Knoxville: Where Else IS There?

After spending my entire adult life in Knoxville, I’ve grown to adopt an attitude about this place – Knoxville is the perfect fit for everyone! Truth is, it’s the perfect fit for me and possibly you too, but not everybody! When I arrived on the campus of the University of Tennessee in the fall of 1991 as a fresh faced lad who’d never really spent much time in a city, the whole world seemed to open up. It was a good time for me, since I was surrounded by similarly fresh faced people in an adjustment period and, while my first couple room mates were a bit of an adjustment and the overly amorous suitemates that lived on the other side of a very thin wall made my first semester … loud… Knoxville was both fun and strange – a challenge I wanted to explore.

From that time on I’ve grown accustomed and grew to really enjoy the rumble, the constant hum that is a city rather than the constant quiet of rural life with a small cadre of friends and family quietly singing hymns at church, the rustling of critters outside and chirping of crickets. That being said I love the country – just in smaller doses. In a life that has included visits to places of every type and variety from the nearly deserted (by man) wilderness of the rainforests near Cahuita, Costa Rica to the relentless roar of wall-to-wall people crammed together and interacting in truly foreign ways in downtown Seoul, Korea or the solitary invisibility in crowds of 42nd St in the middle of Manhattan– where everyone was rubbing elbows and moving in pods but pretending not to notice anyone else. Standing alone in all of these places and myriad others that spanned the spectrum of human interaction there is nothing like coming home to East Tennessee.

Maybe it’s “Growing Up” in Knoxville – maybe it’s my personal character as someone who can’t sustain a stranger in most circumstances, but that first day on campus at old UT, I decided that Knoxville was my place. Walking to class I learned the faces and names of hundreds of the folks I passed every day and set out to meet or know something about everyone that I possibly could. This was a unique challenge on a campus with 26,000 students, plus professors, facilities staff, restaurant workers, administrators, catering and library folks – what I small city within a city I was taking on! It was my first unachievable goal in life and I’ve put a huge dent into it!

What I’ve learned is that there are good people all around – varying degrees of good, varying definitions of good, varying lifestyles and perspectives and talents and strengths and all of them have something I want to know a little about. Knoxville is brimming with interesting folks, situations, needs and a rich cast of characters that are unique to this place. After a few minutes conversation most folks talk about what’s on their minds – I try to picture their perspective and see how they see – something through their eyes. It’s a trip! So many stories are in that sentence that would take volumes to represent – not this time.

Walking down Gay St. in the early evening is one of the finest experiences I’ve ever had – it feels like being back on campus – seeing a steady stream of people going to the theater, to dinner or to meet others in coffee houses or one of the new breweries that seem to pop up each weekend. The character of the city has shifted a bit – more people adopting the hipster vibe (Knoxville was recently ranked 15th most Hipster city in America) – the millennial faces fill in among many of the same people I’ve run into making the same rounds for the past 27 years – I never spend much time anywhere without seeing someone that I know (or knew) since the grand “meet everyone” experiment began at Reece Hall in Presidential Court when I was a boy.

I imagine those other teenagers walking to class grew up, some moved – many are still here and hopefully somewhere in East Tennessee those amorous suitemates have a brood of children who are about to graduate from UT, themselves. I know Knoxville is where I want my family – friends and acquaintances to be when I’m not visiting the parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and original friends back in Polk County.

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If you’re ready to find your place in my vision of the best place to live on Earth, give me a call – we can help you find your niche and your new home!

If you’d like to talk about becoming a KW Realtor we’d love to chat!

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Hutch & Howard….and Carrie!

From Rob:

It’s been about a year since I started casual conversations with one of my best friends, superstar Realtor Brandon Hutchison, about how cool it would be to join forces.

Since we met in a transaction back in 2009, we’ve been great friends – I was very happy when he called in 2012 and asked how I liked working with Keller Williams and whether I’d be interested in being his ‘sponsor’ in joining the company. From there he grew into the professional with excellent reputation that he’s gained through years of hard, consistent and thoughtful work. In my 15 years of Knoxville Real Estate I’ve known nobody better!

So in 2016 when he broached the idea of creating a team of close friends that would grow into the Hutch & Howard team I was intrigued. Since I had joined KW several years ago I had been invited to join teams, I even had a very brief stint with a burgeoning husband/wife team that has since grown into something great – but wasn’t a perfect fit for me personally.

This was something different – Brandon wanted a true partnership, something outside the scope of Keller Williams’ normal team structure. I say I was intrigued – in hindsight I should’ve been giddy. This young man with plenty of achievements on his own – who had created a structure incorporating well- designed marketing, client service and a fantastic professional reputation was asking to ‘throw in’ was a godsend. I’m personally more motivated, excited to come to the office every day and looking for new ways to help my friends / clients and future clients.

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This week we were excited to welcome another wonderful friend, Carrie Mays, who had been serving as our ‘boss’ for the past few years, serving as our Broker. In a lot of ways she’s still our boss – taking the reigns as Director of Operations.

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When joining forces, Brandon came with his amazing brother Dustin Hutchison, our marketing powerhouse and a since officially joining forces, our team has many other pieces poised to fall into place – keep an eye on Hutch & Howard!

Each Keller Williams Realty Office independently owned and operated.

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Who says Real Estate isn’t real work?!

Since my real estate partner Brandon bought his boat, I’ve occasionally gotten some good natured ribbing about occasionally having our weekly scheduled staff meeting, progress and planning events on the water. Sure it affects the seriousness of a reprimand when the person who is playing taskmaster is sitting there with his big tummy out and a glob of SPF 50 whitening his bald spot, but in truth it’s a good incentive to get everyone on-board (literally and figuratively) with our plans for the next week. Plus, with our amazing staff reprimands are non-existent.

That being said, what I love about real estate is personal interaction with people who’s lives are really affected by the decisions that I help them make. Yesterday, at a listing appoint that Brandon and I attended together the seller told us that her previous agent had never taken done what she promised and illustrated by pointing at some boxes of tchotchkes that they’d said were impossible to move for her. Promptly, after we offered our service and talked about the ‘Hutch & Howard difference’ Brandon and I toted these little ceramic treasures to her basement for the garage sale she’d planned. I have to say, after three other listing appointments during the day (together and separately) it wasn’t necessarily the top of our priority list to move furniture, but if showing that we do what we say makes a difference that’s will result in this lady (whose home is great and will sell quickly, with the right positioning) getting to live the rest of her days up the street from her grandchildren in Kentucky then carrying a few boxes will be well worth it.

We have a limit of listings we want to take, we meet with everyone and choose homes where we’ll make a real impact on people’s lives regardless of the sales price. If you are thinking of selling give us a call. We might even be pursuaded to carry unwieldy objects downstairs for you!

– Rob Howard is an agent of the Hutch & Howard group at Keller Williams 865-966-5005 in Knoxville, TN. He may be contacted directly at 865-385-9070 or on Twitter: @KnoxvilleRob (ridiculous, we know). Each Keller Williams realty office is independently owned and operated.

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Home not selling quickly? Check the aroma.

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There are so many variables that come into play when a potential home buyer walks through your house. A major factor to keep in mind when getting ready to sell your home is what someone senses when entering.

Usually a buyer makes a decision about whether your home is a fit within seconds of entering. In my 13 years of real estate, I’ve averaged 30 minute tours through most homes. The other 29.7 minutes of a home tour are for a buyer to convince themselves they’re right about their choice. If they love your house they’re trying to place their furniture, imagining what it will be like moving in the space and cooking (or opening take-out) in the kitchen. If they’re sure it isn’t a fit, they’re making mental notes about all that they don’t like.

A recent buyer told me that a wine rack in her new kitchen (an afterthought from my seller to fill an empty space) was the difference maker in feeling that it was already her home.

A major effect of your very first impression of a home is the aroma that pervades. In today’s homes everything is usually sealed up pretty tightly. Your smells are the home’s smells. Nobody likes a homes that smells of stale cigarettes or the delicious salmon you cooked the night before, but without airing out the space your lifestyle will be evident as the inside air rushes out to greet the buyer’s agent and the person holding the money!

Homeowners with pets or a predilection toward preparing strongly aromatic ethnic-style meals should be especially aware of the aromas they leave behind. Curry, kim chi and some other of my personally favorite dishes can really leave a strong impression that would probably be better cleansed than encountered.

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Sometimes James K. Polk stinks!

My cat is perfect, he’s my best friend, but he never learned to flush, so any time I’m trying to sell my own home, particular attention to the litter box is key!

No amount of staging, decluttering or de-personalizing your space (though all of those are factors) can overcome a strong disagreeable smell in a showing.

Get the most from your home’s character, by making sure the aroma is as neutral as possible!

If you’re thinking of selling your home and need a thorough evaluation in the greater Knoxville / East Tennessee area call Rob Howard at Keller Williams Realty, 5616 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37917. Office: 865.694.5904 Cell: 865.385.9070 – Each office independently owned and operated.

Rob Howard, Keller Williams Realty, Knoxville TN

Sell or Find your home at Howardkw.com

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Keller Williams and the Search for THE BIG WHY (Part Two

The Big Why Not
Neil Diamond was singing ‘Sweet Caroline,’ but the scene was grim. A bald man with a vicious temperament was giving chase with a machete while his cohorts threw knives. As his weapon came down on my neck, I fled the dream and flew straight up in bed.

‘That’ll teach you to watch Indiana Jones right before bed and skip dinner!’ I told myself.

It was 2:30 a.m. and I wasn’t going back to sleep. I’d gone to sleep early because the night before was another too-early wake-up and I had been physically and mentally exhausted.

That was a beginning to a day that included bad news after bad news. But still I wasn’t too concerned….

My lack of concern began to concern my mom and dad, my friends who knew me best, but it was par for the course. Life isn’t easy and I what I claimed to be peace of mind was actually calm detachment masking an internal tempest.

When I sat in front of Chad Hyams in a hotel lobby in Chattanooga, TN and he read my corporate life assessment to me I was a bit crestfallen. He told me I wasn’t suited to what I ‘wanted’ to do. I’m a teacher, a therapist, a counselor and a friend – that’s the bad news. I’m not a task-oriented, focused director with an eye firmly planted on the goal. LOL – anyone who knows me could have told me that, but a highly respected, articulate and accomplished person whose opinion matters to me had just said I was a comforter instead of a the task master. In retrospect, he was just the messenger and a half heard the message.

We all learn through repetition, since college my assessments have always said I influence people through friendship and enthusiasm, but that is the depth of it. There has never been a laser point that I aimed toward.

I can hear Doris Day singing ‘Que Sera Sera’ in my head. She lives there sometimes, singing gayly hoping to be rescued in that Alfred Hitchcock movie I saw 10 years ago. That was a very good representation of my attitude. Change or die.

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The Biggest Why
Possibly without them knowing I’ve interviewed many of my more driven brethren and sisters about what drives them. The bigger the why, the more basic, easily stated and powerful it has been.

‘My kid is smart, but scholarships don’t cover everything;’ ‘There’s no old REALTOR’s home, and if there was I wouldn’t want to live there anyway!’ ‘I have never seen Asia, I have to go before I die.’

The message of the old book the ‘Four Hour Work Week’ resonated with me. It said to automate so you can do what you want. The philosophy of Michael Maher’s Generosity Generation and his ‘Seven Levels of Communication’ were my favorites. I absorbed that book page after page then didn’t apply any of it. Book after book on goal setting, time blocking, giving your way to affluence and helping as many people achieve their goals in order to fund your own lifestyle. Then there was the book on approachablility – walking around with a ‘Hello, My Name Is @KnoxvilleRob‘ sticker was a funny and novel approach, not for me…

I already do what I want! Spend time with friends and their families, I make due and I always have something going. People I know and care about already come to me and it’s a good living. That was my personal philosophy, but I was a fool.

How can I be generous with my time, staring at a phone screen or distracted all the time, how can I be generous with my funds on a limited budget? How can I positively influence people without accomplishing anything.

My big why isn’t going to Asia again, it isn’t being surface friends with my 3,000 Facebook pals, it’s being a genuine source of help to the real people in my life. 1) I have to have funds to take care of my parents who’ve seen me through 41 years of bumbling around and never failing to say they are proud of me and that they love me. 2) I’m going to be a dad – being single isn’t going to stop me. If I remarry and have a child naturally that’s great, if I adopt that’s great. If it’s a friend’s child who is hungry. Whatever the situation, I will be able to take care of some little person who needs a father and a mentor. 3) I will share my faith and philosophy as freely as my parents. I will help fund and be a Christian missionary. I will see the day when I know for certain that I have been a good and faithful servant of Jesus. If I get to the end without knowing I’d accomplished these I’ll consider myself a heartbroken failure.

Since I was a kid I’ve said I wanted to be a dad. My dad and mom are paramount figures in life. They have exemplified all the love of God and have prayed and wept for me in the times when I needed it so bad; my Keller Williams family have shown me what they couldn’t – the foundations of business where systems and models provide a platform for my God-given creativity can flourish. Gary Keller’s chosen motto God, Family, Business sums it up! I didn’t want it to, but it did!

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If you want to join the family at Keller Williams check out my earlier post on Why I’m a Keller Williams realtor.

If you’re looking for home in Knoxville, Farragut, or the sounding counties check out robsellsknoxville.com

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Keller Williams and the Search for THE BIG WHY (Part Two

The Big Why Not
Neil Diamond was singing ‘Sweet Caroline,’ but the scene was grim. A bald (balder than me) man with a vicious temperament was giving chase with a machete while his cohorts threw knives. As his weapon came down on my neck, I fled the dream and flew straight up in bed.

‘That’ll teach you to watch Indiana Jones right before bed and skip dinner!’ I told myself.

It was 2:30 a.m. and I wasn’t going back to sleep. I’d gone to sleep early because the night before was another too-early wake-up and I had been physically and mentally exhausted.

That was a beginning to a day that included bad news after bad news. But still I wasn’t too concerned….

My lack of concern began to concern my mom and dad, my friends who knew me best, but it was par for the course. Life isn’t easy and I what I claimed to be peace of mind was actually calm detachment masking an internal tempest.

When I sat in front of Chad Hyams in a hotel lobby in Chattanooga, TN and he read my corporate life assessment to me I was a bit crestfallen. He told me I wasn’t suited to what I ‘wanted’ to do. I’m a teacher, a therapist, a counselor and a friend – that’s the bad news. I’m not a task-oriented, focused director with an eye firmly planted on the goal. LOL – anyone who knows me could have told me that, but a highly respected, articulate and accomplished person whose opinion matters to me had just said I was a comforter instead of a the task master. In retrospect, he was just the messenger and a half heard the message.

We all learn through repetition, since college my assessments have always said I influence people through friendship and enthusiasm, but that is the depth of it. There has never been a laser point that I aimed toward.

I can hear Doris Day singing ‘Que Sera Sera’ in my head. She lives there sometimes, singing gayly hoping to be rescued in that Alfred Hitchcock movie I saw 10 years ago. That was a very good representation of my attitude. Change or die.

image

The Biggest Why
Possibly without them knowing I’ve interviewed many of my more driven brethren and…sistern(?) about what drives them. The bigger the why, the more basic and easily stated it has been.

‘My kid is smart, but scholarships don’t cover everything;’ ‘There’s no old REALTOR’s home, and if there was I wouldn’t want to live there anyway!’ ‘I have never seen Asia, I have to go before I die.’

The message of the old book the ‘Four Hour Work Week’ resonated with me. Automate so you can do what you want. The philosophy of Michael Maher’s Generosity Generation and his ‘Seven Levels of Communication’ were my favorites. I absorbed that book page after page then didn’t apply any of it. Book after book on goal setting, time blocking, giving your way to affluence, approachablility – walking around with a ‘Hello, My Name Is @KnoxvilleRob‘ sticker was a funny and novel approach, not for me…

I already do what I want! Spend time with friends and their families, I make due and I always have something going. People come to me and it’s a good living. That was my personal philosophy, but I was a fool.

How can I be generous with my time, staring at a phone screen, how can I be generous with my funds on a limited budget? How can I positively influence people without accomplishing anything.

My big why isn’t going to Asia again, it isn’t being surface friends with my 3,000 Facebook pals, it’s being a genuine source of help to the real people in my life. 1) I have to have funds to take care of my parents who’ve seen me through 41 years of bumbling around and never failing to say they are proud of me and that they love me. 2) I’m going to be a dad – being single isn’t going to stop me. If I remarry and have a child naturally that’s great, if I adopt that’s great. If it’s a friend’s child who is hungry. Whatever the situation, I will be able to take care of some little person who needs a father and a mentor. 3) I will share my faith and philosophy as freely as my parents. I will help fund and be a Christian missionary. I will see the day when I know for certain that I have been a good and faithful servant of Jesus. If I get to the end without knowing I’d accomplished these three I’ll consider myself a heartbroken failure.

Since I was a kid I’ve said I wanted to be a dad. My dad and mom are paramount figures in life. They have exemplified all the love of God and have prayed and wept for me in the times when I needed it so bad; my Keller Williams family have shown me what they couldn’t – the foundations of business where systems and models provide a platform for my God-given creativity can flourish. Gary Keller’s chosen motto God, Family, Business sums it up! I didn’t want it to, but it did!

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Keller Williams and the search for THE BIG WHY (Part 1)

Prologue
This has been an awful, no account, very bad day. If something doesn’t change it will be one in a string of them. This isn’t about work, real estate or houses of any sort, it’s about life in general and the pursuit of it.

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Rob Howard @knoxvillerob

The Search For My Big Why
I think whatever we allow to define us, if it doesn’t lead us toward something greater that we aspire to, then it will fail us. Being gorgeous or attractive, being loved by others, being popular or thought to be special in one way or another, we can’t control those things, they depend others and pretend they also that time doesn’t march along.

You and I (lol you may not even know me, but if you read on you may find we’ve got the same problem) have to find what we’re working toward ‘our big why’ and say not worry too much about the rest. If they choose to love us, help us, hate, hinder or admire us from a distance … whatever – it matters less than whatever that one big reason that you keep going toward. Someone I consider a friend recently talked about his ‘Big Why’ and how we all need one to keep on track, to work hard, to keep from giving up.

I’ve been groping with that, or carefully avoiding looking for it, for about eight years. In the meantime, a couple days ago one of my friends gave up on trying to control what we can’t control and had no big why. He ended his own life way too young. What a waste, we all said, but he gave up.

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If not there is only a sunset on your way to achieving the undefined.

Another friend yesterday said that it was ‘do or don’t day’ for him, he’s either cranking up his career and life in full speed, or he’s going up find something else.

At KW, we’re constantly surrounded by those who are energetic, upbeat, helpful and successful – infusing my personal life with a sense of possibility and I realize that there is opportunity with every step I take – then I take that energy and run with it as far as it takes me. For so many of us that enthusiastic injection only lasts until we sit down and start to work only to allow our lack of direction to put us in a tailspin until the firecracker is spent.

By God, I’m not going to give up. Before midnight tonight I’ll sort out my ‘Big Why’ I’ll share it with you. I hope you get one too.

Epilogue
The Big Why concept probably didn’t originate with Keller Williams. I suspect it originated in the Bible, in fact I know it did. If God is your Big Why, he’s the best, but one word isn’t focused enough. Paraphrasing my friend Chad, it has to be something so defined as to be pictured and so important that if it doesn’t happen your heart will break.

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My cat, JK, has been my constant companion on the road to my Big Why. He's 15 years old.

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