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How to Prepare to Buy Your First Home This Year

As interest rates begin to tick slowly, you may be considering saving money to buy a home this year. Home buying is one of the biggest purchases a person will make. Preparing to buy a home doesn’t just involve deciding on a location or scrolling through images of homes online. You’ll need to dive deep into your finances and prioritize your home feature preferences to help your home buying process be manageable. Here are a few steps to help you get started.

Determine Your Budget for a Home

Figuring out what you can afford to spend on a monthly mortgage payment may seem like an obvious place to start, but it is an important one. Experts say that your total monthly home expenses should be at most one-third of your gross monthly income. Mortgages are different from making a monthly rental payment. When you’re a home owner, your mortgage payment is only part of your monthly expenses. You must take property taxes, home insurance and interest into account.

 Check Your Credit Score

If you’re not an all-cash buyer, you’ll likely need to finance the purchase of your home. Checking your credit score is another important first step. Your credit score will help you determine the financing options available. Lenders use credit scores to determine if a borrower has a record of on-time payments and to gauge the likelihood of repaying the mortgage. Your credit score will also impact your mortgage terms. The higher the score, the more financing options and lower interest rates will be available.

 Create Your “Must-Haves” Checklist

As a first-time home buyer, you must list your “must-haves” for your new home. Do you need flexible space for a play area or a minimum number of bathrooms? It would be best to have a general idea of the size, location and amenities you want in your home. Determine what features you will compromise on to ensure your home fits your budget.

 Shop Around for a Mortgage

Lenders will have different mortgage rates, so doing your homework is important. Shop around to find the lowest rate or work with a mortgage lender to help you find all the loan options available. Several types of mortgages are available, including Federal Housing Administration (FHA), conventional, adjustable rate and fixed rate. You’ll need to learn more about them to determine which option works best.

Buying a home is a considerable investment in time and money. To help you find a new home or for more home buying advice, contact our builders, lenders and Realtors at

Smart Home Tech Helps Aging Home Owners 

The idea of retirement conjures up images of spending time with grandkids, travel or dedicating time to your favorite hobbies. One important part of enjoying your golden years is living comfortably in your own home. If you or your loved one plans to live in their current home, aging-in-place modifications and smart home technology can increase comfort and safety.

Aging in place is more than living in your home, it is about enjoying your space safely, independently and comfortably regardless of your age or ability level. Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) professionals help people throughout the greater Knoxville area find solutions to address the unique needs of aging adults, such as widening doorways or installing grab bars in showers, without sacrificing the aesthetic value of the home.

Installing smart home technology also offers a level of support for aging home owners. The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS), defines smart home technology as a product connected wirelessly or through the internet that can be remotely accessible with a mobile device. Smart home products such as thermostats, lighting and electronic locks are options for persons with mobility challenges and can complement other aging-in-place modifications.

A recent JCHS study asked remodelers about the home automation products or systems installed with aging-in-place renovations. The top home automated systems installed as part of an aging-in-place strategy included items related to safety and security (94 percent), climate control (83 percent) and lighting, electric and/or shade controls (67 percent). Remodelers reported that they most commonly received request for smart technology for the living room (94 percent), kitchen (93 percent) and home office (90 percent).

Aging home owners interested in renovations need to be able to find a remodeler who is knowledgeable about smart home technology and home modification. The CAPS designation helps homeowners have confidence that they’re working with an expert in aging-in-place renovation.

3 Color Trends to Update Your Home in 2024

Looking for a quick, easy change to help your home feel fresh for the new year? One of the easiest (and less expensive) ways to update your home is by changing your color palette. 

Depending on your current décor and overall aesthetic, there are a number of directions you can go. Here are paint manufacturers’ top suggestions for 2024.

Warm and Soft

Creating a comfortable environment is critical for a space where everyone can live, play and work. These warm, soft hues for 2024 are sure to elevate the ambience of your home and create a place to draw you, your family and your friends together.

Peach Fuzz, from Pantone, is a cozy peach hue that highlights both a desire for togetherness and enjoying a moment of stillness.

Persimmon, from HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams, is a naturally inspired terracotta-based hue that feels both uplifting and refreshing.

Limitless, from Glidden/PPG, is a warm honey beige hue that draws on its power as a primary color while serving as a strong neutral at the same time.

Peaceful Blues

The idea of creating a sanctuary within the home extends to other shades as well. Look toward the blue color spectrum for a variety of shades to create a serene, uplifting environment.

Upward, from Sherwin-Williams, is a breezy, blissful blue that encourages you to slow down, take a breath, and clear your mind.

Blue Nova, from Benjamin Moore, is an alluring mid-tone that’s equal parts enchanting and timeless.

Thermal, from C2, is a punchy blue poised for adventure while evoking feelings of loyalty, trust and confidence.

Skipping Stones, from Dunn-Edwards, can add a sense of mystery and thoughtfulness to any space.

Bluebird, from Krylon, complements natural tones and textures while creating an environment where everyone can be at ease.

Bay Blue, from Minwax, is a relaxing mix of blue and green that invites you to create a home that’s authentically personal.

Renew Blue, from Valspar, is a nourishing, green-influenced blue that creates a sense of peace wherever you place it.

Statement Colors

Sometimes a new year calls for a new look, with a bold shift in appearances. If a pop of fresh color is what you’re looking for, here are a few selections to help make a statement:

Cracked Pepper, from Behr, is a versatile soft black that accentuates the spaces you create life moments in.

Ironside, from Dutch Boy, provides a sense of sophisticated comfort, as well as the perfect backdrop for showcasing furniture, art and accessories.

Chocolate Cherry, from Rust-Oleum, stands out but also provides a strong neutral backdrop that adds a sense of authenticity.

To learn more about the color and design trends in the Greater Knoxville area contact HBAGK professionals at

 2024 Vendors​​​​   ​