Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8

Verify With Your Lender

by The Hat Team

If you have a mortgage with an escrow account to pay your property taxes and insurance, you expect the company servicing your loan to pay this year’s taxes this year so that you can deduct them on your 2014 income tax return.  property taxAfter all, your monthly payment includes 1/12 the annual amount so there will be money available for them to be paid on time.

IRS requires that expenses must actually be paid in the year that a deduction is to be taken.

The predicament occurs when you’ve made your payments but the mortgage company didn’t pay the taxing authority in the tax year they were due.  If they paid your 2014 taxes in January of 2015, they wouldn’t be deductible for you until you file your 2015 income tax return.

Verify with your lender after you make the December payment that they did indeed pay your property taxes.  The question for your lender’s customer service is: "Have you or will you pay the 2014 property taxes this year so I’m eligible to deduct them on my 2014 income tax return?”

Information courtesy of Montgomery AL Realtor Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team Realtors.

6 Creative Home Buying Strategies

by The Hat Team

The number of available properties for sale nationwide has dropped dramatically over the past 12 months according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). If you’re a homebuyer searching for real estate chances are you have found a low inventory of properties.

homve buyerA low inventory of properties also tends to cause bidding wars to come back. That means homebuyers have to get more creative. Paul Bishop, VP of NAR suggests going beyond the usual market tactics to help you be the first to find homes. Simply getting pre-qualified for a mortgage is not enough anymore.

Here are some tips for creative strategies…

  1. Head off the competition by finding “pocket listings.” These are listings that have been contracted for, but haven’t reached the market or been posted on the MLS. There are various reasons for this to happen, many times at the seller’s request. However, the listing broker knows the property is for sale. Tell your agent you want to know immediately of any new properties for sale.
  2. Get real-time information. Most potential homebuyers depend on the normal flow of information from MLS sites or other sources like Ask your agent about real-time MLS alerts – emails that go out immediately when a listing goes live. This avoids waiting hours or days before you know about new home for sale.
  3. Tell your Realtor you want to be notified immediately when the inventory of properties changes – and make sure he or she knows exactly what you are looking for! That does three things for you: it forces you to be very specific about what you want; it tells your Realtor valuable information about your wants; and, it signals just how serious you are about moving on a purchase quickly.
  4. Don’t be too quick to reject what you think are bad listings! Look past the need for paint, or bad lighting, or unflattering photos. Make sure not to superficially reject any listing that could be a treasure that is just packaged poorly.
  5. Set your search criteria a bit higher than your actual target price. You are then looking for real estate that is over-priced so you can keep an eye on them to come down.
  6. Look out for would-be sellers. Tell your Realtor to check property listings that expired weeks or months ago. Get him to contact the sellers to see if they are considering coming back on the market. They may jump at someone like you who is ready to buy!

Develop a strong relationship with your Realtor, get pre-qualified for a mortgage, make sure your credit is clean, and then let your agent know that you are ready to move quickly when the right property comes along. Read here for more general buying tips.

Information provided by Montgomery Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team Realtors.


Montgomery AL Home for Sale: 104 N Capitol Pkwy

by The Hat Team

Montgomery AL Home for Sale:

104 N Capitol Pkwy, Montgomery AL 36107
MLS# 313484

Not ‘Grandma’s House Anymore!

104 n capitol pkwy

This charming Capitol Heights 1920's bungalow has undergone a facelift and total renovation. No longer "grandma's house" it is now sparkling new with a bright, open feel. Large rooms and great flow will make entertaining and living a breeze. BRAND new master bath will make you feel like you are in new construction, while the charm and character of a vintage home remain. Nothing to do here move in and start enjoying home ownership, minutes from the happening Downtown Market and entertaining Districts!

Marketed by Sandra Nickle Hat Team REALTORS, Montgomery Alabama.

Montgomery AL Home for Sale: 3032 Gilmer Ave

by The Hat Team

Montgomery AL Home for Sale:

3032 Gilmer Ave, Montgomery AL 36105
MLS# 313356

Feels Like a Warm Embrace!

3032 gilmer ave

This wonderful craftsman style house has tons of character from the crown molding down to the beautiful hard wood floors! From the spacious living room with fireplace, to the peaceful sunroom, to the light filled breakfast room there are plenty of places to cozy up in this amazing house. There is so much that is new in this old house - fabulous new chef's kitchen, new master bath, new roof and fresh paint throughout. This house feels like a warm embrace, it could be your first or next dream home!

Marketed by Sandra Nickel Hat Team Realtors.

Fix It Or Sell As Is?

by The Hat Team

I am often asked, “Should sellers fix up their home before selling?” First, let’s talk about the stuff any Realtor is going to tell you so you have context for the rest.

It is easier to sell a house that is attractive to buyers and shows as being well-maintained. That is a matter of doing house toolsa little fix-up, but mostly clean-up. Make sure pipes aren’t leaking, for instance. That is relatively easy and not expensive. If your home really needs painting consider doing that. These are not high priced issues. Below we are talking about the expensive items.

If your house has structural defects or other problems that are expensive to fix you have more challenging decisions to make. First, remember that every house has defects! That is simply the nature of a complex structure. Second, savvy buyers know to expect defects so don’t try to hide them. Don’t kid yourself that if a problem can’t be seen easily it won’t be found out.

Most buyers assume there are some problems with any house. If they make an offer that you accept they will pay for a professional home inspector who knows real estate. Good buyer inspectors are very thorough. They are being paid by the buyer and are looking out for the buyer’s interests, not yours. It is not unusual for an inspection report to be in excess of twenty pages…in small type! Being honest with yourself about defects will prepare you better when you are faced with that inspection report.

So, the question becomes “Do I fix the problems before going on the market, or do I make it clear that I am selling “as-is” and discount the price accordingly?” The obvious follow-up question is “If I spend the money before selling, will I get that money back in the final sale price?” The general answer is that it depends on the nature of the defect and magnitude of the likely cost of repair.

Potential buyers are most likely to overestimate the cost if they have to make the repair and under-estimate the cost if the seller is paying. Cost versus value then becomes a negotiation to establishing a final purchase/sale price. If the cost of repair is major, such as a septic system, it makes the most sense to repair it before selling.

The best way to go about making these decisions is to pay a professional home inspector in your real estate market to make an inspection on your behalf as the seller. Their report will give you a thorough list of issues you might be faced with. It will also give you the tool to get estimates from contractors to make the repairs. Then you have a sound basis for making decisions.

An added benefit to having your own inspection on hand is that you have a professional document that you can use when negotiating with a buyer. Be practical and be prepared with your own inspection.

Information courtesy of Montgomery Real Expert Sandra Nickel.

Realize Tax Savings Sooner

by The Hat Team

A homeowner’s tax saving benefit is generally realized when they file their federal income tax return after the money has been spent for the interest and property taxes.  Some people look forward to the refund as a means of forced savings but some people need to realize the savings during the year.

tax savingsIt is possible to adjust the deductions being withheld from the homeowner’s salary so they realize the benefit of the savings prior to filing their tax returns in the form of more money in their pay checks.  Employees would talk to their employers about increasing their deductions stated on their W-4 form.

By increasing the exemptions or deductions, less is taken out of the check and the employee will receive more in each pay check.  If a person over-estimates their exemptions and therefore, underpays their income tax, they might incur interest and would have additional tax to pay when they filed their tax return.

Buyers considering this strategy should seek tax advice and discuss it with their human relations department at work.   Additional information is available on the Internal Revenue Service website about Completing Form w-4 and Worksheets.

Information provided by Montgomery Realtor Sandra Nickel and The Hat Team.

9 Steps toPreventing Identity Theft After You Move

by The Hat Team

The previous blog about preventing identity theft during a move dealt primarily with precautionary steps to take from your old residence to thwart clever criminals.  So you’re now safely ensconced in your new  home. And you can breathe a sigh of relief, right?

identity theftActually, no.  Unfortunately, there are clever identity thieves waiting at that end of your relocation, also, and your efforts to outwit them must continue at your new address.  Read on for more advice:

  1. Once you have reached your new home, check to make certain that you have all the important papers and documents you carried with you—and immediately put them in a safe, secured place.
  2. Locate and unpack the box containing your electronic possessions—tablet, IPhone, computers, etc.  Account for each one and consider changing your passwords.
  3. Carefully look through your bank statements to make certain that there are no unauthorized charges.  You might also think about requesting new credit reports to be sure that your status hasn’t changed significantly.
  4. Make certain that you are receiving your mail at your new address.  If you are missing any statements, checks, and the like, report those losses immediately.
  5. Contact your old neighbor to verify that he/she is collecting any mail that arrives to the prior address.  Arrange for it to be mailed to you or go by and pick it up, if possible.
  6. If you have to cancel any bank accounts or credit cards because of your relocation, close the account, cut up any cards associated with the account, and shred unneeded papers.
  7. Replace the locks on immediately- preferably before you even move in, as the old tenants could still have keys.
  8. Be diligent and cautious when providing personal information, especially your social security number, to new doctors, organizations, or schools.
  9. After the move set up a “safe zone” where you store important papers and can work on private matters away from the eyes of visitors to your new home, repairmen, utility workers, and strangers.

Although you may not be able to protect your identity 100%, you can go a long way in ensuring peace of mind by being proactive, diligent, and aware, especially during a move.

Information provided by Montgomery Realtor Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team.

Relax...There's an Alternative

by The Hat Team

Is the stock market keeping you up at night?  Are you consuming more antacids than ever before?  Are the ups and downs causing more stress than you want or need?  There is a simple alternative in rental real estate.

for rentSingle family homes for rental purposes offer an excellent rate of return in an investment that most people understand better than other investments.  The concept is simple: stay with predominantly owner-occupied homes in a slightly below average price range.  In most areas, tenants are easy to find and they’ll usually stay two to three years or more.

For the person who doesn’t want to be bothered with calls from tenants, professional management is available and commonly won’t dramatically affect the rate of return.  Managers can achieve economies of scale that individuals can’t due to managing multiple properties and having good connections with the best workmen.

Unlike most commercial property, single family homes are much more liquid because of the higher demand for residential property.  Single family homes offer the investor the opportunity to borrow high loan-to-value mortgages at fixed interest rates, for long periods of time on appreciating assets with tax advantages while providing the investor a higher than normal level of control.

Spend an hour investigating the benefits and you might sleep better at night, eat less antacids and find yourself more mellow than you’ve been in years.

Information courtesy of Montgomery Realtor Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team.

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8




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