Birmingham Association of REALTORS®

Fran Aldridge with first-time homebuyer Evan Massey. 

The First-Time Home Buyer

April 16, 2015 | View on Facebook

Growing up, most of us share a few major life goals: finding our dream job, getting married, and buying a home. Today, we’re gaining some insight from a few recent first-time homebuyers and one REALTOR® who helped make their dream of home ownership a reality.

“I love the excitement of helping homebuyers find their first home–many who thought this was an impossible achievement,” says Fran Aldridge with Keller Williams – Trussville and member of the Birmingham Association of REALTORS®, Inc. (BAR).

Fran recommends that all first-time homebuyers utilize a REALTOR® to ease the often intimidating process of home buying. In addition to offering expert advice, Fran explains that as a buyer’s agent, commission is usually paid by the seller, allowing you to have a representative working for you at no additional cost.

“Looking for a home as a new homebuyer was definitely a nerve-wracking and exciting experience for me,” says firefighter Evan Massey, who recently purchased his first home with help from Fran. “She made the process very easy. It is such a proud moment to be able to say I am a homeowner.”

Alex Aycock, who just purchased his first home with fiancée Abby, shares his story of home buying, a process he couldn’t imagine without the guidance from a REALTOR®. “When shopping for our first home, Abby and I really had no idea of what we were looking for,” he explains. “We knew where we wanted to be and how many bedrooms we needed, but that’s about it.”

By choosing to work with a REALTOR®, Alex was able to focus his search process and view the best homes within his price range. “Without Fran, I don’t think Abby and I would have found a better home,” he says. “She helped us in so many ways, including identifying what was important to us in the search for our first home.”

“I have enjoyed working with all my first-time homebuyers,” says Fran, “And I would encourage potential buyers to not procrastinate on purchasing their first home now since the mortgage rates are great.”

Ready to start a new chapter in your life by purchasing your first home? Find your REALTOR® and search the Greater Alabama MLS, the only accurate listing service available, with the Birmingham Association of REALTORS® at

To all current home owners, tell us… What was the process of buying your first home like?


shutterstock_179539115The Fixer-Upper

April 23, 2015 | View on Facebook

Every homebuyer falls into one of two camps: you are either looking for freshly updated, move-in ready home, or you’ve got your eyes set on a fixer-upper. The fixer-upper buyer loves a project and the chance to renovate a home to fit his or her individual style.

We’re chatting with Sharon Wilson, a REALTOR® with the Birmingham Association of REALTORS®, Inc. who has sold her fair share of fixer-uppers.

“With a fixer-upper, buyers are generally getting a home for a lot less than market value,” Wilson explains. “Even after adding the costs to renovate, they should still have good equity.”

The biggest challenge, Wilson explains, is the time it takes to get a loan approved for a fixer-upper house. In her 21 years of working as a REALTOR®, Wilson has observed that obtaining a loan for a fixer-upper usually takes longer than a move-in ready property.

“I advise homebuyers to be patient during this process,” Wilson says. “If they are on strict time constraints, they may not want to consider a renovation project.”

Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson

Once the home is bought, the real work begins with renovations.
“Buying a fixer-upper can be very rewarding,” says Wilson. “But not all fixer-uppers are a good choice–some may have more work than the buyer planned for.”

If you can prepare for the unexpected and don’t mind a little elbow grease, a fixer-upper can be a great option for buyers, especially those purchasing their first home.

“All of the fixer-uppers that I have sold have been to first-time homebuyers,” Wilson smiles. “To see the joy on their faces from not only buying their first home, but also getting it for less than market value is why I love my job.”

If you’re in the market for a new home, consider a fixer-upper. Get started by connecting with a REALTOR® and then search the Greater Alabama MLS, the only accurate home listing service available, with the Birmingham Association of REALTORS® at

Have you purchased and renovated a fixer-upper? What was your experience like?


Habitt 2014 Sweeny

Alicia White (R) at a Habitat for Humanity build

The Empty-Nester

May 30, 3015 | View on Facebook

For some homebuyers, bigger is better. As time passes and lifestyles change, however, many homeowners find themselves ready to downsize to a smaller, more comfortable abode.

“Working with an empty-nester is exciting because they have been through the purchasing process before, so there is less of a learning curve,” explains Alicia White, a REALTOR® with the Birmingham Association of REALTORS®, Inc. (BAR) who founded JMA Realty in 2008. “Empty-nesters also knows exactly what they want, so it is sometimes challenging to find that perfect home.”

Another challenge downsizers often face is how to fit years of memories and furniture into a significantly smaller house.

“Last year I was working with a client who was looking to downsize,” says White. “Once we narrowed down her choices, I asked the question, ‘Can you see where you are going to place your furniture?’”

White explains that the shocked look on her client’s face when she realized that all of her furniture was not going to fit into her new home was priceless.

“We spent time discussing what she needed to part with so that she could fit her belongings in her new home,” says White. “Needless to say, she gave away some furniture.”

As a BAR REALTOR®, White not only provides professional guidance to her homebuying clients, but she also offers emotional support to those making a big lifestyle transition.

“Sometimes the empty-nester is emotional about their move,” White says. “I like to spend time with them in the beginning to make this move a celebration of this new stage of their life.”

If you’re looking to downsize to a smaller home, consult a BAR REALTOR® for recommendations for lenders, closing attorneys, home inspectors, and movers. Get your home search started with the Greater Alabama MLS, the only accurate listing service available, with the Birmingham Association of REALTORS® at

To all current empty-nesters…what was your biggest surprise in downsizing to a smaller home?

Peter Northcott

Peter Northcott

Top 3 Advantages to Working with a REALTOR®

May 14, 2015 | View on Facebook

Who loves watching house hunting shows on TV?

Buying a home is an exciting phase of life, but it is also one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. Utilizing the help of a REALTOR® can help you make an educated decision.

We’re chatting with Peter Northcott, a REALTOR® with 15 years experience and member of the Birmingham Association of REALTORS®, Inc., about the advantages to working with a REALTOR®.

“Many times, potential buyers and sellers are coached by caring individuals that may not always really understand the industry,” Northcott explains. “My job is to give a potential client accurate information so they make good decision about real estate.”

So, what are Northcott’s Top 3 Advantages to working with a REALTOR®?

1) They know the homebuying and selling process.

What does this mean for you? Your REALTOR® knows market trends and comparative market analysis. This means you will have the best chance to get the greatest value for your homebuying budget or that you’ll be able to sell your home for a competitive price.

2) They help you see the advantages of buying a new vs. existing home.

For homebuyers looking for some sweat equity, a REALTOR® can help you envision the potential in a fixer-upper.

3) They have established relationships with key vendors, i.e. mortgage, insurance, and home inspectors.

Choosing your house is just the beginning—your REALTOR® can connect you with trusted team members to guide you the rest of way home.

To our Facebook readers who have worked with a REALTOR®, what was your experience like?

Find out about greater Birmingham area homes for sale by searching the Greater Alabama MLS, the only accurate listing service available, with the Birmingham Association of REALTORS® at

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