Huntsville Ranked Among the Best Cities – What’s In Store for the Real Estate Market?

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Now that the election is over we can sit back and let out all that pent up energy about the housing market. For sellers that had been on the fence wondering what might happen if our President changed and for buyers unsure of the impact on our economy, the news is good and bad.

Sales Up, DOM Steady and Inventory Slowly Moving Downward
The good news is that we are seeing an upward swing in selling trends considering year over year numbers from 2012 vs. 2011 and 2011 vs. 2010. In fact, we reported an 11% incline in local sales this year. The number of days on market is holding fairly steady with just four days fewer to sell a home than the same time last year but our inventory levels are going down. Currently we have 1.9 fewer months of inventory on hand year over year.

These factors point to a positive incline of stability. And when you consider the fact that our city ranks high on many lists among the nation, we can count on an even stronger economy ahead.

Not so good is our unemployment rate, which while is lower than the state and national levels, is still fairly high. If the Obama Administration decides to implement budget cuts then the impact could be a harsh one on our economy. Approved budget cuts would likely result in many people selling their homes.  

Market Statistics for Madison and Limestone Counties
Here are some more statistics to help you see how our marketplace is performing in November 2012:

October 2012 homes sold were 472 with a median price of $163,600 versus the same time last year with 387 sold homes and a median price of $164,085.  Inventory levels have also changed year over year as mentioned above, with 1.9 months fewer homes on the market this year. Sales are up year over year as well.

Great Things Can Be Expected Ahead
In this State of the City address, Mayor Tommy Battle speaks of a great time for the City of Huntsville with much to look forward to. And just look at the list of media recognition our great city has received from Kiplinger’s to CNN Money Magazine, The Washington Times, USA Today and more. Even Forbes mentions Huntsville as one of the nation’s top best places for business and career.

We have so many exciting new developments coming to the area with a host of new projects including a fantastic downtown master plan for John Hunt Park that is community driven with room for input by residents at 
As always, I invite you to contact me should you have any real estate needs at all. We’d love to help make your real estate dreams become a reality!

How Your Roof Can Increase Your Home's Value

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Whether you’re considering selling your home in the near future or looking to increase the value of your home for an upcoming refinance, the all-important place to start is at the top. Take a close look at your roof and consider whether it adds to or detracts from your home’s value.

What most people look for first are any signs of aging, which tend to trigger suspicions about leakage problems. Make sure your roof is not unfairly labeled as “old”—and your home thereby devalued—by conducting a thorough cleaning to remove black staining or debris. While hiring a professional to power wash your roof is always an option, you can also choose to tackle the job yourself with a large broom, some soap and a garden hose—just make sure you are physically up to the challenge of climbing ladders and navigating heights.

While cleaning your roof may simply involve removing dirt and stains, be sure to determine whether mold is also a culprit. Understandably, mold is a serious detriment to your home’s value and needs to be removed promptly and thoroughly.

Once your roof is clean and aesthetically pleasing, investigate your attic to find out if there are indeed any leaks. The attic is the best place to spot signs of a leaky roof, according to GAF, a manufacturer of residential and commercial roofing. Have all leaks repaired immediately, even if they are minor. While they may go unnoticed by a potential buyer, a home inspector will find them and you’ll take a hit to your sales price or appraisal value.

Next, take a close look at your roof for granules on shingles, curling on the edges of shingles or shingles that have come loose. These repairs should also be taken care of right away.

Be sure to maintain an accurate record of all repairs done to your roof—in the past and currently. This documentation can serve as important competitive differentiation when you’re selling your home and will give an appraiser an indisputable picture of your roof’s condition.   

How to Prepare Your Yard and Garden for Winter

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While we spend so much time and money keeping our yard beautifully maintained all summer, we often fall short when fall rolls around. By taking just a few easy steps, you can properly prepare your lawn and garden for the winter months, so that you can enjoy its full splendor when warmer weather returns.

The experts at garden equipment manufacturer Troy-Bilt recommend taking the following steps:
  • Evaluate. Before you start your preparations, take a moment to review what worked and did not work in the garden over the past season and jot down notes in a garden journal so you remember a year or two from now. Fall is the best time to move plants because roots are given ample time to establish.

  • Clean up. Removing leaves and debris reduces the likelihood of future problems since they can harbor pests and diseases.

  • Repair damage. Fall is the best time to reseed a lawn that's been damaged by summer heat. Top-dressing the seed with up to one-quarter inch compost or soil will help it take root.

  • Don't put away the hose. Continue to water plants and lawns in the fall, as the rainfall tends to slow down. Plants need to stay hydrated to properly retreat to their winter states.

  • Fertilize. Despite what many people might think, autumn – not spring – is the most crucial time to fertilize lawns and gardens. Renewing the mulch in flower beds, especially the top two or three inches, will protect many plants from harmful freezes.

  • Go easy on pruning. Pruning promotes growth. It's important to prepare plants to go dormant during the winter rather than growing.

  • Think spring. Some spring bulbs, such as crocus and grape hyacinth, should be planted in the fall. Larger bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, should be planted in the fall but won't bloom until spring. Many vegetable plants, like beets, broccoli and cabbage grow best in the winter.

  • Cover plots. Covering a garden bed with burlap keeps weeds at bay. Another option is to plant a nitrogen-rich cover crop, like clover, which can be easily turned under when spring arrives.

  • Tune-up tools. After completing all preparations, clean, oil and sharpen tools, and then store them in a dry place to prevent rusting.

  • Winterize your power equipment. Make sure to drain the gas from your lawn mower and other gas-powered equipment after you've finished using them for the season to keep the engine running smoothly next year.

Although you may be tempted to skip these less-than-glamorous fall tasks, keep in mind that winterizing your garden will make for less work come springtime.