Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 17

Consider The 5 year Rule When Buying a Home

by The Hat Team

There are many factors that go into the decision to buy a home. One of those factors is how long you expect to stay in the home. This applies whether you are a first time homebuyer or stepping up to a larger home. The length of time you stay in a home affects the financial outcome of that ownership.

5 year ruleHere’s a summary of some thoughts from and the 5-year rule for buying a home. There is a tendency for younger buyers to go through 3-year upgrade cycles. Why? Newer and younger buyers typically experience significant increases in income in their younger years.

As income increases their ability to afford a larger mortgage increases and the desire for a larger house sets in. There seems to be an assumption that buying is more cost effective than renting. Click here for a perspective on ownership costs vs. rent. That thought process occurs, on average, every three years.

The 5-year rule states that generally you should plan to stay in a home you’re buying for at least five years. That is for two primary reasons…

  • The first reason is closing costs. Every time a home changes hands both the buyers and the sellers put money on the table just to make the transaction happen. These costs can easily add up to thousands of dollars. Those dollars provide no real financial benefit to the buyers or sellers except to allow the transaction to happen.
  • The second reason is the payment of interest on the mortgage. A mortgage payment has two components – payback of the principal of the loan borrowed and interest on the amount borrowed. Because typical mortgage payments remain the same during the life of the loan the proportion paid on the two components changes. In the early years the payment is almost all going to pay interest and very little to principal. As the principal is gradually paid down the portion going to interest diminishes and the portion going to the principal increases.

According to author Thursday Bram “it isn’t until you’re about five years into paying down your mortgage that you’ve made enough progress on the principal to make it a better deal than paying rent each month.”

Here’s how to beat that average…don’t buy the biggest house you can just because a lender tells you what you can afford. Instead, consider buying smaller and then adding extra money to your monthly payments. That extra money will go entirely to paying down the principal loan – that means you will pay less interest over the life of the loan and you will create more equity because you are diminishing the principal balance faster.

However, if you’re not going to stay in your home five years you should probably consider renting.

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

Montgomery AL Real Estate For Sale: 2233 McKinley Ave

by The Hat Team

Montgomery Homes For Sale:

2233 McKinley Ave Montgomery, AL 36107
MLS# 316275

Great Investment in Historic Capitol Heights!

Great investment property! Needs work! Lots of square footage along with three bedrooms and two baths for the asking price! Interesting barrel ceiling in living and dining room. Separate laundry room. Fenced yard. Detached garage. Sold as-is!

Marketed by Montgomery Alabama Realtor Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team.

Montgomery Homes For Sale: 428 Derby Ln

by The Hat Team

Montgomery Homes For Sale:

428 Derby Ln - Montgomery, AL 36109
MLS # 316165

Wonderful well-maintained County Downs home!

Traditional layout with large living and dining rooms, kitchen with family style breakfast room, and spacious den/family room with vaulted ceiling and fireplace. Originally 4 bedrooms, current owners removed wall between back 2 bedrooms and made one LARGE bedroom for grandchildren (could easily be converted back to 2 separate bedrooms, making 4 total!) Big master with split master bath and 2 walk-in closets. Out back enjoy a covered patio, large open patio, and beautiful sparkling pool with plenty of decking. Attached 2 car carport and additional pad provides plenty of parking. Recent updates make this home ready to move into (and one of the best deals in County Downs!)

Marketed by Montgomery Alabama Realtor Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team.


Selecting a Lender

by The Hat Team

Finding a mortgage lender is not a problem. Selecting someone who will help you find the best loan product for your situation even if it means sending you to another lender is paramount.

lenderThere is a huge advantage to be able to sit across the table from someone you’re doing business with and look them straight in the eye. It’s difficult to make an informed decision based on a website and a phone call.

Doing business with a full-time professional who specializes in residential loans like you’re trying to get is important. You want the loan officer to be familiar with local conditions, values and practices.

It’s to your benefit to have a loan officer who has the experience to put the unusual transaction together even if yours is not. 

Here are a few questions that will be helpful in selecting the right loan officer.

  1. What percentage of your business are FHA & VA compared to conventional mortgages and how long have you been doing them?
  2. What percentage of your loans close on time according to the sales contracts?
  3. Will my credit score affect my interest rate?
  4. Will you help me select the best loan product for me regardless of your commission?
  5. Are there prepayment penalties on any of the loans we’re considering?
  6. Are there any restrictions on refinancing any of the loans we’re considering?
  7. When is my loan rate locked-in? Is there a charge for that?
  8. Is your loan underwriting in-house?

A real estate professional can be your best source of information and can recommend a trusted lender. If you have any questions as to what kind of answers you should expect, please give me a call.

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

February 2015 Midtown Montgomery Real Estate Market Update

Midtown Montgomery real estate sales statistics for February 2015, show the number of homes dropped 3.70% by 1 home . The average sales price decreased by 21.91%% to $100,996 for the month. The median sales prices decreased by 52.97% to $55,500, and market times increased by 1 day.  The highest selling price decreased by 12.63%, and the lowest selling home price decreased by 10% compared to $10,000 from February 2014.

Midtown Montgomery  February 2015   February 2014
Homes Sold 26 27
Average Selling Price $100,996 $129,334
Median Selling Price $55,500 $118,000
Days On The Market 141 140
Highest Selling Price $425,000 $487,000
Lowest Selling Price $9,000 $10,000

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

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

Montgomery Homes For Sale: 2426 Wentworth Dr

by The Hat Team

Montgomery Homes For Sale:

2426 Wentworth Dr Montgomery, AL 36106
MLS #316082

Great layout for a family!

What family would not love the space in this home...THREE separate living areas, split bedroom plan, and wonderful lanai and in ground swimming pool! Calming courtyard with Koi pond greets you as you approach the entry. Nicely updated, you can certainly spread out in this uniquely designed home. And, if you like to entertain, WOW does this place fit the bill! Great flow, wet bar, and space galore inside and out. Conveniently located in Vaughn Meadows, minutes from I-85, shopping, dining, and great schools.

Marketed by Montgomery Alabama Realtor Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team.


Top 5 Reasons to Own Your Own Home

by The Hat Team

According to Fannie Mae the top five reasons people buy a home:

  • To have a better place to raise their children
  • A place where their family can feel safe
  • To have more space; Freedom to renovate to their own taste
  • Being a homeowner is a better investment.

home buyerDoes this hold true for you? Well, let’s take a look at these reasons to get a broader perspective…then you decide for yourself about being a homeowner.

To have a better place to raise children and family can feel safe…

This can very subjective and involves a lot of factors. It boils down to community and personal preferences. What is the look and feel of a community where you could see yourself living? The school system and convenience to shopping are important. Local government services provided such as emergency services, hospitals, fire, police, utilities, etc. must be considered. Is there a neighborhood watch, public parks, a community center with activities for everyone in the family, etc.? Try making a list of all the things important to you and use it evaluate where you’re searching for real estate.

To have more space…

This is also somewhat subjective, but can be looked at analytically as well. Much depends on your lifestyle and the size of your family. There are large and small apartments, and large and small houses. Much has to do with how much space you would like to have versus how much you can afford. And this also really flows into the next topic…

Freedom to renovate for your own taste…

Whether you want to add on or simply renovate within existing walls, “freedom” is a huge factor in deciding to buy a house. Buying is not for everyone. Renting is a very good option for a lot of people. But the freedom to do as you please with your home is a powerful motivator. Here’s where lifestyle comes into play. It costs more to own a home than to rent. The money saved by renting can arguably be used to support a different lifestyle, which is also a form of freedom. Only you can decide.

Owning is a better investment…

There is no doubt that at the end of a renting cycle you walk away with no financial benefit except for the money you have saved in the process. How that savings compares with what you have when you sell a house you have owned is the question. And the answer is “It all depends.” Being a homeowner costs money. But, a lot of the money spent owning a home potentially can be recuperated. A homeowner is also building equity every month they make a mortgage payment. In that sense home ownership can be viewed as a huge savings fund.

If freedom is your primary key factor, buying real estate and becoming a homeowner is definitely to be considered!

Ready to own your own home? Start your search here!

Information courtesy of Montgomery AL Realtor Sandra Nickel, Hat Team!


Montgomery Homes For Sale: 3545 Southview Ave

by The Hat Team

Montgomery Homes For Sale:

3545 Southview Ave Montgomery AL 36111
MLS #315866

Bring your contractor and dream big!​

This Edgewood home has good bones and sits on a LARGE lot, and needs a total rehab! Spacious rooms and downstairs design affords rehab without moving a lot of walls, with space for a master suite down. Detached guest apartment behind carport has full kitchen, living, dining and separate bedroom/bath areas. Extra deep lot has much potential.

Marketed by Montgomery Alabama Realtor Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team.


Montgomery AL Home For Sale: 1731 St Charles Ave

by The Hat Team

Montgomery AL Home For Sale: 

1731 St Charles Ave, Montgomery AL 36107
MLS# 315787

Capitol Heights Bungalow Full Of Character!

1731 st charles ave
Check out this charming Capitol Heights bungalow complete with the lions on the front porch! From the wonderful hard wood floors and wide central hallway to beautiful crown molding and antique door knobs and locks that work, this home is full of character. And for the updates: the HVAC is new and heavy insulation has been blown in the attic and a Swarovski Crystal chandelier in the dining room.

Marketed by Montgomery AL Real Estate Experts Sandra Nickel Hat Team REALTORS!


Montgomery Homes For Sale: 2963 Old Farm Rd

by The Hat Team

Montgomery Homes For Sale:

2963 Old Farm Rd. Montgomery AL 36111
MLS #315731

Designer Custom Townhome!

2963 old farm road

Here's your chance to own a custom town home designed by noted Montgomery architect! Brimming with character, this contemporary townhouse has open spaces, soaring ceilings, and lots of natural light. Downstairs study/library with beautiful built-in bookshelves is adjacent to a full bath and spacious closet, and could easily be used as a downstairs bedroom suite if necessary. Two bedrooms upstairs share a large bath, and current owner enclosed a balcony off the master bedroom to make a 2nd floor sunroom overlooking the New Orleans-style courtyard. Rear access from alley to 2 car carport with additional storage. Covered breezeway from carport to back door means never having to get in the elements.

Marketed by Montgomery Alabama Realtor Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team.


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 17




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