Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 13

Surprise! You Don’t Need a 20% Down Payment to Buy a House!

by The Hat Team

You are ready to purchase your first house.  Your credit score is great.  You know you can afford a monthly mortgage payment based on your budget.  You are sure you will be approved for a mortgage loan.  But that down payment!  How the heck are you supposed to come up with 20%?  Don’t despair, because the truth is, you don’t need a 20% down payment to purchase a house!

Saving for a down payment on a house can seem overwhelming for many people.  Keep in mind that it can come from various sources.  Funds can come from bank accounts, stocks or mutual funds, an inheritance, or a gift from a family member.  Some people will even use assets from their retirement portfolio.  Requirements regarding where the money comes from for your down payment depend on the loan type.  Also, purchasing a primary residence usually requires a lower down payment than if you are purchasing a second home or buying an investment property. The Different Types of Mortgage Loans in 2018, Explained

The myth about down payments is that 20% is the norm. While that may have been true in the past, it’s not anymore.  The fact is that per the National Association of Realtors, a majority of homebuyers purchased their home with a down payment of 6 percent or less. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t even consider buying a home because they still think they need 20% down.  The NAR'S Aspiring Home Buyers Profile 2018 found that 36% of non-owners believed that saving for a down payment would be very difficult. Chances are they still believe in the 20% down myth and it is just not the case anymore!

So, now that you know you don’t have to have 20%, perhaps buying a home seems more within reach.  But there are still some things you should be aware of before taking that first step toward homeownership.  Various factors are at play in determining if you should take on a mortgage with lower down payment.  For example, the less you put down, the larger your mortgage payment will be each month.  That is because you will have a larger loan amount, possibly a higher mortgage interest rate, and the added cost of Mortgage Insurance.  So, while you don’t have to come up with more cash, your monthly costs go up.

Once you have educated yourself about the requirements, you can make informed decisions about your budget and how much you can afford.  Don’t let the 20% down payment myth stop you from pursuing your dream of home ownership! 

If you are in the market to sell or buy a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs. Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Creating a Fabulous Fall Landscape!

by The Hat Team

First impressions are crucial to successfully selling your home.  The first thing potential buyers notice when they drive past your house is your lawn and landscaping.  If you’re putting your house on the market this Fall, here are some tips for sprucing up your yard to make a fantastic first impression!

  • Rake, rake, rake.  Fall foliage is beautiful and can serve to make your property more attractive to buyers, but a lawn covered in leaves looks sloppy.  Keep up with raking so people notice the beautiful leaves ON the trees, not the dying leaves on the ground.
  • Plant Fall flowers.  A fall garden filled with vibrant color is a great way to add beauty to your yard. Planning a Fall Garden
  • Create a lush lawn by aerating so that water and nutrients can reach the roots. Importance of Fall Lawn Fertilization and Aeration
  • When you do your last mow of the season, make sure to trim grass short.  Shorter grass helps prevent disease.  In addition, fall leaves will blow across your lawn if they have nothing to cling to.
  • Trim ugly limbs.  There is nothing pretty about cracked, diseased or dead limbs. 
  • Get rid of annuals that have lost their luster.  Trim tired perennial foliage down to the ground.  This will prepare them for their next season and will tidy up your flower beds for a neater look.
  • Lay fresh mulch for cooler weather curb appeal.  Choose mulch that is aesthetically pleasing while also providing the benefits that keep your flower beds looking their best.

With summer winding down and fall just around the corner, it’s a good time to start planning for creating beautiful curb appeal that will have potential buyers lining up to see your home!

If you are in the market to sell or buy a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs. Call them today at 334-834-1500!

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909 Portland Ave: Move In Ready Brick Ranch!

by The Hat Team

909 Portland Ave, Montgomery Al 36111

MLS# 439561

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 1,675 sqft | Normandale

Move in ready ranch near Cloverdale perfect for a first time home buyer or an Investor. Fresh paint and beautifully refinished hard wood floors throughout. Lots of living space with the living room/dining room, a cozy den that is open to the kitchen, family room with gas fireplace and sun room. Relatively newer roof, newer HVAC, new cooktop and all appliances are included. Check it out today! 


Home Closings - What Can Go Wrong

by The Hat Team

Closing on a home is the final step to the home selling/buying process.  It can feel stressful and overwhelming, especially to first-timers.  Here are some things that most often go wrong with home closings, and how to avoid them!

     WALK THROUGH - A walk through of the home is done before closing to confirm that everything is as it was when you signed the purchase agreement.  It’s also the time to make sure any repairs that you requested were completed.  If you get to your walk through and discover that the owner took the washer and dryer they had agreed to leave or there were agreed upon repairs not done, your closing will definitely be put on hold.  Money will be placed in escrow to cover the costs and deadlines will be extended.

     FEES - You will want to look at a copy of your HUD-1 Settlement Statement before going to your closing so that you can look over all the fees and ask questions should you have any. Fees on the statement will include those from your lender, closing attorney, city, insurance, surveys, and transaction fees among other things.  You don’t want to get all the way to your closing and find out there are fees you weren’t aware of which may delay proceedings.

     TITLE SEARCH - Make sure the title search is completed with plenty of time to deal with any issues that may arise.  A professional title examiner should be utilized by your closing attorney to be sure there are no defects on the title that would prevent the property from being sold.   If the title search is done at the last minute and there are problems, it might take a long time to fix thus holding up the closing.

     WIRE TRANSFER - The wire transfer of funds needs to arrive within a specific window of time for closing.  An issue with the wire can hold up closing.  It’s vital to check with your lender and closing attorney to be sure that all parties have the correct wire information and timelines.

     CLOSING PACKAGE - A common problem that delays closings is the Closing Package not being ready.  At the end of the loan process, there are a lot of loose ends that must be tied up and they can sometimes cause delays. Timing is everything.  You may be scheduled to close at 11:00 AM, but if your package isn’t ready until 2:00 PM and your lender and attorney has other closings scheduled, your closing may be postponed to the next day.

If you are in the market to sell or buy a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs.  Call them at 334-834-1500 today!

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4624 Wares Ferry Road: Beautiful Home with ALL the Bells and Whistles!

by The Hat Team

4624 Wares Ferry Road, Montgomery, Al 36109 

MLS# 439979

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 1,624 sqft | College Grove

Even on the approach to this home, you know it is something special...unlike any of its neighbors. Custom additions and renovations abound like the fencing in the front yard, landscaping, and tilework on the covered front porch. Once inside, the foyer with shiplap accent wall welcomes you into a cozy living/dining room combo. If you are an HGTV fan, you will flip over the custom kitchen with hickory soft close cabinets, roll-out shelving, and a lazy susan to optimize storage. The two-drawer Fisher-Paykel dishwasher is a Godsend for singles or families, and the 5 burner stove allows you to cook lots all at once. Relax in the light filled den/family room with real fireplace and stunning views out the picture window of the covered deck and big salt water swimming pool. Both bathrooms have been tastefully updated with new tile and fixtures. Wake up to a perfect view of the gleaming pool every morning from the oversized master bedroom that boasts two closets. Back yard is a dream for entertaining large groups or just winding down after work. Detached workshop is wired and perfect for storing pool toys, lawn equipment, or even a man cave/she-shed with a little creative work. Metal roof is a huge plus, and the pool pump and liner are like-new, as is the HVAC system. Zoned for desirable Dalraida elementary school. Truly one of the best homes in the area, and one you don't want to miss out on! 

1438 Crenshaw: Low Maintenance Home on Quiet Cul-De-Sac

by The Hat Team

1438 Crenshaw, Montgomery Al 36106

MLS# 440038

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 2,960 sqft | Crenshaw Place

Looking to downsize yet stay in Midtown? Looking for literally LOADS of storage in a low maintenance home, Crenshaw Place might just meet your needs! Soaring vaulted ceiling makes a grand statement in the oversized great room, which has open views into the dining room. Fully updated kitchen has upgraded appliances and a large storage pantry off the ample laundry room. First floor master bedroom means you don't have to climb the stairs every night, and your guests/family will have their own space on the second floor. Enjoy morning coffee or evening drinks on your screened back porch and private rear deck. And, if you have lots of stuff (books, collectibles, decorations) you will not believe the bonus space off both upstairs bedrooms. It feels like it just goes on and on, and you wonder how much heated and cooled space can you get from a patio home! Quiet cul-de-sac right in the heart of the Cloverdale area, and located just across from Montgomery Country Club. Location, convenience, space, and updated living! 

Buyer & Seller Guides Fall 2018

by The Hat Team

2085 S Hull St: Spacious Brick Ranch in Historic Garden District

by The Hat Team

2085 S Hull Street, Montgomery, Al 36104

MLS# 439937

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 2,133 sqft | Garden District

If you have dreamed about living in the beautiful historic Garden District, here is your chance! This spacious brick rancher has been lovingly maintained and thoughtfully updated to meet your needs. Large living room and dining room work well for entertaining and more formal living, while the cozy eat-in kitchen and den/family room is where you will find yourself most of the time. Split plan bedrooms offer adults privacy from guests/kids. Large back patio overlooks expansive back yard with lots of privacy. Located minutes from Downtown and Cloverdale's dining and entertainment districts, too 

443 Clanton Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104

MLS# 439901

2 Bedrooms | 1 Bathroom | 1,428 sqft | Garden District

This charming updated Garden District bungalow can be yours for 0% down if you qualify! Within walking distance to Cloverdale's hippest dining and entertainment districts and minutes from downtown, this one is sure to fill your want-list. Deep front porch is perfect for entertaining and relaxing with friends. And, with spacious, well-proportioned rooms you will not have to compromise on space inside. Updated kitchen and bathroom, great hardwood floors, and neutral color palette makes it move-in ready. Sunroom off kitchen makes great home work space, den, or even spare guest room. Lush landscaping and mature tree canopy provide great shade in the back yard, and there is even a fruit tree! Priced under $100k, making it a steal of a deal for owner occupants as well as investors! 

1247 Felder Ave Montgomery Al 36106

MLS# 439734

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 1,810 sqft | College Park

Incredible renovation on charming Old Cloverdale cottage....New kitchen with white marble counters, new cabinets, soft close drawers, pot filler over farm sink, hard tile floors and the list goes on. Spacious open concept living , dining kitchen with gorgeous refinished hardwoods. Two good size bedrooms complemented with a totally renovated hall bath with soaking tub and separate shower... main sweet has incredible size closet and attached bath that will take your breath away. Perfect size house not too big to heat and cool economically .... Great room arrangement which flows well.. new patio off main bedroom and another off dining for entertaining...almost forgot it comes with its own white picket fence. hurry and see this great property before its gone.....give us or your favorite agent a call to see today.....thanks for will be glad you did.... 


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 13




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