Archive for January, 2010

Buying A Home – 3

January 31, 2010

Making an Offer

Once you have found your dream home, it is time to prepare an offer to purchase. Your buyer’s agent can provide guidance to you on the price you should offer to pay for the property. Have your agent compare prices for similar homes that have sold in the area recently. This will help you to determine a reasonable price to offer.

In addition to the selling price, the other items to include in the terms of the Offer to Purchase include:

  • · The amount of earnest money (deposit) to offer.
  • · Concessions that you want the seller to make, such as a carpet or paint allowance, or payment towards the closing costs.
  • · Home inspection contingencies.
  • · Financing contingencies.
  • · A clear definition as to what is to be included with the home, such as appliances or window treatments.
  • · A closing date.

Don’t be surprised if your initial offer is not accepted. Your REALTOR® will represent you in all contract negotiations until an agreement is reached between the seller and you.

If you’d like more information on the Fairhope, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Daphne or Baldwin County  markets, or on specific properties down here, feel free to email me at Terryl@FairhopeRealtyGroup.com; or call me at 251-990-8838.

You can also visit my web-site and search the MLS on your own at www.FairhopeRealtyGroup.com.

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Buying A Home – 2

January 30, 2010

Choose An Agent: Once you have decided on the price range and the features you are interested in, your next step will be to decide whether you will search on your own or use the services of a real estate agent. If you choose to use an agent, make sure you enter into a Buyer’s Agency Agreement. This ensures that the agent will represent you, as the buyer, in the selling process, and not represent the interests of the sellers.

Talk to friends and family for their referrals of agents they have worked with. Once you have some names, interview several agents before making a final decision. Select a REALTOR® that you trust and with whom you feel comfortable working.

Remember, there are no out-of-pocket fees that you pay to the buyer’s agent. These costs are incurred by the seller. Your agent will research property listings for potential matches to your criteria and schedule showings for you at a convenient time. In addition, they will provide guidance to you during the contract negotiation phase of the selling process. Many times, they will also coordinate and schedule the home inspection, appraisal, and closing for you, as well as provide you with referrals for mortgage lenders.

Beginning Your Search

Once you have selected an agent and determined what you are looking for in a home, it is time to begin your active search for homes that interest you. Based on your criteria that you provide your REALTOR®, he/she will be able to search their listing database for homes that meet your needs.

While visiting properties that are on the market, compare homes. Every home is unique! Even if every home you visit has all of the main criteria you are looking for, each will have different characteristics. Bring your Amenities Checklist with you to all homes that you visit. Check off which features each house has. Make notes on each home of what you like and dislike.

Additional things to consider when touring homes:

  • · Cost of upkeep and utilities
  • · Amount of maintenance required
  • · Cost of updating or decorating
  • · Homeowner’s dues
  • · Traffic patterns in the neighborhood

Taking notes and using your checklist will help you later when you can sit down and compare properties. By comparing notes, this will help to prevent you from making an emotional and impulsive decision.

If you’d like more information on the Fairhope, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Daphne or Baldwin County  markets, or on specific properties down here, feel free to email me at Terryl@FairhopeRealtyGroup.com; or call me at 251-990-8838.

You can also visit my web-site and search the MLS on your own at www.FairhopeRealtyGroup.com.

Buying A Home – 1

January 29, 2010

Purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions most people will make in their life. It involves a long-term commitment financially and emotionally, but it can also be a very exciting and rewarding experience.

When buying a new home, there are a few things to consider:

  • · What monthly payment can I afford?
  • · What am I looking for in a home?
  • · Should I work with a REALTOR®?
  • · Once I find a home to purchase, what do I need to do next?
  • · How much cash do I need at closing?
  • · How do I obtain a mortgage loan?

Before You Begin Your Search

Before you actually begin the process of looking at homes, you should complete the following:

Get Pre-Qualified: Unless you are able to pay cash for your home, most buyers will need to go through the process of applying for a mortgage. By contacting a mortgage loan specialist before you begin your search, you are able to determine the amount of loan for which you qualify. Typically, a borrower is pre-qualified for a loan that amounts to 28%, or less, of their gross monthly income. In addition, if you know the amount of the monthly payment you would be comfortable paying, a mortgage specialist can calculate the price range for your home search. Getting pre-qualified for a loan also increases your chances of your offer being accepted. A seller is more likely to accept an offer from a buyer who already has funding versus one who still needs to get a loan.

Prior to getting pre-qualified, you should obtain a copy of your credit report so that there are not any negative surprises when you are ready to apply for your loan. Correct any errors that you may discover on your credit report. Also, you will want to reduce your consumer debt as much as possible by paying down credit card balances.

By going through the pre-qualification process, your mortgage specialist can provide you with an estimate of how much cash you will need for the sales transaction. Cash is needed for the down payment, earnest money, and closing costs of the transaction.

Make an Amenities List: Decide what features are most important to you in a home. By establishing your criteria, you will save time shopping for homes that do not meet your needs. Also, consider what locations you are interested in. When making an amenities list, determine which criteria you absolutely cannot live without and which ones you are willing to budge on.

Some typical criteria may include:

  • · Price range
  • · Neighborhood or subdivision
  • · School districts
  • · Proximity to work
  • · Proximity to shopping, restaurants, hospitals, etc.
  • · Number of Bedrooms
  • · Number of Bathrooms
  • · Storage space
  • · Garages
  • · Lot sizes
  • · Pools

If you’d like more information on the Fairhope, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Daphne or Baldwin County  markets, or on specific properties down here, feel free to email me at Terryl@FairhopeRealtyGroup.com; or call me at 251-990-8838.

You can also visit my web-site and search the MLS on your own at www.FairhopeRealtyGroup.com.

200 South Church Street Fairhope, AL

January 28, 2010

Location, Location, Location in Fairhope, Aabama.

Beautiful custom-built home in the heart of Downtown Fairhope. Blocks from downtown shops & Mobile Bay. Totally accessible floor plan w/attention to every detail throughout. Authentic pine floors, crown molding, 9’ ceilings, solid wood doors, large elevator, upper balcony on Church St., separate D/S suite. Fenced yard w/patio, oversized double garage w/lots of storage & parking & so much more..  For more details go to www.200SouthChurchSt.com.

If you’d like more information on the Fairhope, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Daphne or Baldwin County  markets, or on specific properties down here, feel free to email me at Terryl@FairhopeRealtyGroup.com; or call me at 251-990-8838.

You can also visit my web-site and search the MLS on your own at www.FairhopeRealtyGroup.com.

Packing Tips for Your Big Move – Part 2

January 27, 2010

Other Tips For Specific Items:

  • · Computers: Make backup copies of all files on the computer. All detachable cords and cables should be removed and individually wrapped. If at all possible, it is best to pack these items in their original packaging. If the original carton and packaging is not available, be sure to use plenty of padding to protect these items when packing. When packing printers, be sure to remove the ink cartridge before transport.
  • · Glassware: Pack each glass with 2 pieces of packing paper, and fold the 4 corners into the glass. This will create a protective lining for the second glass to be inserted into. Wrap the third glass as you did the first and add the fourth and stack onto the other glasses. Completely wrap the stack of glasses with several pieces of paper and tape securely to the bundle. Place the bundles upright in a carton that is packed with newspaper bundles at the bottom for extra padding. Stemware should be packed separately. Place newspaper on top of the items as well for extra security. Once the carton is securely taped, mark its contents as “Fragile-Glassware.”
  • · Dishware: Place wadded newspaper along the bottom and sides of the packing carton. Place the first plate in the center of a stack of packing paper and then wrap 2 sheets over the plate. Place a second plate over the first and repeat. Continue until you have a bundle of four plates and tape the bundle securely. Place the bundle in the box on its edge instead of flat in the carton. Add extra wadded newspaper to the top of the box for extra security. Secure the carton and mark the box “Fragile-Glassware.”
  • · Lampshades: Place packing paper between each shade and then nest together into a single stack. Lampshades should be packed exclusively in their cartons without any other items. Fragile shades, such as ones made of silk, should not be nested with others and should be packed in a carton alone. Pad the carton with packing paper before sealing.
  • · Pictures and Paintings: Place an “X” of masking tape over the glass to help protect the picture itself in case the glass is broken during transport. Wrap small pictures individually with bubble wrap and place upright in the packing carton. Fill the cartons with towels and/or bedding for extra padding. Larger items, including mirrors, should be specially packed by your movers. Once all of your pictures are packed, fill the carton with extra packing paper and seal the carton. Mark the box “Fragile-Pictures/Paintings.”

If you’d like more information on the Fairhope, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Daphne or Baldwin County  markets, or on specific properties down here, feel free to email me at Terryl@FairhopeRealtyGroup.com; or call me at 251-990-8838.

You can also visit my web-site and search the MLS on your own at www.FairhopeRealtyGroup.com.

Packing Tips for Your Big Move – Part 1

January 27, 2010

Now that you have found your dream home, it is time to begin to think about the packing process and what all is involved. You will want to start early, so as to give yourself time to sort through all that you have accumulated throughout the years. The less you have to transport, the easier the moving process will be.

Below are some general packing guidelines:

  • · Pack items that are used least in your household first.
  • · Clearly mark fragile items for your mover.
  • · Pack one room at a time, and label each box indicating its contents and room name.
  • · Use smaller boxes for heavier items.
  • · Ensure that your boxes are well taped to hold their contents.
  • · Place heavier items on the bottom and lighter items on top.

Items Not to Pack

There are certain items that movers will not transport because they are classified as dangerous or hazardous. These items will need to be disposed of properly prior to your move, or you will need to make alternate transport plans for these items.

Included in the items that cannot be moved by your movers are:

  • · Paints and Paint Thinner
  • · Batteries
  • · Aerosol Cans, Bleach, and Cleaning Supplies
  • · Pressurized Tanks
  • · Loaded Firearms and Ammunition
  • · Gasoline or Kerosene or Other Flammable Chemicals
  • · Perishable Foods in Glass Jars

Any items of great value should remain in your possession during the move. These items include:

  • · Cash
  • · Legal Documents
  • · Passports
  • · Stock/Bond Certificates
  • · Jewelry
  • · Any Contents of your Safety Deposit Box
  • · Irreplaceable Family Mementos

Packing Materials You Will Need

Once you are ready to begin packing, you will need to collect all of the materials you will need to pack your furnishings. Recommended packing materials include:

  • · Cartons: Make sure the cartons you collect are in good shape and will not fall apart. Check to see that none of the corners are crushed and the covers are intact. You can purchase cartons from your movers in various shapes and sizes.
  • · Packing Paper: Use this instead of newspaper. The ink on newsprint will rub off on and damage your items. Packing paper can be purchased from your movers.
  • · Bubble Wrap and Tissue: Use these supplies to wrap delicate or fragile items.
  • · Packing Tape: The best tape to use is plastic and approximately 1.5 to 2 inches wide. Using masking tape is not recommended.
  • · Markers: Use a black marker to label each carton with the room name and contents.
  • · Scissors and/or Cutting Blades.

If you’d like more information on the Fairhope, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Daphne or Baldwin County  markets, or on specific properties down here, feel free to email me at Terryl@FairhopeRealtyGroup.com; or call me at 251-990-8838.

You can also visit my web-site and search the MLS on your own at www.FairhopeRealtyGroup.com.

Time to Buy Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Condos

January 24, 2010

Vacation Rental broke Records in 2009
Vacation Rentals broke Records in 2009

If you’ve ever considered owning a second home ot investment property along the Alabama Gulf Coast, you may want to take a look now.  While the recession has effected sales prices (down around 50% from the peak), Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, AL both reported record breaking rentals for the Spring and Summer of 2009.  The Alabama Gulf Coast has long been considered “recession-proof” with regard to the vacation season.  It’s proven to be a relatively inexpensive destination for the Southeastern Region of the country  and during tough economic times, is an attractive alternative to higher priced trips.  Many real estate professionals, including myself, never thought we’d see the time when investment properties on Pleasure Island had posative cash flow with very little down.  Those deals are available now, however.  I fully believe that intersted buyers who don’t purchase within the next two years, will kick them selves for the next 15-20 years over the deals that they’ve missed.  If you, or anyone you know are isterested in property in Baldwin County, Alabama, feel free to call us here at Fairhope Realty Group, LLC or send us an email.  We’d love to help you find exactly the right deal for you.

If you’d like more information on the Fairhope, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Daphne or Baldwin County  markets, or on specific properties down here, feel free to email me at Terryl@FairhopeRealtyGroup.com; or call me at 251-990-8838.

You can also visit my web-site and search the MLS on your own at www.FairhopeRealtyGroup.com.

Announcing Fairhope Realty Group, LLC

January 23, 2010
Fairhope Realty Group, LLC
Fairhope Realty Group, LLC

Fairhope Realty Group, LLC is a fresh, new real estate company located in the heart of downtown Fairhope, Alabama. The owner / broker, Terryl Reeves has opened an inspired office that fits perfectly into to artistic and eclectic feel of scenic downtown Fairhope, AL. Boasting local artists’ work on the walls, Fairhope Realty Group (FRG) is striking the perfect balance of personal, down-home attention to it’s client’s needs while utilizing it’s broker’s extensive background in cutting-edge, tech-savvy marketing and research. The combination has had the effect of a great-looking, high-traffic location and web-site at www.FairhopeRealtyGroup.com with lower overhead expense, allowing the broker to be aggressively generous in its commission splits, attracting the interest of some of the areas best talent.

If you’d like more information on our market or on specific properties down here, feel free to email me at Terryl@FairhopeRealtyGroup.com; or call me at 251-990-8838.

You can also visit my web-site and search the MLS on your own at www.FairhopeRealtyGroup.com.

Mortgage Tips – 5

January 22, 2010

The Closing:

Once your loan has been approved and you have decided on a closing date, you will want to do a final walkthrough of the home to ensure that the home is in “as-was” condition. In other words, you want to ensure that the home appears as it did when you offered the Contract of Sale. In addition, this is your opportunity to determine if requested repairs have been made to the property and meet your approval.

The closing procedure will be conducted by a lawyer, generally at the closing attorney’s office. The day before, you will be told the total dollar amount you will need to bring to closing by the closing attorney. They will also provide you with any additional information you may need to prepare yourself for the proceedings.

On the day of closing, remember to bring:

  • · A certified check for the total amount of your closing costs.
  • · A picture ID, such as a driver’s license.
  • · Your personal checkbook.
  • · Evidence of mortgage insurance (if this information has not already been requested).

Closing Costs Include:

  • · Attorney’s fees
  • · Property taxes (to cover the tax period up to that date)
  • · Loan origination fees (this covers the lenders expenses)
  • · Recording fees
  • · Interest (paid from the date of closing to the 30 days before first payment)
  • · First premium of mortgage insurance
  • · Title insurance
  • · Survey fees
  • · First payment to the escrow account for future taxes and insurance
  • · Loan points (a “point” is a fee that equals 1% of the loan amount. They enable you to secure a lower interest rate for the mortgage.)
  • · Home inspection fees (if you choose to have an inspection)
  • · Any additional preparation fees.

During the closing, details of the sales contract will be explained to you. If everything meets your approval, you will sign all of the contracts to finalize the deal.

If you’d like more information on our market or on specific properties down here, feel free to email me at Terryl@FairhopeRealtyGroup.com; or call me at 251-990-8838.

You can also visit my web-site and search the MLS on your own at www.FairhopeRealtyGroup.com.

Mortgage Tips – 4

January 21, 2010

Loan Approval:

Once your application for a loan has been processed, the lender will make a decision concerning making a commitment on the loan. If the lender decides to approve the loan, you will receive a Commitment Letter from the lender notifying you of their decision. The Commitment Letter may include certain conditions, such as repairs to the home, before the final approval is made. Also included in the Commitment Letter is the “lock-in” rate. This is the lender’s promise to make the loan to you at a specified interest rate and number of points. A lock-in rate is generally honored for a certain period of time, such as 30 days. If the lock-in period expires before your closing date, you may have to pay additional fees to extend your lock-in period.

If the lender decides to reject your application for a loan, you will be sent a rejection letter notifying you of their decision. If you receive a rejection letter, you may present this to the seller to reclaim your earnest money you offered with the Contract of Sale. This letter is proof that you complied with the purchase agreement, and have been formally rejected for a loan.

If you’d like more information on our market or on specific properties down here, feel free to email me at Terryl@FairhopeRealtyGroup.com; or call me at 251-990-8838.

You can also visit my web-site and search the MLS on your own at www.FairhopeRealtyGroup.com.