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…

David

Selling Your Home Without A Crystal Ball

Ever wished for a crystal ball so you’d know what’s ahead? That might, or might not, be a good thing, depending on what you want to know…!

On the one hand, having a crystal ball to look into the real estate market could sure help ease concerns for some folks here in the Birmingham and Shelby county areas. Or would it?

Crystal Ball - Home For Sale Birmingham

Suppose you’re thinking of selling your home. Would you be more inclined to sell sooner, if, say, the ball suggested values would continue to slide in 2010? What if the ball suggested you’d get more if you wait?

I don’t think we really need a crystal ball to know that home values will rise. Nearly every expert out there predicts they will, at some point.

It’s those last three words that are the kicker: At some point.

Hmm. Does that mean in the next three months? Ten months? Two years? This is where having a crystal ball would be pretty handy.

However, crystal balls are about as plentiful as bumper stickers in Alabama supporting the Texas Longhorns. People ask us questions frequently that would pretty much need a crystal ball to answer accurately. “What is my home going to be worth in a year?” would be one such question.

“What will my home sell for if I list it right now?”

Ahh. There’s a question that doesn’t need a crystal ball as badly to answer. We have good resources we can draw upon to come up with a figure that—more times than not—winds up being very close to actual selling price.

Birmingham homeThe fact is that if your home ‘shows nicely’ as Agents like to say, and is priced where we know Buyers will bite, your odds of selling are promising. And, yes, that’s true even in the tough market affecting so many neighborhoods in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. areas as we plow into 2010.

This might sound ridiculously obvious to some, but the ‘shows nicely, priced right’ concept is one we’ve seen trip up a lot of people trying to sell their homes. So, not everyone really understands how important this really is. Or put another way, not everyone really ‘gets it.’

During 2009, we represented Sellers who agreed to price their homes where we suggested. Granted, they weren’t always thrilled with the price we recommended. But they swallowed hard and said, ‘okay.’ Why? Because they needed to sell. Helping ease this frustration was their knowledge that—when they turned around to buy another home—they’d be enjoying the opposite side of the tough selling market, getting a very good deal on the home they’re buying.

We also dealt with Sellers in 2009 who disagreed with us. They felt they had a better idea than we did of what their home would would sell for. And guess what happened with their efforts to sell? Nothing. Zilch. Their homes didn’t sell, despite being on the market plenty long enough to sell. I remember several cases where other homes in the same neighborhood as our Clients’ house sold, and in the general price range we had recommended.

There were some cases where our Client’s home never even got an Offer. We always talk about how important it is to listen to what the market is telling us. Let me assure you of one thing: If a home for sale doesn’t even get an Offer, that’s the market talking. It may even be shouting.

sold Alabaster homeI know one thing for sure about trying to get a home sold in this market. You either have to ‘get it,’ or you have to trust your Agent’s advice. Otherwise, your home is probably not destined to sell.

I think the real question that emerges is: How badly do you want, or need, to sell?

Clearly, there are many situations for folks where—regardless of how the market may be performing at the moment—it’s important to sell sooner, rather than later. Some Sellers who contact us tell us they need to sell as fast as possible, and are waiting for us to tell them what to do to make it so.

These are the people we feel confident we can help.

And no, we don’t have a crystal ball to predict the outcome.

But listening to the market and to your Agent go a long way right now, and will most likely mean you can start packing sooner, rather than later.

David

First Time Buyer Tax Credit Extended, Expanded

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.

Shelby Co. Homes

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.

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

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

    Mid-Year Shelby Co. Homes Sales Update

    New statistics for the Birmingham and Shelby Co. real estate market show a drop in sales and prices, but there are some positive signs showing, too.

    According to the Birmingham Area Multiple Listing Service, Inc., sales in June, 2008 totaled 1,253; that’s 35% below the 1,929 sales recorded in June, 2007. For the first half of 2008, 6,702 sales were recorded. That’s 28% below the 9,317 total sales reported for the same period in 2007.

    The average price of a home in June, 2008, stood at $196,504, which is about 5.4% below the June, 2007, average price of $208,767.

    The numbers hold good news for sellers. June, 2008 inventory stood at 12,580, which is 714 fewer listings than the 13,294 homes for sale during June, 2007.

    Good time to buy a home?  You bet...

    Good time to buy a home? You bet...

    Here are some more numbers we consider encouraging. While the average price of homes for sale from January through June of 2008 ($194,000) did drop compared to the same period a year earlier, the drop is pretty slim: Only about 2%. In other real estate markets, the drops in average price have been quite a bit higher, so, once again, the swings in the Birmingham/Shelby Co. markets are not nearly as extreme.

    What about foreclosures in our area? Those dropped by 17% during June, 2008, compared to a year earlier, according to the MLS. Out of a list of 100 major U.S. cities surveyed for foreclosure activity, Birmingham rated 97th.

    Every business has up and down cycles, and real estate is certainly no different. While stories about ‘the dire real estate market’ continue to make the news, you might be wondering if you should forget trying to buy a home. We would suggest that just the opposite is true. Given very good interest rates that continue to be available and a large, diverse inventory to choose from, this is an excellent time to buy.

    David

    Shelby Co. Real Estate Market: “Hyper Local” and Healthy

    Want to know the health of the real estate market in a specific neighborhood? Knowing something about the market in general for a broad area may not give the information you need. More and more these days, market behavior is becoming addressable to specific neighborhoods.

    Hyper Local, a term emerging in real estate that refers to markets in very specific regions, is one of the topics we cover in our new netcast now on-line. We also discuss how the local market around Pelham, Alabaster, Helena and North Shelby County is performing — and the news is encouraging, whether you’re thinking of buying a home, or if you’re considering selling.

    Click the player button just below to listen now. Or, click to download here so you can transfer to your portable player.

    As always, we hope you enjoy!

    David and Colleen