, I included it because we can all can be tempted by a sly, well-written subject line. If you do not know the sender or notice misspelled words and odd characters in the sender’s name or subject line, don’t let curiosity get the best of you. Before opening, contact the sender via phone to confirm the email’s authenticity. Remember, it’s important to reach out to them via phone because their email could be hacked.

Tip #3: Do Not Send Bank Info Via Email. This includes banking details, routing numbers, and PINS. Regarding a real estate transaction, Realtors (and financial institutions) will almost never request or send sensitive information like this via email. If a circumstance arises in which such information must be sent via email, make sure the email is encrypted.

Tip #4: Damage Control. If your email or any other account has been hacked, immediately change the compromised usernames and passwords that are now vulnerable. Then, report fraudulent activity to the Federal Bureau of Investigation via their Crime Complaint Center: www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/e-scams. Contact friends, family, clients and others that may have been exposed to the attack. Realtors, report fraudulent activity to your state and local associations so they can take appropriate action.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.
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April 12, 2018

March 2018 Home Sales Review

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga Realtors®

The Greater Chattanooga housing market continues to show strength as we edge into what is arguably the busiest time of year for buyers and sellers. New residential real estate has been relatively slow in the first quarter of 2018, yet housing is resilient in a consistently improving economy. Much of the nation, Greater Chattanooga included, continues to experience lower inventory of homes for sale. With inventory decreasing, it’s increasingly important to have a Realtor by your side as your real estate expert. Realtors have an expanded search power with access to homes not listed on home search sites. Have your first decision of the home buying or selling process be the correct one: contact a Realtor.

New Listings in the Chattanooga region decreased 5.4 percent to 1,184. Pending sales were up 13.3 percent to 2,282 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 8.9 percent to $188,150. Days on Market was down 22.9 percent to 54 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 30.0 percent to 2.8 months.

The Federal Reserve raised its key short-term interest rate by .25 percent in March, citing concerns about inflation. It is the sixth rate increase by the Fed since December 2015, and at least two more rate increases are expected this year. Borrowing money will be more expensive, particularly for home equity loans, credit cards and adjustable rate mortgages, but rising wages and a low national unemployment rate that has been at 4.1 percent for five months is a row would seem to indicate that we are prepared for this. And although mortgage rates have risen to their highest point in four years, they have been quite low for several years.

If you’re considering buying or selling, I encourage you to contact a Realtor today. Greater Chattanooga Open House Weekend (April 21-22) is just around the corner and buyers are anxious for more inventory in the local market. Stay in-the-know with what’s happening in Greater Chattanooga real estate, visit www.gcar.net to access the best, local resources.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Ashley Honeycutt
Communications Director
ashley@gcar.net
423.702.7432

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April 5, 2018

You Purchased a Home-Now What?

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga Realtors®

Congratulations! With the help of a Realtor®, a member of the National Association of Realtors®, you purchased your first home, signed all the necessary paperwork and are about to walk up to your front door, keys in hand.

You are probably thinking, Now what? This is a common question new homeowners ask themselves when the time comes to settle into a new home. With all the excitement and work involved in finding a home, buyers may not have a transition plan or a checklist for the first few days in their new abode.

Some checklist items are as simple as steam cleaning the carpet while others involve familiarizing yourself with your home’s circuit breakers and water valves. Having a game plan for your new home will give you peace of mind and allow you to settle in quickly and stress free.

Here are important items to focus on during the transition into your new home.

Change the locks. You never know who else has keys to your home, so it is a good idea to change the locks on all doors. This will help you sleep at night knowing that you are the only person who has access to your home. Install new deadbolts yourself for less or call a locksmith to ensure proper installation.

Set-up service. This may not sound like a top priority, but it is important to contact local utilities and service providers, like trash pick-up to set-up a new account and avoid disruption. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the pick-up schedule for trash and recyclables to avoid garbage stacking up during the first week in your new home.

Know the circuit breaker. It is a good idea to figure out which fuses control what parts of your home and label them accordingly. Consider calling a friend or family member to help: one person monitoring the power as it goes on and off and the other tripping the fuse in order to test the breakers.

Buy the right tools. It is likely you own the basic tools, such as a drill, screwdriver, hammer, level and tape measure. Yet, homeownership may require a few new ones you might not have needed before, such as a pry bar for removing nails, trim or tiles and a ratchet set for adjusting nuts and bolts in hard to reach places. When hanging pictures or shelving on the walls, be sure to have a stud sensor handy to detect studs, cables and ducts.

When you are a new to homeownership, the list of responsibilities can feel overwhelming at first, but with the help of a Realtor, you can be sure to transition into a new home in a smooth and hassle-free fashion.

If you’re considering buying or selling, I encourage you to contact a Realtor today. Greater Chattanooga Open House Weekend (April 21-22) is just around the corner and buyers are anxious for more inventory in the local market.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.
Fair Housing Make U.S. Stronger
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April 2, 2018

Gov. Haslam Declares April as Fair Housing Month in Tennessee

April 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, and throughout the month we, along with Realtors across the United States, are commemorating this special milestone. Gov. Bill Haslam has named April 'Fair Housing Month" in Tennessee. We greatly appreciate Gov. Haslam's willingness to shine light on fair housing.

View the Proclamation

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March 29, 2018

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI

President, Greater Chattanooga Realtors®

For decades, Realtors - members of the National Association of Realtors - have supported a free, open market that embraces fairness and equal opportunity for all buyers and sellers. Greater Chattanooga Realtors strongly support the Fair Housing Act, legislation first passed in 1968 and now prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, and national origin.

This year, Greater Chattanooga Realtors join fellow Realtors across the country to embark on a yearlong commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act to raise awareness for fair housing issues. Our focus for 2018 will be on three key elements: acknowledging the organization’s changing role in the fight for fair housing, understanding how we as a nation are constantly improving our commitment to fair housing, and ways Realtors strive to lead efforts to address fair housing policy issues.  

While April is the month we make a special effort to highlight fair housing, it’s an ongoing effort for our members. Our Diversity Inclusion Committee is a standing committee. Their purpose is to promote equal opportunity and cultural diversity within the real estate industry and to foster an Association culture that embraces and celebrates our differences.

On April 3, we offer “At Home With Diversity,” which is a course that educates participants how to work successfully with and within a rapidly changing multicultural market. In addition, the course teaches about diversity sensitivity, how to apply fair housing laws in the real estate business, and ways to develop professional guidelines for working with people in an increasingly multicultural real estate market. Non-members are welcome to register by calling the Association office at 423.698.8001.

As your Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga, we continue to recognize the significance of the Fair Housing Act and reconfirm our commitment to upholding fair housing law, as well as our commitment to offering equal professional service to all in their search for a home or property. Realtors work hard to build strong communities and neighborhoods where all people can live and prosper.

Over the years, NAR has developed educational information on diversity and fair housing laws, programs and resources that have helped educate RealtorsÒ across the country on the importance of inclusive housing practices and the promotion of diverse homeownership. During the yearlong commemoration, NAR will further examine community fair housing issues and advocate for changes to the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Fair housing protects the American Dream of homeownership for all citizens, and Greater Chattanooga Realtors look forward to commemorating the anniversary and supporting the development of healthy and diverse communities.  

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors® service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

Update April 2, 2018 at 9:15 am: Gov. Haslam Proclaims April "Fair Housing Month" in Tennessee. 

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March 22, 2018

What Pet Owners Should Know When Selling a Home

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

Recently, I adopted a dog from a local shelter and began thinking of challenges pet owners face when selling a home. We all love our pets whether they be dogs, cats, hamsters, or rabbits – but that doesn’t mean potential buyers want to be greeted by them when viewing a home or see evidence of them when considering what home to put an offer on. Likewise, pets are our furry children and there are essential steps pet owners can take to ensure the process of buying or selling is smooth without disrupting routine too much.

Check your insurance. While the best option is to take pets on a little car ride during showings or have a neighbor watch them during an open house, it’s not always possible. And while you might be confident your pet would never hurt anyone, know that you could be held liable for any harm your pet causes. Make sure homeowners insurance covers incidents like these.

Prepare your yard. Potential buyers will likely take a stroll around your yard. Be sure to clean up scattered toys and dispose of any waste Fido decorated the yard with.

Repair any damage. If there are scuffs on the arm of a chair from where your cat likes to rub, strategically drape a blanket over it. Address any hair or stains on carpet and rugs throughout the home. That will not only help with odors, but will help potential buyers focus on the home rather than wondering what that odd stain is on the dining room rug.

Remove the odors. Along with regular vacuuming, scatter reed diffusers throughout the home to help mask any scents that will distract from the home. Keep fish tanks clean, litter boxes fresh (and hidden during showings), and wash all blankets your pet uses to lounge on.

Pets often determine which neighborhoods and homes buyers consider-whether that be the walkability of the neighborhood or a fenced in backyard. However, taking these steps as a seller, will help potential buyers picture themselves in the home rather than your pets.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

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March 15, 2018

February 2018 Home Sales Review

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

The three most prominent national market trends for residential real estate are the ongoing lack of abundant inventory, the steadily upward movement of home prices and year-over year declines in home sales. Sales declines are a natural result of there being fewer homes for sale, but higher prices often indicate higher demand leading of competitive bidding. Markets are poised for increased supply, so there is hope that more sellers will take advantage of what appears to be a ready and willing buyer base.

New Listings in the Chattanooga region decreased 2.6 percent to 948. Pending Sales were down 3.3 percent to 793. Inventory levels shrank 26.3 percent to 2,390 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 9.9 percent to $175,800. Days on Market was down 12.3 percent to 64 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 27.5 percent to 2.9 months.

In February, prevailing mortgage rates continued to rise. This has a notable impact on housing affordability and can leave consumers choosing between higher payments or lower-priced homes. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with a 20 percent down payment that quality for backing by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose to its highest level since January 2014. A 4.5 or 4.6 percent rate might not seem high to those with extensive real estate business, but it is newly high for many potential first-time home buyers. Upward rate pressure is likely to continue as long as the economy fares well.

Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or stay in-the-know with what’s happening in Greater Chattanooga real estate, visit www.gcar.net to access the best, local resources.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

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March 8, 2018

Own It

By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has chosen “Own It” as their theme for 2018-2020. In turn, during my year as our local Association’s President, Greater Chattanooga Realtors’ will embrace the theme by Owning It in various ways throughout 2018 – more on that later.

You might be thinking: “What does the Own It mean?” or “I’m not looking to purchase a home in the near future.” Allow me to elaborate.  NAR’s current President, Elizabeth Mendenhall perfectly summed up what it means to Own It with, “We absolutely have the power to make a difference.” What that means to every individual is different, but it means fully committing yourself to whatever that goal is. Maybe it’s to volunteer more, be more focused on advancing your career, revisiting your New Year’s resolution, conquering a project at home you’ve been putting off, or simply spending more time with family. No matter what your personal goal is: Own It and do your very best to make it happen.

In 2018, one way Greater Chattanooga Realtors will be Owning It is by dedicating our time and resources to our Community Partnerships that include Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga Area and the Snack Pack Ministry. On April 9 we will host a fundraiser event, benefitting Habitat, that will include a golf tournament during the day and evening events with live and silent auctions – with all proceeds going directly to Habitat which helps our community. We are also recommitting to our partnership with Snack Pack Ministry. On May 2 we will be presenting them with a check to help support their mission of putting food in the hands of food insecure children in Hamilton County.

We encourage each of you to find your purpose or a goal for 2018 and make it your personal mission to accomplish it. Reach out to a local charity and see how you can be involved. Contact a school and see if they are in need of certain supplies that you can donate. Find your way to make a positive impact and Own It. Make it happen. Together, we can continue to make the Greater Chattanooga region wonderful, beautiful, and help it continue thriving.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors® nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors service Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423.698.8001.

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