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!

Oct. 10, 2021

3 Steps to Selling Your Property

If you have decided to sell your property there are several important things to consider if you want to sell for the highest price in the shortest amount of time and with the least inconvenience to you.

            The first step is choosing the right person to sell your home. Believe it or not, it might not be you. If you are not experienced in marketing, finance, negotiations, have countless hours to spend talking with potential buyers and know the current real estate market, you should find a real estate professional to sell your property. In fact, listing with a real estate professional will get you at least 15-20% more than if you were to sell the property yourself.

            Searching the internet will turn up hundreds of agents. But choosing the right one is essential. Don’t choose your agent because they are family or a friend of a friend. Choose a real estate agent because they are a professional at what they do. 

            Interviewing several agents is an acceptable second step. Remember, cheapest isn’t always the best. Be wary of agents who offer to sell your property for a reduced commission or a flat fee.  You will get what you pay for.  Lower commissions or flat fees often mean less representation and less exposure with fewer agents showing your property.

You should select an agent who will work for your best interest and offer you full and expert service, not simply listing your property on the internet, making you show your property and negotiate contracts on your own.   

            The third step is to list your property at the right price. Listing above value can waste the best first marketing days.  An overpriced property will sit on the market a longer time and eventually sell for less. Real estate agents have access to actual market data and can tell you approximately what your home will bring through a comparative market analysis.

           Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your   own, sit with a real estate professional and see what they have to offer.

At Azalea Real Estate we offer a full service from listing to closing with a staff of experienced real estate professionals. Visit www.azalearealestate.us or contact Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR© at 251-656-4576 for a free market analysis on your property.

 

©Aleta Boudreaux, 2022

Aleta Boudreaux

Azalea Real Estate

aletabdrx@gmail.com

251-656-4576

Posted in Home Purchase
June 19, 2021

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.

Contact any REALTOR© on this site or call Aleta Boudreaux at 251-656-4576 or Kimon Brown 251-591-9445 for more information on purchasing or selling a home in South Mobile County.  

©Aleta Boudreaux, 2021

Posted in Home Purchase
June 19, 2021

BUYING AND SELLING in 2021

2021 is 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 1 to 4 days and the average sale price is $175,000. 

 Internet shopping and virtual home tours and have kept 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, 2021

 

Posted in Home Purchase
June 19, 2021

HOW TO BUY A HOME

HOW TO BUY A HOME

It doesn’t matter if you are a first time home buyer or a seasoned home owner, the first thing you should do is to get pre-qualified for a loan.  There are many mortgage lenders and banks that are willing to help you without cost. Most will take an application over the telephone and let you know within 24 hours or less if you qualify for a home loan.

Based on your employment, income, expenses and credit score a lender can tell you what range of homes you can afford to purchase and what type of loan that would best suit you. Armed with this information and a letter of prequalification from the lender, you can start looking for a home with the confidence that you could purchase a property with little trouble.

With all the modern technology it is easy to look for a home on the internet or you can call a local real estate professional to get a listing of homes in the area you wish to live.  

You can easily search for homes within your price range and style, along with the amenities you want like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. 

After you find properties you think you will like, choose a real estate agent who can show the houses. They will help you negotiate the purchase of the one you like the best. The real estate agent should explain to you how she, or he, will represent you.  They can represent the seller, the buyer, both the seller and the buyer (with approval from both parties) or simply oversee the transaction. Make sure you understand the difference. Typically the agent will get paid by the selling broker for their work when the sale is closed. 

The agent will write up a purchase agreement to present to the seller. The purchase agreement spells out the price you want to pay for the home, the type of loan you intent to acquire and the specifics of the purchase, the name you want to have on your deed, who pays for what and when you will take occupancy of the property.

With a typical home purchase, closing costs are negotiable. Either the seller or the buyer can pay for them.

For example you may want to ask for the seller to provide a 1 year home warranty. These policies usually cover the appliances, HVAC, septic tank and other mechanical items for 1 year with the buyer paying the service call charge if something needs repair. A survey is good to have, but it may not be required by the lender.

A wood infestation report (WIR or termite letter) is usually required by the lender and it is a good idea to get a termite bond on the home at the same time because of the prevalence of Formosan termites in the South.

Typically the seller will pay whatever it takes to transfer the ownership and title to the property, like a deed, title insurance and prorated taxes. The buyer typically pays or finances whatever the lender requires for them to make the loan.

In today’s market it is not unusual to ask for the seller to pay a percentage of the buyer’s closing costs. This is called a seller concession. The seller can’t pay all the buyer’s closing costs, it depends on the type of loan you are getting and the amount you agree to pay for the house.  But it can be a substantial amount. Remember the seller will have their own closing costs to pay.

An earnest money deposit may be requested at, or just after, the time you make your purchase agreement.  This earnest money deposit shows the seller that a buyer is serious about purchasing their property. When the transaction is finalized, the funds are put toward the buyer's down payment or closing costs. These funds are usually refunded if the deal falls through but they can be kept if the buyer neglects to follow through with a purchase after all the terms are in compliance.

Once all the details of the purchase are negotiated, the lender will gather and submit all the necessary paperwork to their underwriter for your loan approval. Most loans take between 30 and 45 days from start to close.

Buying a home is an investment in your future.  With today’s interest rates still low it’s a great time to make that first step. At Azalea Real Estate we can help you from search to closing. Take advantage of our years of sales and marketing experience.

Contact any REALTOR© on this site or call Aleta Boudreaux at 251-656-4576 or Kimon Brown 251-591-9445 for more information on purchasing or selling a home in South Mobile County.  

©Aleta Boudreaux, 2021

Posted in Home Purchase