Blog Archives

New Competition for Selling Your Home

Thinking of selling your home?

You already know there’s plenty of competition here in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area.

But now, there’s a new force to deal with. Check out our video just below. This all started when we decided to pay a visit to a recently listed Foreclosure in Alabaster’s Lake Forest; you may be interested to see what’s happening inside…

We’re ready to help you with getting your home sold, successfully, and sooner, rather than later.

Give us a call at 205.677.8696…


Alabaster, Helena Home Sales Up In March

More folks want homes!

The number of properties sold in Alabaster and Helena rose sharply in March, compared to February, according to the Birmingham Multiple Listing System. In Helena, March sales were double those for February:

Helena, Alabama, home sales update

Meanwhile, home sales in the Alabaster, Maylene and Saginaw areas were up sharply during March, as well.

Alabaster, Alabama, home sales update

Why the big rise in sales?

  • Buyers are realizing that very little time remains before the end of the First Time Buyer’s Tax Credit (Contracts must be signed no later than April 30th);
  • Loan rates continue to be extremely attractive; and
  • A large inventory of homes remains available in Shelby County, with Sellers motivated to sell
  • Last but certainly not least, the return of spring has no doubt been a welcome change from the extended bitterly cold winter Alabamians had to endure. Most people found going out looking for homes—only to be blasted in the face by freezing wind—to be less than fun.

    For more reasons than one, we’re glad Spring is here!


    Birmingham Home Sales Picking Up…

    Here are a few news tidbits involving home sales:

    …Sales in the Birmingham area shot up 46% in November, marking the second straight month of increases over the previous year, according to the Birmingham Association of Realtors. In November, 879 homes sold, compared to 603 in November, 2008;

    …November sales of previously occupied homes surged to their highest point nationwide in nearly three years, according to the National Association of Realtors;

    …Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief economist, sees continued progress in 2010, even as some of the government’s efforts to stimulate the housing market ease. “We expect a temporary sales drop [before] another surge in the spring when buyers take advantage of the expanded tax credit,” Yun said. That “hopefully will take us into a self-sustaining market in the second half of 2010.”

    …Roughly 2 million homebuyers have taken advantage of the $8,000 First Time Buyer’s Tax Credit, according to NAR estimates;

    …Sales of new homes, however, dropped 11% in November, their lowest level since April (new home sales represent a dwindling share of the market). Bottom line: If you’re looking for a new home, chances are you’ll find builders extremely anxious to work a deal;

    Overall, analysts feel the housing market continues to recover from its recent downturn, with the government’s assistance programs getting much of the credit.

    If you’re thinking of buying a home in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area, the market remains very much in your favor, thanks to a large selection of homes to choose from, motivated Sellers, and a continuation of some of the lowest ever interest rates on loans.

    Last, but certainly not least, keep in mind that the First Time Buyer’s Tax Credit, originally set to expire November 30, 2009, has been extended to April 30, 2010. The government has also expanded the program to provide incentives for current homeowners who relocate — click here for details.


    Helping Shelby Co. People In Need

    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:

    Oak Mountain Real Estate Network Auction
    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.

    Special thanks to Auctioneers Kelly Bishop-Hicks with Allstate Insurance and John Holliman of the Holliman Law Firm, who did a great job!


    October Birmingham/Shelby Co. Home Sale Stats

    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:

    Days On Market  JUN-OCT 2009
    Click here to see a larger version of the Average Days On Market graphic

    Prices continued a downward trend in October, and substantially so, compared to September:

    Average Prices  JUN-OCT 2009
    Click here to see a larger version of the Average Sales Price graphic

    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:

    Homes Sold  - JUN-OCT 2009
    Click here to see a larger version of the Number of Homes Sold graphic

    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.


    Shelby County/Birmingham Area Home Sales Update

    Here’s a look at how homes have been selling in the Shelby Co./Birmingham area during the past few months, courtesy of the Birmingham MLS:

    Stats - SALES - JUN-SEP 2009

    Stats - SALES - JUN-SEP 2009

    Stats - DOM - JUN-SEP 2009David

    Cam Ward’s Shelby Co. Economic Update

    We just never know who’s going to walk in the door around here.  But I’m not complaining!

    It’s always enjoyable and educational to sit and talk with Republican State Rep. Cam Ward, who is a candidate for the Alabama State Senate.

    Most Shelby Co. and Birmingham area civic, business and legislative leaders know Cam well, in part, for his track record as a State Representative.  He’s also Executive Director of Alabaster’s Industrial Development Board.

    With so many jitters about the national economy, what’s Cam’s take on the economy closer to home here in the Shelby Co. and Birmingham area?

    That’s one of the questions we put to Cam, who’s the guest in our latest netcast.

    Click the player just below to listen now…

    …or click here to download.

    We hope you enjoy … and thanks, Cam, for stopping by!

    David Black

    Encouraging Signs For The Real Estate Market?

    Maybe things are getting better.

    Pending sales of homes in the U.S. rose in June for the fifth straight month, according to the National Association of Realtors.

    For the first time in five years, sales of homes have risen for three months in a row, according to NAR.  Sellers pricing their properties attractively, low mortgage rates and the $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers are getting credit for the rise.

    New sales statistics give reason to be optimistic about the real estate market.

    New sales statistics give reason to be optimistic about the real estate market.

    For a number of market analysts, this trend is better than expected, and gives reason to believe the real estate market will continue to improve.

    In the North Shelby county/Hoover area, 787 properties are for sale as August gets underway, according to the Birmingham Multiple Listing System.  391 properties are for sale in the Alabaster, Maylene and Saginaw areas, while 505 are for sale in the Shelby county portions of the Helena and Pelham areas.

    Here in the Birmingham and Shelby county area, you can still get quite a deal on a mortgage.  30-year fixed rates have actually slipped some from a week ago.  With good credit, you can get a loan in the very low five percent range, while 15-year fixed rates continue to hover between 4.5 and 5%…


    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?


    What Walter Cronkite Did For A Kid In Texas

    I will always be grateful for Walter Cronkite.

    You’d know why I say that if you grew up in the 1960’s or ’70s, when television news was such a totally different industry from what it is today, and when we depended on it so much to learn about our world.

    Click here to read more…