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The Hat Team


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Items to Throw Out Before You Move

by The Hat Team

Although moving from an old house into a new house can be an exciting time it can also be a very stressful time for those folks who don’t like to throw anything out.  Don’t worry you can keep most of your items but there are a few that should most definitely be thrown out before you move and those are listed for you below.   

  1. 1. If you have a lot of old towels and rags lying around your house, whether you use them or not, you might want to get rid of those before you move  into another home.  These types of things can carry bacteria on them and you don’t want to start out in your new place with dirty items when you can purchase new ones once you arrive.   

  1. 2. Make-up is good to have but it does have a shelf life and once that has passed it isn’t really good to keep it around.  Avoid the compulsion to throw all of your old makeup into a box and take it with you.  Although you might perhaps use it once or twice there really is no need for it because it won’t look as nice as a new pallet of makeup.   

  1. 3. Soaps, deodorants, nail polish,  and sunscreen maybe things you use on a regular basis but you really don’t need to take up space in your moving boxes for these types of items.  These things don’t cost a lot of money and can easily be purchased anywhere.  

  1. 4. Once you start packing and you find a ton of USB cables, realize that you don’t need them all and get rid of a few of them.   You may have a friend in need of a USB cable that you can bless with one or two.   

  1. 5. Don’t pack paperwork unless it is absolutely necessary.  Of course you will have to keep important contracts and tax information but most of the paperwork you’ve collected over the years is likely now obsolete and can be thrown out before you head out.   

  1. 6. Last but not least, go ahead and let go of all of the clothes you can no longer fit into.  Donating these types of items can many times be a big blessing to others.   


These are just a few ideas of things you might want to get rid of before you move.  By doing this you will avoid having to unpack all sorts of unnecessary items and will save yourself a ton of time in the process.   


Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

Father's Day Wishes!

by The Hat Team


He never looks for praises

He’s never one to boast

He just goes on quietly working

For those he loves the most

His dreams are seldom spoken

His wants are very few

And most of the time his worries

Will go unspoken too

He’s there…a firm foundation

Through all our storms of life

A sturdy hand to hold to

In times of stress and strife

A true friend we can turn to

When times are good or bad

One of our greatest blessings,

The man that we call Dad

Happy Father's Day! 

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

Montgomery AL Home for Sale:

1824 W Astrid Pl, Montgomery, AL 36117

MLS# 418228

3 bedrooms | 2 baths | 1,761 square feet | Woodmere

Everything you could want, good condition and in beautiful Woodmere!! Open kitchen to vaulted great-room with fire place. You can entertain family and friends while cooking in the updated kitchen. Natural light pours in through bay window at other end of kitchen with cozy seating area. Double attached garage with automatic door makes grocery hauling a snap! Separate laundry room with cabinets. Three good size bedrooms and two neutral tiled baths. Separate living dinning combo for more formal events! New carpet in living/ dining and bedrooms. New laminate floors in den and hallway. New paint throughout! Covered patio off back of home with built in swing will give you a spot to unwind. Heating and cooling are less than three years old. Located on a dead-end street for peace and quiet. Surrounded by nice properties! Your backyard neighbor is the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts! Walk to plays at the Shakespeare Festival or just enjoy walking in the park. Close to shopping, restaurants and entertainment. Please put this on your must-see list today!

Marketed by Montgomery AL Realtor Frank Powell, Sandra Nickel Hat Team!



Apartment Hunting for College Graduates

by The Hat Team

It’s almost that time of year, where college students will be graduating and heading home for summer!  It’s an exciting time for everyone, especially parents who can’t wait to see their kids!  Many college students who are graduating will begin their first apartment search as they begin their lives outside of college.  Below is a list of first apartment mistakes many college graduates make.  Look over them so that you know what to expect and what to avoid. 

  1.  Many times one of the biggest first apartment mistakes   new college graduates make is starting their search for their first place a bit too soon.  The best time to start searching for your first apartment is three weeks before you want to move in. 
  2. Not realizing just how much it is all going to cost is another huge mistake that many college graduates make when getting their first apartment.  If you have been living on campus typically meals are included, however when you get an apartment the meals are on you!  Also you need to think about how much utilities and things like internet and cable are going to cost as well.  Expenses can add up real quick if you are not careful and will likely be a huge surprise once you move in to your new apartment if you don’t plan for them. 
  3. You may not realize that things that have been available to you free of charge in the past or at least it seemed free of charge because it was included in housing costs on campus, are going to cost you money.  Such things as toiletries and laundry detergent may not seem like much of an expense but if you are not use to paying for it you may not include it in your estimated costs of apartment living. 
  4. If you have student loans, be sure to keep them in your budget and factor them in to all other costs associated with apartment life.  These types of debts can many times be rather large and if you haven’t started paying on them yet you may not be aware of just how much of a chunk they will take out of your monthly budget. 

These are just a few first apartment mistakes college students tend to make.  Keep these in mind when making your final decisions on where you want to live and you may be better able to avoid them.  

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

Montgomery AL Home for Sale:

2110 Capitol Ave, Montgomery AL 36107

MLS# 418172

3 bedrooms | 1 bath | 1,391 square feet | Capitol Heights

This updated Capitol Heights charmer is neat as a pin and ready to move into! Great architectural accents added in kitchen. Cozy covered front porch, and lots of shady space out back for entertaining. Formal dining room and breakfast room space, and well-proportioned living room with fireplace. BIG detached garage is wired and has work-space for tinkering/projects, plus additional covered storage behind AND to the side.

Marketed by Montgomery AL Realtor Billy Young, Sandra Nickel Hat Team!

Montgomery AL Home for Sale:

104 Brantwood Dr, Montgomery, AL 36109

MLS# 417766

3 bedrooms | 1 bath | 1,208 square feet | Montgomery Heights

Check out this adorable move in ready home in Montgomery Heights! This house has plenty of recent upgrades including an updated kitchen and bath, new contemporary light fixtures/fans, beautiful laminate flooring throughout, and 2 inch blinds. The living room has a great looking fireplace, there's a separate dining room, 3 spacious bedrooms and a cute sun room off the kitchen. Situated on a large lot with a fenced in back yard and detached storage. Conveniently located close to shopping and restaurants. Perfect for a first-time home buyer!

Marketed by Montgomery AL Realtor Lauren Layfield, Sandra Nickel Hat Team!

Wetumpka Home for Sale: 1864 Jasmine Hill Rd, Wetumpka, AL 36093

by The Hat Team

Wetumpka Home for Sale: 1864 Jasmine Hill Rd, Wetumpka, AL 36093

MLS# 418133

4 bedrooms | 3 baths | 1 half bath | 3,530 square feet | Jasmine Hill Rd

This Victorian-esque dollhouse really packs a punch! Situated on an over 2.5 acre lot, the private setting will sooth your nerves and make you feel as if you are out in the country, while being minutes to shopping and dining. Grand living spaces and open feel main floor, wet bar, study, family room, and big kitchen with large breakfast room PLUS huge master suite on the first floor. Three more spacious bedrooms and two baths upstairs. Great 2nd floor gallery looks down into main living room and is the perfect place for your prized collections. Three levels of decks lead down to a large swimming pool and patio area, or enjoy the gorgeous views from the 2nd floor balcony (which feels like three floors up due to basement level.) Two car carport leads into large finished storage space, which is plumbed for additional bathroom, and ENORMOUS partially finished basement that is a wide open 2001 square feet! Great storage/rec room/kids indoor play area, or finish out for even more living space. This is truly a special property, and was solidly custom built.

Marketed by Montgomery AL Realtor Billy Young, Sandra Nickel Hat Team!


Understanding Your Home Inspection

by The Hat Team

One of the questions I often get from my clients is what reasonable requests from the home inspection are?

The purpose of a home inspection is to find out if there are severe structural or mechanical defects. The issues should be large enough that they could have a significant impact on the use and enjoyment of the home now and in the future. A home inspection should not be to create a punch list that itemizes every minor defect with the home you expect the seller to fix. Remember you are not buying a new home!

When you find a home you want, it is important to pick your battles when it comes to repairs requested. While it would certainly be nice for the seller to fix every little home inspection issue before you put your money down, there are only so many repairs most sellers are willing to commit to – especially in a seller’s market.

Electrical, plumbing, roof, HVAC – these are repairs that you can reasonably expect a seller to take care of under most circumstances. But there are some repairs that sellers will push back on in many cases, repairs that you should avoid asking for if you want to make it through to closing.

Home Inspection Repair Requests To AVOID

  1. Cosmetic issues
    A deck that needs staining, paint touchups or repairing a cracked tile may catch your eye and bother you a bit, but they are not the kind of problems that need dealing with right away. Cosmetic issues are at the top of the list to avoid asking a seller to fix.
  2. Anything under $100
    Minor issues under a hundred dollars to fix are definitely home inspection repair requests a buyer shouldn’t make! Problems that arise from repair requests are not always about the financial cost, however, this is taking being nit picky to the extreme.
  3. A window with a failed seal
    Failed window seals are quite common in homes. If there are a significant number of windows that need replacement, account for that in your offer up front. Don’t ask for something to be fixed that you clearly noticed before making your offer or was disclosed up front.
  4. Renovations you are planning
    It is important to remember that the seller is not responsible for preparing your dream home. Avoid asking for repairs that relate to your planned renovations. Doing so will put the sale at risk, which is unnecessary since you are just going to renovate anyway. 
  5. Loose fixtures, railings, and similar issues
    A loose doorknob, light fixture or railing on a deck or stairwell may be annoying, or even potentially unsafe, but these problems are also often fixable with basic hand tools and a little effort. If you can’t fix it yourself, you can hire a contractor to fix the problem for a reasonable price.
  6. Minor water damage
    If the water has caused significant damage, the inspector will let you know, and you can request appropriate repairs. But if the water damage is merely cosmetic, don’t stress about it. You can fix cosmetic stuff later. One of the more common water stains you will see in a home is in the ceiling over a bathroom. This condition is often caused by either a toilet that has overflowed at some point in time or a kid who left a shower curtain open. Water stains are usually easy to discern whether they are ongoing and still an issue.
  7. Non-functional light switches and sockets
    Flipping a switch that fails to turn on or off a light can be annoying, as can dead outlets, but they are not necessarily signs of the large electrical problems. Avoid requesting repairs for minor electrical issues. Your inspector will inform you if the electrical system in the home is safe to use and up to code.
  8. External buildings – sheds, garages, etc.
    Sheds are prone to rot; garages tend to get dirty. If there are serious issues, it may be reasonable to ask for a fix, but if the shed or the garage looks like every other shed or garage in the neighborhood – that is, less than perfect – it may just be something you are going to have to deal with yourself. It is also likely you were aware of the sheds general condition before submitting your offer to purchase.
  9. Cosmetic landscaping or minor yard problems
    A missing rock from the border of a flower bed, leveling a few bricks in a walkway, trimming the tree in the backyard – other buyers may not care at all about these things, buyers the seller will be happy to work with if you insist on minor landscaping repairs.

What Inspection Items Should Be Fixed?

As mentioned previously, the issues a buyer should focus on asking a seller to repair or replace are significant structural, mechanical, or environmental defects.

These are the substantial home inspection problems. It is reasonable to assume that any buyer would want these items fixed if discovered after a home inspection has taken place. Some of the major home inspection items worth addressing are:

  • Termites or other wood destroying insects.
  • Wildlife infestation like bats or squirrels in the attic.
  • Mold problems.
  • Elevated Radon levels above EPA suggested levels.
  • Lead paint.
  • Well water problems, such as a lack of pressure or volume of water.
  • Major structural issues such as a leaking roof or substandard building violations.

If you are a buyer and are in the midst of negotiating a home inspection above all else be reasonable, especially if you want the home. If you are a homeowner, understand how a seller should prepare for a home inspection. By taking care of most of the issues mentioned, you won’t have to worry about having a stressful home inspection negotiation with your buyer.

Focus on the repairs or improvements that really matter for you and your family!

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

Selecting Plants and Flowers for Home Garden

by The Hat Team

Many of us select plants for the garden at our Montgomery, AL home based on their visual effect—color, height, size of blooms, etc. And so we should, as the sight of our plantings should be pleasing to our sense of sight. As we plan our garden, however, we should also be aware of the other four senses—and include plants which appeal to each of them.

SMELL: Aromatherapy is a powerful practice. With nothing more than a simple scent, the brain can be triggered to remember long forgotten memories, emotions, and feelings. With that being said, it is important to carefully select the flowers you want in the garden of your Montgomery, AL home. With a few simple choices, you can create your own "memory lane' or relaxing oasis. In terms of fragrance, it’s hard to beat roses or lavender. Wisteria and jasmine are scented climbers which can really enhance the sensory pleasure of a garden, and amaryllis belladonna and spirea both add pleasant scents.

SOUND: Few of us associate the sense of sound with our garden, but the rustling of long grasses and the chirping of birds add a much-appreciated dimension. To attract songbirds, use fruit-bearing understory trees like dogwoods and service berries and shrubs such as viburnums and hollies and introduce low growing perennials and dwarf shrubs like creeping juniper and cotoneaster. You can also plant vines, ground covers, and sunflowers to increase chirping and tweeting.

TOUCH: Texture in garden design refers to the surface quality of the plant. Plant textures range from delicate and fine to coarse and bold. The feel of the foliage in your Montgomery, AL home’s garden is not the only element of texture, however, as the texture can change with the play of light and shadow and even with viewing distance. Plants with thread-like leaves call out to be touched, so consider adding cosmos, baby's breath, asters, and grasses. In addition, iris and lamb’s ear will each provide softer tactile experiences.

TASTE: The world of herbs is nearly without limits. Think about basil, chives, rosemary, chamomile, cilantro, mint, and parsley, to name just a few tasty garden additions. Consider, too low bush blueberries or ligonberries. Lesser known, but equally valuable as salad additions are the flowers of the hibiscus shrub, columbine, and daylilies.

Some of the plants you have selected for your garden will serve more than one purpose and will appeal to more than one sense, so be sure to sniff, feel, taste, listen to, and view each of them!

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

Happy Memorial Day!

by The Hat Team

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

National Moment of Remembrance

To ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”

Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

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