15 Home Staging Tricks Most People Don’t Know

If you’re selling a home in Nashville, your REALTOR® will most likely talk to you about home staging – the act of making your home as appealing as possible to the widest range of buyers. The fact is that staged homes sell faster (and for more money) than their non-staged counterparts do, so it makes sense to take some time boosting your home's appeal. 15 Home Staging Tricks Most People Don’t Know Check out these 15 simple home staging tricks that can help you sell your home faster and for more money: Be ruthless when you declutter Give every room a purpose Remove half the clothes from your closet Hire a professional cleaning team Replace your decor with neutral pieces and mirrors Get rid of heavy drapes Make cosmetic fixes Clean up your yard Make your entryway welcoming Use buyers’ senses Add texture Reserve vibrant colors for accents Use plants to your advantage Make every room look comfortable Turn on all the lights Scroll down for a closer look at each. Home Staging Trick #1: Be Ruthless When You Declutter Go through every room in your home looking for items you haven't used in the past six months [...]

By |2022-03-02T23:58:28-06:00March 4th, 2022|Blog, Home Staging, How To, Tips|Comments Off on 15 Home Staging Tricks Most People Don’t Know

Using a VA Loan to Buy Your Next Home in Tennessee

If you’re like many people, you qualify for a loan backed by the U.S. Veterans Administration – but how do you use a VA loan to buy a home in Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin or another city in Middle Tennessee? This guide explains. How Do You Use a VA Loan to Buy a Home in Tennessee? VA loans are for veterans of the U.S. armed forces, their qualifying dependents and a handful of others who qualify. If you’re a veteran or current service member in any branch (including the reserve components), you may be eligible for a VA loan. You’ll have to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, or CoE, from the U.S. Veterans Administration. After you have your CoE in-hand, take it to your lender. Your lender will explain your loan options. How Does a VA Loan Work? A VA loan doesn’t actually come from the VA. Instead, the Veterans Administration backs it; that means the VA guarantees some or all of the loan. Your lender gets a guarantee from the VA that if you default on your payments, the VA will help cover its losses. Because the U.S. government is backing the loan, lenders are comfortable giving you more favorable [...]

By |2022-02-04T18:02:56-06:00February 4th, 2022|Blog, Buying and Selling Tips, Mortgages|Comments Off on Using a VA Loan to Buy Your Next Home in Tennessee

Industry Insider Update: Technology’s Role in a Changing Industry

Last week we examined the evolving role of the real estate agent in light of changes happening across our industry. Technology is a major player in both how and why our industry is shifting. This week we’ll look at the role it’s played as well as how agents can harness technology to grow their businesses. Technology’s Impact Historically, agents have served as data providers for their clients—helping potential buyers find properties, guiding sellers through the pricing process based on home prices in the area, and more. But with the introduction of technologies like Zillow, Trulia, and even Amazon’s Alexa, consumers are being increasingly empowered with easy access to information. The power and impact of technology doesn’t end there. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be the next big drivers of change with respect to automation and data-driven insights as well as products and services. And many transactions will be moving into the digital space, speeding up the home buying and selling process. For the smart agent, it’s time to pivot from fighting back against technology. Agents must embrace their new roles and harness new tools for greater efficiencies and sales. Smart CRM’s and the Power of Big Data CRM’s or [...]

By |2019-06-27T09:33:11-05:00August 24th, 2018|Agent Blog, Blog, Consumer Blog, Featured Blog Posts|Comments Off on Industry Insider Update: Technology’s Role in a Changing Industry

Benchmark Realty Ranked Among Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Companies

Benchmark is excited to share that, for the fourth consecutive year, it’s been ranked on Inc. 5000’s list of fastest-growing private companies in America. With nearly seven million private companies in the U.S., only a small fraction of businesses makes the list by demonstrating consistent high growth. “Wow! Four years in a row!” said our CEO Phillip Cantrell. “Truly an outstanding recognition and accomplishment.  We feel deeply, deeply honored to be found in such rarefied company.”  Since 1982, the Inc. 5000 list has honored the journeys of the fastest-growing companies in America. It’s one of the most prestigious honors for growing private businesses and business leaders. Many companies who have ranked on past lists have become household names like Microsoft, Under Armour, Pandora, Chobani, Facebook, and more. “We have indeed been blessed. By circumstances, by loyal clients, by the hardest-working team in this industry, and most importantly, blessed by God to have achieved these successes,” Cantrell said. “We are grateful, truly humbled by this recognition, and looking forward to many more years of growth.” If you’re a real estate agent looking to make a change, now may be the right time to join ranks with one of Inc. 5000’s ranking companies. Find out [...]

By |2018-08-15T09:38:13-05:00August 15th, 2018|Agent Blog, Blog, Consumer Blog, Featured Blog Posts|Comments Off on Benchmark Realty Ranked Among Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Companies

Networking Opportunities for Middle Tennessee Real Estate Agents

As a real estate agent, building relationships is a part of the job—maybe even the best part. Connecting with other agents doesn’t just give you the chance to share stories, ideas and best practices, it also lets you build long-term friendships. That’s why we’ve introduced Group Therapy at 5:01 as a chance for real estate agents to connect with each other and potential vendors in a fun, after-hours environment. We meet at a chosen location around the Middle Tennessee area from once a month to once a quarter, depending on company schedules, giving attendees the chance to unwind and relax, with some talking business and others just having a good time. Though Benchmark agents can work out of any of seven our offices at any time, regardless of which office holds their license, it can be hard to get everyone together. Group Therapy at 5:01 has made it possible, drawing agents from across Middle Tennessee. So far, we’ve held meetings at Top Golf in downtown Nashville, Arrington Vineyards in Franklin and Urban Grub in 12th Avenue South (just to name a few). But Group Therapy at 5:01 isn’t only limited to the Benchmark community. We encourage all real estate agents [...]

By |2019-06-27T09:33:11-05:00August 7th, 2018|Agent Blog, Blog, Consumer Blog, Featured Blog Posts|Comments Off on Networking Opportunities for Middle Tennessee Real Estate Agents

A House as Whimsical as the Man Who Owned It: A Look Behind the Walls of the Late Leon Russell’s Home

The former home of renowned songwriter Leon Russell is now on the market. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame, Leon collaborated with The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Elton John, among others, before he passed in 2016. At 6,120 square feet, the home is a marvel. But its history goes far beyond its four bedrooms, customized elevator, and gargoyle anointed terraces. It’s a place of stories and life that was as magical as the man who last called it home. The house was originally built in 1992 for Dennis Linde, another prolific songwriter. Dennis was best known for the 1972 Elvis Presley Hit “Burning Love” but was also the mastermind behind songs recorded by many other artists including Roy Orbison, Tanya Tucker, Roger Miller, Don Williams, The Judds, Alan Jackson, Mark Chesnutt, and Garth Brooks. After his death in 2006, Dennis’ wife Pam knew exactly who should start their own chapter in this wonderful home. While they had never met the Russells, she felt that Leon was the right fit to continue the legacy of memories made there. Leon’s wife, Jan Bridges, recalls, “It felt like church—like a bit of magic.” She still remembers the first day they saw [...]

By |2018-08-03T09:29:58-05:00August 3rd, 2018|Agent Blog, Blog, Consumer Blog, Featured Blog Posts|Comments Off on A House as Whimsical as the Man Who Owned It: A Look Behind the Walls of the Late Leon Russell’s Home

Nashville Among Top Cities for Home Appreciation

The Nashville housing market has been booming for the past few years, and in 2017 we reached the third-highest home appreciation nationwide, with homes growing in value at 12.5 percent on average. Homes sold for a median price of close to $225,000, compared to $200,000 in 2016. Why the growth? Nashville continues to be an “it” city, with people moving from higher-cost markets for better-paying jobs. To these buyers, our high prices are still considered a bargain, making them willing to pay more for a home than a local buyer. In the fourth quarter of last year, homes sold for an average of 51 percent more than what the sellers originally paid, which is even more than the highest profits during the last housing boom. While experts do expect the appreciation to slow, they don’t anticipate a crash. That’s because our growth has driven by demand rather than loose lending standards. Still, if you’ve been considering selling your home, now is the time, before the expected slowdown hits our market. Partnering with the right agent can help you get the best possible sales price for your home. Curious how much your home is worth? Tools like Zillow and Trulia can [...]

By |2018-07-26T09:40:34-05:00July 12th, 2018|Agent Blog, Blog, Consumer Blog, Featured Blog Posts|Comments Off on Nashville Among Top Cities for Home Appreciation

Industry Insider Update: The Evolving Role of the Real Estate Agent

The real estate industry is changing fast. Just two years ago, Benchmark CEO Phillip Cantrell predicted the next five years would have more change than we’d seen in the last twenty, but it doesn't stop there. Now, the next two years may hold more change than the last seventy-five, and many unprepared agents are reeling. We’ll be sharing a two-part series looking at the two largest shifts in the industry and how savvy, professional agents can respond to them and use them to their benefit: the changing role of the agent and the impact of technology. Last year was a major turning point for our industry. Though traditionally relationships and referrals have played a significant role in building a client base, for the first time in history more consumers found agents online than via person-to-person referrals in 2017 (28 percent versus 23 percent compared to 2016’s 26 percent versus 33 percent). This—combined with a client’s ability to find relevant, accurate information on the homes in their market—signals a change in how home buyers and sellers view the role an agent plays in their transactions. Agents are no longer gatekeepers of information. Instead, to remain relevant in a quickly changing world, [...]

By |2019-06-27T09:33:11-05:00June 26th, 2018|Agent Blog, Blog, Consumer Blog, Featured Blog Posts|Comments Off on Industry Insider Update: The Evolving Role of the Real Estate Agent

Why Are Real Estate Agents Getting Sued or Having TREC Complaints Filed Against Them?

Today’s real estate market has turned into a legal battlefield. Even though the real estate licensee might not be the reason a lawsuit is filed, they will probably find themselves caught in the crossfire. The trend in agent-related lawsuits and complaints has increased dramatically since the 1990’s and will probably continue for the foreseeable future. Why is the trend for suing an agent increasing? There are more and more complex real estate transactions than in the past such as property trades, assignments or transactions involving alternative financing. Whenever you have a complicated transaction, you increase the likelihood that something will go wrong and that the practitioner will end up getting sued. Also, there is a lack of adequate agent training. Many real estate firms are not providing the type of training and coaching needed to ensure their real estate licensees are doing everything they can to minimize the risk of being sued or having a TREC complaint filed against them. Society as a whole is growing more litigious. Everyone seems to be “lawyering up.” People are more willing to sue today than ever before. This trend is affecting a broad spectrum of business, not just the real estate industry. Studies [...]

By |2018-05-23T09:07:32-05:00May 22nd, 2018|Agent Blog, Blog, Consumer Blog, Featured Blog Posts|Comments Off on Why Are Real Estate Agents Getting Sued or Having TREC Complaints Filed Against Them?

22 Benchmark Agents Rated Among Best

WalletHub compared the 168 Nashville real estate agents who have at least one active listing and at least one sale in the last 12 months. Each agent was evaluated in four categories: active listings, recent sales, Zillow rating and WalletHub rating. Twenty-two Benchmark Agents made the list! Allen Clark Perry Ranking: 10 Brianna E. Morant Ranking: 13 Martin Samuel Lovelace Ranking: 19 Andra Brewer Ranking: 35 Scott F. Hardesty Ranking: 56 Bojan Zivak Ranking: 68 Jonathan Cole Melcher Ranking: 71 Larry M. Morgan Ranking: 85 Cameron Ray Hunt Ranking: 85 Lisa B. Peebles Ranking: 89 William Thomas Anderson Ranking: 90 Andrea S. Ladd Ranking: 93 Amanda Paige McDowell Ranking: 93 Gregory Crockett Ranking: 104 Monica S. Horseman Ranking: 115 John Andrew Carlton Ranking: 115 Andrew L. Buckwalter Ranking: 120 Kristie Leigh Young Ranking: 128 Matthew Alan Hansen Ranking: 134 John Richie Cordaro Ranking: 139 Luann Marie Reid Ranking: 153 Keith Michael Pillatsch Ranking: 156 Methodology Originally posted at WalletHub.com. To identify the best real estate agents in Nashville, TN, WalletHub compared 168 real estate agents operating in Nashville across four key metrics: 1) Active Listings; 2) Sales in the Last 12 Months; 3) Zillow Rating; and 4) WalletHub rating. WalletHub [...]

By |2018-05-11T15:18:11-05:00May 11th, 2018|Agent Blog, Blog, Consumer Blog, Featured Blog Posts|Comments Off on 22 Benchmark Agents Rated Among Best
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