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!

Neighborhood Spotlight: Wyndridge in Montgomery, AL

January 19th, 2010 categories: Montgomery, Neighborhoods
Tucked beside the large Wylnakes neighborhood in East Montgomery, AL is a little enclave called Wyndridge. It is a Lowder development, but does not feel like a contrived neighborhood.  While there is a mixture of large, medium, and smaller lots/homes, there are also custom homes, trees, and a feeling that Wyndridge has developed over time, rather than over night. I took the pictures above on a quick drive-through yesterday afternoon to give you a feel for the homes in the neighborhood. The homes in Wyndridge are on the pricier end of East Montgomery real estate.  Today (January 19, 2010) there are 14 homes listed for sale in Wyndridge ranging from $299,900 (2148 sq. ft.) to $689,900 (4885 sq. ft.). Neighborhood amenities include tennis courts, ponds and sidewalks, and landscaped common areas. Wyndridge is accessed off of Halcyon Boulevard, making it VERY close to the Shoppes at Eastchase, Peppertree shopping center, the Sturbridge neighborhood and I-85. Something unique to Wyndridge is the live children's nativity during the Christmas holidays.  Children from the neighborhood take part in recreating the nativity scene, and are joined by live animals brought in for the occasion. To see any of the homes for sale in Wyndridge, or any homes in the Montgomery area MLS, give us a call.  We'd love to help you with your house hunt!

Neighborhood Spotlight: StoneyBrooke Plantation in East Montgomery, AL

January 15th, 2010 categories: Montgomery, Neighborhoods
StoneyBrooke Plantation is a planned community in East Montgomery, AL.  I recently visited a friend's home in StoneyBrooke and realized I hadn't blogged it yet.  So here we go . . .

It's a Lowder Development (think Deer Creek and Woodland Creek neighborhoods on Vaughn Road), so if it seems very familiar, you're right. It's most unique feature is its proximity to I-85 - just off the I-85/Mitylene exit.   On the google map below, StoneyBrooke is red marker "A" (Deer Creek is "B" and Woodland Creek is "H").

google map

There is a large common area with a pond and picnic pavilion, plus a large playground.  The neighborhood is divided into pods according to lot size (50', 60', and 70' lots), and has sidewalks and landscaped "greenscapes" throughout.  There is no pool or neighborhood clubhouse. StoneyBrooke has existing homes for sale plus lots for building new homes.  As of today (Jan. 7, 2010) asking prices for the 6 homes available on the Montgomery Area MLS range from $192,000 (1655 sq. ft.) - $269,900 (2,433 sq. ft.). If you like new construction and a walkable neighborhood with amenities,  plus you want to be super-close to I-85, StoneyBrooke might be a good fit.  Give us a call - we can help buyers with any listing in the Montgomery Area MLS (and it costs buyers nothing more to have a Realtor working for them).

Neighborhood Spotlight: Cawfield in East Montgomery, AL

January 7th, 2010 categories: Montgomery, Neighborhoods
The dirt was moving in Cawfield this morning.  Yep - tractors were out pushing the red soil around in this east Montgomery neighborhood right off of Pike Road. Today (January 7, 2010) the Montgomery Area MLS shows there are 25 lots for sale in Cawfield for $59,900. There is currently one house built in the subdivision.  According to the MLS, all lots are at least 85' wide and there is a 2000 sqaure foot minimum for new homes. Cawfield is zoned for Halcyon Elementary, Georgia Washington Jr. High, and Jeff Davis High School Cawfield is next to the Lochshire neighborhood on the portion of Pike Road  between Vaughn Road and Hwy 80.  It's also close to Bridle Brook, Woodland Creek, and Merry Station, and right across Pike Road from Grace Episcopal Church.  It's about a 5 minute drive to the Shoppes at East Chase, the Chantilly Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and I-85. The subdivision was sold to a new developer in September 2009.  It should be noted that lots in Cawfield have a Montgomery street address and claim City of Montgomery sewer service on the MLS.  In this section of East Montgomery, neighborhoods/lots can be zoned for the City of Montgomery, Montgomery County, or the Town of Pike Road. It's kind of a patchwork, so if you have a preference, be sure to ask when looking for real estate in this area. If you're interested in building a new home in Cawfield, we're not the listing agent, but we can help buyers with any property in the Montgomery area.  Give us a call and let us help you make an informed real estate decision.

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.

Neighborhood Spotlight: Wynlakes in Montgomery, AL

March 26th, 2009 categories: Montgomery, Neighborhoods
[viddler id=44efd966&w=437&h=370] Wynlakes is a golf and country club neighborhood in Montgomery, AL.  Developed in 1986, and located off of Vaughn Road, it is in the heart of what is now called "East Montgomery." wynlakes-google-map-3 Wynlakes has several "neighborhoods" within the development, so homes here range from smaller garden-style homes to larger homes, to much, MUCH larger homes.  The gated community has 24 hour security surveillance and an HOA. Wynlakes Golf and Country Club is in the center of the neighborhood, and memberships gives access to the 200 acre, 18 hole golf course, large pool area, tennis courts, fitness center, dining areas and newly-built ballroom facility. Membership is not limited to residents of Wynlakes neighborhood. According to the Montgomery Area MLS, as of today, March 26, 2009, there are 23 homes for sale in Wynlakes, ranging from $225,000 for a 1,666 sq. ft. home, to $995,000 for a 5,935 sq. ft. home. If you are interested in homes for sale in Wynlakes, you can search the MLS for free using the "Home Search" tab at the top of this page, or let us help you by contacting us at the  number above or the  "Contact Us" tab.

Deer Creek Home Video Tour – Montgomery, AL

February 2nd, 2009 categories: Montgomery, Neighborhoods
What should you expect in a Deer Creek home?  We shot this video when we had a home for sale in Deer Creek in Montgomery, AL  in May 2008.    And it sold (thankfully) in only three days! Ours was a medium size Deer Creek floor plan, built in 1999.  It's pretty representative of what you'll find there - modern, open floor plans ranging from 1,400 to 3,000 square feet.  I looked today and there are 50 homes listed on the  Montgomery MLS in Deer Creek (I don't have a count of FSBOs).  If you want to check out other homes in this (or any) neighborhood, click on the Home Search tab at the top of this page and look for homes in the 36117 zip code. If you'd like to walk through any of the homes in this area, contact us.  We know it well, and would love to help. [viddler id=ff84ca1a&w=437&h=333]

Neighborhood Spotlight: Bridle Brook Farms in Pike Road, AL

January 10th, 2009 categories: Neighborhoods, Pike Road
10 years ago, Bridle Brook Farms was WAY out in the country.  In 2009, it's still in the heart of Pike Road, but it's definitely no longer out in the country.  Bridle Brook is 5 minutes from I-85, so it's short jaunt to just about anywhere in Montgomery.If you're driving east on Vaughn Road, cross Pike Road and Bridle Brook will soon be on your left. So what's the allure this particular neighborhood?  Two things come to mind: 1) affordability, and 2) a rural environment. Let's start with affordability.  Pike Road is an up and coming area of Montgomery County, and that means a lot of the developments are pretty pricey.  When the Pike Road school system gets off the ground, Bridle Brook homes will be some of the more affordable homes in the school zone.  In my mind, that will make them very desirable for families with school-age kids.  My curbside estimate puts these homes between 1,700 and 2,500 square feet. But the school isn't here just yet (so be sure to check your zoning with MPS).  So what has attracted families to Bridle Brook for the past decade?  It was developed by Watts Builders and Strickland Builders, and has a community pool, softball field, tennis court, a fishing lake, and picnic areas.  But the feel is decidedly rural.  There are lots of trees and a look that is less manicured and rigid than other neighborhoods in the area.  Here are some pictures I took this week:

A street in Bridle Brook Farms

Bridle Brook clubhouse (Carriage House) with pool and tennis court.

Bridle Brook clubhouse (Carriage House) with pool and tennis court.

Bridle Brook Farms fishing pond.

Bridle Brook Farms fishing pond.

Neighborhood Spotlight: Lochshire in Pike Road, AL

January 6th, 2009 categories: Neighborhoods, Pike Road
Are you looking for a new construction home? Or a lot to build on?  In East Montgomery?  Maybe in Pike Road?   Maybe you'd like to try Pike Road, but don't want to live way out in the "country"?  If you want lots of options, try Lochshire - it is of ALL the above. Lochshire is located at the corner of Vaughn and Pike Roads, and has had a patchwork of Montgomery and Pike Road addresses.  When originally built, owners could choose to be in Pike Road, City of Montgomery, or Montgomery County.  More and more of these homes are being annexed into Pike Road, however, probably because of the push to create a Pike Road school system.  For the latest update on Lochshire zoning, contact the Town of Pike Road town hall. Lochshire is not completely built out, but is an established neighborhood.  My curb estimate puts the homes at over 2,000 sq ft. (some a good bit more than that).  There are no amenities - pool, playground, etc. - but the common areas are nicely landscaped and well maintained.  There are lots for sale in the back of the neighborhood, and many of these lots back up to a wetlands area that is owned by the neighborhood.  A few spec homes remain on the market, along with the regular home for sale, so there is a lot to choose from. Lochshire, like many homes in Pike Road, is 5 minutes from I-85, so access to anywhere in Montgomery is easy.  It's a couple of minutes from Chantilly Parkway, and a short drive down Vaughn Road to anything in East Montgomery. Here are some pics I took today of homes and lots for sale in Lochshire.  If you're interested, or just want to know more about this area, contact us at the number at the top of the page.
A Lochshire home for sale.
A Lochshire home for sale.
Lots in Lochshire for sale.
Lots in Lochshire for sale.
Another home for sale in Lochshire.
Lochshire sign at Vaughn Road entrance.
Lochshire sign at Vaughn Road entrance.

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