Dreaming of Home Ownership in Nashville?

“Can You Believe What That House Sold For?”

Who doesn’t love to talk about Nashville home prices? Whether it’s in hushed tones about the rise in your home value or sticker shock at properties in your own neighborhood, no one can believe the trajectory — up, up, up! Unprecedented growth has altered the look and feel of Music City. I recently sat down with two of our sponsors for Bands & Boil 2022, Vida Wakeman of Crye-Leike Reatlors and Celia Anzalone Bowers of CMG Financial, to chat about Nashville’s real estate market.

“A lot of musicians feel that home ownership is a pipe dream but there are creative ways to get them in a home…and from personal experience, it will change your life!”

Vida Wakeman began her real estate career with Crye-Leike’s East Nashville branch office in 2019. Her background as a performing musician has served her well in connecting with clients throughout Music City. I asked her about the changes in Nashville’s market, and why musicians should not give up on their dream of home ownership.

As a real estate agent with extensive experience in Nashville, how would you describe the market for homes in Music City in 2022 as opposed to 2021?

It remains an incredibly strong market with low inventory and high demand. What has shifted slightly is that although house prices have risen over the last several years in 2021 interest rates were very low so the consumers buying power was higher. As interest rates have risen it means that in many instances what they can afford has fallen. Overall it has caused a very small slow down (like from going from a sprint to a run) but by no means is it flat. Homes continue to appreciate in the Middle Tennessee area and I think we will continue to see healthy appreciation in all real estate in this area.

Since the pandemic, Nashville home prices have surged nearly 45% in two years. Some housing markets are beginning to soften after years of rapid growth. Why do you think Nashville has bucked this trend? Do you see prices coming down in the near future?

Nashville still has lots of growth left in it with lots of people and businesses continuing to move here. I don’t see prices in Nashville ever coming down. They might slow down from the incredibly fast rise but going in reverse is something I don’t feel we will ever see.

Many musicians worry that they can no longer afford Nashville. Being a musician yourself, what advice would you give to them? Why should they stay and where should they look?

The best and fastest way to build wealth is home ownership. I think any musician who wants a secure future should buy a home (or two..or three). The opportunity to gain equity on borrowed money, secure and lock in a place to live and build wealth for the future all the while being able to focus on what you love is a no-brainer. I actually just got a client under contract for a home where they pay ZERO to buy it. 100% of the loan and closing costs are financed. What that means is that it’s actually cheaper for them to move into a house they own than move to a rental…all the while gaining equity and securing their future. I think a lot of musicians feel that home ownership is a pipe dream because they aren’t 9 to 5 ers or have a lot of money but there are a lot of programs and creative ways to get them in a home. And from personal experience I can say- IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, Tennessee is a paradise, with so many activities right at your door. For those who are looking for a piece of land out in the country, what areas might they have overlooked?

I see a lot of affordable and beautiful land in the Hohenwald area down south. Of course center hill lake is charming. I currently have directed several people to Dickson County, I feel it is ready to really boom and I love the landscape there.

What’s your go-to family activity in the summertime in Nashville?

Play in the woods! We recently acquired some land with water on it, so spend as much time out there exploring and splashing!

“Unless you’re paying cash for a home, you will need me.”

Celia Anzalone Bowers loves to educate realtors on the ins and outs of financing a home purchase. As loan officer with CMG Financial, she’s constantly connecting with clients and prospective home buyers. But she’s a triathlete and mother of three who enjoys the best of what Nashville has to offer an active family. I asked her to explain how the right loan officer can lead to home buying success.

First and foremost (in case people are afraid to ask), what does a loan officer do? How does their role differ from that of a real estate agent? What do you love most about your role at CMG Financial?

I take the initial credit applications and determine a borrower’s purchasing power and eligibility based on set guidelines. There may be numerous loan programs in which they could qualify, and my job is to advise clients on the best route to take. Unless you’re paying cash for a home, you will need me. And as a prospective buyer, you need a real estate agent who is both familiar with the market and experienced in negotiating because they do both. 

What I love about my role at CMG is being able to offer competitive rates, unique products and a quick closing which in this market is an advantage.  

As Interest rates have begun inching up, what recommendations would you offer to potential borrowers for securing the best rate? How can the right loan officer make the mortgage process easier?

We have a 45-Day Lock & Shop where you can lock in without an address upon pre-approval. It’s a small fee for a huge savings in comparison over 30 years. You would either have the close in 60 days or 90 days as an option. So that will give them 45 days to shop because we can close it in two weeks. This product is amazing and another reason why I love CMG and the ability to offer it. 

Tennessee has lots of beautiful land, from the Great Smoky Mountains, to rolling hills, to the Mississippi Delta region. How does financing the purchase of raw land differ from the more traditional purchase of a family home?

The only difference I see so far is credit score. For me to finance land, I would need about a 720ish vs a 580ish. You can apply directly with me. And I can lock you in Monday-Friday! If you plan to build on that land, you will need to secure a construction to permanent loan to build your house — I can help finance that too! 

What do you love about living in Nashville? What’s your favorite neighborhood?

I’ve really grown as a person. I was raised in a small town and I grew up a lot by moving to a bigger city with more opportunities for me. My favorite area that I have lived in would be Germantown, hands down. I could take a quick walk to the Farmer’s Market or to a Sounds game. It was also close to my church at the time!

What’s your favorite family day trip outside of Nashville?

Chattanooga! If you haven’t yet visited, there’s fun stuff for kids, restaurants, outdoor adventures, bars and hiking- really anything you could want. You can stay downtown and walk or bike anywhere you want to go.