It’s Time for Spring Redecorating!

Get ready for Spring in East Tennessee with these decorating trends!


Winter is still here, but warmer weather is creeping in. Here in East Tennessee, we’re having a few days of balmy temperatures mixed in with soggy, wet and windy days. It’s just enough to get that Spring Fever fired up.

Maybe we’d freeze if we tried to go out and enjoy the weather, but we can do the next best thing in preparation for the sweet spring that’s just around the corner: redecorate!

purple spring flowers

Country Living predicted some great decorating trend changes for 2018. Here are a few of our favorites:

Colorful Kitchens

White-on-white-on-white has been pretty popular in kitchens for a while, but the folks at Country Living think people are craving color in their lives again. Set off your warm, inviting tones with wood accents. Also keep an eye out for darker, more daring sink options, like concrete.

No More Accent Walls

While they’re colorful and eye-catching, other trends are moving in, like wainscotting and “accent ceilings.”

Jewel Tones

Channel your inner East Tennessean Empress for this trend. Darker, subdued walls have been popular, but trends now are leaning toward Pantone’s selected Ultra Violet and Sherwin William’s Oceanside. If those tones are too overwhelming for your taste, try furniture, throw pillows or even walls painted in several shades lighter of the same palate.

Brass Fixtures

Farmhouse-industrial especially looks great with a brass finish. It’s a fun alternative to brighter gold or more subdued nickel finishes.

three pots for darlene


This fun term is Japanese, and it’s the name of a simplistic, hand-made movement. Wabi-Sabi is all about making do with what you have, and living simply. It’s a nice way to think about decluttering and streamlining your home’s style. It fits really well with a lot of our East Tennessean cabins in the mountains; Wabi-Sabi celebrates handmade pottery and rough-spun linens. If you can’t really see yourself paring down to the extreme minimalism that some people still find intriguing, then consider using hand-thrown pottery with Oceanside-hued walls in your dining room.

Move Over, Tupperware Bins

Beautiful furniture that functions as storage is getting more popular. Sideboards, storage benches, hollow ottomans … we need our stuff to do more than just sit there!


Remember those great lima-bean-shaped couches in gold or orange velvet? Well, don’t worry, those aren’t back. But more modern, subdued versions of shapely furniture are rising in popularity. Think curved backs and seats.

flowers for darlene


Florals are in, especially if you like the Bohemian flare. (Really, florals are never out if you’re into Bohemian style!) You can incorporate bright, bold prints with an accent chair or bedding for a pop that’s not overwhelming.

Black and White

Set off your jewel tones and bright florals with some simple, retiring black-and-white patterns.

As you can see, trends have become so eclectic that you’ll be able to find inspiration no matter what your personal aesthetic is!

If you’re feeling inspired to decorate your home for spring, check out some of the cool, local shops in downtown Morristown or Dandridge. You might find that perfect antique sideboard or bright piece of art to set the tone you’re looking for.

And, if you’re looking for a new home (or to sell your current home) in East Tennessee, check out


Tax Season is Coming!

It’s time to start thinking about taxes! Here are few things to keep in mind.

It’s February already. We have hearts in our eyes for Valentine’s Day coming up, but we’re also thinking about another big day: Tax Day. It’s that time of year that we start gathering up our important documents and either pulling up a seat in front of the laptop or taking them down to our CPA. We know, we know … the deadline is still a couple months ahead to get this done, but we thought we’d remind you of a couple of real estate tax points.


It’s a great time to buy or sell your property! The market has really been picking up, and a better economy means people are changing jobs—so they have to move in a hurry. With all these houses changing hands, lots of taxes have to come out of pocket, right? Well, not necessarily. We checked out this article to bring you a few helpful facts.

Capital Gains

If you sold your house in 2017, you might not owe any capital gains taxes. In fact, most people won’t. If you’ve lived in your house for at least two of the previous five years—as your primary residence—and you made less than $250,000.00 in profit from the sale, then you don’t owe taxes. If you’re married and file taxes jointly, the profit margin goes up.


If you haven’t lived in your home for more than 2 of the last 5 years, and you’ve rented it out, you’ll have to pay up to 15% taxes on the sale. This is true of second homes, too.


If you lose money on the sale by selling your property for an amount less than you paid, then you don’t owe taxes (but you don’t get any extra tax help, either.)


This is a different story. If your property loses value, but you still sell it for more than you paid, you’ll have to calculate your taxes at 15% on the money you made. The depreciation value is taxed at a different rate. This is a case best discussed with your tax professional, because (as you can see) it’s complicated.


Owner Financing

What if you sell a rental building and accept monthly payments from the buyer? You’ll still have to pay gains taxes, at a percentage of the monthly payments. You’ll end up paying the same amount of taxes, eventually, as you’d have paid if you’d gotten the whole lump sum up front.


There are lots of ways to do real estate business, including property trading. This is usually done with commercial property. If you trade properties for an equal, “like” property, you won’t owe taxes at the time of the trade. You’ll still owe when you sell, though.

For all of these real estate tax issues, it’s always better to be completely sure of your tax responsibilities. Consult your trusted CPA! You don’t want taxes to fall between the cracks (risking an audit) or, just as bad, you don’t want to end up paying too much!

Interested in buying or selling your East Tennessee home? Check out and get started!

Winter House Shopping: Why?

Read our favorite reasons for buying a home in the winter!

We’ve posted before about the advantages of buying a home in the wintertime. It’s still a great idea, and we thought it was worth another look. Read on to find out some excellent reasons to go home shopping during the chilliest time of year!

Yup, it’s cold. But the frosty weather is probably in your favor!

1. The seller is probably highly motivated.

Homes that stay (or show up) on the market in the winter are usually there because the owner really, really wants to sell. Reasons for this can range from someone relocating for work to getting married or divorced, or any other major life change you can think of! With this in mind, you (as the buyer) might have a couple of real advantages:

  • You may get a better deal.
  • Negotiations may be shorter.

Someone who just wants to sell and move will be far more willing to shave a little off the price, and won’t dither over small details in the contract. Just be careful that you get a thorough house inspection, and know for sure this is the house for you! You want to do some gentle probing of the seller’s agent to find out whether the seller’s motivation comes from a life change, or from something seriously wrong with the house. Don’t let your excitement for the house blind you!

2. There is less competition from other buyers.

There are good reasons winter is a less popular house-shopping season. It’s often cold and dreary, and many families have kids already settled into school. It’s much more comfortable to snuggle up at home and wait until the weather gets more cheerful to pound the house-shopping pavement. But this is great news for you! It means you’ll have a more leisurely shopping experience, and you’ll get more attention from realtors, who are possibly slowing down in the cold season. You’ll also have less competition in the form of other offers on your dream home.

Just be sure to bundle up while you’re house hunting! A warm cup of coffee helps, too!

3. You get to see how well the house stands up to winter.

Poor insulation, leaky windows and roofs and inadequate heat pumps can make living in a house almost unbearable in the cold winter—not to mention extremely expensive. When you tour the home, you’ll be able to see how the heating keeps up, and check for leaks and drafts during the coldest part of the year.

Did you know you can contact the local utility company and ask for an average heating and electric bill for the house before you buy? That kind of information can be key in deciding whether to take the (polar) plunge on buying a home in the winter. Also, review our article about options for heating your home, and cost comparison on the different types, in East Tennessee.

4. You’ll love your house even more in the spring!

It’s true. If you find the perfect house when the weather is dreary and the back yard is barren, just imagine how delightful it will all be when the spring flowers bloom and the leaves fill out in the warmer months! And, since you’ll be all moved in already, you’ll have that much more time to work in the garden when spring is finally sprung.

Ready to layer up and get house shopping in East Tennessee? Start at

Baby, It’s Cold Outside … REALLY Cold!

Stay warm and stay safe with a few fire safety tips.

It’s cold.

It’s bitterly, bitterly cold here in East Tennessee—all up and down the Eastern United States, in fact—and a lot of us here just weren’t prepared for it! It’s been down in the single-digits multiple times in the past week. We have to admit, this kind of slap-you-in-the-face cold weather has been known to blow in from time to time around here, but we got mighty used to warmer winters. Maybe not tropical winter weather, but you know, around 30 degrees or so for a cold day.


Water pipes are freezing faster than we can shout, “Good Golly, that’s frosty!” Electric heat pumps are failing for some, and others are in danger of starting a house fire with unsafe heating practices. We thought it was a good time to think about some winter fire safety tips. Read on:

Pipe Safety

One of the best gadgets for keeping water pipes from freezing is heat tape. It’s available at your local home improvement or hardware store. You just wrap it around your pipes where they’re likely to freeze, and plug it in. The sensors can tell when your water gets down below 40 degrees, and the heating elements in the tape kick on to keep that liquid flowing.

WARNING: Do not allow your heat tape to overlap! This is a common cause for house fires in the winter!

Space Heater Safety

Space heaters are a God-send when it’s so cold your central heat can’t quite keep up. Some people use them in garages or other uninsulated areas to help other appliances stay above freezing. Others use them to keep their toes warm. However you choose to use them, keep these things in mind:

Don’t leave them running when nobody is around. It’s too easy for a heater malfunction to cause a fire. Also, keep anything flammable, or anything at all, really, far away from the heating unit. All too often people get complacent about this rule, and start a winter house fire!


Carbon Monoxide

With all the extra heating methods we’re using to keep warm, carbon monoxide poisoning is a real danger. If you’re using gas, coal or oil-burning appliances, then be even more vigilant of this life-threatening danger! Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors. Many smoke detectors already have built-in carbon monoxide sensors.

Don’t ever use grilling charcoal indoors, and check to make sure your fuel-burning appliance is actually meant for indoor use.

Stay safe while you’re staying warm, and check out these fire safety tips for more information.

The upside to all this arctic weather? According to NPR, the sub-freezing temperatures are helping to kill of the harmful hemlock beetle, which has been killing our forests’ beneficial hemlock trees. We’re hoping the cold season will knock back the mosquito population for 2018, too! After all, we haven’t seen a single mosquito outside lately. We suppose that’s another benefit to all this cold!

Even though it’s cold, we’re still happy to help you search for your next home here in East Tennessee! So check out before you put on those Cuddle Duds and head out to tour your dream house!

Make Your List and Check it Twice!

Stay off the financial naughty list by making sure these things are taken care of!

So, it’s December y’all! The last month of the year. This is the month for holiday decorations, for cheer and good times, and for parties.

It’s also … the last month of the year. And even though we’d like to spend our time shopping, baking and generally enjoying our loved ones, it’s important to make sure all the year’s financial considerations have been taken care of, especially if you bought or sold a home in 2017. Read on for a few considerations in closing out the year on good financial footing!


Real Estate Gains

Most people won’t have to worry about paying taxes if you earned money from the sale of your new home. As this article points out, only gains above $250,000.00 (or $500,000.00 if you file with your spouse) require taxes to be paid. There are other rules to consider, too: your house must have been your primary residence for two to five years, for example, for the gains to be tax exempt. If there are any other complicating factors, such as divorce or inheritance, it’s very important to make sure you’ve covered all your fees and taxes. To be absolutely sure you’ve crossed all your t’s and dotted your i’s when it comes to paying taxes on real estate gains, make sure you consult with your tax professional soon!

Consider Taking a (Polar) Plunge

If you’ve been putting off buying your new home, now might be the time to jump on it. Why? Because that home could be as much as 12% cheaper now than it will be in the summer, according to this article. While there are more houses on the market in the summer, largely because families prefer to make their move in between school years, if you’ve found your perfect place in the winter, pounce on it!

Change of address!


If you moved this year, there might be a few places you overlooked while changing your address. Don’t worry, Santa will probably still find you. (He can fly all around the world in one night and get into houses without chimneys; he can find you in your new neighborhood!) But you want to be sure your 2017 W2 forms will find you, too. Here’s a change-of-address list from to check twice:

    Your place of employment

Your financial institution

Your credit card companies

Your utilities, cable, phone and internet providers

Your doctor, dentist, optometrist and other medical professionals you see regularly

Your health insurance company

Your life insurance company

Your vision/dental/catastrophic insurance company

Your car insurance company

Your rental or home insurance company

Your child’s school

Your child’s doctor, babysitter, music instructor, and others who provide paid services

Your pet’s veterinarian and kennel

Your alma mater

Circulation departments of magazines, newspapers and catalogues you subscribe to

Anyone who may need to send you final bills or info about their professional services in your new area

Friends & family, particularly those who go through the trouble to send holiday cards and paper invitations


Now that you’ve taken care of all that, feel free to toast yourself with a bit of eggnog and get to wrapping presents! Luckily, you can re-purpose some of your moving boxes for gift boxes.

Of course, if you’re ready to start out 2018 in a new home in East Tennessee, go to



Black Friday Options in East Tennessee

Wondering how East Tennesseans do Black Friday?

For some in East Tennessee, Black Friday isn’t complete without the extreme competitive shopping: being the very first customer, getting those crazy door buster deals, and using your new shopping bags full of loot as weapons to fight your way to the next store and the next crazy deal! Some people sit down with the Black Friday store ads after Thanksgiving dinner like a war general, mapping out a plan for their shopping battles to come. But where do they go? If they live in the Lakeway Area, there are more shopping options than you might think. And if you’re new to the area, here are a few ideas to get started.


In Morristown, WalMart is always a classic option for Black Friday deals. College Square Mall is full of retailers for your cut-throat shopping pleasure. With that option, you can even come down from the shopping adrenaline with lunch and an afternoon movie.

Strap on Your Shopping Shoes

For even more shopping options, you can hop on the interstate for a drive just under an hour and check out the outlets in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge. Warning: they’re very, very crowded this time of year! Expect long lines on the road and in (and winding along the sidewalk outside) stores. But often people find great deals, so if you can bring your patience, it might be worth the hassle.


Knoxville has West Town and Knoxville Center malls, as well as the Turkey Creek shopping district for your shopping pleasure. Not as crazy as Sevierville, but bound to be more crowded than Morristown.


Small Businesses

Don’t forget shopping small! Lots of small businesses in the Main Street and Historic districts of Morristown, Dandridge and other smaller burgs roll out the savings for Small Business Saturday, but they’re worth a stop in on Black Friday, too. You never know what delightful little gifts you might find there. Plus, the smaller stores come with a laid-back atmosphere, even on a shopping-crazed weekend like this one.

Don’t be Afraid to Split Up.

Especially in the Sevierville and Pigeon Forge area, there are tons of museums, mini-golf spots, go-cart tracks and more ways to entertain those in your family much less inclined to go shopping. Take advantage of these close-by entertainment options to give you more shopping time!


Don’t forget about #OptOut!

REI, and other outdoors outfitters, have created a movement that lets their employees spend Thanksgiving and the day after with their families. They close their doors and encourage both employees and patrons alike to go outside for a game of Frisbee, a bike ride or (of course!) a hike in our majestic state parks. Even though the leaves are down and the fall weather is crisp, this is a great time of year to enjoy our great outdoors. The stark beauty is every bit as enjoyable as the lush summertime. And, hey, the bugs are pretty much all hibernating at this point, so you can leave the bug spray at home!

Looking for a home in the Lakeway Area? Check out and let’s get started!


Happy Halloween!

If you’re looking for some family-friendly Halloween activities, we’ve got you covered!

Halloween is fast approaching! East Tennessee loves its ghosts and goblins. (We wrote here about some popular local haunts.)

Many neighborhoods still gear up for trick-or-treating, turning on those porch lights and decking out the house in spooky decorations. There are many other fun ways to celebrate this creepy time of year, too! If you’re looking for some family-friendly Halloween activities, we’ve got you covered! Read on to find out more.

Trunk or Treat

This spooky tradition is a fun, safe way to dress up and trick-or-treat … with cars! Locals dress themselves and their cars up in silly or spooky ways and hand out treats to little princesses, super heroes and any other kids who come out in costume! 2017’s event details for local Trunk or Treat events are as follows:

Morristown: 5 p.m., October 31, Trunk or Treat at the Farmer’s Market. (There’s also Trick or Treating downtown at the same time.)

Rogersville:  5 p.m. October 31, Trunk or Treat in the Historic District. Call 423-272-2186 for more information.

Jefferson City: Saturday, October 28, Trunk or Treat at the Fair Grounds. Call 423-312-1081 to find out more!


Boo at the Zoo!

This annual favorite at Zoo Knoxville is geared toward little ones, from infants through elementary age. This activity is a fun way to see some of your favorite animal friends while loading up on candy, donated by local businesses. Proceeds from the event go toward zoo programs like the Species Survival Program, helping endangered animals survive extinction. Expect to see some of your favorite book and movie characters throughout the zoo, and lots of smiling faces!

Boo at the Zoo: Three weekends in October, from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Admission is $9 per person over 4 years old (free for kids under 4) and parking is free for this event.

Dates: October 12 – 15, 19 – 22, 26 – 29

Corn Mazes

Here’s a trade secret you probably didn’t know: maze creators use GPS equipment on their tractors to carve out mazes in the corn fields. I bet corn mazes look pretty amazing from the sky!

Kyker Farms

This corn maze, in Sevierville, is celebrating its 10th season. The maze will be open through October 29, so get out and get lost!

Echo Valley

In Jefferson City, this maze is great for groups and families. Admission is $15, but that covers a lot: even a free pumpkin for the kids! The maze stays open until November 4.

Oakes Farm

In Corryton, this family-friendly attraction is a whole lot more than just a corn maze. Check them out for pumpkins, food, games and tons of activities.


Weather this time of year can be pretty unpredictable; an 80-degree day can plunge quickly into a 40-degree night! So make sure you check the forecast and dress accordingly. Layers are always a good idea during the fall in East Tennessee. And be sure to use safety lights, like flash lights and glow sticks, and have a safety plan in place with your kids whether you’re out trick-or-treating or getting lost in the corn!


Looking for a (not haunted) house? Check out! Happy Halloween!