Archive for the 'Buyer Tips' Category

Pike Road School Groundbreaking Video

January 10th, 2014 categories: Buyer Tips, Neighborhoods, Pike Road, Schools

If you weren’t able to make the Pike Road School groundbreaking ceremony at The Waters this morning, here’s a quick video so you can see what you missed.

Because I have been to quite a few of these Town of Pike Road events, I expected a well-executed, inspirational, informative ceremony.  I got exactly that.  See if you don’t agree that Pike Road, Alabama, is an exciting place to live these days.

If you’d like to learn about homes for sale in Pike Road because of the new school, or if you’re just interested in Pike Road real estate because it’s an great place to live, give us a call (256) 853-0357 or contact us here.  We’d love to talk with you about the possibilities.

The Town of Pike Road had a nice tent set up on The Avenue of the Waters, where the school will be located in east Montgomery County. For those of you familiar with The Waters neighborhood, you go in the main entrance off of Marler Road, go over the first little bridge, climb the hill, and it’s on your right before you get to the tennis courts.  It was a cold, misty day today so everyone was glad to have some shelter! As you can see from the video above, a little line of dirt was set up in the background with ten or twelve fancy shovels at ready.

Mayor Gordon Stone welcomed everyone. You could tell that the Mayor was bursting with pride today. It was understandable, because he and many others have been working for about sixteen years to get to this point. In fact, the Mayor went out of his way to thank any and everyone involved, most by name. He even recognized former Town councilmen, which I thought was a nice touch. Then he introduced Ms. Linda Ware, Vice President of the Pike Road School Board. She led the invocation and did a really nice job.

After the pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Stone read a proclamation and then introduced some various speakers.  Wayne Rabren spoke first. Mr. Rabren was the first mayor of the Town of Pike Road. He gave a different angle on the history, pointing out that the first Pike Road School was formed in like 1919 and educated area children until the late 1960s. Next, Chris Dunn spoke. Chris is the current Chairman of the Pike Road Town Council and Mayor Pro Tempore. Chris is a great speaker and always delivers. Next up was Ray Hawthorne. I have never met Ray, and was curious about what he would say as he is the President of the Pike Road School Board. He did a good job as well.  Mr. Hawthorne spoke mainly about keeping true to the original vision of excellence by keeping standards high and working hard.

Before the Mayor wrapped up, Dr. Ed Richardson spoke. Dr. Richardson is the former State of Alabama Superintendent of Education, and is widely regarded as a visionary, effective leader in the education field. Dr. Richardson was a key cog in the Pike Road School process – he served as the Executive Director of the Pike Road Leadership Council. I knew that they would be OK when it was announced he would head the effort to negotiate with the Montgomery public school system for the asset split. At the groundbreaking, Dr. Richardson also talked about the need of high standards, and urged residents to stick to them, even if it means there are some rough patches!

After that, everyone shifted over to the shovels for the official groundbreaking. It was a really fun time when the town councilmen, school board folks, parents, and even kids got in the act.

The weather was cold in rainy, as you can see in the above video. But it’s clear that the Town of Pike Road is burning with optimism about its school and the community’s future!

A Not-So-Extreme Pike Road Home Makeover

April 5th, 2013 categories: Buyer Tips, Neighborhoods, Pike Road

Location, location, location.

When the owners of this home were house hunting, they knew 2 things:  1) They wanted to buy a home in Pike Road, AL, and 2) they wanted to buy in a specific neighborhood within Pike Road.  So when they found this Pike Road house for sale in their target neighborhood, they scooped it up.

Pike Road Home Makeover Before

The home was built in 1998 and had a great floor plan, but the exterior was not all they had hoped for.  Since they planned to stick around for a while, they enlisted the help of Jones Pierce Architects in Atlanta to rethink the exterior and make it pretty.

To keep costs down, the owners sent pictures and measurements to the architect, and the architect returned a drawing with suggestions.

(Note to homeowners from a real estate agent: When planning a home renovation project, spend a little extra money on an architect and get the details right.  The results are WELL worth it, and it is often far more affordable than you think.  It usually helps with resale as well;  while buyers cannot often verbalize this, the remodel done by an architect just looks like it’s done right.)

Here’s the architect’s marketing for this service, using the Pike Road house as one example:

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 11.14.30 AM

Contractor Doug Fuhrman of Southern Traditions Construction (a Pike Road resident) was hired to manage the makeover which included a new front portico, new windows,  a new landing with brick pavers, and new paint colors for the entire exterior.

Here’s a sneak peek at the almost finished facade –  a refreshed, updated exterior.

Pike Road Redo After
Advice from these homeowners?  They would tell you that the location has pleased them more than they could have imagined, so slowly updating the home’s appearance has been a pleasure.  As a realtor, I remind buyers that they can’t change the location of a home, but they can change the home itself.  Make sure you are sold on a home’s location before you buy.

If you, too, are looking for homes for sale in the Pike Road area,  give us a call (John (334) 221-5862), or CLICK HERE to contact us via email. We’ll connect you with an experienced Realtor who knows Pike Road and Montgomery well, and can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

And if your River Region home needs a little facelift, consider these fine professionals below:

Jones Pierce Architects

Southern Traditions Construction – Doug Fuhrman (334) 531-3914 or [email protected]

Kocher Building Materials – windows, doors, trim, etc.

Homes and Lots For Sale In The Waters

February 15th, 2013 categories: Buyer Tips, Neighborhoods, Pike Road

chapelThe Waters is one of the most unique neighborhoods in the greater Montgomery area. We are pleased to announce our Neighborhood Page on The Waters now has a live list of homes for sale in the Waters and lots for sale in The Waters.

If you would like to read our neighborhood page, we give a bit of info and history on the Waters, plus we have added in these live links. This is the latest in an effort to bring you live MLS links, broken down by neighborhood, showing you homes and lots for sale right now. Like the Lochshire neighborhood page, the fact that it’s a live MLS link means that no matter when you check it, today or in 200 tomorrows, it constantly pulls the freshest list of homes for sale from the Montgomery MLS.

If you want to search the entire MLS, click here for our Montgomery area home search and customize to your heart’s content. But, we figure enough people are interested in specific neighborhoods, so we at Three Rivers Recon thought it would be cool to build out these neighborhood pages.

There’s a lot of things going on in The Waters right now, not the least of which is the new planned Town of Pike Road School that will be located there. Keep your eyes out here as we cover this and blog about it.

What are we missing? Would you like to see other neighborhoods in Montgomery, Pike Road, or Prattville spotlighted (or is it spotlit ?)? Or would you like more details on the ones we have? Click here and let us know.

Would you like more information about specific homes or lots you see? We can help with that, too. Click here for the same contact form and let us know. We live here. We work here. We can help!

View Lochshire Homes For Sale

February 13th, 2013 categories: Buyer Tips, Neighborhoods, Pike Road


Are you curious about homes for sale in the Pike Road neighborhood of Lochshire?

We have great news. Three Rivers Recon has just updated its Lochshire neighborhood page to include a live feed from the Montgomery Area MLS. This live feed will show you the homes for sale right now in Lochshire! Yes!

Don’t worry if you are reading this one minute after we post it, or one year. The fact that it is a live feed from the Montgomery MLS ensures that the Lochshire Neighborhood page will always be up to the minute, always updated to show you the very latest information on homes for sale. This includes all homes for sale, all listings from every single real estate agent, every real estate brokerage in the Montgomery MLS. Not just ours.

We are proud to be building out all of our Neighborhood Pages here at Three River Recon. Very soon we will have live links for many more neighborhoods in Pike Road and east Montgomery, Alabama. Don’t see one on our list? Contact us here and let us know!

Realtors Are Here When You’re Not

February 12th, 2013 categories: Buyer Tips, Montgomery, Neighborhoods, Pike Road

It’s been raining for three days in Montgomery and Pike Road, AL.  If you’re house hunting long distance, it’s not possible to cruise by your favorite lot and see how the drainage is working after a heavy rain.  With all the real estate information available on the Internet, it may be tempting to go it alone when making a home purchase.

ThreeRiversRecon rain

But the MLS listing info on the Internet cannot tell the full story of a property.  The picture above is a great example.  This is a lot that’s currently for sale in the area.  I drove by and snapped this pic yesterday, after 2 days of rain.  It’s crucial to have a Realtor working for you who knows the area well. A seasoned, local Realtor will be able to tell you not only which lots/homes are for sale, but also which lots/homes get soggy after a storm.  And having a Realtor on your team costs a buyer nothing – the seller pays the commission.

Give us a call and let us introduce you to local Realtors who specialize in Montgomery and Pike Road real estate. It’s all they do, day in and day out.  They have the experience to guide you through the buying process and avoid getting swamped.

Call John at (334) 221-5862, or CLICK HERE to contact us via email.

Now Selling: Providence Neighborhood in Pike Road

January 23rd, 2012 categories: Buyer Tips, Neighborhoods, Pike Road

Looking for a new construction home for sale in Pike Road that’s zoned for the new Pike Road school system?  Then check out the homes and lots for sale in the neighborhood of Providence.

Video Tour of Providence Neighborhood In Pike Road, AL


Providence is located southeast of the intersection of Vaughn and Pike Roads, and I think construction of this neighborhood originally began around 2007 or so.  The homes and lots were pricey, and the architectural style was going to be “French Country and European” according to the original developer’s sales material.

Then we had a recession and Providence construction came to a screeching halt.

Enter Stone Martin Builders around 2011, and the neighborhood is back on track, but with a new vision, significantly reduced prices, and more limited choices in architectural styles and floor plans.

According to a January 11, 2012 article in the Montgomery Advertiser’s East Montgomery newspaper, there are “at least 104 lots” now available in Providence, and the builders have several floor plans you can choose from.  These are big homes:  designs range from around 2,000 square feet to 4,300 square feet, with prices from the $219’s – $300’s.

Stone Martin has bought other partially built Pike Road developments and is quickly building them out.  Bon Terre and Gray Ridge, also neighborhoods on Pike Road in close proximity to Providence, are quickly filling up with new homes, too.

Why the push to be in Pike Road?   #1, in my opinion these homes are being built at significantly lower prices than anywhere else in town. Look at the square footage and prices above and do the math.   #2 The Pike Road school system.

This past October, Town of Pike Road residents voted to raise property taxes in order to support a brand new Pike Road public school system, separate from the Montgomery Public School System.  The new k-12 school is expected to open the first phase of its K-8 facility in 2015All residents of Pike Road will be zoned for this new school.

To recap: new construction, large homes, low prices, new school system = get it while it’s hot.

If you have questions about Providence or any homes in Pike Road, contact us by clicking here, call us  at (334) 22-15862, or email us at threeriversrecon @ coleyre . com.

Bermuda Grass Wins Again: One Yard Owner’s Battle in Montgomery

March 28th, 2010 categories: Buyer Tips, Montgomery, Pike Road

my yard does not look like thisIf you are relocating to Montgomery, AL and plan on buying a home, lawn care will likely be part of that package.

The Feed Lot has products that will help you take care of it.

In this neck of the woods, Bermuda grass is the ground cover of choice.  It has a fine blade, is invasive, and varieties are used for golf course and football field turf.  Whether you care for it or not, it’s probably in your East Montgomery yard.

Upon moving to Montgomery, we built a house and battled weeds in our Bermuda lawn for 5 years.  When properly treated, it has a slick, highly manicured look, and weeds stick out like a sore thumb.  Our neighbors had effortless, immaculate lawns.  We had no kids and time to kill.   We fertilized,  we fretted.  We constantly had weeds.

The difference?  They had their yards sprayed by a lawn service and we didn’t.  Or, rather, we wouldn’t.  There was principle involved.  We didn’t need to pay someone else to keep our tiny yard tidy.  Where’s the fun in that?

The clover finally did us in.

Wait – isn’t this post supposed to be about The Feed Lot?  Stay with me . . .

So we called in the folks at Southern Lawns and got on their program that involved spraying fertilizer “stuff” on our lawn 3 or so times a year.  It was magical.  The weeds were gone.

Fast forward another 5 or so years: a new house, bigger yard, same problems.  We loved our experience with Southern Lawns and highly recommend them, but once again, we’re on a mission to do it ourselves.

IMG_0217Someone recommended The Feed Lot as a great resource for weed control products that actually work.  It’s the real-deal hardware/country store on Meriwether Road in Pike Road.

So we’ve gotten the “pre-emergent” fertilizer down that’s supposed to kill the crabgrass . . .

We’ll let you now how it goes . . . In the meantime, we’re Realtors, so give us a call if you need help finding your next yard (and home) in the Montgomery area.  We’d love to do the legwork for you!

Not all Pike Road is Pike Road: Do Your Research

February 15th, 2010 categories: Buyer Tips, Montgomery, Neighborhoods, Pike Road

Just because you’ve driven past Chantilly Parkway on Vaughn Road does not mean everything that lays before you is part of the Town of Pike Road, AL.  Even passing through the light at CVS on Vaughn and Pike Roads is not a clear threshold to the municipality of the Town of Pike Road.

It’s just not that simple.

Pike Road Town Limits Map

The map above (from the Town of Pike Road website, click on it to enlarge) shows the patchwork that is east Montgomery County.  The map below (from the City of Montgomery website) details city trash pickup days, and on the lower right hand side of the map the patchwork of Montgomery City/Montgomery County/Town of Pike Road is evident here, too.

City of Montgomery Trash Map

How does this affect the east Montgomery house hunter?

For example, you could research a home on Saw Tooth Loop in the Woodland Creek subdivision.  The neighborhood is across Vaughn Road from Bridle Brook, which is a Town of Pike Road community.  The street address for homes in Woodland Creek say “Pike Road, AL.”  But this home is actually zoned for City of Montgomery amenities: sewer, trash, schools.  Unless current zoning changes, it would not be zoned for a future Pike Road School.  Confusing?  Sure.

symbol for Pike Road zoning

In 2008, in the neighborhood of Merry Station, all but one of about 20 homes were incorporated into the Town of Pike Road.  One home was zoned Montgomery County.  How did the homeowners figure this out?  They had to do a little research.  That home has since been incorporated into the Town of Pike Road.

So why does it matter? Different reasons for different buyers.  Some might prefer City of Montgomery services?  Some might want to be zoned for the possibility of a future Pike Road school system? And designations can sometimes be changed . . .

The main point if that if you have a preference, you’ll need to do a little digging.  Looking at the street address alone will not suffice.

The folks at the Town Hall in Pike Road are a big help.  So is having a knowledgeable Realtor working for you.  Give us a call and let us do the digging for you.

A Three Rivers Recon Short Sale Primer

January 31st, 2010 categories: Buyer Tips

From the mailbag:  Having a blog gives me lots of chances to get great questions from readers. One such reader recently emailed me about short sales.  Here’s how my answers went:

1.) Could you give me a short lesson on “short sales”?  Are they fairly standard, or many variations?

Each deal is different, depending on seller, mortgage company, property, etc.

2.) If a mortgage is leveraged on a house or piece of property, and the owner sells “short” is the owner liable/responsible for the deficiency?

Yes. Short sales are when the seller is still the person (not the bank), but they are selling it for less than they owe to the bank. Usually, depending on the amount, the bank goes after the deficiency, either in form of a new personal note, or a suit, or a lien on other assets, whatever.  Sometimes the bank forgives a portion of the mortgage debt.

3.) Does the mortgage holder have to approve the sale?

Yes, or they will not release the mortgage lien on the property. If they didn’t, the buyer would be buying a property in Montgomery with a mortgage (that is higher than the property value) already on it. You do NOT want to buy a property unless all liens are released or at least disclosed.  The buyer’s lawyer / closing attorney should discover and disclose all of this.

4.) How is it different from just walking away from a mortgage and allowing foreclosure?

A short sale is usually attempted before foreclosure. I say “usually.”

Each one of these is very different. In general, the bigger the bank that is owed, the harder it is to pull off the short sale. Like I had a buyer that put in an offer on a short sale on a waterfront home on Lake Martin. After about 75 days, the bank finally responded – NO. No counter offer, no nothing. 75 days (of the bulk of the summer) – wasted. On the other hand, a small local bank is able to pull off short sales and foreclosures rather effectively because there are real people making decisions quickly instead of talking (when you can get them on the phone) to a person in a cubicle in California.

Recently I read a great article in USA today, saying only 23% of short sales go through.  From my experience, I would say that it a pretty accurate number, if you include all offers made to all short sellers (like above).

5.) Are Montgomery short sales usually good deals?

Maybe.  Just because it’s a short sale or foreclosure does not necessarily guarantee that it is a good deal. You still have to go through the same thought process to make sure the value is there as a buyer.

6. What takes so long?  Why do some banks “drag their feet” so much with a short sale?

From talking with my friends in the real estate industry, this is a nationwide thing, not a Montgomery thing.  The short sales process is slow.  In fact, a Realtor I know in Tampa complimented me for getting it done under 120 days.

Again, the large banks are the ones that usually take a while to process a short sale.  In that particular case, it went like this:  on Day 1 the seller sends (fax only) the signed contract to the bank.  It takes 10 or so days for the bank to “process” the receipt.  Then they assign it to a representative.  Then the representative takes 14 days or so to contact you after that.  So really it was day 24 until the seller could talk to a person that told him “OK we’ve received your fax.”  Then he might ask for additional forms, say, another tax return from the seller, or some other such paperwork, that the seller might have even received.

Once the seller faxes those in, you guessed it, it takes about 5 days for the rep to confirm receipt.  Then he might ask for the contract again.  But – we’ve already sent that – right?  Well, I need the XYZ form…  These types of conversations go on and on for 3 or 4 weeks.  Then the rep (if you’re lucky) will call the listing agent to talk it over. Then maybe the bank will make some sort of counter offer or even accept the contract as is.  But any decision, any correspondence takes 3 or 4 days to send in, receive, and confirm receipt. It can be maddening, especially to the buyer.

Therefore my big advice to Montgomery short sale buyers is: Patience is part of the price you pay.

Again, I stress, this pain involved is usually directly related to the size of the bank. Emphasis on usually.

Own in Montgomery, and considering a short sale?

Please contact me at the number or email at the top of this page.  I would be glad to walk you through what will likely happen, and help you consider your options.

Hey you – reader – have any questions about Montgomery real estate?

Please let me know – I love to write blog posts on readers’ specific questions.  If you have one, chances are many people are thinking the same thing.  Help us all out, and ask away, either by commenting below or dropping me a line.  Thanks!

River Region Relocators: Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended

December 28th, 2009 categories: Buyer Tips

tax credit expandedGood news for homebuyers in the Montgomery, AL area . . .

The $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers has been extended to April 30, 2010.

The program has changed a little, though, from the initial incentive that expired November 30.

If you want to know details, this Q & A article from The Wall Street Journal explains the revised incentive program well: “Q & A: The Home Buyer Tax Credit Extension.”

first time shoppersIf you’re looking to purchase a home in the next few months and would like the benefit of a Realtor to do the legwork for you, give us a call.  It costs the buyer nothing, and it puts a professional in your corner.

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