Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"This Year I'm Going To..."

Every year, it seems like the same things are on the list but this could be the year you really do invest in a rental home.

Rents are climbing, home prices are cheap and mortgage rates are low for even non-owner occupied properties. A $125,000 home with 20% down payment can easily have a $300 to $500 monthly cash flow after paying all of the expenses.

There are lots of investment strategies that work but one that is easy to understand and execute is to stay with below average price range homes in predominantly owner-occupied neighborhoods. These properties will appeal to the broadest range of tenants while you hold them and buyers when you're ready to sell.

Single family homes offer an opportunity to borrow high loan-to-value mortgages at fixed rates for long terms on appreciating assets with tax advantages and reasonable control

This is the year to make some real progress on your resolutions. Not sure how to start? First, invest some time learning about rental properties by attending a FREE webinar on January 4th at 7:00 PM Central time by national real estate speaker Pat Zaby. Click here to register.

Watch Pat's free webinar and then contact me about some of the great opportunities to purchase rental property here in the Montgomery area.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Minute Gifts Without Shopping

What do they want? What do they need? Will it fit? Do they already have one? These are the common thoughts running through our minds when trying to find the perfect gift.

The gift of really listening with no interrupting, no daydreaming and no planning your response is exactly what people want when they have something important to say.

The gift of affection with appropriate hugs, kisses and pats on the back can demonstrate your love for family and friends better than words.

The gift of laughter by sharing cartoons and funny stories will say "I love to laugh with you."

The gift of a simple written note shows sincerity and real heartfelt sentiment that may be remembered for a lifetime and could even change a life.

The gift of a sincere compliment supports a person's need to be accepted and appreciated. "You look great in that color", "That was outstanding" or "I really enjoyed that" can make someone's day.

The gift of random kindness or good deeds like holding a door or allowing someone to move ahead of you in a checkout lane shows respect for others.

Your smile, however, may be your most rewarding gift. Invariably, the person receiving the smile will in turn, smile back. The gift you gave will now be given back to you. It will be the right size and you can always use one more.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jobless Rate Takes Big Drop In Alabama

A glance at the local newspaper this morning reveals great news for Alabama, and the tri-county area including Montgomery. And it is my hope that this is another sign that our real estate market is slowly making its way to a recovery.

According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama's unemployment rate for November "dropped 0.6 percent from October, the largest month-to-month drop in unemployment since the state began tracking the numbers more than 35 years ago."

The article went on to say that Montgomery County's unemployment rate has fallen 1.6 percent in the past two months, down to 8.4 percent in November. Read the complete article.

Having seen our housing market rise and fall over the past thirty years of my real estate career, I am excited about these unemployment figures! This has got to be great news as we all celebrate Christmas and look toward a great 2012.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

You don't have to be Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz to feel like there's no place like home.

Home is a place to call your own. It's a place to raise your family and share with your friends. It's a place to create memories. A home is a place to feel safe and secure.

Inspect all of your decorations and electrical lighting before using them. While you're enjoying the holidays this year, it's important to pay attention to some of the things that may affect your safety.

  • Extension cords should not be placed under the carpet or rugs or bundled together which could cause overheating.
  • Limit three standard size sets of lights to a single extension cord.
  • Consider using portable or permanent ground fault circuit interrupters with all lighting to avoid possible shocks.
  • Turn off holiday lights when you leave the home or got to bed.
  • Avoid using candles near trees or wreaths.
  • Do not allow natural trees to dry out during the time they're displayed to potential fire hazard.
  • Make certain that all trees are on a firm, steady base to avoid tipping over.
  • Don't burn wrapping paper in fireplaces.
  • Small children are particularly susceptible to accidents and should be protected from potential harm.
Here's hoping your time at home is special during this holiday season. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Finding the best deal

Consumers are vigilant about buying opportunities like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday along with sales, coupons and rebates.  Some cautious buyers will even risk shopping early to find exactly what they want to waiting until the last moment for potentially lower prices.

In retail, the hype is more obvious and the signs may be easier to read than that of the home market.  Certainly, volumes have been written about the record low mortgage rates and that home prices have adjusted considerably lower in the last four years.

A more subtle indication of a home buying bargain is that statistics indicate that year-after-year, the average home prices fall in the fourth quarter.  The holidays beginning with Thanksgiving, winter weather and the distractions of gift purchases certainly contribute to lower home sales.  

Regardless of what is causing the reduced volume, the smart buyer can take advantage of the end of the year to get their best possible deal on a home purchase.  The buyers willing to buck the trend could easily benefit from lower prices and less competition from other buyers. Ready to start your search for the right home anywhere in the Montgomery/Central Alabama area? Give me a call. 334-324-9485.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Why Pay Full Price?

No one wants to pay more than its value regardless of the product. When you buy bananas for 49 cents a pound at one store and see them for 39 cents a pound at another store, it's not the ten cent difference as much as it is about overpaying.

It seems like the natural way to start the negotiation process is to offer less than the asking price for the home. However, instead of the price, a buyer could negotiate condition, timing or terms. A few thousand dollars off the price may not make much difference in the monthly payments but it might make a big difference if it was negotiated in one of the other areas.

A buyer who only has enough available funds for down payment and closing costs will have to live in a home exactly the way it is for some time. They may not be able to make the changes that would really make it feel like home until they've saved more money.

Let's say you found a home that needed $5,000 worth of improvements and the seller would lower the price by that amount. Financing those improvements with a separate bank loan will result in higher payments due to a higher interest rate and shorter term than your mortgage.

Offering full price and asking the seller to make the improvements will result in lower monthly payments based on today's low mortgage rates and 30 year term. Another alternative is to negotiate with the seller to pay your closing costs so you'd have the cash to make the improvements. In our market here in the Montgomery area, we have seen sellers quite willing
to cover the buyer's closing costs.

Paying full price may cause the seller to consider concessions regarding condition or terms which can be balanced to affect the value of the property. Buyers can and should negotiate to acquire the home that meets their needs at the lowest possible cost of housing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Best Way Home

"It's not far, if you know the way." Maybe it is an obvious statement but there are some definite steps that will improve your success in buying a home in today's market.
  1. Know you credit score - the best mortgage rates are available to borrowers with the highest scores. Unless you know what your credit score is at all three major bureaus, you don't really know what rate you'll have to pay.
  2. Clean up your credit - it is estimated that about 90% of credit reports have errors. Some are not serious but others could affect a borrower from getting the best loan terms. It is your responsibility to know what is on your different reports and correct them if possible. You're entitled to a free copy of your credit report each year from Experian, Trans Union and Equifax.
  3. Get pre-approved - Taking the time to make a loan application with a qualified lender even before you start looking at homes will provide peace of mind, make sure that you are looking at the "right" homes and may help you negotiate the best price on the home you select.
  4. Do your homework - when you find the home that meets your needs and desires, research the tax assessments, school ratings, crime activity, possible zoning changes and comparable sales in the area.
As your real estate professional I can definitely help you with these important strategies to invest in a home to call your own, raise your family, feel safe and secure and share with your friends. Call for a recommendation of a trusted mortgage professional; there really is a difference.

I hope you and yours had a Great Thanksgiving. And remember if it is time to make a change in your life, perhaps real estate school may be the answer. A new class starts Monday December 5, at Martin  Fellows Real Estate School here in Montgomery.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Life is Great! Happy Thanksgiving!



THANKSGIVING MORNING in Montgomery, Alabama. I have so very many things to be thankful for it would take quite a while to list them all here. Our housing market in Central Alabama is still a bit "challenging", however we do sense signs of improvement. We do have plenty of quality homes available for buyers, and of course we still have our share of foreclosures. Smart investor clients are taking serious looks at the really great values being offered in some of the foreclosure, and in fact, they feel NOW is the time to invest in rental property before our market starts going up.

REAL ESTATE SCHOOL is still chugging along at Martin & Fellows Real Estate School. We do have a new class scheduled to start on Monday December 5. It is the "Pre-License" Class for people who want to get into real estate. It meets Monday and Wednesday nights, with a break for the holidays. All info can be found at our web site: More Details

Life IS Great! Have a Great Thanksgiving!

Monday, September 12, 2011

ANOTHER CLASS STARTING OCTOBER 3, 2011

WELL, we are gradually seeing signs of improvement in our housing market here in the Montgomery, Alabama area! That's exciting. And as we see improvement, we are seeing a few more people thinking about trying their hand at becoming real estate agents.


IF you may be one of those people who have thought about getting into the real estate business, you're in luck. We have a new class starting Monday night Oct. 3, 2011. Classes meet Monday and Wednesday nights from 5:30-9:30.  Tuition is $425, and that includes the books. For details and online registration, visit http://www.earlnotes.com/.

Space is limited to eight students for a comfortable conference room setting and good interaction and learning. There are still a few seats left. The Real Estate School where I teach is Martin & Fellows Real Estate School in Montgomery. The school is owned by "The Doctor of Real Estate", Earl Martin. Together, he and I teach many different classes and have a passion for helping other agents become better at serving the public