May 30, 2023

Unicorns Are Hard To Find

When analyzing real estate metrics, it is crucial to approach comparisons with a discerning eye, especially in a market as dynamic as Knoxville, Tennessee. Fluctuations and unforeseen events can significantly impact the housing landscape, rendering year-to-year comparisons less meaningful or accurate. In light of this, it is essential to shed light on the uniqueness of the past years and embrace a more realistic perspective. Additionally, when it comes to buying or selling properties in Knoxville, partnering with a reputable realty company like JustHomesGroup can provide the expertise needed for informed decisions.

The Unprecedented Years:

The real estate market witnessed a profound transformation in the wake of the pandemic. The demand for homeownership surged, fueled by the need for larger spaces, home offices, and expansive backyards. First-time and second-home buyers flocked to the market, supported by historically low mortgage rates and the implementation of forbearance plans that curtailed foreclosures. As a result, home values soared to unprecedented levels, creating a market that was considered elusive and highly desirable—a true 'unicorn' year.

The Return to Normalcy:

As we navigate the current housing market, it is essential to acknowledge the transition back to a more normal landscape, bidding farewell to the 'unicorn' years. Comparing today's market to those extraordinary times may lead to misleading conclusions. Here are three examples:

  1. Buyer Demand: Despite headlines suggesting a dearth of buyers, the reality is that the United States continues to witness over 10,000 home sales daily. While buyer demand has decreased compared to the 'unicorn' years, a closer examination, as shown by ShowingTime data, reveals that buyer activity remains robust when compared to pre-pandemic years (2017-2019).

  2. Home Prices: Attempting to compare current home price increases to the past couple of years would overlook the extraordinary appreciation witnessed during that period. Freddie Mac data highlights the distinction by showcasing more typical years (2017-2019) for a meaningful perspective. The graph illustrates a return to more normalized home value increases, with several months displaying minimal depreciation in the second half of 2022. Moreover, Fannie Mae reports a market that has embraced a more normal pace of appreciation in the first quarter of this year.

  3. Foreclosures: Reports about increases in foreclosure filings have sparked attention, but it is vital to understand the context. Comparing these figures to historically low foreclosure rates will naturally yield significant percentage increases. However, data from ATTOM, a property data provider, clarifies the situation by presenting the numbers in relation to the pre-pandemic years (2017-2019). While an increase in foreclosure filings is expected following the end of the moratorium, it aligns with the typical filing rates witnessed during those years.

Maintaining Proper Perspective:

As headlines about the housing market surface, it is crucial to approach them with a discerning eye. Many of these reports stem from inappropriate comparisons to the extraordinary 'unicorn' years. By seeking the guidance of an expert real estate team like JustHomesGroup, you can ensure that you have a knowledgeable partner who can help you navigate the nuances of the Knoxville market and provide valuable insights to keep everything in proper perspective.


In the ever-changing landscape of the Knoxville real estate market, it is imperative to approach comparisons with caution and a pragmatic mindset. Recognizing the distinct nature of the past years while embracing a return to normalcy will enable you to make informed decisions. By aligning yourself with a reputable realty company like JustHomesGroup, you can leverage their expertise to navigate the Knoxville market successfully and attain your real estate goals with confidence.

May 25, 2023

Experience the Joy of Gatlinburg

Experience the Joy of Gatlinburg, Tennessee Vacations with Julia Hurley, Knoxville Realtor!

Are you tired of the same old vacation routine year after year? It's time to inject some excitement into your summer plans! Imagine owning a vacation home in the breathtaking destination of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. With its picturesque landscapes, endless outdoor activities, and charming atmosphere, Gatlinburg is the perfect place to create lasting memories with your loved ones. And guess what? Julia Hurley, the renowned Knoxville realtor, is here to help you find your dream vacation property!

Why Rent When You Can Own? Say goodbye to the hassle of finding available rentals in your favorite vacation spot. We all know how challenging it can be to secure the perfect rental at the right time. But with your own vacation home, that worry disappears! As Forbes wisely suggests, "If the idea of vacationing at the same place every year makes you feel instantaneously relaxed, buying a vacation home might be a wise move." Julia Hurley can guide you through the process, ensuring that you always have a comfortable and stress-free vacation destination waiting for you.

An Investment That Keeps Growing Owning a vacation home is not just about having a place to unwind; it's also a smart investment. Just like primary residences, vacation properties often appreciate in value over time, especially in areas with high market demand. This means that while you're enjoying the beauty and tranquility of Gatlinburg, your net worth could also be growing steadily.

Tax Benefits to Sweeten the Deal Did you know that owning a vacation home can provide you with valuable tax benefits? Depending on the location of your property, you may be eligible for various tax deductions. To make the most of these potential advantages, it's advisable to consult with a tax professional who can guide you through the specifics.

Your Perfect Vacation Home Could Be Your Dream Retirement Destination Imagine falling head over heels in love with your vacation home and deciding to make it your forever paradise. Gatlinburg has that effect on people! If you can't resist the charm and allure of this incredible location, you might even consider selling your primary residence and retiring in your beloved vacation home. Julia Hurley can assist you in navigating this exciting transition and making your retirement dreams a reality.

Let a Pro Make Your Dreams Come True As you gear up for a memorable summer vacation, picture yourself enjoying the comfort and convenience of your very own vacation home. And the best way to find your perfect match? Enlist the expertise of a local real estate agent like Julia Hurley. She possesses the insider knowledge and resources to help you explore Gatlinburg's real estate market and find a vacation property that suits your budget and preferences. Julia can also enlighten you about the numerous advantages of owning a second home.

Time is on Your Side - Let's Connect! If any of these reasons resonate with you, don't hesitate to reach out. You still have plenty of time to make this summer extraordinary by spending it in your very own Gatlinburg vacation home. Get in touch with Julia Hurley, Knoxville's trusted realtor, and take the first step toward a lifetime of joyful vacations and unforgettable experiences. Your dream getaway awaits!

May 24, 2023

The Magic of Knoxville’s Newest Resort with Melissa Blettner

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About This Episode

Melissa Blettner is the Chief Executive Officer for Ancient Lore Village, a one-of-a-kind fantasy resort right in the heart of Knoxville. On this episode of ConnectTheKnox, Melissa shares her philosophy of hospitality with purpose and how her role with Ancient Lore Village brought her from Wisconsin to Knoxville. Melissa describes some of the similarities between her hometown and Knoxville, as well as what she feels are the biggest opportunities for Knoxville to attract new businesses and residents. Melissa also reveals the plans to expand Ancient Lore Village into new locations, and some upcoming attractions and events you can expect to see at their Knoxville location.


  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:44 Melissa describes how the Ancient Lore Village project brought her to Knoxville
  • 03:21 Julia and Melissa discuss the magic of Ancient Lore Village, and Melissa explains how they developed such an immersive experience and her plans for the future of the resort
  • 08:31 Ad - Dr. Joe Chiro 
  • 09:01 The long-term vision for additional developments in Ancient Lore Village
  • 11:09 Melissa describes the similarities between her hometown and Knoxville
  • 12:39 The ways Ancient Lore Village is working with the University of Tennessee
  • 14:11 Melissa talks about the unique location of Ancient Lore Village and how it’s deceptively close to downtown Knoxville
  • 17:47 Melissa explains what amenities and activities are handicap-friendly at Ancient Lore Village 

Links Referenced


Julia: Hey everybody and welcome to another episode of Connect the Knox. I’m your host, Julia Hurley, connecting Knoxville to the nation. Today’s guest is Melissa Blettner, the President and CEO of Boyd Hollow Resorts. Didn’t even know this was a company that existed until Joe and I took a weekend trip to a very special village right in the heart of Knoxville, and you would have never known was there. And Melissa runs the whole show, and some. Melissa, thank you for being a guest on today’s podcast. Can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up in Knoxville, Tennessee?


Melissa: So, I was introduced to Tom Boyd and the Ancient Lore Village project, back in June of 2019 and I was brought on as a consultant to help them at that time, and that is why I’m in Knoxville.


Julia: So, tell us a little bit about why you were brought on as a consultant. I mean, obviously, Tom Boyd doesn’t just randomly call people to consult on things. The man knows a lot, so you must be something very special for him because I know that the Ancient Lore Village in Knoxville is a special thing he has always wanted to do, so you have something to offer Knoxville, Tennessee. Tell us about that. Tell us how you ended up being a consultant for something as important as Ancient Lore Village.


Melissa: Sure. Well, I appreciate that, first off. Tom and I really hit it off. My background is hospitality. This was the first hospitality project that Tom has endeavored into. He has 17 different companies, all founded right here in East Tennessee.


And my background, I had actually never been to Knoxville before the day I came to meet with Tom. And so, that in and of itself is kind of amazing. But prior to joining Ancient Lore Village, I was with a small, startup hospitality company. And started with that company when they were just 100 employees, grew it to over 9000 employees in 17 different locations over a span of 20 years. So, at first, when it was a consultant, Tom was just getting ideas on this great hospitality product and how he could bring it to fruition.


So, I was brought on as that. And then as time progressed about a year later I came on as the CEO. And really, our vision for Ancient Lore Village and the larger company, Boyd Hollow Resorts, is to create a place of good, a place where people can come together and disconnect to reconnect, a place where we are creating what I call hospitality with purpose. And after being in the hospitality industry for many, many years, that’s really why I’m in the industry, is to bring that purposeful experience to guests, whether it be at Ancient Lore Village or with my prior company.


Julia: So, I love that you said hospitality with purpose. I would probably trademark that if I were you. That made me want to do more things with you, just that tagline right there. I personally loved Ancient Lore Village, and had found out about it obviously through the Boyds, however, I had not been able to stay there yet. So, we had come on a package deal, had never been there. And I genuinely had not a clue it was that close to downtown Knoxville.


Melissa: Oh, just 15 minutes from downtown.


Julia: Yeah.


Melissa: Right there.


Julia: Everything is right there that you need. The food was amazing. The hospitality was top-notch. You got employees that came from Disney. I mean, that’s one of the highest-trained places that you can come from.


We did the archery classes, we did the axe throwing, we had an outdoor movie. It was so peaceful. And the rooms themselves are all themed. And they look, if you look at them online—Ancient Lore Village—if you look at them online, it looks like a hobbit house. And they look very small and you walk through the door and you will—you feel like you’re in a castle and that you genuinely have some of the most luxurious things around you. You feel completely melted into the side of the mountain. How did you all create that? And what are you creating for the future?


Melissa: So… boy, two good questions there. So first, we’ll say how did we create it. And the village is actually based on Tom’s story. He wrote a book called Bokee’s Trek, and this is where the hospitality with purpose comes in. So, a little bit of the background of the story.


Tom was out on the campaign trail with his son Randy, when he was running for governor back in 2018, and one of the things Tom found was that people in communities right next to one another didn’t necessarily get along. And so, he found out that there was a lot of hatred when he was out talking with different people on the campaign trail. And he wanted to write a book that would bring people together, that would allow people to understand that people from all backgrounds, from all religions, from all everything could come together in one place. And that’s where the hospitality with purpose comes in, right? So, he wrote this book, and he couldn’t say, “Well, Joe in this community and Sam in this community—” so instead, he used a cast of characters that a lot of people are familiar with fairies, Orcs, Leprechauns, Gremlins, Bokee, who’s the key figurehead.


And Bokee went to all the different villages and he met people and all—or characters—in all of the villages. And what he found out was that they were all good, that they all had good qualities and something to provide and something to contribute. So, then Bokee went back to his village and he was banned. So, all of the characters from all of their independent villages were banned, and they had to go somewhere, and in their guidelines, they needed to create a village where they would live, side by side with one another, in peace. And that place is Ancient Lore Village.


So, you can come here and—so really, that’s the storyline behind it. And then after Tom wrote the book, and he had a great artist that helped capture the ideas that Tom had, he sat down with an architect, Daniel Levy, from right here in Knoxville—we use a lot of great local Knoxville companies—and Daniel took Tom’s ideas, if you look in the book, there’s the tree elf and the ground elf house that Bokee visited on his trek, and it looks just like our ground elf burrows and tree elf nest that’s here. And then we had a great interior designer, Z Creative—Zarah Bates from right here in Knoxville—and she scoured the book and she read all the little intricate details and developed the crazy luxury that we have in these dwellings. So, right now I’m sitting in the Waterfall Villa, which is one of the—it’s the Water Fairy Villa—and it’s a two-room suite, but you can see the walls behind me, you can’t even really see that the detail of it, but they’re all Venetian plaster that also was done from a local Knoxville company.


Julia: I had Eugenia on the podcast.


Melissa: Oh, yeah. I love Eugenia. Yes. So, they did all of the Venetian walls. The fireplace behind me, you might think it’s a white brick. It’s not. Actually, Eugenia’s team did that as well. And one of the great things is the wall behind right here, we’ve got real willow trees, but behind—or birch trees, rather—behind that, it looks like you’re in a birch wood forest. They did 14 different layers of Venetian plaster. So, maybe I’ll pick you up and move you at the end of the podcast and give you a little peek.


Julia: [laugh]. Let’s just keep it where it’s at.


Melissa: Right now, we’re right here. Right here.


Julia: I’ll come do an actual on-site tour. How’s that? How’s that?


Melissa: That’s great. We can do that. We do a walking tour.


Julia: So, I know that you’re building a new building, you’re doing a little construction of that way. What’s happening in the future? I know there’s a wedding venue at the top of the mountain and there’s are some signs that say ‘English Pub.’ Tell me a little bit about the long-term vision here.


Melissa: So, the long-term vision here, this property won’t get much bigger than what it is right now. We are planning on adding a few additional dwellings, so a few themed dwellings that will cater more towards families, so they can sleep up to five people. We also are planning on adding a few tree houses which will be really fun. Right as you enter in, we’re building our administrative office and gift shops. We’re really excited about that.


And then we’re pretty much it for this property here. And the vision—and this is where the great part of the larger reach of the hospitality with purpose comes in play, and also the Boyd Hollow Resorts—is that our vision is to not just have this one location here in Knoxville, but to branch out and have many locations across the United States and throughout the world.


Julia: I think that’s going to be an absolutely fantastic vision. I know there are so many people, and I know this because I always did my research on our podcast interviewees, I guess you could say, and really and truly wanted to do more research on this specific entity. And as I was talking with people throughout Knoxville and asking them, “Have you stayed there? Have you gone on a tour? Have you gone to any of the dinners that they host?” So, many people still do not know how close this is to their own backyard.


So, even Knoxvillians have not taken the opportunity. However, when we stayed, we met people from six states that were all together for one night for Halloween. So, it was very interesting to see how it is connecting the nation to Knoxville and bringing people into a smaller hometown to get that big feel. And I’ve always said if you can make it in Knoxville, you can make it anywhere, and that kind of stands true for any business, honestly. So, tell us a little bit about where you personally came from as far as place and compare that to Knoxville for us. Like, what do you feel is the biggest difference that you have experienced here?


Melissa: So, I come from Madison, Wisconsin. It’s a lot like Knoxville, actually. Madison is on an isthmus so it’s in between lakes. Knoxville has the Tennessee River running right through it. Madison has the University of Wisconsin, Badgers. Knoxville has the Tennessee Vols. The Tennessee Vols are kicking butt this year and Badgers, no so much.


Julia: [laugh].


Melissa: Let’s see. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, the most visited tourist attraction in the state of Wisconsin is about an hour and 15 minutes from Madison, and hour I guess. Right down the road is the Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville. So, in that respect, it’s so much. The biggest difference is the hills [laugh]. We don’t have the hills there.


So, the mountains, you know, coming through—and the weather, right? So, right now we’re sitting here, it’s end of November; it’s a great day. Wisconsin, right about this time is when it’s going to switch in the weather and it’s going to be really cold there for a really long time. And we’re going to have a great winter here in Knoxville.


Julia: And I had no idea that is a very almost line-for-line comparison. I mean, Knoxville is exactly an hour outside of the most visited national park in the country. That is almost exactly the same feel, except UT is one of the largest D-1 colleges in the country and I think that is one of the biggest draws that we have, not only for education purposes but for worker’s talent, which again, gives people experiences in Knoxville that no one else can have. So, when you go to take this all over the nation, all over the world, these students at UT can come and intern for you and learn something about the hospitality industry. Have you all been able to partner with UT on some internships like that?


Melissa: Oh, we have. We have. We’ve had quite a few people from the school of hospitality work here already. I’ve spoken to their hospitality, advanced hospitality class a few times. And UT has a lot of events out here. They have so many different departments.


And we’ve got, like, the UT Police Department coming out here for a holiday party and UT Hospice Center coming out. So, there’s just all sorts of different UT things and we love working with them. And they have a great time when they come out here. So, it’s nice. You know, we said we’re only 15—10 minutes, really—to downtown and really ten minutes to the university. So, we’re really just right there, really, really quick access.


Julia: We all know that real estate is location, location, location. Our team at Just Homes Group Realty Executives have the true expertise, pairing buyers and sellers with the right opportunities. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home right here in Knoxville, Lenoir City, Clinton, or Farragut, we have the expertise throughout every Knoxville surrounding area. Call just Homes Group Realty Executives today.


Julia: So, when we were on our way there, again, number one, our GPS did, but wasn’t paying attention. So, I was on the phone, I was talking to someone, telling them where we were going, I said, “I have no idea where we’re going or how far away this is going to be. I might lose cell service. Just stay on the phone with me. I’ll call you back.” And then five minutes later, I’m like, “Oh, I’m there.” [laugh]. I was like, “I’m here.” I could not believe the proximity to Knoxville and the peace and quiet that close to everything. That was just stunning.


Melissa: Well, that’s the thing. We sit on 67 acres here. We’re one of the only green spaces between downtown Knoxville and the Smoky Mountains, so we have that preserved. We’ve got miles of hiking trails, our archery and axe ranges are nestled in the foothills of the mountain here, so you’re not—and you experienced it—you’re not, like, in a caged-in indoor pole shed for archery and axe throwing. You’re, like, right, there.


So, we’re excited about that. We’ve got a lot of—one of the big things that we’re doing for this summer—you know, probably the most asked question that I get when I’m answering the phones—and I’ve been doing that a lot in the last couple of weeks because we’ve been so busy—is, “Can I just come and walk around there?” And you do need to be at an event or something going on, but we’re changing that for 2023. And starting January 1st, from 1 to 4, you’re going to be able to come out and do a Village Discovery Pass. And that’s a self-guided tour; you can hike the trails. So, you can go ahead and do that.


We do request reservations so we know who’s coming. But we also will have great self-guided tours. So, we’re in the process of developing those for next year and we’re really excited about it. We’ll have five different tours to choose from, ranging from our beautiful garden tours, where you can really get a lot of great information there, to the story tour that takes you right into, like, more about the characters and the lore of Ancient Lore, and then into, like, the building of Ancient Lore Village, like, talk about the 1400 potted plants that make Bokee’s a 1600-square-foot underground home, right? And then also we’re going to have a scavenger hunt. So, there’ll be little things throughout the 67 acres that you can go and find. Maybe there’ll be a prize at the end, too. We haven’t developed that out yet.


Julia: I will say, one of the first things I commented on, other than the absolute solitude that place offers someone, like myself, who owns, also, several companies and my—I’m just going 24/7 was the topiary. There are so many different types of plants. It took me two hours, go through just the room that we were staying in and all of the different availabilities outside. And of course, I have to touch every plant. I’m one of those people, I want to touch it and feel it and smell it.


Melissa: That’s good. Then it kind of gets—you, like, feel the vibe of it, you get the energy from the plant.


Julia: Very tactile.


Melissa: Well, the garden is in front of each of the unique dwellings. So, when you look at the village online, you can see the Gremlin Dens that are next to the Orc Home that’s next to the Fairy Cottage. So, they—all the characters do live side-by-side. And as we were thinking about, like, how do we build out the inside and decorate them, one of the things that Tom’s wife had in mind—and she’s a master gardener—is all of the gardens outside need to reflect the characters inside that would live there because it’s like they’re putting on their own garden. So, it’s great. It’s absolutely amazing. And those gardens will start to pop up, probably mid-April, we’ll start the garden tours.


Julia: So, what if I’m disabled? I can’t go hiking, I can’t go up the mountain. Tell me what we can do there.


Melissa: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Well, that’s it. You can come and do these the self-guided tours. So, you can take a garden tour and it literally meanders through the path of the village and you get to see all of the different plants and learn about those. And then you have that information too, so if you’re like me, you go home and you try and recreate it and then you’re like, “I can’t do that.”


Julia: The Orc Village is handicap friendly, correct?


Melissa: It is, yes. And if people have mobility issues, like, we’ve had assisted living houses come out for an afternoon lunch and a tour. And they love it because they’re getting out there, they’re, like, out in nature, out in the outdoors. They love it and they can come through. So, our team is really, really good. I like to call them five-star friendly because they are: they’re really friendly. They’ve got that southern hospitality and they will help. We’ve got some golf carts that if people have mobility issues, we can get you through the village to see it.


Julia: So at the end of the day, how long is it do you think? Like, what is the growth period that we’re going to see, possibly finishing out some of the product in Knoxville and then carrying this through to other locations? And will there be—I’m just asking because I am an avid vacationer—will there be a package program for all states ticketing, kind of like a Disney Experience [laugh]?


Melissa: Oh, I think there definitely will need to be, and we’ll probably have to do some type of focus group when we get to that point. But I think the vision, really, for 2023 is that we’re going to be finishing up the construction here with the office building. We’ve got some public restrooms that we’re adding and then the overnight accommodations that we’re going to be adding. And then we’re going to be pretty done here at this location. But also in 2023, that’s when we’re starting to branch out and look for additional locations.


We have three different kind of opportunities if you will, we have an Ancient Lore B&B, we have an Ancient Lore Settlement that’s a little bit smaller than what we are here. And then we have an Ancient Lore Village, that is what we have here plus more lodging accommodations. So, we’ve got three different concepts that are out there. And the big thing is the Ancient Lore brand of really being able to spread that throughout so that people can get that point across of what we’re looking for. So, we’ve got a lot of different opportunities for people to license the Ancient Lore brand.


Julia: That is absolutely fantastic. I just love to hear about any business in Knoxville that’s growing and branching out. Again, it draws attention to what Knoxville has to offer, which is the whole point of the podcast. I think there are so many people outside of this area that do not understand why Knoxville has become such an interesting area to be in.


Of course, Nashville is growing exponentially. They’re running completely out of space, which is fantastic for everybody else and everything around them, but Nashville was already on the map. Knoxville, in and of itself, is more like a hidden gem of opportunity, business growth, connections, you name it, any industry right now is Knoxville-friendly. What is it that Knoxville is lacking, possibly, to continue to talk about and attract different kinds of things from your perspective, being not from here but being here?


Melissa: Boy, I think probably the… the biggest opportunity I think for Knoxville is really their just overall growth development plan, right? And I think that that’s a challenge, especially when you look at, like, the municipal planning board, right, for Knox County, or Blount county, or all of them around here because they’re all growing so much. And there’s only so much that the officials can do that are on those committees. And they do a great job, but that’s a difficult thing is that total planning of, do we have enough infrastructure for homes and roads and all of that? So, the master plan of Knoxville as it grows is going to be, I think, a challenge.


But like you said, East Tennessee is a great place to be, Knoxville is fantastic. There’s so many great things. The downtown area is easy to get around. It’s a fun, safe area. You can walk around downtown, you’re 35 minutes from getting to Wears Valley or, you know, 40 minutes from here to Townsend, the quiet side of the Smokies. Or you can go into Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville and check out all of those tourist attractions. So there’s, like, everything that you have, right here.


Julia: Yeah, I agree. And so, many people come here from out of state and stay because they just absolutely fall in love with everything that we have to offer. And I always appreciate when people see the potential and the opportunity in Knoxville because it is an amazing place to be, as is Ancient Lore Village, by the way. So, [laugh]. Really, sum up for us everything that we can possibly do.


We want to make sure that anybody that takes notice of this podcast and is paying attention to everything around you because your surroundings at this very moment are so unbelievably detailed and gorgeous, and of course, I posted probably about 100 photos of every detail of the room we stayed in, as well as the plants, but how can people connect with Ancient Lore? How can they become part of this process? Where would they go to get the walking tour tickets, maybe like a yearly pass for 2023? And how can they be more involved in spreading the word on the book—oh I already forgot the name of the book—


Melissa: Bokee’s Trek.


Julia: Bokee’s—thank you. Yes. How—


Melissa: Bokee’s.


Julia: Tell us [laugh] all of that.


Melissa: So, the best place to stay connected for the latest updates is our Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, follow us on those social medias are the ones that we are really out there. And we’ve got a great social media team that really keeps us top-of-mind there. We also post all of our events as Facebook Events, too, so that you can do that. But the tickets and everything are sold right on our website at


You can check, we just revamped it too, so there’s an ‘Our Story’ page on the website now where you can learn a little bit about the book, you can download the book. You can check out our stay page and learn all about the dwellings. Coming in 2023, we’re going to have a virtual walkthrough so you can actually go through and pick different spots in the room to take your vantage point from for all of the different dwellings. Our packages, our overnight packages we have coming up in 2023, we’ve got our Ultimate Package so you can come stay overnight, have dinner and archery and axe and breakfast and everything’s all included. We have the Stay and Play package that’s just archery and axe, and you can stay overnight.


We’ve got some great special rates going on in January. It’s a little bit slower for us then, so come out and see us then. January, we’ve got—we’re loading it up. They’re not on the calendar yet, but we are going to have wine tasting, bourbon tasting, moonshine tasting dinners, all sorts of great different events on Friday and Saturday nights here. We’ve got trivia coming back in January on Wednesday nights, we’ve got our Archery, Axe, and Apps that’s going seven days a week now, starting in 2023.


We are, like, stacked up with holiday parties for December. But we still have a few spots, so if they haven’t reserved yet do that. And reserve for next year. We’re already getting bookings for next December. So, it’s good. Yeah, come on out and see us. Share—you can sign up for our newsletter—share, tell your friends, gather all your friends together, come together and have a party out at Ancient Lore Village.


Julia: I think that’s absolutely fantastic. And I’ll tell you, when Joe—it was interesting because I had no idea. Joe and I were actually checking out and literally ran into Tom. He was gardening and we ran into him leaving our room. And I was like—he goes, “What are you doing here?” I said, “What are you doing here?” He’s like, “I own the place.” [laugh]. And I said, “Well, I just stayed at your place.” [laugh].


Melissa: Undoubtedly you will see Tom here. He is a very involved chairman. He’s the chairman of our board. We’re owned by shareholders. He’s the chairman of our board. He’s been active in building out everything from the 40-foot-tall cascading waterfall to the path that meanders through. I mean, he’s very invested in this. And he will be around here. And he’ll sign a book for you, too. So.


Julia: Oh, I hope people get the opportunity to meet him. He and his wife are fantastic [people 00:26:46].


Melissa: He loves seeing all the different people and meeting everyone.


Julia: Yeah. It is so wonderful. Every employee, every person that we met, takes that place like it is theirs. And that is—it’s so special to feel that. And so, I was very pleased when I asked Tom if I could interview you or somebody that he was like, “Well, even just take my CEO.” I was like, “Wow, that is—” again, just making sure that everybody feels like they’re part of it and making Knoxville feel like they’re part of it.


So Melissa, thank you for building this, and thank you for taking the time to help us understand more about Ancient Lore Village. When this podcast airs, I will send you all the information, I post all of the links and share all the social media pages as well, and friends, if you’re out there, please visit Melissa, thank you so much and I hope you have a fantastic day.


Melissa: Thank you. You too.


Julia: Bye.


Melissa: Bye-bye.



Julia: Thank you for tuning into the show. Make sure to like and subscribe, leave a five-star review on your podcast player of choice. And if you would like information on moving to Knoxville, send me a private message. As always, this is Julia Hurley, connecting Knoxville to the nation.


Posted in connecttheknox, Podcast
May 19, 2023

Fueling Home Buyer Demands

Hey there, Knoxville dwellers! Brace yourselves, because the housing market in our vibrant city is buzzing with excitement. Despite affordability challenges and a limited inventory of homes for sale, buyer demand is reaching new heights and showing no signs of slowing down.

But don't just take our word for it. The evidence is right there in the numbers. The latest data from the ShowingTime Showing Index reveals a surge in showing traffic. More people are actively exploring homes now than even before the pandemic hit. The graph speaks volumes, displaying the remarkable increase in home tours (check it out below). It's like a stampede of eager buyers, charging forward to find their perfect abode:

Sure, we may not be experiencing the same frenzied buyer activity of the past couple of years, but believe us, Knoxville is not far off from that pace. The demand is palpable, and there's an army of potential homeowners eagerly checking out available homes as we speak.

Now, you might be wondering, "What's driving this housing frenzy, especially with mortgage rates climbing higher than they were just a year ago?" Well, hold onto your hats because we're about to unveil the secret ingredient: the job market!

Contrary to popular belief, the job market in Knoxville, TN is thriving. Despite the persistent inflation concerns and the Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes, the reality is that our job market is growing at an astonishing pace. Take a look at the graph below. It shows how job growth has not only been steady but has even exceeded expert projections:

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases the number of new jobs added to the U.S. job market. In April alone, we saw a staggering increase of 88,000 jobs compared to March. That's not just good news; it's an indicator of a robust and flourishing job market right here in Knoxville!

And wait, there's more! Unemployment is at a near all-time low, currently standing at a jaw-dropping 3.4%. That's a historical milestone, folks! Take a peek at the graph below to see the impressive downward trajectory:

With so many Knoxville residents gainfully employed and enjoying financial stability, it's no wonder they're seriously considering homeownership. The stars have aligned, creating a perfect storm of motivated buyers and a thriving job market.

So, what does all of this mean for you, dear homeowners and potential sellers? Well, it's music to your ears, my friends! A market filled with active buyers eagerly searching for their dream homes translates to increased interest in your own humble abode. And guess what? The cherry on top is the low number of homes available for sale.

To embark on this exciting journey, your best bet is to team up with a seasoned real estate agent. They possess the expertise to help you price your home correctly, navigate the offers you'll receive, negotiate like a pro, and minimize any stress or hassle that may come your way.

In a nutshell, Knoxville is brimming with eager buyers, driven by a flourishing job market and the desire for homeownership. Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity! Let's connect and put your house on the market to join the action.

Get ready, Knoxville—it's time to seize the day and make your real estate dreams a reality!

Posted in Home Buying
May 16, 2023

Unleashing The Real Estate Magic with the Power of Equity

Hey there, fellow home enthusiasts! Ever wondered how much equity you've been brewing in your humble abode? Well, get ready to be spellbound because we're about to dive into the mesmerizing world of Knoxville, TN real estate stats and introduce you to the enchanting Julia Hurley, the broker/owner of JustHomesGroup!


Equity, my friends, is the mystical force that dwells within the gap between your home's market value and your mortgage amount. It's like discovering hidden treasure right beneath your feet. And according to the wise sages at the National Association of Realtors, equity grows as time goes by, thanks to the magical spells of price appreciation and mortgage payments!


But hold on to your wizard hats because this is where things get truly captivating. Your hard-earned equity isn't just a mystical creature lurking in the shadows of your mortgage statements. No, no! It's a powerful ally that can help you conquer your dreams! Need a bigger home to accommodate your expanding collection of mystical artifacts? Your equity can pave the way. Craving a cozier abode to cozy up with your favorite spellbooks? Yep, equity has your back there too!


Now, you might be wondering, just how much of this enchanting equity do you possess? Well, according to the wise surveyors at, many homeowners in Knoxville, TN estimate that they've accumulated a substantial amount of equity. It's like having your own personal treasure chest filled with dollar signs!


And guess what, folks? The mystical data from CoreLogic supports this bewitching notion! Selma Hepp, the Chief Economist for CoreLogic, reveals that even though some regions experienced home price declines, the average U.S. homeowner still holds around $270,000 in equity. That's an extra $90,000 dancing around in their pockets compared to the pre-pandemic era! Talk about a magical windfall!


But wait, there's more! To unlock the full potential of your equity and embark on a thrilling real estate adventure, you need a trusty guide by your side. Enter Julia Hurley, the sorceress of the real estate realm and the brilliant mind behind JustHomesGroup. With her expertise and spells of knowledge, she can help you unravel the true value of your home. Bankrate even sings her praises, highlighting how Julia and her team can work their magic to determine home prices in your area and guide you towards pricing your current home just right.


With Julia's guidance, you'll be equipped with the secrets to estimate your equity and envision the grandeur of your net proceeds. That way, you can confidently embark on your quest to find your new dream home, armed with the power of your equity in hand.


So, my fellow adventurers of the housing market, it's time to embrace the magical possibilities that Knoxville, TN real estate and the bewitching Julia Hurley have to offer. Connect with Julia and let her help you unveil the secrets of your equity and chart a course toward your next home!


Remember, in this mystical realm of homeownership, your equity is the key that can unlock doors you never dreamed possible. Don't let it slumber—let it set you free!


Grab your wands and get ready to make some real estate magic happen in Knoxville, TN!

Posted in Home Selling
May 9, 2023

Time for a New Build?

Hey there, house hunters! Are you feeling a bit discouraged by the limited inventory of homes available for sale? Don't fret, my friends! I've got some great news that will have you jumping for joy.

First off, did you know that the housing market in Knoxville, Tennessee is booming? That's right, and who better to help you navigate it than the amazing Julia Hurley, the broker owner of Just Homes Group? With her expertise and guidance, you'll be sure to find your dream home in no time.

Now, let's talk about the latest data from the U.S. Census. It shows that new home construction is on the rise! In fact, more new homes were completed and ready to sell in the first three months of this year. That means more options for you to choose from. Plus, builders are breaking ground and starting construction on more single-family homes. This means you'll have even more opportunities to customize your home to your liking.

But wait, there's more! When you choose to build a new home, you get to tailor it to your unique needs and taste. You can choose everything from the flooring to the number of sunrooms. And because everything is new, you'll have fewer maintenance and repair needs up front. Plus, incorporating energy-efficient options can help lower your costs over time.

So, if you're having trouble finding your dream home in today's market, it's time to consider newly built homes. And who better to guide you through the process than Julia Hurley and Just Homes Group? Let's connect and explore what's available in our local area. Happy house hunting!

Like, Share and Follow @justhomesgroup anywhere you have social media

Posted in Home Buying
Jan. 11, 2023

Today's Housing Market is Nothing Like 15 Years Ago

Today’s Housing Market Is Nothing Like 15 Years Ago

Today’s Housing Market Is Nothing Like 15 Years Ago | MyKCM

There’s no doubt today’s housing market is very different than the frenzied one from the past couple of years. In the second half of 2022, there was a dramatic shift in real estate, and it caused many people to make comparisons to the 2008 housing crisis. While there may be a few similarities, when looking at key variables now compared to the last housing cycle, there are significant differences.

In the latest Real Estate Forecast Summit, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), drew the comparisons below between today’s housing market and the previous cycle:

Today’s Housing Market Is Nothing Like 15 Years Ago | MyKCM

Looking at the facts, it’s clear: today is very different than the housing market of 15 years ago.

There’s Opportunity in Real Estate Today

And in today’s market, with inventory rising and less competition from other buyers, there’s opportunity right now. According to David Stevens, former Assistant Secretary of Housing:

“So be advised…this may be the one and only window for the next few years to get into a buyer’s market. And remember…as the Federal Reserve data shows…home prices only go up and always recover from recessions no matter how mild or severe. Long term homeowners should view this market…right now…as a unique buying opportunity.”

Bottom Line

Today’s housing market is nothing like the real estate market 15 years ago. If you’re a buyer right now, this may be the chance you’ve been waiting for.

Jan. 10, 2022

3 Home Colors for 2022

kitchen color 2022

If you’re thinking of updating, remodeling or repairing your home this year, it’s time to start planning. 

Want to make the most of your efforts? Don’t overlook color. Color plays a big role in your home’s aesthetic and mood, and it can affect your overall property value, too. 

If you’re not sure where to start, get acquainted with the trending hues for 2022 and take a look at these tips for incorporating color like a pro.

1. Let the colors of the year guide you. A great place to start is by reviewing the “colors of the year.” For 2022, hues of green are in for two of the most well-known brands. Benjamin Moore went with October Mist, a pale, silvery green, while Sherwin-Williams opted for Evergreen Fog, a soothing “green-meets-gray” shade. Pantone went in a different direction with Very Peri, a periwinkle shade with violet-red undertones meant to “encourage courageous creativity.”

2. Have a color-placing strategy. How will you use the colors? You can opt for a more nuanced approach and paint an accent wall, your crown molding or your baseboards, or you could go all-out and use it on your kitchen cabinets or even an entire room or ceiling. Another option: You could focus on accessories like bedding or drapes if you want something more temporary. 

3. Factor in durability and upkeep. White and light hues photograph well and make a room look nice and clean. On the downside, they may get dirty easily and often require a lot of cleaning and upkeep. They’re typically not good choices in a well-used space (like a playroom or right around the kitchen sink or oven, for example).

Planning to sell your home or buy a new one this year? Reach out today for guidance. 865-237-7328

Nov. 29, 2021

Buying a Home in Another State?

Technology has made buying a home in another state easier than ever before; for example, if you can’t travel to see a potential home in person, you can take a virtual tour—and get a feel for the flow and layout of the house without ever stepping foot inside.

But just because the process is easier doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges associated with it—and if you want to successfully purchase a home in a different state, there are definitely things you’ll want to keep in mind.

So what, exactly, are those things? A recent article from realtor outlined must-know tips for buyers considering purchasing a home in a different state, including:

  • Choose your real estate agent wisely. Choosing the right real estate agent is always important—but it’s especially important when you’re purchasing a home out of state. Your real estate agent will be your eyes and ears when you can’t be there to look at properties in person—so make sure to do your research and choose a local agent you trust.
  • Ask questions. The homebuying process can vary widely from state to state—so it’s important to ask as many questions as possible to understand the process in the state where you’re planning to buy. For example, how much earnest money will you need? Will the inspection happen before or after the closing? How long will it take to close? Getting these questions answered at the beginning of your home search can make the process significantly less stressful—so if you have questions, make sure to ask your real estate agent.
  • Ask for a remote closing. Back in the day, if you purchased a home out of state, you would have to travel for the closing—but thanks to remote closings, that’s no longer the case. If you don’t want to make a trip to another state just to close on your home, ask your agent to coordinate a remote closing.
Posted in Home Buying
Nov. 24, 2021

Top Reasons to Sell In Holidays

Between holiday travel, holiday parties, and hosting out-of-town guests, the holidays can be a busy time of year. And if you’re selling your home, you might be tempted to take your property off the market and push your home sale into the new year.

But, as it turns out, you might want to rethink that strategy.

An article in realtor recently outlined the top reasons not to take your home off the market during the holiday season, including:

  • It’s easier for your listing to get attention. Because the holidays are so busy, a lot of sellers pull their homes off the market and would-be sellers hold off on listing their home—both of which reduce available inventory. Less inventory means less competition, which will make it easier for your home to get attention and interest from buyers who can’t wait weeks or months to make offers and move forward with a purchase.
  • The buyers are more serious. Most people don’t want to add “buying a home” to the list of their holiday to-do’s. But that means that the buyers that are out there looking for homes are serious, motivated, and ready to purchase a home ASAP—a major plus for sellers.
  • Lenders are more motivated to close the deal. Because fewer homes are being bought and sold during the holiday season, lenders are more motivated to close transactions—which can make the process both easier and faster.

Bottom line? You might think the holidays aren’t the best time to sell a home—but if you’ve been thinking about selling your home, it turns out this is a great time to make a move.

We will sell your house.  865-237-7328.