Take a tour of former MLB first baseman Steve Garvey’s home

Five money saving tips for new home buyers

Are you a new homeowner looking for ways to save some money? Here are some great places to start.

Photo: Thinkstock

When buying a new home, you probably have a “To Do” checklist longer than a loan application. But there are a few things you should put above “Do Happy Dance in Front of Co-workers who Rent.”

Like “Find Ways to Save Money.”

The good news is there are several ways you might be able to save a little green. From major moves like refinancing your mortgage, to more humble acts like bundling your Internet and cable with one company, the savings potential for new or prospective homeowners is big.

So, before putting on your dancing shoes, check out these five tips that could help you save.

Tip #1 – If You Can, Get a Shorter-Term Mortgage

If you’re still shopping for mortgage loans, or if you’re already thinking of refinancing (replacing your existing loan with a newer one), choosing a 15-year loan term – rather than a 30-year term – could be a smart financial move.

This means you could pay off your house in 15 years instead of 30 years. And that has some advantages, as well as some challenges.

On the plus side, a 15-year loan typically means a lower interest rate, says Fred Arnold, a member of the National Association of Mortgage Professionals (NAMB) board of directors. He says most lenders offer a rate that’s at least a half percent lower than the rate for a 30-year loan. This means you could pay much less in interest over the life of the loan.

How much? Here’s one example:

If you borrowed $250,000 for 30 years at 4.5 percent, you would pay $206,016.78 in interest over the life of the loan, in monthly payments of $1,266.71. However, if you borrowed $250,000 at 4.0 percent for just 15 years, your monthly payments would rise to $1,849.22, but the total amount of interest would only be $82,859.57. That’s a savings of more than $120,000…a good chunk of change, wouldn’t you say?

[Get a pre-qualified mortgage rate. Click to compare rates now.]

As for challenges, because you are paying off the loan in half the time, your monthly payment will be higher, as the example above shows. So be sure you can afford it. And if you’re comfortable with it, Arnold says you could be on a strong financial path.

“Your payments might be higher, but it requires you to be disciplined and in many cases that’s how people become very wealthy,” says Arnold, who adds that if you can’t afford to go all the way down to a 15-year loan, there are also 20- and 25-year options from some lenders.

Tip #2 – Get Rid of Your Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

If your down payment was less than 20 percent of the value of your home, it’s very likely your lender required you to buy private mortgage insurance (PMI), a policy that protects any losses the lender might take if you don’t make your loan payments.

And unfortunately, the PMI isn’t cheap. According to a mortgage consumer guide published by the U.S. Federal Reserve System, which oversees national monetary policy and banks, PMI could cost anywhere from $50 to $100 per month.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of that? Good news: you can. The first way, of course, is to put 20 percent down when you buy a house. But if you couldn’t or can’t, don’t worry, you still have a shot at losing the insurance.

According to the Federal Reserve, when you make enough payments to gain 20 percent equity in your home (based on the original purchase price), you can send a written request to your lender to cancel the PMI.

The Federal Reserve adds that federal law requires your PMI payments to automatically stop once you reach 22 percent equity in your home – again based on your original purchase price and with a clean payment record.

Finally, you should know that PMI is different than LPMI, which stands for lender’s private mortgage insurance. Some lenders buy LPMI and charge you a higher interest rate to cover the expense. According to the Federal Reserve, this type of insurance does not automatically cancel; instead, you must refinance your home to possibly get rid of it.

Tip #3 – Shop for the Best Home Insurance Rate

Buying a home is probably one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. This means you should take some time to not only get the best rate on your home insurance policy, but also the best policy for your lifestyle and home.

Keep in mind that this is the insurance that protects you against financial loss from such things as theft, fire, flood, and other liabilities on your property. So, it’s important to get the right policy.

To do so, there are some key things to take note of.

To start, it’s important to purchase enough insurance in the event of a total loss of your home, says the Insurance Information Institute (III), which provides insurance information to the public, media, and government regulatory agencies. In addition, they say, remember that your home insurance also covers your possessions, so include them in your estimate.

Then once you get that all squared away, you need to make sure you’re getting the best rate possible. One way to do this, says the III, is to take the highest deductible you feel comfortable with. The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in.

[Click to shop around for the best home insurance rates.]

For instance, the III says in their Home Buyers Insurance Checklist that “Since most people only file a claim every eight to 10 years, having a higher deductible saves money over time and preserves your insurance for when it’s really needed.”

Tip #4 – Consider a Home Contractor for Some Projects, But Not All

We know. Your new home is great…but you want to make it even greater with some do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. After all, if you provide the sweat, you’ll save a lot of money, right?

Well, maybe. Unless you’re a builder yourself, you might be in for sweat, tears, and a more expensive project. That’s why you may want to consider hiring a contractor.

But what’s to fear about not hiring a professional and doing it yourself?

“The unknown,” says Dean Herriges, president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). “The unknown that is obvious to a professional but is not to the average layperson can cause a lot of problems for people trying to tackle a project themselves.”

[Find the best home contractor now. Click to compare home contractor rates.]

He says that often, the new homeowner will open up a wall and inadvertently create a major electrical, plumbing, or structural problem. Then, it’s going to cost even more than the original project to get a professional to fix it.

He adds, however, that there are some projects that are well within the skill set of a non-tradesman, including small roof repairs and paint jobs. As for the rest, think long and hard before deciding to tackle it yourself. Because really, wasn’t finding and buying the house stressful enough?

Tip #5 – Consider Bundling Your Internet, Cable, and Phone

There’s nothing like watching that first big game in your own home. But before you call the cable company, there are a few things you should know, especially if you plan to use the same company for two or more of your digital services—also known as bundling. And if you do it right, bundling could save you some money, says Consumer Reports Magazine Senior Editor Jeff Blyskal.

First, he says to remember that the cable company saves money when you bundle because they only need one cable to deliver your cable TV, Internet, and home phone services. Bundling these three services is typically called the “triple play,” and it stands to reason that you should pay less for that than if you ordered each service individually. In fact, Blyskal says the savings could run from 40 to 60 percent, depending on your area and the amount of competition.

[Need internet, cable, and phone? Click to find a provider now.]

However, if you don’t need a home phone (the third part of the triple play) and decline the service, don’t expect as big a discount on the other two services. You should still enjoy some savings, though, says Blyskal.

Unfortunately, though, this discount usually only applies for a limited time, typically anywhere from six months to two years, he says. So, bargain hard now for the longest term at the lowest rate; this is when you have the power since they want your business.

What Successful People Do With The First Hour Of Their Work Day

By Kevin Purdy  August 22, 2012

How much does the first hour of every day matter? As it turns out, a lot. It can be the hour you see everything clearly, get one real thing done, and focus on the human side of work rather than your task list.



Remember when you used to have a period at the beginning of every day to think about your schedule, catch up with friends, maybe knock out a few tasks? It was called home room, and it went away after high school. But many successful people schedule themselves a kind of grown-up home room every day. You should too.

The first hour of the workday goes a bit differently for Craig Newmark of Craigslist, David Karp of Tumblr, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, career writer (and Fast Company blogger) Brian Tracy, and others, and they’ll tell you it makes a big difference. Here are the first items on their daily to-do list.

Don’t Check Your Email for the First Hour. Seriously. Stop That.

Tumblr founder David Karp will “try hard” not to check his email until 9:30 or 10 a.m., according to an Inc. profile of him. “Reading e-mails at home never feels good or productive,” Karp said. “If something urgently needs my attention, someone will call or text me.”

Not all of us can roll into the office whenever our Vespa happens to get us there, but most of us with jobs that don’t require constant on-call awareness can trade e-mail for organization and single-focus work. It’s an idea that serves as the title of Julie Morgenstern’s work management book Never Check Email In The Morning, and it’s a fine strategy for leaving the office with the feeling that, even on the most over-booked days, you got at least one real thing done.

If you need to make sure the most important messages from select people come through instantly, AwayFind can monitor your inbox and get your attention when something notable arrives. Otherwise, it’s a gradual but rewarding process of training interruptors and coworkers not to expect instantaneous morning response to anything they send in your off-hours.

Gain Awareness, Be Grateful

One smart, simple question on curated Q & A site Quora asked “How do the most successful people start their day?”. The most popular response came from a devotee of Tony Robbins, the self-help guru who pitched the power of mindful first-hour rituals long before we all had little computers next to our beds.

Robbins suggests setting up an “Hour of Power,” “30 Minutes to Thrive,” or at least “Fifteen Minutes to Fulfillment.” Part of it involves light exercise, part of it involves motivational incantations, but the most accessible piece involves 10 minutes of thinking of everything you’re grateful for: in yourself, among your family and friends, in your career, and the like. After that, visualize “everything you want in your life as if you had it today.”

Robbins offers the “Hour of Power” segment of his Ultimate Edge series as a free audio stream (here’s the direct MP3 download). Blogger Mike McGrath also wrote a concise summary of the Hour of Power). You can be sure that at least some of the more driven people you’ve met in your career are working on Robbins’ plan.

Do the Big, Shoulder-Sagging Stuff First

Brian Tracy’s classic time-management book Eat That Frog gets its title from a Mark Twain saying that, if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you’ve got it behind you for the rest of the day, and nothing else looks so bad. Gina Trapani explained it well in a video for her Work Smart series). Combine that with the concept of getting one thing done before you wade into email, and you’ve got a day-to-day system in place. Here’s how to force yourself to stick to it:

Choose Your Frog

“Choose your frog, and write it down on a piece of paper that you’ll see when you arrive back at your desk in the morning, Tripani advises.“If you can, gather together the material you’ll need to get it done and have that out, too.”

One benefit to tackling that terrible, weighty thing you don’t want to do first thing in the morning is that you get some space from the other people involved in that thing–the people who often make the thing more complicated and frustrating. Without their literal or figurative eyes over your shoulder, the terrible thing often feels less complex, and you can get more done.

Ask Yourself If You’re Doing What You Want to Do

Feeling unfulfilled at work shouldn’t be something you realize months too late, or even years. Consider making an earnest attempt every morning at what the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs told a graduating class at Stanford to do:

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

“Customer Service” (or Your Own Equivalent)

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark answered the first hour question succinctly: “Customer service.” He went on to explain (or expand) that he also worked on current projects, services for military families and veterans, and protecting voting rights. But customer service is what Newmark does every single day at Craigslist, responding to user complaints and smiting scammers and spammers. He almost certainly has bigger fish he could pitch in on every day, but Newmark says customers service “anchors me to reality.”

Your own version of customer service might be keeping in touch with contacts from year-ago projects, checking in with coworkers you don’t regularly interact with, asking questions of mentors, and just generally handling the human side of work that quickly gets lost between task list items. But do your customer service on the regular, and you’ll have a more reliable roster of helpers when the time comes.

What do you do with the first hour of your workday to increase productivity and reduce stress? Tell me about it.

Natural Homemade Pet Deodorizers

Home News

We love our animal companions but, frankly, they often leave unpleasant smells on carpets, furniture, hands and can be quite odorous themselves. Fortunately, there are several non-toxic and inexpensive options.

For pet odors on carpet and furniture, combine white vinegar, baking soda and organic dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray on the affected area. Blot gently. Be sure to check the area to be treated for colorfastness. Plain white vinegar works wonders on moisture-resistant natural or man-made wooden flooring.

It is essential to use a natural and safe product on your pets to remove their animal odor. Toxins from commercial pet deodorizers can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled into their respiratory systems, causing severe allergic reactions. Make a solution of one tablespoon of almond oil, two tablespoons of aloe, 10 drops of essential citrus oil like orange or lemon, and three cups of water. Shake well and lightly spray on your pet against the hair and onto the skin. Massage into the skin and hair with a clean towel.

Alternatively, you may use vitamin E or warmed cold-pressed coconut oil. The oil and aloe soothe and deodorize the skin and the citrus oil eliminates odors.

The top 6 mortgage mistakes

By Mark Riddix | Investopedia.com

During the 2007-2009 financial crisis, the United States economy crumbled because of a problem with mortgage foreclosures. Borrowers all over the nation had trouble paying their mortgages. At the time, eight out of 10 borrowers were trying to refinance their mortgages. Even high-end homeowners were having trouble with foreclosures. Why were so many citizens having trouble with their mortgages? Let’s take a look at the biggest mortgage mistakes that homeowners make.

1. Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Adjustable rate mortgages seem like a homeowners dream. An adjustable rate mortgage starts you off with a low interest rate for the first two to five years. They allow you to buy a larger house than you can normally qualify for and have lower payments that you can afford. After two to five years the interest rate resets to a higher market rate. That’s no problem because borrowers can just take the equity out of their homes and refinance to a lower rate once it resets.

Well, it doesn’t always work out that way. When housing prices drop, borrowers tend to find that they are unable to refinance their existing loans. This leaves many borrowers facing high mortgage payments that are two to three times their original payments. The dream of home ownership quickly becomes a nightmare.

2. No Down Payment

During the subprime crisis, many companies were offering borrowers no-down-payment loans to borrowers. The purpose of a down payment is twofold. First, it increases the amount of equity that you have in your home and reduces the amount of money that you owe on a home. Second, a down payment makes sure that you have some skin in the game. Borrowers who place down a large down payment are much more likely to try everything possible to make their mortgage payments since they do not want to lose their investment. Many borrowers who put little to nothing down on their homes find themselves upside down on their mortgage and end up just walking away. They owe more money than the home is worth. The more a borrower owes, the more likely they are to walk away.

3. Liar Loans

The phrase “liar loans” leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Liar loans were incredibly popular during the real estate boom prior to the subprime meltdown that began in 2007. Mortgage lenders were quick to hand them out and borrowers were quick to accept them. A liar loan is a loan that requires little to no documentation. Liar loans do not require verification. The loan is based on the borrower’s stated income, stated assets and stated expenses.

They are called liar loans because borrowers have a tendency to lie and inflate their income so that they can buy a larger house. Some individuals that received a liar loan did not even have a job! The trouble starts once the buyer gets in the home. Since the mortgage payments have to be paid with actual income and not stated income, the borrower is unable to consistently make their mortgage payments. They fall behind on the payments and find themselves facing bankruptcy and foreclosure.

4. Reverse Mortgages

If you watch television, you have probably seen a reverse mortgage advertised as the solution to all of your income problems. Are reverse mortgages the godsend that people claim that they are? A reverse mortgage is a loan available to senior citizens age 62 and up that uses the equity out of your home to provide you with an income stream. The available equity is paid out to you in a steady stream of payments or in a lump sum like an annuity.

There are many drawbacks to getting a reverse mortgage. There are high upfront costs. Origination fees, mortgage insurance, title insurance, appraisal fees, attorney fees and miscellaneous fees can quickly eat up your equity. The borrower loses full ownership of their home. Since all of the equity will be gone from your home, the bank now owns the home. The family is only entitled to any equity that is left after all of the cash from the deceased’s estate has been used to pay off the mortgage, fees, and interest. The family will have to try to work out an agreement with the bank and make mortgage payments to keep the family home.

5. Longer Amortization

You may have thought that 30 years was the longest time frame that you could get on a mortgage. Are you aware that some mortgage companies are offering loans that run 40 years now? Thirty five and forty year mortgages are slowly rising in popularity. They allow individuals to buy a larger house for much lower payments. A 40-year mortgage may make sense for a young 20-year-old who plans to stay in their home for the next 20 years but it doesn’t make sense for a lot of people. The interest rate on a 40-year mortgage will be slightly higher than a 30 year. This amounts to a whole lot more interest over a 40-year time period, because banks aren’t going to give borrowers 10 extra years to pay off their mortgage without making it up on the back end.

[Want to refinance to a shorter-term loan? Click to compare mortgage rates now.]

Borrowers will also have less equity in their homes. The bulk of payments for the first 10 to 20 years will primarily pay down interest making it nearly impossible for the borrower to move. Besides, do you really want to be making mortgage payments in your 70s?

6. Exotic Mortgage Products

Some homeowners simply did not understand what they were getting themselves into. Lenders came up with all sorts of exotic products that made the dream of home ownership a reality. Products like interest only loans which can lower payments 20-30%. These loans let borrowers live in a home for a few years and only make interest payments. Name your payment loans let borrowers decide exactly how much they want to pay on their mortgage each month.

The catch is that a big balloon principal payment would come due after a certain time period. All of these products are known as negative amortization products. Instead of building up equity, borrowers are building negative equity. They are increasing the amount that they owe every month until their debt comes crashing down on them like a pile of bricks. Exotic mortgage products have led to many borrowers being underwater on their loans.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, the road to homeownership is riddled with traps. If you can avoid the traps that many borrowers fell into, then you can keep yourself from financial ruin.

Mark Riddix is founder and president of New Horizons Financial Management, an independent investment advisory firm that provides personalized consulting services in investment and asset management. Riddix has a degree in finance and has worked in investment management for the past five years. He has also written a personal finance column for Baltimore and Washington metropolitan newspapers and writes a financial blog at BuylikeBuffett.com.


Search for Homes There’s an app for that

Download the Bob Parks Realty or  Parks Properties App to your iPhone, iPad or Andriod phone

Every available home. Everywhere in Middle TN.

How does it work?

Your smartphone’s built-in GPS pinpoints your location and shows you every home for sale near you.

Are these just Bob Parks/Parks Properties listings?

No You see every single listing in Middle TN. The app uses data from MLS to display all listings from every company.

Can I search for homes that aren’t near me?

Of Course!  You can specify any search criteria including ZIP code, street name, price, square footage, etc. You can even search for Open Houses.

Can I see photos and driving directions?

All the information and photos from MLS are displayed right on your phone. You can even click a button and schedule a showing.

Is it possible to share a listing from the app?

We would love for you to share listings with family and friends. You can send via email or text, or share on Facebook or Twitter, directly from the app.

What about saving my favorite listings?

Simply create an account in the app and you can save all your favorites so you can go back to them anytime.


Search for homes on your mobile phone or text PARKS to 59559 for more information on any property any time!


Get your app today. Go to the app store or iTunes and search Bob Parks Realty!

How First Time Home Buyer Loans Work

By , About.com Guide

Advantages and Disadvantages of First Time Home Buyer Loans

First time home buyer loans allow buyers to get into a house more easily. However, just because you’re a first time home buyer doesn’t mean you should use a first time home buyer loan. These programs have restrictions and strings attached. While they are a perfect fit for some, first time home buyer loans are the wrong choice for others.

In addition to loan programs, be sure to learn about the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit.


What is a First Time Home Buyer Loan?

A person’s first home purchase is a big deal. It takes time, energy, and money. To help with the money hurdle, some people use first time home buyer loans. These programs vary depending on where they’re offered, but the general idea is this: first time home buyer loans give financial assistance to qualified borrowers. They may do this in the following ways:

Note that first time home buyer loans available to you might offer any or none of the benefits listed above. You should research first time home buyer loans available in your area. A good place to start is the HUD Web siteon home buying programs.


Who Gets First Time Home Buyer Loans?

As you might imagine, individuals who have never owned a home are good candidates. In addition, some programs offer first time home buyer loans to people who have not found a home within the last three years. Again, check to see what’s available to you.

You may have to meet certain income restrictions to qualify for a subsidized first time home buyer loan. In general, these programs try to limit benefits to people with low and moderate income levels. If you earn too much, you won’t qualify for the program.


First Time Home Buyer Loan Restrictions

Most programs put a dollar limit on the property you’re buying. You probably can’t use a first time home buyer loan to buy the more expensive properties in your area. Instead, you’ll be limited to properties on the lower end of the spectrum. Again, the idea is to benefit people who have the most need.

You also have to live in the home as your primary residence. If you’re going to rent the place out, don’t use the first time home buyer loan. Finally, the home you buy most likely has to meet some physical requirements. It must be in good condition and free from any safety hazards (such as lead-based paint, for example).


First Time Home Buyer Loan Pitfalls

For some first time home buyers, these programs are perfect. They open the door to home ownership where a family would not have been able to buy a home. Communities also benefit from first time home buyer loans – homeowners take care of their property, get involved, and contribute to the economy. Nevertheless, first time home buyer loans can be the wrong choice in some cases.

With a subsidized first time home buyer loan, you face some challenges:

  • Lower value home may not be the home you want
  • You might lose some of the benefits of the program if you sell your home too soon
  • You may have to pay recapture tax for some of the benefits you received
  • You may be limited to a short list of loan types (only 30 year fixed rate mortgages for example)
  • You may have to share increased home values with the program

Given these restrictions, you may do best to avoid subsidized first time home buyer loans. Patrick Schwerdtfeger, a California mortgage broker, notes that you’ll probably come out ahead using a plain-vanilla mortgage if you’ve got decent credit (Mr. Schwerdtfeger also does the Beyond the Rate podcast – required listening for first time home buyers). With a FICO credit score above 720, you probably won’t see an advantage with the subsidized first time home buyer loan. Once you get below 680, the subsidized program will start to look better. These days, you can get traditional mortgages or FHA loans with very little down.

The best thing to do is to explore all your options. Take a look at what your traditional mortgage lender is offering, and compare it to the subsidized first time home buyer loans. Once you see how the numbers compare, consider the cost of flexibility.

Who We Are

Nominated for “Best in Nashville Business” and winner of numerous other awards, Bob Parks Realty is home to over 400 agents in Brentwood real estate, Franklin real estateHendersonville real estate, Murfreesboro real estate, Mt. Juliet real estate, Nashville real estateSmyrna real estate and the surrounding Tennessee area. Bob Parks Realty is a member of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce partnership program, which means we are among the first to know when companies relocate to our area and bring in new residents.

We are proud to offer a full menu of residential real estate services including relocation expertise, mortgage assistance, residential development, auction services, a commercial real estate division, property management, and much more.


8 Remedies for Real Estate Remorse

With a transaction as large as a home purchase, experiencing some level of remorse is par for the course. Whether you’re already suffering from it, or trying to avoid it, these remedies should help.

1. Envision the life you want to live after you close the deal, then write it down.
Before you get too far into the weeds, write down exactly what sort of lifestyle you are trying to create—financially and otherwise—by starting this process. Include wants, needs, deal-makers and deal-breakers. Then, re-examine the list periodically, and be sure to compare it against a home you’re in contract to buy before removing contingencies.

2. Ask: “How does this decision make me feel?”
Approaching real estate decisions only from a place of logic can lead you to reason your way into something that isn’t right for you. Always ask yourself how the idea of living in a particular home makes you feel. Often, your intuition provides the best clue to the right decision—one that won’t result in remorse after the fact.

3. Manage your mindset.
If you hated everything about renting, and now everything about owning makes you crazy, you might be guilty of thinking the grass is always greener on the other side. Cut it out. If you want to change the way you feel, practice gratitude by jotting down things you’re thankful for. Seeing all you have written out in front of you makes it much difficult to dwell in regret and discontent.

4. Recognize hypotheticals as hallucinations.
Hypotheticals, by definition, are the opposite of what’s real. So thinking about how much less you could’ve paid is nothing but fantasy, and it won’t change a thing about your real-life situation.

5. Have difficult conversations during the deal.
If you normally avoid negotiations or money talk, do yourself (and your finances) a favor: speak up if something doesn’t look right on your contract or you don’t understand the loan paperwork. Then ask, and keep asking, until it’s fixed or you do understand.

6. Sit still before you start the demolition.
Remorse often comes when homeowners start remodeling a place too soon. Best practice is to live in a place for a few months first, observing the natural light, noise, traffic, and even how your family uses the space in the home before you start tearing down walls and turning windows into French doors.

7. Do your own numbers first.
Remorse that stems from getting in too deep financially is often a result of taking someone else’s word about your finances. Go into the buying process knowing exactly what your max monthly expenses should be, rather than expecting someone else to figure it out for you.

8. Resolve the regret systematically.
If you’re remorseful over your home purchase, stop wallowing and start acting. Systematically list the things that are driving you nuts, get clear on all your options, and then take the steps you’ve outlined to improve your situation. You might not change your mind overnight, but conquering your list, bit by bit, can eventually turn your house into a home you love.

Nashville, TN Number one in Job Growth

Metro area population:
1.6 million

Current unemployment rate: 6.5% (vs. 8.2% nationally)

Job growth next five years: 18%

Number of new jobs: 140,000

Nashville wins the prize for fastest two-year job growth among all the metro areas on our list — four times as fast as the U.S. as a whole. Vanderbilt University, the largest employer, will continue to add a variety of health care, education and service jobs. Nissan North America will add manufacturing jobs at its auto assembly plant and office jobs at its Nashville-area headquarters.

The capital of country music has a vibrant tech sector fueled by its highly regarded universities, and is becoming a center of data processing functions for cloud computing. The city will continue to be the freight transportation center for the state and the region, adding thousands of service jobs. It’s the crossroads for truck and rail transport and a major center for UPS operations by land and air.