Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quick Household Tips

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

This Weekend's Events: Panoply & Spring Tour of Homes

This weekend it looks like we have two events colliding.  On Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Apr 26-28) we have Panoply Arts Festival.  For this weekend and next weekend, the Madison County Builders Association is holding the Spring Tour of Homes.

Panoply is always an interesting experience, you'll never know what or who you'll see.  The music you hear, the dancing, and the delicious food.  Two of AL.com's contributors, Matt Wake & Pat Ammons have put together guides to help find food and events.  Additional Panoply information is also available, and additional AL.com coverage.

The Madison County Builders Association's Spring Tour of Homes is a wonderful showcase.  This year there are 82 properties on the list that are available for viewing 1-5PM Sat & Sun Apr 26-18, and May 4-5th. Information can be found at the Spring Tour of Homes website, as well as locations on their East Map, and West Map.  With the Tour showcasing its best, go ahead and take a look.  And if you see any that interest you don't forget to call us!  After all, when buying a new home rule #1 don't forget to bring your realtor!

Go out and have fun, we'll see you at Panoply!

Huntsville Metro Area Homes

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Quick Note on Sunrooms & Greenhouses

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

Friday, April 19, 2013

Staging a home for buyers

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 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

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Another Example of the Strength of Huntsville this time with Boeing.

Here's a write up on Boeing moving to the Redstone Gateway Complex by Travel and Tour World  who sourced it from Boeing.com
Boeing initiates relocation to Huntsville!

Published on : Tuesday, April 16, 2013
boeing-building_medBoeing and Alabama leaders officially opened a new complex in Huntsville that will advance Boeing’s competitiveness and strengthen the company’s commitment to the state.
Boeing is the largest aerospace company in Alabama and one of the state’s largest employers. Huntsville employees in leased facilities have begun moving into the first completed building of the Redstone Gateway complex, which is expected to house 1,400 employees in 363,000 square feet of space.
“This is more than a new Boeing-owned office complex – is a celebration of the investment Boeing has made in the ideas, innovation and inspiration rooted right here in Huntsville,” Tony Jones, vice president and Boeing Huntsville site executive, said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included state and local leaders and customer representatives.
The complex will be used for Boeing’s work on NASA’s Space Launch System and headquarters for the company’s Strategic Missile and Defense Systems division.
“Boeing is both a top employer in Huntsville and an important community partner,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “Just last year, we celebrated the dedicated partnership Boeing has had with our community over the last 50 years, and today’s ribbon cutting is another sign that Boeing is committed to the Huntsville community. Boeing exemplifies what it means to be a good corporate steward and civic partner.”
Employees will move into the complex’s second building later this year and the third in early 2014. It will continue operating from the company-owned Jetplex location in Huntsville.
Current Huntsville programs include:
-> Missile defense: Ground-based Midcourse Defense, Standard Missile-3 Block IIB, Arrow Weapon System, Avenger, and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 seeker.
-> NASA: design and development of the new Space Launch System core stage and avionics, and support to the International Space Station.
-> Support: Rotorcraft Support and engineering support for commercial and commercial-derivative airplanes.
With innovative and affordable capabilities, Boeing in Huntsville is a low cost, high tech center of excellence.
Source: Boeing.

Another Short List of Investment & Foreclosure Properties

Since we got some great feedback on the previous list of investment properties and foreclosures, we decided a short post with just a few more of what's currently on the market.  Remember these prices are subject to change.  Remember if you can't reach us by phone 256-651-7444, go ahead and leave a voice mail, or email us carol@caroljacobs.com.  You can search yourself on Huntsville Metro Area Homes or you can allow us to search for you.

105 Vander Court
A young two story house with over twenty five hundred square feet at a price of $232,900.   Comes with In-ground pool and pool house.  Take a look through the pictures in the link and see the rooms for yourself and if you want to tour the home yourself just call me up.  You know the number 256-651-7444.

10227 Melanie Drive
This is a traditional two story house currently going for $167,900 with over Two thousand square feet.  This empty four bedroom home sits on a third of an acre in the Tara subdivision.

2619 Box Canyon Road
This over two thousand square foot home sit on almost 1/2 acre in the great subdivision of Bucks Canyon and is currently at a price of $159,900.

108 Cameron Road
With over twenty five hundred square feet, this two story home in Haysland Estates will make a wonderful home with its beautiful interior.  Its currently priced at $119,900.

Huntsville Alabama Metro Area

Remodeling, Fixing, or Upgrading: DIY or Hire a Professional?

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

Thursday, April 11, 2013

For Sale By Owner - The Dangers of Going It Alone and the Benefits of having a Realtor

Every once in a while, we all know someone who says "I'm going to do it myself."  In real estate, these are the types of situations as a buyer or seller that could get you into financial or legal problems if not done correctly.  We strongly advise against a go-it-alone strategy.  

A Realtor provides...

1)A Realtor can provide you with a comparative market analysis including recent sales data to help you accurately price your home.
2)What if your home does not sell quickly? Realtors can keep you up-to-date on current sales activity in your neighborhood, as well as new competing listings and any other factors that may be affecting sales such as new homes or foreclosures in the area. They can assist you with price adjustments as necessary. Sellers have no access to current sales data and would have to “blindly” adjust their price if their home does not sell quickly.  The public does not have access to recent sales data.
3)In terms of Buyer Research, Sellers do not have the ability to properly pre-qualify buyers before letting them into their homes.  Realtors can pre-qualify potential buyers to make sure they are qualified prospects before showing them your home.

1)For sale by owner listings are generally not listed on any major real estate listing distributors. Buyers will therefore not see a for sale by owner listing when shopping for homes.  This limits exposure by a large margin. Realtors also generally advertise in paper publications and on their own personal websites, generating additional exposure for your home.  For sale by owner listings are not listed in real estate magazines.
2)The high vast majority of the active listings are advertised on major real estate listing distributors. For Sale By Owner listings are not included on those sites. Buyers & agents are shopping the Internet to find homes—they will not see a FSBO listing!  We believe Trulia came out with an article that said currently the number of potential buyers looking online is at over 85% of the pool of buyers.

1)Realtors are skilled negotiators and are well-versed in contract legal terminology. They can assist you in obtaining top-dollar for your home and negotiate contract terms that work best for you and avoid pitfalls you might not see yourself.

2)Sellers do not have access to local area contract forms whether it be HAAR, Marshall County, etc.
3)Realtors stay in contact with the buyer’s lender, agent, and title company after a contract is signed. 4)Realtors are crucial in helping to coordinate closing and ensure that all critical details are completed as agreed upon.

Overall, if we said it once we will say it over and over again.  You can let the Realtor become one of your closest allies, if you let them.  Trust in your Realtor and they'll take you far.

Today's Tidbit:  There is nothing wrong with interviewing an agent.  Some people go through four or five interviews before they find the right agent to represent them.  If you already have an agent then you know that you have to feel comfortable about who you're working with.  If you don't feel comfortable working with your agent, then you're already on a bad footing and could have some trust issues later on down the road.  Experience and their willingness to protect your interests are two of the top things you should look for in an agent.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Huntsville Pollen & Poltergeists (Hunters)

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

Friday, April 5, 2013

Madison School Rezoning, Local Events, and Inside Plants

Today's post is not big by any means.  We're just going to talk about Madison Elementary Schools rezoned for next year.  Weekend events on tap.  And Inside Plants.  The last two topic were posts by one local Huntsville native and one by a national real estate website.

Yesterday, the Madison City Alabama school board 5-0 unanimously passed the new elementary school rezoning proposal.  This elementary school map is what the board approved of.  I have linked to it.  It is in PDF format so you will be able to zoom in for a closer look.  This will be for the school year beginning fall 2013-2014.  Its not the best looking organized creature, but it is what it is.  On the Madison City Schools website there is also information about waivers in specific cases.

Rocket City Mom has put together a great run through of this weekend's events.  Make sure you check it out!

Maria Salova wrote an article on Homes.com about inside plants for homes and apartments.  The article is both informative and intriguing as it shows ways to add style to simple plants.

Today's Tidbit:  The weather is supposed to be fantastic this weekend, mid 70s.  This is a perfect opportunity to get things done.  Normally we don't get beautiful back to back days without something interfering with it.  Either we get rain somewhere in between, or a controlled burn to our West which then blows over the city ( like the last great weekend ).  Let's hope we have a great weekend!

Huntsville Metro Area Homes

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In the Huntsville Community - Family Farm and Fleece Day

The Carol Jacobs Team went out and visited the Family Farm  and Fleece Day at the Alabama A&M Agribition Center. It was a wonderful time of talking, feeling, and understanding how much effort goes into the work of everything from shearing by Joel Snyder, to bees making honey from Keith Fletcher, and making sure all the animals are well taken care of.  Even Dodie Rodgers Patterson was there putting on The Roy Rogers Puppet Show for the children, We managed to snag a few pictures for everyone to see.  We kept the flash off for the animals.  Anyone wanting more information on the Vendors at this wonderful event?

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
This was at 8.40 Saturday morning on 3/30 not sure what to expect on the inside.

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
We were greeted with fleece for both auction and sale taking up a wide space.

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
The small goats were looking around from inside their pen.  They were very adorable.

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
A Dairy Farmer even brought in a cow.  It was precious to see it eating and just mooing.

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
This alpaca was really gorgeous up close, it took quite a while to get a good picture.  The alpaca was quite camera shy.

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
This was one beautiful creature.  Just pure innocence on its face.  There were four of them in one pen all bahing at each other.

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
Now we were talking and believe this is Suffolk Sheep?  Someone can correct us if we are wrong.  Later on when the white one was sheared, one of these kept ramming into it.

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
Another camera shy animal.  This ram had wonderful horns and you could see how detailed each ridge was.

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
We managed to snag this pic in a partial head turn.

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
Just a few of the spinning wheels and looms on display.

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
One of the local beekeepers, Keith Fletcher, brought in his local honey (we bought a large jar. delicious).  As well a slate from the hive.

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
The sheep, post shearing.

(Photo by The Carol Jacobs Team)
Our last animal visit was with this colorful creature.  We were stunned by its colors and patterns.

Thank you to all the vendors who showed up and put forth wonderful products and told us great stories and memories and brought your experience for us to have new memories to enjoy.

Today's Tidbit:  Its great to go out into the community and meet people and see what they do.  You learn, you find items to buy, and you hear great stories.  From Panoply, to Big Spring Jam, even to neighborhood parties, we all deserve some fun in our lives every once in a while.

Huntsville Metro Area Homes