What We Need In An Era Of Accelerating Change !

We are, as we often hear, living in an age of transition. All over the world, there are massive changes that are shaking up millions of lives and virtually every industry. And not surprisingly, these changes are causing no shortage of pain and anxiety. But the answers we see being offered in our global conversation often don’t take into consideration the fact that people respond very differently to adversity. Some are overwhelmed by it, while others can grow through it. So what we all need in an era of accelerating change isn’t just new job skills, but deeper life skills–the ability to navigate not just sudden hardships that change our lives, but the process of constant change itself. 
Nobody is immune from the certainty of change. “I don’t know anyone who has been handed only roses,” Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant write in Option B. “We all encounter hardships.” But as they also write, the question is, “When these things happen, what do we do next?”
How you answer depends on your resilience, which Sheryl and Adam aptly define in the book as “the strength and speed of our response to adversity.” And as they also point out, science has proven that resilience isn’t fixed – it can be nurtured and it can grow. “It isn’t about having a backbone,” they wrote. “It’s about strengthening the muscles around our backbone.”
And one of the things that strengthens the muscles around our backbone is regularly recharging ourselves. For me, this became abundantly clear when I had so completely exhausted myself that, on the morning of April 6, 2007, I collapsed, hit my head on my desk, and found myself coming to in a pool of blood. Option B, as it always does, asserted itself. I was left with a broken cheekbone and several stitches over my eye. But I also learned a life-changing lesson. 

Looking back at my life, I could clearly see how often I had reacted emotionally to challenges, overreacted to the inevitable hardships of life, and all too often lived in a fight-or-flight state. So what I Iearned the hard way–why do we keep learning lessons the hard way?!–is that when I replenish my own resources I can get through these setbacks much faster. And we can all do this by, as Sheryl and Adam write, avoiding what psychologist Martin Seligman calls the three P’s: personalization–thinking that it’s our fault, pervasiveness–thinking that one event affects everything in our lives–and permanence–thinking that these temporary hardships will last forever. That is, if we’re always connected to our inner resources of strength and resilience, we can move much faster beyond blaming ourselves, assuming we’ll always feel bad and allowing the adversity, whatever it is, to permeate our whole lives. 

But lessons of resilience are not just about life’s big, painful challenges, but also about the everyday setbacks that throw us off completely disproportionately to their significance. People have meltdowns because their flight is delayed, or someone cut them off on the freeway.

 How we relate to these everyday petty challenges and how quickly we can embrace Option B dramatically transforms the quality of our lives.

Every day we have a thousand opportunities to stress out and lose it. But if we’ve taken care to replenish our resilience reserves–to sleep, to breathe, to put things in perspective–we don’t. And that’s good, because there are going to come times of real crisis–divorce, illness, losing a job, or, as Sheryl writes about, losing a spouse. And that’s when we really need our resilience. 

“Tragedy does not have to be personal, pervasive, or permanent, but resilience can be,” write Sheryl and Adam. “We can build it and carry it with us throughout our lives.”
And as the pace of change itself accelerates in the coming years, building and carrying that resilience is going to be more important than ever. And the more we practice building our resilience muscle in our daily lives–being mindful about dealing with small setbacks–the better positioned we’ll be to deal with the big ones. Which, as Sheryl and Adam say, will surely come. “Life is never perfect,” they write. “We all live some form of Option B.”
So make sure you choose Option A for dealing with Option B. Prioritize your well-being, even when you think you don’t need to. Take care of yourself because at some point, we all inevitably need to.

Founder and CEO at Thrive Global

Arianna Huffington

Six Steps To Downsizing

Downsizing a home can lead to lots of stress and anxiety for anyone who loves their belongings but hates living in clutter. Seniors, empty nesters or people moving from a suburban home to a city apartment all face the challenge of creating a new living space with limited room for furniture, accessories, clothes and collectibles. But if you come up with a plan before you downsize, you can create a comfortable and stylish environment made for daily living.

Here are six tips for organizing and/or downsizing your life to live comfortably in a cozier space.

TIP 1: Plan ahead

Don’t wait to make decisions. Start planning your downsizing early and set goals. For couples and families, make sure everyone is on the same page to eliminate conflicts and hurt feelings down the road.

TIP 2: Determine your lifestyle needs

It helps to ask yourself some questions. Think about what lifestyle you want to embrace as you move forward, suggests professional organizer Mary Dykstra, CPO, president elect for NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) and owner of Within Reach Organizing Services.

Do you have room for oversized furniture in your new space?

If you are moving, how much smaller is your new home?

Do you feel you should keep something just because you spent a lot of money for it?

TIP 3: Find purpose

“The biggest issue is people don’t edit,” says designer Jane Hamilton of JAC Interiors. “They want to bring too much stuff with them and don’t realize every little corner should have a purpose or function. With some planning, a shelf can become your whole home office or a corner becomes an art studio.”

“Be conscious of what you let into your mind, life and environment, and how you choose to spend your time and resources moving forward,” says Dykstra. “This is the secret to feeling whole and living well.”

Regarding sentimental items, take photographs of your old home and belongings to preserve memories. This can be especially helpful for children who don’t want to let go of an old stuffed animal or dolls.

TIP 4: Keep clutter out

Edit your technology. Use a printer that connects to Wi-Fi to eliminate extra cables and choose a TV that mounts to the wall, so you don’t need a media center that takes up valuable floor space.

Use smart storage solutions in your smaller space. For example, a table cloth can re-purpose an older table and give you a way to “hide” things from plain sight. Or use a piece of your china collection that seems too large to store as a pencil holder in your home office or for makeup storage in your bathroom.

TIP 5: Think quality and multipurpose

Hamilton says you need to go for quality over quantity. Choose a great piece of furniture that makes a statement, instead of trying to squeeze too many pieces into a single room.

If you’re investing in new furniture when you downsize, choose multipurpose furniture pieces. Go for nightstands with open and closed storage and ottomans with tops that lift to offer space inside for blankets or extra pillows.

Look for durable fabrics, since a smaller home often requires flexible spaces that have to do double duty as an office, extra bedroom or playspace.

TIP 6: When in doubt, get an objective opinion

Accept help in sorting and packing your belongings. Consider hiring a professional organizer who can offer an objective opinion when you’re trying to decide what you really need to eliminate or donate to charity.

10 steps to make the most of every day

“Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things.” – Booker T. Washington
Our lives are a large collection of single days one right after the other. The sun rises, the sun sets, and it rises again. And in the end, the lives we chose to live will be determined by how we choose to spend each day.

Unfortunately, for most of my life, I embraced little intentionality in my days. I survived each new day, but made little effort to make the most of it. Instead, they simply just came and went… and many were wasted.

But over the past few years, my views have changed. I have begun to view each day as an important gift. I have sought to embrace each one individually and discover the potential that it holds. After all, some may get more days than others, but each of us have been given this one. And we ought to be making the most of it.

Here are 10 simple steps I have personally found helpful to make the most of every day:

1. Rise early. It was this article about becoming an early riser that motivated me to make this significant change in my sleeping habits. And I’ve never looked back. Early mornings are quiet, peaceful, productive, energizing… and my favorite part of the day.

 2. Eat right. The food we put into our bodies becomes the fuel on which it runs. We are wise to make sure it is the right kind of fuel at every meal. Just be sure to include some protein in your breakfast, your mind will be sharper and clearer because of it.

3. Exercise. According to recent studies, people who exercise regularly report to be happier, calmer, and better equipped to handle whatever the day decides to throw at them. Interestingly enough, the study seemed to indicate these benefits were experienced on a day-to-day basis, which means you can begin to experience them today by choosing to exercise just 20 minutes.

4. Accomplish one big task. We all have projects, work, and requirements for our time – things that we need to accomplish. Likely, your to-do list is longer than you can accomplish in one day. But to make the most of this day, choose one big thing on your list and do it first. If you finish, move on to the next.

5. Do one thing that you love. Apart from the day-to-day requirements of living life, you have dreams, goals, and hopes. You have hobbies that you love and activities that breathe life into who you are. Embrace these life-giving opportunities. And do one thing every day that you love.

6. Rest effectively. Rest is as essential to our bodies as food and water and air. Our bodies need to be refreshed on a daily basis and a weekly basis. Don’t neglect to schedule rest. And don’t feel guilty about it when you do.

7. Be present with others. Put away distractions. Engage in conversation. Ask questions. Give time for answers. And look people in the eye when you do. Their eyes reveal far more than their words.

8. Give to someone else. Your fullest joy in life will not be found living it selfishly for yourself. Rather, the periods of greatest joy and fulfillment are found in the moments and motivations when we are choosing to give to others. Invest your life in someone else everyday. Mentor a child. Help a co-worker. Fund a local charity. Or just make that phone call to a friend who needs to hear from you.

9 Nurture your soul. Our lives are more than flesh and blood. They are also mind and heart and soul. Find time each day to feed your soul by embracing gratitude, laughter, hope, and faith.

10. Reset. Tomorrow is another day with great potential and opportunity. You’ll want to begin it with a clear slate and a fresh start. Take 10 minutes each evening to clear the clutter and refresh your home for the next day. Tomorrow’s self will thank you for it.

Today is among the greatest gifts we have ever been given. Let’s use it wisely and refuse to waste a single one.
 JOSHUA BECKER

Improve Your Business 615

 1. Know your “why.” Before you start marketing a business, you have to know why you are doing it. Everything has to be intentional. You’re probably thinking, “I’m marketing because I need customers!” Yes, but why are you doing the marketing activities you’ve chosen? 

2. Have a plan. Having a marketing plan is a lifesaver, if you go by the seat of your pants, you’ll drown. Your marketing plan will direct you to the right marketing activities and give you something to keep you accountable.

 

3. Network. Network. Network. Word of mouth is always going to be one of the best forms of marketing. Take the opportunity to go to various events and network with other business owners and the general population. Look at your Chamber for upcoming events.

 

4. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Putting yourself and your business out there is never easy – you won’t survive if you stay within your protected bubble. You have to pop that and seek out ideas and opportunities to grow as a business owner and to grow your business. Michael Dell once said, “if you’re the smartest person in the room, find another room.” This applies to your comfort zone as well.

 

5. Use social media, but not every platform. There are only so many hours in the day. Look at what your customers are using and use that. Just because there are lots of social media platforms, that doesn’t mean you have to do them all.

 

6. Make sure you have a website – and update it often. In the digital age, if your business doesn’t have a website, you are majorly missing out. People will be looking for you on the web – make sure you’re there.

 

7. Blog. Give people a reason to keep coming back to your website. Blog and give them tips, case studies, your latest products – make sure you keep giving them a reason to visit you on the web.
8. Give your customers great customer service. People will pay more for a product over a lesser-priced one if you continually give them phenomenal customer service. Now, not every business or person is perfect so you may have an off-day, but treat your customers like you’d want to be treated by your favorite business.

 

9. Run a contest. What better way to get your business more attention? Run a contest and share it on social media. Give away something. People love to win.

 

10. Develop a Customer Referral Program. Offer existing customers a free product, free month of service, or some other reward for referring new customers. Remember, word-of-mouth is powerful stuff, so friends telling friends about your business is incredibly valuable.

 

11. Host an Event or Class. This is something I love to do. Plan an event or class to host, then print out flyers and post them on community bulletin boards and online. This is a great way to get the word out about your business.

 

12. Email marketing. Collect your customer’s email addresses (with permission) and email them about upcoming sales or events. You can even segment these out to target specific people.

 

13. Don’t be afraid to give something away for free. I’m talking samples, free consultations, free trials – people love to try before they buy.

 

14. Sponsor something. For ME Marketing, I’m an athletic booster at my daughters’ school. With that, my business name is printed in programs and up on the board at the football field and in the gym. With community or school sponsors you get incredible visibility.

 

15. Be consistent in your messaging and branding. People need to recognize you no matter where they see you. Also, make sure to spell-check 😉

 

16. Answer the questions your customers ask. When buyers of any kind begin their journey, they go to Google to ask a question, and they will find an answer. As a marketer, the question becomes: will it be your answer they discover?

 

17. Understand that marketing is not the same as advertising. You can market your small business in literally hundreds of ways without spending money (aka, advertising), so it pays to know what they are and then eliminate the ones that won’t work, or that you can’t afford, up-front.

18. sure you have business cards. This is pretty much a requirement. Without cards, how will someone you meet in person know how to get in touch with you?

 

19. Get creative with promotional products and give them away. I am a pen person. I use pens from all sorts of businesses, so when I purchased a promotional product for my business, guess what I got? Pens. Koozies work well too. Have something with your business info on it that people will use over and over again.

 

20. Join your local Chamber of Commerce. As a member of mine, I’ve gotten several opportunities I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t a member. This is a group of people who are there for the business owner – join and tap into that network of support.

 

21. Find a way to measure your ROI. Whatever you do, it’s important to measure your efforts so you know what’s working and what isn’t.

 

22. Be proactive. Don’t wait for your competitors to do something – do it first. This could be a promotion, event, advertising campaign. It’s like what they say – the early bird gets the worm.

 

23. Balance your online and offline activities. You have to have a presence online but don’t let it suck up all your marketing time and energy. Find a balance between doing the stuff online and offline.

 

24. Remember – quality over quantity. When marketing, it’s easy to become obsessed with numbers – having the most Facebook fans, having the most people attend an event, etc. Focus on the quality. You could end up with one really good customer who brings in 40% of your sales.

 

25. Host an online Tweet Chat or a Q&A session. What a great way to connect with your online audience and get new followers! Online sessions are perfect for answering your customer’s questions and really finding out and learning more about your market.

 

26. Mix it up. Don’t only do TV ads or just do flyers on dorm doors – mix up your marketing efforts. Doing the same thing will get stale and boring over time.

 

27. Think outside the box. Some of the best marketing ideas came from this kind of thinking. Chick-fil-A cows for example. Who would have put cows with a chicken restaurant?

 

28. Get creative. Part of marketing is entertaining. Yes, you want to get the message out, but you want to be memorable (see #27).

 

29. Partner up with other businesses. Form a strategic partnership with businesses that share the same target audience. Sell jewelry? Host a joint event with a retail shop! Own a local coffee shop? Partner with a bakery! The possibilities are endless and this will give you great exposure.

 

30. Give your business a personality. No one cares for those businesses who are as exciting as a cardboard box. Let your personality as the business owner shine through your business. Examples? See Charmin and their Twitter feed.

 

31. Focus on the relationship. Marketing to the masses is one thing, but for small businesses, you want to build that relationship with your customer. Send them a birthday card. Tag them on social media. Build a relationship with them and they’ll keep coming back.

 

32. Use video. Videos don’t have to be costly and they don’t have to be made by professionals. Some of the most famous YouTube accounts are made with iPhones. Brainstorm some ideas for video content with your staff and start uploading!.

 

33. Make sure your business is mobile-friendly. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly and make sure it loads quickly on smartphones. Sites that aren’t mobile-friendly are being penalized in mobile searches.

 

34. Don’t forget your call-to-action! Every point of customer contact in your digital marketing efforts should contain calls-to-action that lead back to your website, a landing page, an opt-in form, and so on. The ultimate goal is some form of conversion, so everything should be designed that way.

 

35. Have fun. Marketing your business will be one of the most fun things you do. You don’t have to balance any accounting sheets or clean a store-front. Have fun and show

How to Start a Small Business in a Few Hours

What the heck are you waiting for?

The process of starting a business IS NOT complicated. Like a lot of would-be entrepreneurs, stalling because they are intimidated by the apparent complexity of the administrative and legal tasks involved in starting a business. It takes less then 3 hours !

Keep in mind, I’m only talking about setting yourself up to do business: I’m not talking about writing a business plan (although if that’s what you want to do, go right ahead.) I didn’t ! The goal is to get off square one and get on to the fun stuff.

Here’s how:
Get over the company-name thing.
Many people agonize endlessly over dreaming up the perfect company name. Don’t. If you’re waiting until you come up with the perfect name, you’re also waiting to start making money.
Instead, at least for now, forget branding and unique selling propositions and all the business-identity stuff. And don’t worry about finding the perfect URL or website design or promotional literature. You’re putting those carts way before your business horse, too.
1. Just pick a name so you can get the administrative ball rolling.

Remember, your business can operate under a different name than your company name. (A “doing business as” form takes minutes to complete.) And you can change your company name later, if you like.

2. Get your Employer Identification number (EIN).
An EIN is the federal tax number used to identify your business. You don’t need an EIN unless you will have employees or plan to form a partnership, LLC, or corporation.
But even if you don’t need an EIN, get one anyway: It’s free, takes minutes, and you can keep your Social Security number private and reduce the chance of identity theft, because if you don’t have an EIN, your SSN identifies your business for tax purposes.
Note: If you’re using an online legal service to set up an LLC or corporation, don’t use it to get your EIN. Instead, apply online at the IRS website. You’ll have your EIN in minutes.
Now it’s time to head to your locality’s administrative offices.
3. Register your trade name.
If you won’t operate under your own name, your locality may require you to register a trade name. In most cases, you’ll get approved on the spot. 
4. Get your business license.
Your county or city will require a business license. The form takes minutes to fill out. Use your EIN instead of your Social Security number to identify your business (for privacy reasons if nothing else).
You may be asked to estimate annual gross receipts. Do your best to estimate accurately, but don’t agonize over it. You’re just providing an estimate.
5. Complete a business personal-property tax form.

If you are required to file a business personal-property tax form and you plan to work from home using computers, tools, etc., that you already own, you won’t need to list those items.
If you purchase tangible personal property during your first year in business, you will list those items when you file your business personal-property tax form the following year.
6. Ask your locality about other permits.
Every locality has different requirements. In my area, for example, a “home occupation permit” is required to verify that a business based in a home meets zoning requirements.
Your locality may require other permits. Ask. They’ll tell you.
7. Get a certificate of resale (if necessary).
A certificate of resale, also known as a seller’s permit, allows you to collect state sales tax on products sold. (There is no sales tax on services.)
If you will sell products, you need a seller’s permit. Your state department of taxation’s website has complete details, forms, etc., if you decide to apply online, but most localities have forms you can complete while you’re at their administrative offices.
8. Get a business bank account.
One of the easiest ways to screw up your business accounting and possibly run afoul of the IRS is to commingle personal and business funds (and transactions). Using a business account for all business transactions eliminates that possibility.
Get a business account using your business name and EIN, and only use that account for all business-related deposits, withdrawals, and transactions.
Pick a bank or credit union that is convenient. Check out your local credit unions; often they provide better deals than banks.
9. Set up simple accounting.
For Realtors TAR has “Tax Bot” app for phone. Free 30 day trial. Even tracks your mileage. Then $9.99 a month. Sooo easy to use . Never need an accountant again !

Instead of spending hours playing with accounting software, dreaming up potential expense and income categories , download taxbot if your a member of TAR !
And now you’re an entrepreneur, with all the documents to prove it.

​ Myths on finding clients

There’s a ton of advice for finding clients out there that’s completely contradictory. Everything from “build your Twitter following and engage!” (whatever that means) to “buy 10,000 business cards and pass them out at your local library!”Nobody can give you a clear, concise answer about how to find people who might be willing to pay for your services.
This has always been a bit strange for me, because to be honest, the client-getting process always happened naturally in my world .It seems like everybody is overlooking the most powerful strategy of all

It has nothing to do with social media, or cold calling, or even networking.You can do it right now. Today. And it’s free.This strategy will take you from “nobody knows about me” to “people won’t stop calling me.”

It’ll take you from wondering if you can make it in your field to actively turning down people because you’re overwhelmed and just need a day to binge-watch ” Stranger Things” on Netflix.
And nobody talks about it because it’s so simple that it just seems obvious.But I bet you’re not doing it.That strategy is conversation .100 meaningful conversations

Whether your business has already seen a bit of success or if you’ve only landed one client so far, let me ask you this: where did that deal take place? The answer: inside of a conversation.Whether it was in person, over the phone or via email, no deal has ever been made outside of a conversation.

A conversation is a meeting of the minds where you do as much (or more) listening than you do speaking. In a conversation, if done correctly, the other party will tell you what they are working on, what they’re struggling with, and in a few cases, people may even reveal areas where you might be able to help.
Most conversations won’t end in a deal. But if there ever is a deal, you can bet it will come at the beginning, middle or end of a conversation. 

Why Are People Flocking To Nashville ?

People are flocking to Nashville, and it’s ranked as one of America’s best cities with 10% population growth and 21% employment growth since 2010. Technology jobs are booming, and it’s on Business Insider’s list of the hottest American cities of 2016.

 

The question is, how many people are moving to Nashville every day? On a recent visit to the Tennessee capital, I heard multiple answers to that question, which I hadn’t even asked. One hundred people are moving to Nashville daily, mayor Megan Barry volunteered. No—the real number is 82, an Uber driver told me later. Actually, it’s 90, said a staff person at the chamber of commerce.

So let’s say between 80 and 100—the exact number is probably impossible to know and doesn’t really matter. The larger point is this: Nashville is growing fast. One hundred people a day may not sound like a lot if you live in New York or Los Angeles, but growth of about 36,000 people a year is a big deal in a city with a population of about 680,000, depending on when you read this. Nashville officials expect the city’s population to hit about 2 million—almost triple its current size—by 2040.

 BUSINESS CLIMATE
A supportive and welcoming business community makes Nashville an attractive environment for entrepreneurs.

There’s also a second point, which is that the current residents of Nashville are urgently self-aware that their city is hot, hot, hot. Everybody in Nashville, it seems, is talking about what’s happening in Nashville.

In fairness, there’s a lot to talk about. Long known primarily as a locus of country music, Nashville has in the past 10 or 15 years become not just one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the country, but also one of the most economically robust. Let’s start with culture: Nashville probably has the country’s most creative and collaborative music scene, with thousands of songwriters and musicians playing a range of musical styles—the idea that Nashville is only about country music has always been a misperception—supported by an infrastructure that includes music publishing, countless clubs and honky-tonks, a booming tourist scene and a pervasive local recognition that Nashville’s music is both a national treasure and a huge economic boon. The city is home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, making Nashville—unlike Cooperstown (baseball), Cleveland (rock ’n’ roll) and Canton (football)—one of the few hall of fame locations where the thing being honored actually thrives in the city that’s honoring it.

 Nashville is known as Music City, but the label, expansive though it is, actually undersells the city’s cultural offerings. Nashville has two professional sports teams, the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and the Nashville Predators of the NHL, along with a minor league baseball team called, appropriately, the Nashville Sounds. With a 3-13 record, the Titans were weak in 2015, but the Predators advanced deep into the NHL playoffs.Nashville has a food scene that, at its height if not its breadth, rivals those of New York and San Francisco; foodies could happily spend a couple of weeks eating around Nashville without running out of inventive and surprising restaurants to sample. Nashville’s institutions of high culture, including the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, are impressive for a small city; the Schermerhorn excels by any standard. There is a ballet and an opera and a repertory theater, as well as burgeoning art and fashion scenes. Nashville has one major international research university, Vanderbilt, and a number of regional ones, including Belmont, Fisk, Meharry Medical College and Tennessee State, that funnel youth, energy, creativity and labor into the city. Many of these cultural institutions are supported by local families—including the Frists, the Ingrams, the Burchams, the McWhorters and the Turners—whose philanthropy and engagement have made an enormous impact.

All of this is underpinned by a business culture, centered around healthcare and entrepreneurship, that is national in scope but has a huge regional impact; while not as identified with Nashville as the music business, the healthcare industry is the greatest contributor to the Nashville economy. One estimate from the Health Care Council, a trade group, puts the economic impact of the healthcare industry on Nashville at $38 billion, while music generates $10 billion. Right now Nashville has an unemployment rate of about 3.3 percent and a budget surplus; its mean salary increased by more than 5 percent last year.

Culture, work, quality of life—all these things are drawing people to Nashville. Tourism is booming, with plans for 2,500 new hotel rooms to come online in the next several years. Meanwhile, the influx of new residents has helped fuel a vibe of optimism, risk-taking, creativity and confidence—especially because so many of those new residents seem to be young people, who just a few years ago would have gravitated to other, seemingly hipper cities. Nashville has its own distinct identity, but there are moments and places in the city when a visitor might feel like she’s in Brooklyn, New York, or Austin, Texas—say, in Google’s tech hub at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center or at Lyft’s new customer service headquarters or at literary novelist Ann Patchett’s independent bookstore, Parnassus Books.

Nashville is having a perfect-storm moment—in a good way. The question is why. How did a small city, until relatively recently identified with the Grand Ole Opry and not a whole lot else, suddenly become one of the most dynamic cities in the country?

I put this question to a number of people there, and the answer that came back again and again was “collaboration”—a spirit of openness and cooperation between the city’s different constituencies that facilitates essential planning, problem solving and business building. “Nashville is unique in that we all really work together well,” says Stuart McWhorter, a local businessman and investor who just finished a one-year stint heading the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. “We all help each other.” I heard that sentiment echoed in offices all over town. Adds Ralph Schulz, head of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, “I’ve lived in 11 cities, and one of the things I would tell you about this place is the collaboration and the engagement…is really personal here. The friendliness that exists here….”

“One of the unique things about Nashville is that we have a culture of people working together for common goals,” says Hayley Hovious, president of the Health Care Council. “This happens in other cities. But it happens really well here in Nashville.”

Statements like that can sound hokey and hard to credit, but there’s tangible evidence of that collaborative spirit. Most obvious, of course, are the musicians who play and write songs together; as most music fans know, there’s a long-standing and powerful tradition of Nashville musicians writing, recording and performing with each other. But collaboration is also built into the operation of local government. Nashville is part of the 504-square-mile Davidson County, all of which is governed by something called the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. The result of a popular vote in 1962, “Metro” merged duplicative and competing city and county governments and created a 40-member metropolitan council that meets twice monthly. This blend of urban and suburban management reduces government waste; it fuses the interests of suburban and city residents. The result, says Mayor Barry, is that “the suburbs aren’t competing with the urban core.”

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 12-s

 

What to expect in the housing market in 2017

After a relatively calm real estate market in 2016, we can expect some changes to come in 2017, but it is unlikely there will be any tumultuous upheaval in the next year. We have seen inventory come back at a steady pace, and buyer demand is strong enough that it will continue to keep the market moving as we go through the next 12 months.
Here are some specifics of what we can expect in 2017:
Market activity

As we close out 2016, the biggest news is the increase in mortgage rates. The rate rise is sudden relative to the slow pace of any changes over the past several years. We saw this occur immediately after the election results, with continued increases the week following. So far mortgage rates have gone up about 40 basis points, and now that the Federal Reserve has announced its increase to interest rates, we can expect that mortgage rates will continue to rise. The current rates already anticipated a Fed increase and potential positive effects a Donald Trump administration might initially have. Typically, when rates start to go up, buyers will come out of the woodwork earlier in the selling season to try to lock in lower rates while they can.
I would expect rates to keep rising in 2017 if the economy continues to improve and inflationary pressures increase. We should expect the early part of 2017 to be filled with a brisk pace of not only homes going under contract more quickly but also taking less time to reach a settlement date so buyers aren’t subject to their rates expiring before they close on a home. For 2016, the median number of days on market (the amount of time it took for a property to sell) ranged from 44 in the winter to 14 during the peak summer months, but we have seen this drop to as low as nine days during the years when there was little supply to choose from.

Inventory

While it is possible that the days on market could return to that low level in 2017, it is unlikely given the recent trend of an increase in new listings. Sellers have finally regained enough equity in their homes to feel comfortable putting them on the market. Also, because more-expensive mortgages make the overall cost of buying a home increase, we may see price appreciation slow down or, if rates rise considerably, prices could tick downward.
Often when the threat of more-expensive mortgages looms, many homeowners who are thinking they will sell in the next few years consider putting their property on the market sooner rather than later because they don’t want to run the risk of having to sell their home for less than they could get for it now. Thus, early 2017 will see higher activity than usual, but it is unlikely that inventory will be so low that there won’t be enough to carry us through the rest of the year.

Top 10 Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays

The holiday season from November through January is often considered the worst time to put a home on the market. While the thought of selling your home during the winter months may dampen your holiday spirit, the season does have its advantages: holiday buyers tend to be more serious and competition is less fierce with fewer homes being actively marketed. First, decide if you really need to sell. Really. Once you’ve committed to the challenge, don your gay apparel and follow these tips from Front Door.

Deck the halls, but don’t go overboard.Homes often look their best during the holidays, but sellers should be careful not to overdo it on the decor. Adornments that are too large or too many can crowd your home and distract buyers. Also, avoid offending buyers by opting for general fall and winter decorations rather than items with religious themes.

Hire a reliable real estate agent.That means someone who will work hard for you and won’t disappear during Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s. Ask your friends and family if they can recommend a listing agent who will go above and beyond to get your home sold. This will ease your stress and give you more time to enjoy the season.

Seek out motivated buyers.Anyone house hunting during the holidays must have a good reason for doing so. Work with your agent to target buyers on a deadline, including people relocating for jobs in your area, investors on tax deadlines, college students and staff, and military personnel, if you live near a military base.

Price it to sell.No matter what time of year, a home that’s priced low for the market will make buyers feel merry. Rather than gradually making small price reductions, many real estate agents advise sellers to slash their prices before putting a home on the market.
Make curb appeal a top priority.When autumn rolls around and the trees start to lose their leaves, maintaining the exterior of your home becomes even more important. Bare trees equal a more exposed home, so touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Keep buyers’ safety in mind as well by making sure stairs and walkways are free of snow, ice and leaves.

Take top-notch real estate photos.When the weather outside is frightful, homebuyers are likely to start their house hunt from the comfort of their homes by browsing listings on the Internet. Make a good first impression by offering lots of flattering, high-quality photos of your home. If possible, have a summer or spring photo of your home available so buyers can see how it looks year-round.

Create a video tour for the Web.You’ll get less foot traffic during the holidays thanks to inclement weather and vacation plans. But shooting a video tour and posting it on the Web may attract house hunters who don’t have time to physically see your home or would rather not drive in a snowstorm.
Give house hunters a place to escape from the cold.Make your home feel cozy and inviting during showings by cranking up the heat, playing soft classical music and offering homemade holiday treats. When you encourage buyers to spend more time in your home, you also give them more time to admire its best features.
Offer holiday cheer in the form of financing.Bah, humbug! Lenders are scrooges these days, but if you’ve got the means, then why not offer a home loan to a serious buyer? You could get a good rate of return on your money.
Relax — the new year is just around the corner.The holidays are stressful enough with gifts to buy, dinners to prepare and relatives to entertain. Take a moment to remind yourself that if you don’t sell now, there’s always next year, which, luckily, is only a few days away.

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Nashville-area home sales make big jump in October

Nashville-area home sales posted a big October, following three months in which sales were either flat or down slightly.
The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors announced Tuesday that there were 3,324 home closings reported in the Nashville area last month, up 9.7 percent compared to October 2015.Local home sales were up 0.8 percent year-over-year in September, and down in August and July, by 0.8 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.“We are continuing to sell more homes with effectively less inventory every month, and that’s keeping the Nashville market among the hottest in the country,” GNAR President Denise Creswell said in a news release. “We finished 19th on the list of the hottest markets for October according to Realtor.com, and were the only Southern state, not including Texas, to make the list. Even if sales remain flat for November and December, our region is set to finish ahead of 2015 with overall sales.”
Year-to-date, Nashville-area home sales are up 4.5 percent compared to 2015.
The median sales price for a single-family home sold in the Nashville area last month was $261,000, up from $230,000 a year ago. The median sales price for a condo unit was $186,000, up from $171,737.
November sales appear on track to be higher than last year, with 3,309 sales pending at the end of October. A year ago, there were 2,905 pending sales.
We have entered the final quarter of 2016 in the best possible way,” Creswell said. “Our housing market is maintaining the kind of stable growth needed to sustain a healthy market in the last few months of the year. These mild gains in sales are exactly what it takes to build the foundation for a solid housing market in 2017.”