Real Estate Information Archive


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Interested in conserving the environment? Intrigued with the idea of providing a haven for neighborhood wildlife AND reducing the amount of work, water, and chemicals needed to keep your landscaping alive, well, and attractive? Read on…

Winter is the perfect time to plan a backyard wildlife habitat for your Montgomery home and design a garden that provides essential kinds of wildlife, montgomery homesuch as birds, butterflies, amphibians, and small mammals. Because natural environments are quickly disappearing due to rapid development, greener gardening techniques which are mindful of the ecosystems and needs of native creatures have become essential.

There are many online sites which provide detailed instructions for turning your property into a mini-sanctuary for wildlife, but the initial steps are relatively simple and include providing food, water, cover, and space.

Provide Food for Wildlife

Everyone needs to eat! Planting native herbs, grasses, shrubs, and trees is the easiest way to provide the foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts that many species of wildlife require to survive and thrive. You can also incorporate supplemental feeders and food sources.

Supply Water for Wildlife

Wildlife need clean water sources for many purposes, including drinking, bathing and reproduction. Water sources may include natural features such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and wetlands; or human-made features such as bird baths (change water 2 to 3 times per week), puddling areas for butterflies, installed ponds, or rain gardens.

Create Cover for Wildlife

Wildlife require places to hide in order to feel safe from people, predators, and inclement weather. Use things like native flowers, leaves, shrubs, thickets, brush piles or even dead trees. Remember to utilize both the horizontal and vertical spaces in your yard.

Give Wildlife a Place to Raise Their Young

Wildlife need a sheltered place to raise their offspring. Many places for cover can double as locations where wildlife can raise young, from wildflower meadows and bushes where many butterflies and moths lay their eggs to caves where bats roost and form colonies.

Green gardening for your Virginia Beach home targets a reduction in water and chemical use, a decrease in the size of the area covered with turf grass, and generous use of mulch. How you maintain your garden or landscape (either formal or casual) can have important positive or negative effects on the health of the soil, air, water and vegetation that we all use! Here are some sustainable gardening techniques that you will help you conserve and protect our natural resources.


Mulch helps keep water in the soil and available to the plant, rather than evaporating into the air. This can help reduce water consumption. As mulch breaks down, it provides nutrients to the soil, which can help reduce or eliminate the need for additional fertilizers. Be sure to use mulches that are from sustainable forestry practices (not Cypress tree mulch) and are free from pests and diseases. Your cooperative extension office can help you find sources of mulch in your local community.

Reducing Lawn Areas

Grass lawns often require chemicals and frequent maintenance. Gas-powered lawnmowers produce high amounts of greenhouse gases, which contribute to the air pollution that causes global warming. Since lawns are often made of only a few types of plants that most animals do not consume, they do not provide a lot of value for wildlife. Replacing grass lawns with native wildflowers, bushes, and trees provides the food, shelter, and cover that help to maintain healthy, natural ecosystems and reduces your time and labor working on the lawn!


Xeriscaping is an approach to landscaping that minimizes outdoor water use while maintaining soil integrity through the use of native, drought-tolerant plants. This is a common practice in drier areas, where water supplies and water quality are in very short supply.

Removing Invasives and Restoring Native Plant Communities

Native plants are better for the environment than exotic plants, generally requiring less fertilizer and other additives, less water, and less effort in pest control. They are especially important to native wildlife, such as pollinators, that may have coevolved with a particular species. Pollinators often rely on a certain type of flower as a source of food, while the flower depends on the pollinator to transport its pollen to other flowers for reproduction. When non-native or exotic plants are used, they often upset the delicate balance of a local ecosystem and sometimes even out-compete native species (hence the term invasive) to the point of extinction. Wildlife benefit more when native plant communities remain intact or are restored to their natural habitats, thus providing the best source of food for wildlife.

How to get started? Inventory what is presently in the backyard of your Montgomery home and consider what can stay, what should go, and what is needed. Locate a list of plants and trees that are native to your area. Contact your local nurseries or agriculture extension office or search for assistance on line. Two informative sites are National Wildlife Federation and Wildlife Habitat. Also, give yourself a pat on the back for helping to restore natural habitats--and look forward to spring!

What Is HAFA? What Does It Mean For Montgomery Home Owners?

by The Hat Team

HAFA or Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives, is a program initiated by President Obama on November 30, 2009. HAFA helps families in distress who are having difficulty selling their homes. HAFA along with HAMP, the Home Affordable Modification Program, to revitalize the real estate market.

HAFA provides incentives to families to take advantage of selling their Montgomery home by means of a short sale (the home is sold for less than the value of the loan), or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure (the home owner voluntarily gives the deed to the lender.

HAFA helps families quickly sell their Montgomery homes by giving them pre-approved short sales terms before listing the property. They are fully released from future liability for the first mortgage debt, and can receive $1,500 for borrower relocation assistance. HAFA also allows investors and servicers to receive financial assistance for administrative costs, processing fees, etc. The program sounds simple, but is actually quite complex with many guidelines and rules. HAFA officially began on Monday, April 5, 2010 and will end on Monday, December 31, 2012.

Here you can watch ‘An Animated HAFA Story’, an informative video explaining HAFA…

I am a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), trained in helping families in distress avoid foreclosure. Are you or someone you know behind on mortgage payments? You do have options! A short sale may be what is needed to save your, your family and your credit. Please contact me anytime for a private consultation.

Montgomery Real Estate Sales Statistics - March 2010

by The Hat Team

Pending home sales rose sharply in February, potentially signaling a second surge of home sales in response to the home buyer tax credit, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Contracts signed in February, rose 8.2 percent above February 2009. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which usually occur with a lag time of one or two months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the improvement is another hopeful sign. “The rise in pending sales may signal the early stages of a second surge of home sales this spring. The healthy gain hints home prices are continuing to flatten. We need a second surge to reduce inventory and stabilize home values.”

Let's look at March real estate sales to see how the Montgomery AL real estate market is faring.

Montgomery AL real estate sales statistics for March show pending sales have decreased by 11% in 2010 compared to March 2009. The average sales price increased by 14% to $149;265 while sold listings were up by 19% from 2009.  Market times were 68 days more than 2009.




Market Times

Sales Price

Mar 2010





Mar 2009





For the latest Montgomery AL 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.

Buy or Refinance Your Montgomery Home NOW!!

The federal Home Buyer Tax Credit ends in just two weeks. Time is running out for you to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to get FREE money from the government to buy a home.

1.  Home Buyer Credit Act

  • DEADLINE: April 30, 2010 (June 30th with a signed, binding contract).

  • montgomery homeELIGIBILITY: First-time buyers and repeat buyers (those who have owned and lived in one residence for 5 consecutive years of the last 8).

  • INCOME LEVELS; $125,000 individual and $225,000 for couples.

  • PURPOSE Allows Montgomery home buyers to receive a tax credit (which may be claimed on this year’s taxes) of $6500 to $8,000.

***Remember that a tax credit is a dollar-for dollar reduction in what a taxpayer owes. If the credit exceeds the amount owed, a refund will be issued.

2. Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)

  • DEADLINE: June 2010
  • ELIGIBILITY: The mortgage loan on your Virginia Beach property must be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and owner occupied.  Property may include 1 to 4 units. Current mortgage must be paid current and up to date. Loan-to loan value cannot exceed 125% (previously 105%).

  • PURPOSE: To extend underwriting guidelines so as to allow “underwater” mortgage holders (those with loan balances which exceed the value of their Montgomery home) to avoid foreclosure.


If you are a service member on official EXTENDED duty outside of the United States for at least 90 days during the period Jan. 01, 2010 to April 30, 2010, you are GRANTED A 1 YEAR EXTENSION on the First-Time Homebuyer Credit.  That means you have to be under contract by April 4, 2011 and close by June 30, 2011. 

Contact us today for help getting you home buyer tax credit!

Montgomery Homes For Sale: 3207 Capstone Court

by The Hat Team

Montgomery Homes For Sale:

3207 Capstone Court, Montgomery AL 36106

MLS# 273538

montgomery homes for sale

No "Heavy Lifting" Required! Paint and a tiny bit of carpet is all you'll need to make this bargain-priced 4 bedroom your family's next home!  30-year roof, granite countertops and lots of upscale landscaping are already in place.  And you're going to love the floor plan with its huge light-filled great room and separate den/study that might even qualify as a "man cave!"  Buy with as little as $750 down on the FHA step-up program. 

Learn more about 3207 Capstone Court and Montgomery homes for sale.

Search all Montgomery homes for sale.

Montgomery Real Estate Podcast - April 2010

by The Hat Team

Sandra Nickel of The Hat Team presents:

This month's edition covers Montgomery real estate market activity and with this being the last month for the $8,000 tax credit extension, we'll discuss how buyers and sellers are taking advantage of this opportunity!

Features special guest Terri Murphy of US Learning.

Program length: approximately 8 1/2 minutes

Montgomery Homes For Sale:1505 E. Fairview Avenue #A Montgomery AL 36106


Looking to simplify your life? Grab this easy-care Cloverdale condo before it gets away! Spend weekends travelling instead of mowing and summers relaxing instead of painting. Nice large rooms and plenty of storage means you won't have to give up the things you love...just the chores you don't. Priced for updating so bring your imagination or your decorator.

Learn more about 1505 E. Fairview Avenue and other Montgomery Real Estate by visiting

Search all Montgomery homes for sale.


Tips For First-time Montgomery Home Buyers

by The Hat Team

Low listing prices, reasonable interest rates, and an abundant variety of homes to choose from are among a few of the reasons now is the perfect time for buyers to make a move in today’s real estate market. Current market trends and other factors have made conditions even more favorable for first-time homebuyers. Though becoming a homeowner comes with huge responsibilities and financial commitments, first-time home buyers should take advantage of the market over flowing with opportunities. The following tips will help ease the mind when considering the smart purchase of your first Montgomery home.

1. Become familiar with the new first-time homebuyer federal tax credit.

montgomery homePeople who are considering the purchase of their first home, or have not been home owners for at least the past three years can gain great benefits from the first-time homebuyer tax credit. According to, qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before May 1, 2010 will receive a tax credit of up to $8,000. Unlike past tax credits from 2008, the money received does not have to be repaid, unless the homebuyer sells the property with in three years.

2. Determine what is reasonably affordable.

Prior to beginning the hunt for the perfect home, it is important to find an affordable price range. Many factors such as money available for a down payment, eligibility for a loan, and monthly mortgage payments, all play a role in determining what the buyer can comfortably afford. Total monthly mortgage payments should be, on average, approximately 30 percent of one’s gross monthly income. Affordability or loan calculators found on the internet can give a good idea of what is affordable. Before seriously inquiring the purchase of your first Montgomery home it is important to have a consultation with a knowledgeable financial advisor.

3. Deciding where and what

Once an affordable price range is determined, it is time to decide where you want to live and what you are looking for in a home. Whether staying with in the same general area, or looking for a new location, it is crucial to do a fair amount of research on the area and its demographics. For example crime rates, school districts, shopping, medical facilities, and travel, are all important factors have to be considered since they could affect your everyday life. It is also essential to know what you are looking for in a home. Separate lists of essential needs and wants should be carefully thought out towards the beginning of the home search. The list of basic needs should include things such as minimum square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location, and price. The want list should be compiled of things that would be nice to have, such as pools, big yards, and gated communities. 

4. Find a knowledgeable Real Estate professional

Finding and purchasing a home is a complicated, overwhelming experience, which should be nothing but exciting. Working with an experienced real estate agent can make the process run smoothly and be more successful. The chances of finding the perfect Montgomery home are significantly increased when put in to the hands of the right real estate professional.

Learn more about how we can help you purchase a home by visiting or give us a call for more personal service.

Search all Montgomery homes for sale.

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8




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