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Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 1528

Refinance Now and Save!

by The Hat Team



Sadly, one of the best mortgage programs in our country will cease to exist at the end of December, 2018.  An extremely generous government refinance program called HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) is in its final days. It was launched by the US Government during the Obama administration in an effort to assist middle class home owners by offering lucrative access to lower interest rates and reduced payments amidst the Great Recession. Through HARP, you can not only get a lower interest rate, but you can also get a shorter loan term, or change from an adjustable to a fixed-rate mortgage. And guess what?  There is NO minimum credit score required!  

Take advantage of this fantastic program now, before it’s too late…and here is why: the savings you will gain from participating in this program could rival your best investment. Talk about a great deal! Here are some numbers for you: if you are younger than 50, you are restricted to $18,500 in annual 401K contributions.  A contribution in that amount would yield around $2775 in tax relief for the average American.  But HARP could save you $2400 per year - which would leave you with more cash to invest in your 401K.

This program is geared toward America’s middle class.  Only mortgages under $625,000 qualify.  But if you want to take advantage of it you must apply immediately before time runs out.  Reach out to lenders and find out if you qualify by just answering a few questions. The LendingTree platform will allow you to receive quotes from multiple lenders.

Give yourself the gift of extra cash in your pocket this holiday season!  Check out HARP today! 

If you are in the market to sell or buy 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!

Photo Credit: Zillow.com

Contemporary or Modern - What’s the Difference?

by The Hat Team

 

So, you think you like modern décor, or is it contemporary?  You may think the two styles are synonymous, but they are quite different.  If you are decorating your home, or if you’ve hired a decorator to do it for you, terminology matters!  It’s important to know the correct words to describe the look you are going for!  Here is how to tell the difference between modern and contemporary home décor styles.

Modern design was developed in the early to mid-twentieth century.  Highly influenced by Scandinavian and German Bauhaus Design, it created a distinct style focused on simple form and function.  Then, Mid-Century Modern  was developed in the 50s and 60s. But for most interior designers, the word “modern” covers both styles.  Modern spaces tend to follow specific style formats that emphasize balance and lean toward natural and warm neutral colors for decorating.

Contemporary design doesn’t refer to any specific time-period. It is dynamic, changing to reflect current popular trends.  It borrows from other styles including modernism, Minimalism and Art Deco. There are many variations in contemporary interior design and color palettes of brown, taupe, cream and white are featured, with splashes of color sometimes found on a single wall, rug or piece of art.

While the main differences between modern and contemporary are significant, there are similarities as well, which is why people often confuse them.  They both embrace simple, clutter free spaces with smooth, clean lines.  Furniture in both styles feature exposed legs, and reflective surfaces such as exposed metals and glass are popular in both. Neither utilizes ornate designs or dramatic elements.

Hopefully this has cleared up some confusion, but if you like elements of both styles, don’t despair.  Mix it up and have fun with it, because at the end of the day, the only style that matters is YOUR style!

If you are in the market to sell or buy 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!

Photo Credit: interiorzine.com                      
Photo Credit: thespruce.com

On the 12 Days of Christmas My Realtor Gave to Me

by The Hat Team

On the first day of Christmas my Realtor said to me:

Buyers: if you’re looking to buy your first home, now is the time! There might be less inventory now, but there is also less competition and more highly motivated sellers. 5 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall

On the second day of Christmas my Realtor said to me:

Sellers: if your home is for sale during the holiday season, feel free to decorate, but don’t go overboard.  You want your home to look its best while still enjoying your personal touch.  Avoid large decorations that can be overwhelming or distracting.  Remember that potential buyers want be able to envision your home as their own.

On the third day of Christmas my Realtor said to me:

Buyers: take advantage of less competition from other buyers during the holiday season. Less competition might mean you'll be able to negotiate a favorable price for a home you want to purchase. Homes are often priced to sell this time of year. Although there is so much going on during the holidays, it might be worth it to go house hunting if it means a better price for you!

On the fourth day of Christmas my Realtor said to me:

Sellers: make your home feel inviting. If it’s cold outside, make it warm and cozy inside. Play soft, classical music and offer homemade holiday treats. If potential buyers are comfortable, they will spend more time in your home and will have more time to appreciate all its best features.

On the fifth day of Christmas my Realtor said to me:

Buyers: consider possible tax advantages.  If you itemize your taxes, you can deduct any points you paid upon closing, as well as property taxes and mortgage interest. Whether it is to your advantage to buy before or after year’s end depends on factors such as how many other deductions you have this year and expect to have next year.

It is best to consult with a tax professional before purchase. Even though you do not want to decide on a home purchase strictly for tax reasons, it could be to your benefit to close before the end of the year. Buying a Home: The Tax Impact of Your New Home

On the sixth day of Christmas my Realtor said to me:

Sellers: there will be motivated buyers this time of year. If people are house hunting during the holidays, they probably have a good reason for doing so. For example, they may be relocating for a job or investing for a tax deduction.  If they are on a deadline, they will be highly driven to find a home quickly.  It may be worth it to do the extra work involved in showing your home during the holiday season.

On the seventh day of Christmas my Realtor said to me:

Buyers: you may find that there are better interest rates this time of year. Generally, there is often a cyclical trend of lower interest rates during the holidays due to limited demand forcing greater competition among lenders.

On the eighth day of Christmas my Realtor said to me:

Sellers: price your home to sell.  A home that is reasonably priced for the market will make buyers feel merry and bright.  Many real estate agents advise sellers to initially price their home to sell rather than making small price reductions over time.

On the ninth day of Christmas my Realtor said to me:

Buyers: you may get a faster closing on your new home since all parties involved have incentive to complete the transaction before the end of the year. Lenders want to close their books; realtors want to receive their commissions and buyers and sellers want to settle into their new homes. Since all parties are motivated and there are fewer transactions taking place during this time, in many circumstances, it should be easier to put everything in place for a smooth and rapid closing.

On the tenth day of Christmas my Realtor said to me:

Sellers: provide photos that show your home year-round.  Yards and landscaping aren’t always at their best during the winter months.  Make sure that potential buyers see the beauty of your home during other times of year when the grass is greener and trees and flowers are in bloom.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my Realtor said to me:

Buyers: motivated sellers may mean a better deal for you. People who are selling their homes over the holidays often have a need to sell fast. If a house has already been on the market for a while, that need is even greater. It may be advantageous for you to buy now. You can negotiate fairly but firmly with the sellers for a lower price and/or other concessions such as having them pay closing costs.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my Realtor said to me:

Sellers: create a video tour for the web. You might get less foot traffic during the holidays due to the business of the season.  By posting a video tour, you may attract house hunters who don’t have time to go to your home in person.

If you are in the market to sell or buy 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!

How Can You Eat Pumpkin? Let Us Count the Ways!

by The Hat Team

Pumpkin is very popular this time of year. It seems “pumpkin spice” is everywhere.  But if you’re like most people, you have never ventured beyond the most common way to serve and enjoy pumpkin -  in a pie.  Don’t get me wrong!  Pumpkin pies are great!  But if you love pumpkin, you might be surprised to discover there are a lot of other ways you can enjoy it!  Check out these 6 ways to eat pumpkin (not in a pie):

  1. Pumpkin Soup - If you’re looking for a simple way to enjoy pumpkin, then pumpkin soup is the way to go. Nothing says fall like a warm bowl of soup.  Make it from scratch with this Simple Pumpkin Soup recipe!
  2. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds - Not only are they tasty, but they are a healthy snack!  After getting the seeds out of the pumpkin, rinse them in a colander. Boil them in a pot of salted water for about ten minutes. Drain the pot and toss the seeds in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add any seasoning to taste. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the seeds start to turn a toasty brown.
  3. Pumpkin Pancakes - Create a sweet and tasty breakfast with these  Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes! This easy recipe is made with ingredients you probably already have at home. And along with pumpkin, fall flavors like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg will have your mouth watering for this delectable dish!
  4. Pumpkin Dip - If you’re hosting a holiday gathering or you will be attending one, this yummy pumpkin dip is perfect for serving to guests. This quick and easy Pumpkin Dip is light and scrumptious. Serve with apple slices or graham crackers or ginger cookies for a tasty treat!
  5. Roasted Pumpkin Risotto - Looking for a more savory pumpkin dish?  Try this Roast Pumpkin and Feta Risotto.  A combination of sweet and salty, this recipe will please most any palate!
  6. Savory Pumpkin Hummus - Another savory option, pumpkin hummus is easy to make and healthy to eat.  Just blend a can of garbanzo chick peas with a can of pumpkin, season to taste, and voila! - you have a healthy hummus, perfect for snacking!

So, don’t limit yourself to pie! These are just a few of MANY recipes that include palate pleasing pumpkin. Try them and enjoy all things pumpkin!

If you are in the market to sell or buy 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!

Photo Credit: laferme1794.ch

24 Felder Ave: Updated Garden District Beauty!

by The Hat Team

24 Felder Ave, Montgomery Al 36104

MLS# 443966

4 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms | 2,584 sqft | Garden District

 

Play VisualTour

​Wonderful updated Garden District beauty awaiting it's next owner. From the moment you step onto the covered front porch, you will be amazed. A seldom used sun room off the main bedroom has been turned into a FABULOUS master bath! Also, the hall bath and kitchen have been renovated and beautifully updated. And, for you purists out there...don't worry! It still retains the built-ins, arched doorways, antique medallions, and beautiful mantles. The wing off the kitchen makes a perfect teen or in-law space with bedroom, bath, and separate den/study area. If you are in the market and have NOT had the privilege of seeing this wonderful property, call your agent and schedule a tour. This just might be your next home.

A Handy Guide to Hosting Guests During the Holidays

by The Hat Team

It’s that time of year again.  A time for friends and family to come together to celebrate the holidays.  Many of you will be hosting guests in your homes over the next two months and while you are surely delighted to spend time with your loved ones, it can be a stressful time as well.  If you are opening your doors to family members or friends this holiday season, here are some ideas for prepping your home so that you’ll be ready to welcome them with open arms.

Tidy up the house.  Use this as motivation to thoroughly clean your house.  Get rid of clutter, make small house repairs and complete that decorating project you’ve been putting off.

Stock up on food and drinks. Make sure you have different types of beverages and snacks that your guests enjoy. It’s nice for them to be able to easily grab a quick snack whenever they want. Check with your guests to see if they have any food allergies or dietary needs so that you can provide safe and healthy choices for them.

Have activities planned for your guests. Depending on how long they are staying, you may want to plan some special events or activities for your guests.  Whether it’s a shopping excursion, a day at a museum, a holiday concert or just a nice dinner out, your visitors will appreciate your thoughtfulness in keeping them entertained. Click here for a list of fun events happening in the Montgomery area this holiday season: Holiday Events

Be mindful of the little ones. If your guests include children, be sure to plan for them as well.  If you don’t have children, you may want to pick up a game or some arts and crafts to have around for them.  Find out their food preferences prior to their arrival so that you are prepared to accommodate them at meals. 

Provide comfortable sleeping spaces. Be sure to have nice, clean sheets, pillows and extra blankets.  If you have a guest bedroom that has not been used in a while, strip the bed and wash the bed linens so that they are fresh for your guests. 15 Tips for Turning Your Guest Bedroom into a Retreat

Provide toiletries.  The guest bathroom should have soap/body wash, shampoo, conditioner and lotion available for guests. 

Give instructions for electronics. If the guest room has a television, leave written instructions for how to use the remote.

By following these tips and prepping your home ahead of time, you will be able to offer a warm welcome to your guests and enjoy the time you have with them!

If you are in the market to sell or buy 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!

Photo Credit: frugalandthriving.com.au

210 N Panama St: Stellar Starter Home with Living Space Galore!

by The Hat Team

210 N Panama St, Montgomery, AL 36107

MLS# 442030

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 2,070 sqft | Capitol Heights

Perfect starter home or great addition to your investment portfolio! If you want large living spaces and a large lot with lots of detached storage, add this home to your list. Situated in Capitol Heights, the location is perfect for anyone who works downtown or at Maxwell/Gunter. With great bones, this diamond in the rough just needs cosmetics and kitchen/bath upgrades to be stunning. Great for an investor as a flip project or as an income producing rental. Don't miss out on this great deal!

3235 Wellington Road: Adorable Cloverdale Cottage!

by The Hat Team

3235 Wellington Rd, Montgomery, AL 36106

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 1,824 sqft | Cloverdale/Idlewild

This adorable Cloverdale Cottage will capture your heart! Whether one, two, or a family, this home fits all. Spacious living room with fireplace and lots of built-ins for books and collectibles, dining room for big family gatherings, PLUS cozy den/family room with classic coffered ceilings will satisfy all your living needs. Kitchen overlooks gathering room/breakfast room and allows grown ups to prepare meals while the little ones do homework or play. Elevated rear deck overlooks shady back yard, large brick patio with built-in firepit, and playground -grade jungle-gym for the kids. Back yard also boasts wired and insulated workshop that once was a music studio with additional storage space inside. And, this move-in ready home has had fresh paint in some of the interior rooms, so call your favorite agent for a private tour and start packing!

How to Raise Your Credit Score to Save Money

by The Hat Team

Want to buy a house but a low credit score has you down?  Don’t despair! There are ways to raise your credit score and save thousands on your mortgage.   A strong credit score can lead to better interest rates, additional loan programs to benefit homebuyers, and easy and quick approvals which will put you on the fast track to home ownership.  Here are some tips for raising your credit score:

  • Make sure your credit reports are accurate.  The first step toward improving your credit score is checking your credit reports.  You will find your credit scores on three different reports, one each from the 3 Major Credit Bureaus.  Keep in mind that credit reports can have mistakes…and they often do.  That’s why it’s important that you analyze them carefully.  Make sure that the information on the reports is accurate, because if there are mistakes, they will be reflected in your score.  It’s easy to check your credit reports and doesn’t have to cost anything since you are entitled to a free copy, once a year, of all three thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  Once you have copies of your credit reports go through them carefully and make sure of the following:
  • Is your personal information is accurate?
  • Are all your credit accounts are being reported?
  • Are there any late or missed payments that you remember making on time?
  • Are there any applications for credit that you don’t recognize?
  • Are there any accounts you don’t recognize?
  • Are there decades old items still on your report?

Highlight any discrepancies you find.  If you do find errors, you will have to dispute each one separately.  How to Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report

  • Figure out what you need to fix/change/improve.  Here are some examples of things that could be causing your score to be lower than it should:
  • Your identity may have been stolen and someone is screwing up your credit.
  • An old collection account could still be haunting you, way past its statute of limitations for your state.
  • Do you have an ex-spouse? Perhaps he or she has not paid a bill he or she was supposed to pay per your divorce settlement.  Unfortunately, you could be suffering the consequences.
  • If you have ever defaulted on a loan it might be showing up as several defaults on your credit report because it has been sold to other debt collectors.
  • It might be a simple name mix up…your credit information might be mixed up with that of someone with a similar name.
  • Devise a plan to improve your credit score.  You can open a free account on Credit.com where you can get tips to help you determine where your poor credit issues are and they can assist you in creating an action plan for improving your score.  To get started, try keeping your credit card balances as low as possible, and start paying down debt rather than moving it around.
  • If you have a habit of making late payments…stop.  It’s vital that you make payments on time. Set up alerts when payments are due so that you won’t forget.  If due dates don’t coincide with when you get paid, make some calls to get the dates moved around to better suit your schedule.  Don’t be afraid to ask a credit card issuer or lender to forgive a past due payment. You might be surprised to discover they will happily work with you if you have a history of making on-time payments.
  • Open a secured credit card.  This is a type of credit card that allows you to make a deposit into a checking account that “secures” the line of credit being extended to you.  You will be able to get a secured credit card even if you already have bad credit, and adding a new account with a positive payment history will help improve your credit score over time.

2018's Best Secured Credit Cards for Building Credit

Once you get your credit score where it needs to be, you will reap the benefits by qualifying for better rates and save money on your mortgage loan!

If you are in the market to sell or buy 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!

Photo Credit: cfcw.com

210 E Fairview Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36105

MLS# 442463

3 Bedrooms | 2.5 Bathrooms | 2,379 sqft | Pool | Garden District

Play VisualTour

 

Old world charm with modern conveniences. If you love nostalgia and are impressed with the craftsman style  prominent in the first part of the last century, this lovingly cared for home will make you zing! Offering both formal and more casual living spaces on the main floor, you can enjoy family time or entertaining on a grand scale. Upstairs the spacious bedrooms will hold lots of big cherished furniture, with a layout that will suite any style and taste. Looking for storage? Look no further...this home boasts plenty of it, with numerous closets, attic and basement storage. For outdoor living, there is a sparkling inground pool for relaxing and cooling off in the warmer months, and a pool house for storing equipment, pool toys, and extra patio furniture. If you like guests, but like for them to have their own space, the cozy efficiency apartment located above the pool house fits the bill perfectly. It also could be rented for additional income. Contact agent for complete list of upgrades and features!

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 1528

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