Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 13

Ins and Outs Of Buying a Short Sale

by The Hat Team

Buying a property through a short sale can be financially beneficial. But you need to go into the process understanding your market! That means having a knowledgeable realtor and attorney.

short saleA homeowner is “underwater” with their mortgage when they owe more than the value of their home. The term “short sale” comes from the situation where the proceeds from a sale are less than, or “short” of, the amount of debt.

Lenders are motivated to allow a short sale when they perceive it will create more net income than a foreclosure. Sellers are motivated because it puts them in more control of timing, and causes less damage to their credit than foreclosure.

For the buyer, a short sale means a purchase price that is discounted from the normal sale price. However, the market situation with short sales is very specific to your state and your market. Here are some trends across the country…

25% of US homeowners with a mortgage are underwater. That is 10.7 million homes! That percentage is down from 28% in September 2012. It is important to note that 8.3 million of those homes are on the edge of being underwater with a LTV ratio of 90%-110%. The other 2.4 million have an average LTV ratio of 125%.

A primary factor helping that downward trend is a decline in investors’ interest in short sales. A decline in investors buying at discount means prices are moving upward. Increasing prices means increases in value, which means increases in equity for the homeowners.

However, according to it will take years, not months, for the 125% LTV owners to recover enough equity to allow them to sell. That means the short sale opportunities are available for a while.

As a buyer of a short sale, be aware the process takes time. All parties have many more documents to review and approve. Your due diligence will take longer. And the process leading to a closing will take longer.

Make sure you are working with a Realtor and an attorney who have experience with short sales in your market. One way to qualify a Realtor is to know they are trained as a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE). That means they have specific training in streamlining short sales. It is not mandatory, but it is a valuable credential.

At least, make sure your Realtor and attorney have actual experience with short sales. Go into the process with a lot of patience.

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

Montgomery AL Home for Sale: 3403 LeBron Road

by The Hat Team

Montgomery AL Home for Sale:

3403 LeBron Road, Montgomery AL 36111
MLS# 312392

Style, Quality And Functionality!

3403 lebron road
Style, quality, functionality...that's what you will feel when you enter this Cloverdale gem. Stylish upgrades and meticulous care have been provided by the current owner, meaning that all you have to do is move in! Open floor plan is perfect for entertaining, and there is even a bonus room/den/study/workout space off the kitchen for added functionality. And, out back there is a nice patio area overlooking a great lap pool! Mature shade trees make it bearable in the summer, and oh-so-pleasant in fall and spring. Close to Cloverdale's dining and entertainment districts, and minutes from bustling Downtown!

Marketed by Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team Realtors.


Midtown Montgomery Real Estate Market Report for August 2014

by The Hat Team

While the number of for sale by owner transactions is on the decline, approximately 9 percent of sellers decide to go it alone and forego outside help from a Realtor®. Typically those that go this route have extenuating circumstances, such as already having a relationship with the buyer (which happened in 40 percent of recent FSBO sales, according to National Association of Realtors® data). However, NAR’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that most sellers benefit from the outside help of a knowledgeable advocate when selling their home. Aside from being experts in the field, Realtors® have the time, know the market and needs of the potential buyers, bring an objective and fresh perspective to the seller, understand the complexity of all of the processes involved, and have the ability to attract qualified buyers.  It’s because of these reasons that sellers using a Realtor® tend to get more for their homes, according to NAR’s report.

Let’s look at how many sellers sold their homes with a Realtor in August.

August 2014 Midtown Montgomery Real Estate Market Update

Midtown Montgomery real estate sales statistics for August 2014, show the number of homes sold decreased by 9% when compared to August 2013. The average sales price increased by 3% to $140,940 for the month. The median sales prices increased by 16% to $107,500, and market times increased by 27 days.  The highest selling price increased by 40%, and the lowest selling home price increased by 14% compared to August 2013.

Midtown Montgomery  August 2014 August 2013
Homes Sold 29 32
Average Selling Price $140,940 $136,497
Median Selling Price $107,500 $92,000
Days On The Market 159 132
Highest Selling Price $830,000 $590,000
Lowest Selling Price $11,000 $9,640

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

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

Annual Maintenance

by The Hat Team

A common expectation of homeowners is to want the components and systems in their home to work when they need them. Periodic maintenance is just as important as having a trusted service provider to make necessary repairs.

annual maintenanceVictims of Murphy’s Law can attest that their air conditioner goes out on the hottest day of the year or the water heater fails when you have out of town visitors.

If the convenience of having things work doesn’t justify maintaining your home’s systems, consider that it can be less expensive than the results of neglect causing repairs or replacement.

  • Replace burned-out, dim or missing bulbs in light fixtures and lamps. Consider switching to LED bulbs.
  • Dryer exhaust vents build up lint even though you may be cleaning the filter regularly.
  • Fire extinguishers need to be recharged or replaced after expiration date.
  • Establish a recurring appointment on your calendar to change filters in your HVAC.
  • Replace missing or damaged caulk around sinks, bathtubs, showers, windows and other areas.
  • Clean gutters.
  • Schedule an inspection with a pest control a minimum of once a year unless you have a service contract.
  • Schedule a chimney cleaning prior to using the fireplace for the first time in the season.
  • Keep all tree branches and shrubs trimmed away from the home.
  • Pressure wash exterior, deck, patio, sidewalks and driveway.
  • Keep levels of insulation in the attic above your ceiling joists.
  • Check appliances with water lines for leaks or worn hoses.
    • ice maker  • washing machine   • dishwasher   • others
  • Test all GFI breakers and reset.
  • Inspect all electrical outlets for broken receptacles, fire hazards or loose fitting plugs.
  • Have furnace and air conditioner serviced annually.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change batteries.

The early fall is a great time to take care of these items before the weather becomes harsh.

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

Montgomery AL Home for Sale: 2105 College Street

by The Hat Team

Montgomery AL Home for Sale:

2105 College Street, Montgomery AL 36106
MLS# 312198

Best Of Both Worlds!

2105 college street

You will find the best of both worlds in this totally renovated Old Cloverdale home. Traditional living and dining rooms, plus a den/family room adjacent to the breakfast bar/kitchen area. The kitchen boasts granite counters and Travertine back-splash. Nice master bath with garden tub and separate shower. Spacious walled backyard is party perfect, and has a wonderful vintage brick terrace. Convenient to shopping, dining, and entertainment!

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


Montgomery AL Home for Sale: 1860 Llanfair Road

by The Hat Team

Montgomery AL Home for Sale:

1860 Llanfair Road, Montgomery AL 36106
MLS# 312207

Affordable and Move-in Ready!

1860 llanfair road

With 4 bedrooms, living room and den, your family will have plenty of space in this nicely updated home. Tucked away on a quiet street, you will be amazed at how convenient this location is! Children can walk to Vaughn Road elementary school, or Trinity. Convenient to I-85, you can get almost anywhere in town in a jiffy. Large fenced back yard is pet perfect. Affordable and move-in-ready!

Marketed by Montgomery Real Estate Broker Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team.

7 Tips For Purchasing The Home Of Your Dreams

by The Hat Team

At a time when there is a shortage of homes for sale in Montgomery, buyers need to give themselves an edge on the competition for their dream home.

home buyer1. Get pre-approved for financing prior to shopping for your dream home. Three to four months before you start shopping for your dream home do some homework. Review your credit scores and take action to clear up any credit discrepancies. Michael Corbett, author of Before You Buy, then recommends getting a bank or mortgage lender to pre-approve your loan. That does not guarantee you will receive a loan, but it shows credibility to the sellers and realtors involved with your potential transaction. It shows you can afford a mortgage for a given amount.

2. Don’t lowball your first offer on a property you really want. In the current market there are often multiple buyers interested in the same property. You may not have a second chance to “sweeten the deal” later. Make sure your Realtor has provided you with comparable property prices that justify your offer. Submit a strong offer the first time.

3. Consider an escalator clause in your offering contract. This is a clause where you agree to increase your offer if a higher offer is received by the seller.

4. Add extra earnest money to your deposit. This signals to the seller that you are really serious. To show your true commitment, consider doubling what the seller has asked for as a deposit.

5. Keep contingencies to a minimum when writing the final contract. Take a good hard look at the property and temper your contingency demands. The more chance there is the deal will not go through due to financing or inspections contingencies, the less inclined the seller will be to accept your offer.

6. Give the gift of time to the seller. Express your willingness to work with the sellers to make the closing timetable convenient to them. Be willing to close on the purchase and lease back to them if their timing is difficult. If you’re bidding on a short sale make it clear you understand the timeframe could be drawn out. Express your patience to work with sellers.

7. Consider using a Realtor to help you find your dream home. Such help can be invaluable, especially when it comes to the details of a contract. Best of all the sellers often pay for the cost of the buyers’ agent through commission split at the closing.

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

Montgomery AL Home for Sale: 2719 Boykin Place

by The Hat Team

Montgomery AL Home for Sale:

2719 Boykin Place, Montgomery AL 36117
MLS# 306546

One Of THE Best Floor Plans!

2719 boykin place

Uber convenient to everywhere! No matter where you're headed, this home makes it easy. Your new home features lovely, low-maintenance hardwood floors and a huge fenced backyard, large enough for even the biggest dog to play. You'll love the formal living and dining rooms when entertaining, as well as the more relaxed feel of the den. If you're a work-at-home mom or dad, the 4th bedroom can easily be converted into a home office. Call us at (334) 834-1500 for a tour of your new home!

Marketed by Montgomery Real Estate Broker Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team.

Montgomery AL Foreclosure Trends for July 2014

by The Hat Team

In July, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in Montgomery, AL was 44% lower than the previous month and 44% lower than the same time last year, according to

Montgomery AL Foreclosure Status Distribution

The current distribution of foreclosures based on the number of active foreclosure homes in Montgomery, AL.

Auctions accounted for 57.4% of foreclosure activity in July 2014 and Bank-owned properties accounted for 42.6%.

montgomery al foreclosure

Montgomery AL Foreclosure Activity by Month

The number of Bank-Owned properties decreased 41.0% compared to the previous month and 54.0% from the previous year in July. The number of Auctions decreased 46.6% compared to the previous month and 36.6% from the previous year.

montgomery al foreclosure

Montgomery AL Foreclosure Geographical Comparison

Montgomery AL foreclosure activity was 0.02% lower than national statistics, 0.01% higher than Alabama numbers and the same as Montgomery County statistics in July 2014.

montgomery al foreclosure

Are you or someone you know behind on mortgage payments and facing a Montgomery foreclosure? You do have options. A short sale may be the answer to saving you, your family and your home. I am a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) with specialized training in helping families avoid foreclosure. Give me a call for a private consultation.

Search all Montgomery AL Real Estate And Homes For Sale.

Sandra Nickel and the Hat Team have distinguished themselves as leaders in the Montgomery AL real estate market. Sandra assists buyers looking for Montgomery real estate for sale and aggressively markets Montgomery AL homes for sale. Sandra is also an expert in helping families avoid foreclosure through short sales and is committed to helping families in financial hardship find options. For more information you can visit

Interested in buying a bank-owned home. Get bank-owned listings alerts FREE!

Cash Flow and Equity Build-up

by The Hat Team

Many years ago, Las Vegas hotels would entice customers with inexpensive rooms, meals and entertainment so they would gamble.  It may have worked initially but if you’ve been to Las Vegas recently, the bargains are gone.  Hotels expect each division to be a profit center on its own.  As a consumer, I might not like the changes but as an investor, I’d have to be pleased with increased profitability.

cash flowYears ago, real estate investors used to accept negative cash flow buoyed by tax incentives in hopes of making a big payday due to appreciation when they sold it.   Today’s investors are focusing on tangible, current results like cash flow and equity build-up.

Cash flow is the amount of money you have left over after collecting the rent and paying the expenses.  Since rents have gone up considerably due to supply and demand in the last few years and mortgage rates are at near record lows, income is up and expenses are down, making the cash flows attractive.

If the cash flow is sufficient, you could have a good investment even if the value of the property never increased.  Cash on Cash doesn’t consider appreciation and measures the cash flow before tax advantages by the initial investment.  A rental with $3,170 CFBT divided by an initial investment of $29,000 would generate a 10.93% Cash on Cash rate of return.

Low down payments on investor properties are also a thing of the past.  Non-owner occupied mortgage money is available but the investor should expect to put down 25-30%. An advantage of having a smaller mortgage is a lower payment.

Most mortgages are amortized loans with both principal and interest due with each payment.  The forced savings of the principal contribution builds equity in the property and can be considered a part of the rate of return.

A $100,000 mortgage at 4.5% for 30 years would have $1,613.29 applied to principal in the first year.  Divide that by the same $29,000 initial investment and the amortization would generate another 6%.

Without factoring in appreciation or tax advantages, this rental example generates much more than most alternative investments.  There certainly are many different aspects that affect the risk and return on rental investments.  If you haven’t scrutinized single-family rental opportunities in a while, you should look again.

Information courtesy of Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel HatTeam Realtors in Montgomery, Alabama.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 13




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