Finding The Right Land For A Self-Sufficient Lifestyle


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Is it a trend or is it a sign of things to come? Families across the country are becoming more and more interested in learning to become more self-sufficient. Self-sufficient living, survivalist, preppers. Call them what you may, but the need for lands that support a lifestyle without dependence on others is growing. I read recently:

“I’ve seen estimates that more than 4 million American families are now beginning to prepare for a major disaster,” said Marjory Wildcraft, a survivalist expert and author of the new book, “7 Shortcuts to Finding the Perfect Survival Retreat

Finding that perfect self-sufficient/survival farm or homestead can be a very challenging adventure. You are trying to find a place that is safe. One that has good soil, water, and the natural resources that will provide you with the things you need once your supplies run out. You want an area with like-minded people. And you want a place that is enjoyable to live, where your family will want to be, even if hard times weren’t coming. To top it all off, you may feel you are under the pressure of the ticking time-bomb clock. We just don’t know how long this house of cards will stay up. It has defied gravity for many years now, but we all know this house of cards is going to fall – and probably soon. When it goes down, it will crash hard. There will be a lot of misery among the unprepared. You probably won’t get a second chance to relocate again. So you really need to make the right decision.

So what should you look for? How much land do I need in order to properly care for my family? What resources will I need? So many questions! Let’s just look at a few of the requirements.

If you went totally vegetarian, you would need a little less than half an acre per person to provide all of the necessary calories. That means a family of 4 needs almost 2 acres of farm-able land! The majority of this land will go to fruits, berries, and veggies. You’ll get the most nutrients in terms of vitamins and minerals from these. To decrease the amount of land you’ll need, consider companion planting. Some organic farmers will plant sunflowers, and then plant peas that will grow up the long stalks. The same goes with corn, squash, and pole beans. Squash will grow low to the ground, pole beans will take the intermediate area, and corn up high. So, here is your starting point.


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You’ll also need some land for livestock. You’ll probably want hogs, goats, rabbits and chickens. All of these animals can be raised in relatively small amounts of space, and provide important protein. You’ll need a good 200 square feet for 3 hogs, more if they have piglets. You can get away with less for each of the other animals. And then there’s the larger animals. If you want cattle and a few mules or horses considerably more land will be needed. You must then consider hay fields, grazing areas, grain and hay storage facilities and a good water supply.  The number of cows per acre could vary widely, depending on soil type, forage type, rainfall/year and more. In Texas or Oklahoma, it may be two acres per cow. But in Georgia or Tennessee it may be two cows per acre. Check with the local area agricultural groups to find out what is best in the area that you plan to live.

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Your most needed product will of course be water. You must have a plentiful water supply on the property–preferably spring fed or an artesian well. (Pumped well water would be an inferior second choice.) Check the quality of the water. See if the actual source is truly located on your land. Plan a storage area for your water supply.

Here are some other items to consider when looking for the right property:

· Good exposure for gardening and sun-produced energy.

· Temperate climate that offers a good growing season.

· Plentiful game and the opportunity to hunt it. Is there a wooded area on the property.

· Like-minded neighbors.

· Not on a flood plain.

· Southern exposure.

· “Panoramic views.” This usually means a hilltop location with defendable terrain.

· A low crime area with a healthy local economy.

· Remote area that is not near population centers and is not in the path of real estate developers.

· Low housing costs. Examine as many factors as possible including home and car insurance rates, property taxes, and so forth. 

In conclusion, how much land it takes to homestead varies with the visions of the homesteader and the nature of the terrain one wishes to inhabit. Even small acreages of 2 – 4 acres can sustain a small family if managed well. Larger homesteads in the range of 25 – 50 acres can provide a greater degree of self-sufficiency by setting aside much of the land as a woodlot, and providing room for orchards, ponds, poultry and livestock. Do your research on the property. Purchase what you can afford, but don’t wait too long to purchase. Talk with other like-minded friends about purchasing a tract of land together. Talk with a real estate agent that knows what you’re talking about when you say ‘I want to live a self-sufficient lifestyle.”

Here’s a good place to start looking: Large Land Tracts In East Tennessee


Keller Williams Is Expanding In Knoxville! More Agents Needed!

Yes, Keller Williams Is Growing In Knoxville! We currently have our market center in the Bearden area, a business center in Farragut, and WE HAVE NOW OPENED OUR NEWEST BUSINESS CENTER IN THE NORTH KNOXVILLE AREA! The newest facility, being called our Emory Partners center, is located just off of the I-75 Merchants Avenue exit and has visibility from I-75. This is a beautiful facility with many offices and team rooms available. It’s a quality facility that you will love bringing your clients to.

Agents, if you’ve been looking for an agency that cares about YOUR career then look no further. Especially if you live and work in the North Knoxville area, we would love to talk with you about joining our Keller Williams team. Or, if you’ve been thinking about changing careers, call and lets talk about you becoming a real estate agent.

Let me show you why, Keller Williams Is Where You Belong!

So to sum it up, here are a few reasons for choosing KW:

The Best Technology: Gain the high-tech edge! As technology continues to transform the ways in which buyers search for homes and real estate professionals communicate with their clients, Keller Williams Realty’s, agent driven technology development group is on the forefront of advances that continue to sharpen our agents’ competitive edge.

The Best Wealth-Building Opportunities: Spread the word and create another stream of income  In keeping with the philosophy that agents are partners and stakeholders in the success of the business, Keller Williams Realty has created a distinct profit sharing program in which approximately 50 percent of every market center’s profits every month are returned to those who have contributed to a market center’s growth by attracting productive associates to the office.

The Best Training and Coaching:Tap into the real estate industry’s brightest minds and top producers! A commitment to training and coaching at every level is at the heart of what sets Keller Williams Realty apart. Keller Williams University provides an industry-leading curriculum addressing every aspect of success in real estate. Multimedia training is offered online, via KWConnect, the real estate industry’s most innovative distance learning program. And, among the industry’s top tier coaching programs is MAPS Coaching.

A Culture of Caring: Become part of something bigger. Keller Williams Realty is a company that changes lives. The culture is as diverse as the countless ways in which associates and market centers commit themselves to finding and serving the higher purpose of business, and is united by cohesive understanding of our Mission, Vision, Values, Beliefs and Perspectives.

AGENTS, if your answer is ‘no’ to any or all of the following questions, then you need to give us a call:
Does your broker’s commission split ever reach a capping point, allowing you to take home 100% of your commissions?
Does your broker offer regular classroom training geared towards helping you build your business?
Does your broker encourage you to build your own brand, so that your future business increases in value?
Does your broker set you up with your own free lead generating agent website?
Does your broker offer a nation-wide network in which you can give and receive agent-to-agent referrals (supporting your bottom line)?
Does your broker offer 24/7, on demand, video based training?
Does your broker believe in a YOUR listing, YOUR leads concept?
Does your broker offer a compensation plan that can provide passive income for you that could fund your retirement?


Whether you are a seasoned real estate agent or a newly licensed agent, we would appreciate the opportunity of sharing our story with you. Please call me today and setup an appointment to come visit our market center.

Call me at 865-544-8597


11 Reasons To List Your Home During The Holiday Season


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Holiday-Proof-Your-Real-Estate-BusinessThere’s no reason for you waiting until next year to put your home on the market! As a matter of fact, you could be missing some great opportunities by waiting. Here are 11 reasons NOT to wait:

1. People who look for a home during the Holidays are more serious buyers!

2. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the Holidays and
less competition means more money for you!

3. Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there
will be less demand for your particular home! Less demand means less money
for you!

4. Houses show better when decorated for the Holidays!

5. Buyers are more emotional during the Holidays, so they are more likely to
pay your price!

6. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the Holidays than they do
during a working week!

7. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons!

8. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since
transferees cannot wait until Spring to buy, you must be on the market now to
capture that market!

9. You can still be on the market, but you have the option to restrict showings
during the six or seven days during the Holidays!

10. You can sell now for more money and we will provide for a delayed closing
or extended occupancy until early next year!

11. By selling now, you may have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the Spring, when many more houses are on the market for less money! This could allow you to sell high and buy low!

Mark Skiles-Skiles Family Realty Team 
Keller Williams Realty-Emory Partners, Knoxville,TN

Why You Should List Your Home With A REALTOR®

REALTORFirst, did you know there is a difference between someone who is just a real estate salesperson/agent and a REALTOR®. Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Here are some important why it pays to have a REALTOR® list your home.

Hiring-a-listing-agent-Expect a Higher Selling Price

The median sales price for a home sold by a  REALTORS® is between 16 and 20 percent higher than one sold by the owner. They can also help you establish the proper selling price and then give you tips on preparing your home in order to make the most money.

No Advertising Costs

All advertising and marketing costs associated with selling your home are absorbed by the listing agent. You don’t have to think about where you’re going to find the money for marketing or what sources you are going to use to advertise.

Agent Will Negotiate for You

an_agent_you_trustNegotiations on home sales include more than just price. Agreements must also be reached regarding financing, date of possession, inclusion or exclusion of furnishings or equipment and repairs to the home. A real estate agent will conduct these negotiations on your behalf.

The Buyer’s Agent

Buyers may bring a buyer’s agent with them. She does not work for you, but cares only about the best interest of her clients. A real estate agent who represents you will tell you anything she learns about the buyers that might strengthen your negotiating position, will perform price counseling with the buyer’s agent that supports your price and will check the contract to make sure that you are protected from any protective buyer’s clauses. Even as negotiations take place, an agent working for you will continue to market your home in an attempt to receive a competing offer.


listing_agreement-300x223Anything related to the sale of a home is going to involve pages of paperwork. A real estate agent is accustomed to filling out the needed forms and making sure that everything is processed as required by law. He will help you fill out the property disclosure form, which details the upgrades and repairs you have made to the property, a detailed history of the house, including square footage, property taxes and any damages that you are aware of. She will provide information about any debt that is secured by your home, your property tax records and any pending property taxes. She will make sure that the buyer is apprised of any homeowner by-laws or local ordinances that will impact them after buying the home. In addition, she will provide all copies of inspections. It’s not that you can’t research the paperwork that is due and complete it yourself, but a real estate agent has been trained to put the paperwork together in a timely fashion and to provide it to the appropriate parties.

Agents Are Buffers

Agents take the spam out of your property showings. If you’re a seller, your agent will filter all those phone calls that lead to nowhere from “lookers” and try to induce serious buyers to immediately write an offer. This can save you hours upon hours of time and aggravation.


Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Even if you have done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS®, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career and generally have a team of people to help make the process easy. Having an expert on your side is critical.

Unemotional Decision Making

Happy Couple Sold HouseA real estate agent can help you objectively evaluate each buyer’s proposal while minimizing your emotional reaction to the offer. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it’s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, homebuying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll every make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.The initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing, each replete with its own emotional ups and downs. A real estate agent can help buffer the emotional reactions.

Selling your home can be a very time consuming, stressful and emotional time. A real estate agent can help remove much of this from you, allowing you to continue your life during the entire process. It allows you to think more about the next step you are taking, whether it be to a brand new home or an exciting move to a new location. Please determine to use a REALTOR® as you are considering your next step in selling your home.

Give us a call. We will gladly answer any questions you may have concerning listing your home.


Powell, TN Is The Place To Be!

powellAs neighborhoods in Knoxville go, Powell may be one of the fastest growing. Recent years have seen quite a bit of development in the area. Nuzzled into northern Knox County between Knoxville, Oak Ridge to the west and Clinton to the northwest, the small unincorporated community has seen considerable growth and change over the years. Powell was settled in the late 1780s by pioneers moving through Tennessee on their way to the north and west. But many of those early travelers stayed behind, lured by fertile farmland and the ample water supply of Beaver Creek. One of the first trading posts in the northern part of Knox County was established here. So was Menifee’s Fort, a log-built structure constructed by Revolutionary War veteran John Menifee to protect from attacks by outlaws and Native Americans.

Powell is no longer the sort of place you’re likely to find a log cabin (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The community is between Clinton Highway and Interstate 75. It’s also intersected by Emory Road, which is in the process of being widened from Clinton Highway all the way to Tazewell Pike. All that metropolitan thoroughfare activity has brought with it a wide variety of new shopping and other development. It’s a pretty safe bet that the trend will continue.

powell5300wemoryhomeDriving through Powell, you’re likely to see mixture of both the rural and the suburban, and a range of socioeconomic stations. You may spot a mobile home park, for instance, but you’ll also find larger older homes and plenty of new subdivisions. You’ll come across homes that sit on gigantic, multi-acre parcels of land, where trees provide shade and a great place to hang a porch-style swing. You might see a white wooden fence behind which small donkeys, horses or cattle graze in the acres of grasses. Or you might come across newer homes with smaller yards scrunched together suburb-style.

Clinton Highway cuts right through Powell. As is often typical of state highways, this thoroughfare plows through once rural land that’s now becoming increasingly urbanized. Clinton Highway connects Powell residents to Target, Walmart and several other national shopping chains and eateries. But it also connects them to curious businesses you could drive by thousands of times and never stop to visit, from junk shops to nurseries selling trees to hole-in-the-wall diners to roadside markets selling watermelons and locally famous Grainger County tomatoes.

Weigels HQ

Weigels HQ

Powell’s “downtown” area is much the same. There’s your standard fast-food and corporate fare, seemingly reproducing like rabbits. But plenty of older locally owned businesses are hanging on, from martial arts to pizzerias. Also hard to miss is the headquarters of Weigel’s, a local chain of dairy and convenience stores that operates through the East Tennessee area. DeRoyal Industries, a medical product supplier, and Travis Meats, a frozen meat manufacturer, maintain their home bases here as well.

Powell High School

Powell High School

Entertainment-wise, Powell isn’t as lively as other Knoxville neighborhoods. But its North Knoxville location is just minutes from downtown or the University of Tennessee campus. There’s also well maintained park space, including dog- and kid-friendly Powell Station Park, which has play fountains, a small playground, benches and a covered pavilion with picnic tables (there’s even wireless Internet provided by Frontier, a local business). A fairly new 12,000-square-foot branch of the Knox County Public Library also is right off Emory Road. Several churches, good local schools, and organized recreational sports teams round out the cultural local activities.

If you’re looking for a place to call home that’s close to Knoxville without all of the downtown traffic, then Powell is the place to be. Look here to find the next home of your dreams:

Keller Williams Realty – Emory Partners   865-862-8318

The Keller Williams Difference

One of the main reasons that I have linked myself with Keller Williams Realty is because of what they call “The Culture” of KW. The integrity and morality represented at the corporate level is beyond compare in the real estate business.

Look at this opening statement in the company’s most recent Policy and Guidelines Manual:

“The real excitement at Keller Williams is not only how we pay ourselves, but also how we conduct our business. We have become crusaders for customer service, professionalism, ethics, associate leadership and continuing education. Our goals and ethics are the highest in the industry, and we are the first to admit it takes a very special and unique group of men and women to achieve them. Our sales people are such a group.
Keller Williams is more than just a real estate company, it is a total philosophy of business and an attitude about life. We believe that if the company develops the individual, then the individual develops the company. We are delighted you have joined us in our cause.
Mo Anderson, Vice Chairman of the Board, Keller Williams Realty, Inc.”

Gary Keller goes on to say “We are more than a real estate company. We are a culture and a belief system in action.”

If you are already a member of the Keller Williams Realty team then I want to ask you to strive with me to help fulfill another word from our leader, Gary Keller,
“I encourage you to talk the talk, walk the walk, and live the life of the Keller Williams way of doing business.”

If you are not a member of this team and you are looking to become more than just another real estate agent, I invite you to join us.

Our 12 Point Marketing Plan Sells Homes!


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Selling a home takes more than just putting a sign in the yard. Our team doesn’t just wait for someone to drive by your home and take down our phone number. We have a well thought out marketing plan that allows the most people possible to know about your home. handing-over-the-keys-to-a-new-home-with-sold-home-for-sale-sign

This is what we can do for you:

1). Place your home on the local MLS (KAAR) making it available for all area agents to show.

2). Distribute your listing to over 300 real estate search sites on the internet, including ones like, zillow, trulia, and many more.

3). Place a For Sale sign in your yard.

4). Place property fliers in a box attached to your For Sale sign for drive-by prospects.

5). Distribute a ‘Just Listed’ flyer in your neighborhood encouraging your neighbors to tell family and friends about your home.

6). Conduct an Open House within the first month of listing, and additional open houses during your contract period.

7). Place a newspaper and/or other print ads that highlights your home.

8). Create a home book with information and flyers to place inside the home for prospective buyers.

9). Distribute flyers and email information about your home to local agents who sell homes within your area.

10). Target active buyers within our database that may be looking for a home in your area.

11). Place weekly ads on craigslist concerning your property specifically.

12). Include your home in company tours that take place in your areas, showing your home to other agents.

And if that’s not enough for you, we will sign an Easy Exit Agreement that will allow you out of your contract with us at any time, and without penalty.

Give us a call today and let us help sell your home!


Keller Williams Realty – Emory Partners 865-862-8318

Keller Williams Realty Is Growing In Knoxville (And Agents Are Prospering!)

join-keller-williamsKELLER WILLIAMS IS GROWING IN THE KNOXVILLE MARKET! There’s a reason that we are the largest real estate company by agent count in the entire country. And one reason is because we take care of our agents. Just to dispel any myths that you have heard, let me share a few current facts about our company here in Knoxville

The Knoxville market is up 15.7%
KW-Knoxville is up 38.3%….we are outpacing the market.

Our Farragut Business Center—YTD volume is $45,357,197 and over the last 12 months $68,697,954. We are 40 agents STRONG at our Farragut office.

At the Bearden Market Center – YTD volume is $163,791,182 last 12 months $250,316,816.

Our new Emory Partners (North) Business Center is just days away from opening and we already have over 25 agents and more to come!

In addition, last year we had the top two agent in the Knoxville region. This year we have 8 agents in the top 50 of the MLS and 12 in the top 100.

Our total agent count is currently 220.

We have multiple in-house training classes every week to help our agents. We have access to online training materials . We are the only agency in Knoxville with an in-house coach for those that want coaching that will get them to the next level in their business. We have a national University (KWU) which supplies all our agents with training on the latest marketing techniques, technology and business planning.

We share the owner profits, 55% to owners and 45% to agents who help grow the company.

There are so many advantages to being a part of Keller Williams! Isn’t it time you started growing a business for yourself and not just your company? Our mission at Keller Williams Realty is this:

“To build careers worth having, businesses worth owning, and lives worth living.”

If you are interested in advancing your career then please give me a call and let’s talk. Call 865-544-8597 or complete the form below:


Getting the House Ready to Sell – Uncluttering the House


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This is one of the hardest thing for most people to do because they are so emotionally attached to everything in the house. After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it.

cluttered-bedroomTake a step back and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend help point out areas of clutter, as long as you can accept their views without getting defensive. Let your agent help you, too..

The kitchen is a good place to start removing clutter, because it is an easy place to start. First, get everything off the counters. Everything. Even the toaster. Put the toaster in a cabinet and take it out when you use it. Find a place where you can store everything in cabinets and drawers. Of course, you may notice that you do not have cabinet space to put everything. Clean them out. The dishes, pots and pans that rarely get used? Put them in a box and put that box in storage.

You see, homebuyers will open all your cabinets and drawers, especially in the kitchen. They want to be sure there is enough room for their “stuff.” If your kitchen cabinets, pantries, and drawers look jammed full, it sends a negative message to the buyer and does not promote an image of plentiful storage space. The best way to do that is to have as much “empty space” as possible.

For that reason, if you have a “junk drawer,” get rid of the junk. If you have a rarely used crock pot, put it in storage. Do this with every cabinet and drawer. Create open space.

If you have a large amount of foodstuffs crammed into the shelves or pantry, begin using them – especially canned goods. Canned goods are heavy and you don’t want to be lugging them to a new house, anyway – or paying a mover to do so. Let what you have on the shelves determine your menus and use up as much as you can.

Beneath the sink is very critical, too. Make sure the area beneath the sink is as empty as possible, removing all extra cleaning supplies. You should scrub the area down as well, and determine if there are any tell-tale signs of water leaks that may cause a homebuyer to hesitate in buying your home.

Then, move on to the rest of the house. Closets are great for accumulating clutter, though you may not think of it as clutter. We are talking about extra clothes and shoes – things you rarely wear but cannot bear to be without. Do without these items for a couple of months by putting them in a box, because these items can make your closets look “crammed full.” Sometimes there are shoeboxes full of “stuff” or other accumulated personal items, too.

Many people have too much furniture in certain rooms – not too much for your own personal living needs – but too much to give the illusion of space that a homebuyer would like to see. You may want to tour some builders’ models to see how they place furniture in the model homes. Observe how they place furniture in the models so you get some ideas on what to remove and what to leave in your house.

Basements, garages, attics, and sheds accumulate not only clutter, but junk. These areas should be as empty as possible so that buyers can imagine what they would do with the space. Remove anything that is not essential and take it to the storage area. Or have a garage sale.

If you’re thinking of selling your home – unclutter. Buyers don’t want to see how you lived in the home, they want to be able to picture it with them living there. And sometimes it’s just plain hard to look around all of your stuff!

The First Step In Selling Your Home


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The old adage ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ is so true. But when selling your home you must learn to separate your heart and emotions from the process you are about to undertake.Image

When having a conversation with a real estate agent, you will often find that when they talk to you about buying real estate, they will refer to your purchase as a “home.” Yet if you are selling property, they will often refer to it as a “house.” There is a reason for this. Buying real estate is often an emotional decision, but when selling real estate you need to remove emotion from the equation.

You need to think of your house as a marketable commodity. It is Property. Real estate. Your goal is to get others to see it as their potential home, not yours. If you do not consciously make this decision, you can inadvertently create a situation where it takes longer to sell your property.

The first step in getting your home ready to sell is to “depersonalize” it.