Real Estate Market

Midtown Montgomery Market Trends

Understanding Your Home Inspection

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

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.   

Midtown Montgomery Market Update

‚ÄčBuying Is Now 33.1% Cheaper Than Renting in the US

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and, even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
  • With rents & home values moving in tandem, shifts in the ‘rent vs. buy’ decision are largely driven by changes in mortgage interest rates.
  • Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 128% increase over today’s average of 4.0%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let's get together to find your dream home.

Information provided by KCM For Buyers

Midtown Montgomery Market Update

Midtown Montgomery real estate sales statistics for May 2017 show the number of homes sold rose by 2.6% when compared to May 2016. The average sales price decreased by 3.7%, and the median sales price decreased by 12.1%. Market times decreased by 24 days.

Midtown Montgomery May 2017    May 2016
Homes Sold 40 39
Average Selling Price $147,265 $152,841
Median Selling Price $127,500 $145,000
Days On The Market 87 111
Highest Selling Price $620,000 $360,000
Lowest Selling Price $8,900 $10,000


For the latest Midtown Montgomery real estate market conditions in your area, please call me at 800-HAT-LADY or visit HomesForSaleInMontgomeryAlabama.com.

Information is provided by the Montgomery Area Association of Realtors and is deemed accurate but not guaranteed.

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