Finding the right real estate agent to help you buy or sell your home is a task you cannot take lightly. With so many realtors out there making sure you find one tImage titlehat you can work well with and has your best interest can be a task. Remember you will be working with this person for months, possibly years and he/she will know everything about you and your family before the transaction is complete. Compatible personalities should be the first thing you look for and then look for knowledge of the market and industry as a whole.

It is unfortunate for our industry but many realtors are thrown out into the market
to find customers and sell homes but have very little if any training other than taking a web based training class and passing a state issued exam. While that is commendable it does not give you market insight or the knowledge needed to identify problems with homes and provide pricing advice as well as other advice that is expected of your real estate agent.

Make sure you interview several agents and ask your family, friends and coworkers for referrals as well. If they had a great experience with a real estate professional it is likely you will have the same experience with the same realtor. If you know you have specific needs such as a language need or handicap then call your local board of realtors and ask for some recommendations and Google names to do further research.

Your home buying and selling experience will be a fun and exciting time in your life with the help of the right professional so make sure you take your time casting that role. When interviewing real estate agents always ask why they got into the business and if their answer is “To work less and get paid more” or something similar then keep interviewing the best of us in this business do it simply because we love it.

Winter Home

Preparing your home for the winter months

With bitterly cold temperatures around the corner I wanted to take a minute to remind homeowners about the important maintenanceImage items that ignoring can be costly. In case you missed my article in the Real Estate section of the Huntsville Times recently here is a recap of the 5 most important items to take care of before the freezing temps arrive.

When preparing your home to transition from warm to cold weather I always think of the word winterizing and what that means to your home. Here are the top five things that you should do every year as the temperature dips and we transition seasons.

  1. Have your furnace inspected by a licensed HVAC technician. This will insure your furnace is in tip top shape and minimize your utility expenses.
  2. If your home has a wood burning fireplace have a chimney sweep come out and inspect the chimney before use. If you have gas logs in your home make sure you have removed any dust that has accumulated over the spring and summer from the gas igniter.
  3. Inspect all your gutters for debris and make sure they are clean before the leaves start to fall and remove any debris from downspouts and make sure they are draining properly.
  4. Install weather stripping around any doors or caulk any windows with a draft.
  5. Most importantly this is a great time to change all the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Maintenance is the number one tip I can suggest in order to keep your home in tip-top shape and help avoid those costly repairs. Have your furnace and air conditioning inspected yearly, check your roof for leaks at least twice a year and your gutters and downspouts for debris, have your home and decking power washed annually to avoid fungus and mildew build-up, and inspect your basement/crawlspace and attic for any signs of moisture or pests.

Could interest rates be on the rise?

With FHA mortgage insurance premiums said to rise sometime in 2013 and the gradual increase we are seeing in home pricing can we afford for interest rates to go up as well? I don’t think we have much choice in the matter as long as the economy continues to improve we will see a gradual increase in rates. What does that mean in dollars and cents to the average home buyer? Well, let’s take a 220k home purchase and look at the monthly mortgage payment at 3.25% vs. a 5% increase in home prices and a 1% rate increase….

Now as you can see below that even a 1% increase can make a huge difference in the life of your mortgage as well as the monthly payment amount. Even if you look at scenario 1 where the home price decreases by 5% you are effected by the higher interest rate. All the experts are predicting that values will continue to rise so if you are thinking about buying now is the time while home affordability is still at a 40+ year low.

Homes Decline 5% Homes Increase 5%
1% Rate Increase 1% Rate Increase
HOME PRICE $220,000.00 $209,000.00 $231,000.00
DOWN PAYMENT $12,000.00
LOAN AMOUNT $208,000.00 $197,000.00 $219,000.00
INTEREST RATE 3.250% 4.250% 4.250%
MONTHLY PAYMENT $905.23 $969.12 $1,077.35
Extra Monthly Cost $63.89 $172.12
Extra Cost – Loan Term $23,001.28 $61,962.92

Color palette

Whenever I meet a new client to list their home, interior and exterior paint colors are always a hot topic so I thought I would address it here. You have one opportunity to catch a potential buyer and you can lose that opportunity if the pictures of your home online are not just right or if the drive-by first impression is lacking. Get your personal taste out of your mind and think about a model home. When you go look at a builder’s model home do you see electric blue shutters or orange walls? No and that’s because they research what appeals to buyers and tend to be conservative with color choices. Your exterior siding should be tan, gray, pale yellow, white or cream with accenting trim colors of black, navy, maroon, or dark green. Interior colors must be muted hues and popular choices are tan, pale gray, or cream. Stay away from white because buyers look at that as an expense as they will need to have it painted. If you want color pops stick to dining rooms, office space, and kitchens.

gray interiorpaintedbrick

Gray is taking the place of tan as the trendy interior color palette and grays should be muted and with a bright hue. Not the dreary gray of days past today’s gray is bright and light illuminating. If you have a brick home that looks dated and tired you can opt to paint the brick. Painted brick is a great way to give a dated house new life and appeal to buyers. Paint colors here should be tan, taupe or gray think traditional with trim accents.

If you have more questions about color hues feel free to contact me or if you want to update your home before selling I can come out and advise you which updates will result in a return on your investment.

Happy New Year – it is a great year to buy a new house

Now that the holidays have passed and get back to our regular routine its time to think about our financial goals and plans for 2013. With interest rates holding at all time lows and home prices down about 5% over the last year it is the perfect storm for a home purchase. If you have been on the fence about buying a home do the math and you will find out that in Huntsville you can own a home for much less than renting. Wouldn’t you like that money you spend every month on rent to actually build future income and net worth for you. I can help you through the entire process and it can be a painless and fun experience.

What are you waiting for? There may not be another time in the next forty years like today to buy a home as homeownership cost is at an over forty year low. Call or email me today so you can start 2013 building wealth not throwing your money away.

Your new home!


1718 Alm Dr NE Huntsville, AL 35811

If you are looking for a spacious home that offers a full mother-in-law suite complete with kitchen, laundry and separate entrance look no further. This home is located in NE Huntsville’s highly desirable neighborhood of Gladstone Place just minutes from I-565 and Research Park this home has it all. With 5 bedrooms (3 upstairs and 2 in the basement) and over 3,700 square feet there is plenty room to spread out. The basement could be used as a rental income or would be a fantastic home for extended family.

The roof is one year young and backyard offers a ton of privacy with deck. This home is offered at $299,000 and I would love to give you a tour. Just call me to set up a time @256-513-7299

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