Blog Archives

Adding The Wow Factor To Our Home

The just upgraded Kitchen at Colleen and David Black’s Birmingham/Shelby Co. home creates an entirely new look and feel.

All we can say is:  Wow.

Talk about adding some pizazz to our home!

We talk with our Clients frequently about adding features that make your home more attractive and enjoyable.

If you’re trying to get your home sold in the Birmingham/Shelby Co. area, these enhancements can be what it takes to get a successful sale.  But even if you’re not selling, they’re still wonderful to enjoy while you live there.

We’ve taken our own advice.

Our Kitchen upgrade project is basically complete.  To say that we’re pleased is an understatement.

We knew we’d like it … but we like it even more than we thought.

This upgrade includes sparkling New Venetian Gold granite counter tops, a Frigidaire professional series hybrid induction cooktop with convection oven, microwave oven, dishwasher, disposer, under mount sink and fixture, and new stone back splash.  We’re even adding an instant hot water dispenser.

A lot of coordination and logistics had to go into this to make everything work.

Different work crews had to be scheduled to come in at various times, and they could only do their work in a certain order (i.e. Crew #2 could come in only after Crew #1 had finished its task).

With the need to do all this coordination—and the fact that the work crews have busy schedules themselves—Colleen and I had suspected that it could easily be three, four or even five days before our Kitchen could be used again.

The stone back splash design—with its distinctive separating glass border—was designed by Colleen and enhances an already elegant setting.

Amazingly, the entire process—from removing the old, to finishing installation of all the new—was done in less than two full days (the template tracing for the counter cuts had been done two weeks earlier).

I never realized how much we depend on having water in the Kitchen—until we lost access to it!  No water out of the tap or refrigerator, no rinsing dishes in the sink, and no stove adds up to having to improvise.

With all the different workers involved, it’s pretty easy to figure that someone in the process is likely to make a mistake.  And I sort of figured there would be a lot of cleaning up we’d have to do behind everyone.

We were wrong on both counts.

The workers who did this project—every single one of them—did an awesome job.  Nothing got damaged, no hardwoods got scratched despite everything being moved in and out, no walls got scraped, everything got put in correctly, protective covering was put down on our floors, stairs and counters, and nothing got tracked on flooring or spilled.

After finishing their work, there was no clean-up for us to do.  Everything was left immaculate.

What more could we ask?

Whether for Kitchen, bath or elsewhere, Shane and Heather Massey, of KB Pro, are a Birmingham area husband and wife team of tile experts who can help create an entire new look.

For all the logistics that had to come together, Colleen and I think we have come out great.

Steve Poe with Cahaba Cabinets, Inc. in Pelham did an excellent job overseeing all the work and handling the installation of our new counter tops.  We do not take him for granite.

Oscar Requena with Hunter Home Improvements handled making sure all the gadgetry was delivered, connected and working.  The changes Oscar made in his schedule are part of why we were able to have a functioning Kitchen so quickly again.

Shane and Heather Massey, the husband-wife team known as KB Pro, took Colleen’s design ideas and turned them into the beautiful back splash that we think really makes the Kitchen pop (I’ve always thought that, if she wasn’t a real estate Agent, Colleen has a second career waiting in home design and staging).

We have a lot of learning ahead, now that we have purchased an induction cook-top (the fact that it’s a hybrid means that we can cook using induction and/or the conventional way, with standard electric).

Our appliances came from the AllSouth Appliance Group, whose staff and impressive showroom can get you pointed toward the best choices for your lifestyle and needs.

Forget waiting several minutes for something to heat up.  If you’re accustomed to cooking with electric or gas, the new Frigidaire induction cooktop promises big changes in food preparation.

It’s pretty wild to be able to put a pot of water on to boil and, instead of waiting several minutes, full boil starts in only a few seconds.

Our research into cooking technology covered electric, gas and induction.  We wound up choosing Frigidaire’s professional series for several reasons.

Induction cooking is far more precise. Colleen liked the fact the stove is a hybrid; if we do sell the home and the new Buyer isn’t familiar or comfortable with induction, standard electric cooking is still available.   A keep warm zone and keep warm drawer are added benefits.

The Frigidaire’s clean lines represented the look we were going for, and last but not least, this series fell in an attractive price point (we could have spent much more).

Even the dishwasher is going to require some educating.  When running it for its first cycle of dishes, we first thought it wasn’t working, only to discover that is working.  Yep.  It’s that quiet.

Regardless of whether you’re selling or planning to stay put and just want to enjoy your surroundings a little more, upgrading your Kitchen is sure to please.

If you’re thinking of selling your home and plan to do an upgrade like this with the expectation of getting your money back in the sale, hold on a second.  That generally doesn’t happen.

Home upgrades such as redone Kitchens and baths are still tremendous selling points, because they will likely put your place above the competition.  Whatever you can do to stand out in a good way boosts your chances of getting an Offer.

As Colleen and I look around and enjoy our new Kitchen, we can only think of one thing we would change.

Whether we sell or stay, we wish we had done this upgrade sooner.

David

Home Sales in Alabaster’s Lake Forest

A look at home sales in one Birmingham area community:

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…

David

Alabaster Area Home Sales Rise in August

With summer behind us, here’s a look at home sales trends in the Alabaster, Maylene and Saginaw areas (stats from the Birmingham MLS):

ALABASTER - JAN-AUG 2010 SALES

After taking a dip in June, average sales prices are holding fairly steady:

ALABASTER - JAN-AUG 2010 ASP

How long does it take to get a home sold in these areas? According to the MLS, the time needed is just a little over two months (the shortest it has been all year):

ALABASTER - JAN-AUG 2010 DOM

Right now, 354 conventional single family houses and townhomes are for sale in the Alabaster, Maylene and Saginaw areas. Of those:

289 are priced at or below $250,000;
127 are priced at or below $150,000;
22 are priced at or below $100,000;
338 have 3 or more bedrooms;
170 have 4 or more bedrooms;
29 have 5 or more bedrooms;
113 have pools or access to pools;
5 have 4 or more acres…

Need a loan to buy? Rates right now continue to be among the lowest in history. Qualified borrowers can get a 30-year fixed rate loan for as low as around 4.25%; 15-year fixed rate loans can be found by some borrowers as low as 3.75%. Colleen and I have been able to help a number of first time Buyers say ‘adios’ to renting and move into their first homes with some excellent loans at very low rates.

Needless to say, this continues to be a tremendous time to buy a home … let us know if we can help!

David

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.

David

Birmingham Home Sale Prices

How much does it cost to buy a home in the Birmingham/Shelby Co. area?  Here are a few numbers that really show the variety of inventory and pricing currently available.  Remember that these are asking, and not sold, prices:

Alabaster/Maylene/Saginaw
Homes For Sale:  370
Under $150,000:  125
$150,000-$199,999:  111
$200,000-$249,999:  51
$250,000+:  83 just_listed2

Helena/Pelham (Shelby Co.)
Homes For Sale:  502
Under $150,000:   148
$150,000-$199,999:  153
$200,000-$249,999:  72
$250,000+:  129

No. Shelby Co./Hoover
Homes For Sale:  725
Under $150,000:  30
$150,000-$199,999: 41
$200,000-$249,999: 127
$250,000+:  527

Chelsea
Homes For Sale:   287
Under $150,000:   23
$150,000-$199,999:  92
$200,000-$249,999:  53
$250,000+:  119

Calera/Montevallo/Wilton
Homes For Sale:  334
Under $150,000:  203
$150,000-$199,999:   77
$200,000-$249,999:  29
$250,000+:  25

Source:  Birmingham Multiple Listing System

David

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

Helena, Alabama, Home Sales – October, 2008

Are you a numbers fan? If so, here are a few statistics on October, 2008, home sales in Helena (both Jefferson and Shelby counties), taken from the Birmingham MLS that you may find interesting:

Do homes still sell?  Yep.  Nine Helena homes sold within 30 days...

Are homes selling? Yep. In Helena, nine homes sold within 30 days during October...

  • Number of sales during month:  27
  • Average price: $192,501
  • Average days on market: 85
  • Miscellaneous notes:

  • Lowest price:  $13,000 (38-year-old mobile home on Highway 93)
  • Highest price:  $350,000 (New four bedroom home in Long Leaf Lake, reduced from $389,900)
  • Two of the month’s sales were foreclosures, both in Laurel Woods, for $127,100 (on the market for 70 days), and for $120,000 (on the market for 109 days).

  • 22 of the 27 properties sold for 95% of their list price or higher
  • Fifteen homes sold in 90 days or less
  • Eleven homes sold in 60 days or less
  • Nine homes sold in 30 days or less
  • Longest time on market: 270 days
  • We plan to publish updates like this from time to time, so you’ll have a snapshot of what’s happening with the real estate market in the Birmingham and Shelby county, Alabama areas. Let us know what you think!

    David