Farragut, TN: Popular for families, retirement and life in general!


Welcome to the vibrant town of Farragut, named after the honored Favorite Son Admiral David Farragut as well as regional shopping mecca Turkey Creek. Located minutes from Knoxville and all the University of Tennessee – Go Vols!  

While definitely an extension of an Orange-blooded college town, Farragut is attracting more & more families of home buyers due to it’s amenities, wonderful parks and recreation spots, great climate, and highly ranked schools. Farragut is rated among the top places to live in Tennessee, work and retire in 2013. 


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Career, Business and Life – Keller Williams in Knoxville, TN

Knoxville, TN - Careers Worth Having, Businesses Worth Owning, Lives Worth Living

Keller Williams in Knoxville is a team of people who are fun, energetic and helpful. We use and teach the latest technology every day to help each agent achieve the goals and success at the level they desire.

In the mid 1980s, Gary Keller began a company built upon his firm belief that if they focused on growing agents who excel in all aspects of life, the agents would be truly dedicated to the company and build it greater than anyone could reasonably expect. Keller Williams Realty has since grown to the #1 real estate company in the nation – with an army of more than 80,000 agents.

Careers Worth HavingRob Howard - Keller Williams - Knoxville and Farragut, TN

“It’s not about the money. It’s about being the best you can be!” – those are the words at the top of Gary Keller’s best-selling book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.

In that book, Keller and his co-authors examined the systems  and interviewed thousand of the top producing agents in North America. Their systems, models and processes are integrated into not only the book but throughout the organization in its frequent training, educational events, mentoring and a best-selling series of publications.

Click here to see a list of great titles from Gary Keller and Keller Williams

Having a Business Worth Owning

One of the wonderful MAPS coaches - Beth Torrence - presents information at Keller Williams Knoxville Market Center.

One of the wonderful MAPS coaches – Beth Torrence – presents information at Keller Williams Knoxville Market Center.

Keller Williams is a company built by agents for agents. Like a working university, top performers in each Market Center share their expertise with other agents, while learning from each other how to make their own businesses better. An industry of fierce competition has been replaced by a Culture of Teamwork and Cooperation. Gary Keller teaches and often reinforces that the agent is their own brand and makes all the tools and technology available for you to build your own business – and make it a career worth having.

To learn more about our company’s brand philosophy, download your copy of Does Brand Matter to the Real Estate Consumer?, a white paper from Keller Williams Realty.

Lives Worth Living

Sharon Laing - our Operating Principal and Agent Leigh ReynoldsMoney is only helpful if it is used to fund a great life. Keller Williams in Knoxville is built on a culture of agents who care about one another and commit to creating positive experiences in our offices, in the homes of our clients and around the Knoxville area as a whole.  We join together at different times of the year to support local charities as well as helping each other with both business and personal needs whenever possible. We also have a great time, joining for monthly get-togethers and giving the each KW from the newest agent to the area’s top mega-producers opportunities to meet, learn from and socialize. It’s not forced, we like it!

My personal experience

Rob Howard - Keller WilliamsI have been in real estate for more than 10 years. You can read my story after a few months at KW here.  If you would like to talk about whether Keller Williams in Knoxville is a good fit for you, you can:  Contact me on Facebook, call me at my office 865-966-5005 or My cell at 865-288-9123.

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Selling your Knoxville condo? Here’s news.

So you have a condo you’d like to sell in Knoxville? The government isn’t making it easy.

Another real estate agent friend just shared this with me. I hope it helps you prepare because preparation is key to getting your home sold

From an article
By Michele Lerner • Bankrate.com

The borrower has to qualify for a loan, and so does the condo association.
The FHA has different condo-lending standards from Fannie and Freddie.
When the condo is deemed “nonwarrantable,” few options remain.

Borrowers run into two problems when getting a mortgage on a condominium: strict standards that make it hard to qualify for a condo loan, and high costs.

These issues beset condo buyers who want to get mortgages as well as people who already own condos and want to refinance.

Compare mortgage rates
Bankrate can help you find the best mortgage rates in your area.
“Condos are like the canary in the coal mine, a leading indicator of the health of the real estate market,” says John McClellan, a branch manager with Supreme Lending in Austin, Texas. “Recently, lenders’ biggest losses came from condos, so they are viewed as risky.” Some lenders reject condo loans altogether.

Condo loans have to jump through two hoops. First the borrower has to qualify. Then the condo association has to qualify. The borrower has little or no control over the latter.

“Condo financing is very situational because it depends not only on the borrower, but also on the project itself,” says Matt Ostrander, CEO of Parkside Lending LLC in San Francisco. “The guidelines have tightened because lenders want to see a financially healthy condo development. They want to see a higher concentration of owner-occupants and they want to see that delinquency rates on condo fees are low.”

Standards differ

Lenders follow guidelines from the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for condo mortgages.

Among Fannie Mae’s requirements:

More than half of the condo units must be owner-occupied.
No owner may own more than 10 percent of the units.
No more than 15 percent of owners can be delinquent on condo dues.
All amenities must be completed if the development is more than 12 months old.
Buyers who make a down payment of less than 25 percent will pay an additional 0.75 percent of the loan amount at the closing or a higher interest rate of about 0.25 percent.
The FHA has much friendlier down payment requirements, but strict guidelines for condo associations.

“It’s a misconception on the part of the public that you can’t buy a condo without a big down payment,” says Ed Wilburn, a mortgage banker with FEMBi Mortgage in Miami. “The rules are stricter now, but if you find a building that has already earned an FHA approval, you can get in with a down payment of 3.5 percent. FHA approval depends on the financial health of the condo, so the condo association needs to prove that they have adequate insurance, a budget with reserves, no pending lawsuits and no anticipated special assessments.”

Where to begin

Wilburn says condo buyers should start by checking to see if a building is approved for FHA loans. If not, they can ask the lender to see if the building meets Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines. Buyers can ask condominium managers if they have recently completed a homeowners’ association certification or questionnaire, which provides information on condo fee delinquencies, insurance and other factors that affect eligibility for loans.

“Even if the condo meets the Fannie Mae guidelines, buyers may find that they must make a down payment of 20 percent or more because mortgage insurance companies are less willing to provide mortgage insurance on condo loans, since they are considered riskier,” Wilburn says. “In fact, most mortgage insurance companies won’t insure a Florida condo. It may be easier in other markets.”

McClellan says a local lender will know which local complexes have FHA or Fannie Mae approvals. “Have a list of places you like and check the status of their approval” with the lender, he says.

Options thin out

Condos that are not approved for FHA or Fannie Mae financing are known as “nonwarrantable” and offer few options for buyers or refinancers.

“Buyers can either pay cash or they can look for a local bank that is willing to lend, but they should be prepared with a hefty down payment of 50 percent or more, have excellent credit and still be prepared to pay a higher interest rate,” McClellan says. “They should expect to pay as much as 7.5 percent when rates are 4.5 percent for other loans.”

Homeowners interested in refinancing will first need to face the potential problem of a lack of equity, since condo values have dropped in many areas.

“Condo owners can ask their management company if their complex is FHA- or Fannie Mae-approved, and if not, they may want to contact a local lender to see if they start the process for obtaining an approval,” McClellan says. “It’s in the best interest of all the owners to do what they can to meet FHA guidelines, since that approval can increase the value of all the homes in the development.”

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KnoxvilleRob – The Other Knoxville Profile


I just had a profile featured on the wonderful little websites The Other Knoxville and Enjoy Knoxville.

It was an interview about my love and memories of living in Knoxville for the past 20+ years.

See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD45t_GV_S4&feature=youtu.be

The text of the profile is included below:

Few people know Knoxville quite like Rob Howard.

True, being an authority on the city’s homes and neighborhoods—their specs, market values and the unique details that make them perfect for one buyer or another—is part of his job as a realtor for Keller Williams.

But it’s Rob’s instinctive curiosity for Knoxville’s lesser-known, sometimes hidden, charms that makes him a true ambassador for all quadrants of the city. His eye for architectural details has led him to prize historic homes, and he once owned the sprawling Victorian house adjacent to the legendary Sassy Ann’s in the Fourth and Gill neighborhood. He fondly recalls enjoying the late-night club vibe next door from the comfort of his own porch.

As a longtime fan of college rock, Rob’s ear for the independent makes him a fan of many local bands, leading to hours spent at The Pilot Light in the Old City and trolling the aisles of the Disc Exchange for local releases by The Bitter Pills, the Tim Lee 3, Quartjar and others. And although he laments not making the scene as often as he once did, he still enjoys catching The Vibraslaps at the West Wing Café, Kimber Cleveland at Mulligan’s, or the occasional up ‘n’ coming band at the Preservation Pub.

Rob Howard is an insider now, having lived here for 20 years, but when he talks about his Knoxville, his eyes twinkle just like they did when he first visited as a youngster from Polk County who was so dazzled by the city he would eventually call home.

If you are interested in making your own wonderful memories in Knoxville, your next home is here Rob Howard, Keller Williams Realty.

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7 Places and Things I LOVE about South Knoxville

I have lived or spent a significant amount of time is just about every area of Knoxville. When a student at UT, I started Knoxville life on campus – if it wasn’t within walking distance or an occasional trip out west to see a “dollar movie” or eat at IHOP, it didn’t exist for me.

Old South High School


In the 21 years I’ve spent living North, South, East and West – I’ve come to love different aspects of each part of town. I spent the better part of 10 years living in South Knoxville and came to love that area for hundreds of different reasons. Here are a few of my favorite places and things to love about spending time in South Knoxville.

1) Colonial Village – Living in Colonial Village, to me, is like spending your life in a Norman Rockwell painting. So many of the homes have the character and feel of a past era, a time and place where whimsical things happen and every day life is genuinely fun. Lots of trees, tons of cozy 1950s era homes with all the character features and the people to match.
Rob’s connection: I lived in, renovated and rented out a home on Lakeview.

2) Lindbergh Forest – Right off Woodlawn Pike the eclectic, magical Lindbergh Forest neighborhood is a wonderful place to stroll around and take in the sights of a beautiful mix of 1920s vintage brick and stucco homes in every shape and size. This was one of the Places to Live when Knoxville was growing up. Today it is peopled with UT professors, artists, downtown denizens and a fantastic group of friendly neighbors.
Rob’s Connection: Friends and clients have opened their homes to me and I have spent many nights on a front porch talking about nothing and everything.

3) Island Home – Passing through the Marble Columns of Island Home, is like stepping back in the late 1800s. Old growth Oaks and Maples line the Boulevard, people play with their children in the park next to the Mighty Tennessee River and fly their small prop planes out of Island Home Airport. This is also the home of the Tennessee School For The Deaf – home of the Mighty Vikings.
Rob’s Connection: I have frequented the park, walking trails and toured many homes and gardens on the Dogwood Trail.

Owl at Ijams

One of the owls that live at Ijams Nature Center

4) Ijams Nature Center – Not a neighborhood, but 80 acres of walking trails including a variety of different ecosystems. The perfect place to take a camera for a photowalk. Deep in the woods, at different times of year you may see some of the owls, cranes, a field of blazing sunflowers or other diverse standouts of nature. Be sure to check out the River Trail!
Rob’s Connection: Aside from tons of photo journeys, I have listened to fun presentations on the different animals and plants presented by volunteers in the Nature Center.

5) Disc Exchange – One of the fixtures of South Knoxville, the Disc Exchange is a place for the music lover. Drop in and listen to a live afternoon show, browse the records or discover a new favorite local band. Not just a music store, the Disc Exchange offers kitschy collections of music and pop culture related swag!
Rob’s Connection: Whenever I’m in South Knoxville, you’re likely to find me trolling the local music selections, attached to one of the listening bars, or picking up a piece of vinyl for my record collection.

Entering South Knoxville

South Knoxville JFG Sign

6) Vestival – The South Knoxville community has hosted Vestival since its inception in 2001. At Vestival, the community turns out to celebrate the heritage of Vestal and South Knoxville, it has since become one of the wider-Knoxville community’s finest yearly events. The festival spawned the birth of the Candoro Arts and Heritage Center. The festival takes place on the historic grounds of the old Candoro Marble Company on the corner of Maryville Pike and Candoro Ave. The beautiful old building still stands on the site and has recently been renovated by the Candoro Arts and Heritage Center. The building often houses an art exhibit during Vestival. The main activities take place outside of the building with over 40 craft and food vendors and a number of bluegrass, rock and Americana bands on two stages.
Rob’s Connection: You can find me grooving to Quartjar, Greg Horne, Todd Steed or any number of other bands, stopping for a Petro while racing between stages. I’m also sometimes get a massage or be mesmerized by the Gypsy Hands belly-dancing troupe between shows.

7) South Doyle – This sleepy bedroom community comes alive in each season with the sounds of baseball pats crashing, shoulder pads crunching and band concerts – surrounding South Doyle high school. The area feels like small-town America, just minutes from Downtown Knoxville!
Rob’s Connection: During college I always knew when baseball season was about to start when I received calls from players looking for venerable coach Robby Howard.

If you’d like to explore life in South Knoxville further – find your home here!

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Mothers Day Musing: Folding Clothes???


I was just thinking about the effects my mother has had on me through the years. One of the good effects has always been an obsession with nicely folded clothes.

There are many ways that I have gone my own way, putting things away in a tidy manner didn’t stick, my “man room” is constantly a mess of mounds – papers, books, electronics, junk and treasure all democraticly discarded waiting to be either picked up and reused or finally relegated to the landfill. This is NOT something I learned from my mother – regardless of the hour, my mother’s house is neat as a pin. I think I may have gotten my penchant for piggishness in part from my dad, but he is better than me by a mile.

Growing up, I remember watching my mother fold laundry and it always looked like someone could wrap it in cellophane and put it back on the store shelf. My clothes always seemed to last longer and look better through her efforts. That was good since we never had a lot of money to waste.

Other aspects of my life that reflect my mother’s influence include a love of God, an insatiable wanderlust and deep care for family.

For many years I travelled all around Knoxville – didn’t hate moving though in my 21 years of living in town I have had 10 homes in all areas of town – North, South, East and West. I live in Farragut now, but yesterday I attended Vestival, the South Knox Arts & Heritage festival. I ran into friends who have better found their niches in town. Friends who have been in my life in real meaningful, and others in fleeting ways since I arrived in town for college in 1991.

I have always felt the wistful tug of home, at some transitional times more than others. I dream sometimes of moving back to my grandmother’s farm with the acres, farm house and pond. Other times, I think New York is where I’d “rhather” be, but Knoxville has always fit like a glove.

I thank my mom for this, knowing I can always go home, even if its not a permanent relocation.

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How I Do Open Houses

My marketing plan includes many proven methods which are in use by most professional real estate agents. The difference with me is how I choose to take everything to the next level.
Today I am going to use open house promotion as an example. Here are seven levels of marketing an open house. As you begin to read the list you’ll see that most agents do some of these things when they hold an open house. Then you’ll see that very few agents do them all.
Level 1: Put a sign in the yard.
Level 2: Add balloons (where allowed) and/or riders. Riders should be in place in advance when possible.
Level 3: Put directional signs up from main roads. These should be in place in advance when possible.
Level 4: Advertise online (multiple web sites, blogs, social media).
Level 5: Send email invites to potential buyers/agents.
Level 6: Invite neighbors (mail/flyers/phone calls) a week before. (Sometimes have a separate open house or special previewing time.)
Level 7: All of the above plus coordinate to have other nearby homes open the same day to pull in extra traffic from the collective marketing efforts.
Do you need an agent that can take things to the next level? Talk to me, work with me, and you’ll see the difference.
This blog post is repeated from a wonderful agent Vicky Chisner is Northern Virginia – see her great blog at:
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