Blog Archives

Jeff De Shazo Joins The Black Team

Colleen and I have some exciting news to pass along…

Jeff De Shazo is joining forces with us to help folks looking to buy homes.

Jeff De Shazo

So, just who is this Jeff character, anyway?

With nearly fourteen years as a Realtor—he also holds a Broker’s license—Jeff is no stranger to the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area real estate industry. His knowledge of the business is as solid as you can get.

Jeff has helped individuals and families make real estate purchases throughout the region.

So, why are we joining forces? The answer is pretty simple, actually.

Jeff has always impressed us with his professionalism and friendliness.

When it comes to how we believe Clients should be served, we found that we have so much in common with Jeff that working as a Team just seems to make sense.

In addition to helping with the sales of existing homes, Jeff has several years experience in sales of new homes. That’s especially valuable these days, because there are so many opportunities to buy new homes at unheard of prices.

Jeff is a great source of information if you’ve been thinking of buying a new or existing home in the Birmingham or Shelby Co. area. Whether you’re buying again or for the first time, he’s ready to help.

You can reach Jeff at 205-223-7653, or click here to contact Jeff by e-mail.

By the way … Fisbo, our spoiled six pound poodle, has given Jeff his official seal of approval, as well…


Seller’s Choice: Lead The Market, or Chase It?

“It’s the sluggish economy.”  That’s what I hear a number of Sellers say when their home fails to sell here in Shelby county.  It’s an easy explanation to fall back on.  But is it accurate?  Many more times than not, the answer is no.

If everyone in the Birmingham area deciding to sell completed a simple one page question sheet with two answers, it would really help determine, up front, whether their home is going to sell successfully, and whether it sells sooner, rather than later.

Here’s what the question sheet would look like:

It’s amazing how many folks have to learn this most basic rule of real estate.  If you don’t know it, not to worry … you will learn it when you try to sell.

If you choose to make your home as attractive as it can be (yes, that can take some work for many owners), and if you commit to setting a price that piques the interest of potential Buyers, you’re automatically positioning yourself to sell sooner, rather than later.  You’re leading the market.  How do you know if you’re doing this?

By gauging response.  Response is everything.

In the current economic climate, if you get an Offer on your property within 30-45 days of putting it up for sale, you’re doing well.

In the area extending from Hoover in north Shelby county across Pelham, Helena, Alabaster and south into Chelsea, Calera and Montevallo, 2,286 homes are listed for sale at the moment, according to the Birmingham Multiple Listing System.  With all this available inventory, Sellers have competition.

As a Seller, you must make your home enticing to potential Buyers, price-wise and appearance-wise.  If they find it tempting, you will no doubt find yourself signing a Sales Contract soon.

But what if your home has been on the market for, say, a couple of months or more, and hardly anyone has even looked inside?  What if you’ve not yet had a single offer?  The response you’re getting—or lack of it—is the market speaking to you.

Planning to lead the market or chase it?  Your decision means whether you will sell sooner or later.

Planning to lead the market or chase it? Your decision means whether you will sell sooner or later.

Many Sellers may wind up not liking what they hear.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  Sometimes I don’t like what I hear a lot when I listen to the market, either.  But, like it or not, it’s valuable input.

The sooner we accept what the market is telling us and adjust accordingly, the sooner we’re likely to see a successful sale.  And if that’s been our goal all along, why prolong getting there?

We know Sellers who, in essence, checked the ‘Lead the Market’ box.  We know this because they got their property sold successfully, and without being on the market a particularly long time.

We also know Sellers who choose the ‘Chase the Market’ option.  They do this by pricing their home higher than is recommended.  Some neglect to take the steps suggested to make their property aesthetically pleasing.

Market chasers pay a price for their decisions.  They may believe they’re going to get closer to their asking price when an Offer finally does come in, but this often doesn’t happen.  Market chasers can expect to have their property remain for sale with few showings for a long time—other homes will no doubt come on the market and likely get Offers and possibly sell before theirs even gets a nibble.

Some market chasers won’t see their homes sell, at all.

In short, Sellers who say they want to sell, but who are actually market chasers, need to be prepared for frustration.

Which box would you check?


Buying Real Estate? History Can Help…

When investing in my first mutual fund years ago, I was given the following advice: If you plan on needing this money within five years, you’d be better off putting it in a low risk investment such as a CD or, perhaps, a money market account. With the stock market going up and down constantly, that made good sense to me.

The same can be said for investing in real estate. When deciding to buy a home, if you don’t plan on staying there for at least five years, you may be better off renting. In spite of the recent market swings, real estate can still be a sound investment. All you really need is a bit of common sense:

  • Don’t overextend yourself
  • Know that your purchase is a good value
  • Understand that, in time, values will begin to appreciate once again.

    This advice is nothing new. It’s the same in any market. Once you begin to speculate and/or overextend yourself, you become vulnerable to conditions you have no control over.

    The past few years have been like another gold rush. People were speculating that property values would increase so quickly that it made sense to borrow 100% or even 103% of a property’s value. These folks were sure they would build equity quickly. The lenders, too, were sure that this would happen, and felt comfortable lending money to high risk borrowers. In reality, no one had a crystal ball.

    Yes, hindsight is 20-20. Remember when a 20% down payment was required to buy a home? Lenders had good collateral, and borrowers were less likely to take risky chances with their own hard earned savings. People would save for several years in order to make a good down payment on their home. And over the years, as they upgraded, their down payment was increasingly more substantial, as they hadn’t used up their equity, paying off other debts.

    Sometimes it really pays to look back in history and see what works and what doesn’t.