Do You Need The Best Realtor?

Real estate agents are more than property finders and researchers.  A buyer's agent representing you would negotiate price and agreement terms on your behalf.  He or she also oversees and orchestrates the details of your transaction that unless you have a complete understanding of your local real state laws and practices would not be anything to play around with considering the amount of money on the line and legal problems that could occur. Also, an agent that you have shared details with about what you can afford and what you are looking for and need and about the specific market, area, and the property you are looking to make an offer on, will always be the number one consultant that will best serve you. 

Typically, broker's fees are negotiated between the listing agent and seller prior to listing the property, so for a buyer, there aren't any fees or commissions paid by them. There are a few circumstances where this would not be the case. But we would answer your questions about these things prior to signing a hire contract with us. It seems a buyer would do themselves a disservice by not taking advantage of professional services and knowledge. Alabama is a "Caveat Emptor" state, the burden of finding out anything important to the buyer falls on them, as the seller is only obligated to disclose any health or safety issues. Get your own representation, have them negotiate for you.

As a buyer's agent, their main purpose is to look after the interest of the buyer. They have insider information about the current situation with the sale of the house which can be a benefit when you are putting in an offer, as to how much to offer, what sort of contingency to put in the offer etc.

They can also advise you based on their professional experience what is a fair price for the property, what to look for when visiting an open house. They will also help you to point out what the critical problems are in the property inspection report. A seller agent wouldn't tell you that since their first priority is to look after the interest of their seller.

You don't need a buyer's agent to buy real estate. Nor do you need a lawyer in a court of law. But let me ask you this.

Why does a judge warn a defendant against self-representation? The defendant may not know the rules. He is emotionally tied to the outcome. That is why he needs a lawyer. It's the same principle in real estate.

The buyer's agent knows how to get the client the best deal possible. How? By doing it every day. That's their profession. The buyer's agent can expose the client to multiple properties and an exceptional amount of valid information. The agent has training and experience in negotiating not only the price but also the terms of the sales contract. The buyer's agent can recommend the home inspector, surveyor, closing attorney, and so forth.

Here is another factor that the so-called experts often miss – time. Many people do not have the time to take off from work to tend to the minute factors involved in a real estate transaction. Again, that is the job of the buyer's agent.

Why risk making a mistake?

"Sellers' agents and dual agents do not and cannot by law give a buyer the same degree of loyalty as an agent who acts on behalf of a buyer. Sellers' agents owe their allegiance to the seller. Dual agency invites a conflict of interest. A buyer who relies on the seller's agent or on dual agency does not receive the same degree of legal protection as that afforded by an agent acting solely on behalf of the buyer".


March 25, 2024

What to Consider Before Buying a Home

Homeownership Now or Later? Weighing the Options in a Higher Interest Rate Market


The current state of the housing market can be confusing and challenging, especially with rising interest rates, inflation, and an election year. If you're considering buying a home, you may be wondering whether it's better to buy now or wait for the rates to drop. To help you make an informed decision, here's a detailed breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of each option.


Reasons to Buy Now:


1. Lock in Ownership and Build Wealth: By purchasing a home, you'll be investing in your future and building equity. Your mortgage payments will go towards owning a valuable asset that you can use to build wealth in the long run.


2. Less Competition, More Negotiating Power: With some buyers hesitant to buy due to higher interest rates, you may encounter less competition for homes, which could translate to a smoother buying experience and even the possibility of negotiating a better price.


3. Homes are Still an Investment (Probably): Although past performance isn't a guarantee, historically, real estate has appreciated in value over time. Even with higher interest rates, buying now could mean a higher return on your investment in the long run.


4. Refinancing is an Option: If the rates do drop in the future, you can always refinance your mortgage to a lower rate, potentially saving you money over the life of your loan.


5. It's the Right Time for You: Beyond finances, you should consider your personal situation. If homeownership is a priority for your lifestyle, don't let interest rates be the sole deciding factor.


Reasons to Wait:


1. Interest Rates Could Fall: While it's a gamble, waiting could mean securing a lower interest rate on your mortgage, which translates to significant savings over the life of the loan.


2. Higher Interest Rates Could Mean Higher Home Prices: As interest rates rise, affordability can decrease. If you wait and rates fall, it could lead to a more competitive market with higher home prices.


3. Improve Your Financial Standing: If a higher interest rate would strain your budget, waiting to improve your credit score or save a larger down payment could make homeownership more manageable in the long run.


4. Market Uncertainty: The housing market can be unpredictable, and waiting allows you to see if prices stabilize or even dip slightly before committing to a purchase.


5. Finding the Right Home: Don't rush into the biggest purchase of your life. Use our website to research and keep up with new properties as they become available, to find the perfect home that meets your needs and budget.


Ultimately, the decision of when to buy a home is personal and should be made after careful consideration of the pros and cons, taking into account your financial situation, long-term goals, and current housing needs. Consulting a financial advisor can also provide you with personalized guidance for your specific circumstances.

Posted in Newsletter
Oct. 15, 2023

October Newsletter

Posted in Newsletter
June 21, 2022

The Difference Between a Home Warranty and Home Insurance

When purchasing a new home, it’s important to do in-depth research on all facets of the homebuying process. One thing you’ll need to understand is how to best protect yourself and your investment if anything were to go wrong. Check out the information on home insurance versus home warranty below to educate yourself on your options.

Home Insurance

Homeowners insurance pays for any accidental damages and losses that are caused by fire, lightning strikes, windstorms, and hail, however, damage from earthquakes and floods is typically not covered. It also covers the replacement of personal property in case of theft or damage and liability if a person were to get injured in your home or on your property. According to American Home Shield, the average annual cost of a homeowner's insurance policy ranges between $300 and $1,000, and the bank usually asks you to obtain a policy before the mortgage is issued. Make sure to keep in mind that each type of coverage in the policy is subject to a limit and, in most cases, you will have to pay a deductible.

Home Warranty

A home warranty is designed to cover the cost of repairs and replacements of larger appliances and crucial systems in your home that may fail or break due to age and wear and tear. This includes but isn’t limited to HVAC, electrical, or plumbing components, kitchen appliances, and your washer and dryer. With a home warranty, you are required to pay premiums year-round, even if you do not use it, and it won’t cover damages if appliances were not maintained properly or if the damage is from a fire or other disaster.

June 21, 2022

Buyers Purchase Fees


Purchasing real estate is arguably one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. As you start your hunt, don't forget there will be other costs associated with your purchase than the price of the home. Here are 6 fees to keep in mind as you begin to budget.

  1. Home inspection. This is a crucial step in the home buying process. The findings that come from the inspection can help you negotiate price and repairs, but in Alabama, it is even more important because Alabama is a "Caveat Emptor" State and sellers only have to disclose health or safety issues. Generally, you can expect to pay between $300 to $500 depending on the size of the property and the scope of the inspection.
  2. Title services. Title services encompass the transfer of the title from the seller and a thorough search of the property’s records to ensure to no one will pop up with a claim to the property. Additionally, you may need to buy title insurance which will protect the lender or your investment in the home.
  3. Appraisal fee. Before getting a loan, you will likely be required to get an appraisal of the home to determine its estimated value. This will be conducted by a third-party company and the cost can land anywhere between $300 and $1,000, depending on the size of the home.
  4. HOA fees. Many communities have a homeowners’ association that enforces monthly fees. This money is used for general maintenance and updates to areas like pools, parks, and more. Lenders will require this to be paid upfront at closing. 
  5. Taxes. The taxes each buyer pays at the closing table differ, but it is not uncommon for it to be up to two months’ worth of county and city property taxes. 
  6. Insurance. You will need homeowners and possibly flood insurance for a single-family home, or HO6 for a condo. The mortgage company will usually want this paid upfront for a year.


May 12, 2019

Flora-Bama Lounge and Package



The Gulf of Mexico coast is home to some of the best beaches in the United States. White sand, emerald water, and numerous attractions bring in tourists from all over the country to experience the beaches and southern charm. Nowhere else on the Gulf Coast has more history, charm, and atmosphere than the spot where the Alabama coast meets the Florida panhandle. Here lies the best beach bar in the world, simply named for it’s location, The Flora-Bama Lounge. 


In 1962 the state of Alabama constructed a bridge over the pass where the Gulf of Mexico enters Perdido Bay making it possible for locals and tourists to drive the entire stretch of coastline from Pensacola, Florida to Gulf Shores, AL. In response, Florida gave Alabama the two miles of beach East of the pass. At the time Baldwin county, AL where the road and bridge were constructed was “dry”.  You could not buy alcohol on the Alabama side.  However, Florida’s neighboring county, Escambia was wet. 


Two years after the road was completed in 1964 Ted Tampary along his two sons Connie and Tony opened up the Flora-Bama Package and Lounge.  It was virtually the only thing in the area at the time, but it became historical. 


Joseph Gilchrist 14 years later purchased the bar.  Later, in 1986, he added his partner Pat McClellan to ownership. Together they created many of the events that attract so many visitors every year such as Mullet Toss, The Frank Brown International Songwriters festival, Chili Cook-offs, Bulls On The Beach, a fishing rodeo, live music 365 days a year  There have also been massive concerts on the beach with Kenny Chesney and Justin Moore. 


Flora-Bama Lounge and Package now offers three restaurants, gift shop, liquor store and numerous different bars. There are two stages with live music going on almost constantly,  During the summer, there are three live performances constantly from 4 pm until 2 am. Today, the "Bama" has  two bars and restaurants and a marina across the street on Ole River.  And it is surrounded by condos.  If you want to take a look at buying one, there's a website for that!


Visitors of the bar enjoy the unique scene the Flora-Bama offers compared to other bars in the area.  Mark Hamblin from Tupelo, Mississippi has been visiting the gulf coast since the 1980’s and has owned a condo in the area since the 90’s. “I go down regularly and always make sure to visit at least one night to soak in the atmosphere,’’ said Hamblin. “The Flora-Bama has changed a lot over the years, especially after hurricane Ivan in 2004.  Before then, there was a band called Rusty and Mike. They were the nicest guys.  After they’d perform, Mike and me would sit upstairs and talk. I’d buy him a beer, but he wouldn’t drink it so I drank it for him. Those were my favorite days in the bar.”


The Flora-Bama is so unique and special because you never know who you are going to see. Famous people such as Sean Payton and Jimmy Buffet regularly make appearances at the Bama.  The other guests leave them alone and allow them to have their privacy. 


Over the years, multiple companies have wanted to do reality shows on the lounge, but the Flora-Bama refused; They know their guests expect a certain level of privacy and relaxation when visiting. “I was in the downstairs area where the canopy is one afternoon and Jimmy Buffet came in and no one bothered him. He did his own thing and socialized a little, but people respected his privacy and that he was there to enjoy the bar just like they were.  That is super cool to see”, said Cole Blue, Senior Class President at Ole Miss.


 The Flora-Bama offers a unique experience because management and ownership give their live talent  ultimate freedom. Jack Robertson performs every Friday and Saturday at the lounge and is known for his comedic and fun music.  He even has his own persona - “Big Earl”. Big Earl has been a staple of the bar for almost 25 years and has become one of the biggest pieces of the Flora-Bama experience. His drummer started the famous country band Rascal Flatts.  Tammy Tucker, John Rich, and Jeff Cook, the guitarist for Alabama have come on stage with Big Earl. “The Flora-Bama is special because so many unique people come through, musicians, actors, and football coaches,’’ said Roberston. “Many of the musicians such as Jimmy Buffet and Kenny Chesney will get on stage and perfume a few songs.” 


Kenny Chesney held a free concert on the beach behind the Flora-Bama in 2014 and is a regular visitor of the bar along. Chesney, Buffett and about 15 more wrote songs about the famous beach bar. 


But.....the most unique thing about the Flora-Bama might be the fact that every Sunday morning they have a church service. There are not many bars that offer church services Sunday mornings, but at the Flora-Bama they do. 


(Flora-Bama church service byDave Harbour)


The church goal is to attract people that may not feel comfortable going to a traditional church service. Perfect people aren’t welcome!  They have service under the tent, some people still remain from the night before.  The bar is till open.For baptisms, they walk over the beach down to the emerald green Gulf waters. This really embodies the type of people and atmosphere of the Flora-Bama. 


No matter where you are from or what your story might be, the Flora-Bama wants you to come out have a great time and feel the love of the Flora-Bama Lounge. Leaving your bra on the clothesline is optional!


Written by Addison Harbour, a Senior Journalism, Pol. Sci, and Education major at Ole Miss.  @addisonharbour on Twitter and Instagram.



Posted in Flora-Bama
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Gulf Coast Market Stats

Curious about Gulf Coast real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Gulf Coast