Blog Archives

Are Birmingham Area Homes Selling?

From time to time, people ask us, “How’s business?”

If you look around and ask various Agents throughout the Birmingham area how their business is going, you’re likely to get varied answers.  One Agent we spoke with recently has struggled much of the year.  Other Agents we know have been doing much better.   Colleen and I have had an extremely busy year, for which we’re grateful.

The fact is that—regardless of the economy in general and what’s reported in the news media—homes still sell.  That’s because people’s lives change.  New jobs, a change in family size or wanting to be closer to a particular area can be among the reasons.

I’ve heard people thinking of selling their home say, “I’ll wait until the economy improves.”  To be sure, values are still down considerably, compared to previous years.
But that can also be like saying, “I’m going to buy a new car when the models get better.”

Here in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area, the number of homes for sale in many communities is down considerably, compared to previous months.  In Shelby County’s Alabaster and vicinity, the Birmingham MLS shows 220 homes for sale at present.  This continues to be among the lowest numbers we’ve seen.

This drop in inventory is having an effect.  Homes for sale that we consider excellent deals don’t stay on the market long.  Buyers are out there, and pounce as soon as the excellent deals appear.

I’ve heard some home owners trying to sell without luck lamenting the lack of Buyers.   It’s really not that Buyers are scarce.  It’s just that they’re finding better deals elsewhere; the homes they wind up buying are in nicer condition, have more features, or are priced more attractively (or maybe all three).

A home needs to have pizazz to sell in the current market, and must be priced to grab a Buyer’s attention.
Homes lacking these attributes typically take much longer to sell (we’ve seen homes remain on market over a year before getting an Offer).

When it comes to getting your home sold, there are definitely success stories in the Birmingham area.   Colleen and I recently listed a home in Alabaster that got two Offers and went Under Contract 13 days after going on the market.  The Seller was motivated, priced his home so that Buyers had to notice, and has done a lot of fixing up to make his home look nice.  The payoff to his work is that his home is set to sell, so he can move.

The drop in inventory being seen in some areas around Birmingham is starting to put a bit of a squeeze on Buyers.  The Buyer who sees a really good deal on a home for sale in this area now realizes that there’s a chance to be taken by waiting:  Someone else might swoop in and grab the home in the meantime.

If you’re looking to buy a home in the area, our advice is to think about what’s important in a home to you, as well as area, and to contact us (205-356-5412).  If you’re planning to get a loan, another critical step to take early in the process is to get in touch with a Lender.  Here is a link to some area Lenders we recommend contacting.

Remember that the world of home mortgages can be confusing, because there are so many different kinds of loans and differences in fees, down payments and other charges.   A good Lender will be able to sort this out for you to help to simplify your decision.

Getting quotes from other Lenders to compare is a good idea, too; just be sure to understand that comparing different loans effectively means looking at all the overall costs, and not just a single fee that might be higher with one loan.  You might also ask about “locking” in your interest rate (which involves being assured of getting the same rate if you wind up buying a little later).

By following these steps, you’ll be on the road to being part of the home sales success stories we’re seeing throughout much of the Shelby Co. and Birmingham area.

David

Storyteller Dolores Hydock delights Birmingham

I remember thinking years ago, “you’ve got to be kidding.”

After all, what could be more boring than to have to sit and listen to someone tell a story for an hour?

Renowned storyteller Dolores Hydock has taught me a thing or two about being too judgmental in advance.

No matter what subject she chooses, Hydock’s tales are engaging, informative and loads of fun.

Dolores Hydock

Dolores Hydock talks about what people will do for money while appearing at Peham's Public Library on 4/22/12.

Dolores makes it impossible for you not to be entertained.

Colleen and I enjoyed seeing Dolores perform over the weekend at the Pelham Public Library when she told some great stories about–of all things–money.

A featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival, Dolores has won numerous awards for her work.  If you go to see her, you’ll understand why.

We’re lucky that Dolores calls Birmingham home; she frequently makes appearances throughout the area.  If you’d like to catch one of her shows, check out her website by clicking here.

Dolores has several more appearances scheduled in the coming months, including in Crestline, Homewood and Hoover.

Just one warning if you wind up going to see Dolores:  You’ll get hooked, and will want to go back for more.

David

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…

David

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

Birmingham 2011 Home Sales: Market Thoughts

If you’re thinking of selling your home during 2011, does it make sense to sell sooner, rather than later?

This may be something to consider after listening to Tom Horn, an appraiser who specializes in home values in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. areas.

That’s because of what may be ahead in the coming months, which could make it tougher to sell later in the year.

On the other hand, Tom has been looking at price trends in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area during the past year, and he has seen some changes from previously observed drops. For homeowners uncertain about trying to sell their properties, the trends—while not wonderful news—are actually a little encouraging.

We caught up with Tom to get his thoughts on what’s happening with home values here, and to ask what he thinks may be ahead. Whether you’ve been thinking about selling or buying a home in the Birmingham/Alabaster and Shelby Co. area, you may find Tom’s observations helpful.

Click the player just below…

…or click here if you’d like to download and listen to this interview on your personal listening device.

You can learn a lot more about pricing and trends from visiting Tom Horn’s Birmingham Appraisal blog, a great source of information on values and other appraisal-related news affecting the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Tom’s services, visit his appraisal-source website here.

Tom is a good source of information on home values. He is even having folks who are thinking of selling their home call him in advance to appraise their properties … that, coupled with talking with an Agent familiar with the area, is a good way to know up front what your home’s ultimate selling price is likely to be.

Thanks, Tom, for the great information…

David

Birmingham Lender Clears Up Market Myths

If you’re seeing and hearing news suggesting that you’re wiser to hold off on buying a home, a talk with folks knowledgeable about the real estate market in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area is likely to leave you surprised, and maybe a bit bewildered.

Jason Lee, Henger Rast MortgageFor example:

Myth: Lenders have stopped lending.

Fact: Lenders are lending, and they have some very good loans available, depending on your situation.

Clearing up the misconceptions is why we decided to catch up with Jason Lee, a Mortgage Banker with Henger Rast Mortgage in Birmingham.

In our latest netcast, we talk with Jason about why what you may be hearing on the news doesn’t match up with what’s happening in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. market.

Click the player just below…and then get moving on buying!

…or click here if you’d like to download and listen to this interview on your personal listening device.

Want to ask Jason a question about getting prequalified? Call him at 205-271-1210, or click here to send an e-mail…

David

Interest Rates Heading Back Up!

Rising interest rates for Birmingham and Shelby Co. homesYet another indicator that the super low interest rates Buyers have been enjoying in the Shelby Co. and Birmingham real estate market may be coming to an end:

Click here to see an article in the 4/11/10 New York Times advising that rising interest rates are inevitable.

If you’ve been considering buying a home and have been waiting for the perfect time, it looks more and more as if the perfect time is about to pass you by.

It’s all the more reason to get serious, and soon!

David

Thing of Buying? Better Get Crackin’!

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home in the Birmingham or Shelby county area, be aware: the clock is ticking…

The government’s Tax Credit for first time (and many existing) Buyers ends April 30th.
Time to get off the fence!

Under current rules, that’s the last day you can have a Contract to buy a home in place and still be eligible for the credit.

Have you been ‘on the fence’ about buying?

Here are some of the reasons proving why buying now is such a good idea:

  • Inventory is high…fancy lingo for: “There are lots of homes to choose from!”
  • Sellers are motivated…fancy lingo for: “Many Sellers want to sell and will work with you!”
  • Financing is affordable…fancy lingo for: “Loan rates remain in the 5% range; try to beat that with a stick!”
  • If you’re a qualified Buyer under the Tax Credit, you’ll be getting up to $8,000 back…fancy lingo for “What are you waiting for?

    Whether you’re buying an existing home or want to buy a brand new home, we are seeing some excellent opportunities to own a home in just about all areas in Shelby County.

    Tax Credit Deadline

    In a number of cases, we are seeing such attractive pricing that—provided you meet certain Lender qualifications—you could own your own home, instead of paying rent.

    So, if you’re planning on staying awhile, it doesn’t make sense to rent when you could own your own home.

    Since buying a home can easily take 30 to 45 days or longer, and since the Tax Credit is set to expire in about two months, it’s time to jump off the fence!

    Colleen and I are always available to help with your search and with any questions you have…

    David

  • Birmingham Area Home Sales in 2009

    I asked a group of Realtors who sell homes in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area recently what their thoughts are of 2009, now that it’s ‘in the rear view mirror.’

    While a few Agents reported a strong year last year, most told me they weren’t sad to see ’09 become history.

    We hear conflicting information in the media a lot these days about home sales, and this can even happen when you’re looking at sales in a small, targeted area.

    Here are a few statistics from the Birmingham MLS that show trends in 2009, compared to 2007 and 2008. Clearly, the local market was a difficult one for many:

    Home sales in Birmingham/Shelby County area

    Here’s a look at average sold prices for homes in the area:

    Home sales in Birmingham/Shelby County area

    And, finally, how long did it take to get a home sold? Here’s a look at that:

     Home sales in Birmingham/Shelby County area

    While these numbers show a challenging market, people with a lot of years in the real estate business under their belt continue to believe that the market will undergo a gradual change, back to more balanced conditions.

    No one knows exactly when that will happen, or how quickly it will occur, but most are confident it will. Some think it’s already starting.

    Perhaps 2010 will be the year…

    David

    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.

    David