Nov. 15, 2017

Pherin Woods Home for Sale in Mobile AL

Pherin Woods Home for Sale In Mobile AL 36608

Who do you know who would like to live in this beautiful home near The University of South Alabama. TO VIEW INTERIOR CLICK THE PICTURE TO VIEW THE INTERIOR.

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Oct. 24, 2017

Mobile AL Homes for Sale




April 5, 2017

ANYONE Can Afford a New Home in Daphne AL & It’s Easier Than You Think


When is buying a new home often cheaper than pre-owned homes? More often than you think.

Many people looking for a home in Daphne AL, or the surrounding areas of Fairhope, Spanish Fort or Mobile AL avoid new construction. The reason is they believe they’ll never be able to afford it. Only really rich people buy new homes, right? Actually, the answer is no. While it is true that custom homes can be expensive, there is a cost-effective alternative that many home buyers don’t consider (or even know exists). It’s called the production built home, also known as ‘homes built on spec’.  It’s a home that a contractor has started to build and hasn’t finished yet. You can have the home YOU want, save thousands of dollars and move in faster than a pre-owned home.  

Why Buying a New Home Might Be Quicker than a Pre-owned Home

Humans can be impatient. They might not want to wait a few months to get the amenities they want so what happens? They buy an older home and figure they’ll remodel it. For those homebuyers new to the housing market, they might not realize how much major remodeling projects cost, so here’s an example. According to a ‘Remodeling Magazine’ report, a mid-level bathroom renovation that’s 5’ x 7’ can cost around $17,000, on average in most metro areas. To make matters worse, only 74% of that renovations can be recouped at resale.


Today, most homebuyers want more modern features, like a large ensuite bath, walk-in closets or a bigger kitchen for entertaining… or another way to put it, they want features not typically found in older homes. That’s why waiting a few weeks or a couple of months for a new home is the better option. You’ll have up-to-date amenities at move in and you avoid expensive remodeling costs that you’ll never completely recoup.

Options on a Home Built on Spec

Now, you might wonder, “If a home on spec is already under construction what options do I have?” The answer depends on how far along the project is. For example, if the kitchen is finished you’re stuck with that black granite countertop. However, if it isn’t finished yet, you might be able to pick white features instead. Maybe you want a partition in the dining area or French doors for the den. Perhaps you want a wood fireplace and gas logs. If you do a contract early enough, some of these changes can be made for your home. 


Other changes you can make in a spec home might include things like wall colors, cabinet door styles, lighting choices, carpets vs. hardwood, etc. It’s true when you buy a spec home you have to limit the choice regarding what changes to make (so you stay within your budget). However, you have much greater control over where to spend your money. More often than naught, your new home will be closer to exactly what you want while also having a fairly shorter ‘move-in’ timeframe.

New Home Cost vs. Pre-owned Home Cost

But there’s another side to buying a new home that many people don’t realize…It can cost less than a pre-owned home. Yes, you read that correctly. Here are some examples of how a new home is cheaper…

  • Stricter building codes mean you have lower energy and insurance bills. That saves you hundreds each year and saves you thousands over the life of your residence in a new home.  
  • No costly remodeling projects since new homes are designed to meet today’s families’ needs
  • Get the latest design trends like walk-in closets, ensuite bathrooms, double vanities, etc. rather than trying to build them yourself.
  • Choose decorative finishes, such as countertops and flooring, which are brand new and match your style.
  • Avoid spending time and money on a to-do list of inherited problems.
  • With a knowledgeable Realtor®, you can negotiate with the builder for extras, like appliances, fencing, etc.
  • Not only does a new home offer a home warranty for peace of mind, you get a fresh, clean home that no one else has ever owned.

So how do you navigate through all of this to find ways to afford a new home? It starts with finding a Realtor® with a "Certified New Home Specialist" designation, like me. They’ll help guide you through the process from start to finish. Now, if you live outside the Gulf Coast areas of Daphne, Fairhope and Spanish Fort, you can find local agents near you who can help.  But to learn more about getting the house you’ve been dreaming of owning without extra work or added expense, call or text me at 251-510-0629 or email today.


Posted in Real Estate News
April 4, 2017

Remove the Down Payment Roadblock to New Home Ownership

Moderately priced home shoppers can find down payment money to make the leap to a new house.

Many homebuyers think that they can’t afford new construction here in Daphne because they need a huge down payment. In reality, if you qualify for a moderately priced home then the leap to a brand new house might be shorter than you think. While a custom built home can be expensive, a spec home in the early phase of construction is affordable for most serious home shoppers. With a ‘semi-custom built home’ the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is decided since the house is already at the black-in stage. However, you can still choose fixtures, floor coverings, wall colors, etc. to create a new home that accents your style. The question then becomes: “How do I find down payment money for a new home?” 

How Do I Get a Loan for a Newly Constructed Home in Daphne AL? 

First, find a Realtor®, like myself, who does a buyer consult. During this consultation, we discuss everything about your decision to buy a home in Daphne AL or the surrounding areas of Fairhope and Spanish Fort. Some of these factors include how many bedrooms you need, the location, etc. Often real estate agents tell their clients they get ‘more house for the money’ by buying an older home, but that’s not often the case. Plus, when you buy a new construction it can mean lower homeowners insurance and lower utility bills, which saves you money every month. Why not buy a new home if it costs slightly more or just as much as a pre-owned home?


Keep in mind, though… a buyer needs to be realistic. Can you buy a new home with 6 bedrooms at a moderate price? I never say never, but probably not.  However, most people today don’t have 5 children that need their rooms. For the majority of home shoppers around the Daphne Al area, their requirements aren’t out of the ordinary. That means a new home is realistically within their grasp.


Second, during our meeting, we examine your finances. It’s important to note that I’m not a banker. However, I have dealt with countless new construction transactions over the years. There are many programs that people (home buyers and other Realtors®) don’t know about or simply don’t understand. This is where the agent you pick matters. While I won’t divulge every possible opportunity, I will discuss a few here, like the USDA program for homes and the VA loan.

Little Known Zero Down Loan Programs

The USDA program for homes is open to buyers that are outside of the city limits of a city with a population of less than 6,500. It’s a 100% loan and on a $150K house, you can save buyers around $125 a month over an FHA loan. So you save money each month, but you also don’t require down payment money. For buyers who are worried about lowering their monthly payment, it’s a wonderful program. Keep in mind, there are some income requirements that every borrower must meet, which can be tighter than other loan requirements. But again, it depends on finding a Realtor® who can help lead you to the right loan officer and proper direction.


If you’re wondering how it works, here’s a great example: I recently helped a couple who had scraped and saved for ten years to buy a home. They started out trying to buy a $100K home and after looking at the home conditions, repairs and insurance costs of older homes, they finally bought a brand new home for $189K. While it was almost twice as much as they expected to pay, thanks to the USDA program, they were able to keep their down payment money and have a payment they could comfortably afford each month. This is why having the right loan, and Realtor®, makes a difference. You could be living in a new home and pay less (or almost equal to a pre-owned home) while keeping your money in the bank.


The other option is a VA loan. If you are in the military or have been in the military with good standing (meaning honorably discharged) loans through the VA are also 100%. Like the USDA, the home needs to be in good condition. When you’re buying a new home, the condition of the home is generally not an issue.  The funding fee that’s required is added to the loan instead of mortgage insurance, but persons who have an award of a minimum percent military disability don’t have to pay a funding fee at all. So if you’ve served your country, the VA loan program can be a great way to buy a home with no money down.

Down Payment Grants 

Now, what happens if you don’t qualify for a zero down loan and you need down payment money? There are a few other methods you can try, which include:


  • A gift from parents or other relatives. As long it’s documented in a letter that the money is a gift, and not borrowed funds, the mortgage company allows it.
  • A 401K retirement fund. This is my favorite source of funds if it’s attained without a penalty. And FYI, an IRA will not allow a loan, but in some cases, a withdrawal may be possible.
  • FHA Step Up Program. Typically, funds from this program don’t have to be repaid unless the individual sells the home within a pre-set timeframe, usually 5 to 7 years.
  • State and city government first-time homebuyer grants. You have to attend classes on financial responsibility, and if you sell the home within the pre-set time frame, you have to pay the money back. However, if you follow the rules, it’s ‘free money’ if you qualify.


Keep in mind, just because there are ways to find down payment funds, you’re still required to have some money on hand to buy a new home. For example, many sales contracts require earnest money, usually $500 to $1000, to ensure your sincerity as a buyer. Plus, some programs require you have some small amount of funds you’re willing to pay. In addition, as the buyer, you have closing costs.


In my home state of Alabama there are closing fees the buyer pays that can include the origination fee, document fees, appraisal, credit report, flood certificate (to ensure the property is not in a flood zone), one-year homeowner insurance (or three months’ insurance), title insurance, title search and title examination. Plus, since the interest is paid in arrears, you pay pre-paid interest for the number of days left in the month to when your first payment is due (usually you’re given a month until your first payment is due). For example, if you closed on your home on May 26th, you would pay 6 days interest for May and interest for June is paid on your first payment, which would be on July 1st.


While it’s true buyers closing costs can be rolled into the cost of the home, in some cases, I caution against it. If the house does not appraise for the full amount of the home and the closing costs, the whole deal can unravel and not close. That leaves you, the buyer, having spent money on a professional home inspection and appraisal with nothing to show. I do have another option for paid closing cost in my “bag of tricks” that I will not reveal here. It’s for my client’s eyes only, but you are welcome to become my client. 


In conclusion, there are over 2000 different programs designed to find down payment help in the form of grants, FHA programs, delayed repayment loans, interest-free loans and such. These programs may seem too good to be true, but for buyers that meet the minimum credit score and income standards (while not exceed maximum liquidity tests), they could be just what you need to buy your newly built home in Daphne. It all starts with finding a real estate professional who can lead you in the right direction.


April 3, 2017

Daphne AL Homes for Sale Tips to Save Money This Summer

The summer months can be costly for Daphne AL homes for sale as the nice weather usually draws out those long anticipated home improvement projects to the top of the to-do list.  Summer is also the time when homeowners use sprinkler systems or air conditioning regularly, which can be very expensive.  Here are some tips on keeping your costs down this summer:

  • Get your annual HVAC service at the beginning of the hot weather season common in Daphne AL. Make sure your Air Conditioning in working order at the beginning of the summer.  You will save a lot of time and hassle as well as money by making sure your air conditioning unit is inspected by an HVAC contractor and is in prime condition.  The energy costs of running an air conditioner all summer that is not functioning at peak condition can be phenomenal, so head off these costs now before they start to build. If your Daphne AL home has an old outdated system it can be more cost efficient to replace rather than repair.

  • Use Window coverings or blinds that are insulated or made of wood, work to protect the inside of your home against sun and heat.  Though you may have to invest in these, it will help your air conditioning run more efficiently by not having to turn on as much to regulate the indoor temperature.

  • Organize a block party to coordinate with neighbors for professional services. Consider sharing the rental fee for landscaping equipment like tillers or chippers, so the total cost to each family is less. Also, some contractors may offer a group special if several Daphne AL neighbors use their services during the same timeframe.

  • Water lawns only when it begins to get dry. Installing rain sensors on your sprinkler system will cause the sprinklers to shut off when it rains, thus reducing the cost of watering your lawn.  It is best to water your lawn during the early morning hours from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. so that less evaporation occurs and more soaks into your lawn and landscaping.

And for more on buying or selling real estate on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay AL, including Homes for Sale in Fairhope, Homes for Sale in Daphne, Homes for Sale in Spanish Fort AL.

Posted in Energy Saving Tips
April 2, 2017

Enjoy Seafood Jubilee at Waterfront Fairhope Al Homes for Sale

Jubilee is a phenomenon that takes place in only two parts of the world:  Tokyo Bay in Japan and the Mobile Bay here in Alabama. A Jubilee occurs whenever there is a reduced amount of oxygen in the ocean, thereby causing aquatic life to come into shallower waters by the thousands. When this happens, shrimp, crab, flounder and eel can easily be caught by bystanders. Fairhope AL homes for sale a prime location for you to enjoy Jubilee, just smell the crab boiling on the stove, the crab stuffed flounder on the grill and the plump juicy shrimp fried in peanut oil on the stove.


Jubilee can happen anytime between June and September; however, August is the most common month for it. It can occur anywhere along the Eastern Shore or along only a few feet of beach. It typically begins in the wee hours of the morning just before daylight, but can sometimes start late at night as well. When you hear the cry "Jubilee" get ready for the feast listed above, what better reason to look for Fairhope AL homes for sale. imagine food, and a house all rolled into one!


In order for a Jubilee to happen, certain conditions must be favorable in order to allow this. Skies the previous day could have been cloudy or overcast before this phenomenon can take place. An easterly wind, rising tide, and generally calm bay are also required. Once the conditions are ripe for Jubilee, residents here can begin making preparations to take advantage of it.


I saw the Jubilee once when I was a little girl, my first thought was "Gosh, no need for a fishing pole and bait, all that is needed is a bucket and a dip net." Needless to say, the Jubilee was over when we arrived back at the site where fish would have just jumped in the bucket and dinner was caught.


It can be helpful to have a crab net and gigs that can be grabbed at a moment’s notice if you are to haul in some fresh catch. You should also have a lantern or large flashlight equipped with working batteries. Wading boots are also important, as stingray often rise to the surface during a Jubilee, and can deliver a piercing bolt should their stinger come into contact with your foot.


Keep several large buckets handy so you will be able to transport your catch back home once the Jubilee is over. Call or text 251-510-0629 Barbara S. Reeves, Associate Broker Realtor, RE/MAX By The Bay for homes near Jubilee areas.

Fairhope Al Homes for sale on the water allow you to enjoy this world-class phenomenon during the summer, and a casual lifestyle in a small town atmosphere the rest of the year. 

April 1, 2017

5 Cool Facts About Daphne Alabama

Daphne Al, also considered part of the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, lies across the bay from Mobile in Baldwin County. Established in 1874, Daphne was first visited by Spanish explorers in 1557. As one of the largest counties east of the Mississippi, Baldwin County, has a bustling economy and plenty of new job opportunities for people moving to the Daphne area. It's not hard to find progress, many new construction Daphne Al homes for sale are ready to move-in, just waiting for families who want to call this friendly community home. Need a few more reasons to look at Daphne? These five cool facts may interest you!

  1. Daphne Al was named one of the "Best 100 Places to Live" by CNN/Money Magazine.
  2. Daphne experiences the unusual phenomena called Jubilee. A few times a year, seafood like blue crab, fish, and shrimp, rise to the surface of the water to be scooped up by lucky residents who encounter it. This rare but welcome event usually occurs in summer and has granted Daphne the name, "The Jubilee City."
  3. The people of Daphne focus much of their resources and attention on maintaining premium parks and hiking trails for local residents. The city's Adopt-A-Park program is a popular cause which businesses, churches, and individuals support.
  4. Daphne is the cultural hub of the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. Besides the Annual Jubilee Festival, throughout the year, the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce hosts arts and crafts events that attract many art lovers from around the world.
  5. The Daphne-Fairhope micropolitan area was voted the 11th strongest economy in the United States. Industries like prefab steel buildings, water purification equipment manufacturers, gas exploration and a myriad of travel agencies have helped Daphne achieve her prestigious status.

Now is the time to view Daphne AL new homes for sale!  Whether looking for a community-minded subdivision or your own slice of country heaven, you can find the perfect spot in Daphne, Alabama.


Contact Barbara text/call 251-510-0629 for a virtual or in-person tour!

Posted in Community News
March 31, 2017

Expenses to Consider When Buying Fairhope AL Homes for Sale

If you're a first-time home buyer who has rented apartments all your life, you may think that the monthly mortgage is similar to your rent. That is only partially true. Your rent covered many additional expenses that you now have to pay for on your own when you buy a house. The following lists some of those additional costs:

  • Property tax. This is based on the value of your home and is typically due to the state once a year. (For a smaller hit on your budget, the payment can be divided into monthly installments that you submit with your mortgage.) The tax covers construction, maintenance, and services provided by the government, including schools and fixing potholes.
  • Homeowner's association dues. Often abbreviated as HOA, this monthly fee is due to your management company only if you buy a home in a planned development or a condo. Among other things, it covers maintenance of common area amenities, such as parks and community playgrounds, and insurance to the exterior of your building.
  • Insurance. You have damages your property, insurance will compensate you for any repairs. It also pays for possessions that are stolen. It covers liability if you or a member of your family causes injury to someone else or damages their property. Insurance premiums can be due from monthly to annually.
  • Utilities. These payments are due monthly for such services as electricity, water, trash pickup, phone, and internet service. Some of all of them you may have previously paid in addition to your rent. Now you may have to apply to each utility to get it turned on, and pay a separate bill to each service provider.

If you want to know more about what you need to own a house, or want help with buying Fairhope AL Homes for Sale, please call Barbara.

March 30, 2017

Fairhope AL New Home Construction


Fairhope residents don't have plans to transform their tight-knit community into a new Pensacola or even abustling Birmingham. Fairhope is a place that is unapologetically whimsical with a lifestyle focused on the lifestyle along the Mobile Bay. 

Author Rick Bragg wrote this about Fairhope in the Smithsonian Magazine, "This is a place where you can turn left without three light changes, prayer or smoking tires, where pelicans are as plentiful as pigeons..."  

Both Baldwin and nearby Mobile Counties have experienced positive job growth with the arrival of business giants, Austal USA and Airbus. Besides the obvious advantages of having these companies calling Mobile home at least partly, there's a new excitement along the Gulf Coast. Supportive businesses such as steel suppliers and industrial vendors are also perusing the area. This is the perfect time to consider Fairhope new home construction.

Some of the new jobs in this area include ship aviation system support teams, network contract specialists, software designers and physicians. According to theDowntown Fairhope Business Association, "Fairhope boasts a charming flower-filled downtown shopping district, filled with art galleries, restaurants and over 80 unique shops."

After you acquire one of these coveted jobs or settle your business firmly in the Fairhope community, you'll have time to enjoy the charms of this bayfront area. Annual festivals, art events, and various concerts fill the city's schedule, giving you a chance to mingle with the locals. (And eventually become one!)

That's proof that even niche businesses, including art galleries and restaurants,have a place along this stretch of the Gulf Coast. 

Call Barbara for more information about new home builds in Fairhope, Alabama.


March 29, 2017

A New Home One Year After Financial Hardships? Yes!

A New Home One Year After Financial Hardships? Yes! 

If you've lost a home in Alabama to financial hardship you might wonder if you'll ever be able to buy another house. Then again, maybe you know homeownership is possible someday, but you're not sure how long it would take. Many people believe that it is seven years before they can buy real estate, which can be true… but it depends on the loan and the type of hardship.  In some cases, it can be as short as one year. And no, that’s not a typo – one year, 12 months, to a new mortgage after a financial blunder.

As a Fairhope Realtor, it’s important to talk about the different financial hardships and the various types of mortgages that are available to people with less than perfect credit. First, it's important to know the five most popular types of loans include the following: Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA and Jumbo. As for the types of financial hardship, they are Foreclosure, Short Sale/Deed In Lieu of, Chapter 7 or 11 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13.

So what does that mean for you? Well, let's explore that…

Purchasing an AL Home After Foreclosure

If you're seeking a Conventional or Jumbo loan like other people in Alabama, then yes, seven years is usually the number of years you can expect to wait before you can apply for another loan. However, with a USDA loan or a VA loan, the magic number is only three years from the foreclosure completion date. An FHA loan can be three years from completion too or seven years for a high balance cash out refinance.  For those who are curious, a high balance cash out refinance is when you refinance a home for more than the existing loan amount so you have more cash in your hand at the closing. So while it is correct to say the timeframe can be seven years, it really does depend on the type of loan you seek after a foreclosure.

Buying a Home After a Short Sale/Deed In Lieu Of

Jumbo loans also have a seven-year waiting period on short sales, however, other mortgage types are shorter than you might expect, especially when compared to a foreclosure. For example, with a Conventional mortgage (depending on if the loan is subject to mortgage insurance), it's often four years from the completion date or settlement (which is three years shorter than the 7-year foreclosure timeframe). For veterans, the VA loan can be as short as one year from the completion date. As for the USDA loan and the FHA loan, it’s often three years from the completion or settlement date if the home was in default at the time of the sale. This is why I often tell my clients who need to sell a home that a short sale is always better than a foreclosure, if possible.

When to Buy a Home After Chapter 7 or 11 Bankruptcy

Again, your Jumbo loan is going to be a seven-year wait after Chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcy. However, it's only three years from the completion date for USDA loan. Conventional loans come in at four years, while the shortest wait times for Chapter 7 or 11 are FHA and VA loans, which can be two years. Now, if you wanted to do a high balance cash out refinance on an FHA loan then that does have a seven-year waiting period. 

How to Buy a Home After Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 declares have the shortest wait when it comes to Jumbo loans, which is five years from completion date. USDA loans can sometimes be available in three years, while Conventional loans can be two years from discharge and four years from dismissal. FHA loans after Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be available in as little as a year from the discharge or dismissal date. As for the FHA cash out refinance, though, those require seven years. Once again, VA is the winner… if you qualify. Veterans who declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy only have to wait one year from the discharge/dismissal date and three years for a high balance loan.

The point is this… one financial misstep does not mean the end of the world for you. In fact, it might not be as bleak as you believe.  Also, keep in mind that this information is subject to change. Nothing is set in stone and the information is offered simply as a guideline. There may be other factors that determine loan approval, like reestablishing your credit, down payment requirements, credit scores, etc. Plus, your times might be longer, or shorter, than what's listed here.  However, don't be afraid to learn more about your purchasing power after a financial hardship. Contact me to find out if there could be a mortgage here in Alabama that's right for your situation.