Category: Crye-Leike in the News
286 articles included in Crye-Leike in the News
Price slips 5% from July '08 By Naomi Snyder ? THE TENNESSEAN ? August 11, 2009 Residential real estate sales in July in the Nashville area rose over the previous month for the sixth straight time, a trend that Realtors say may be due to first-time homebuyers fueling the market. July sales were still 11 percent below results from July 2008, but the fact that year-over-year sales almost narrowed to a single-digit decline gave some real estate professionals reason for optimism. "It would be great to keep trending to zero and eventually see an increase,'' said Mike Nichols, president of the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors. As recently as January of this year, sales had slumped 41 percent compared with a year earlier. Becky Meagher, a Crye-Leike Realtors broker, said first-time homebuyers are helping to boost sales. Meagher said she sold a $110,000 home recently near the Nashville International Airport to a first-time buyer within weeks of the property being listed. Meagher said the seller had retiled the kitchen and bathrooms, painted the interior and redid the hardwood floors. "It was pristine,'' she said. "That $8,000 tax credit is working." More expensive homes may not be faring as well. Meagher said a three-bedroom condo she is selling near the Brentwood city line for $234,900 has been on the market for 90 days. The median home price for a single-family home was $171,000 in July, about 5 percent off from a year ago, and a 10 percent decline from July 2007, the summer when single-family home prices were at their peak. $8,000 tax credit The median price for a condo also fell last month ? down 13 percent from a year ago to $142,146. The price peak in the condo market occurred in June of last year, when the median price for a condo was $185,500, according to the association's figures. Sales of condos were down 16 percent compared with last year in July, the Realtors group said. First-time homebuyers qualify for an $8,000 refundable federal tax credit passed by Congress earlier this year to stimulate home sales. Nichols said first-time buyers are taking up some of the slack from the loss of subprime borrowers. Subprime financing dried up in 2007, marking the start of a downward cascade in the housing market. Meagher said the last two years have been challenging for the real estate industry. But she said sellers have gradually become more realistic about pricing, which is helping to create sales. "Sellers are getting it, finally,'' she said. "They just can't get what prices were three years ago." Contact banking and residential real estate reporter Naomi Snyder at 615-259-8284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business News - Smoke Signals Online - News From Big Canoe By Bennett Whipple You probably caught last month's press release on the opening of a new real estate office in our midst, but, for Pete's sake, it didn't tell us how to pronounce the name! When I first spotted the sign out in the Foothills area I thought it was some European pharmaceutical house opening here for direct sales to this ultimate consumer market in Big Canoe. But, thanks to Babs Price, who arranged to have Harold Crye fly down in his Citation jet from his home in Nashville, this report aims to fix the name problem. And it's really not that complicated. Crye is easy, like in "cry." Harold is a good old Arkansas boy who settled in Memphis and made it big in the real estate business with his partner Dick Leike. The other end of this two-part nomenclature problem pronounces his name like "like" and he's another son of the South, hailing from Atlanta. So, as sales manager Emory Williams puts it, "Think ?cry like' a baby," and you'll get it right and remember the name. All the way to the bank And that's probably what Harold and Dick have been doing all the way to the bank, as the saying goes, with their sales volume in 2008 of $4.2 billion on 25,281 transactions. That's down 26 percent from 2007's $5.7 billion on 32,500 transactions, but not bad considering the housing market's collapse. No numbers yet for 2009, but Harold anticipates that sales volume will be down another 20 percent this year. No doubt they're counting on expansion growth to keep those numbers up, and Georgia is definitely on their mind in pursuing this game plan. Now with eight metro Atlanta offices, Harold hopes to grow the number to some 40 or 50 offices this year. Big in the South While you may not have heard the name before, Crye-Leike Realtors ranks No. 6 among the nation's top 500 largest residential real estate brokerage firms and No. 3 among the nation's 144 privately owned and independent firms, according to REAL Trends, Inc., the leading provider of information and analysis for the residential real estate industry. According to Crye-Leike's website, the company has more than 3500 sales associates in 120 branch and franchise offices in an eight-state region including Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Carolina. After opening the office in Marble Hill on March 1 with four agents, there's been a rush of eight more agents to get on board. What's the attraction? What sets Crye-Leike apart? Harold says it's staying focused on real estate: "We're not developers." Also, he cites keeping in touch with our offices as a reason: "We're not absentee owners." He noted, for example, that, in addition to the Smoke Signals interview, he used this trip to visit the company's Atlanta offices. Real estate is local He says also that the company has a unique corporate structure. They believe that real estate business is local. That's why it's divided into seven regions giving each area the ability to offer a full menu of services according to the needs of the particular region. Also, the company has an in-house, full-time marketing department and director to support sales agents with customized marketing plans and sales material. Asked about the compensation factor, Harold would only say that the company has a "fair commission schedule." Then, if you want to know more, the company's website provides a long, long list of answers to the question: "Why Crye-Leike." So, there are many reasons that seem to set the company apart and explain the "rush." But to name one more, Babs Price likes the sales-help feature of Crye-Leike's unique "Smartline." Harold describes it as a 24/7 service that provides immediate detailed information about properties on the market. By dialing in the street address on your cell phone, you can receive a curbside voice description of the property. And, what's even better, Babs says, is that the sales agent is notified when a potential customer dials one of your listings and you can follow up immediately.
Newcomers to real estate business see a market that's poised to come back - The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
By Don Wade, Memphis Commercial Appeal Thursday, August 6, 2009 On Tuesday, the Memphis Area Association of Realtors released its sales report for June, which showed an 18.5 percent decrease in sales when compared to June 2008. On Wednesday, about two dozen new real estate agents gathered at MAAR's offices on Poplar for an orientation. Logical question: Why would anyone get into the real estate business now? "I always think it's good to get into things at the downturn, so you're positioned when things come back," said Casey Moore, 39, who works for Banyan Tree Realtors in Collierville, and who is also a pilot. "It's sorta like the stock market, even though that doesn't always work out." Based on a review of MAAR's membership, four years after agents join the organization, only half still hold a Tennessee real estate license. After six years, only a third still do. But it's the transient nature of the industry that some newcomers believe affords opportunity. "My thought is a lot of agents have gone on to other jobs," said Beverly Sharpe, 49, who has followed her 25-year-old son, Justin Sharpe, into the business; both work for Crye-Leike. "It's an open market for me to get involved," she continued. "And the market always comes back." Justin has been in the business for about a year. "I didn't make a dollar the first six months," he said. "And now I'm doing well, sold about $2 million." To be sure, it is a different industry than it was even a few years ago. The Internet in general and social networking sites in particular have revolutionized the way agents do business and the way the public approaches the purchase of a house. "Realtors are no longer the first point of contact for people buying a home," said MAAR president Jon Albright, adding the new agents would be wise to find an experienced Realtor to provide some guidance. "It's critical to get with a mentor," Albright said. New agent Robin Benson, 28, is back in Memphis after earning engineering and math degrees in the Northeast, working as an electrical engineer at a Connecticut power plant, and earning her MBA in France. She is now mining the Hutchison School alumni database for old friends who might prove valuable contacts. "In the end, I found out I'd rather work for myself," she said of her career switch. "It's that drive, that excitement." And it is that part of the equation that MAAR executive vice president Jules Wade says hasn't changed in real estate. "You set your own goals and work as hard as you want," he said. "It definitely takes that entrepreneurial spirit to succeed." -- Don Wade: 529-2358 Agents come and go Two years after joining the Memphis Area Association of Realtors, two-thirds of new members still held an active Tennessee real estate license. Four years after joining MAAR, half still held an active state license. Six years after joining MAAR, one-third still held an active state license.
http://www.4029tv.com/news/20283355/detail.html POSTED: 7:25 pm CDT August 4, 2009 FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- For almost half a year, home sales have been on the rise. Realtors tell 40/29 News they're the busiest they've been in years. Realtors said neighborhoods in northwest Arkansas, specifically in the Fayetteville area, are hot spots in the housing market right now. Some homes have even been sold just days after they were put on the market. "This home we actually sold before it even got put on the MLS, which is the Multiple Listing Service," said LaVeta Key, managing broker for Crye-Leike. That home on Tradition Avenue, and others in the area, were up for grabs, but not for long. "I just closed two last week," said Key. "We've had several that have been sold within the first week of being on the market." The reason -- new home buyers are taking advantage of the $8,000 tax credit offered by the federal government. And many homes currently on the market are those repossessed by banks, selling for as low as $100,000. It's something that David Karras, 23, knew he had to jump on. "It's a perk, definitely. I can't argue with getting $8,000 from the government for buying a house. All the home prices are down so low, you can't lose," said Karras. He got a call from his realtor the day a $125,000 home went on the market. Within hours, it was his. "Closed on Friday, moved on Saturday, unpacked Sunday, went back to work on Monday," said Karras. Key, his realtor, said that's the trend they're seeing for hopefully more months to come. "Under the $150,000 mark, we should see those turn around within four to six months," said Key. The homes that are selling rapidly are those that are sold as-is. But realtors are hoping that, in the near future, new home construction will start to shape up again too. The $8,000 tax credit applies to those homes as well. Anyone looking to take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit must close on their home by Nov. 30. But it's not all good news yet in the real estate market. The Washington County Court Clerk confirmed Tuesday taht a bank foreclosed on a large development in Fayetteville. Ruskin Heights was supposed to be an entirely new neighborhood off of Mission Boulevard. Metropolitan National Bank has foreclosed on Ruskin Heights' developers, saying they owe about $9 million.
Posted: Jul 30, 2009 9:34 PM CDT SMYRNA, Tenn. - The housing market's lower prices coupled with an $8,000 tax credit are prompting some younger Middle Tennessee to consider buying their first home. For the third straight month, sales of new single family homes have risen. In June, sales jumped 11%. "The phone calls are coming in, people are asking about the tax credit," Crye-Leike realtor Heather Karl told News 2. "They want to be informed." Through November, first time homebuyers qualify for the $8,000 tax credit and so do those who have not owned a home in three years. Some say the deal is simply too good to resist. "If they need to buy their furniture, buy their appliances, they can pay off debts, anything to be able to get into the home and have money back," said Michele Ballard, a loan officer with Magna Bank. Realtors say a safe neighborhood and a $100,000 to $150,000 price range for those first time homebuyers are selling points for Mid-State residents looking for a starter home. To receive the federal tax credit, buyers must close on the home before December 1. With only a few months left, Crye-Leike Realtors in Smyrna is reaching out to "on-the-fence" buyers to let them know about it. They hosted an educational workshop Thursday night to guide potential homeowners through the process. Click here for complete details on the tax credit.
http://rismedia.com/2009-07-22/pcms-consulting-joins-forces-with-crye-leike-realtors/ RISMEDIA July 23, 2009 PCMS Consulting announced a new partnership with Crye-Leike REALTORS to assist the company in growth strategies to expand its franchise operation in multiple states. PCMS has business development personnel currently servicing over 20 states and plans to leverage Crye-Leike's already strong southern states footprint with the objective of affiliating existing real estate sales firms with the company's franchise arm. "Our company has its roots in the real estate franchise business and we are excited to put that expertise to work for one of the largest companies in the country as well as one that has an outstanding reputation in the South," said Jose Perez, president of Atlanta-based PCMS Consulting. "We are beginning our efforts in Tennessee, Crye-Leike's backyard, where we can continue to expand their presence throughout the state with quality conversions of existing companies as we simultaneously look for opportunities with other strong operators in neighboring states." "We have seen a tremendous amount of real estate company consolidation in the last couple of years across the company's southern U.S. region- with several independent and competitor franchise firms joining Crye-Leike," said Harold Crye, Crye-Leike's cofounder & CEO. "I see home sales in our primary and secondary markets will continue to fluctuate up and down for another couple years forcing some firms to seek out a company's like ours to help sustain them, their business and clients." For more information, visit www.pcmsconsulting.com.
PCMS Consulting Joins Forces With Crye-Leike, Realtors - Chattanoogan.com, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_155303.asp posted July 21, 2009 PCMS Consulting has a new partnership with Crye-Leike Realtors to assist the company in growth strategies to expand its franchise operation in multiple states. PCMS has business development personnel currently servicing over 20 states and plans to leverage Crye-Leike's already southern states footprint with the objective of affiliating existing real estate sales firms with the company's franchise arm. "Our company has its roots in the real estate franchise business and we are excited to put that expertise to work for one of the largest companies in the country as well as one that has an outstanding reputation in the South," said Jose Perez, president of Atlanta-based PCMS Consulting. "We are beginning our efforts in Tennessee, Crye-Leike's backyard, where we can continue to expand their presence throughout the state with quality conversions of existing companies as we simultaneously look for opportunities with other strong operators in neighboring states." Mr. Perez believes with a renewed focus on franchising, Crye-Leike will utilize methods used by PCMS to identify, qualify, and affiliate companies ideally suited to become a new franchise. Crye-Leike's Cofounder & CEO Harold Crye looks forward to taking advantage of the many tools and systems available through a partnership with PCMS to gain a competitive advantage in the market. "We have seen a tremendous amount of real estate company consolidation in the last couple of years across the company's southern U.S. region - with several independent and competitor franchise firms joining Crye-Leike," said Mr. Crye. "I see home sales in our primary and secondary markets will continue to fluctuate up and down for another couple years forcing some firms to seek out a company's like ours to help sustain them, their business and clients." Crye-Leike Franchises, Inc., a division of Crye-Leike, Realtors began real estate franchising operations in 2000. Since the division's establishment a total of 30 real estate companies have joined the Crye-Leike franchise network. Crye-Leike franchises are currently located in states throughout the South including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee. "In the current economic environment, Crye-leike has a huge advantage across its southern U.S region in the way it supports its sales force with technology and marketing while some of the larger players have actually reduced support," said Mr. Perez. "Because Crye-Leike is a regional company with hubs in Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas, a franchisee can get much more ?hand holding' and live support than they can from some other franchise organizations." In spite of difficult market conditions for home sales heading into the 3rd quarter of 2009, both Mr. Perez and Mr. Crye are convinced the timing is right to aggressively pursue unaffiliated real estate firms to become a Crye-Leike franchise, officials said. "We've seen our share of challenging home sales markets in our 32 years in business but clearly we are at a critical juncture and my hope is we can provide quality branding and support to smaller firms currently struggling to adapt to the new real estate brokerage paradigm," said Mr. Crye. "We are excited about our new relationship with PCMS and the years of real estate and franchise knowledge they bring to the table to help us collectively reach out to accomplish our goals."
GAYNELL BELLONI Staff Writer email@example.com Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 Red Friday began at Crye-Leike, Realtors on July 10 and will continue until all the soldiers come home. Realtors and employees pledged to wear red and special buttons every Friday to benefit service men and women through an organization call Operation Homefront. The fund-raising effort will help by giving 100 percent of the money raised to an Operation Homefront community where wounded soldiers and their families can live while the soldier is recuperating. They also offer foreclosure prevention assistance to military personnel. Buttons were sold out at the Bella Vista Crye-Leike office, Kathryn Weldon, office administrator said, but additional buttons have already been ordered and will soon be in. Buttons are $3 each and anyone can purchase them; the company hopes the movement will expand into a community event. "The problems many of us face in our day to day lives doesn't come close to the struggles our service men and women face," said Regional Vice President Rob Hatchett, who proposed the Red Fridays community service project. "I especially like the idea that our dollars will be supporting a program that works to ensure returning troops who own a home don't lose it to foreclosure - or find the assistance to purchase a home and can fulfill that part of the American dream." For additional information on Operation Homefront, the Web site is: operationhomefront.net. The Crye-Leike, Realtors office is open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays located at 3463 Bella Vista Way.
http://www.todaysthv.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=87952&catid=2 Posted By Reporter: Mike Duncan A homebuyer can save 10,15, perhaps 20 percent by considering a foreclosed home. But there likely will be several added expenses before you call it home sweet home. From the street they look no different than any other house for sale. But a closer inspection reveals a notice of foreclosure. "There's a lot of opportunity there to get a lot of equity moving into it," Danny Holt is an executive broker at Crye-Leike Realty. He says they have more than a hundred foreclosed homes on the market in central Arkansas and the number is growing. But homes often sit without maintenance for long periods. An additional $10,000 to $15,000 might be needed to fix the air conditioner, or remodel the kitchen and fix the little things. Danny Holt says, "People can go ahead and get a loan that can get some of the get ready in the loan. In other words they can have some rehab work, remodel type work from a little to major work done, into their loan at the time of closing so that they don't have to come out of pocket with a lot of cash." Some cities are forced to take care of outside maintenance on foreclosed homes. Some file liens on the properties to pay for the work. So be aware your new dream home may have a lien to resolve before you take possession. "It's the best deal we've come across since we've been looking and we've been looking more than a year, "Moses White and his wife say in spite of some additional work, the 209 thousand dollar price tag on one home puts it at the top of their list. White says, "It has exactly what we want. Probably, maybe say 80, 90k less than we were looking at in price range, especially on a four bedroom." In Arkansas, less than half of one percent of home loans are more than 90 days delinquent. Folks in Shelby County, Tennessee are not so lucky. There almost 5 percent of all home loans are in danger of foreclosure, the highest rate in the Mississippi Valley area according to the Federal Reserve.
http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20090710/NEWS/90710010/Miss.+real+estate+firm+aids+wounded+soldiers The Clarion-Ledger ? July 10, 2009 Beginning today and continuing each Friday, Crye-Leike real estate offices in metro Jackson and elsewhere will help raise money for wounded military soldiers. "Red Fridays" are designed to assist nonprofit Operation HomeFront, which helps wounded soldiers and their families via a "village" where they can live while recouping and by offering foreclosure prevention guidance. Crye-Leike employees will wear red each Friday to help raise funds. Donations can be made at area Crye-Leike offices.
Thursday, July 9, 2009 http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2009/jul/09/realtors-aid-troops-kin/?business By: Staff Report Officials with Crye-Leike, REALTORS have launched "Red Fridays" by wearing red and specially made buttons which they will be selling to raise money for Operation Homefront. Operation Homefront is a nonprofit group that assists troops and their families. Proceeds from the fundraising will go to Operation Homefront's Village program, which provides a community where wounded service members and their families can live while the soldiers recover and protects them from losing their houses to foreclosure. The buttons are $3 each and can be purchased from any Crye-Leike office or agent. Dick Leike, co-founder and president of Crye-Leike, said he hopes the public will join in and support the cause as well. "It's my hope that as our clients and friends see us getting behind a great cause like Operation Homefront, they'll join us in purchasing buttons and wearing red every Friday too," Mr. Leike said.
Crye-Leike, REALTORS Rolls Out Red Fridays Fundraising Campaign - Chattanoogan.com, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
posted July 7, 2009 http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_154435.asp Crye-Leike, REALTORS agents and employees are being encouraged to join in a Red Fridays campaign - wearing red and a specially made button - to help fundraise for wounded service members and military families, beginning Friday. "The launch of Red Fridays is fitting on so many levels for us and we're very excited about what this campaign can do to help boost morale and benefit our troops," said Harold Crye, cofounder and chief executive officer of Crye-Leike, Realtors. "While the current economy has many of us facing challenges - we must not lose sight of the sacrifices our men and women in uniform are making which puts our own difficulties in perspective." Starting Friday and every Friday after that, Crye-Leike agents and employees will be seen in red - to show support for the troops and raise funds to benefit Operation Homefront. The non-profit agency provides emergency assistance and morale to troops and the families they leave behind. It's Crye-Leike's aim to keep Red Fridays going until all the troops come home. "Our offices are stocked with buttons that agents and employees can purchase for $3 each," said Dick Leike, cofounder and president of Crye-Leike, Realtors. "It's my hope that as our clients and friends see us getting behind a great cause like Operation Homefront, they'll join us in purchasing buttons and wearing red every Friday too." One hundred percent of the money raised through Crye-Leike's efforts will benefit Operation HomeFront http://operationhomefront.net specifically the agency's "Village" - a community where wounded service members and their families can live while the soldier is recouping. The "Village" also offers Foreclosure Prevention help to military personnel and their families. Crye-Leike Regional Vice President Rob Hatchett - who initially proposed the Red Fridays community service project - is very optimistic the company can make a significant and lasting difference in the lives of returning troops. "The problems many of us face in our day to day lives doesn't come close to the struggles our service men and women face," said Mr. Hatchett. "I especially like the idea that our dollars will be supporting a program that works to ensure returning troops who own a home don't lose it to foreclosure - or find the assistance to purchase a home and can fulfill that part of the American dream." Red Fridays represents a long-term community service project commitment by Crye-Leike, Realtors. "It just means we can continue for a long time providing aid to military families - not only for emergencies but also with the problems of everyday life," said Mr. Hatchett. "With the support of our realtors, employees and concerned citizens we can make a difference in the lives of those who risk their lives for our freedom." To join the cause and support Red Fridays, phone or stop by a Crye-Leike, Realtors office.
http://www.wkrn.com/Global/story.asp?S=10621252 Posted: Jun 30, 2009 4:24 PM CDT The slow housing market is forcing more and more mid-state homeowners to put "for rent" signs rather than "for sale" signs in their front yard. Crye-Leike property management says many homeowners who tried to sell, and couldn't, are now opting to lease their homes to make some money off the property. "We're seeing a lot of owners that have tried to sell, the market is not where they need to be so they end up needing cash flow," said Ben Claybaker of Crye-Leike. "Maybe it's been on the market for three to six months." Claybaker says his division manages about 300 properties around middle Tennessee, and he's seen a rise in the number of people jumping into the rental market since February. "There's a lot of potential buyers, but are renters now that want to see if the next six months, the winter months that prices will go further," he said. Claybaker says the type of homes up for lease are much more varied than they used to be. "Now you're seeing a whole range of inventory coming in, from single room condos in downtown to five bedroom, four baths in the middle of suburbia." One of Crye-Leike's most recent rentals is a five bedroom, four bathroom home in the Oak Hill neighborhood that will rent for $2500 a month- it was on the market for about $600,000. Claybaker said, "A lot of people are on that fence wanting to see if they'll get an even better deal, so they're going to rent now and buy later."
Never too late to own - Couple take advantage of tax credit, market - The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA
http://www.dnj.com/article/20090628/NEWS01/906280339/1002/rss BY MELINDA HUDGINS MHUDGINS@DNJ.COM June 28, 2009 Mark Adkison sat cozily on the couch, his arm wrapped lovingly around his wife, Diane. She giggled, her eyes twinkling at him. Though the two seem like newlyweds, they've been married for 32 years. The source of joy for this couple was the purchase of their very first home. Both in their 50s, Mark and Diane said buying a home wasn't high on their list of priorities for years. At the start of their marriage, Mark served in the military, which caused them to move frequently. Combined with two college-bound children and ever-changing employment, the Adkisons decided money was better spent elsewhere. However, once their son purchased his own home shortly after getting married, they decided now was the time to do the same. "I asked Diane, 'Can you believe our son bought a home before we did?'" Mark said laughing. With the $8,000 tax credit instituted through the federal government economic stimulus plan and the current housing market favoring the buyer, the couple decided now was the time. With a Veteran's Administration loan and the first-time homebuyers incentive, Mark and Diane got the ball rolling. "But we still had to find the right home within the right price range," Mark continued. "When we rented, it wasn't always what I liked, but when I wanted to buy, I wanted it to be nice." That's where Ben Benjamin, a Lebanon-based Crye-Leike Realtor, came into play. For months, he showed the Adkisons various homes across five counties. Because the majority of purchasing decisions are made by women, Benjamin needed to know what Diane was looking for in a home. All she wanted was a sprawling front porch. "My mother told me I'd have to settle, but Diane never settles," Diane said. Benjamin couldn't agree more. "That's one thing they made clear ? that they didn't want to settle," Benjamin said. "I said, 'You shouldn't have to settle." And they didn't. While searching online one weekend, Diane found a quaint house with a huge front porch, but it was located near Bell Buckle, on the Rutherford and Bedford County border. As she works in Green Hills and Mark works in Smithville, they both thought it was too far away. That is, until they actually saw it. "We drove through the subdivision, and when we turned the corner, she said, "Oh! That's it!'" Mark remembered. "We got around the curb, and I said, 'That's it!'" Diane chimed in, finishing Mark's sentence. "We pulled in and, Mark said, 'I love the yard.'" The next morning they called Benjamin. "I'd already pre-written up the contract before she even walked in the door," he recalled. "That's the way it goes almost every single time. They see it, and they know it." Mark and Diane officially moved into their new home a week ago today. They've met their neighbors, sat on the porch and made themselves at home. "We're just two simple people who raised and family and now have time for themselves," Mark said. "I'm going to like it here," Diane added. "The house is small enough for us and big enough that if the kids come to visit, we won't be crowded." Then she mused aloud, "We don't have to give them a key, do we?"
http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20090628/NEWS/906280398/Miss.+housing+m By Reporter - Gary Pettus firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday - June 28, 2009 Matt Saunders lives and works in Memphis, but his house sits empty more than 200 miles away. Since December, the former Jackson Preparatory School coach has tried to sell his home in Pearl's Silver Ridge subdivision. He's had no offers. "I had this great opportunity to take a head football coaching job in Memphis, and had to leave before I could sell my house," said Saunders, 29. "I knew it would be tough; any time you turn on the news, you hear it's a buyer's market." Selling a house in this economy can be frustrating, especially if you're in a hurry. But there are signs that the luck of the seller is turning. "Whether it's a buyer's market or a seller's market depends on a lot of things," said Don Potts of Nix-Tann Realty in Jackson. "In places like Phoenix and Las Vegas, it's definitely a buyer's market. "Here, it's more balanced. "It depends on where the house is, what the competition is, how long your house has been on the market. "If you've already moved to Pennsylvania and are making two house payments, you're definitely at a disadvantage." Still, houses in a certain price range are easier to sell than others, Potts said, especially those listed between $175,000 and $225,000. In this market, though, buyers sometimes play hardball, and lowball the price. "They hear on the news that housing prices are down nationwide by, say, 20 percent and they think, 'Well, heck, I can buy a house for 20 percent less than they're asking for it,' " Potts said. "That's not necessarily the case." Apparently, it's less likely to be the case in the Jackson metro area. A Brookings Institution study shows that, nationwide, the average price of a house fell by 6.3 percent; that was for the first three months of 2009, compared to the same period for 2008. In the Jackson metro area, though, the average price was up slightly: 0.6 percent. More recent figures from the Jackson Association of Realtors mix good news with bad. The bad: For the first five months of 2009, the number of housing sales is down in every sector of the metro area studied, compared to the same period for 2008. The decreases range from 8 percent in Madison to 57 percent in Ridgeland, where there's little land left to develop, said John Jenkins, president of the association. "Ridgeland is pretty well built out." The good news: "In the metro area, the number of pending sales for May is up 30 percent compared to 60 to 90 days ago," Jenkins said. "Those sales should be closing in June or July." More good news: For a few towns, the average sales price has jumped during the same period: 2.6 percent in Brandon (outside the Reservoir area, which saw a 6.5 percent drop), 3 percent in Madison; 8 percent in Byram. In Jackson, the figures show an 8.8 percent price rise - from $70,381 to $76,609. But that's the lowest sales price for all areas covered in the association's calculations, including Ridgeland, Madison, Clinton, Byram, Brandon and Brandon-Reservoir. Madison claims the highest average price: $249,800. In Madison, Beth Kellogg and husband Stuart put their house on the market this month for under $500,000. "We had an offer within a week," Beth Kellogg said. "It was so fast, we don't know where we're going to live. I'm looking for a new house right now." Kellogg's Realtor, Michele Rumbley, also was impressed. "It's a little bit unusual for a $500,000 house to get an offer that quickly," she said. "But if it's priced well and it's in great condition, it will sell." Rumbley, who works exclusively in Madison County, has seen within the last three months a drop in the inventory of homes for sale, she said. "In my opinion, it's because builders are building fewer homes. Our supply has dwindled. Last year, we were in a market that was flooded with newly constructed houses." Still, said Realtor Dan Grimmett, "there are more people who are selling homes than are buying, obviously." Grimmett is trying to help Saunders, the football coach, sell his home for $153,500. But, after six months of no offers, Saunders, who's single, is considering ways to sweet-talk buyers, such as helping with closing costs. "One problem with selling my house in Pearl is that there are about 150 others in that price range in Rankin County alone," said Saunders, who's living with relatives in Memphis. "I've had to sell a house before, around 2002 or 2003, but it only took three weeks. "It wasn't today's society, or today's economy." In this economy, the housing market is still "extremely weak," said William Gunther, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Southern Mississippi. "And housing markets are extremely local. You can have one neighborhood doing extremely well and another one nearby going downhill. "If I'm a qualified buyer, it's a great time, because the prices are low and the mortgage terms are low. "If I'm a seller, it depends on where I'm located." As for low interest rates, they also help the seller. They had been lower, but they're still relatively good - recently, around 5.5 percent for an FHA loan on a 30-year fixed mortgage, Potts said. And sellers have another ally: a maximum $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers, as well as for those who haven't owned a home within the past three years. In Mississippi, it isn't available - at least not yet - to be used for a down payment. The amount is credited on tax returns for a refund, Potts said. "That should stimulate selling, up and down the line." Whatever happens to the market, said Saunders, "I'm trying to stay positive. "Every single day, I wait for that phone call to tell me that someone has put an offer on my house." To comment on this story, call Gary Pettus at (601) 961-7037.
Southwind Open House - Rare Opportunity to See Subdivision, MyFox Memphis, Fox 13 News WHBQ, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/dpp/news/local/062809_Southwind_Open_House Published : Sunday, 28 Jun 2009, 8:16 PM CDT By Reporter - Amy Cowman Memphis, Tn - Normally, getting through the gates of Southwind isn't an easy task if you don't live there or know someone who does. But, that's not the case today. In a rare open house opportunity, the community showcased their amenities and about 30 of their homes for sale, hoping people will buy. Starting at 2 in the afternoon on Sunday cars lined up, hoping to get a glimpse of the high dollar homes. Houses for sale in the community range in price of $300,000 to $3,000,000, and local Crye-Leike Realtor Melinda Merkle says they're hoping the exposure will turn into some sales. "With the economic change we have seen the higher end homes are slower to sell for sure and so part of this is to generate sales in Southwind."
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/jun/28/southwind-opens-gates/ By Don Wade Memphis Commercial Appeal Sunday, June 28, 2009 Seven years ago when Jerry West moved from Los Angeles to become president of basketball operations for the Grizzlies, he bought the Quantum House II in Southwind for $3,550,000. West retired two years ago and the house remains for sale at a list price of $3,999,000. Jerry's old house has about 15,000 square feet and its 16 rooms include six full bathrooms and six fireplaces. But the 527-house Southwind development also has homes with less than 3,000 square feet and homes listed for less than $300,000. There are estates and there are zero-lot homes. But the statistics that matters are these: 60 homes, or 11.38 percent of those 527 houses, are for sale. Since Jan. 1 of this year, four sales have closed and there are seven contracts pending. Additionally, there have been a half-dozen or so bank-owned sales or relocation property transfers. "It's a very challenging real estate market," said Mark Jennings, president of Southwind's Residential Properties Association board. "There are fewer buyers and homes stay on the market longer." Today from 2 to 5 p.m., 37 of the homes will be available for tour when Southwind opens its 24-hour manned gates to the general public, something that is rarely done. (West's former house is not among the homes on the tour). "We wanted to raise the profile because the general public doesn't get to drive through," Jennings said. "The majority of home owners don't want to open the gates except in a controlled setting. "But we think when people drive through they'll have a very positive reaction," said Jennings, who is an executive with FedEx. "Southwind is a beautiful place to live." The latest figures from the National Association of Realtors showed home sales rose 2.4 percent in May, but the median sales price of $173,000 was 16.8 percent below where it was a year ago. "Because of the downturn in the economy and real estate market, the board feels we need to do some things to remind the public -- and agents -- that Southwind is a great place to live," said Judy Piovarcy, chairperson of the resident association's real estate ad hoc committee and an agent with Crye-Leike. The Southwind development is built around the Tournament Players Club golf course, which is the site of the St. Jude Classic. Other club amenities include tennis courts and a swimming pool. "A lot of higher-end properties have things that make them unique," Piovarcy said. "We think being on the golf course is attractive. It's calm." The main entrance to Southwind is on Hacks Cross Road north of Winchester. At lifeinsouthwind.com, the location is described as being "nestled between Germantown and Collierville." Southwind, however, is in neither. Currently, residents only pay county taxes. But Piovarcy says that they will begin paying city taxes in 2014. "It doesn't seem to affect people buying in Central Gardens or East Memphis in the River Oaks area," Piovarcy said. But Piovarcy, Jennings and others do have concerns about the perceptions of Southwind's location. Just a few years ago, any mention of "Southwind" automatically communicated the upscale housing development by the golf course that was the site of an annual PGA tour stop. But now with the Southwind name on everything from public schools to a dry cleaners to a liquor store, there is a new marketing challenge. "We're 6 miles from Hickory Hill and Winchester and sometimes it's perceived as being right out our back gate," Piovarcy said. "And it's not true." Marsha Cobb, 61, so enjoys living in Southwind that she is now in her fourth house in the last 19 years. She lived in the Quantum House before West and has lived in a villa. Now, she lives in a house formerly owned by pro golfer Loren Roberts. What she likes best, she says, is the safety and community Southwind affords. She's active in the garden club, a Bible study, and a dinner group. "I like it better than ever," she said. "When I go out of the neighborhood I go east; I don't go right on Winchester because it's not as safe. "But inside the gates, it's its own private community. I think it's a great hidden secret." Too much of a secret. Which is why last year the residential board launched an infrastructure improvement project that included paving roads, upgrading signs and landscaping, even replacing every resident's mailbox. "We spent probably $400,000 last year and probably will spend a similar amount this year," Jennings said. Piovarcy says Southwind's competition for buyers comes from all over the area -- from Mud Island to Central Gardens to new construction in Fayette County. "Eads is absolutely gorgeous," she said, but Southwind's proximity to the airport and Downtown via 385 and the interstate give it advantages over the housing options beyond Shelby County. "We have residents that are on their third or fourth home here," Piovarcy said. "It says a lot for the staying power of the community." But more than 11 percent of the community's homes being up for sale says something, too. Which is why multiple real estate companies have come together for today's open house. Said Jennings: "I hope we don't wait two years to do the next one." --Don Wade: 529-2358
Realtors thinking out of the box to get prospective buyers in the door - The Times Free Press, Chattanooga, TN
Friday, June 26, 2009 , 12:01 a.m. Tennessee Valley Business By: Amy Williams As the economic slowdown continues, real estate agents across the area and the nation are stepping outside their comfort zones to get buyers through the doors of the houses they're selling. Suzanne Watson, a Realtor with Crye-Leike, has proposed opening up houses during the evening hours after the workday, giving prospective home buyers an alternative to the traditional Sunday afternoon open house. Dubbed "twilight open houses," the concept began gaining popularity in different parts of the country a few years ago, and agents like Ms. Watson say they are just one more way that her industry is reacting to the slowdown in the market. "I guess we Realtors have to start thinking out of the box," she said. "We have a lot to be thankful for, but still we need to do different things." The benefits of a twilight open house are that sellers like them, they convenient and they help a listing standout, according to Realtor.org. But, the Web site cautions, there are some drawbacks for agents, because they must develop marketing specific to showing a home in the evening hours, such as signs with lights. While some in the real estate industry aren't sure the twilight open house is the answer, they admit there is a need for some innovation when it comes to marketing homes these days. At Real Estate Partners, agents for years have been trying to provide alternatives to the traditional methods of selling homes, said Adelia Mosley, the company's marketing director. The company has offered non-traditional events like brunches and breakfast events for that allow prospective buyers to see homes at times other than the weekends. They also have held events that piggy-back on larger events so they can make the most of the exposure, Ms. Mosley said. "There are different ways to reach to out," she said. "These days, you have to do that." More agents are hosting the evening open houses as a way to reach out to people who want to avoid the crowds on Sundays, said Nickie Schwartzkopf, an agent with ReMax Properties and president of the Chattanooga Association of Realtors. Another tool more agents are using is the agent open house, she said. At the agent open house, someone will sponsor a lunch for other agents to come look at the house, so if they have a client that's looking for something like that, they are aware of that house, she said. "I know they are trying any which way they can to get people into these houses all over the country, so any new thing would be a good thing," Ms. Schwartzkopf said. Ryan King, an agent with Real Estate Partners, agreed that his agency has tried a number of different things to attract the attention of buyers. Mr. King has recently acquired certification as an EcoBroker, which required him to complete an energy, environmental, and marketing training program. "When you have a slow economy, you have to do different things," he said.
Market improves, but fun incentives remain in offing By Nancy Mueller FOR WILLIAMSON A.M. June 26, 2009 BRENTWOOD ? Home sales seem to be picking up, but buyers can still find some unusual deals, such as a free trip to Paris that now comes with one new house in Brentwood. The home in question is at 384 Childe Harolds Circle in Fountainbrooke. Built by Richard Cameron in 2008, the two-story brick traditional has 5,121 square feet and occupies a .64-acre lot. With four bedrooms and 4? bathrooms, it was originally listed for $879,000; the price has been dropped to $699,900 and a five-day trip for two to Paris has been added. Agent Brenda Wilhoite of Crye-Leike said the hope is that the trip offer will grab the attention of the right buyer. To encourage people to come see the house in person, she has removed all photos of it from RealTracs and replaced them with pictures of the Eiffel Tower and other sights from Paris. "It's a great house, it really is. Hands down, it's better than any of the others in there," she said. The house has hardwood floors throughout the first floor, except for a carpeted master bedroom. The kitchen cabinets are glazed and topped with granite with tile backsplashes. The appliances are Jenn-Aire. Granite was also used to top the cabinets in the laundry room; all of the bathrooms have granite countertops and tile floors. The house features two fireplaces, one in the family room and another one in the den that adjoins the kitchen. There's a coffered ceiling in the 16-by-13-foot dining room. "This house is a very good value," Wilhoite said. A veteran of previous housing slumps, she is experienced in creative marketing strategies. "Hey, I went through this (recession) in the 1980s," she said. "We were giving away trips to Disney World back then, or wherever people wanted to go." She started selling real estate when mortgage interest rates were 22 percent. "You are always better at what you do if you learn when it's hard," she said. Determined to sell this house, she said if the prospective buyer doesn't want to go to Paris, she'll send them someplace else. "It can be a cruise to Alaska, or if they want to go to Hawaii or Australia, we'll work something out," she said. The dollar value of the trip offer has yet to be calculated by the seller. "The travel costs could change drastically between now and the time we sell it, so it's hard to say," Wilhoite said. "We're not going to set a particular package until there's a buyer."
Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2009 1:38 pm Crye-Leike, REALTORS Sales Associates in Murfreesboro are "Going to the Dogs for PAWS" (Pet Adoption & Welfare Services) in an effort to collect donations and supplies for the many animals in PAWS care. The office hopes its efforts will encourage more people in the community to adopt unwanted pets. Crye-Leike, Realtors in Murfreesboro will host its 4th annual celebration of "National Take Your Dog To Work Day" on Friday, June 26. "Dog Day has become something of a tradition for us," said Crye-Leike Agent Kathy Smith. "Most of us have dogs and this event gives us an opportunity to get to know each other on a completely different level. Pets seem to bring out a light hearted joy and we can hardly celebrate that without thought of all the animals in our area that are abandoned, mistreated and in desperate need of homes." The Realtors invite the public to stop by the office to meet their four legged friends and join their efforts in collecting donations and supplies for the pets in PAWS care. "In addition to a monetary donation, we also want people to know we have a wish list of items that are always needed at the local shelter that we will be collecting," said Smith. "Those items include dry or canned cat and dog food, cat litter, dog or cat toys and treats." The Crye-Leike, REALTORS office is located at 1139 NW Broad Street between Demos' and Chef Wang's. The sales associates look forward to seeing many animal lovers on Friday, June 26th and encourage the public to stop by the office to donate and learn how PAWS makes a difference in the community. "National Take Your Dog To Work Day is always a fun day for our office," said Smith. "We hope the event will bring attention to the problem of overpopulation, the need to spay or neuter your pet, and help us collect lots of donations for PAWS to assist them with caring for all the pets waiting to, hopefully, be rescued soon." For more information on the Crye-Leike PAWS event please contact Realtor Kathy Smith at 615-210-6009 or you can email her at email@example.com. Harold Crye and Dick Leike established Crye-Leike, REALTORS in 1977. Today, Crye-Leike?, the nations 6th largest real estate company, has a network of more than 3,500 licensed sales associates based out of more than 130 corporate and franchise offices located in 65 counties through-out the eight-state southern region of Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Carolina. Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, business brokerage and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2008, the Crye-Leike organization attained a sales volume in excess of $4.2 billion with 25,871 homes sold.
Arkansas Business on Today's THV: High Dollar Real Estate - KTHV-TV 11 News, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
http://www.todaysthv.com/news/business/story.aspx?storyid=86970&catid=119 Posted By: Lindsey Clark While Arkansas' residential real estate market hasn't been hit as hard as other markets around the country, 2008 was a tricky year for home sales. This week in Arkansas Business, they conducted their annual survey of the state's upscale real estate market, along side our yearly round-up of the state's biggest real estate agencies, ranked by 2008 sales. What did they find? The biggest residential real estate agencies in Arkansas got bigger, even in a year that marked the end of a home sales boom. Crye-Leike realtors pushed its 2008 sales volume in the state to $900 million, up from $837 million, to put it number one on the list. And among the top 10, only Keller Williams Realty of Little Rock, at number seven, joined Crye-Leike in reporting sales gains in 2008. The firm had nearly $141 million in sales, up from 128 in 2007. Amid sales declines, 6 of the 40 largest real estate agencies joined forces through mergers, the biggest being the sale of Coldwell Banker Advantage Realty to Rector Phillips Morse. Also this week, the return of our list of million dollar homes in Pulaski County. In 2008, $21 million plus homes sold, a number that's been steadily declining since 2004, when 29 were sold. Among those that changed hands last year, a 7,900 square-foot home sitting on 7 acres in west Pulaski County. The buyer was former university of Arkansas basketball star Corliss Williamson and his wife, Joan. The price was $1.2 million.
By George Waldon - arkansasbusiness.com 6/22/2009 The biggest of residential real estate agencies in Arkansas got bigger in a year that marked an end of a home sales boom. Crye-Leike Realtors pushed its 2008 sales volume in the state to $900 million (up from $837 million in 2007) as it remained No. 1. Among the top 10, only Keller Williams Realty of Little Rock joined Memphis-based Crye-Leike in reporting sales gains in 2008. The firm moved from No. 11 and $128.2 million in 2007 to No. 7 and nearly $141 million. Accompanying the sales slowdown were consolidations and closings. Six of the 40 largest firms joined forces through mergers. The biggest during the past 12 months was the late December 2008 sale of Coldwell Banker Advantage Realty to Rector Phillips Morse. At its peak, Coldwell Banker Advantage Realty ranked as the third-largest residential real estate agency in the state for 2007, with a $323.8 million sales volume and 208 licensed agents and brokers. The combination of the two Little Rock companies produced Coldwell Banker RPM and solidified the position of Rector Phillips Morse as a leading residential player. Founded in 1955 by William F. Rector, RPM is a mainstay among central Arkansas realty firms. Coldwell Banker Advantage, which opened in February 2001 with 14 agents, was founded on the purchase of Coldwell Banker McKinney & Co. Realtors in west Little Rock. Led by Wayne and Paulette Richie, the firm stayed on the acquisition trail to amass market share in central Arkansas. During its nearly eight years of operations, the company grew to become the third-largest residential real estate firm in Arkansas and No. 91 among Coldwell Banker franchisees nationwide. The 10 buys ranged from six-agent shops to large operations. Among the deals were the Cabot office of Jacksonville-based Bart Gray Realty in 2003, Real Estate Central in North Little Rock and Bart Gray Realty of Jacksonville in 2004, Coldwell Banker Alliance at Hot Springs Village in 2005, Arnett & Associates Realtor of Cabot and Rainey Realty of Little Rock in 2006 and Coldwell Banker Alliance Realty of Hot Springs in 2007. "We realized there were too many players in the market for its size," Wayne Richie said. "Sometimes the reality comes that it's better to seek out someone to merge with, to combine forces and make a stronger company." That scenario was repeated in northwest Arkansas in July 2008 when Benchmark Real Estate of Lowell was folded into Griffin Co. Realtors of Springdale. The merged operations ranked Griffin Co. No. 15 with a 2008 sales volume of $95.2 million. In 2007, Griffin Co. ranked No. 12 ($125.2 million), and Benchmark ranked No. 39 ($43.3 million). That combination would have ranked No. 7 in 2007. Click here to see a list of the largest real estate agencies in Arkansas http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/news/print_editions/ab_real_estate_agencies_list_09.pdf Click here to see a list of top residential agents http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/news/print_editions/ab_real_estate_agents_list_09.pdf Click here to see a list of top residential teams http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/news/print_editions/ab_real_estate_teams_list_09.pdf
Athens Arts Council Classes Help Make Dreams Into Reality - Daily Post Athenian, Athens, Tennessee, USA
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 GREG MOSES Staff Writer Have you ever dreamed of being on stage but let your superego convince you to stay in the audience? Or would you participate if you knew how to get started? Either way, the Athens Area Council for the Arts says now is the time to "Get Out of the Audience and Onto the Stage." Part of the Summer Arts Sampler, this AACA class is designed to help potential thespians build their self-confidence by learning basic audition and acting techniques, play-acting terminology, how to prepare audition monologues and music, and how to prepare to be in a play. "People sometimes don't know what they need to do when it comes to an audition," said Melonie Carideo, who will teach the course. "We'll talk about the different types of auditions, and before the students finish, they'll leave with a monologue or two that fits their type." No stranger to the stage, Carideo is a graduate of the theater program at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and worked in theater for 9 years before getting a "real job." Currently, she is managing broker for Crye-Leike Realty in Athens and will be directing her second play for the Athens Community Theater later this season. Growing and nurturing talent for the community theater is what AACA's Executive Director Ellen Kimball hopes will be the "Get Out" program's result. "One thing we hear is people are nervous about auditioning. Unless you had a teacher's encouragement or went through a drama program in school, you wouldn't likely have instruction along these lines," said Kimball. "'Get Out of the Audience and Onto the Stage' is all part of a program that we designed to encourage people to become actors in our theater." "Get Out of the Audience and Onto the Stage" runs for four Tuesday and Thursday sessions on July 7, 9, 14 and 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. each night. The cost for the program is $55 per person. Only days after this program, Carideo and the Arts Center will hold auditions for the season's first play, "The Miracle Worker," the famous drama based on the autobiography of Helen Keller, who as a deaf and blind child was taught sign language by Anne Sullivan. Carideo, who will direct the play, said parts for children will be plentiful. "We really encourage children to audition for the play. We really want to cast a child in the role of Helen, and while Helen has no lines, it's a tough part because it has a lot of choreography," said Carideo. "This might be an opportunity for a child who has a good memory and even a dance background. The whole play will be sort of like a dance. For most of the play, she's fighting her way through the darkness. "We're also looking for African American children and females to audition, as for this play, it's really important to have that support," Carideo added. Auditions will be held for "The Miracle Worker" on Sunday, July 19 at 4 p.m. and again on Monday, July 20 at 6 p.m. For more information on programs offered at the Athens Arts Center, or to sign up, call 745-8781. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Midtown body shop owner plans expansion to Millington in old Chrysler dealership - Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
By Tom Bailey Jr., Memphis Commercial Appeal Saturday, June 6, 2009 The site of a former car dealership in the heart of Millington may not stay vacant long. A Midtown business, Brewer's Body Shop, plans to open a second operation in the old Colvett Chrysler building. Curtis Brewer has a contract to purchase the nearly one-acre site with 10,300 square feet of buildings for $200,000, said Jeff Wages, a commercial real estate agent with Crye-Leike. If the deal closes in early July, Brewer expects to open his second body shop there by late August. The former dealership sits at Millington's central intersection, U.S. 51 at Navy Road. Brewer said he will hire the same number of people, about 15, who work in his Midtown shop. The building became available earlier this year after car dealer Homer Skelton purchased Colvett's inventory and moved the vehicles to Skelton's new lot at U.S. 51 and Babe Howard Boulevard. The old Colvett building is owned by the family of the late Cleo Hollingsworth. Wages, searching for a buyer, said, "I called nearly every automotive user in Shelby County." Wages heard that Brewer lives in Rosemark and felt Millington would be a "natural fit" if Brewer wanted to establish a second location. "That's what made me feel good about it," the 59-year-old Brewer said. "It's right there in the center of Millington. "I know the north side (of Millington) is growing more, but you've got to drive by there to get up there." He opened Brewer's Body Shop at 1401 Poplar in 1985 and has since expanded there. He was starting to enjoy taking some time off and being semiretired. "I wasn't really looking at opening another location. But Mr. Wages called me out of the blue. I walked into the building and had a good feeling about it, that this was the right thing to do for me and maybe for Millington." He'll compete with several other body shops in Millington, including Carey's Body Shop nearby at 7850 U.S. 51. Carey Parham, who opened his shop in 1977, questions if there's enough business for everyone in this economy. "Curtis has been at this stuff as long or longer than I have and I guess he knows what he's doing," Parham said. More people are getting by by driving older cars. And when they're wrecked, the older vehicles tend to be totaled instead of repaired, he said. "All I know is, there are days or weeks or months that we are very slow," Parham said. "I guess he'll divide up the pie a little bit more. ... "It's a free country." But Brewer said he has already talked to insurance companies, which will direct repairs to his Millington shop as they do to his Midtown business. "Millington has grown enough now," he said. "There's room for one more." -- Tom Bailey Jr.: 529-2388
My New Home: House hunt ends happily with the help of Crye-Leike's Bernie Black-Garwood, Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN, USA
By Stacey Wiedower, Memphis Commercial Appeal Sunday, June 7, 2009 It's a buyer's market. Right? That's what new homeowners Justin and Stephanie Guthrie thought when they set out on the search for their Bartlett home. "We kind of thought we'd be the only people out looking for a house because the market was so awful," Stephanie said. "We could not have been more wrong." High inventory, deflated prices and the first-time buyer federal tax credit have enticed plenty of people looking to take advantage of the down market. The Guthries found themselves in unexpected bidding wars. "We put bids on five or six different houses, and we actually bid the full asking price on a couple of them," Justin said. "And we still didn't get them. If it was a good-priced house, and the owners were really trying to get rid of it, people would pick it up like that." But the couple's home-buying difficulties worked out to their benefit. They estimate they looked at 80 to 100 houses with Realtor Bernie Black-Garwood of Crye-Leike Realtors' Germantown/Forest Hill-Irene office, before they found the home and neighborhood they wanted. "This is our favorite house out of all that we looked at," Stephanie said of the couple's 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath house in the Kings Crossing subdivision in Bartlett. "So I'm really glad we didn't get any of the other ones." The Guthries purchased their new home in early March for $182,500, a marked drop from the home's original asking price. "We were checking Web sites every day," Justin said. "This one had dropped in price. The seller came down $12,000 to $15,000 because he was relocating. By the time we came to look at the house, it had dropped another $5,000." Among the Guthries' favorite features of the home is its open floor plan. "It's almost one continuous room," Stephanie said of the main living area, where the dining room, kitchen and great room flow smoothly into one another. The couple has two dogs, so they love the home's big backyard. "I think we have the biggest backyard in the whole neighborhood because it's a corner lot, and we're up on a slope," Stephanie said. After living in Midtown while attending Rhodes College, the Guthries -- who were married in September 2007 -- were ready to spread out in the suburbs. Although they both work Downtown -- Stephanie as a nurse at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Justin in store development at AutoZone -- they don't mind the commute. "You kind of feel like you're out in the country," Stephanie said. "But it's still convenient to get to things." Inside, the tiled foyer leads to a great room with high ceilings and a long plant ledge with recessed lights that accent artwork. The couple chose a red suede sofa and loveseat for the room to go with a contemporary area rug in hues of red, green, gold and brown. A giant flat-screen TV tops the room's corner fireplace. The connecting kitchen has laminate countertops with cherry cabinetry and a pass-through breakfast bar large enough for two leather barstools. The room also features a center island and stainless steel appliances. The adjoining dining room has hardwood floors and space for a table and six chairs. Blue and brown vases give the room a punch of color. Off the kitchen, a short hallway leads to a laundry room and a back stairway that leads to Justin's "man-cave," which he painted a deep gray. The room sports a large sectional sofa, card table and chairs, and an elaborate gaming system. "This is the only room I didn't have anything to do with," Stephanie said. "I was not allowed." She did, however, have her way in the guest bathroom, which she painted an apple green, adding brown and green accents. "We decided we'd give each other free reign in one room," she said. "The others we decorated together." The master bedroom sports ocean blue walls accented by blue and brown bedding and brown curtains. Stephanie painted a large canvas that hangs on one wall in the spacious room. The attached bath features a whirlpool tub and separate shower, dual sinks and a large walk-in closet. Aside from painting walls in a few rooms and adding rails to the back deck, the Guthries say they had little work to do in their new home. "I liked the balance in that the house was move-in ready but there were still little things we could do to make it our own," Stephanie said.
TAYLOR SHOPTAW | The Daily News Harold Crye, co-founder and chief executive officer of Crye-Leike Realtors, has been honored as the 2009 Master Entrepreneur by the Society of Entrepreneurs in partnership with Junior Achievement of Memphis. The honor is given to the member of the society who best exemplifies the full range of characteristics necessary for membership. Crye also dedicates his time to the Chickasaw Council Boy Scouts of America, Arkansas State University, Youth Villages, United Way and he currently serves as the chairman of the board of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.
BY MELINDA HUDGINS ? MHUDGINS@DNJ.COM ? June 3, 2009 While pending home sales haven't increased in Rutherford County as much as sales have nationwide, local Realtors are acknowledging a substantial increase. The National Association of Realtors recently announced its seasonally adjusted index of sales contracts signed in April surged 6.7 percent to 90.3. It was the biggest monthly jump since October 2001 when pending sales rose 9.2 percent. Within the county, pending contracts in April were slightly down from the same time last year, with 321 in 2009 compared to 380 in 2008, according to a Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors report. "Inasmuch as we have had such record sales over the past few years and less dramatic decrease in sales and prices, it is not surprising that our slight dip in pending and sales is just now lagging behind areas nationwide that had much deeper drops," said Candy Roberts Joyce, executive vice president of MTAR. "Any rebound in the hardest hit markets would be a substantial change in the national statistical report." She did add that since February, Rutherford County has continued to rebound monthly until April, which is traditionally a soft month going into May's end-of-school push. According to Red Realty President Steven Dotson, the surge of home closings here since January "shows the market is improving, and we should see much healthier second and third quarters." "There are still several short sales and foreclosures on the market which are skewing the current market values," he said. "Once we see the number of short sales and foreclosures decline, we will know we are very close to a healthy market again." Additionally, Dotson said, "Rutherford County was one of the last to be affected by the real estate downturn, and I think we'll be one of the first to recover." Dotson said Middle Tennessee's diverse economy makes it more stable than other markets that have seen much larger home price reductions. National housing prices also fell 11.5 percent in March compared to a year ago, down slightly from an 11.7 annual percent decline in February, according to newly released data from real estate data source First American CoreLogic and its Home Price Index. (2 of 2) Two trends are emerging ? price declines are slowing in the states that have had the highest declines over the past three years; however, declines are accelerating in states that have been experiencing only moderate decreases during that same period. Thirty-three states have exhibited acceleration in the rate of price declines in the last three months. In the Murfreesboro area, the report stated that home prices decreased 6.56 percent in March compared to a year ago. In February 2009, the same area, which includes Nashville and Franklin, showed a decrease of 4.81 percent compared to one year prior. In addition to the below-market prices, home buyers are taking advantage of extremely low interest rates, which are currently below 5 percent and an $8,000 tax credit for new homeowners, according to Willie Mangrum, a Realtor for Crye-Leike in Murfreesboro. "I don't believe there will be another time like this in my lifetime," said Mangrum, who is in his 40s. "We're seeing interest rates below 5 percent. That's absolutely unheard of." One new buyer kept his eye on the housing market, waiting for the perfect time to purchase a home. "I've been wanting to buy a house for a couple of years, but now seemed like a good time to take advantage of tax credits and low interest rates," said Joseph Thornell, who recently purchased a home on U.S. Highway 231 South (Shelbyville Highway) near Christiana. Thornell, 28, said he will apply the government's new home buyer stimulus directly to the principal amount. The government is working on a program that will allow new homebuyers to apply the $8,000 directly to the down payment to be used on top of the minimum out-of-pocket amount required. Two trends are emerging ? price declines are slowing in the states that have had the highest declines over the past three years; however, declines are accelerating in states that have been experiencing only moderate decreases during that same period. Thirty-three states have exhibited acceleration in the rate of price declines in the last three months. In the Murfreesboro area, the report stated that home prices decreased 6.56 percent in March compared to a year ago. In February 2009, the same area, which includes Nashville and Franklin, showed a decrease of 4.81 percent compared to one year prior. In addition to the below-market prices, home buyers are taking advantage of extremely low interest rates, which are currently below 5 percent and an $8,000 tax credit for new homeowners, according to Willie Mangrum, a Realtor for Crye-Leike in Murfreesboro. "I don't believe there will be another time like this in my lifetime," said Mangrum, who is in his 40s. "We're seeing interest rates below 5 percent. That's absolutely unheard of." One new buyer kept his eye on the housing market, waiting for the perfect time to purchase a home. "I've been wanting to buy a house for a couple of years, but now seemed like a good time to take advantage of tax credits and low interest rates," said Joseph Thornell, who recently purchased a home on U.S. Highway 231 South (Shelbyville Highway) near Christiana. Thornell, 28, said he will apply the government's new home buyer stimulus directly to the principal amount. The government is working on a program that will allow new homebuyers to apply the $8,000 directly to the down payment to be used on top of the minimum out-of-pocket amount required.
By MICHELLE E. SHAW The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday, June 02, 2009 More prospective buyers committed to purchase homes in April, causing the largest monthly jump in resale contracts in more than seven years, according to a national report released Tuesday. The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted index of sales contracts signed in April surged 6.7 percent when compared with March. Locally, real estate agents are seeing a similar trend. "This is definitely a good sign," said Lauren Holmes, managing broker for the Roswell office of Crye-Leike Realtors. "And I think the number of contracts written will continue to increase though mid-July, our usual summer sales season." While the report does not break out state-by-state statistics, it does highlight regions. In the South, pending sales are flat month over month but up 4 percent year over year, according to the report. Low mortgage interest rates boosted pending home sales for the third consecutive month, with some benefit now from the first-time buyer tax credit, according to the Realtors' group. Eugene James, division director for MetroStudy in Atlanta, said home affordability is the best it has been in more than a decade, and low sales prices mix well with the low interest rates. The next positive indicator will be an increase in the number of closings, said Ken Harris, broker and owner of Ken Harris and Associates Realty and Auction, in Alpharetta. He said an agent can help ensure that a contract closes by "doing your homework before the contract is written." "Making sure your client is qualified for the loan and things of that nature can help in that regard," he said. "But that is certainly the next number we are keeping an eye on."
Crye'Leike's Sandy Meloni... where Memphis history meets modern convenience in Claridge House - Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
By John Wood, Memphis Commercial Appeal Sunday, May 31, 2009 If you have a taste for Memphis history and an appetite for all of the exciting Downtown activities, then you may want to consider living at the Claridge House Condominiums, located in the heart of Downtown Memphis at Main and Adams. Best known prior to conversion as the Claridge Hotel, this 17-floor structure that was originally built in 1924 served as a focal point of Memphis social life for more than three decades -- hosting such well-known performers as the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and the King himself, Elvis Presley. Positioned directly on the trolley line next to Memphis City Hall and close to AutoZone Park, Beale Street, FedExForum, the new University of Memphis Law School that is opening in December and Cook Convention Center, Claridge House is one of the most convenient residential locations in the Downtown area. And Claridge House is an even better place to live today, now that a 900-square-foot deck has been added to the roof level to provide residents with a grand view of the Mississippi River, the Government Plaza fountains, the Hernando DeSoto (I-40) Bridge, The Pyramid and all of Downtown Memphis. "It is so nice to just relax on the new deck and take in the view," said Sandy Meloni, Crye-Leike sales agent for Claridge House Condominiums. "Our Claridge House board played a big part in building this deck, but many others contributed their personal time to fulfill the dream. Two of our residents, Bob Jacobson of Code Solutions Group and Gary Meloni of S. Meloni Metal Products, who has been in the stair and railing manufacturing business for more than 40 years, gave freely of their expertise and volunteered hundreds of hours of their personal time to help manage the project to completion." As a testament to the appeal of the Claridge House, only one of the 158 units involved in the conversion is still available for sale, but as Sandy Meloni is quick to point out, there are a few resale units available for people who would like to live at the Claridge House. "Claridge House is only a block and a half away from the location of the new U of M Law School, and we've already had three law students purchase a home here," Meloni explained. "It's pretty obvious they see the advantages of living at the Claridge House." Besides the new roof deck, residents enjoy many of the other amenities of the Claridge House, like the stainless steel indoor swimming pool, the hot tub and fitness center that is available 24/7, the party room that comes complete with big screen TV, a bar and catering kitchen, and lots of space for invited guests. Built in a segment of the 17th floor of the Claridge House that originally was a rooftop party area, the history of this party room is as grand and extensive as the views of Memphis from its windows. For more information about the Claridge House Condominiums or possibly to take in the view from the new roof deck, call Sandy Meloni at 218-4416. She'll be happy to arrange a tour of the building and as well as the studios and the one- and two-bedroom units that are still available for purchase at the Claridge House.
Agents of change: Crye-Leike Danny Burke Joins The Discussion - Realtors work to protect credibility in bad market, Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Business News By Don Wade, Memphis Commercial Appeal Sunday, May 31, 2009 Shakespeare's line, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," has endured. And inspired: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the ..." Used car salesmen. Reporters. Real estate agents. Mike Lawhead isn't a lawyer or a used car salesman. But for 14 years he was a television reporter at Channel 3 and he's now a broker with Caldwell Banker in his 18th year in real estate. In the midst of a tough residential market and in the aftermath of a presidential campaign in which the only common ground was disdain for the mass media, he isn't sure who the public trusts less. "It's probably a tossup these days," Lawhead said with a laugh. "Neither one of us is near the top of the credibility chart." Yet as any agent -- or reporter -- will attest, credibility is all. "Memphis is not a huge market, like a Chicago, so word spreads quickly," said Jules Wade, executive vice president with the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. "If one or two agents aren't knowledgeable or their ethics aren't great, then they can damage the reputation of everybody." Most people actually seem to be satisfied with their experience buying or selling a home. The 2008 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that nearly nine out of 10 home buyers and sellers would "definitely" or "probably" use the same agent again, or recommend the agent to others. "Not that there's not money to be made, but we're in the service business," said Danny Burke, 48, a broker with Crye-Leike. "We're more of a concierge." That same survey also found that 38 percent of sellers found their agent as a result of referral, while 26 percent had used the agent in a previous home purchase. Similarly, 43 percent of buyers relied on referrals to find an agent and 18 percent of repeat buyers used an agent from a previous transaction. "It's word of mouth recommendations," said Walter Molony, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors. "The most important thing to consumers is trustworthiness and knowledge of the market." The dramatic change in the market over the last couple of years also may have influenced some attitudes -- and there are some strong attitudes out there. Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, wrote in a column for Inman News that while checking out various consumer Internet sites she found a post with more than 2,000 views that declared, "Realtors are like vultures." Ross went on to write: "This level of contempt seems to be aimed at everyone in the industry. This is unfortunate because there are thousands of agents who put their customers first." But there aren't as many agents as there once were. Both MAAR and the NAR report membership has dropped. In 2007, MAAR membership stood at 4,981. In 2009, it's at 3,949. "When the market was really hot, so many people were (selling real estate)," Lawhead, 63, said. "You got some bad apples. The really committed people are still doing it. There are no fast-buck artists now." The 2009 National Association of Realtors Member Profile shows more than one-third of Realtors are now using social and professional networking sites. Many also have secondary business activities, Molony says, such as property management, appraisal or insurance businesses. NAR's membership stood at more than 1.3 million in 2006 and was just under 1.2 million in 2008. "But we're still beyond where we were before the boom began," Molony said, noting that membership was at 767,000 in 2000. When it comes time to sign, home sales are still about competing agents working together. Wade says in the Memphis market, about three-fourths of multiple listing transactions involve competing agents. "It can't be done just by technology," Wade said. "It has to be face to face and working out everything from contract to closing." So, too, is trust from a public that may or may not understand what it's really like to be in the business. Burke enjoys the freedom to somewhat set his hours and takes advantage of that to begin each school day by playing catch at the bus stop with his 12-year-old son Logan. "But doesn't mean I'm not leaving the house at 9 on a Saturday morning or getting home late Sunday night," said Burke, who has been in real estate since 1988. "I'm certain there's a small percentage of people out there that are thinking, 'You're getting yours now.' They see it as an easy industry. "It was never easy." --Don Wade: 529-2358
Crye-Leike's Jimmie and Bob Tapley Weigh-In On Upscale Dealing On Foreclosures: Fewer cases in suburbs, but bargains can be found - Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
By early May, the 2-acre yard marred by tall weeds, dead tree branches and leaning fences branded the five-bathroom house in Germantown as a foreclosure. With neighboring homes valued at more than $1 million, the feral yard at 2420 Johnson finally received a rough mow arranged by the city. Germantown charged Florida mortgage firm $325 for the yard work. Sold for an unusually high $1.3 million in 2004, the vacant house has been in foreclosure twice since 2005. But while this picture may fit the stereotype of the national crisis, it is not a typical snapshot of the impact of foreclosures in the white-collar suburbs of Memphis. In communities where protecting home values is practically the prime directive, the Shelby County Assessor's office reports that values in suburban towns have risen since 2005, often by double digits. And while they've climbed in recent years, the number of foreclosures tallied by the Assessor's Office through trustee deeds remain relatively small: Of 6,882 throughout Shelby County in 2008, Collierville had a total of 79 and Germantown, 58. "The subprime lenders did not make subprime loans to the typical Collierville or Germantown property," said John Jordan, a veteran appraiser and Collierville resident with a business known as The Appraisal Network. Jimmie and Bob Tapley warn against generalizing too much about the causes of foreclosures. Jimmie Tapley is a vice president and Bob Tapley a broker with Crye-Leike Realtors in Memphis. They've been arranging sales of foreclosed homes for about two decades. Their first belonged to a physician who lost his home after his wife committed suicide. "The thing about foreclosures everybody needs to understand: There's a million different reasons for a million foreclosures," Bob Tapley said. Loose lending and escalating mortgages are a major cause of foreclosures in the suburbs, too, the Tapleys said. But even those mortgages might have remained viable in some cases if job or business losses hadn't hit. "It's hard to say who is to blame," he said. "I think there were a lot of mortgages made that should have never been made. What that would have meant though is a lot of people owning might not have been able to." Phyllis G. Betts, director of the Center for Community Building and Neighborhood Action at the University of Memphis, cites "pushing the envelope foreclosures" as a primary cause in the suburbs. Two-year "teaser" mortgage interest rates allowed homeowners who would have succeeded with a lower-priced home to buy a more expensive one, she said. They bet that home values would rise and that they could refinance before mortgage rates escalated. However, one homeowner's loss can be a another's gain. In upscale areas, vacant foreclosures are less likely to be abused or to attract flocks of investors, Betts said. In many cases they've become very good deals for those seeking home ownership. The exception: Unfinished subdivisions in some areas of southeast Shelby County in particular won't be good deals until a plan and assurances are made that vacant lots, unfinished streets and vacant homes will be taken care of, Betts said. Bob Tapley said uncertainty about jobs and much stricter bank lending practices are major issues shaping today's housing market. Still, "don't get me wrong," he said. "There are a lot of people out there buying houses and there are a lot of people getting great deals buying foreclosures."
My New Home: Hard work pays off as Crye-Leike, REALTORS clients and new parents renovate foreclosure in Cordova - The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
By Stacey Wiedower, Memphis Commercial Appeal Sunday, May 31, 2009 Most couples are content to give roses or chocolates as Valentine's Day gifts. Not Nathan and Kaitlin Metheny. At least not this year. This year, their gift to each other was a house. The couple closed on their Cordova home, in the Lee Line Farms neighborhood near Houston Levee and Macon roads, on Feb. 13 after nearly a year-long search. They purchased the three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,800-square-foot home for $99,900. Ten days before the couple signed on the dotted line, daughter Zoe was born. "I kept telling people we were in a race between baby and house because we didn't know which was coming first," Kaitlin said. So one of the couple's first priorities in getting their new home ready to live in was finishing Zoe's soft lavender nursery. The home, which had been in foreclosure, wasn't exactly move-in ready, so the Methenys dove right in to a full-on renovation. Nathan ripped out all the carpet, which had taken a lot of abuse from the home's former occupants. He set to work repainting walls and trim, and getting the floors ready for tile and new carpet. "We did all the painting and drywall -- our friends and family helped," Nathan said. "We pretty much had painting parties every weekend. We'd order six to 10 pizzas and go to town." The couple also replaced all kitchen and bathroom fixtures and bought a new refrigerator. They still have plenty of work to do, including stripping remaining wallpaper from the kitchen walls, repairing and painting walls in the guest room and tiling the kitchen and bathroom floors. The Methenys had the home in livable condition within two weeks of their closing. "We enjoy doing house stuff," Kaitlin said. "A foreclosure is not a good idea for somebody who doesn't want to do all the work." With the help of Realtor Carol Massey of Crye-Leike Realtors' Olive Branch office, the couple had been looking at foreclosure listings for months, seriously considering two others before settling on their new home. They didn't flinch at their new home's neglected condition. "We came in one day on my lunch hour," said Nathan, who works in the exhibit samples department at Medtronic and also serves in the Tennessee Air National Guard. "We were in the house for not even 30 minutes and we knew this was the house we wanted. "We had been trying to steer away from foreclosures at first because we weren't sure that we wanted to do the work, but once we started seeing a lot of them, we knew it was nothing we couldn't handle." And the perks of buying a house in the current real estate market outweighed the drawbacks. Not only did the Methenys buy the home for far less than its appraisal value, they also took advantage of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency program for first-time buyers and received the federal housing tax credit. Among the first items on the agenda were to paint the entryway, living room and hallway a soft gold. A beige sofa and chair, large coffee table and aqua-and-brown striped curtains anchor the living space. Nathan rebuilt the room's corner fireplace, which is topped by a TV niche. "(The previous owners) had mosaic tiles liquid-nailed to the wall around the fireplace," Nathan said. "I had to remove the wall and reconstruct it." The living room opens to the kitchen and eating area via a long breakfast bar. The Methenys plan to paint the two rooms after removing all traces of old wallpaper. They also plan to rip out vinyl flooring and replace it with tile. Down a front hallway are Zoe's room, a guest bath with soft violet walls and black-and-white accents, and the future guest room, which currently sports a paint job left over from the previous owners -- bold, wide stripes in bright blue and yellow. Across the living area in the split-floor-plan home is the master suite. The Methenys painted its walls slate gray, adding touches of blue and brown in the bedding and artwork. The master bath contains a whirlpool tub -- one of Kaitlin's favorite features of the house -- and a separate shower, double sinks and his-and-hers closets. Just outside the master suite, a stairway leads to an upstairs room that Nathan plans to one day turn into a playroom, or "men's den." "The house has come together, and in the last three months it has become more of a home," Kaitlin said.
Of late there have been few sunny days in Northwest Arkansas. Friday was the exception with Crye-Leike Realtors taking advantage of the break in the gloomy weather to hold their grand opening celebrate and ribbon cutting at the Bella Vista Branch office. Between 600 to 700 were on hand during the afternoon and early evening event to enjoy food, music and tours of the newest Crye-Leike office in the region. Managing Broker Dave Mishler and most of the 23 agents in the office took part in hosting the event. Hot dogs, hamburgers plus all the trimming were served up throughout the grand opening, which marks the eighth office to be opened in the Northwest Region by the company. Dan and Teri Heins along with Justin Hamby played an assortment of jazz tunes to help keep the crowd tapping their toes while they enjoyed the food and friendship at the gathering. The office will serve primarily the Bella Vista community but will also have listings and serve clients outside the area in all of northwest Arkansas as needed. The new office is located at 3463 Bella Vista Way, just north of Walgreens, and offers a view of a portion of the Bella Vista Lake trail. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 2 p.m., with members of the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce on hand along with several dozen guests from the community and former clients of the office.
By Kim Souza THE MORNING NEWS Last updated Saturday, May 9, 2009 10:15 PM CDT in Business SPRINGDALE ? Blake and Christen Trolinger of Rogers recently used an $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers to help them capture their share of the American Dream. "It's almost too good to be true," said Christen Trolinger. The couple was able to borrow much of the down payment from a parent and get the seller to pay the closing costs, which enabled them to secure financing and make an offer. After filing their taxes and collecting the credit, the couple repaid the family member in full and had enough money left over to buy a new refrigerator and washer and dryer. The most difficult part of the whole process was finding a home in the couple's modest $90,000 price range, said Tammy Fagan, agent with Crye-Leike Real Estate in Fayetteville. Fagan showed the couple more than 85 homes in a six-month period, including dozens of foreclosures and other distressed property sales from Rogers to Elkins. "When the couple first began looking, they were entitled to a $7,500 tax credit that would have to be repaid over 15 years. It was enough to get them house hunting, but several months passed and two of their offers were declined. So we just kept looking," Fagan said. In late January, the federal government expanded the tax credit to $8,000 with no repayment requirement. The criteria is fairly simple: The home must be bought between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1 of this year and first-time home buyers are those who have not owned a home in the last three years. Income limits for a couple receiving the full credit are $150,000 and $75,000 for a single buyer, according to the National Association of Realtors. The credit is equal to 10 percent of the home's purchase price up to $8,000. Fagan said the Trolingers made an offer on the Fannie Mae foreclosure in Rogers in January. The listing price of $105,000 had recently been lowered to $95,000. The couple offered $87,000, but it was rejected by the bank. They just kept looking. After 30 days elapsed, Fagan said the price on the Rogers home was lowered to $84,500, so the couple then made a full-price offer that was accepted by the seller. The accepted offer was less than the one rejected the month prior. The 1,300 square-foot home was completely renovated in 2005 with granite countertops, crown molding, high-end lighting and appliances as well as wood floors and ceramic tile in both bathrooms. "It's great to see a young couple get such a good deal. The home appraised for $25,000 more than the sales price, which means instant equity," Fagan said. Blake and Christen said the tax credit was a major reason they decided to take the plunge into home ownership. Industry experts say the $8,000 tax credit, home affordability and low interest rates are creating a near-perfect buying opportunity in the local housing market. "There hasn't been this many incentives to buy a home in my 37 years of real estate experience," said Pat Harris, president of Harris McHaney Realtors. He said the government's $8,000 tax credit does more than generate home sales for first-time buyers like the Trolingers. Harris estimates each $8,000 tax credit can stimulate as many as two additional sales beyond the first-time buyer, creating a ripple effect. First-time buyers purchasing starter homes under $130,000 free up those sellers to buy bigger homes priced between $150,000 and $180,000. Those sellers then are able to move into higher-end homes above $200,000, experts say. In the case of the Trolingers, the seller was a bank and this transaction took one more foreclosed property out of the inventory. Foreclosures and distressed sales put downward pressure on home prices. But as that inventory is absorbed, home prices will begin to firm up, the experts predict. George Faucette, president of Coldwell Banker Faucette Real Estate, and Martha Prowell, executive broker for Lindsey and Associates in Rogers, agree the tax credit is stimulating sales even in the face of higher unemployment. "Most first-time buyers would be shopping in the $150,000 or lower range and could be the most vulnerable to rising unemployment in terms of savings and income cushions against job loss. But the new tax credit is enough incentive to push many of them off the fence into the buying arena. Qualifying buyers can file an extension to their 2008 tax return and get the credit in a matter of days," Faucette said. The extra cash is a powerful incentive on top of 4.5 percent interest rates and steep discounts in certain neighborhoods, he said. Faucette recently polled his agents about the tax credit's effect on buying activity. "Overwhelmingly, the agents in Rogers and Fayetteville reported more buyers actively house hunting primarily because of the tax credit, but lower finance rates are also boosting buyer interest," he said. About 75 percent of the agents polled said they have recently closed home deals that involved the tax credit, Faucette added. Prowell also reported a heavier than normal buying activity in the $80,000 to $120,000 price range, primarily from young families wanting to move out of apartments and into single family homes. "There is a renewed sense of urgency among first-time buyers who can own a home for nearly the same or less money each month that they pay in rent," Prowell said. She and the other insiders say they are seeing multiple offers on homes in the $120,000 and below price range, an indication the market is thawing from a long winter freeze. In The Know The Credit Cannot Be Taken If . . . ? Income exceeds the phase-out range. This means joint filers with modified adjusted gross income of $170,000 and above and single taxpayers with income of $95,000 and higher. ? The buyer purchases the home from a spouse, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild. ? The buyer stops using the home as a primary residence. ? The buyer sells the home before the end of three years. ? The buyer is a nonresident alien. Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR)
ERIC SMITH | The Daily News Friday, May 08, 2009 April is the first full month of spring, but this past April delivered a more important distinction for Shelby County's sluggish housing market: It was the first month since October that home sales exceeded the 1,200 mark. The final tally showed April had 1,289 home sales in the county (bank and nonbank sales combined), according to the latest data from real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com. Granted, that number was down 14 percent from 1,498 sales in April 2008, but it also was up 10 percent from 1,176 in March. And it was the second consecutive month to beat the previous month in sales, with March's 1,176 sales 26 percent better than February's 870 sales. "The numbers do show slight improvement," said Jon Albright, president of Memphis Area Association of Realtors and a partner at Investec Realty Services LLC. "Hopefully this is the beginning of a trend." But other trends weren't as positive. The average sales price for homes last month was $111,361, a 23 percent decline from $144,084 in April 2008 and a 6 percent decline from $118,443 in March. And the total amount of sales in terms of dollars last month was $143.6 million, a 34 percent dropoff from $216.2 million in April 2008 and just a 3 percent improvement over $139.3 million in March. Turning tide? Realtors were reserved in their assessment of the market - happy to see the numbers improve from the previous month, but hoping to see the flurry of activity in their offices translate into more closings. "Definitely - we have seen over the last couple of months a real increase in people looking and people listing," said Betsy Kelly, broker at The Hobson Co. Realtors and a director at MAAR. "I have, and I know I'm not the only one." Allen Green, broker at John Green & Co. Realtors, agreed the uptick in traffic has been encouraging, as the winter doldrums seemed to finally dissipate. "We've seen an increased number of showings in the last 30 and 40 days, and what we're starting to see is movement on people's homes in other places," Green said. "Overall, we're just a lot busier than we were a month ago." But only nine submarkets showed an increase in sales from April 2008 to April 2009, with many of those benefitting from foreclosure, or bank, sales. The top ZIP code for the month in terms of total sales was Raleigh's 38128 with 84 sales averaging $41,195 and totaling $3.5 million. However, 48 of those were bank sales, tops for the county in that category. Collierville's 38017 ZIP code led Shelby County in terms of nonbank sales with 55 sales averaging $323,119 and totaling $17.7 million. Its sales number was down 37 percent from April 2008. Breaking out the bank sales from nonbank sales paints a slightly different picture for the month. April saw 559 bank sales, or 43.4 percent of the total activity. Bank sales averaged $56,517 and accounted for $31.6 million of the total dollar activity. And there were 730 nonbank sales, or 56.6 percent, during the month. Nonbank sales averaged $153,454 and accounted for $112 million of the total dollar activity. Critical period Dick Leike is the founder of Crye-Leike Inc., the fourth-largest realty company in the nation. He has seen his share of ups and downs in real estate, and he was encouraged by the latest numbers. Mostly, though, he hopes the housing market will spark positive activity elsewhere in the economy. "We know anytime homes start selling, people have jobs," Leike said. "It creates a lot of other activity when you sell a house. If we can get that spinning like we think we're starting to see, it certainly should spill over into other things as well." Leike said conditions are ripe for a rebound, from the warmer weather to affordable home prices, from low interest rates to lucrative incentives such as the first-time homebuyers tax credit. The key, he said, will be what May's numbers look like. If the current month meets expectations - something April fell short in attaining - then the industry can change its tune from "cautiously optimistic" to "optimistic." "I don't know whether we're two months out from seeing a rebound, or whether it's six months for it to really firm into a rebound," Leike said. "But it will be really interesting to see what May turns out with. ? If May picks it up and runs with it, then we start feeling pretty good about it." Chandler Reports is a division of The Daily News Publishing Co.
Crye-Leike Realtors is proud to recognize co-founder and CEO Harold Crye, who was honored recently as the 2009 Master Entrepreneur by the Society of Entrepreneurs in partnership with Junior Achievement of Memphis. Crye was recognized at the 17th annual Dinner and Awards Banquet, a black-tie gala held April 18 at the Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis. This honor is given to the member of the society who best exemplifies the full range of characteristics - self-direction, determination, creativity, leadership and integrity - that are necessary for membership in the society. Crye dedicates his time to numerous civic interests, including the Chickasaw Council Boy Scouts of America, Arkansas State University, Youth Villages and United Way. He also serves as the chairman of the board of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.
Real estate experts know it's time for home-buying opportunities - Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
By John Wood, Memphis Commercial Appeal Sunday, May 3, 2009 Contrary to current assumptions about the economic downturn, homes in the Memphis area are still being bought and sold daily. Evidence of that is the number of property transfers listed in this Homefinder section every week. Homes are also being bought by the people who know the Memphis housing market from the inside out -- real estate professionals like Chet and Judy Whitsitt of Crye-Leike Realtors, Lee McWaters of McWaters and Associates and Gay and Steve Young at Keller Williams. "Realtors are definitely buying homes today, knowing they can get an incredible buy in this market," said Chet Whitsitt of Crye-Leike Realtors, "and because they know that homes are going to sell because there are always going to be people who need a home for many reasons." For the Whitsitts, it's a matter of downsizing as their children set out on their own. The Crye-Leike couple is moving out of their 4,235-square-foot current home and have purchased a 3,300-square-foot home in the same neighborhood, River Trail Crossing in Cordova, where they've lived for 17 years. "We're excited about moving and living in new surroundings," Judy Whitsitt said, "and by staying in River Trail Crossing, we get to keep the relationships we've built over the years with our neighbors." Another veteran real estate professional, Lee McWaters, broker and owner of McWaters and Associates, has been in the business for 20 years and knows that for every downturn in the home market, there is an upturn. "Even though we're in a recession and the real estate market was the first to drop, the real estate market will be the first to come back, in my opinion," said McWaters. McWaters illustrated his confidence in the local market when he purchased a new home recently in Collierville after renting temporarily. "I got a good price, a good interest rate and a great new home. "I'm happy I bought when I did. It's a great time to buy in this environment. In fact, there's never been a better time to buy a home." "That's exactly right," said Steve Young, team leader at Keller Williams Realtors, who, along with wife Gay, recently purchased a new home in Collierville. "It was the right move for us." The Youngs sold their previous home in the Planters Ridge neighborhood and bought a larger home in the Fairways at Memphis National. After being in the real estate business for a number of years, Young says he looks at buying a home not from an emotional standpoint but from a business standpoint. By buying now during a downturn, he gets a great deal on a home. Then after the market comes back, the value of his new home goes up and he increases his net worth. "If you look at real estate as an investment, buying now is the best time," Young points out. "Homes are being sold and inventories of unsold homes are dropping. The question now is not 'Why not buy a home?' the question is, 'What are you waiting for?'"
Crye-Leike sets up Downtown Memphis residential office as Henry Turley firm changes focus - Memphis Business Journal
Memphis Business Journal By Andy Ashby Friday, May 1, 2009 Crye-Leike, Inc., is opening its first residential sales and leasing office Downtown in a move linked with Henry Turley Realtors' renewed focus on selling properties it has developed. Crye-Leike's 1,600-square-foot property management office at 8 S. Third will be getting four new Realtors from Henry Turley Realtors: Jason Durston, Mike Parker, Kris Gavin and Justin Sharpe. Crye-Leike's Jerry Schile will be the principal broker, having formerly served as manager of the firm's Downtown property management office. "We've had some market share, but this is the first time we've had a physical office space for residential in Downtown," says Steve Brown, general manager at Crye-Leike. "Now we've got a core of proven agents who have a long, established history in sales there and who will give us an instant increased presence."
Incentive To Buy: Extra's Offered To Get The Chattanooga Housing Market Moving - News12 WDEF-TV Chattanooga, TN, USA
Submitted by Joe Legge April 29, 2009 - 6:01pm How would you like a new high definition television? Or, a shopping spree at Best Buy? What about a free car -- or boat? Hoping to break out of the housing market funk, sellers throughout the Tennessee Valley appear more willing than ever to sweeten the deal. Kathy Mittelstadt, a Crye-Leike Realtor, says "you have to start thinking outside the box. Buyers are looking for deals and looking for these incentives." Charlotte Mabry represents the builder of Lenox Trace Townhomes. They're offering buyers an $8,000 credit to purchase items off this shopping list. Mabry says that list includes "things like a refrigerator, and maybe some of your closing costs paid, and new blinds, all the things you would think of when moving into a new house." The 12-item list also features free utilities for a year, custom drapery treatment, and a $1,000 Best Buy gift card. Robert Backer of Coldwell Banker hopes a 51-inch high-def t-v, with surround sound stereo system will entice someone to purchase a gated community home in The Legends. "I don't think its going to make the phones ring, for a tv, but once they get here and see its one other thing that's here it's a nice incentive," says Backer. The house features plenty of other selling points, like custom molding and trim, and energy efficient upgrades, but Backer hopes the tv will seal the deal. With the real estate game changing, Mittelstadt says perks create interest. "We currently have 17 on the market and 10 of those were finished this year." That's why she's spreading the word about free homeowners association fees for a year, for anyone purchasing one of these condos at The Village at Greenway. "That's $150 a month and the seller is going to take care of that for the first year that the buyer move in." But aside from interest and enticement, do incentives generate results Jay Robinson of Robinson Real Estate says "basically, we've tried everything from offering to pay closing costs, tv, trips, had one seller that offered an automobile. And really none of those have worked for us so far" :08 What has worked? Pricing property right. If you were buying a home, which would you rather have? A $500 gift card to Lowe's or Home Depot -- or $1,000 off the purchase price. Robinson says buyers choose the money. Robinson doesn't discourage incentives, he just doesn't bank on them making the difference. "Isn't price always the best incentive? If something is priced right, the market will come to you."
Crye-Leike, REALTORS Agents Show How The Stimulus Credit Lures First-Time Buyers - The Memphis Daily News, Memphis, TN, USA
ERIC SMITH | The Daily News Tuesday, April 28, 2009 Like many people, Tyree Nesbit III became addicted to the 24-hour news networks during last year's presidential campaign. That habit of keeping up on current events carried over into the new year as Nesbit followed the new administration's efforts to jumpstart the economy with programs like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, aka the stimulus bill. As Nesbit overdosed on news shows, he became familiar with plans to salvage the housing market through the stimulus bill's tax credit for first-time homebuyers. Nesbit, who had recently moved back to Memphis after graduating from college, and was looking to buy a home. Nesbit already was familiar with the existing tax credit, which was, in effect, a $7,500 loan that required repayment. And while that would have been enough of an incentive to move forward with a purchase, the new bill - an $8,000 credit that did not have to be repaid - made the deal too good to pass up. "I had saved up enough money to put enough down on a house that I wanted to get in the price range I was looking for," said Nesbit, who works for the construction and engineering department of AT&T. "But that would have depleted my savings significantly and I would have been in an uncomfortable position once I got in that house. With the tax credit, if I put $8,000 down on a house, I would get that back. For me, that was the incentive." EASY MONEY The first-time homebuyers tax credit of $8,000 is starting to gain momentum as word of the program spreads. Anyone who has never owned a home or who hasn't owned one within the past three years is eligible. The credit counts only for the purchase of principal residence and for homes closed between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, 2009, and it doesn't have to be repaid unless the recipient moves from that home within three years. Donnie Chambliss, owner of Chambliss Builders and Chambliss Realty Inc. and president of the Home Builders Association of North Mississippi, knows quite a few people who have taken advantage of the program. One thing he wants people to understand is the $8,000 check can still be garnered for last year's taxes using an amended tax return. "Hypothetically, if you've already filed your taxes for 2008, and you make your home purchase after that fact, you have an option: You can wait until next year to get your money then, but if you want to get it sooner rather than later, you simply need to file an amended return, Form 1040X," he said. Chambliss added that there's another tax form - Form 5405 - specifically for the tax credit application, giving approved applicants quick access to the money. As more people learn that they can have the money within a few months, he hopes it will provide a spark the housing market desperately needs. "We are already seeing people coming to our model homes and looking at houses that know about the tax credit," Chambliss said. "It is motivating their investigation. It is motivating their home search. It is making a difference." WORD GETS AROUND Barbara Becker, an affiliate broker and vice president at Crye-Leike's Germantown office, is an agent who has seen the tax credit pay dividends for a client. Becker's son, Matthew - also a Crye-Leike agent - bought a home in March and is using the money for repairs. Becker has another client who went through the down payment assistance plan offered by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency. That buyer will use the tax credit to pay off that THDA loan, reducing her debt - a common pitfall for first-time homebuyers. As Becker noted, the program has been especially beneficial for young people who barely have enough for the down payment or for furniture, or who are buying homes in need of immediate upgrades. "They can qualify to buy the house, but then they don't have the cash to make the repairs," Becker said. "The $8,000 tax credit is coming in great for them because they can do the repairs that the home needs." Many of Becker's clients are coming to her with questions about the tax credit, wanting to know if they can qualify for it. She said the buzz surrounding the program is finally growing. "I think word is starting to get around," Becker said. "It's kind of word-of-mouth, especially among the 20-somethings that are renting." DISPOSABLE INCOME A 21-year real estate veteran, Kay Paul is an affiliate broker and vice president at Crye-Leike's Collierville office. She worked with Nesbit on the purchase of his home, which he bought with a low interest rate and at a low price. Nesbit paid $65,000 less than what the home sold for just four years ago. Paul said the combination of good loan rates, good home prices and now a good incentive for homebuying should help push more qualified people into buying. "Anytime you're buying a new house, you need every dime you can get to do all the improvements and buy furniture," Paul said. "The $8,000 spreads out among a lot of different people to stimulate the economy. Everybody should be screaming (the tax credit) from the rooftops. The value that they can get in homes right now, in addition to the interest rate, is just incredible." As for Nesbit, who was able to buy much more home than he would have without the tax credit, he will put half the money into savings and spend half for furnishing his home. "I definitely plan on spending some of it," Nesbit said. "I'm trying to do my part to get this economy out of the slump."
Crye-Leike Commercial Has A Hand In Bringing Mellow Mushroom Franchise To Germantown - Memphis Business Journal
Friday, April 24, 2009 - Modified: Monday, April 27, 2009, 7:00am CDT Mellow Mushroom franchise pops up in Germantown Owners plan 4 local Mellow Mushroom locations Memphis Business Journal - by Andy Ashby Mellow Mushroom, a fast casual pizza chain featuring an impressive beer selection, is sprouting up in the Memphis market, with an initial Germantown location and up to three more planned in the next five years. Cary Fairless and Lori Fairless, operating as Jadon Enterprises LLC, signed a long-term, 5,000-square-foot lease at the Shops of Forest Hill, occupying the 17,000-square-foot former Old Navy space at 3075 Village Shops Drive. The average quoted rate for Germantown shopping center space is $17.90 per square foot, according to CoStar Group, Inc.'s year-end report for 2008. The couple discovered the concept while going to youth soccer tournaments with their children. "I thought this would really be good in Memphis because we didn't really have anything like that," Cary Fairless says. Last summer, they started researching the concept and met with the franchisor, Home Grown Industries of Georgia. "We've never done a restaurant, so it was good to know they knew what they were doing," he says. "That's why you get a franchise, to get that expertise." They are planning a 150-seat restaurant with patio to be open by October. They anticipate a start-up costs in the $900,000 to $1.3 million range. The restaurant, which will employ 15-20 people, will include a full-time manager with restaurant experience. "We want to get one open and get it going correctly to ensure the quality is there," Cary Fairless says. "We'll look to expand from there." Charlotte, N.C.-based architecture firm Little is designing the space, working with Mellow Mushroom's corporate art group. The restaurants feature common themes, but each location is unique. "It's kind of funky," Cary Fairless says. "It started out as kind of a hippie-type restaurant, but it's evolved. It's a comfortable, but classy, place to go." The restaurant will serve pizzas, calzones, hoagies and salads. It will have 20 beers on tap, including specialty microbrewed beers. Cathy Anderson, affiliate broker at Crye-Leike Commercial, represented Jadon Enterprises in the transaction. "Mellow Mushroom's corporate people came down and looked at this site months ago," Anderson says. "We showed them many sites, but this was really the first choice." The Shops of Forest Hill is a 365,000-square-foot shopping center located at Poplar and Forest-Hill Irene. It is anchored by Target Corp., Schnuck's, Marshalls and Malco Theaters, Inc.'s Forest Hill Cinema 8. Boyle Investment Co. assistant vice president Bradley Wilford and senior vice president Carey Whitehead represented the landlord, BIC-MTS Partners. Mellow Mushroom has more than 80 locations nationwide, mostly in the Southeast. Wilford and Whitehead have visited Mellow Mushroom locations across the country and say that each location is geared to a different crowd. "They match the area, they draw on what's already popular there," Wilford says. "Some are more college-oriented and others are more family-oriented."
Help For First-Time Home Buyers From Crye-Leike, REALTORS on Channel 3 Eyewitness News WRCB-TV Chattanooga, TN
Reported by: Greg Glover http://www.wrcbtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=10253160 Posted: April 26, 2009 09:53 PM Updated: April 27, 2009 04:03 AM CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WRCB-TV) - Some experts offered a free class for the soon-to-be rookie homeowner over the weekend. Why? "Spring fever starts and people decide they want a yard to plant their own flowers and trees," said Pam Jackson. She is a veteran broker for Crye Leike Realty. "I've been doing this since 1997," she added. "I already know the lingo. But, I didn't want to do that. I want people to know what they're hearing." For the first-timer, it can get a bit complicated, especially with all the changes, incentives and assistance available. The Tennessee Housing Development Agency has begun a program which allows those who have not owned before to access up to $8,000 in federal stimulus funds immediately. "If we ask the seller to pay the closing costs for you," Jackson explained, "you use this THDA as your mortgage for your down payment and the THDA mortgage, you can get in for very little out of pocket, right now. So, it's a good time to buy. There's a lot of houses on the market." But, you may want to think twice about foreclosures. "You can get some good buys in foreclosures," Jackson said, "but usually there's a lot wrong with the house. Not always. There are some people that love their house up `til the end and can afford it, but a lot of times you can't afford your home payments, you can't afford the maintenance and upkeep." About 5,000 in the southeast Tennessee-northwest Georgia market. And many are taking advantage. "There's a lot of interest in the tax credit," said Richard Smith of American Acceptance Mortgage. "There's a lot of interest in the low interest rates. There's a lot of interest in the the market, values staying low, so there are plenty of houses that are priced right." So, a broker, a lender, a builder and an insurance man answered questions and offered their expertise for free this weekend. With all the new incentives, houses are starting to sell, they say. "And as the market starts improving, home prices are gonna go back up," Smith said. "So, if you're interested in thinking about buying, there's no reason not to do it today."
By ROBERT LEE LONG - Community Editor email@example.com Published: Monday, April 20, 2009 7:55 PM CDT DESOTO COUNTY ? While new home sales and building permits have taken a dive due to the ailing national economy, local real estate experts say new tax incentives could help boost the industry. That is, if new home buyers are aware of the incentives and take advantage of them. On Feb. 17, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which includes tax credits and incentives for new home buyers. As part of $787 billion in economic stimulus measures, the legislation created a home buyer tax credit that is larger than the previous credit implemented in July 2008. Among other things, the tax credit provides $8,000 toward the purchase of a home. The incentive applies to first-time home buyers only. In order to qualify, individuals must not have owned a principal residence in the last three years. The $8,000 is a grant not a loan and, unlike the tax credit enacted in 2008, does not need to be repaid unless the owner sells the home within three years of purchase. The credit applies to homes purchased and closed between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, 2009. The tax credit applies toward the purchase of a principal residence only. Investment and vacation homes do not qualify. Leigh Anne Boyd with Crye-Leike in Olive Branch said only about half of the home buyers she works with were aware of the tax credit. "If they haven't heard of it, they hear it from me or from the loan officer," she said. "But only about 50 percent come in knowing about it." Boyd said the tax credit has helped the local real estate market, but just how much is hard to say. "It has factored into our upswing," Boyd said. "But it's more of an after-the-fact benefit." Boyd said she hasn't seen home buyers flocking to the market because of the incentives. " Most are looking forward to it to reimburse savings or for future furnishings or upgrades to the home." Donnie Chambliss III, president of the Home Builders Association of North Mississippi, said prospective new home buyers need to act quickly to take advantage of the tax credit. "This new tax credit provides an unprecedented opportunity for people looking to buy their first home," Chambliss said of the legislation. "In addition to record-low interest rates and competitive prices first-time home buyers will receive $8,000 from the IRS. With electronic filing, some home buyers have already received their credit drafted directly into their checking account." "This opportunity won't be around forever," Chambliss said." Keep in mind that you have to purchase your home and close before Nov. 30." There are income limits for claiming the tax credit. The income limit for single taxpayers is $75,000; the limit is $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The tax credit amount is reduced for buyers with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of more than $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. Robert Lee Long: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252
www.leaderselite.com April 16th, 2009 Author: admin Mark Leader, North America's No.1 real estate sales speaker/trainer and founder of Leaders Elite, announced today that Yolly Seedtibood with Crye-Leike REALTORS? in North Little Rock, Ark., has been named the Leaders Elite Wall of Fame's Star of the Month for March 2009. Leaders Elite is a North American online membership-based training and coaching program for real estate professionals. The virtual-based program offers monthly Webinars, coaching and communication templates as well as an effective activity planner developed and led by Mark Leader. Seedtibood received this international recognition from Leader for her total points accumulated in March as top producer in dollar amounts, appointments scheduled and as top lister for buyers and properties. She competed for the award with other Leaders Elite real estate professionals from throughout North America. Seedtibood is a member of the Member of North Pulaski Arkansas Board of Realtors and has achieved the ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) and MMDC (Crye-Leike Multi-Million Dollar Club). This is her fourth year with Crye-Leike REALTORS, and she can be contacted at email@example.com. Leaders Elite is a membership-based "grad-school" level online real estate sales training and group coaching program. It is tailored to alumni of the Leaders Choice class as well as real estate veterans looking to improve their production figures. View the news online at: http://www.leaderselite.com/?p=1066
ERIC SMITH | The Daily News Last month, Eric Fuhrman of Crye-Leike Commercial experienced his own version of March Madness. During the first week of the month, Fuhrman's commercial real estate clients began calling him about their property reappraisals, which were arriving in the mail. One client told Fuhrman his property had increased 35 percent. Another called with a similarly scary tale of a skyrocketing property appraisal. And then another. As Fuhrman dealt with each client's need, he also realized there was an opportunity to help any commercial property owner by providing real time values on comparable sales. So he spent the past few weeks creating a Web site, MemphisComps, www.memphiscomps.com, which launched at the end of March. Fuhrman's site gives property owners an opportunity to access market data that could determine the accuracy of the Shelby County Assessor of Property's reappraisal - if it's in ballpark or unfairly inflated. (The assessor will certify the tax rolls by April 20.) "None of us has the ability, at least right now, to see what the assessor used to compile the information and complete every appraisal," Fuhrman said. "I at least wanted to put the tools in the hands of the commercial property owners so they had access to it and we could help them." Shortcut to savings For $200, anyone can visit www.memphiscomps.com and request a detailed report about their property. Within 24 to 48 hours, Fuhrman and other brokers at Crye-Leike Commercial will research comparable property sales and other data and send a commercial market analysis. Clients can then use that analysis to decide if an informal review or formal appeal are in order. "Commercial property owners are short on time, and money is not just hanging off every tree right now," Fuhrman said. "They can go a longer route and a more expensive route, and that is a full appraisal. But that's two to three weeks, and that's $2,000 to $3,000. "The assessor certainly will welcome that and will use that to digest for the informal review. But the faster and also accepted way to go is a commercial market analysis." As Fuhrman noted, the assessor's office is open to challenges to its reappraised values, but "you have to have the data," he said. "Even if the results come back to substantiate the appraisal, at least they have the data. And they can rely on the fact that it's coming from someone who lives and breathes commercial real estate every day." A successful appeal could reduce the property owner's tax burden, so Fuhrman wants business owners to understand that keeping their appraisals in line with the market value will aid their bottom lines, an essential consideration in these trying economic times. "It's more important today, you may say, than at the last appraisal to contest it or at least confirm it by getting the data at your fingertips," he said. The concept behind Fuhrman's Web site is similar to one offered by real estate information company Chandler Reports, which launched a site, www.shelbytaxappeal.com, that allows residential property owners to appeal their reappraisals through a $49 kit. Beyond number crunching Dan Whipple, president of Crye-Leike Commercial, said this process is needed now more than ever in light of the decline in real estate values over the past four or five months. That's where accurate comps come in so handy. "An individual owner of a commercial property needs good comps to know what he's talking about, otherwise he won't get much progress (in an appeal)," Whipple said. "He's got to know what he's talking about in comparable sales to his property." Whipple noted that there are bound to be skewed appraisals because of the sheer volume the assessor's office has to deal with. And while those values might hold true next year when the market rebounds, they could be way off right now. Another problem is the peculiarities of commercial properties. Whipple said one of his clients owns a two-story condominium building. Each floor was appraised at the same price - significant increases from the last appraisal. But that the same amount raised a red flag in Whipple's mind. "Well, the building doesn't have an elevator. That automatically means the second floor is not worth what the first floor is worth," Whipple said. "The appraisal people are not aware of those kinds of things. There can be a lot of things that could impact it that they may not even be aware of when they're plugging in their numbers in the computers. They can't have all the data."
APRIL 8, 2009 - 08:24 AM Employees at the Crye-Leike Quail Hollow headquarters got a surprise visitor during a "Crye-Leike Idol" contest and potluck. Memphian and former American Idol hopeful Alexis Grace made an appearance shortly before noon in front of a packed room of realtors and unsuspecting fans. Before kicking off the Crye-Leike contest -- in which employees sang their hearts out in front of a panel of judges dressed-up as Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell -- Grace took the mic and answered a few questions from her adoring fans -- including one from a realtor who asked, "Will you buy a house from me?" Grace also shared some insight into her American Idol experience. "Simon is actually a really nice guy," she said. She wouldn't say which contestant she's rooting for now that she's been voted off because, she said, "everyone is very good." Grace -- who exclaimed, "The Flyer is my favorite paper!" -- took a moment to talk with us between signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans. She said that her mom (who has friends at Crye-Leike) set up the appearance, so she could show her appreciation for her fans. "These are the people who voted for me," she said. "And I want to thank them all, because without them, I wouldn't have gotten this far." As we talked, several people stopped to tell her, "We loved you," "You were great," and "We are so proud of you." When asked about her sudden celebrity status, Grace said, "It's a little overwhelming, and sometimes I forget that everybody knows who I am now. It's really sweet though; it feels good, and I can't thank the show enough." Grace said she's not sure what the future holds, but that she will definitely continue singing. She said she's "pretty sure" she'll be performing at the Sunset Symphony, and she hopes to record an album within the year. "I've been singing since I could speak," Grace said. "I've known for a long time that this is what I wanted to do." Grace says overall she took a lot from her American Idol experience. "I learned how to be a better performer and business woman. I learned a lot about myself. And it changed my life, forever."
Reported By: Lauren Johnson MEMPHIS, Tenn. - It's not what you expect to see, or hear, inside the Crye Leike Memphis offices. The stage is set, the signs are up, and the judges are seated. A handful of contestants are taking the stage in the real estate company's fun-filled version of American Idol. After his performance, one contestant, Larry Mivelaz, says "it's been 13 years since I've done those songs, but hopefully it turned out alright. I enjoyed it. I really did." The singers all added their creative touches to their performances. Some changed up the lyrics to familiar songs, while some rocked the offices, and others slowed it down with more mellow music. So what did the three look-alike judges think? The Paula look-alike describes it by saying "I just thought it was magical. I'm just blown away by the talent in this company." Serious Simon says "you know I really think we're going to need to go to another location to find some talent. Maybe out to Cordova where Alexis Grace lives." Soon after that, Alexis graced the crowds with a short visit. Proud fans welcomed their Memphis contestant with cheers. "I'm really honored these people asked me to come here, and it feels great to see all of your fans who supported you throughout the show," says Alexis Grace. Grace says she's been busy since returning from Hollywood. "I'm home enjoying time with my daughter, and I'm also booking some gigs around town, writing music, and shopping around for some record deals, enjoying the ride while I can." She admits watching the show now leaves her with mixed feelings. She has no idea who will be crowned Idol. But at this party, she knows one thing. "I think its going to be a girl, I think a girl is going to win," says Grace. And she just might be right! Tuesday night, the top 8 perform. The theme is songs from the year they were born. What will they sing? You can find out right here on FOX13 at 7:00pm.
Posted on NEMS360.com by Carlie Kollath & Dennis Seid/Daily Journal TUPELO - Selling a house in the middle of a recession might be considered bad timing by some, but that hasn't stopped home owners from trying. And in Northeast Mississippi, real estate agents say that because the market hasn't experienced a big boom, it isn't having to suffer through a big bust either. "The market has slowed a bit, but it hasn't ground to a halt like some areas," said Louis Riles, vice president of the Northeast Mississippi Board of Realtors. Ken and Dana Long are confident that's the case. They've had their Church Street home on the market for about two weeks, and several prospective buyers have taken a look. The couple hosted an open house last weekend, with Crye-Leike Realtor Brenda Estes showing the home for two hours. "Of the four who visited, three were qualified and one has expressed a very strong interest in the house," Ken Long said. At 4,400 square feet, the house - built in 1922 - has a rich history, having survived the 1936 tornado and having served as the Milam family home until the Longs bought it in 2000. It's priced at under $300,000. The Longs want to move to west Tupelo to be closer to family, and the upcoming school redistricting also has been a factor in the move. "We're not moving because we have to, but we've been talked about it for about five years, and we think now's the time," Ken Long said. The Longs - and probably anyone else trying to sell a home - would love to duplicate the experience of Tommy and Rachel Ethridge. The couple sold their Tupelo home in four days. "We had a freak thing happen and I don't know if that's the norm," Rachel Ethridge said. "I think we're the exception to the rule." In fact, Rachel Ethridge said she knows her story isn't common these days. Her in-laws have had their home on the market for two years. According to the Northeast Mississippi Board of Realtors, a house usually stays on the market for about four months. That's been the case for the past five years. Help from above Ethridge said her mother-in-law, a devout Catholic, even buried in her yard a statue of St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters, families, home sellers and home buyers. After her house stayed on the market for a while, she dug up the statue and reburied it because she wasn't sure she had done it properly the first time. But despite the in-laws' experience, Rachel Ethridge said the couple decided to try selling their home in the Joyner area when they found out they were expecting a new addition to the family. The two-bedroom, one-bath home worked for two people, but they thought it might be a tight squeeze with a child, too. So, they started looking for homes in the $175,000-$200,000 range. The catch was they had to sell their current home to pay for the new home. They figured the buying part would be the easier half of the process, considering the large quantity of homes on the market - about 1,300. The Ethridges were looking for a home with at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms. They also wanted a house with a landscaped yard and in a neighborhood with kids. After taking photo tours on the MLS Web site, Rachel Ethridge said they found a house they liked in Tupelo. It had been on the market for about six months. The house was listed by Chanda Cossitt, an agent with Coldwell Banker Tommy Morgan Realtors, who happened to be a neighbor of the Ethridges. They called Cossitt and made an offer on the house, but made it contingent on their home selling. "We were pretty fair with the offer because wanted him to accept it with our contingency," she said. "We knew we'd be giving up some leeway so he'd accept." At that time, the Ethridges had their home for sale by owner. They had the sign in the yard for a week and received a lot of calls, but got no offers. When Cossitt said she could sell the house, the couple decided to let her try. They listed the house on a Tuesday. Four days later, a man drove up and asked to tour the house. The Ethridges were getting ready for another showing so they directed him to the MLS site and their agent. Twenty minutes later, Cossitt called Tommy Ethridge and said the man wanted to tour the house before the other showing. By the end of the tour, he told Cossitt he wanted to buy the house and he would pay the list price of about $120,000. "This kind of stuff doesn't happen to me," Rachel Ethridge said. "I just feel really blessed and the people we sold the house to really love it so I think everyone came out a winner." The Ethridges moved into their new home late last month and Rachel Ethridge said she is still surprised how smoothly everything went. "It was pretty painless, pretty easy," she said. "You hear all this stuff on the news and I thought, ?It's not going to be easy to buy and sell a house,' and it was." Crye-Leike's Estes said the housing market in Northeast Mississippi dragged a bit in the last few months of 2008, but it was nowhere near the declines felt in larger metropolitan markets. "Every situation is different, and while our market has been down, it's been down before and picked back up," she said. "When I started in the business in 1985, interest rates were 21 percent, so you can imagine what it was like. "Today, it's really important that you talk to somebody who knows the market, no matter which real estate company they work for, to find out what's going on," she added. "What's going on across the country isn't the case here." And for the Longs, who are getting help from a Realtor, selling their home soon would be ideal. But they aren't desperate. "If we sell it, fine. If not, that's fine, too," Ken Long said. "We'll keep it on the market for six months and see what happens. But seeing this much interest in just this short time kind of surprised me. I think it's a good sign."
Nashville Business Journal Friday, April 3, 2009, 11:35am CDT Crye-Leike Realtors is setting up a new location in the Starwood area. The firm is moving into its two-building, 20,000-square-foot retail center at 12647 Old Hickory Blvd. The agency will occupy about 6,000 square feet, and lease the remaining space. The Brentwood-based real estate firm, which has primarily dealt in the residential market, closed four offices and opened one last year, as the sub-prime mortgage crisis and general economic turmoil hit the residential markets. The company has a sales office in the area, located in the southeastern part of Davidson County, until the late 1990s. "We anticipate that once the housing market begins to pick-up again, the residential and retail projects proposed for the former Starwood location will get back on track," CEO Harold Crye says in a press release. "Regional planners are projecting a population boom in the area and addressing it with road widening projects to handle the anticipated growth. We're excited to be a part of the community and look forward to helping the area develop." Tim Mills, who had worked in one of the recently closed offices, will be the managing broker at the new location.
Trading Spaces: Buyers, Sellers Swap Houses As Solution In Sluggish Market - Nashville Business Journal - Nashville,TN,USA
Nashville Business Journal - by Jenny Burns Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org | 615-846-4276 Friday, April 3, 2009 Nick and Leigh Ann Nail were relocating to Nashville from Columbus, Ohio, for a job transfer and needed to find a home here. But they also needed to sell their Ohio home, a transaction that's become much harder in today's real estate market. They found a house they loved in Green Hills. And they noticed the office was decked out in Ohio State University memorabilia, and it turned out the sellers were moving to Ohio. The Nails wondered, "Maybe they'll buy our house if we buy theirs." And they did. But the deal didn't happen until three months after the Nails' real estate agent offered a house trade. When the Nashville-turned-Columbus couple didn't sell their Green Hills home in that time, they agreed to the switch. "We were pleasantly surprised. It was an extremely easy closing and inspection. Both parties were extremely respectful to the other," Nick Nail says. Although the Nails still went a more traditional route with real estate agents, they had become part of a growing trend -- permanent house swapping. A proliferation of Web sites have popped up in the past two years aimed at helping desperate homeowners trade their digs, including Goswap.org, onlinehousetrading.com and Pad4Pad.com. Even the popular Craigslist has become a venue for house trades. In the case of the Nails, each couple bought the other's home for the list price, which was $209,900 in Columbus and $397,000 in Green Hills. "You've got to get creative these days," says Barbara Decker, the Crye-Leike real estate agent who represented the Nails on the buyer's side. The transaction wasn't so easy for the four real estate agents involved. "We had to decide who was going to make the first offer. The other offer had to come in. You had to make sure all the contracts were the same and all the inspections went together," Decker says. "We really tried to make it so it was fair for each couple. We didn't want to close on one and then have something happen to the other." And the mortgage company was dubious about a house trade, so the buyers and agents had to sign statements acknowledgling that the two parties are not family members and did not know each other. But it worked. Gail Greil, an agent with Zeitlin & Co. who listed the Green Hills home, says the Nails' home was smaller than what her clients wanted, but they didn't want to continue to pay the mortgage and upkeep on their former home. "They made it work because they needed to get on with their life," she says. "It was absolutely amazing that it worked out." Nick Nail says both houses were getting plenty of showings, but no one was willing to step out and buy. He knew if he didn't sell his Ohio home by December, it would be spring before he'd get any bites. The trade happened on Oct. 30. "It was just difficult to find the right buyer at the right price," he says. From the perspective of mortgage lenders, house trade borrowers must have a bona fide appraisal of the property's current market value and show they are not family members, says Dianne Payne, regional production manager for the mortgage division at Magna Bank. If they are related, there are reductions in the amount of loan they can get, she says. "Everybody today is trying to think outside the box. It creates a market for non-traditional transactions," Payne says. The type of financing the borrower is getting dictates how much of the trade equity can be used for the downpayment, she says. Payne also is seeing builders buy the previous homes of their buyers to get a deal done. They can often take on a lower mortgage than the current construction loan they have on a new home and use the older property for rental income. With the struggling housing market, Craigslist is loaded with sellers trying to swap their homes. A $420,000 lakehouse homeowner in Paris, Ill., wants to trade for a home in Nashville. A homeowner in Phoenix wants to trade a $750,000 five-bedroom home for land, farm or a four-bedroom, two-bath home in Franklin. And Matthew Wilson, a partner in Gateway Construction Co. in Brentwood, is getting married, so he wants to trade his $269,900 condo in West End, and possibly his fiance's Brentwood townhouse, for a house in the Green Hills, Belle Meade or West End areas. He had read about house swapping and thought there might be buyers out there who have more house than they can afford and would be willing to switch with him. His condo has been on the market for five months but had little interest. His Craigslist posting has gotten one interested buyer so far, a divorced woman in Belle Meade who wants to downsize from her home. Wilson says her home is a little out of his price range, but he's considering it. Then there's Wayne Whitworth, a self-employed appraiser whose Craigslist ad says he wants to trade his place in the country in Perry County for a Nashville condo. He and his wife live in Woodlawn and rent the Perry County home, but would like a condo in Nashville to retire to down the road. He's bought real estate through a 1031 exchange in the past and thought house trading might work this time. He hasn't gotten any takers yet from his ad. Real estate agents say house swaps are extremely rare. But Sergei Naumov, who created Florida-based GoSwap.org in late 2006, says they're happening around the country. Naumov's listings have grown from 90 in December 2007 to 11,000 today. Sellers can list their home for $30 for a year or for free for three months if they refer five friends to GoSwap.org. There are no commissions or other fees. Naumov says increased media coverage of house trading and the growing desperation of sellers has boosted the site's traffic. He has about 100 listings in Tennessee, compared to 700 in Florida. The benefits of home swapping, he says, are two-fold: Each party buys the other's home at its appraised value so sellers retain their equity and aren't forced to make drastic price cuts. And it allows a family to buy their next home. "Most people in this market are not able to qualify (to buy) with an unsold home," Naumov says. "They cannot buy because they would have to qualify for two mortgage payments." Naumov says house trading is still foreign to mortgage companies, as the Nails experienced, and he suggests both parties get a real estate lawyer to make sure contracts are worded properly. As for the Nails, the timing worked out better than expected. Just after trading their home, the couple found out Leigh Ann was pregnant. "Leigh Ann and I actually chalk it up to prayer and divine intervention," Nick Nail says.