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Charming Bungalow Home!: 3336 Lebron Road

by The Hat Team

3336 Lebron Road, Montgomery, Alabama 36106

MLS# 450903

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathroom | 2,486 sqft | Cloverdale

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Hurry, this charming Cloverdale Idlewild bungalow can be yours just in time for the Spring Concert series in the park! You could listen from the front porch swing or walk a couple of blocks to enjoy what has become a huge event. Great old house features like tall ceilings, hardwood floors, wide hallway and even an upstairs bonus room. Updated kitchen with a breakfast nook and plenty of cabinets. Huge master suite with updated bath and walk-in closet. The best room just might be the side deck off the kitchen, perfect for morning coffee or an evening cocktail. Cute, cute, cute, come see this Midtown Montgomery home today!

Fabulous Front Porches

by The Hat Team


When driving around looking at houses one of the first things you will notice are the front porches.  They are a reminder of the “good old days” and evoke feelings of nostalgia and comfort.  Front porches foster a sense of community, enabling neighbors to spend time out from behind closed doors where they can get to know each other.  There’s nothing better than summer evenings spent on the shady front porch with an ice-old beverage, listening to the crickets chirp and enjoying the gentle twinkling lights of fireflies.  Big front porches are great gathering places, providing an “outdoor living room” where neighbors can join you and impromptu parties can take place. But they can also be private; the perfect spot to snuggle into a comfy chair and read a good book…or even take a nap out in the fresh air.  And if you’re planning on selling your home, a well-appointed front porch provides fantastic curb appeal and is a big draw for potential buyers!

Perhaps you have a front porch that needs a little update, or maybe you are looking for a home that has one. Either way, here are some ideas for creating your own personal outdoor haven or gorgeous gathering place on your front porch:

  • Use a Bold Color Palette

Bold tones and bright hues can brighten up a dreary front porch and turn it into vibrant, delightful space. Outdoor rugs, painted furniture, or colorful cushions are all items that can add a pop of color to your front porch. 34 Colorful Porch Ideas

  • Think “Comfy”

It’s nice to have a beautiful front porch, but if it’s not comfortable, you probably won’t spend much time there.Use overstuffed cushions, add extra pillows, and be sure to have tables close to seating so you have a place to set your drinks.

  • Add a Lighted Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans pull double duty on a front porch. They not only provide the much-needed function of moving air, but they also provide illumination as the sun goes down and dusk turns to dark.Add to the charming aesthetic of your porch by choosing a unique fan/light fixture. Outdoor Ceiling Fans

  • Hang Artwork

Most porches offer a lot of wall space that often goes unused; the perfect spot for some artwork.Use your imagination and add paintings, framed photos, or sculptures that bring you joy.

  • Decorate with Flowers

Flowers and plants serve multiple purposes when used on a front porch.They provide color with beautiful blooms, create a soft transition from landscape to house, and if you plant the right flowers and plants, they will help to keep pesky insects away.Use window boxes on your railings, containers on your floor, and/or hanging baskets from the ceiling. 12 Plants that Repel Unwanted Insects

Spring is the perfect time to update and decorate your front porch so you can enjoy it during the warm seasons.  If you’re looking to purchase a home that has a desirable front porch contact Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals and start your home search today. Give them a call at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

Scaling Down for an Empty Nest

by The Hat Team


Facing the dilemma of what to do with your empty nest can be overwhelming. You are not only dealing with the emotional turmoil of no longer having your children at home, but now you have this BIG, empty house as well.  You might already be considering a move to a smaller house, but the thought of giving up the home where you raised your children has you feeling melancholy.  Your current home likely holds a lot of wonderful memories for you. But remember, it’s just a house. There are a lot of perks to downsizing:

  • Your house will be easier to maintain and you will spend less time cleaning.
     
  • You will spend less money on everything from your mortgage, taxes and insurance to your heating, cooling, and electricity. 
     
  • Having less debt will eliminate the financial stress that comes with a huge mortgage payment.
     
  • A home that doesn’t drain your resources and energy will give you peace of mind.  And that is priceless.
     
  • A smaller home has a positive impact on the environment because it requires less resources to build and maintain.
     
  • You will have more free time for living the life you want.
     
  • It will force you to declutter and cut back on your belongings and keep you from buying more. The Ridiculously Thorough Guide to Decluttering Your Home
     
  • If decorating is not your thing, a smaller house will make it less overwhelming for you.
     
  • When the time comes to sell, a smaller, more affordable home will appeal to a larger percentage of the population.

Scaling down doesn’t mean you should move into one of the tiny houses that are trendy right now.  It might be just going from four bedrooms/three baths to three bedrooms/two baths.  A professional Realtor can assist you in finding a smaller home that will suit all your needs and provide you with a happier, more peaceful lifestyle. 12 Life-Changing Benefits of Living in Small House

If you have an empty nest and you are ready to sell your LARGE home for a smaller home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Negotiation - A Guide for Home Sellers and Home Buyers

by The Hat Team


It seems that negotiation has become a lost art in the world of real estate, and that’s unfortunate because the truth of the matter is, if you don’t ask…you don’t get. While sellers want the highest price and buyers want the best deal, they must meet somewhere in the middle for the deal to close. Negotiation is a crucial part of selling or buying a home because it is the largest asset people own and there is a lot of money at stake. Here is a simple guide for what sellers and buyers might ask for in real estate negotiations:

  • Price

Negotiating the best price means different things for sellers and buyers.  The seller wants the highest price and the buyer wants to pay as little as possible.  For a successful transaction, they must compromise and come up with a price that is acceptable to both.

  • Closing Costs

Prepaid closing costs are paid by buyers for their mortgage.  These are funds that the mortgage lender holds in escrow for expenses like taxes and insurance.  A buyer may ask a seller to cover some or all their closing costs either with a flat dollar amount or up to a percentage of what’s an allowable contribution for a lender.  If a buyer asks the seller to do this, they are likely going to pay a higher asking price. What is Escrow and Why is it Needed?

  • Closing Date

Sometimes sellers want to get out of a home quickly because they need the money from that house they are selling to put toward a new real estate purchase.  The closing date will also affect the buyer’s monthly cash-flow because when a buyer closes on a house, they skip the next month’s mortgage payment, therefore they may want to negotiate to close at the beginning of a month.

  • Financing Contingencies

When there is a financing contingency in place for a real estate transaction, it can tie up a seller’s property for a required 30 to 60 days.  For this reason, many sellers prefer buyers coming to the table with cash offers. If you are competing with cash buyers, you can shorten the closing timeline substantially by getting pre-approved for a home loan prior to making an offer.   Mortgage preapproval shows that your finances are in order and you can afford the home.  5 Things You Need to Be Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

  • Home Warranty

As a buyer, you can request a home warranty.  As a seller, you can offer one.      This home protection plan covers things like appliances and systems such as the hot water heater or air conditioning, in the event they need repair or replacement.

  • Leaseback

The moving process is stressful and labor intensive.  Sometimes a seller will need extra time to get into their new home.  When this happens, buyers can offer a zero-cost rent-back for 30 to 90 days to persuade the seller to accept their offer over others. 

  • Home Repairs

With a home that needs a lot of updating there comes ample opportunity for negotiation. Buyers need to consider the cost of bringing the home up to current standards and use the estimate of that cost to request a lower asking price.  The seller, on the other hand, can specify that the house is being sold “as is” and not offer any repairs.

  • Appraisal Contingency

A seller can push for a buyer to waive the appraisal contingency. However, if for some reason the appraisal falls short of the expected amount, buyers need to be prepared for the amount they might have to pay should the bank only be willing to lend them money based on the appraised value. How an Appraisal Contingency Can Protect You

  • Furniture

Personal property such as patio furniture, window treatments and chandeliers is all up for grabs. The buyer can ask for these things to be included in the contract.  Sellers need to determine what they are willing to leave behind.  And any exclusions need to be specifically listed in the contract as well.

  • Appliances

Depending on the market, sellers don’t always leave every appliance for the buyer.  They may include the dishwasher, stove and built in microwave in the contract but not the refrigerator, washer and dryer.  Sometimes they don’t want to give everything away up front so that they can use these as items for negotiation.

  • Inspection

When buyers waive inspection, they often find themselves with "buyer's remorse", but they can try to shorten the time frame for inspection, from ten days to five.

  • Condo/Co-op Assessments

These are fees that are used to maintain common areas in a community. If there is an open assessment, it can become a negotiation between the buyer and seller as to who will pay for it.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

3218 Lexington Road: Terrific Cloverdale Tudor-Style Home!

by The Hat Team

3218 Lexington Road, Montgomery, Al 36106

MLS# 450189

3 Bedrooms | 1 Bathroom | 1,406 sqft | Cloverdale

This Cloverdale charmer oozes character. Tudor-style brick home boasts large living room with barrel ceiling, tiled fireplace, hardwood floors, and beautiful french doors leading to a cool, relaxing screened porch. The kitchen has hard tile floors and a beautiful original built-in china cabinet. Three bedrooms and bath all off wide central hallway. Great covered side porch for grilling or entertaining, as well as a huge fenced back yard with landscaped beds and soaring trees. 

A Guide to Home-Selling During Spring

by The Hat Team


Spring is a great time to sell a house.  In fact, per a Zillow study, homes listed between May 1 through May 15 sold, on average, around 18.5 days faster than homes not listed during this period.  Add this to the fact that the largest number of buyers are actively searching for homes in the months of April, May and June and you will see that getting your property on the market this time of year is a must!  This is especially true right now because interest rates are still relatively low.  Here are some tips that will help your house stand out among the plethora of homes that get put on the market in spring:

  • Wash windows inside and out and polish all mirrors.  A little bit of sparkle goes a long way in impressing potential buyers.
     
  • Rake the yard and trim back bushes.  Your yard is the first thing people will see. Dead leaves and debris do not paint a pretty picture.  In addition, you want as much natural light as possible flooding through your windows, so make sure bushes aren’t blocking the rays. Budget-Friendly Home Staging Tips to Maximize Curb Appeal
     
  • Mow the yard diagonally and edge along the driveway and sidewalks.  Mowing diagonally makes yards look larger. And edging shows that you give attention to small details. 
     
  • Plant yellow flowers.  Yellow tulips and daffodils promote feelings of happiness and contentment.
     
  • Clean window treatments and open windows.  It will be worth your while to take down your drapes, curtains and blinds to clean them and give them a crisp, fresh look.  Weather permitting, opening windows lets the fresh air in and gives the whole house the feeling of spring.
     
  • Have fresh, fragrant flowers in the house.  Artful home-staging brings color and pleasant aromas indoors. Flowers for Home Staging
     
  • Polish floors to a high gloss.  Make those floors shine!  Refinish them if necessary.
     
  • Use light colors. Even if you must spend a little to replace items, towels, linens, throws and sofa pillows are inexpensive accents that will pay off.  Use soft, spring colors such as yellows, pinks, pale blues and lavenders to light up a room.
     
  • Spruce up your entryway. This is the part of your home where buyers will get their first impression.  Make it a good one!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs! Call them today at 334-834-1500!

2335 Woodlawn Street: Perfect Starter Home!

by The Hat Team

2335 Woodlawn Street, Montgomery, Al 36106

MLS# 450303

2 Bedrooms | 1 Bathroom | 1,076 sqft | Woodlawn Estates

Whether you are looking for a sweet first home or a great income producing investment, this little gem might be for you! Located on a quiet street corner just off convenient Carter Hill Road, this well cared for home has hardwood floors, good sized rooms, and great layout. Relax on the side deck or rear patio, and enjoy a fenced in back yard for pets. Minimal utilities make this an affordable option for first time home buyers or someone who wants minimal maintenance. Property has recently rented for $750/month so it would cash flow nicely! 

3710 Royal Crest Drive, Montgomery, Al 36109

MLS # 449913

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 1,548 sqft | Dalraida

This one of a kind Dalraida property sits atop a knoll on a 3/4 acre lot perched at the quiet end of a cul-de-sac. Located in the prized Dalraida Elementary School district, this newly renovated home could be your own personal Shangri-La! Built in 1993, she has just undergone a major facelift including fresh paint, all new flooring, new bathrooms and new kitchen! The open floorplan features a greatroom with trey ceiling and fireplace, and a large eat-in kitchen with space for large family sized table! Split plan puts master bedroom on one end of the home and two guest rooms/bath on the opposite for privacy. New master bath features a big walk-in shower and two walk-in closets. Cozy covered rear patio overlooks scenic lot and affords lots of privacy. Call your favorite agent to see this gem...before someone beats you to it! 

Making an Offer on a Home - Tips for Success

by The Hat Team


You’ve found the perfect home, and now it’s time to make an offer.  This is a decision that should not be taken lightly. It requires some thought and strategy. It’s vital that you plan carefully and have your finances in order prior to making an offer on a home.  Here are some things to consider when you are preparing to make an offer:

  1. GATHER INFORMATION - While your Realtor can assist you in deciding on an offer price, it’s important that you understand what you are getting into. This is likely the largest financial investment you will make, so you need to know what is going on. Take advantage of your Realtor’s expertise and learn about the Current Market so that you will be aware of what’s going on in your area. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there is something that you don’t understand.
     
  2. GET PRE-APPROVED - Before you make an offer, get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.  Not only will this help you determine how much you can spend on a home, it will also make you appeal to the seller because they will know that you have already been financially vetted and you can afford the home.  That means the sale is less likely to fall through. How to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Home Loan
     
  3. TURN ON THE CHARM - People can get very sentimental when it comes to selling their homes.  Being friendly and showing a seller how much you love their home can sometimes influence them to choose you over other prospective buyers. Write a letter letting them know the reasons why their home will be the perfect home for you and your family. 
     
  4. DON’T MAKE AN INSULTING OFFER - While everyone wants to get the best deal possible, a lowball offer is risky. You might end up offending the seller and creating a situation where they just say no and are unwilling to negotiate.  This one reason why it’s important for you to understand the market value of the home. Allow your Realtor to guide you in deciding what a reasonable offer is.  You can still offer lower than the asking price and leave room for negotiation.
     
  5. NEGOTIATE OTHER THINGS BESIDES MONEY - Not all real estate negotiations involve the home price.  You can ask for things like a home warranty, home improvements to be made, closing costs, and new appliances.  If the seller will only accept the asking price, but is willing to negotiate other terms, you can still come out with a great deal on your new home. 5 Things to Negotiate When You Buy Your First House
     
  6. TRY TO BE FLEXIBLE - Things may come up that require some flexibility on your part. For example, the seller might need continue living in the home for a month or two while they look for a new home. Your willingness to rent the home to them for that time period could make you stand out over other buyers.

Making an offer on a home is not just about the money; it’s also about appealing to the seller while at the same time doing what is right for you. It can be complicated, but it is worth it when the right house comes along!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

3333 Cloverdale Road: Delightful Cloverdale Idlewild Home!

by The Hat Team

3333 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery Al 36106

MLS# 449921

3 Bedrooms | 1.5 Bathrooms | 2,700 sqft | Cloverdale Idlewild

Great location in Cloverdale Idlewild just a block from the park and just in time for the Spring Concert Series! This home has a partially finished basement, a detached garage and a workshop with a garage door. No other house in the neighborhood can claim that! The basement is perfect for an office, den, playroom or just great storage space. Other features include a large tiled sun room, a huge dining room with double doors to the living room, breakfast room and hard wood floors. The kitchen has a retro feel and has a pass through to a bar in the third bedroom that you have to check out. Shower could be added to half bath using the hall closet. 

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