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I am taking this opportunity to introduce myself and provide you with a few details on the realty services I provide.  My name is Kelley Shaw Smith, and I am a REALTOR? with RE/MAX Northern Properties.  I am local and take great pride in our community, as well as, serving my clients and neighbors.


When asking around, you will find that RE/MAX Northern Properties is highly respected, and we have earned our clients'' respect through many years of personal service in this community.  No question or concern is too demanding, for we constantly research the latest market conditions and finance options.


As your REALTOR?, you can be confident that I will always put forth-extra effort whether assisting you with the purchase of a new property, the sale of present property, or providing local information to new residents and businesses.


With the resources of the most respected company in this area at my disposal, I can assist you in making your property ownership goals a reality.


You may also visit my Website at for additional information on the services I can provide.  I look forward to helping you.



?         Serving Friends, and Family and Family of Friends for over 4 years

?         Been in the building industry for over 20 years

?         Realtor

?         Member ? National Association of Realtors

?         Member ? Birmingham Association Of Realtors

?         Nominated for Rookie of the Year.

?         #2 Nationwide for Rookie of the Year at Real Living.



Steps to Buying a Home


Buying a home may be the most significant investment you ever make. That?s why you need to make practical decisions throughout the mortgage process, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. Keep your current income, budget and plans for the future in mind when deciding which mortgage loan  to choose. Carefully considering the pros and cons of the different mortgage options available to you can help you to avoid making financing mistakes.


Personal finance expert Suze Orman suggests that if you are thinking about buying your first home, yet feeling a bit nervous about whether you can really handle the cost, put yourself to the test. For six months, save the difference between what you now pay for rent and what it will cost you to own a home. Include the cost of expenses such as home insurance, property taxes, utilities and repairs. If you are able to save the difference and still pay your current bills on time each month, then your budget is probably financially secure enough to afford the purchase of a home. Take the money that you saved for six months and apply it toward the down payment on a house.


Loan Types

Loan types include conventional, FHA, VA and USDA mortgage loans. Conventional loans you may need to put anywhere from 5% to 20% down. These loans have no PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). Also you may have to have a higher credit score and typically are for homes over $275,000. FHA loans usually cover home mortgage loans for under $275,000. The Federal Housing Administration, a division of HUD, insures FHA loans. Low and middle-income first-time homebuyers often qualify. However, points out that the maximum loan amount can vary from county to county, or state to state. You might want to check the loan limits for surrounding counties when in the market for a home, as you may be able to get a higher mortgage loan limit a few miles away. FHA offers both fixed and adjustable rate mortgages for a loan term of either 15 or 30 years. VA mortgages are for borrowers who qualify through military service. The Veterans Administration insures 15 and 30 year fixed rate mortgages. USDA has area restriction but is a 100% financing. Income limits on a family 1-4 $74,500.  To check areas go to USDA website It?s always wise to compare loan types, terms and down payments before choosing a loan 


Home mortgage loans are offered for a term of 15, 20 or 30 years. Although the monthly payment on a 30-year term payment may be lower, a higher monthly payment for a 15-year term mortgage loan can save you thousands of dollars in interest over the term of the loan. If you qualify for a shorter-term loan and can comfortably manage the higher payments, choosing a 15-year term over a 30-year term can save you a substantial amount of money. You can also build equity in the home sooner since you will be paying down the principal at a faster rate.

Pre-Approval Process

It is always best to get pre-approval before you begin shopping for a house to buy. Once you choose a mortgage lender, you will receive a pre-approved. Pre-approval tells sellers that you are serious about buying a house. It also shows that you have the finances to back your offer. According to Bankrate, pre-approval assures the seller that your loan won?t be turned down and therefore gives you some leverage in negotiating a sales contract. When you go for pre-approval, there are several things a mortgage lender will review, beginning with your credit report. If you?re smart, you will get copies of your credit reports first. Order reports from each of the major credit reporting bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Resolve any errors that you identify on a report. Work on improving a low credit score at least six months to one year before applying for a mortgage loan. In addition to looking over your credit reports, calculate your debt-to-income ratio. Compare your monthly expenses to your income to make certain that your overall debt does not exceed more than 20 percent of your net monthly income. You may find that you need to pay off or down some of the bills so that you can qualify for a mortgage loan. Evaluating your finances will also help you to determine how much of a mortgage payment you can reasonably afford each month. That way, you can look for a home in your price range. In addition, you will need to put aside some money for a down payment and closing costs.




This step is very important if you choose to use me or not. Finding an agent that understands you, your needs, and what you want is very important. It?s best to just pick one REALTOR, jumping between REALTORS hurts you in many ways. Also a REALTOR knows the area well and has access to what recently has sold. Your REALTOR is your eyes and ears to helping you find your new home. Your REALTOR helps you find a home and then becomes your negotiator to get you the best and fairest price they can. To hire a REALTOR cost you nothing, the seller pays for this service for you so why not hire someone.


Finding a Home

A home is more than just a collection of bedrooms and bathrooms. Several properties -- each with four bedrooms, three baths, and the same price -- may well represent radically different designs, commuting distances, lot sizes, tax costs, interior dimensions, and exterior finishes. Each of us is different and so it''s important to list the features and benefits you want in a home. Consider such things as pricing, location, size, amenities (extras such as a pool or extra-large kitchen) and design (one floor or two, colonial or modern, etc.). Next, it''s important to consider your priorities. If you can''t get a home at your price with all the features you want, then what features are most important? For instance, would you trade fewer bedrooms for a larger kitchen? A longer commute for a bigger lot and lower cost? Lastly, consider your needs in several years. If you''ll need a larger home, maybe now is the time to buy a bigger house rather than moving or expanding in the future. If you expect your income to increase, perhaps you should consider a more expensive home financed with a loan program where monthly payments increase in the future.


Choosing a Home

There''s no doubt that choosing a home is a big decision and you want to do it right. As a buyer, here''s what actually happens. A home has been placed on the market for which the seller has established an asking price as well as other terms. No aspect of the home buying process is more complex, personal or variable than bargaining between buyers and sellers. This is the point where the value of an experienced REALTOR? is clearly evident because he or she knows the community, has seen numerous homes for sale, knows local values and has spent years negotiating realty transactions.


Making an Offer

How much?

You sometimes hear that the amount of your offer should be x percent below the seller''s asking price or y percent less than you''re really willing to pay. In practice, the offer depends on the basic laws of supply and demand: If many buyers are competing for homes, then sellers will likely get full-price offers and sometimes even more. If demand is weak, then offers below the asking price may be in order.


While much attention is spent on offering prices, a proposal to buy includes both the price and terms. In some cases, terms can represent thousands of dollars in additional value for buyers -- or additional costs. Terms are extremely important and should be carefully reviewed.


You will complete an offer that the REALTOR? will present to the owner and the owner''s representative. The owner, in turn, may accept the offer, reject it or make a counter-offer. At this point, you have three choices: accept the seller''s offer and create a contract; reject it and not make an offer; or suggest different terms and make a counter-offer. If you choose this last option, the seller may accept, reject or make a counter-offer.




Getting a Home Inspection

Always get a Home Inspection!!! This is a person you hire to come out and look at the property. Prices vary by property but range from $300 to $500 for an inspection. The home inspection is strictly to inform the buyer of the condition of the home. The inspector goes out and spends up to 4 hours at the property checking things out. They check to make sure everything is in working order and nothing hazardous. They will meet you at the property and will go over report and show you any items that may need repair or attention. At this point you can go back to negotiations repairs, however ordinary wear and tear items are not normally part of these repairs. If you found items your not happy with, you may decide that it just needs to much work or has more than you want to deal with and back out, or last you could choose to move forward and just deal with the items after close.


Waiting on the Loan to Fund


You''ve done it. You''ve got approved, looked at properties, made an offer, done a home inspection and now you have to let the lender do their work. This process can take from 3 to 6 weeks to get to the point you are ready to close. The appraisal want be ordered till after the inspection and some lenders require this fee up front ($400 to $700). The lender will need a lot of paperwork from you and you may think it is a lot of work but this is part of the process to make sure you are ready to own a home. You want talk to the REALTOR as much during this step but they are doing a lot to get the home ready to close. They will be ordering and making sure the title, survey, septic inspection, termite, and any other items you have asked for get done so you can move to close.



You will go to an attorney?s office and sign all your papers to becoming a homeowner. If your loan is one that you will have to bring money to close then you will have to bring a cashiers check made to the attorney to close. The attorney will go over the terms of your loan.


Those papers you received at settlement are extremely valuable, so hold on to them! In the short-term they can help establish tax deductions for the year in which the property was purchased. In the future, such papers will be important for tax purposes when the property is sold, and in some cases, for calculating estate taxes. Make sure you take your deed to the tax assessor?s office to claim your homestead. If you fail to do this then your property taxes could double. Also at closing, determine the status of the utilities required by the home, items such as water, sewage, gas, electric and oil service. You also want services transferred to your name for billing. Usually such transfers can be done without turning off utilities. REALTORS? can provide contact numbers and related information.


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Each RE/MAX® Office is Independently Owned and Operated. Equal Housing Opportunity.

The Miracle Home® Program, exclusive to RE/MAX LLC., allows a RE/MAX Associate to make a donation on behalf of each transaction to Children's Miracle Network. The partnership underscores Sales Associate involvement in the communities in which they live and serve. RE/MAX Sales Associates are unique in that a majority of the donations received by Children's Miracle Network from RE/MAX are the result of Associates' hard work rather than solicited from customers.

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