Monthly Archives: November 2009
You can have fun and help people at the same time.
That’s what the Oak Mountain Real Estate Network’s annual Christmas Auction, held November 18th in Pelham, is all about:
Despite a tough economy, we had a lot of Agents and people working in affiliated fields participate. When it was all over, the Network had raised nearly $2,200. The Network supports two very worthy causes here in Shelby County: SafeHouse and Family Connection.
My hat’s off to folks who actually look for work instead of groan about having no money coming in. That’s where Wyatt Trader, Brent Childree and Haden Bethea come in to the picture:
These young gentlemen, who live nearby, spent the day in our neighborhood Saturday walking from house to house, offering to do odd jobs like washing cars, raking leaves and general clean-up. When they got to our place, they scored two cars to wash:
A mutually beneficial arrangement for all involved: Cash for some young people needing it, and clean cars for us!
Congress has taken a step many people were watching for, and has extended the $8,000 tax credit for people buying a home for the first time. But the extension also carries a big change that could affect you if you own a home right now and want to buy again.
The credit, which was originally set to expire November 30th, now applies to Sales Contracts in place by April 30th, 2010. Homeowners have an additional 60 days beyond then to actually close the sale.
If you currently own your home and have lived in it for five consecutive years, the extension provides for a $6,500 credit if you buy another property by the new deadline. In the current market where so many homes have lost value, this may help Sellers frustrated over not being able to get an Offer for as much as they’ve wanted.
So … either way, the extension is intended to make buying a home more enticing to a larger group of people. That’s exactly why Congress passed the bill, in a continuing desire to stimulate the housing market.
Another point many buyers are not aware of is the fact that you can still qualify for the credit even if you owned a home previously. The government defines a first time buyer as someone who has not owned a home during the previous three years. So, if you owned a home in, say, 2004, but have not owned your residence since then, you would qualify for the first time buyer’s credit.
The tax credit’s extension and expansion, coupled with such affordable deals and financing on homes in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area really do suggest that—unless you plan to move again soon—you’re much better off owning, rather than renting, and—if you qualify as an existing owner and have been wanting to move—now’s the time.
Getting your home sold in Shelby County is taking longer in some communities and less time in others, while prices have dropped, according to October statistics from the Birmingham Multiple Listing System.
The average number of days on market increased in Alabaster and Chelsea, but fell in Helena, Pelham and Calera:
Prices continued a downward trend in October, and substantially so, compared to September:
How many homes are selling?
Except for Calera, the number of homes sold in October dropped from September. Chelsea saw the sharpest one month drop, while more homes sold in Calera during October than in September:
Why the uptick in Calera?
Perhaps it’s the large inventory of low cost housing (both new and resale), making for some very attractive deals for first time home buyers, along with the fact that Calera qualifies for USDA financing (which means loans with no down payment required).
I think these statistics are giving us some important messages.
If you’re planning on buying a home, the market is continuing to work very much in your favor in the Birmingham and Shelby County area. Prices have dropped, inventory is in plentiful supply, and loans continue to be very affordable.
If you’re trying to sell, the message these numbers present is that it’s going to take a lot more than just putting a For Sale sign in the yard.
Marketing plays a more critical role than ever, and must be done in innovative ways if your home is to stand out among all the other properties for sale.
Pricing is no less important and will be a huge deciding factor in how quickly you sell, or if you sell, at all (believe me, we have seen examples of both!).
You may also benefit from an informed assessment of your property’s appearance and condition. With so many homes for sale right now, if your property doesn’t sparkle, Buyers will simply move on to another.
These are some very good reasons for trusting the sale of your home to an Agent who’s knowledgeable about the market here in the Shelby Co./Birmingham area and who knows how to achieve success in spite of challenging economic conditions.