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Carol Jacobs' Blog

By Carol Jacobs | Agent in Huntsville, AL
  • What Brings Your Home Value Down?

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Huntsville, Curb Appeal in Huntsville, Home Ownership in Huntsville  |  May 7, 2013 7:03 AM  |  374 views  |  No comments
    This morning we're talking Home Value.  This is one subject that can be touched by both direct and indirect influences.  And there are certainly a lot of things that can affect your home value in the most negative of ways.  Here are reminders of what to be wary of as they'll bring your home value down, and the more these below come into alignment the more the value will sink.

    If you or your neighbor has an unkempt yard, whether it be junk storage, too high of grass and weeds, or debris from storm damage.  This is one of the most obvious signs of lowering home value.

    Certain commercial businesses (power plants, funeral homes, pawn shops) come with an inherent negative reputation either by way of sight, emotion or in case of power plant can be noise, pollution, or something massive looming over your property.

    Certain government businesses (city hall, section 8 housing, landfills) as with some commercial businesses have high visibility as being part of aiding a negative push.

    Depending on where you live and what laws are on the books, the availability of information about location sex offenders could be easy or hard to find.  This is another indirect negative value as some cities have put restrictions that sex offenders can only live in certain neighborhoods.

    A large indirect negative has always been foreclosed homes.  These can easily be described as black holes sucking down the home value of the entire neighborhood.  The more it stays vacant and continues to lack maintenance, the stronger the negative pull will be. 

    The negative value of cars, trucks, and haulers on major highway can easily be seen by any potential buyer.

    Empty or closed schools gives the vision of a neighborhood in decline, and an eye sore for the community. 

    Environmental hazards in the area either known or unknown can have a huge effect on home value.  Examples can be Chernobyl/Three Mile Island, train accidents which are transporting chemicals (as we've seen recently with chlorine spills), polluted groundwater, areas of regular forest fires, and flood zones among others.

    We have seen this several times, and yet to figure out why this happens?  If there's a power pole on your property with lines cutting through the house.  This is definitely not the best situation.  If these lines fall onto the house or property there can be many unintended side effects from electrocution, house fires, as well as dangers to other properties nearby.

    Having no garage attached to house can drop home value down almost immediately by over $20,000 just for a single car garage.

    Bad landscaping is something that should be taken care of, and instead of a negative turn it into a positive.  Make it look nice and inviting.

    Bad or roofs falling apart can be negative signs for not only the owner but neighbors as well.  A collapsed roof brings an immediate eyesore to the neighborhood, and if there's a storm before or after a collapse - debris could end up on neighbor's property or doing damage to those properties.

    And lastly we have something that is another indirect negative.  A self inflicted wound.  Bad or incorrect home appraisals.  There are times when home appraisers make mistakes or just don't know how to do the job.  This can affect both your property as well as neighbors property's home values.  This negative continues as the appraisal is passed along to the local tax office in which you could end up paying an incorrect amount.  We've even known the local tax appraisals to be incorrect at times.

    Keep your home value high, try to watch out for these or lessen the effects.

    Huntsville Metro Area Homes
    Cross Posted from
    Curb Appeal - A Huntsville Real Estate Blog
  • Inspiration on Green Mountain

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Huntsville, In My Neighborhood in Huntsville  |  May 2, 2013 12:47 PM  |  244 views  |  No comments
    Today we decided to do a quick highlight of a community: Inspiration on Green Mountain.  Admittedly, it was one of our clients who gave this idea when he, should say they, bought a home in the subdivision and we went up to check on how the house was shaping up.  The team arrived just in time to see the workers just beginning to brick the exterior.  After checking out the interior, we relayed the information back to our client on how well the work was going and told him that everything was coming along beautifully. 

    Inspiration on Green Mountain is a brand new subdivision being built from the ground up by Woodland Home in Southeast Huntsville on Green Mountain Road off of Bailey Cove Road.  In fact, right now you can actually see homes being built, roofed, and bricked and lots with sold signs on them.  Homes in this subdivision can either be on the bluff with beautiful mountain views or on the interior feeling the wisping winds flow through the subdivision.  Either way just by looking at the model home, you know these homes will be gorgeous when their new owner steps foot inside for the first time.  The School District for Inspiration on Green Mountain is Mountain Gap/Mountain Gap/Grissom.  Prices start at $330,000 for these homes in Inspiration on Green Mountain.

    See the flyer put together by Woodland Homes to give you an idea of the layout of Inspiration on Green Mountain.  After this week's drive by, we can tell you real estate is going quick up there on Green Mountain.

    Today's Tidbit:  Remember to take your Realtor with you when you are viewing a new construction or considering viewing a model home.  They can remember to ask the questions on the spot that sometimes you don't remember;  It is also good to have a Realtor watching your back, just like the builder has one working for him.
  • Quick Household Tips

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Huntsville  |  May 1, 2013 5:57 AM  |  223 views  |  No comments
    We had a lot of fun at Panoply.  The great artwork, the AMC Materiel Band, and the food were all terrific.  The fireworks weren't bad either with the lightning show behind it.  Today we decided to just go through a few household hints that we have learned and a few that few found online.  We've only tested out a few of these, so test them at your own risk.

    After touching garlic, rubbing your hands on stainless steel gets rid of the garlic smell.  No doubt this has something to do with the ions in the stainless steel?

    Keeping a sheet of fabric softener with you will keep away mosquitoes.

    Ants can't digest grits/polenta so spread a few around ant holes and they'll come and try to eat it.

    Don't rub dirty windows, the dust and build up could scratch the glass.  Use a wet/damp rag and wipe instead.

    On wood floors never use ammonia cleaners, and always keep your potted plants in protectors.  The moisture from underneath the pots can damage the wood just like the ammonia.

    Having fresh peppermint will keep mice out of the area.

    Use toothpaste on foggy car headlights.

    Never cut grass to below 1.5 inches, below that and there's a high risk the grass will burn and die.

    Pour boiling salt water on weeds in cracks to kill them.

    On window box flowers place a layer of gravel on top of the soil to prevent soil splattering everywhere during heavy rains.

    Huntsville Metro Area Homes
    Cross Posted from
    Curb Appeal - A Huntsville Real Estate Blog
  • A Quick Note on Sunrooms & Greenhouses

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Huntsville, Remodel & Renovate in Huntsville, Design & Decor in Huntsville  |  April 23, 2013 1:19 PM  |  313 views  |  No comments
    Today we do a short and quick chat on Sunrooms and Greenhouses.  We took a little from our own experiences and some from our staff research.

    (Photo from HGTV)
    The definition of a sunroom is a normal insulated room with many windows and skylights held together in a structure that can be made of aluminum, metal, vinyl, or wood.  The professionally installed sunroom has the biggest return on investment in the West and in the South.  These rooms are also known as Florida rooms, they are year-round rooms usually with skylights, energy-efficient windows, tile flooring and heating/air-conditioning.   True sunrooms have at least four hours of sun per day. Sunrooms that are constructed well and decorated nicely usually become gathering places for the family and are usually found off the kitchen or living or great rooms. Not many people realize, but the structure option and window option drastically changes how the sunroom will end up.  With the structure, as stated earlier, people have a choice of vinyl, aluminum, clad, or wood with a window choice consisting of single pane, double pane, triple pane, Low E,  Argon gas filled panes and tempered glass.  The structure and window choices made will serve as to what type of sunroom it will be.  Information and Designs can be found at Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, and Wikipedia (for quick info).

    (Photo from HGTV)
    Greenhouse.  The word makes the mind burst with images of the top gardener, wonderful plants, and yearlong vegetables.  The truth is it comes with a commitment to time, money, space, and a large dose of responsibility.  Now the people that have greenhouses have a large number of abilities and choices to make. They have the ability to have seedlings grow, winterize their plants until the last freeze is over, and constant growth for the year-long haul of vegetables and flowers.  However, the choices are just as many as the sunrooms above.  Where some come in large greenhouses, others small, then either freestanding or connected to the side of a house.  Then comes material questions, if they want glass plating or plastic but there is also flexible plastic which can be relocated and put up and down depending on the season of the owner's wishes.   The accessories that the owner must consider purchasing include ventilation, heating & cooling, mist and fog systems, shade covers, and possible lighting systems which may affect certain plants.  On the subject of ventilation, there multiple ways of getting air in and out of the greenhouse.  You can have an exhaust fan, intake shutters, and exhaust shutters, and roofing vents (manual or electrical), electronically controlled ventilation as well as ventilation in general will provide fresh air, prevent pest infestation, and encourage pollination.  However, unventilated greenhouses have the capability of harboring viruses within.  Air that is stagnated is makes for a strong breeding environment for viruses.  Greenhouses usually have a high depreciation.  Usually for home resale it goes along with property at no value. Tyler Matteson of Grower Talks magazine said "A greenhouse is strange hybrid, it looks like a building,  for tax purposes it is a fixture, and for evaluation purposes it is like a tool. And according to Tyler, the IRS takes off 100% of the book value of the asset.  The best thing to know about Greenhouses is that it can be expensive, you need time, a sense of responsibility, and be able to do upkeep.  HGTV has a good write up on Greenhouses.

    Sunrooms and Greenhouses provide a bit of glamour into the homes.  Both come with their own style and uniqueness, but both also come with the thought that like everything else in the house, it will need upkeep.

    Huntsville Metro Area Homes
    Cross Posted at Curb Appeal - A Huntsville Real Estate Blog
  • Staging a home for buyers

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Huntsville, Curb Appeal in Huntsville  |  April 23, 2013 6:30 AM  |  257 views  |  No comments
    Sometimes you have to break out of the mold and get away from how you normally have your home set and stage it.  Staging a home for buyers can be one of the easiest or hardest things for sellers to do.  They are being asked to make changes for the benefit of the buyer and in doing so can carry emotional implications by the seller who may be hesitant.

    Inside:  First things first CLEAN!  Pack things away.  Show off your home like its a builder's model home. Turn on all the lights  (acceptable practice for lighting is usually 100 watts per 50 sqft, but homes may vary with outside light, and light absorption from dark furniture), and make sure the fireplace works.  Remove excess furniture and over sized furniture which makes the rooms seem cramped. Maximize your space and get as much outside light into the house as possible.  Take down the many pictures, buyers have come to see the house not all the members of the extended family.  The buyers should remember if the bedrooms had hardwoods, not what outfit was in the picture on the mantle.  Speaking of flat surfaced areas, the kitchen counter tops should be both clean and clutter free.  Try to remove unnecessary or rarely used appliances. 

    Distractions:  Fix distractions to the eye.  Where the eye is drawn sometimes trouble can follow.  Fill nail holes in walls, the visible cracks in the door or frame, any loose hanging wiring, and remove or replace the obvious stains or wear in the carpet.  Do not have the home smelling like pet odor or cigarette smoke. 

    Bathrooms:  Make sure the bathroom is clean.  Mop the floors, scrub the tub, lysol the counter, clean the mirror for starters.  Have fresh rolled towels, and have decorative baskets along the wall with small candles to accent bare areas.  Make sure there are no stains and always have the toilet seat/cover closed.

    Outside & Landscape:  The lawn must be mowed, no weeds pulling at the belt buckle.  Control the wild growth.  Make sure leaves are raked and all debris is removed from the property including garbage, anthills and broken pavers.  Clean the gutters and down spouts, this will stop future problems of buyers seeing grass growing out of the gutters.  For all the cleaning and maintaining though remember to add some color into the entrance way.  Make them want to come into the house.

    Simple comment on windows.  During spring and summer you can leave windows open to get fresh air into the house and not have a stuffy feeling, and if possible during winter maybe light the fireplace for a more intimate setting.

    Beware of Artificial Staging.  Anything that looks too fake can be a turn off for buyers. 

    And the last thing to keep in mind.  Make sure you have clean and clear house numbers.  Buyers can only find the house if they can see the right address clearly.

    Today's Tidbit:  If you can't remember or need help, ask your realtor.  They normally keep a personalized checklist of to-dos for sellers of what they need for buyers to find the property to be acceptable for viewing.

    Huntsville Metro Area Homes
    Cross Posted from
    Curb Appeal - A Huntsville Real Estate Blog
  • Remodeling, Fixing, or Upgrading: DIY or Hire a Professional?

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Huntsville, Remodel & Renovate in Huntsville, Home Ownership in Huntsville  |  April 17, 2013 6:40 AM  |  300 views  |  No comments
    Today's conversation goes into the question that sooner or later everyone asks themselves.  "For this project, should I do it myself or hire a professional?"

    Now, we're not going to tell you which is the better option.  Everyone must come to their own conclusion.  These are a few things to think about and possibly use as guidelines...

    How skilled are you? And what do you know?  Do you have the time and motivation to stay with the project until its completion?  If you've answered yes to these then you may have an ability to complete a do it yourself project or have completed one successfully in the past.

    Do it yourself projects that go sour can lead to needing a professional later on down the road and costing more money than originally planned.  No matter how easy it looks on paper or in your own mind, without skill amateur work can always be seen and not in a good light.

    Putting on a new roof, hard to reach or main plumbing lines, pouring concrete, gas lines, major electrical problems, garage door/tension springs, building decks, HVAC, and foundation work should all be considered under the professional jurisdiction.  Professionals will help keep jobs on schedule and on budget.

    Today's Tidbit:  If you feel uncomfortable about doing any part of a job, you probably shouldn't do it.

    Huntsville Metro Area Homes
    Cross Posted from
    Curb Appeal - A Huntsville Real Estate Blog
  • Huntsville Pollen & Poltergeists (Hunters)

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Huntsville  |  April 9, 2013 7:42 AM  |  260 views  |  No comments
    Today we decided to go with a simple post of the local annual tradition of exploding flowers providing a yellow haze and three locals from Huntsville find themselves on TV's SyFy (aka SciFi) Channel's newest series Deep South Paranormal.

    Sneezing, aching, headaches, itching and watering eyes and those flowers that produce it.  Yes it is Spring once again in Huntsville and the pollen is flowing like honey.  With how much of the yellow haze is floating about you would think that its being put into the atmosphere by the use of Atomic Annie.  The most latest reports from the 2nd and 4th of April show the pollen count to be moderate and low.  Weather experts expect the pollen count to increase into the very high range in the next few weeks.  On TV most meteorologists have stated that we are in a high pollen count for most of this week.

    Three of the newest ghost hunters to hit the airwaves are from Huntsville.  They will be starring on the newest SyFy show calling it Deep South Paranormal.  AL.com recently sat down and did an interview with the three natives.  The show is scheduled to begin on April 10th, 9PM.  Check it out and see if it is something you would be interested in.

    Today's Tidbit:  Congratulations to the University of Alabama-Huntsville Disc Golf team for competing in the National Club Championships in Georgia.

    Huntsville Metro Area Homes
    Cross Posted from Curb Appeal - A Huntsville Real Estate Blog
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