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Understanding Important Tools in Real Estate: Comparables

by The Hat Team


If you are not familiar with real estate terms, the vernacular can be confusing and overwhelming.  It truly is like learning a new language!  But we are here to help. Today we will talk about comparables (or comps). 

Comparables (comps) is a real estate appraisal term that refers to properties that are similar to the property of which the value is being sought.  They are properties in the same area that are around the same size, in similar condition, and have similar features.  Whether you are buying or selling a home, you can learn a lot by comparing similar homes. 2 Important Facts About Real Estate Comparables or Comps

Buyers will use comps to help them decide what price to offer on a home, while sellers will use them to determine the best list price for their home.  Realtors utilize comps on a regular basis to keep track of the local market.

One major key for a comp is proximity.  When trying to price a home or find out its value, it’s vital that the homes you are comparing it to are close by.  The market can be different in other locations, so the comparable property should be as close as possible.  The same neighborhood is best.  If the same neighborhood isn’t an option, you can branch out, but not too far.

Homes that are currently “pending” make the best comps.  This is because a deal has already been made on a pending home, so it reflects current stats on the market, which fluctuates frequently.  When looking for comps, it’s important to stick with sales in the past three months and never more than six months ago.  If a home was sold over six months ago, that data is not up to date with the current market.

Another important aspect of a good comp is the home’s features.  It’s vital that the homes being compared have similar features.  Consider things like views, upgrades, number of bedrooms, location of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, square footage, size of lot, etc. How to Find Real Estate Comps to Determine House Value

Keep in mind that there may be information that your Realtor is privy to that you are not when it comes to comparables.  If you don’t understand why a similar home is determined to be worth more or less than yours, your Realtor can explain it to you.  There are many conditions that can influence the value of a home. Also remember that comps are estimates, not appraisals.  They are not written in stone, but they are a useful tool for both buyers and sellers.

If you are in the market to buy or sell 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!

Photo Credit: mashvisor.com

501 Martha Street: Renovated Cottage Hill Dream Home

by The Hat Team

501 Martha Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104 ‚Äč

MLS# 455366

2 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 2,094 sqft | Cottage Hill

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Your dream home awaits in historic Cottage Hill! Just steps from bustling downtown, this totally renovated cottage has old world charm and character with modern updates and features. Welcoming front porch is one of the owner's favorite spots to unwind and visit with friends and neighbors. Spacious living room and dining room have soaring ceilings and plenty of wall space for artwork! Cook's dream kitchen with quartz countertops and custom milled heart pine floors has cozy built in sitting nook, and access to the private rear deck. Full bedroom, bath, and walk in closet share the downstairs space, while the cool master suite encompasses the entire second floor. Master space includes sitting area perfect for sectional and tv, or would make a great home office area. Large walk-in master shower boasts rain shower head and the custom-made poured concrete sink with high end faucet feels like you are in a high-end NYC hotel! Laundry area off master bath has additional storage...a rarity in vintage homes! Systems all updated within the last few years, so all you need to do is pack your things and move in.

1615 S Court Street: Lovely Garden District Cottage

by The Hat Team

1615 S Court Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104

MLS# 455599

2 Bedrooms | 1.5 Bathrooms | 1,645 sqft | Garden District

If you have lots of books or collectibles, this Garden District cottage boasts tons of built in bookshelves, book cases, and storage shelving all over the house! Small, low maintenance front yard welcomes you with lovely established plants, flowers, and shrubs. Once inside, the home flows nicely from living room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast room, and central hallway. Cozy screened porch off dining room is a perfect place to unwind and read, and big back den/study has floor to ceiling shelving. Two spacious bedrooms and a bath are on the main floor, and just a few steps up the cool "nautical" ladder is over 900 sq ft of additional heated and cooled living space (gas wall heater and window AC unit.) The second floor is quite open and has areas for sleeping, artists studio, home office, and a full bath. Just off the second floor is a quaint balcony that overlooks the private back yard. Back yard features mature shade trees and a wired workshop with covered front porch for more outdoor living. Close to downtown, Maxwell, two major hospitals, schools, colleges, and churches! 

Listing Your House for Sale? Fix it Up First!

by The Hat Team


If you want the best price for your house, you may have to do some repairs before selling it. Potential buyers will be willing to spend more for a home that doesn’t need a lot of work.  Here are 5 important things to fix before selling:

  1. Exterior - When was the last time the exterior of your house was painted?  Is the paint faded and chipping?  Is wood rotting around the windows?  Is your front door dingy?  First impressions matter when it comes to selling your home and buyers will get their first impression when they see the outside of your house, whether in pictures or in person.  Don’t forget the landscaping.  A well-kept lawn and simple, but clean flower beds will go a long way toward creating an enticing aesthetic for your property. The Importance of the First Impression of a Home
     
  2. Interior Paint - If the walls are looking a bit shabby and the trim a bit grimy, painting is a quick and easy fix.  The same applies if you went through a crazy color phase a few years back and decorated with hues that might not appeal to everyone.  Choose neutral colors that will allow buyers to focus on the spaces without being distracted. Paint Colors that Sell Houses Faster in 2019
     
  3. Kitchen - The kitchen is one of the most important rooms people focus on when looking at a house.  So, if yours is looking run-down you will want to update it.  It will be worth the investment to replace appliances that are on their last legs or putting in a new granite counter.  Or it might be as simple as repainting cabinets and adding shiny, new handles.
     
  4. Bathroom - Nothing turns buyers off faster than an unsightly bathroom.  Sparkling, clean fixtures and a fresh coat of paint will go a long way toward impressing someone searching for their dream home.  Inexpensive touches like a decorative mirror or a lovely picture on the wall will add to the ambiance without breaking the bank.
     
  5. Flooring - If your carpets are stained or thread bare, it is worth your while to replace them. The same applies if your vinyl floors are in bad shape.  Hardwoods are always popular, but you may want to consider getting them refinished if they are looking old and scruffy.

It may seem counter intuitive to spend money on repairing or fixing up a house you are getting ready to sell, but at the end of the day, it will not only help you sell your house faster, but you will get a better price for it too!

If you are in the market to buy or sell 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!

Photo Credit: realsimple.com

Saving Money 101

by The Hat Team


The best way to save money is to live on a set budget.  Whether you are living paycheck to paycheck or you have some “fun” money left over each month, knowing where your money is going will allow you to see how much you can save each month. If you are new to budgeting, managing your money may seem complicated and overwhelming.  You not only have to be organized, but you must make challenging decisions about how to spend your money.  But there is good news for you.  You don’t need fancy financial apps on your phone or extensive spreadsheets with dozens of categories of spending to see where your money is going.  You simply need to follow the 50-20-30 rule!

The 50-20-30 rule assists you in building a budget by using three spending categories. 

  1.  50% of your income should go to living expenses and essentials including rent, utilities, groceries and transportation.
     
  2.  20% should go to savings, investments and debt-reduction payments.
     
  3.  30% of your income should be used for flexible spending. This includes everything you buy that you want, but don’t necessarily need such as travel, going out to movies etc.

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Remember that the percentages for essentials and flexible spending are the maximum amounts you should spend.  If you use less income in these categories, you will have more to put into your other financial goals.

Here is how to start the 50-20-30 budget.  First, determine exactly how much money you bring home each month. This will be the amount on which you will base your 50-20-30 split.  Then track your spending. Every penny of it, from your rent payment down to the coffee you stop for on the way to work in the morning.  As you are analyzing your spending, split it into the 50-20-30 categories.  Once you see what you are spending where, you can make the needed adjustments to ensure you are falling into the 50-20-30 parameters.  If you find you are spending too much on things that you want, but don’t need, that’s when it is time to cut back. The 8 Best Expense Tracker Apps of 2019

The 50-20-30- rule works because it provides a simple way to track your spending so that you can pay your bills, add to your savings and have money left over for fun stuff.  It keeps you on the straight and narrow so that you can begin to meet your financial goals.  If you stay the course, you will eventually achieve financial stability.

If you are in the market to buy or sell 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!

Photo Credit: Kiplinger.com

3143 Gilmer Ave: Renovated South Hull Cottage!

by The Hat Team

3143 Gilmer Ave, Montgomery, AL 36105

MLS# 455364

5 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms | 1,852 sqft | South Hull District

Get 5 bedrooms for a 3 bedroom price! This just-renovated South Hull cottage welcomes you from the street and treats you to beauty and quality throughout. Brand new kitchen, gleaming hardwood floors and a new neutral paint job make it move-in ready. Plus 2 bedrooms and a third full bath on the lower level guarantee everyone gets the space they crave without putting a strain on your budget. Surprising closet space for an older home. Screened porch and covered parking at the rear. Seller soliciting offers so call your agent to see this one today! 

3171 Cloverdale Road: Charming Cloverdale Cottage

by The Hat Team

3171 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery, AL 36106

MLS# 455024

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 1,366 sqft | Cloverdale


Location, location, location! This charming Cloverdale Idlewild cottage is right across from the park, and within walking distance to restaurants, shops and plenty of entertainment. Cute brick covered porch, beautiful hardwood floors, updated kitchen, huge master bathroom with walk-in closet that includes the laundry room! Check this one out today! 

1442 Blairwood Ct: Cloverdale Gem!

by The Hat Team

1442 Blairwood Ct, Montgomery, AL 36106 

MLS# 454905

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 2,072 sqft | Cloverdale

Location Location Location! This little gem in Cloverdale is convenient to everything in Midtown and is tucked away in a private setting just across from Montgomery Country Club's golf course. Spacious rooms and nice updates to kitchen make it move-in ready. Quaint back yard is privacy fenced and has a nice patio for outdoor living. Carport plus nice parking pad allows for multiple cars. This is a short sale, so it is an AS-IS sale. Allow additional time for lender approval. 

When you have overnight guests, you want them to feel welcomed and comfortable.  Providing a place for them to sleep is the bare minimum. If you’re lucky enough to have a designated, full time guest room, there are a lot of little things you can do to create a space that your guests will enjoy.  Here is a list of essentials to have in your guest room so that it is ready for visitors any time:

  1. Comfortable Bedding - Since this bed is not likely to be used all the time, you don’t need to outfit it with top of the line bedding (unless you choose to), but you want it to be comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.  Some quality cotton percale sheets and a coordinating comforter or quilt will provide a comfy bed for your guests.  Use neutral colors that give a simple, clean look.
     
  2. Extra Blankets & Pillows - You want your guests to be cozy and comfortable, so, provide extra blankets for chilly nights.  Extra pillows cam be used to provide cushioning should your guests want to prop themselves up to read in bed.
     
  3. Lighting - Be sure to provide bedside lighting. Place a lamp on the bedside table that will allow your guests to have subtle lighting without having the overhead light on.  Try to find a lamp that has multiple settings so that they can choose how bright or soft they want the light to be. 
     
  4. Extra Toiletries - Sample sized toiletries are perfect for guests.  Arranged in a pretty basket with a new toothbrush, they will have them feeling pampered.  Speaking of toiletries, here are 10 Thoughtful, Welcoming Touches for Your Guest Bathroom.
     
  5. Bath Towels - A stack of fluffy, white bath towels on the bed will be a welcome sight for your guests.  Make sure you have a wash cloth, hand towel, and bath towel for each person that is staying with you.
     
  6. Wastebasket - A simple item that is often overlooked in a guest room is a wastebasket.  When your guests need to throw something away, they shouldn’t have to make frequent trips outside their room to find a trash can. Choose a small, attractive wastebasket that coordinates with your guest room style.
     
  7. Full-Length Mirror - Whether you have it hanging on the back of the door, or propped up against a wall, your guests will appreciate having a full-length mirror in their room.  They may be sharing a bathroom with others, so having a mirror in the guest room will allow them to get ready in there if the bathroom is occupied.

These are just a few essentials that will make your guests happy to stay with you.  You can take it step further and decorate the guest room as well. But keep it simple and remember that comfort is the top priority!  30+ Cozy Ways to Decorate Your Guest Bedroom

If you are in the market to buy or sell 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!

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

1805 Longmeadow Drive: Move-In Ready in Midtown

by The Hat Team

1805 Longmeadow Drive, Montgomery, AL 36106 

MLS# 454907

3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 1,470 sqft | Midtown

Nice patio home centrally located in Midtown among more mature homes. Floorplan features living room/dining room combo with volume ceiling that is open to the kitchen. Split plan has two bedrooms on the front and the master at the rear of the house for privacy. Parking in rear accessed from alley off of Samar. Small covered rear patio and easy to maintain side yard. Freshly painted interior and brand new roof. Great first home or investment! Makes a great rental! 

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