Become an educated buyer or seller

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about helping you find just the right property. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Dec. 13, 2020

BUYING AND SELLING in 2021

2021 is promising to be a good year for buyers and sellers. Homes in South Alabama, have been selling at record prices, and selling quickly because of historically low mortgage rates and availability of affordable properties. The average days on the market for a moderately price home is 2 to 7 days and the average sale price is $130,000. 

 

The COVID-19 Pandemic doesn’t seem to have slowed down the movement of people or the sale of homes. Internet shopping, virtual home tours and safely precautions like masking and sanitizing have helped to keep the market moving. Also the fact that many people work from their homes has made moving to rural areas more inviting.

 

Moderately priced homes, milder weather and family ties are bringing buyers from all parts of the United States to Alabama and one time residents are coming back home. According to Forbes.com (Residents Pay The Lowest Property Taxes In These States, Brenda Richardson, Apr 9, 2020), 

 

Alabama is one of the states with the lowest effective property tax rates and housing is one for factors for Alabama’s cost of living to be less expensive. Plus, all homeowners age 65 or older are exempt from state property taxes. Seniors with net taxable income of $12,000 or less on their combined (taxpayer and spouse) federal income tax return are exempt from all property taxes on their principal residence.

 

Alabama is also one of 37 states that fully exempt Social Security from income taxes and payments from traditional pension plans. There’s no tax on income from federal government, certain Alabama State and local government, or military retirement plans, either.

 

What does this mean to you if you are considering selling your home? If you use a REALTOR© to market your property you will get instant access through their multiple listing service (MLS) to thousands of local REALTORS© who are searching for homes for their clients, and also to millions of customers who are searching on the internet to relocate to your area. Selling as “For Sale By Owner” offers a limited market to websites that cater to customers only looking for a ‘good deal’.

 

You should decide where you are going to go and what you are going to do. Make sure before you jump that you have a safe place to land. Check your credit to make sure you can purchase another property. Investigate the market where you want to move. Most importantly, find a REALTOR© in that area that can help you from a distance until you can see the property in person. Sometimes you can make an offer pending your approval and always pending a professional inspection.

 

What should you do if you are looking to purchase a home? First you should get pre-qualified for a loan. This doesn’t cost you anything but a little time. Find a lender who will look at your income and expenses and run a quick credit report and ask for a pre-approval letter. This letter will be needed when you make the offer on the home you are wanting to purchase. Don’t rely just on the internet websites to check your credit. Lenders have a special formula they use for home lending. Searching on the internet is good but it is better if you can also find a local REALTOR© to help you look for properties. They have immediate and accurate access to properties that are on the market and they can often advise you, offering strategies to help you win that home.

 

       Make 2021 a great year, the year that you find your dream home or move to a new location and begin a new adventure. 

 

       At Azalea Real Estate Agency, our experienced and knowledgeable REALTORS© can help you from start to finish. You can search the local MLS listings at our web stie at www.azalearealestate.us or contact us at 251-865-4266 for more information on homes and land in Mobile County.

 

 

©Aleta Boudreaux, 2020

 

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 18, 2020

Are you ready to buy a home?

6 QUESTIONS TO ANSWER.

If you are considering purchasing a home there are several important questions you should ask yourself and be honest with the answers.

 

Are you ready to buy a home? With interest rates still low, less than 4%, monthly payments are often less that rent. You will be building equity in a home that will be your biggest asset. However making the payment is only part of home ownership, there is maintenance and insurance, and land taxes among other things. When you rent you agree to obey the landlord’s rules and pay the rent. When you get a home loan you agree to pay the notes, which typically include property taxes and insurance, and keep the property in good condition. Another plus is that you can deduct the cost of your mortgage loan interest from your federal income taxes, and usually from your state taxes.  And you will have something to show for all your hard work, a home.

How much you can afford? If you're using FHA, typically your home payment can't exceed 31 percent of your monthly income. But sometimes they will let you go higher. With conventional loans, the percentage is closer to 28 percent of your monthly income. Debt-to-income ratios are 29/41 for USDA Loans. These ratios may be exceeded with compensation factors. Knowing how much you can afford and having a pre-approval letter from your lender will help you and your agent negotiate a better price. Statistics show that sellers are more willing to accept a lower offer from someone who has already gotten pre approval from a lender.

How is your credit? FICO Credit scores for USDA should be at least 620.  For most other loans, with scores below 640 or 680 you’re going to have to pay sizable fees or make a higher down payment. On the other end of the score 700 to 720 will get you a good deal. Above 750 will get the best rates. You can get your free credit score at mycreditscore.com or my.bankrate.com

Don’t give up if your credit isn’t good or you don’t have any credit. Contact a lender and ask them to help you get your credit fixed so you can work with them on a loan. Most types of loans require at least two credit lines to establish a pattern of payment. These are payment you have made over a year’s time. Examples are credit cards, car payments and sometimes rent can be considered as a credit line. But you need at least two lines of credit for at least for a year.

How long do you plan to live in the house? If you plan to keep the property for at least five years it should appreciate in value. If you plan to move or upgrade to a larger home in less than 5 years it might be wiser to save your money for a larger down payment or a bigger home.

Do you have funds to make a down payment? Unless you are able to get a USDA 100% loan, or the sellers are willing to help you with your closing costs and prepaid items, you will need between 3 – 10% of the homes price for the down payment. You will also need funds for the closing costs and prepaids.  You can often finance some of your closing costs, or a seller might pay for some of the costs on your behalf. You can’t borrow the down payment, but someone can give it to you. However, both you and the giver will have to show proof of where the down payment originated by showing bank statements.

Do you have a real estate agent to help you? A local agent will know the market and can advise you about properties in your price range. An agent can also give you a list of mortgage lenders.

At Azalea Real Estate in Grand Bay we can help you from first showing to closing. We can answer your questions and Why not take advantage of our years of experience. Visit www.azalearealestate.us to preview homes or contact Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR© at 251-656-4576

©Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR 2020

Posted in Home Purchase