Market Watch – August vs. July 2011 and August 2011 vs. 2010

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As we cross into the second half of the current year, I’m proud to announce a number of fantastic achievements we’ve accomplished here at Amanda Howard Real Estate – and pledge our commitment to continue working for you, to better ourselves and maintain our standing in the market as within the top 1% of Realtors in the country (voted by the Wall Street Journal).  We are grateful to have been nominated as Small Business of the Year, Leadership Executive of the Year and the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Awards.

Focusing on our current marketplace, I thought mid-year was a good spot to shed some light on how we are doing as compared to the previous year and also month-to-month.  There are some interesting factors to keep in mind that affect how the numbers look on paper and what with what perspective, so hopefully this piece will help to clarify any questions you may have regarding how we are doing in the real estate market these days.

To follow along on some of the figures I am reporting, click on this link and you will see graphs and charts depicting market performance in detail.

The Long and Short of It

Basically there is a lot of uncertainty nowadays.  But not necessarily for the reasons you may think.  Where there are some reports talking of this being the most unprecedented real estate hangover since the real estate bubble inflated and then burst, on the flip side, however, the media is brimming with stories about this being the BEST time to buy, buy, buy!  What is a consumer to think?  Naturally we can expect anger and frustration from people who are not sure exactly what is going on and have no idea what the reality of the situation is.

The Market Crashes and Soars At the Same Time?

Among the seemingly conflicting reports, one common one is about the current historically low interest rates and that the market is continuously crashing.  At the same time, you also hear stuff about the market jumping “19% up in sales, stunning economists!”

What’s the true picture here?  The truth is that given the very low home prices we are experiencing because of the down market, coupled with low, low interest rates – we are indeed seeing a spiked interest from investors.  In fact, twenty five percent of August sales were reported as sales made to investors.

Add to this heightened real estate investment activity the fact that one third of all sales are known distressed properties within the past two months alone, and it is apparent that investors are on the prowl, seizing the opportunities that are out there during this soft market.  As a result, investors are absorbing a significant number of properties while looking to hedge against higher inflation.

How The Numbers Are Stacking Up

We saw a sizable increase in existing home sales from last year versus this year and also the previous month (July) to the current reporting month (August).  There was an 18.6% hike in home sales in 2011 vs. 2010, which spiked the interest of market analysts.   The reason for this appears to be what I call the “tax-credit hangover”, following the 2010 summertime deadline for the Home Buyer Tax Credit.

As we move into the cooler months of the year, it will be expected to see a downward trend in these same numbers, which is typical of this time of year.  Keep in mind that another factor that affects our market statistics is the number of distressed properties among those properties that are sold.

A Tip:  Be Selective When Selecting a Bank

One thing is certain – when you are choosing a lender, remember that all lenders are not created equal.  These days especially, mortgage lenders are operating under very strained guidelines and the result that shows up to you, the buyer, is that you should find one who you can trust and one that has a rapport with others in the industry that you trust.  Get in touch with us and we will happily put you in contact with our list of preferred lenders; those who have a proven track record to work within the realm of their maximum ability and who you know you can trust to be honest and straightforward about your situation, no matter what it may be.  We look forward to hearing from you!


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – September 9, 2011 –The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce recently highlighted the area's top small businesses and non-profit organizations during their annual Small Business Awards dinner.  They also named the young professional of the year and gave an award for executive leadership.

      The sold-out event was held at the Von Braun Center and featured just over 100 nominees.  The theme was 'Champions of Small Business'.  Amanda Howard and Amanda Howard Real Estate was honored to be nominated for the following three awards: Small Business of the Year, Young Professional of the Year, and the Russell G. Brown Executive Leadership Award.

      Amanda Howard Real Estate is a licensed member of the Huntsville Area Association of Realtors® and the National Association of Realtors®. Servicing Huntsville, Madison, Athens and Decatur area, Amanda Howard Real Estate provides the highest quality, most innovative and exceptional real estate service available. Please call 256-799-9000 or visit for more information.  Amanda Howard Real Estate is located at 900 Merchants Walk, Suite A, Huntsville, AL 35801.


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – September 9, 2011 –The Wall Street Journal and Real Trends, Inc.,  released the top 1000 real estate agents and teams in the United States in transactions closed and sales volume for 2010.  With over 1 million independent agents and teams registered with the National Association of Realtors, making the top 1,000 is a great honor. 

      This year, one local Huntsville agency has accomplished this awesome feat.  In their charter year as an independent agency Amanda Howard Real Estate made the top 1,000, ranking #103 in transactions closed and #234 in dollar volume closed for 2010.  Amanda Howard Real Estate is known throughout the community as being a real estate leader and influential authority on North Alabama’s real estate market.
     “This is a huge honor for us at Amanda Howard Real Estate!  We are extremely blessed to have such support in our community which has allowed us to achieve this level of national recognition,” says Amanda Howard.

How to Be a Wise House-Shopper in a Great Buyer’s Market!

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There’s no doubt about it – there are a great many bargains in the real estate market today if you’re a person looking for a new home. However, we highly recommend that you don’t get dazzled by all the opportunities and make a potentially expensive and poor decision. To that end, I’d like to offer you some common-sense guidelines to follow.

Guideline 1: Pay Attention to Your Budget
Before beginning your search for that new home, sit down and come up with a monthly payment you can handle with ease and then look for the house that fits that budget.

Guideline 2: Save Up for a Down Payment
Due to the “mortgage meltdown,” lenders are currently much more cautious about giving out money. Depending on the situation, they may insist on a minimum down payment of 10% or one that’s all the way up to 25%. So, start saving!

Guideline 3: Improve Your Credit Score
A good credit score is a great way to make the whole process easier when you apply for a loan. Today’s lenders scrutinize such scores more closely today than in the past. If you don’t have a good score, work hard to get it up into an acceptable range. It’ll save you money on interest charges and down payments in the long run!

Guideline 4: Get a Pre-Approved Mortgage Loan
If you’re a first-time home buyer or simply a buyer who wants to make sure you stay within your means, it’s a wise idea to get a pre-approved mortgage.This is simply the process of applying for a mortgage and getting approval for the loan prior to buying a home.

A “pre-approval” is an indication that the lender is ready to extend a mortgage to you once you’ve located the right property.  And it has several benefits. First of all, it saves time and energy. Once you have a pre-approved loan amount, you’re required to stay within the limits of that loan in terms of the price you’ll pay for a house.

First, when working with a realtor, ask him or her to limit the choices to those stated in the loan. This prevents the agent from showing you properties which are out of your range. By the way, they’ll really appreciate those parameters because it’ll help them zero in on properties with the best chance of sale! 

Second, you can spend more time looking at homes you really like and, simultaneously, not wasting time on houses that aren’t within your budget. This allows you to focus on the details of the homes you do like in order to make sure you select the right one; for example, kitchens, baths, garages, etc.

Third, you can bargain more effectively with sellers once they know you’re pre-approved. In the current market, that’s a great relief for many sellers because they realize they have a reasonable certainty of selling their property when working with a pre-approved buyer.

 you can close faster with a pre-approved loan because there’s no time lost in the usual processing period for loans. For example, an appraisal can be ordered right away, and you have the potential to cut a 30-day closing to two or three weeks.

Finally, the seller will prefer to deal with you, particularly if he or she needs to move quickly.

Now, you have some common-sense guidelines to follow when seeking a new home in today’s market! You can learn even more by contacting us today.