UnChosen: Surviving Job Loss


Special Guests

Greg Chambers and Peter Jones

joins The Housing Hour this week to discuss their new book, UnChosen: Surviving The Emotional Trauma Of Job Loss. Greg and Peter masterfully describe the emotional trauma inflicted on individuals and families from the sudden unexpected impact of job loss.  While explaining the tough feeling of shame, pain, and worthlessness, they also give a message of comfort and hope.

Join Kevin and Mark as they unpack the daunting story of the “UnChosen”.

Buy now:

Job loss is a traumatic experience that can tear you apart. It is an emotional and traumatic experience that impacts your social, economic and psychological status quo. The workplace is not designed to help you recover from being UnChosen. Managers, recruiters, and friends don’t understand it and are unable to help you unless they have also been through the experience. This book is a guide through this journey from two authors who have experienced it several times and moved on to recovery. UnChosen discusses the impact through personal experience, chronicles the journey, and offers a path to recovery. It is a guide to surviving the new workplace where company loyalty is disappearing and career-minded workers need to become more self-reliant to survive. This book will help you understand what you are experiencing and how to emotionally prepare for moving your life forward from job loss. Greg and Peter have written their experiences to help you conquer those obstacles and become free again.



MIG Farragut Branch Office


 Special Guests

Samanda Knight  and Aretha Mims

joins The Housing Hour this week to discuss the local real estate market. Samanda is a Branch Manager with Mortgage Investors Group at their Farragut Office and Aretha is a Realtor with Realty Executives Associates, Nikitia Thompson Realty in Knoxville.   Samanda and Aretha bring their business perspective and experience to the show to help our listeners understand all that’s going on in the industry today.

Samanda Knight

NMLS Unique Identifier # 657450

Samanda’s   desire was to leave her  “footprint” in the world led her to a career in the mortgage lending industry. That was nearly 20 years ago, and in that time, she’s been able to draw on her love of interacting with people to help clients achieve the American dream of homeownership.

Samanda entered the industry in 1995 as a mortgage processor. Three years later, she began originating loans and worked her way up to becoming a producing Branch Manager before making the seamless transition to MIG in June as a Senior Loan Officer in its main Knoxville branch.

Samanda is well versed in all types of lending, including Federal Housing Administration (FHA), FHA 203K, Veterans Affairs (VA), Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), Rural Development (RD), New Construction, and Homepath. Today she works with Loan Officer Assistant Holly Clark and Processor Lisa Calvert, as she guides clients through the process of making one of the largest investments of their lives. Samanda strives to offer exceptional customer service by thoroughly listening to her clients so she can gain a full understanding of their financial goals. Then, she advises them about their options so they can achieve those goals.

Samanda is an affiliate member of the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors and a member of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce and Farragut Chamber of Commerce.


Aretha Mims

Aretha A. Mims, Realty Executives, Nikitia Thompson Realty has been a real estate professional for over fifteen years in the state of Tennessee.

Aretha’s real estate career began in office administration in Nashville Tennessee.  She is very passionate about her profession and takes very seriously the task of meeting her clients and customers needs.

Aretha has surrounded herself with very reputable Lender’s, Title Attorneys, termite companies, foundation specialist, home inspectors etc. Whatever the needs maybe to insure the most professional experience as humanly possible.

Aretha A. Mims

Realty Executives Associates,

Nikitia Thompson Realty

865- 244-8528

Contact Aretha today!

Realty Executives Associates

3232 Tazewell Pike

Knoxville, TN 37918

Mobile:(865) 244-8528



Erik Ainge UT Spring Game Report


Special Guest

Erik Ainge

of The Erik Ainge Show joins The Housing Hour this week to give our listeners an inside look at UT Vols spring practice and the upcoming Orange and White game. You don’t want to miss this in-depth look at coaches, players, and great stories from one of UT legends of the game!

The Erik Ainge Show can be heard on Sports Radio WNML  M-F 9am to Noon.

Also,  Erik and Johnny Majors will be LIVE at Tailgate Clothing in Market Square from 11 am-1pm on Friday, April 21st (Friday before the Orange and White Game).  Get an autograph and or picture, and while you’re there, please check out all of our Vintage Vols clothing!  They will also have specials that day.

The EA Show will be broadcasting LIVE from 9-Noon that day and then Erik will be hanging out afterward for photos and autographs. Don’t miss it!



USDA: Rural Housing Loans


 Special Guests


Don Harris and John Prince

from Rural Development (USDA) are this week’s guests on The Housing Hour.  Don Harris is the Housing Program Director for Tennessee, and John Prince is the Guarantee Housing Coordinator.  Don and John join our discussion to explain the wonderful advantages of the 100% financing option available through Rural Development. Don also explains the Rural Housing Direct program and housing repair programs made possible for millions of Tennessee families.

Don and John also talk about the Number  One RD Lender in Tennessee for 2016:

Mortgage Investors Group!

Over 100,000,000 Dollars Closed Loans!

MIG: Number One Rural Housing Lender In Tennessee for 2016!

Property Eligibility

USDA Rural Home Loan

Do you know what a USDA rural loan is? FYI, if you aren’t familiar with the term, it has nothing to do with high-quality beef. USDA rural loans help moderate to low-income individuals buy homes, with 100% financing and NO down payment. You don’t need to farm or raise livestock for a living to get one of these home loans. In all seriousness, USDA rural loans are mortgages backed by the US Department of Agriculture that often apply to areas that aren’t so rural at all. Many people are obtaining USDA loans in neighborhoods that are considered suburban.

Invest in Your Future

These loans were designed to bring strength and capital to rural communities by offering loans, grants and loan guarantees that support economic and social development. USDA rural programs are responsible for millions of dollars of loans, creating jobs and wealth for communities across America. Right now, mortgage rates are very low, and with a USDA rural loans, they’ll get even lower. Click here for to see a list of all the Housing Hour’s podcasts on Loan Programs.

Single Family Direct Loans

To obtain a single family direct loan, the applicant must meet the minimum income requirements for the area in which they wish to purchase a home. Household income cannot be more that 115% of the median income for that area. Lenders will also look at your debt-to-income ratio when determining your eligibility.

With single family direct loans, many Americans who never thought they could afford loans, are buying their homes. This is fortunate for families with limited income or tight budgets. If you plan on working and taking care of your family, these loans can help you to quickly build equity and credit. Home improvements and additions can put money back into your pocket as well. Check out the Protect Your Family Series from the Housing Hour to get more ideas and tips on protecting your loved ones.

These loans apply to small towns only, with a population of fewer than 20,000 people. The buyer must also be using the property as primary residence, and have a good credit rating. In many cases renting can cost hundreds of dollars more than making payments on your home. This is good news for families that qualify for FHA mortgages but cannot cover the cost of the down payment.

Give this episode of the Housing Hour a listen for expert advice and information on USDA loans.

Knoxville Marathon


Special Guest:

Tina Muir

Running For Real


Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon

 Jason and Kristy Altman.

Tina Muir

 is an elite runner.  Her PRs are 16:08 (5k), 33:24 (10k), 1:13 (Half Marathon), and 2:36 (Marathon). After growing the  Run to the Top Podcast to over 150,000 downloads per month,  she has gone after one of her passions; helping people to feel good about themselves, through a community called Running for Real.

Her website is devoted to helping YOU feel good about your running and who YOU are, so you too, can be the best YOU can be! She wants you to Be Brave. Be Strong. Be You!

Tina will share the ups and downs, the ins and outs of her training and what she is currently doing to be better. She prides herself on being real, so if you are looking for those perfect looking images of chiseled bodies who say how wonderful life is all the time, you are in the wrong place!

Tina promises you to be real, even if it means showing weakness or vulnerability.

Listen to the first 2 segments of our show today to hear Tina’s tips!

Also today:

Jason and Kristy Altman

Jason Altman is the Race Director for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is the Knoxville Track Club’s largest event.   He has served as the Race Director since 2007. Prior to that time, he served as a volunteer for the event in 2006 and ran the inaugural marathon in 2005. In his role,  Jason oversees all event operations including sponsorship recruitment, leading key volunteers, recruiting volunteers, and all race weekend logistics.

Jason also serves the community as the Chair of the Knox County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and as a member of the City of Knoxville Greenways Commission.  He recently began service on the Active Communities Committee which is a partner group to the Community Health Council.

Jason is an accomplished runner with 4 wins at the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon. In 2016, he won the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in November and then the Kiawah Island Marathon in December.  He has won several other events at various distances.

Jason was honored in  2014  as the recipient of the Greater Knoxville’s Business Journal 40 Under 40 and is a graduate of the Introduction Knoxville program through Leadership Knoxville.

Kristy Altman is the Executive Director for Knoxville Track Club. KTC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage lifelong physical well-being through running and walking. The vision is “Healthy living, healthy community – one step at a time.” In her role,  Kristy oversees all operations including 10 staff members, 1000s of volunteers, road and trail races, RunKNOX, social programming, youth programs including the newly formed Knoxville Youth Runs, Tennessee Sports Medicine Group Farragut Events and more. KTC’s largest event is the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. In addition,  Kristy founded Altman Consulting which offers communications and public relations services to local nonprofits and small businesses. She is a certified group exercise instructor through the American Council on Exercise and trained yoga instructor and taught locally for many years.

Kristy serves the community on various boards including the Community Health Council (Previous Chair), Leadership Knoxville (Board Member, Governance Committee Chair, and Facilitation Committee Member), United Way of Greater Knoxville, BikeWalk Knoxville Advisory Council, Rocky Hill Elementary PTO Board of Directors (Communications Chair), and various other committee commitments.  She is an Expert for the Alliance for Better Nonprofits and provides training and services for members. Kristy was previously a founding board member for Volunteer Knoxville and served as a mentor for tnAchieves for many years.  Kristy is a 2013 recipient of the Greater Knoxville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 and a graduate of the Leadership Knoxville 2013 as well as the Fall 2010 Introduction Knoxville Program.


Where Weather Fans Live


Special Guests

John Lindsay -David Manuel-Kevin Rhea

discuss this week on The Housing Hour one of their true passions in life-Weather! John, David and Kevins’ life path has intersected at this  East Tennessee crossroad due to a common love of weather.   As a result, they have created a Facebook pages for, as their motto reads, ‘Where Weather Fans Live’.     They invite all weather enthusiasts to join the daily discussion about the weather regardless of where you live,  they want to talk about how weather affects you!

Where Weather Fans Live

The Housing Hour Host-Kevin Rhea has been a  weather enthusiast since the Tennessee Blizzard of  1993.   He’s has been known to set out to all parts of the East Tennessee region hunting the perfect snow storm. John Lindsay has had a similar experience since he was a young boy, finding himself in total awe of weather events and a drive to be able to predict future storms. David Manuel is the newest member,  adding great knowledge of the technical and scientific side of weather coupled with excellent communication skills. 

All three of these talented men build the perfect forum “Where Weather Fans Live”!

So join the discussion this week- where we talk about the weather but can’t do a thing about it!

Like the Page Today!








Homeownership: A Tool for Community Development


Homeownership: A Tool for Community Development

by Mark W. Griffith

While becoming a homeowner is a dream for many, it can also be seen as a tool and a very useful one at that.

When viewed through that lens, housing professionals realize homeownership helps strengthen and revitalize communities, while building wealth and providing a home for families to grow and thrive.

That potential to do good is what makes the Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s HHF Down Payment Assistance so important for many hardworking families in the Volunteer State.

Equipped with an allocation of $60 million from the U.S. Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, THDA was able to target 55 ZIP Codes – just under seven percent of those in Tennessee – that have been slow to recover from the housing downturn that occurred almost nine years ago. The targeted areas include ZIP Codes in East Tennessee. Many homes in   Clinton ZIP Code 37716 are eligible and seven ZIP Codes stretching into Jefferson and a tip of Sevier County have neighborhoods that could be helped.

The full list of ZIP Codes can be found online at GreatChoiceTN.com by clicking on the Down Payment Assistance box.

The program works like this: as of March 1, 2017, homebuyers purchasing an existing home in one of the eligible ZIP Codes can apply for a $15,000 forgivable second mortgage to cover the downpayment and closing costs.

The ZIP Codes being targeted are among those hardest hit during the housing crisis based on a variety of factors identified by the U.S. Treasury. The goal of the program is to spur economic activity and help stabilize property values by boosting home sales in those neighborhoods that have not fully recovered.

Still the biggest hurdle to homeownership for hard-working folks: saving money for the required down payment and closing costs to purchase a home. Without this helping hand, many deserving Tennesseans wouldn’t be able to make the jump from renter to homeowner.

Since it was announced in early February, a flurry of media coverage and social media buzz has helped raise awareness about the new program. Due to its popularity, many people have expressed interest. All the information is available at GreatChoiceTN.com.

Many wonder if it’s a deal that’s too good to be true, but it’s real, and it’s ready. As housing professionals, we should help our clients clear up any confusion about where the program is available and who benefits, and always strive to do what is best on their behalf by matching them with the product that serves them best.

With this powerful tool, we have a chance to help build the foundation for a positive future for thousands of Tennessee families.


By Mark Griffith
Mortgage Investors Group
Branch Manager- Oak Ridge
Co-Host of The Housing Hour-THDA Advisory Board

First Time Homebuyer- Down Payment Program


Special Guests

                       Lindsay Hall    and   Rhonda Ronnow

of THDA joins The Housing Hour this week to explain one of the hottest First Time Homebuyer programs in Tennessee.    Lindsay Hall is Chief Administrative Officer of Single Family Programs and Rhonda Ronnow is Director of Single Family Loan Operations. Lindsay and Rhonda explain the new $15,000 Downpayment program for selected zip codes areas in Tennessee and how you may be able to apply!

THDA Announces $15,000 Incentive to Homebuyers in Targeted Neighborhoods

Contact a Loan Officer at MIG to find out details!


If you’re purchasing a home with a Great Choice Home Loan in one of the participating ZIP Codes, you can apply for our HHF-DPA program, which offers $15,000 in assistance regardless of the home’s purchase price.

Participating ZIP Codes:

37037 37040 37042 37073 37086 37110 37115 37148 37172 37186
37207 37208 37217 37218 37303 37311 37321 37323 37404 37406
37411 37412 37416 37660 37716 37721 37813 37821 37871 37912
37914 37917 37921 37924 38012 38016 38018 38053 38063 38105
38107 38109 38111 38115 38116 38122 38125 38127 38128 38133
38134 38135 38141 38301 38305

How It Works

If you’re approved, your financial assistance comes in the form of a forgivable $15,000 second mortgage loan on your home.

The second mortgage has a 0% interest rate and no monthly payments for the 10 year term. The loan is forgiven at 20% per year in years 6 through 10.See forgiveness schedule below.

After Year What you owe if you sell, refinance, or move out
0 – 5 $15,000
6 $12,000
7 $9,000
8 $6,000
9 $3,000
10 $0

To be eligible, you must purchase an existing home (new construction is not allowed) using a Great Choice first mortgage loan in an eligible ZIP Code, and you must complete a THDA-certified Homebuyer Education class with an agency approved to work with HHF-DPA homebuyers. Find an approved HHF-DPA class provider in your area.

If that sounds like a great choice to you, here’s how to find out if you qualify for a Great Choice Home Loan:

Additional terms and conditions apply. Talk to an approved lender to help determine if you qualify and if this program may be right for you. You must comply with the terms and conditions of the Great Choice Home Loan Program and HHF-DPA second mortgage loan or penalties may apply, including immediate repayment.

You must meet THDA homebuyer education requirements, which consists of pre-purchase and post purchase education (typically combined into one “combo” class), prior to closing your loan. You can meet this requirement by completing the class online or by attending an in-person class through an approved HHF-DPA counseling agency.

It is best to sign up for the class as early in the homebuying process as possible, and we strongly encourage you to complete the class at least four weeks before your closing date.

Find the approved HHF-DPA counseling agency closest to you:

In-Person Classes

If you prefer to take an in-person class, please identify the provider closest to you that offers in-person Pre-Purchase & Post-Purchase Combo classes. Please note that some providers on the calendar are not approved for HHF-DPA classes.

Click here to find an in-person Pre-Purchase & Post-Purchase Combo class near you.

Online Classes

Be sure to identify the provider closest to you that provides online classes. Please note that some providers on eHome America are not approved for HHF-DPA.

Click here to find a participating online provider, who offers Pre-Purchase and Post-Purchase courses.

Upon completion of both courses, a counselor will contact you within 2 business days to complete a one hour follow up session. You may contact the participating agency directly for additional assistance.



Housing Trends: Dr. Ralph DeFranco


Special Guest

Dr. Ralph DeFranco

Global Chief Economist,

Arch Capital Services,

joins The Housing Hour this week to discuss the latest housing trends. Dr. DeFranco specifically discusses the trends across Tennessee from Memphis to Johnson City.   Topics also include a look at the global economy including the mortgage interest rates and the potential impact of legislative policies.

You don’t want to miss this show!

Also, Dr. Defranco has written a quarterly economic report packed full of the latest economic information, trends, and predictions.

Arch Mortgage Insurance (Arch MI)

Arch MI is dedicated to providing risk management and risk financing products to the mortgage insurance sector worldwide, through their three distinct platforms in the United States, Europe, and Bermuda.  Their group of dedicated mortgage insurance and reinsurance professionals understands the unique requirements and challenges of mortgage insurance markets around the globe.  Their market-specific knowledge and expertise enable their teams to provide creative and commercially viable solutions for their clients. Superior analytics and risk assessment combined with outstanding client service are at the forefront of all their activities.

Global Locations

  • Bermuda

  • United States

    • Walnut Creek, California
  • Europe

    • Dublin
    • London

Wildlife Solutions – Michael Harris


Special Guest

Michael Harris,

Wildlife Solutions,

joins The Housing Hour this week to discuss the latest threats to the East Tennessee area.   Two new animals have been sighted in the Knoxville and surrounding areas that pose a potential threat. Michael describes the animals and what you should do to protect your family.

The topic for this week’s show:

  • Ground Hogs
  • Skunks
  • Armadillos
  • Cougars-big cats*

Wildlife Solutions LLC. specializes in keeping your home, yard, or property free of outside wildlife. Located in Knoxville, TN we provide all of Knox County and surrounding areas with friendly, professional and humane wildlife removal services.  Their licensed and experienced professionals are available, at your convenience, to evaluate and take care of any problem that you have whether it is bats or squirrels in your attic, raccoons getting into your garbage, or mice getting into your living area.

Their primary goal is not only to remove the animals currently causing your problem but to keep more from returning.  They ensure that they can locate and capture these intruders in a timely and efficient manner with little to no damage to your home and property.  Their service is quick, reliable and most calls can be treated with a same-day or next-day appointment because we know the longer these nuisances stay, the more potential damage they can do. In most cases, the pest problem has existed for a long time prior to the discovery.

Wildlife Solutions offers preventative evaluations to your home that will detect animal entry points, potential problem areas, and existing issues. If a problem is discovered, we give you a step-by-step summary of the process needed to solve your animal invasion before we get started. Once our plan is executed, we ensure that you will be satisfied with the results. Avoid using DIY techniques that lead to messy cleanups, inconsistent results, and long execution times. Go ahead and call our experienced staff at Wildlife Solutions to help with your animal control problem.

Call One of  their Animal Removal Experts


East Tn sighting



*Cougars are shy, nocturnal, solitary, secretive animals, with large home ranges. Because of their behavioral patterns, the likelihood of encountering a cougar is extremely slim, even in areas with established populations. To show how rare a cougar attack is, compare the number of human fatalities resulting from cougar attacks to those resulting from other hazards from animals or nature. In the 100 years between 1890 to 1990, in the U.S. and Canada, only 10 humans died due to cougar attacks.1 Every year in the U.S. an average of 26 human deaths are the result of dog attacks, 3 deaths from bear attacks, 12 deaths from rattlesnake bites, 40 deaths from bee stings, and 90 deaths from lightning strikes. Also considering there have been no confirmed sightings of a cougar between the years 1900 and 2015 in Tennessee, the chances of a cougar encounter are even smaller.

Even if the chances of encountering a cougar are minuscule, it doesn’t hurt to know what to do! Cougars are large predatory carnivores and if you see one, it might be deciding whether or not you’d be an easy meal. Never run, but instead make yourself threatening by standing tall, waving your arms, throwing objects, and yelling. Don’t turn away, but back away slowly, and towards shelter like a car or house if possible. Pepper spray may also be effective. If you’re with a group of people, gather together. Dogs and children have a tendency to run and they are more vulnerable than you, so pick them up so they don’t become a target. If the animal attacks, fight back! Do not play dead. Report the encounter to local authorities and TWRA as soon as possible.- See more at: https://www.tn.gov/twra/article/cougars-in-tennessee#sthash.49sg03hi.dpuf