An October Saturday in Downtown Mobile

I really do love living in Downtown Mobile. It’s fun to walk outside on Saturday mornings to find Market In The Square just one block from my home!!


Bought some pasta, pecans & pimento cheese and then had a yummy breakfast at Spot of Tea while people watching and listening to music from the square.


Then as I took a beautiful walk to Serta’s…IMG_3895

I discovered what looked like a festival in Bienville Square. It turned out to be Down Syndrome Society of Mobile’s Buddy Walk. Besides the walk the Buddy Walk really was a fun festival!!

IMG_3902 IMG_3901 IMG_3899 IMG_3898 IMG_3894 IMG_3893 IMG_3892 IMG_3890 IMG_3889 IMG_3888 IMG_3887 Buddy Walk

And tomorrow is Streets Alive in Downtown Mobile. Come visit us at Gallery 450 / Port City Realty LODA tomorrow and see what family friendly fun you can have in Downtown Mobile.





LIST PRICE: $199,500

Inside or Outside, this one has it all! Living on the Island has always been special and coming home to this beauty makes it even more so. Located on a wonderful wooded lot, behind the dunes, on quiet street surrounded by great neighbors. WOW! Outside you’ll find a raised deck, tiled patio, fenced yard for entertaining or just relaxing. Inside a large (20×18) family room with fireplace, open kitchen and breakfast room, split bedrooms with extra large walk in closets. Take a look at the attached pictures and then call for an up close look, but you better hurry. Call Joe Winas TODAY at 251-490-1924. You will not be sorry.

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We look forward to hearing from you!




Cute 2/1 on a large lot located at the end of a quiet street. Brand new outside AC unit and stove per sellers.






Beautifully renovated 3/2 in Saraland school district. With a living room & den, plus breakfast area & formal dining room, custom kitchen cabinets, you simply can’t beat this deal. Home also features crown molding, new 6 panel doors, a fenced in back yard. You also have a room off the garage that could be made into a kids playroom or just a storage room. SO much house for the price. Call me, Paige Morse @ 251-656-0637  or your Realtor today to set up an appointment!

This beautiful home is listed at $106,900.



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The Mobile Rundown

Downtown Mobile, AL

Downtown Mobile, AL

What are your plans this weekend?

We always are haunted by this question, but rarely know the answer it seems. There are so many events that take place in Mobile, Alabama it’s kinda hard to keep up…… I know it seems crazy to people that aren’t from here, but trust me, I have lived here most of my life, there is always SOMETHING to do! There have been countless times I have caught wind of an awesome event, after the fact.


The Mobile Rundown is great source to keep your planner up to date. So, if you found yourself wondering, or were asked today, What are your plans this weekend? Click the links below to find out what The Rundown is in Mobile, Alabama.



They Say It’s The Company You Keep!

Gallery 450

Gallery 450

WE DID IT!!!! Port City Realty opened it’s 4th location at Gallery 450!! Please Click on the link to like our new Facebook pages.

community shared work environment

community shared work environment

Gallery 450, Port City Realty LODA, LA Fotographee and Crush Imaging Studios have joined forces in a shared work environment at 450 Dauphin Street. Their coworking community/coworking space is perfect for startup businesses, creative freelancers and anyone who needs to have space available to use and/or a presence in the Downtown Mobile area. Gallery 450 is an art gallery featuring artists from across the Southeast. Occasionally, the gallery will feature special guest artist from all over the world. They plan on having something new interesting, and fun at each art walk, plus the gallery will have regular hours during the week.

Port City LODA has opened their 4th brokerage at 450 Dauphin Street. Port City Realty is one of Mobile’s most successful locally owned, independent residential real estate firms. The Brokers and Realtors at this office, specialize in Downtown and Midtown homes, residental and historical properties, condos, land, distressed properties, and foreclosures.

LA Fotographee is a popular locally owned Photography Studio. He specializes in wedding, engagement, & family photography and well as Senior Potraits. They are not just pictures, but a work of art capturing your special moment and/or your special day. You can see samples of LA’s work at each art walk.

Crush Imaging Studios is also an individually, locally owned company specializing in graphic design, printing, photography and videography. You can see samples of James’ work at each art walk as well.

The space at 450 Dauphin Street is also available to be rented out for special events. They are open to talk to anyone who would like more information about joining this shared work environment.

Preview Party @  Gallery 450 9/12/14

Preview Party @
Gallery 450



Taking your state real estate exam can be time consuming, costly, stressful and at times may seem impossible. I took mine for the first time this past Friday and failed!!!! FAILED!!! I couldn’t believe it! I actually failed. I couldn’t have failed. I spent hours, days, weeks even, preparing, but as much as I didn’t want it to be true, there was no denying the fact it was true. Where did I go wrong?

Well, I can tell you and share some tips and give you a few pointers on what not to do to pass your real estate exam. As well as a few pointers on what failing taught me about passing. 

Make a Plan!

Lets put pen to paper and commit to a study plan that defines the following:

  1. How many hours per day will you commit to studying your material? If you are currently working, calculate the actual hours you have to study for the exam. Eliminate the distractions!
  2. Where will you study? At the library, in your office, in your home or elsewhere? Make sure it is conducive to actually studying! Be disciplined with your time and it will pay off.

  3. When do you have time to study? In the morning or evening or at lunchtime? Do you find you are more bright and alert in the morning or evening? Will you spread it out  throughout the day?

  4. When do you plan on writing the exam? Will you do the computer exam or the classroom style exam held every month? Find out what the dates are and use them as a goal.

  5. Now you need to divide the chapters, assignment submissions and Examination Study Guide review into the hours that you have available. Also add some time for exam review prior to writing the exam.

Write it all down

Date of Real Estate Exam: ____________________________________________________

How many days will I study (exclude vacations, etc): ________________________________

How many hours per day will I study: ___________________________________________

When will I commit to studying morning, evening: _______________________________(I recommend studying throughout the day)  

Commit your time to a portion of your course and break it down so you are covering all the important tasks e.g. Four hours daily study time:

  1. One hour Review Chapter One
  2. One hour review and work on the Assignment for Chapter One
  3. One hour Study the Examination Study Guide and do the practice exam
  4. One hour Study Math calculations

**If we are being honest, the math portion of the exam, in my opinion is like calculus. You will probably never use it in real life, but are required to learn anyway.   Silly, yes. Required nonetheless. If anything learn all other areas to the best of you ability. If you got ever math question wrong, but did well on the other portions you can still pass. 

Daily study time

I recommend studying no more than 1 hour at a time. Your brain needs a break in order to retain the information you are trying to learn. So, study for an hour then take a 30 minute break. Go outside, take a nap, or call a friend to talk about something other than the exam. A break, snack, change of scenery can make all the difference in the world.


Everyone’s study habits & learning styles vary. You need to find out what works best for you. Focus on one portion of the exam a day.

Review & study in the morning. Then, take a break. After lunch take the review final on that particular section. This will help you decide what you need to focus on more. 

Flash cards have always worked for me in the past. They are an easy way to study by yourself and can be taken anywhere. Sometimes you will have to study on the go!


A lot of people think that getting that last minute cram session in will do the a world of good, but it doesn’t. All your studying should be done prior to the day of you test. Trying to cram will only stress you out and make you question, or doubt yourself and answers while taking the exam. Plus, you want your brain to be fresh when you get there, not fried.


Go with your gut, it is usually right. 

Do not be too hard on yourself

Try not to get discouraged if you fail on your 1st attempt. If you are like me this will be the hardest part.  I was so incredibly disappointed in myself, that I failed to realize at first that this was a perfect opportunity for me to be able to see the areas I needed to work on. Also, I knew what to expect the next time. I wouldn’t be walking into the testing site blind. I would know what to expect, know what to study and therefore have a way bigger advantage than I did the first time.  

Failing is never fun, but try not to take it personally. Failure refers to the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success. Don’t put limitations on yourself. Other people will do that for you. Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t bet against yourself. And take risks. You have to be willing to take those risks. … In whatever you are doing, failure is an option. 

By opting not to try again is failure…. BUT picking yourself up, brushing off you ego and getting back on the saddle is what makes a person successful. You only fail when you give up!

Zoe Piliafas

Does It Really Add Up?


Family Vacation


I have been recently looking into renting a home for my family of 5 boys, the oldest being 39 years old, love you honey! :) I was shocked to see that these days it is hard to rent a home for under $1,000, at least that is in a neighborhood you feel is safe, is located in a decent school zone and conveniently located for your family’s needs. OK, I can handle $1,000 a month in rent, but that does not include utilities. I feel like the amount of rent & the cost of living, compared to what the average person earns monthly DO NOT add up! I know my gas bill this past winter was well over $300, for 3 months consecutively. Now, with it being Summer, the power bill will be $200 easy. I conserve as much as I can at home, but with 4 boys running around bills tend to get high. Not as high as the grocery bill however! I roughly spend $600 a month on groceries. Childcare these days is not cheap, then again you want your children to feel safe and keep your peace of mind while they are at daycare. I am lucky to have only 1 in daycare now. It costs $400 a month, $100 weekly. It was $120 until he was fully potty trained. After school care if you work is $160-$200 monthly for the children in school. Let’s not even get into school supplies, uniforms, fees, sports, sports uniforms. I could go on and on! It doesn’t help that price of gas is $3.50 a gallon at the least. Now, it is a law to have car insurance, home insurance and at times renter’s insurance. It is now mandatory we have healthcare. What if we can’t afford it? Is it a crime to be poor?  It leads me to wonder if what my dad used tho tell me, about the cost of living still holds any truth…..

I remember my father would always say that no more than 1/3 of your monthly income should go to rent.  Staying at 33% or less of income towards housing is a typical recommendation for sound personal financial management, so in the landlords mind, they feel safe if tenants are under that mark.  The tenants can pay rent, yet still have enough income left over to actually live their life and not be in a huge money crunch each month to pay the rent.  At least that’s the way they are thinking!

Convert this to a simple rule. Have you ever heard of Rule 36?

The Rule of 36

  • If the monthly rent of an house is $1,000
  •  then 3 times the monthly rent $1000 x 3 = $3000 (monthly income required to make rent less than 1/3 of income)
  • $3000 x 12 months = $36,000 (annual income)
  • Backtracking with the annual income and monthly rent from above, you can see $36,000 / $1,000 = 36
  • Hence the Rule of 36!

Using the “Rule of 36″ To Determine How Much You Can Afford in Rent

  • If you make $100,000 per year then divide that by 36 to get $100,000 / 36 = $2777 monthly rent that you can afford
  • If you have roommates, just add up your incomes and use the total for your combined income, then divide by 36!

Seems simple enough. Right?

Does it really add up?

Each year it seems the price of living goes up and wages stay the same. It’s rare for the standard middle class family to even take a vacation anymore. Growing up we were far from rich, but we still took vacations! To me it seems like for the most part people, especially those with families struggle to barely scrape by. It seems like the average working middle class family, the ones that work the hardest, the ones that deserve it the most are the ones that more often don’t/can’t catch a break. I hope that things start to change for the middle class and for the American working class in general.

According to Forbes the statics for Mobile, Alabama are listed below;

At a Glance
  • Metro Population: 414,400
  • Major Industries: Aerospace, Health care, Tourism
  • Gross Metro Product: $17.6 B
  • Median Household Income:$42,140
  • Median Home Price: $104,800
  • Unemployment: 7.9%
  • Job Growth (2012): -0.8%
  • Cost of Living: 4.6% below nat’l avg
  • College Attainment: 20.2%
  • Net Migration (2012): 500
Forbes Lists
      #112 Best places for business & careers
  • #75 in cost of doing business
  • #145 in Job growth
  • #175 in Education

To view the article click the link below.

Continue reading






Realtors are some of the best marketers in an offline person-to-person environment. You’re incredibly brilliant at getting to know your clients on a very personal level, getting involved in your community, and connecting with your local market.

What you’re not very good at is applying this to your social media. (Well, most of you aren’t!)
You need to think of social online like you do social offline!
Social media provides a way to further connect with your local clients and groups. Social can build trust, and spread your marketing through friends of friends.
But how do you do it?

How to Use Social Media for Real Estate Agents #1: Facebook
Facebook is where people go to to connect with friends and family online. Most Realtors want to connect with friends and family of clients. It provides trust and word of mouth marketing.
How can you, as a good real estate agent, tap into this market? How can you get your name and listings marketed to your local clients using the largest social networking site?
Here’s a few simple tips.

Set up a Facebook Page. Don’t use your personal Facebook account for your real estate services. Why? It lacks professionalism, and you miss out on a lot of essential business features (such as the ability to run Facebook contests, and check your Facebook Insights). It’s really easy to make a Facebook Page, and it’s worth the effort.
Once you have a Page, use it to engage your clients:

1. Post about Your Neighborhood. Show off your listings’ neighborhood. This both markets your area to prospective residents, and it also shows your passion and knowledge of where you are selling homes. For example, If there is a new community centre being built, post about it, and express the merits and how it will make the lifestyle better for new (and existing) residents.

2. Use Images when you Update. Images on Facebook are the most engaging types of content. The more Likes, shares and comments your posts get, the more they will be viewed in News Feeds by the friends of your Facebook Fans (people who Like your Page).

3. Post about Events in Your Neighborhood. Show how wonderful your city culture is. Post about local events in your town. If you’re going to a neighborly event, tell your Fans, and invite them to jo4. Show you Care About Your Clients. You do this in person, so show you care about your clients on your Facebook Page too.
The new clients know who they are, and it shows prospective homebuyers that you genuinely care and follow you. Ask questions, too, to spark engagement. Post pics of the keys to their new home and say congrats to them BY NAME!

5. Engage with Contests. Contests and Sweepstakes provide an amazing way to create more engagement on your Page, and have fun with your Fans. You can use all kinds of contests to develop deeper relationships with your clients, get to know their likes and dislikes, and promote yourself as a realtor who listens. You can even use them as a way to market your listings, too!
On Facebook, you need to use a third party app to run contests and sweepstakes. I have heard Wishpond makes incredibly simple to use Facebook contest apps, and they give you a comprehensive social contact database too – for your email lists.
For example, run a Vote Contest to ask your Fans what photo they like best from your latest listing.
Or, run a Photo Contest on your Page. You can use photo contests to get more images of a new listing, to follow up with clients who’ve recently renovated, or to get photos of your neighborhood, etc.

6. Post Your Listings. Yes, use Facebook to post your listings, too. The golden rule in social media is 80/20. That is – post 80% of your content about lifestyles, customer interests, and other updates; post 20% of your content about you and your product. This keeps your social media social, and engaging.
When you post your listings, keep the personality of you and your Facebook Page. This is not a print ad. Tell about the home, and what points will sell it. Tell how many bedrooms and bath. Tell the address. Tell the price. But keep it engaging.
Ask questions about your new place, to get comments about what people like about it, what they like about the neighbourhood, or comments about the schools and community facilities. Post about your Open Houses, too.

7. Use Geo-targeted ads. Facebook lets you target your ads very specifically. You can use promoted posts, for example, to get your great Facebook posts seen by other Facebookers in your geographic target market.



How to Use Social Media for Real Estate Agents #2: Twitter
Twitter is another amazing way to keep connected to your clients. Twitter gives you 140 characters (or less), to give updates to your Followers. Use it to engage, and keep strengthening your relationships.

1. Tweet Tips about Staging and Moving. Help out your clients (and yourself), by teaching them how to stage their home for better sales. Post links to good articles and videos on how to present a residence when you’re selling it. And teach about how to pack and make a move less stressful.

2. Tweet Local News. Twitter tends to be a great place for news. If there’s a new school being built in your area – tweet about it. Good news stories to show how great your neighborhood is – and how well you know it.

3. Tweet Questions. Post questions to your followers to encourage a response. Engage with your audience. For example, ask:
What’s the best thing about moving to a new home? #moving #newhome #sacremento
What would your ideal kitchen look like? #kitchens #daretodream #newhome
How often do you renovate your home? #newhome #renovations #homedecor

4. Use Hashtags. On Twitter, using hashtags gets your Tweets seen by more than your Followers. Use relevant and specific ideas and points from your post. Please refer above after each question there is a  # (hashtag) and key words to get found by those looking for your subject matter.

5. Tweet about Charity Events. Tweet about local events you support. Show you are connected and trustworthy, and care about your community.

6. Use @mentions to Keep in Touch with Clients. Twitter lets you send tweets to specific people. Aside from using the Direct Messages, send out a Tweet to congratulate a new home owner, or to thank a local merchant for assisting you, etc.

7. Use Contests, Sweepstakes and Group Offers. Like on Facebook, use contests, sweepstakes and group offers to create more engagement with your clients, and get your Tweets seen by their Followers. For example:
Offer a free dinner at a neighborhood restaurant for entering a photo contest.
Ask for a description of a great moving experience, using an essay contest, and offer a gift certificate to a local spa.
A weekend getaway at one of the Gulf condos (try and find out if there is anything planned at the beach for the weekend; festivals, music and check weather)
Host a sweepstakes on Twitter, offering a home decor gift certificate, for viewing your Open House.

8. Tweet about Your Listings. Again, use the 80/20 rule. 80% of your content is about lifestyle and connecting; 20% is about your listings. You do this in your sales, don’t you? Do on social too!
Intersperse your Twitter content with your real estate listings. Include info about your places. Include images of your houses and apartments, etc. Include short videos too, if you have them.

How to Use Social Media for Real Estate Agents #3: Pinterest
Pinterest provides an amazing opportunity to show off the visuals of your listings. This fourth largest social site is all about connecting through images. As a realtor, this sounds like a great match. Your listings get sold by appealing to visual emotions, right? Apply this to Pinterest.
On Pinterest, you set up boards, pin images, and engage by repinning, liking and commenting.
Here are a few tips:

1. Set Up a Board about Your Neighborhood. Sell the area of your listings. Create Board about the amenities, shops and services available in your community.

2. Set Up Boards about Your Lifestyles. Show who you are, too. Set up Boards about your hobbies. If you like to cook – post some of your favorite recipes. If you like to play tennis – post about tennis groups, and where to play tennis in your locale.

3. Set Up Boards about Home Decor. Appeal to the inner designers on Pinterest, and show off beautiful photos of amazing home decor. Link to how-to sites, too.

4. Set Up a Board for your Listings. Keep with the 80/20 rule, but make sure you have a Board specifically for your listings. Make sure your listing Board is located in your first four. This keeps your listings easy to see.

5. Use Hashtags. Like on Twitter (and Facebook, too), you can use hashtags to connect with your market, and extend your posting reach beyond just your Following.
Use hashtags that are specific to your niche and your community. For example, use:
geographic specific tags, like #cottagehillroad
listing specific tags, like #4bedrooms
image specific tags, like #decorate and #newhome

6. Use Contests and Giveaways. Again, like on Twitter and Facebook, use contest, sweepstakes and even group offers to gain more engagement (and ultimately more clients).
You could:
Host a vote contest, asking your Following to vote of their favorite image of your new listing.Offer a randomly drawn prize such as a local gym membership.
Make a great photo contest to get people to submit their favorite bathroom. Add a vote element to generate even more engagement, and excitement about homes. Offer a prize such as a gift certificate to a home store.
Make a video contest, offering a weekend stay at a nearby resort. Get your participants to make a short video of what they like most about your recent listing. (This also can get you tons of great, authentic, marketing material for your listings.)

7. Cross-Promote with a Facebook Pinterest Tab. Expand your social reach by getting your Pinterest updates on a Pinterest Tab on your Facebook Page. Don’t worry, it’s not all that complicated – and it gets you more engagement with more of your social connections.

How to Use Social Media for Real Estate Agents #4: Other Social Sites

There are many other social sites real estate agents can use very effectively.

1. Linkedin: Set up business page and make sure your personal linkedin page is filled in – include a good a summary, introducing yourself, and why you’re a good realtor choice (both to buy from, and to sell through).Join local groups and participate in them. Keep connected with your clients, and ask for referrals through the site (just as you would in person).

2. YouTube: Make videos showing your listings. Use a short video to introduce yourself (you can embed this onto your website too!). Use videos to show off the best features in your neighbourhood. Make video contests to get user-generated content (UGC) from your clients.

3. Blog: Blogs are a great way to write about your knowledge of your trade, and get your clients clicking on to your website.
use your blog to post news about the local housing market, interest rates, and property listings. A blog post lets them describe their listings in a longer format than most other social (and traditional print) marketing.

So, there are a few social media tips and techniques for real estate agents. I hope you’ll try out a few of these social media marketing tips. Remember to engage your clients, and use social online like you use social offline!





Selling is Not Telling



Selling is not Telling… Selling is asking questions.



What would you like to get accomplished as a result of our meeting today?

Why are you selling?

Do you absolutely have to sell?

Where are you moving to?

Are you working with an agent there?


When do you need to move?

Are there any factors that could change that timing?

If your home doesn’t sell…what will you do? Is there a “plan B”?

What would be the ideal scenario for selling your home?

If it takes longer what will you do?

If it sells too quickly, what will you do?


Are you both in agreement about moving and timing of the move?

Is there anyone else involved in your decision making process?


Based on the data I have shown you, what do you think the high-low price range is on your home?

Where do you want to price your home?

What do you base that price on?

What do you think your home will actually sell for?

At what price would you sell?

Do you have any flexibility when it comes to price?

If I bring you an offer of $______, with a 30 day close and no contingencies… what will you do?

If we price within the high/low range and we receive a full price offer the 1st day what will you do?


Have you had your home for sale before?

Why didn’t it sell?

What do you think a buyer will like best about your home?

Have you sold a home before?

What was positive about that experience?

Why didn’t you list with the other agent?


Do you think that all agents are alike?

In selecting an agent, what is most important to you?

Would you list with an agent just because they said they gave you the highest listing price?

Would you list with an agent because they had the cheapest fee?

Would you list with an agent just because they had been in business for a long time?


I co-broke my listings immediately and give them the broadest exposure on the internet. Is that important to you?

Is your goal to save money on the commission or make more money on the sale of your home?

Do you think that someone who is afraid to fight for their fee will suddenly be bold enough to fight for your money in a negotiation?

If I help you achieve your goals will you allow me to earn my fee?

What is it that you need?


Are you 100% confident I can help you reach your goal relative to the sale of your home?

Are you open to listing your home with me?

In order to make a decision to go forward what needs to happen?

If we reach an agreement are you willing to go forward with me?

What questions, if any, do you have about the home selling process?


Are there any issues that might come up during the attorney due diligence review?

Are there any personal or financial issues that could interrupt the sale?

What day shall we be on the market?

What are you going to do with Fido when we have showings?

Do you have any other properties to sell?

Dishwasher or Dish Washer?

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely despise hand washing dishes.  When I was growing up it was one of my many chores and of course back then we didn’t have a dishwasher. I was the dish washer. When we finally got a dishwasher I thought it was the best invention ever. From that moment forward I vowed never to hand wash a dish, ever! In fact, when it was time for me to move out and get my 1st apartment there were several I passed on simply because there was no dishwasher.  Finally, I found my first apartment with a dishwasher!

After a few months the dishwasher got this funky, fishy, semi-moldy smell. It would make my dishes smell like they were washed with a dead fish! Have you ever poured yourself a big glass of sweet tea and then go to take a sip out of a glass that smells like a dead moldy fish. GROSS!

If you are like me and use your dishwasher a lot, it can easily get gunked up with leftover food, grease, and soap scum. This leads to an appliance that smells more like a sewer than a cleaning device. On top of that, the dishes that come out of it might not be as sanitary as they should.

I don’t have the time to clean my dishwasher very often, with 4 little boys and a bigger boy living in my home we run our dishwasher on average 2 times per day. So there isn’t much time for a rest let alone a cleaning.

But as I have clearly stated this appliance is one of my favorites, one of my best friends and helpers! So today I decided to take the time to give her some extra love and do some research on dishwasher maintenance . Here are some methods I found:


Vinegar is one of the most versatile liquids in existence—aside from water, that is. This acidic concoction can be used for cooking, killing weeds, and, yes, cleaning. When you combine vinegar with the equally-versatile substance known as baking soda, you’ve got cleaning gold.

Step 1. Fill a cup with white vinegar and put it on the bottom rack.

Step 2. Run the dishwasher on the hottest setting for a full cycle

Step 3.  After the cycle sprinkling baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher. Leave it overnight. 

Step 4.  The next morning set up another heavy cleaning cycle. When it’s done, your dishwasher will smell like new again.


For starters, Borax and baking soda are not the same thing. Borax is sodium borate, while baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Does that make sense? Good!

Step 1.  Scrub the bottom floor and inside door with a damp sponge and plenty of borax.

Step 2. Once you’ve scrubbed your brains out, use a damp rag to rinse away the borax.

Step 3. Line the bottom of your dishwasher with 1/4 cup of borax during your next cycle—yes, you can have your dishes in there for this part. Use your regular detergent and run your dishwasher like you normally would. This extra borax freshens up your favorite appliance AND removes spots from your glasses. 2 birds 1 stone!



Aside from being Nirvana’s most underrated album, bleach is yet another sodium-based cleaner. One word of caution before we go any further: Bleach is harmful to stainless steel, so if the inside of your dishwasher is stainless, skip this cleaning method! The major benefit to cleaning your dishwasher with bleach is that this liquid is a surefire way to kill mold.

Step 1.  Fill a cup with bleach and place it on the top rack.

Step 2.  Run your dishwasher at its hottest setting and your mold problem should be no more.



I found this method off the blog  OneCreativeMommy she has one of the most intriguing tips for removing hard water deposits in your dishwasher. There is also an extra bonus, it makes your most-used kitchen appliance smell delicious.

Step 1. Start by running your faucet until the water is hot, and then begin your dishwasher cycle.

Step 2. After a few minutes, stop your dishwasher. Add some Tang (or citrus Kool-Aid) to the detergent bin. If you have extra, add the rest of the powder to the bottom of the dishwasher.

Step 3.  Run a full cycle the citrus eats away hard water deposits. Who knew!



For THE finale, let’s revisit baking soda. While using the miracle cleaning powder with vinegar is a quick and easy way to spruce up your dishwasher, making little baking soda bombs sounds way more fun. Come on, live a little… Here is the recipe for this cleaning ordnance.

Step 1. In a mixing bowl, combine two cups of baking soda, three tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, and about 20 drops of essential oil.

Step 2. Mix these ingredients together until the consistency resembles moist sand, and then use an ice cream scoop to form your sanitation explosives.

Step 3. Let these sit overnight.

Step 4. Before you run any dishwasher cycles, make sure the filter is cleaned and any leftover food is removed.

Step 5. Now that your baking soda bombs are hardened, place them on the bottom rack. Combine a mixture of two cups vinegar and one tablespoon detergent in a mixing bowl, and place it on the top rack.

Step 6. Run your dishwasher and get ready to witness true cleaning power.

So, there you have it! 5 easy and time efficient methods to cleaning your dishwasher. You may take your dishwasher for granted, until you end up being the dish washer! Cleaning your dishwasher every few months will prevent you from becoming “The Dish Washer.” It will save you time, money and helps your manicure last a little longer. Also you don’t end up eating off dishes that have been run through a bacteria infested petri-dish.

Check out our Website at Port City Realty

If you are in the market for a new home, know somebody who is, or you just want to do a little window shopping, click on the link below and check out our website.  Port City Realty is a family owned and operated business. We try to ensure you leave feeling like a member of the family. Located in Mobile, Alabama and Gulf Shores, Alabama we help people daily find houses to call home.

Short Sales

Buying a Short Sale

This is a stressful decision for many families; however, a short sale may be the best solution, short of foreclosure, for homeowners who owe more on their properties than they are worth. Technically, a homeowner is ‘short’ when the outstanding loan is more than the current market value of the property. A short sale occurs when the homeowner finds a willing buyer and then negotiates with the lender to accept less than the full balance of the loan at closing (typically to avoid foreclosure). Once the buyer closes on the property, the property is considered ‘sold short’ of the total value of the loan. The procedure requires stamina but it can yield favorable results for all. Organization and full disclosure will also help you manage through the process.

In the past it was rare for lenders to accept short sale proposals. With overwhelming market shifts and changes in corporate policy, lenders have become more willing to work with homeowners in distress. Since a short sale generally costs the lender less than a foreclosure, it can also be a way for the lender to reduce their losses.

To qualify for a short sale, homeowners must prove all of the following circumstances:

  • Financial Hardship. A situation is causing the borrower to have trouble affording their mortgage.
  • Monthly Income Shortfall. Basically the borrower has more expenses than income, which will, or already is, preventing them from affording their mortgage.
  • Insolvency. The borrower does not have significant liquid assets to allow them to pay down their delinquent mortgage.

Buying a Short Sale?

Before You Purchase

When dealing with the short sale process, there are a few things you need to know beforehand:

  • All offers are subject to approval by the lender regardless of the homeowner’s acceptance.
  • Lenders are likely to have their own appraisers evaluate the property, which may affect the potential bargain.
  • Each lender follows its own set of (unique) procedures when it comes to short sales, which can make the process confusing and frustrating.
  • Many lenders require short sales to be ‘as is’ transactions, where credits for repairs are typically not negotiated or allowed.
  • On average, short sales can take significantly more time to close than a traditional transaction, many times 3-6 months, so patience with the process is absolutely essential.

Working with Representation

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or experienced investor, it is always wise to work with a REALTOR® when dealing with short sales. The right professional can move you through the process more efficiently, and guide you through the challenges that commonly accompany distressed sale transactions. When interviewing potential agents, be sure to inquire about their experience with short sales and find out if they hold any designations for buying and selling distressed properties.

Make an Offer

An experienced REALTOR® will be extremely beneficial at this juncture in the buying process. Here are some key factors in a successful offer:

  • Request a written confirmation from the homeowner in default that the lender has received the hardship letter and documents required for a short sale application.
  • Short sales are commonly multiple offer situations. Be sure to factor into your offer that there is likely to be more than just your offer up for consideration.
  • Your offer should always be contingent upon the lenders approval within a set time frame.
  • Use an addendum to outline any contingency terms and conditions. Remember that most short sales are ‘as is’ and a lender will grant few, if any, repair requests.
  • Even though most short sales are ‘as is’, it is still crucial to conduct a home inspection. You should assess the bargain potential of a property by adding the cost of repairs to your total offer.

This information is meant as a guide. Although deemed reliable, information may not be accurate for your specific market or property type. Please consult a REALTOR® professional for more information on making a written offer.

Determining the Market Value of Your Home

Now that you have made the decision to sell your home, it is time to determine its asking price. Since the procedure by which it is calculated can be somewhat complex, you will want to seek the guidance of a trained professional – your REALTOR®. Should you price your home too low, you could potentially cheat yourself out of thousands of dollars. Conversely, if you price your home too high, potential buyers will bypass it in favor of something more reasonably priced. Leaving your home on the market for too long could have the adverse effect of giving it an unfavorable reputation. The object is to choose a price that is neither too high, nor too low. The asking price should be both accurate, given its market value, and fair. Your REALTOR® is familiar with the market and all of its changes. Take advantage of their knowledge and expertise.

What is Market Value?

Market value is the highest price that a willing buyer and seller, not under any compulsion or outside pressure, agree upon. Determined by outside influences, such as social and political factors, as well as the economy, market value is the price that your home should sell for in the current market. Your home’s fair market value depends on a number of other factors including, how it was built, its location, the condition it is in, the size of both the house and the property it sits on, as well as the price of other similar homes that have recently sold in your neighborhood. The price you choose will also be determined by the tempo of the market, the public’s confidence in the current economy, and competition within the market. Ultimately, the market will determine the value of your home, not you, making the services of a trained professional who understands it and all of its complexities all the more worthwhile. Don’t hesitate to ask your REALTOR® any questions you may have – their knowledge could save you thousands of dollars.

10 tips on the up-market of 2014


Homeowners enjoyed double-digit price growth in the first half of 2013, greatly exceeding experts’ predictions of a year ago and even settling into pre-recession values in many markets. Though there was some softening in the second half, sellers remain in their element and are turning the screws on anxious buyers who fear further price spikes and escalating interest rates. New-construction home sales are up, previously underwater properties are in positive equity again and investors are turning their attention to “secondary markets” to find value. Economists expect house prices to rise another 4 percent to 5 percent in 2014, meaning remaining bargains will get even more sparse.

With that in mind, here are 10 tips befitting the up-market of 2014.


Sellers: Jump-start the process.

You may be an avowed procrastinator, but if you want to sell a house this year, start planning now. The process, say sellers, always takes longer than expected. So get your home inspected now; there may be unseen major repairs to address. Declutter, clean closets and shelves, store extraneous possessions and furnishings and other stuff that might keep sellers from picturing themselves in your space. Attend an open house or two to get an idea of how to stage yours. And move along: Owners still waiting for the market to peak should beware that this real estate cycle may be shorter-lived than last.


Buyers: Be credit-ready.

There’s a lot of competition out there for homes, so tarry not. Get your credit report and start repairing any blips. If your scores are below 620 or so, a conventional loan will be a challenge. But if they’re under 740, you still might not get the best rates. Many buyers get a prequalification letter from the lender, but you can one-up them with a preapproval, which comes after a more thorough evaluation of your finances. A preapproval letter shows the seller that you’re good to go and can close quickly.

Sellers: Vet your real estate agent, then follow the agent’s advice.

Sellers lose time and money by hiring poorly. Interview several potential agents. You’ll want a full-timer who is Web savvy and uses mobile technology, because at least 4 in 5 buyers view their homes first online. Your agent should be a proven performer in your submarket and be willing to walk you through the financial aspects of your deal. The more the agent knows about schools, commutes and other local details, the better. Once vetted, accept your agent’s advice on pricing, marketing and negotiation.

Buyers: Adjust your negotiating expectations.

Lowball offers are off the table in this environment and could eliminate you from consideration. Respond to counteroffers quickly to keep other buyers from entering the picture; you don’t want to encourage a bidding war. If one breaks out, be prepared to get fewer concessions and pay more money. And have a few other homes in mind so you can be willing to walk away if the price soars.

Sellers: It’s your market (finally) so make the most of it.

At long last, it’s a seller’s market! While you’re interviewing agents, be wary of those offering too-good-to-be-true price opinions because they may be trying to “buy” your listing. And don’t jump at that first (seemingly) generous offer, especially if sellers are getting multiple offers. If you’re getting your price and then some, give something back to the buyer in good faith, such as an early move-in date or some personal property you’re not attached to. Never let the buyers’ agents know what you’re willing to do, though. Make them ask.

Buyers: Find life after foreclosure.

Have a foreclosure in recent years? Join the crowd. Though you might think you have to wait seven years to get another conventional mortgage, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA say they actually require just a three-year waiting period if the foreclosure was caused by extenuating circumstances. There are plenty of nonconforming lenders — often called “shadow bankers” — out there if you can endure a big down payment (around 20 percent) and above-market interest rates. Or consider a lease-purchase or lease-option where you pay the homeowner a monthly premium above your rent for the right to buy at a set price later.

Sellers: Hesitate to renovate.

We hear that newly renovated homes are easier sells, and that’s true. So is it time to remodel that outmoded kitchen? Not if you plan to sell soon. According to remodeling surveys, the average renovation project returns only about two-thirds on investment. For example, a major bathroom remodel costing $15,000 yields about $10,000 in resale value. The same goes for a major kitchen remodel. In most cases, it would be cheaper to issue credits to buyers or drop your price a few grand. Lighter jobs like new doors are more practical and return about 85 percent. But feel free to spend a bit on paint (basic colors), curb appeal and fence replacement to enhance exteriors.

Buyers: Ask and you won’t receive (an unpleasant surprise).

You’d be dismayed at the things sellers aren’t obliged to disclose in most states, including on-premises felonies, suicide, murder or a neighboring sex offender. Don’t be afraid to thoroughly question the selling party in writing before signing the contract. Some questions: Is there a cell tower, water tower, natural gas well, oil well or other non-residential construction scheduled to be built in this neighborhood (then define “neighborhood”)? Is there commercial zoning on nearby vacant land? Is the yard prone to flooding? Are train whistles or other regular loud noises audible there? Did known criminal activity occur in the house? Have there been reported hauntings? Are there loud neighbors, dogs or other noise pollution? Are there registered sex offenders or other known criminals living nearby? If the selling party refuses to answer any of these questions, that’s a bright red flag.

Sellers: Tailor your local game.

Folks who base their selling decisions on trends on cable news are often left wondering, “Why can’t I sell at this price?” The truth is, all markets are different and all real estate is local, and prices can vary greatly even in adjacent subdivisions. Home prices are dictated largely by demand, land availability, foreclosures and employment. Most local real estate offices will provide market stats and at least a few recent comp sales in hopes of earning your business. Additional trend data can be found online or in local newspapers and business journals. A polite call or email to a local real estate appraiser might net more info or links to local statistics.

Sellers and buyers: Heed changing trends.

Pay attention to trends and react accordingly. Thinking of laying carpet? Agent surveys in the past few years show homes with hardwood floors or faux wood laminate floors are far faster sells. You still want to be in suburbia? Millennials don’t. Numerous cities — such as Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and Minneapolis — have watched this more environmentally conscious generation flock to “mixed-use” urban districts served by trendy cafes, nightclubs, bike paths, civic events and mass transit. For now, they’re not buying condos, which haven’t recovered like the single-family market. They’re renting — but watching the condo market ever so carefully.


Alabama Right of Redemption

This explantation of the Alabama Right of Redemption is from Julie Martin, the broker at Port City Realty. Julie Martin is not an attorney and if you have further questions you should consult an attorney.

In Alabama there is a 1 Year Right of Redemption. This is a right of former property owners and their lien holders when a property has been foreclosed on. It is rare that this right is exercised, but it is a possibility, so if you buy a foreclosure you need to be aware of it.

The amount to redeem a property is:
the amount of the foreclosure + taxes + insurance + necessary, permanent improvements + interest.

Since the biggest concern of the buyer is losing the property within the 1 year right of redemption the two most important things to know are – the date of the foreclosure and the amount of the foreclosure.

If the price the buyer pays for a foreclosure is below the price of the foreclosure and the buyer does not make un-neccessary improvements during the redemption time this further reduces chance the buyer will lose any money in the case of a redemption.

The risk of losing is greater if the buyer pays more than the amount of the foreclosure or makes major improvements during the redemption period.

This information is meant as a guide. Although deemed reliable, information may not be accurate for your specific market.

Should You Get Pre-Approved for a Loan First?


Most mortgage lenders take the guess work out of applying for a loan by determining for you the amount you can afford to borrow. Then, they give you a printed document stating the maximum mortgage amount you qualify for based on your particular finances and income.

Mortgage pre-approval establishes your price range and strengthens your buying position by letting the seller know that you have already been approved for the loan. It can also ease time constraints once the purchase agreement is signed between buyer and seller.

Consider these Scenarios:

You’re out looking at homes. Your Real Estate Broker never mentions that you should get pre-approved and just ballparks what you can afford. You find the perfect house and work out a deal with the seller. Three weeks later, the lender informs you that the house is $10,000 over what you qualify for and does not approve your loan. The seller has already bought another house. You’ve given notice where you’re renting and told all your friends about the great house you bought. And then, there’s the money you’ve already spent on inspections on a house you can’t own.


You and your REALTOR® have been working diligently finding that “perfect” home. A new listing comes on the market that’s priced right and has got everything you’ve been looking for. You write an offer. Your REALTOR® takes it to the listing REALTOR® and is informed that another offer is coming in and will have to present both offers simultaneously to the Seller. The other Buyer is pre-approved for his loan. Whose offer do you think the seller will negotiate first?

Title Insurance

Generally, there are two forms of title insurance. Lender’s title insurance, required by most lending institutions, is normally written in the amount of the mortgage and protects the lending institution from losses resulting from title defects.

Because lender’s insurance expires when the mortgage is repaid, you may benefit from the second form of title insurance known as an owner’s title policy. It usually is written for the amount of the purchase price of the home. This protection starts the day of the closing and lasts as long as you or your heirs retain an interest in the property.

Unlike other insurance premiums, your title insurance premium is paid only once, at the closing. By purchasing owner’s and lender’s protection simultaneously, substantial savings in title insurance premiums can be realized.

After all fees have been paid and documents signed and notarized at the closing, you will receive a copy of each and, most importantly, title to your house.

Home Warranty

A home warranty is an affordable way to cover the costs of unexpected mechanical failure of a major system or appliance. A home warranty is specifically designed to cover the kinds of repairs that home insurance does not: appliances, plumbing and electrical, air conditioning and furnaces, and pool equipment.

The average annual cost of a home warranty policy is between $400 and $500. Most home warranty companies offer comparable coverage within the same price range. The premium is payable at closing and customarily protects you for one full year. Repairs are typically handled through the home warranty company with a minimal deductible. Often times the cost of the first year premium is offered as an incentive by sellers to solicit the sale of the property.

The age and condition of the home should be a consideration when choosing to purchase a home warranty. A fifteen year-old home with original equipment, versus a two year old home will likely have different financial risks. Your REALTOR® can help you decide if a home warranty policy is right for you based on your individual circumstances.

Why Should I Consider a Home Warranty?

Homeownership is expensive enough all on its own, without adding the cost of repairs and replacements. When moving into a home where appliances and systems have been previously used, there is always the chance that the general wear and tear, or the way in which they were previously used and maintained, could cause breakdown and/or complete failure. These repairs/replacements can be astronomically costly and often times occur unexpectedly. A home warranty will protect you financially from most of the frequently occurring breakdowns of home system components and appliances.

Discuss your unique needs and concerns with your home warranty representative. If you do not have a trusted home warranty representative, your REALTOR® can refer you to one.

This information is meant as a guide. Although deemed reliable, information may not be accurate for your specific market or property type. Please consult a REALTOR® professional or home warranty representative for more information home warranty policies.

How Much Do I Qualify For?

When buying a home, it is helpful to determine the type of home you’ll like and how much you can afford before beginning your search. Most lenders allocate approximately 28% of your GROSS MONTHLY INCOME to housing expense. Housing expense includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI). To get an idea of how much you can afford to pay each month for a home, multiply your gross monthly income by 28%.

When coupled with current outstanding loans, the total for your debt service should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income. Some lenders may have slightly more liberal requirements or loan interest rates which may increase your purchasing power.

Mortgage interest, property taxes, loan fees or “points” are currently tax deductible (up to allowable limits). Points are generally deductible in the year paid. A point equals 1% of the mortgage amount. If you are in the 28% tax bracket, this is equivalent to receiving a 28% discount on your mortgage interest and property taxes. During the first years of the mortgage your tax savings are especially high because most of your monthly payment goes toward loan interest.


Home Insurance

Home insurance, also called hazard insurance or homeowners insurance, is a type of insurance that covers private homes. It combines various personal insurance protections, which can include: losses to one’s home, its contents, loss of its use, or loss of other personal possessions of the homeowner, as well as liability insurance for accidents that may happen at the home or at the hands of the homeowner within the policy’s territory.

You should refer to the actual policy for specifics to what will and what will not be paid in the case of various events. Basic policies protect you and your house against losses from fire, theft, liability, vandalism, water damage, wind damage, tornados and loss of use. Traditionally, claims due to termites, floods, earthquakes or war (typically including a nuclear explosion from any source), are excluded; however special insurance can be purchased for these circumstances.

Policy Types

There are several types of homeowner’s policies available. Understanding the coverage that each type offers will help you select the right policy for your needs. The following three policy types are the most common coverages available:

  • Standard Policy requires coverage for at least 80% of the value of your home, excluding land and the foundation. It will usually insure your personal property at actual cash value.
  • Broad-From Policy is more inclusive than the standard policy and covers additional named perils such as glass breakage, smoke damage, etc.
  • All-Risk Policy covers even more than the standard and broad-form policies. An example of a covered risk might be damage caused to your roof from ice build-up in the gutters.

Some of these policies offer optional guaranteed replacement cost coverage on your home and its contents. Replacement cost coverage will pay to rebuild your home and replace its contents with no depreciation coming into play.

Premium Costs

The premium of a home insurance policy varies and typically depends on the cost to replace the property (including contents and personal possessions), and will also factor in the likelihood of the home being damaged or destroyed. Deductibles also vary and will affect the annual price of the policy you choose.

It is important to understand that the replacement value of your home is based on your insurance company’s estimate of the cost to rebuild your home on your property. It is not based on the purchase or appraised value of the home. Most policies have a built-in annual increase of replacement cost coverage.

Lowering Premiums

When purchasing home insurance, there are ways of lowering your premium. Most insurance companies offer discounts for smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, dead bolt locks, and whole-house alarm systems.

If your home is fairly new, or if you elect to insure your automobiles with the same company, you are likely to receive an additional discount on your premium.

Again, you can reduce your premium by electing to have a high deductible, but make sure to keep the number realistic should you need to make a claim.

Why Should I Consider Home Insurance?

If you obtain a mortgage to purchase your home your lender will require you to carry home insurance. Even if you do not have a mortgage it is a good thing to have home insurance. Insurance is the type of service you buy hoping that you will never have to use it. Unfortunately, in the world we live in, there is always the potential for the unexpected. Wherever you live in the world, there is the risk of natural disaster, accident, and sadly theft. Because all of these factors are out of your control, you will want to protect yourself from loss with home insurance.

Discuss your unique needs and concerns with your insurance agent before purchasing a policy, or whenever your needs may change. The right policy can give you a sense of security in knowing that you are adequately protected. If you do not have a trusted insurance agent, your REALTOR® can refer you to one.

This information is meant as a guide. Although deemed reliable, information may not be accurate for your specific market or property type. Please consult a REALTOR® professional or insurance agent for more information on home insurance policies.


7 Advantages Of Listing With A REALTOR®

  1. Your time is valuable. A REALTOR® saves you time!
  2. A REALTOR® is likely to sell your home for more money due to the greater exposure they offer. Many sellers even NET more after a REALTOR®’s fee!
  3. A 3rd party REALTOR® can obtain the prospect’s true opinions of your home and relay those comments to you!
  4. You’ll know the buyer is a qualified one, not just a looker!
  5. You don’t need to personally open up your home to strangers!
  6. You can save your money by not having to advertise your own home!
  7. You can be professionally represented by someone that can be held accountable for all the details!

A quality real estate representative doesn’t cost… It pays!

20 Questions To Ask A REALTOR®

Here are 22 powerful questions to ask a REALTOR® before you sign a listing contract to sell your home

  1. How long have you been selling real estate?
  2. What is the percent of sellers compared to buyers that you serve?
  3. Can we cancel the listing if we’re not happy?
  4. Do you have a licensed personal assistant?
  5. May I see your resume or personal brochure?
  6. Are you fully automated with your own personal computer, copier, mobile phone, etc.?
  7. May I see all the paperwork that you are going to ask me to sign?
  8. What professional designations do you have?
  9. I want to give my home the advantage of the latest marketing strategies. How much time and money do you invest each month in professional training?
  10. Why are you personally motivated to sell my house?
  11. Why should I list with you rather than any other REALTOR® who is calling on me?
  12. What kind of experience and training do you have in negotiations?
  13. How many homes do you sell in a year?
  14. Will you personally be there when contracts are presented and handle all the negotiations?
  15. Do you have a website?
  16. Will you directly market the property on the internet?
  17. Do you follow-up on all showings on the house and report the comments back to me?
  18. Do you have an assistant to make sure no details are overlooked?
  19. What part of your business is from referrals/past clients?
  20. Do you market with direct mailings on my property?

Home Inspections

It’s important to hire a knowledgeable, independent home inspector for advice on the overall condition of the property. The purchase contract usually requires specific time periods for each inspection, and it’s critical that these time frames be met. Usually the cost for any and all inspections and reinspections are paid by the buyer. Prices can range from $250 to $500 for whole-house inspections.

Some examples of common inspections are:

  • Structural. Defects caused by poor construction, soil movement, water or drainage conditions, settlement, fire, etc.
  • Environmental Hazards. Including asbestos, lead-based paint, radon gas or any other toxic material.
  • Roof. Can include framing members, decking and shingle condition.
  • EMP. Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing – Should include electrical and plumbing systems, built-in appliances, heating and cooling systems, swimming pool/spas, sprinkler systems and security systems.
  • Termite. Report would show any visible infestation or visible damage caused by and wood destroying organism (termites, water damage, wood rot).

Many companies specialize in only one area of inspection, and others will group several together and offer a package price. Whichever route you go, assure yourself your getting the inspections you need. Many can be found in the yellow pages or your Real Estate Professional can provide a list of several of each to choose from.

Waterfront Home – 3900 E St. Andrews Drive, Mobile, AL



Beautiful custom built waterfront home in convenient Riviere Du Chien. Located on deep water with a wide view, just a short boat ride from the wide part of Dog River. Very spacious rooms. Fantastic kitchen with all the cabinets and counter space anyone needs. Very large master bedroom with views of the water. The master bath has a large separate shower plus double vanities, two large closets and more. There is a unfinished bonus room upstairs. Very large covered, screened deck across the back of the house overlooks the water. Pretty gazebo/dock do wn at the water. Very pretty views. $374,900.

view of waterview from waterporch

New Construction in South Mobile County near Dauphin Island – 3027 Riverview Drive

Riverview frontgreat roomkitchen

This beautiful custom built new home is fortified to the standard of gold, to save you on insurance costs and to give you added security during a hurricane. You will love all the extra touches in this home – arched doorways, beautiful wood floors, granite counter tops, and fabulous landscaping, just to name a few. All of this in an area that is convenient to I-10 and to Dauphin Island. Check out all of the pictures and then call me or your Realtor today to schedule a showing to see this house. $179,000.

For more information:


Beautiful Home near Silver King Golf Course with Heated Pool – 11652 Hillside Dr., Irvington, AL


This stunning property has it all! The home is immaculate. It has large rooms and is beautifully decorated. The extras include a bonus room upstairs, a whole house generator and two 2-car garages! Outside you have a beautiful HEATED pool area that includes an outside kitchen under the covered patio and it’s own half bath for your guests. There is still plenty of yard beyond the pool area. All of this in walking distance of the club house at Silver King Golf Course and just a short drive the I-10. So convenient for both Mississippi workers or for Mobile workers. The sellers are leaving all kitchen appliances and offering a home warranty with a full price offer.  $298,000. For more information:
Living RoomMaster BathP1030802

Remodeled home with a pool – 5765 Woodchase Court, Theodore, AL 36582 – $128,900


Beautiful remodeled home with too many upgrades to list. Can easily be converted to a 4 bdrm. Huge floored attic for storage. Spring and summer is filled with flowers and fruit trees It has a 600 sq ft screened in back porch overlooking a landscaped backyard with a 20X40 in ground pool. A wired and cooled 16X24 workshop, in a quaint wooded cul-de-sac. It has two driveways on each side of the house. Good schools and easy access to I-10. Its a must see!

back of houseporch

For more information:

Great Foreclosure in West Mobile – 3045 W Plantation Drive, Mobile AL


Here’s your opportunity to own a home in West Mobile at a real steal of a price! This spacious, nearly 2100 sf, 3/2 home with a bonus/office room and a double garage was built in 2007. It has a raised ceiling and a fireplace in the over-sized living room, generous sized bedrooms and a large privacy fenced back yard. Call our office and let one of our agents help you get into your new home.

Alabama Right of Redemption

Question:  I am a first time home buyer interested in purchasing a home in the Mobile County area (Alabama). I just want to make sure ahead of time (if I buy a foreclosure) if I would be at risk of losing the property within the 1 year right of redemption period?

This is a concern many buyers have. Even though, I’m told that less than 1/10th of 1% of foreclosures are redeemed, Yes,  it is a possibility.

The concerns are losing the property within the 1 year right of redemption, or losing money.

The important things to know is the date of the foreclosure and the amount of the foreclosure. In Alabama the previous owners, and others with interest in the property have 365 days from the foreclosure date to redeem the property.  The amount to redeem is the amount on the foreclosure deed + taxes + insurance + necessary, permanent improvements + interest.

If you are purchasing a foreclosed property for $100,000 and the amount on the foreclosure deed is $150,000 you are at less risk than if you are purchasing the property for $100,000 and the amount on the foreclosure deed is $50,000.

I list foreclosures for Freddie Mac, banks and asset companies and I really enjoy working with buyers who are purchasing foreclosures. It is really fun to help someone get a really good deal! Call or email me any time you have any questions concerning foreclosures. I’d be happy to help.


This Blog by: Julie Martin, CRB, e-PRO, Broker/Realtor, Port City Realty, Mobile, AL;
877-880-8110 toll free
251-665-4665 my cell

10 Most Common Mistakes Agents Make When Writing/Submitting an Offer on a Foreclosure

10. Calling the listing agent and asking “Is there anything wrong with the property?” The listing agent is not an inspector. If the property is 2000 s.f. and priced at $30,000 it probably has issues.

9. Not reading and following the directions in the agent remarks of the MLS.

8. Not looking for supporting documents in the MLS.

7. Assuming the asset company/bank does not work on the weekends.

6. Not completely filling out information sheets associated with the offer.

5. Writing odd things into an offer.

4. Submitting an offer without proof of funds or a pre-approval letter.

3. Not submitting a complete offer package.

2. Not allowing enough time for a response.

1. Giving the listing agent an attitude because of the instructions that the seller has given the listing
agent that the selling agent does not want to follow.

Buying a Freddie Mac Foreclosure – Part 3: Multiple Offers

Buying a Freddie Mac Foreclosure – What makes an offer the better offer in a multiple situation?

A few days ago I posted an article called Buying a Freddie Mac Foreclosure Part 2. In it I discussed the procedure listings agents are required to follow when submitting offers.

Today, I received an offer on a property. With it was an email from the Realtor who wrote the offer. He was explaining that this particular buyer had recently been in several multiple offer situations. He was hoping that this offer was written quick enough and high enough to get it accepted.

Everyone understands that the price you offer on any listed property is very important. But what else is important?

As I explained in Buying A Freddie Mac Foreclosure Part 2, timing is very important. The sooner you can get an offer submitted, the better off you are.

What else?

What can make your offer better than other offers in a multiple situation?

Give the seller time to respond. Three – Five days is preferable. They may respond sooner, but if they don’t, and you do not give them enough time, your offer will expire. Once it expires in the system you have to start over and resubmit. They might accept another offer while your offer is in the system as expired. – This is the biggest single issue I see that causes a buyer to lose a property, other than price.

The property is being sold “as-is.” Do not ask for repairs or a repair allowance.

Keep in mind that anything you ask the seller to pay on the buyer’s behalf reduces the seller’s net proceeds. You can ask for the seller to pay for the buyer’s closing cost when there is a mortgage involved, but do not ask for the seller to pay for any prepaid items, such as insurance, taxes and mortgage escrow items.

Do not write any “weird stuff” into the offer. You cannot move in before you close. You cannot do repairs before you close. And the listing agent has no way to submit a two page (or even one page) explanation of why you are offering what you are offering.

Finally, make sure all of the required documents and information is submitted with the offer.


This Blog by: Julie Martin, CRB, e-PRO, Broker/Realtor, Port City Realty, Mobile, AL;
877-880-8110 toll free
251-665-4665 my cell

You can search for properties from a LIVE MLS here. This search should have accurate information since it is fed directly from the Mobile MLS.

Click here to search a LIVE MLS link from the Baldwin County

These links are also on my websites:

Buying a Freddie Mac Foreclosure – Part 2: Getting An Offer Submitted

What does the listing agent need in order to submit an offer?

A complete contract, with every issue in the contract addressed.

If you are getting a mortgage you need a pre-approval letter from a bank or mortgage company that states what type of loan you are getting and how much you will be financing.

If the offer is cash you will need to provide proof of funds (proof that the buyer has access to the funds to pay for the property).

Proof of earnest money.

Can the listing agent submit your offer if you do not provide a pre-approval letter, proof of funds or proof of earnest money?

Yes. However, the listing agent is also required to put in the comment section of the offer “there is no pre-approval letter,” or whatever else is missing. You will not be able to get an offer accepted without the missing documentation and the missing documentation could keep you from winning the bid in a multiple situation.

Is there anything that can actually keep an offer from being submitted into the system?

Yes. There are questions in the system that are in required fields. Answers are required in order for the system to take the bid.  Information about the buyer that is required in order to submit the offer into the system:

Is the buyer(s):

an owner occupant or investor?
a the licensed real estate agent?
a Freddie Mac employee or servicer?
a former owner of the property or relative?

Without answers to these questions the system will not take the bid. The offer can be emailed to the listing agent’s sales specialist, so that it is legally submitted, but it will not be considered until these questions are answered. In a multiple situation this missing information could keep you from winning the bid.


This Blog by: Julie Martin, CRB, e-PRO, Broker/Realtor, Port City Realty, Mobile, AL;
877-880-8110 toll free
251-665-4665 my cell

You can search for properties from a LIVE MLS here. This search should have accurate information since it is fed directly from the Mobile MLS.

Click here to search a LIVE MLS link from the Baldwin County

These links are also on my websites:

Buying A Freddie Mac Foreclosure – Part 1

I received the following email about a new listing. It is a Freddie Mac/HomesSteps foreclosure in Gulf Shores. I thought probably more than one person would like to know how this works, so I am going to post the email and the answer, with details on How It Works. First the question:

“Is  $89900 the asking price on this house or is it one of these house where if I give you the full amount someone else can offer higher and they can get it? Or if I gave you $89900 would be mine? It would be cash money. I live about 5 hours away and I would hate to drive down there and then be told that if someone offers more, then they can buy it. That has already happened to me two times.”

This is how it works:

Properties are listed on the MLS at a List Price. That is the price the seller is trying to sell the property for. Sellers would like to net as much as they can on the sale of the property. If someone comes along and offers them more than they are asking for, yes, they will usually take it. This usually happens when there are multiple offers on the property or the buyer is concerned that there are going to be multiple offers on the property. But there is more to it than that.

In this case, it is a Freddie Mac foreclosure, so I am going to explain how it works with a Freddie Mac/HomeSteps foreclosure. The procedure can vary with different sellers, and of course Freddie Mac/HomeSteps can change their procedures at any time.

1. Freddie Mac/HomeSteps lists a property with a Realtor, who puts the property on the MLS.

2. The 1st 15 days that the property is listed on the MLS it is available for sell to Owner Occupants only. Owner Occupants are buyers who are going to move into the property and live there. This is called the First Look period.

3. Investors are eligible to have their offers accepted on the 16th day.

4. When an offer is written it is entered into the HomeSteps system by the listing agent as soon as they are able, but within 24 hours.

5. Once an offer is entered into the system, if any other offers are received then they are entered into the system as additional offers.

6. Freddie Mac/Homesteps may accept the offer that is in the system or they may counter the offer.

7. If Freddie Mac/Homesteps accepts the offer in the system,  any other offer that comes in will be negotiated as a backup offer only.

8. If Freddie Mac/Homesteps counters the offer then they will give the buyer a certain amount of time to accept the counter or counter the offer.

9. If buyer accepts the counter,  any other offer that comes in will be negotiated as a backup offer only.

10. If the buyer counters the counter and other offers have been received, then a multiple offer situation exists.

11. In a multiple offer situation all parties are informed in writing that they are in a multiple offer situation. They will be given written notice that they can withdraw their offer, leave their offer the same or change their offer in writing. They are given a deadline to do this.

12. When the deadline arrives all offers are entered into the system and Freddie Mac/HomeSteps chooses which offer they are going to accept or counter.

At any time, in the state of Alabama, until you have a fully ratified contract (signed by all parties) anything can happen. However, this is the instructions listings agents are given to handle offers on Freddie Mac/Homesteps properties.

The property stays on the market until there is an accepted contract.  Buyers can make offers even after there is an accepted offer, however they are only considered as backup offers.

This is the system, without regard to negotiating strategies being discussed. That would be an entire other article that I will work on later, but I would like to make one important statement.

The sooner a buyer writes an offer the more likely they will be to not get into multiple offers.


This Blog by: Julie Martin, CRB, e-PRO, Broker/Realtor, Port City Realty, Mobile, AL;
877-880-8110 toll free
251-665-4665 my cell

You can search for properties from a LIVE MLS here. This search should have accurate information since it is fed directly from the Mobile MLS.

Click here to search a LIVE MLS link from the Baldwin County

These links are also on my websites:

10 Tips To Help You Submit An Offer On A Foreclosure And Get It Accepted

10 Tips to Make it More Likely Your Offer is Accepted.

1. Make sure that there are no blanks left unfilled in your purchase agreement – Every issue in the purchase agreement should be addressed.

2. If you are getting a mortgage you need a pre-approval letter from a bank or mortgage company which   states what type of loan you are getting and how much you will be financing. Some banks/asset companies will require that you get a pre-approval letter from a certain lender. You do not have to use their lender, but if they say they require a pre-approval letter from a particular lender it is wise to get them what they want.

3 If the offer is cash you will need to provide proof of funds from your bank.

4. Certified funds for earnest money is helpful.

5. Timing is crucial. The sooner you submit the offer the better, but check the listing or with the listing agent for any timing limitations. If you are bidding on a property where you submit your offer on line, watch your timelines and submit as soon as you can. Usually it’s the highest offer that gets the bid, but sometimes it’s the 1st acceptable offer. The sooner a buyer writes an offer the less likely they will be to get into multiple offers.

6. Give the seller time to respond. Three – Five days is preferable. They may respond sooner, but if they don’t, and you do not give them enough time, your offer will expire. Once it expires in the system you have to start over and resubmit. They might accept another offer while your offer is in the system as expired.

7. The property is being sold “as-is.” Do not ask for repairs or a repair allowance.

8. Keep in mind that anything you ask the seller to pay on the buyer’s behalf reduces the seller’s net proceeds. You can ask for the seller to pay for the buyer’s closing cost when there is a mortgage involved, but sellers rarely pay prepaid items, such as insurance, taxes and mortgage escrow items.

9. Do not write any “weird stuff” into the offer. You cannot move in before you close. You cannot do repairs before you close. And the listing agent has no way to submit a two page (or even one page) explanation of why you are offering what you are offering.

10. Finally, if you do find yourself in a multiple offer situation and you are told to “make your best offer,” then do just that. The property is worth what it is worth to you. If you would have gone $1000 higher, now is the time to do it. If you would have gone $10,000 higher, now is the time to do it. In our market over 25% of the sales are foreclosures, but less than 10% of the listings are foreclosures. There are a lot of multiple offers. The best deals almost always go into a multiple situation. The sooner, the higher and the more complete your offer is, the more likely you will win in a multiple.


This Blog by: Julie Martin, CRB, e-PRO, Broker/Realtor, Port City Realty, Mobile, AL;
877-880-8110 toll free
251-665-4665 my cell

You can search for properties from a LIVE MLS here. This search should have accurate information since it is fed directly from the Mobile MLS.

Click here to search a LIVE MLS link from the Baldwin County

These links are also on my websites:

Despite natural disasters over the years, the largest Gulf Coast city is on the rise |

Alabama’s Gulf Coast has been hit hard over the past 10 years with Hurricane Katrina and then the BP oil spill. Despite these setbacks, residents and businesses pressed onward and now the fruit of that perseverance can be seen…particularly in the city of Mobile.

Source: Despite natural disasters over the years, the largest Gulf Coast city is on the rise |