More info…
There is a new blog network in Birmingham, Alabama! The Realtors at Weichert, Realtors – Access Realty have joined together and created the only real estate blogging network in Birmingham.

The blogs are titled simply by their city names such as: Homewood Homes, Hoover Real Estate, etc., making them easy to find.

The blogs contain the latest homes for sale and real estate news about the local communities. I have included links to the citys that are up on my link list to the right. Check them out!

VA Loan Secrets YOU need to know

The Veterans Housing Act allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to guarantee a home or mobile home loan. While eligibility is still determined by VA, the benefits vary depending on when you served in the military and the type of service. While those currently or previously on active duty are allowed benefits after serving anywhere between 90 days to 24 months, depending on the year, reservist and national guard members never called to duty, will need to contact VA to determine eligibility.

While most consumers feel VA gives a borrower a loan, VA only guarantees loans in case of default. Loan approvals are made on their behalf by approved lenders. VA does require all homes be appraised by a VA roster appraiser and there are only special circumstances in which VA reviews a loan for credit determination.

VA Home financing allows 100% financing, 4% seller contribution, limits what a borrower can pay in the form of closing costs, provides excellent interest rates and does not require perfect credit. A VA loan will consider approval for a borrower with no credit. It is by far the best loan program available, and it is only for veterans.

How to Buy REO in Bulk

The volume of REO properties hitting the market has increased dramatically and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

There is now a source to buy these REO houses, in bulk or in “packages”, at prices that will blow your mind.

A service called REO BLACK HOLE offers packages of houses for as little as $2500 each. No kidding.

Check out the website for the full story at


By Joe Klock, Sr.

Real estate analysts (and what American is not among them these days?) tend to survey the sea of sale signs in most areas and join the gloomy headline writers who conclude that there are not enough ready, willing and able buyers in the market place.

Not so, gentle reader! The shortfall is among sellers, of which there are relatively few treading water in the aforementioned sea.
“Whoa, Nellie!” you might exclaim (ignoring the by-line clearly displayed above), “any fool, including the by-lined fool, can see that it’s buyers that are now in short supply.”
In so doing, you might cite the hordes of hungry house-hunters who roamed the house-hunting roadways during the many months of a recently-deceased feeding frenzy, fueled by mortgage lenders with deep pockets and all the fiscal restraint of sailors on leave.
It is a now a fact of real estate life in most areas that their numbers – and that financial fuel – have shrunk like last month’s birthday balloons, and it’s true that there are fewer prospective buyers rummaging through the current logjam of listings.
Enter the law (not the theory or fantasy) of supply and demand, which dictates that when the number of consumers is dwarfed by a surplus of products, either prices take a hit or activity takes a holiday.
That reality underpins my contention that, while there may be too many homes for sale, there are too few legitimate sellers offering them.
This position is backed up by more than a half-century of experience on and behind the firing line of real estate brokerage, during which I have seen and survived several cycles of inflation, deflation and stagflation, as well as so-called sellers’ markets which morphed into buyers’ markets and vice versa.
Through all that trauma, certain facts remained unchanged – facts that are being ignored by too many would-be sellers and, sadly, pseudo-professionals. They are as follows:
1. No home in history has ever sold for a penny more than the best offer obtainable from the best buyer available in the then-current market.
2. The only way to determine the true value of a home is to thoroughly and aggressively test the market and challenge the competition. That process need not be a lengthy one, since buyers and their agents do comparison shopping and readily react to an attractive offering.
3. Once that procedure has been pursued, properties remaining unsold for an extended period of time are, quite simply, overpriced. Forget about what similar houses sold for in the past (which is history), or what those would-be sellers might have invested in their homes (which is irrelevant), or what qualified appraisers say they are worth (which are only opinions). The critical test is exposing one’s home to the greatest practical number of prospective buyers and active agents, and then analyzing the results.
4. A home that is appropriately priced and effectively marketed, preferably by competent professionals, will ALWAYS attract attention, generate activity and ALWAYS sell for what it’s worth (refer to Fact #1 above).
The problem today is not that there are too few buyers. Demand is what it is and neither wishful thinking nor wistful memories will increase its size.
The more serious shortage is of genuine sellers; i.e., those who meet these specific criteria:
a) They are willing and able to accept the best price obtainable from the best buyer available in the current market, and
b) They have something to lose if they don’t do so.
“Sellers” who do not fit that mold are not sellers at all and should be encouraged to take their properties off the market. (Realistically, they’re not actually ON the market, anyway!)
The market is not always kind, but it is never wrong – and those who believe otherwise pay a heavy price for ignoring “The Facts Of Life For Home Sellers.”
FOOTNOTE: For a further dose of this perhaps-unpleasant medicine, visit and click on that caption. You have nothing to lose – except, maybe, a pipe dream.
If that doesn’t work for you, take two antacids or a short snort and DON’T call me in the morning!
Here’s the bottom line – take it to the bank or to any nearby Wailing Wall: When proper pricing is combined with effective marketing, there is a buyer for everything and, given those conditions, any home can be sold in any market.
The ritual dances of negotiation may change with market fluctuations, but the drumbeat of reality does not!

Mike Carraway

1100 East Park Drive, Suite 104
Birmingham, AL 35235
Valleydale Branch
4500 Valleydale Road, Suite 160
Birmingham, AL 35242
24/hr Info: 800-634-0511
24/hr Fax: 800-634-0511

Can my Agent Give me a Rebate?

I hear this questions a lot in the daily real estate game, “can you give us part of our fee back after the closing?”

The answer is yes but only if done in a certain way.

RESPA, the Real Estate Settlement Procdures Acts, requires a couple of things that need to be mentioned. The first thing is that payment cannot be made for services not performed. The second one is that if any payments are made, they must be disclosed on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement.

Futher, Alabama License Law, and most states License Laws, require that no “rebate” be made to any party in a real estate transaction from another party. Another section of the code also requires that the TRUE terms of a real estate transaction be diclosed to the lender or lending institution.

What does all this mean? For starters, if your agent says they can give you cash back after the closing, in nearly every case, this is both against case law and the license law governing the licensees in your state. So – in short – don’t do it. If you are a participant in a transaction and you recieve cash back later, after the closing takes place, then you are participating in loan fraud. Fraud is a crime. Because the lender didn’t know that you were receiving additional cash proceeds from the sale, they are not aware of the TRUE details of the transaction. Alomst every loan program for the purchase of a home has the provision that the buyer cannot receive what is called “cash out” – that is – get money back when they make a purchase. This, in essence, would be overfinancing the home. on a refinance, however, this is okay.

The way to get a credit back from your agent is to have the credit put on the settlement statement as a CREDIT to you and then the credit is applied to any costs you have to pay at the closing table. This applies whether you are buying or selling.

Basic Rule of them: If you can put the cash payment on the HUD-1 settlement statement so that it is disclosed to all parties, including the lender, chances are it’s AOK to do it.

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