Drakes Creek

No matter how perfect your city home is, there’s one asset it will never have: a night sky jammed with sparkling stars. That’s just one good reason for moving out to the country. Here are a few more.

Tucked away in rural Russell County, Alabama, is a cozy subdivision of brand new, top quality homes built by local builders. The homes in Drake’s Creek are the perfect mix for people who want all the modern amenities of a new home without all the noise and traffic of city suburbs. The lots out here are bigger than what you typically find in the city, too. And with a location about halfway between Fort Mitchell and Seale, it’s easy to get where you need or want to go — you’re about 10 miles from Fort Benning’s back gate, about 15 miles from Columbus and Phenix City, and 30 miles from Eufaula.

There are only 40 lots in Drake’s Creek, and only one road leading into the subdivision, which means the only traffic you’ll see will be your neighbors. Soon to be built are a community swimming pool and playground, a great place to get to know those neighbors.

Several floor plans and lot sizes ranging from one-third to one-and-a-half acres give you plenty to choose from. The houses feature low-maintenance HardiePlank siding and stone accents on the outside, and high-end architectural details on the inside. Coffered ceilings, chair railings, and rich hardwood floors bring elegance to formal living and dining rooms. Cozy, wood-burning fireplaces warm up the spacious family rooms, and the wall above the fireplace has already been wired for your big screen TV. Kitchens are filled with custom cabinets, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and pantries that can hold a year’s worth of provisions.

The master suites in these houses are especially scrumptious. Many have sitting areas and a second fireplace — this one electric so it’s easy to flip on when you want to read for just a few minutes before bedtime. The sitting area is subtly separated from the bedroom by columns, arched entries and built-in display shelves. Tall tray ceilings are lined with crown molding and have been painted to accentuate the architectural detail. The master baths feature extra-large 6-foot tubs and separate, tiled showers.

An open loft at the top of the stairs can be used as a playroom, and office, or maybe a second TV room for kids who’d rather play video games than watch a movie.

Keep your eye open for fun surprises, like the so-called Harley garage in some models. It has its own roll-up door, like the garage door but smaller. It opens into a bonus space that’s the perfect size for your motorcycle, ATV, riding mower, tools or toys. No outbuildings needed at this address! Another nice touch can be found in laundry rooms, where the builder has installed not only cabinets for storage, but a bar for hanging shirts straight from the dryer.

The houses in Drake’s Creek are spacious, ranging from about 2,000 square feet up to about 3,800 square feet. With that much room you’ll get four or five guest bedrooms and each will feel as large as a master. You’ll also get a lot of value when you buy in Drake’s Creek. Prices range from $175,000 to about $238,000.

Finishing touches are all that remain on several houses in Drake’s Creek. If you’re ready to buy, you can probably choose your own flooring, fixtures and other finishes. And if you act now, you’ll find up to $8,500 in builder’s incentives on select models to use on closing costs or upgrades.

Call Keith Bennett for the details…  706-984-1168

Or at his Remax office…706-507-1899

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get Pre-approved First

pre-approvedSo you have decided that you would like to buy a home. What is the first thing to do? Most people will start by looking at homes for sale online. Is this the best thing to do first? Sorry, but it’s not. The first thing to do is to call a Realtor. I recommend you call me. You may know a Realtor, or a friend may know a good Realtor. Call one. Tell them you are thinking of buying a home and need to speak to a reputable mortgage expert. If you want to know the one that has the best deal going, ask the agent who they are going to use on their next home purchase. Call that loan officer and ask for a pre-approval. There is a number of reason’s to do this first. Such as you may be able to purchase more home than you think, with a payment that still fits your budget. A Great loan officer will tell you how much home you can afford and what the payment will be. Depending on the type of loan, they will also tell you any down payment that may be needed. The loan officer will look at your credit. Sometimes they will find something keeping you from buying a home now. A great loan officer is an amazing resource on how to fix such an issue as quickly as possible, or they may tell you something to do to quickly increase your score and get you a better rate. Then they will give you a pre-approval letter and a GFE. With those in hand it’s time to go shopping. Call me so we can go look at some homes. When we find the one for you the GFE will help us with the numbers needed to make a offer on the home. We will attach the pre-approval to the offer so that the seller knows that you are for real and not just out looking.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Great New for the Fort Benning area home buyers. New home sales are up according to ACRE!

Read below for the details.

Alabama new home sales have experienced growth of 3.1 percent from March 2012. Year-to-date, new home sales are up 12.4 percent.

In March, sixty percent of metro areas experienced an increase in new home sales compared to 2012 with Birmingham leading the state with the highest growth rate of 24 percent followed by Montgomery (4%) and Huntsville (2%). New home sales in March declined in Tuscaloosa (-45%) and Mobile (-17%).

Demand: March new home sales in Alabama’s five metro markets, representing approximately seventy percent of all statewide transactions, slipped 3.9 percent from the prior month. Alabama’s new home sales growth rate in March under performed the US market which experienced an increase of 18.5 percent from March 2012 and 1.5 percent above the prior month, according to the US Census Bureau & HUD. The release also reported that the results from the South region were up 8.0 percent from March 2012 and 19.4 percent from last month.

Alabama NSF permits JPEG.jpgIndicator of future supply – Alabama residential building permits up 14.9% from March 2012. Infograph courtesy of ACRE. All rights reserved.

Supply: Statewide new construction inventory is 5.9 percent higher than last March as Alabama home builders are gradually increasing production to match improving levels of demand. US supply of new homes is up 5.5 percent. Only Birmingham (down 6%) experienced a reduction in inventory from last March.

Alabama’s metro markets in March reflect 5.6 months of new home supply, an increase from 5.5 months of supply experienced last month and also the same as March 2012. According to the US Census Bureau & HUD, the US inventory of new homes for sale increased to 153,000 homes or 4.4 months’ supply, a decline (improvement) from 4.9 months of supply in March 2012.

Pricing: Alabama’s metro market’s median new home sales price in March was $236,293, an increase of 9.6 percent from last month and 25. percent when compared to March 2012.

New Home Pipeline: March statewide housing starts increased by 5.5 percent from the prior month and increased 13.6 percent from March 2012. Housing starts were up 6.5% in 2012. March statewide building permits were up 6.2 percent from the prior month and were 14.9 percent above March 2012. Building permits were up 8.4 percent in 2012.

Residential Construction Employment: According to the Alabama Dept. of Industrial Relations latest report, statewide residential construction employment in March improved 1.9 percent (1,200 jobs) to 63,100 from last month but remains 2.3 below the number of jobs from the same month a year ago.

Local Results: 8 out of the 27 home builder associations (30% – down from 48% in prior month) reported gains in building permits from the prior month (Feb’13) while 14 associations (52% – down from 67%) reported gains in housing starts from last month. Fourteen associations (52% – up from 44% last month) experienced an increase from their March 2012 housing starts.

What’s the latest housing and economic outlook for 2013? In a March 2013 report, analysts at Bank of America/ Merrill Lynch concluded: “We believe that the gain in home prices can persist despite subpar economic growth this year…Absent a significant weakening in the economy with negative payrolls, we think the housing recovery can continue. The combination of low inventory (referring to nationwide level), high affordability and improving expectations for home prices provide powerful momentum for the housing sector.”

This monthly report is provided compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Home loans are changing

Thank you Marcus Coyle for this information, I think. The USDA loan is the best 100% loan that I have seen other that the VA loan, and they are making it tougher for home buyers to get the loan. I thought the news has been saying that mortgage loan guidelines would be getting lowered. I have not seen proof of that so far!

Effective 5/1/2013, USDA will be making the changes listed below:

Applicable on Manually underwritten files and GUS files that receive a “Refer” or “Refer with Caution”. (This does NOT apply to GUS files receiving an “Accept” or an “Accept” underwriting decision that requires a “Full Documentation” loan submission.

Agency concurrence of a debt ratio may be granted if ALL of the following conditions are met:

· The PITI is between 29 and 32 percent of the TD ratio is between 41 and 44 percent; AND

· The credit score of ALL applicant(s) is680 or greater; AND

· At least one of the acceptable compensating factors listed below is identified and supporting documentation is provided to the Agency.

Acceptable Compensating Factors and Supporting Documentation:

· The proposed PITI is equal to or less than the applicant’s current verified housing expense for the 12 month period preceding loan application. Verification of housing expenses may be documented on a VOR or credit report. The VOR or credit report must include the actual payment amount due and report no late payments or delinquency for the previous 12 months. Rent or mortgage payment histories from a family member will not be considered.

· Accumulated savings of liquid assets or cash reserves available post loan closing are equal to or great than 3 months of PITI payments. A VOD or two consecutive bank statements, dated within 45 days of loan application, that document the average balance held by the applicant is required. Cash on hand is not eligible for consideration as a compensating factor.

· The applicant(s) (all employed applicants) has been continuously employed with their current employer for a minimum of 2-years. A VOE (Form RD 1910-5, equivalent HUD/FHA/VA or FNMA Form, or other equivalent) or VOEs prepared by an employment verification service (The Work Number, etc) must be provided. This compensation factor is not applicable for self-employed applicants.

Debt Ratio Waiver Request and Agency Approval:

Debt ratio waivers must be requested and documented by the approved lender, otherwise the loan file will be denied. The Agency will review the debt ratio waiver request when all of the following conditions are met:

· The lender requests Agency concurrence with the debt ratio waiver by submitting a signed underwriting analysis that captures one or more of the above compensating factors. Lenders may utilize FNMA 1008/FHLMC 1077 “Uniform Underwriting and Transmittal Summary” or similar form; and

· The PITI is between 29 and 32 percent or the TD is between 41 and 44 percent; and

· The underwriting credit score is 680 or greater for all applicants; and

· The lender provides evidence of the compensating factor(s).

The Agency will notify the lender of concurrence with the debt ratio waiver request by issuance of Form RD 1980-18, “Conditional Commitment for Single Family Housing Loan Guarantee”. The Agency must check the ratio waiver box in the Guaranteed Loan System for manually underwritten loans or on the USDA Administration page in GUS for “Refer” or “Refer with Caution” underwriting recommendation files. All supporting documentation of the compensating factors must be imaged as an essential document in the Rural Development Imaging Repository.

There will be no exceptions to the defined ratio thresholds and minimum credit score requirements. Only the compensating factors listed with supporting documentation will be considered for Agency concurrence with a debt ratio waiver.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Homemade Mosquito Trap

Summer is here and the bugs are back. A friend posted this on Facebook. It looked interesting to me so I thought I would share it with all the Fort Benning area home owners.

Modern technology has brought us many benefits, including mosquito traps that cost hundreds of dollars, but sometimes we overlook simple solutions to difficult challenges such as mosquito control. When it comes to controlling pests, research tends to focus on chemicals or concepts that can be patented. Unless someone can make a profit from an idea, the public may never become aware of it.


Items needed:

200 ml water
50 grams of brown sugar
1 gram of yeast
2-liter plastic bottle

Or US conversion:
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of brown sugar

1. Cut the plastic bottle in half.
2. Mix brown sugar with hot water. Let cool. When cold, pour in the bottom half of the bottle.
3. Add the yeast. No need to mix. It creates carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes.
4. Place the funnel part, upside down, into the other half of the bottle, taping them together if desired.
5. Wrap the bottle with something black, leaving the top uncovered, and place it outside in an area away from your normal gathering area. (Mosquitoes are also drawn to the color black.)

Change the solution every 2 weeks for continuous control.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fort Benning area rates may go up


Rates may be going up!  Marcus is not the only local respected Mortgage professonal that has told me this.

If you are thinking of buying, the sooner you do the more money you will save over the life of the loan.   On a 200k loan, a small jump of .5%, 3.5 % to 4%, will increase the monthly payment 56 bucks.  Over 30 years, that will cost the homeowner over 20k.  So don’t delay any longer on buying your new home.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fort Benning is close to Great Fishing

I moved to the Fort Benning area about 10 years ago.  One of the big reasons is that it is so close to the Florida beachs and Salt Water Fishing.  Here is a update on new rules coming to to the snapper fishing on the Florida cost..


When would you like to go fishing?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment