Articles Tagged "Tuscaloosa"

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Buy a Home | 6 Posts
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Tuscaloosa, AL | 22 Posts

Make Sure You Ask The Home Inspector These Questions

When you're buying a home, you want to get all the information you can from the inspector. Here are the questions you should ask.

Once you find a home you'd like to make an offer on from Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you're going to need the services of a home inspector. The home inspection is required for many reasons — chief among them so that your lender can determine if the house is worth the asking price. Many lenders won't OK a loan without a home inspection. What's more, a home inspection is to your advantage because it can reveal problems such as faulty wiring, mold, or other potentially hazardous situations.

But if you've never dealt with a home inspector, you may wonder what you should ask. Here are a few questions our real estate agents recommend you ask your home inspector.

  1. How much will a home inspection cost?
    It depends on the size of the house, the market, and sometimes on the inspector. An established home inspector with a good reputation may cost more than someone who is starting out. On average, home inspections run $300-600.

  2. How long have you, the inspector, been doing this?
    This question can be very important when you're trying to assess if the inspector knows what he or she is doing. If someone is just starting out, they may not know how to perform more thorough inspections for more complicated homes, such as older historic houses — and that could impact whether or not you get a loan.

  3. May I, the buyer, accompany you, the inspector, as you make the rounds?
    There's no good reason why the inspector wouldn't want you around, and they should be happy for the opportunity to explain things. It's easier to understand an explanation from the inspector's mouth rather than reading a report.

  4. When is an issue a big deal?
    You'll be surprised to learn that most houses have similar issues in regard to the foundation, roof needing repair, water heater needing replacement, electrical systems, or HVAC being brought up to code. While any of these might seem like deal breakers to you, it's best to ask the inspector how big the issue is. Yes, they might be big issues — but in that case, you get a repair or walk away from the deal.

  5. Let the inspector know if you have any questions before the inspection begins so he can clarify issues.
    You may have noticed things that worry you, such as the house's age, a water spot, a foundation problem. Do ask questions about it — what's the source, what will it take to get it fixed, and the like. Inspectors can help you understand problems. Ask the right questions, and a good inspector can explain how you can take care of your house — which can be of paramount importance to a first-time homeowner. Further, if you buy the house and are not asking the seller to fix certain things, do not blow off these problems and forget to fix them after you move in.

  6. Should you call in additional experts for specific problems?
    A home inspector will only be able to give you a general outline of problems with the house. He may recommend that you consult an additional expert to look at whatever the inspector has flagged, such as a problem with plumbing, the electric system, roof, or HVAC.

  7. Ask questions after the inspection.
    Hopefully, you were with the inspector during the inspection and asked questions as the procedure went along. However, after you see the detailed report that the inspector issues within a couple of days, you should definitely ask questions about anything that you don't understand.

We can explain lots more about the home inspection process. Contact us today.


Finish Up Your Holiday Shopping With These Tuscaloosa Stores

Find the perfect holiday gift with these local stores.

Are you ready for the holidays? Oh, we know it's a bit early to be asking, but why wait when you can get a jump on things by doing your holiday shopping early? What's more, you may be delighted to know you can do it locally, near Tuscaloosa homes for sale, supporting your nearby merchants and boosting the economy. Sure, online shopping is easy, and no doubt you'll be doing some of that, but do give your neighbor businesses a chance to fulfill your holiday dreams.

  1. Lou and Company. 1922 University Blvd, Suite A Tuscaloosa
    If you like shopping for holiday gifts that are "locally or artisanally sourced," then Lou and Company is for you. Named after owner Sydney Burns' charming Goldendoodle, Lou and Company reflects the owner's talent for stocking eye-catching apparel and gifts. Whether it's a pompom hat for a sorority sister, a gold-hammered Champagne-type glass to serve Veuve Cliquot in for Christmas dinner, a Geisha robe for your special significant other, or some snazzy Tuscaloosa acrylic coasters for the office gift-giving, Lou and Company can fulfill your wishes, dreams, and wants for the holiday season.

  2. The Shirt Shop. 525 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa
    Ever since opening in 1979, The Shirt Shop has been helping shoppers choose that elusive holiday gift for guys — you know how tough that can be! They've got a great selection of items for any age of "him": from bowties to Jack Black hair and skin care products, game day clothing, and even dog toys and accessories! Be sure to have a look at the customized game day Elephant Wear line, designed especially for Crimson Tide fans.

  3. Leather and Lace, 2000 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Suite 4, Tuscaloosa
    Here's that boutique you've been looking for to shop for the ladies in your life. How about a unique graphic tee or sweatshirt? Check. Been searching for mini dresses or rompers, leather dresses or baby dolls? Got 'em. Or how about a gift card to the Taylormade Salon for an appointment with one of the talented stylists or for some of the special salon products? Hurry on down to Leather and Lace.

  4. 1015 University Blvd., Tuscaloosa
    is the place for all things Bama. If you can think of it, it's there, in glorious crimson and white. Try a logo Panama hat for a change from ball caps — or just go with a pachyderm-emblazoned trucker cap. There are jerseys, jackets, and jewelry, plus pet accessories, tailgating and party supplies, stadium accessories, coolers, and lunch boxes. Shop online or come in and be amazed at more Bama gear than you imagined in the universe.

  5. Ernest and Hadley Booksellers. 1928 7th St., Tuscaloosa
    What could be more local than an indie bookseller? And what bespeaks an indie bookseller more than a name like Ernest and Hadley Booksellers, with its ring of nostalgia for more bookish days? Find your classics, your new bestsellers, the small press titles you read about in The New Yorker, or treasured used and rare volumes. Keep up with book signings and other events. Give a gift certificate to the reader in your life.

  6. The Wine Market. 515 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa
    You need to go no further than The Wine Market to shop for the wine lover in your family. Known as a downtown destination for tasting wine and sampling small plates, The Wine Market offers special wines by the bottle and wine accessories.

Our real estate agents can answer your questions about shopping in lively and dynamic Tuscaloosa. They can also help you buy or sell a house. Contact us today.


Your Complete Guide For Cleaning Your Carpets

Odds are you haven't cleaned your carpets in a long time. Here's how you should do it.

Cleaning the carpets isn't our favorite thing to do. But did you know keeping the carpet clean can actually extend its life?

That's just one reason to heed the tips our real estate agents have rounded up below. If you need another reason — well, maybe you're thinking of listing your home among Tuscaloosa homes for sale. You'll need to clean your carpets, among other chores. Nothing will turn a buyer off like icky, dirty carpets. Or maybe you just moved into a new home, and you've realized the carpets weren't as clean as they could be. So, time to roll up your sleeves and get it done, if you're able. If not, there are carpet cleaning services that will do a good job.

For those ready to give their carpets a thorough cleaning, let's get started.

  1. Vacuuming is the first step of deep carpet cleaning.
    Make sure your vacuum is adjusted to the right height, and you're ready to go. Go over high-traffic areas several times to make sure you get all the dirt.

    Vacuum at least once a week. Not only are you removing dirt, but you're also restoring the carpet fibers' buoyancy. The colors should brighten up too.

  2. Use cleaning products.
    Help the vacuum get the carpet cleaner by means of carpet cleaning products. There are powders, shampoos, and foam sprays at the home store. Got a stained area? A bristle brush plus a cleaning solution may do the trick. Then vacuum.

    Hint: When cleaning with a rug shampoo and water, don't get the carpet too wet or you may have mold or mildew. A wet-dry vac is ideal to vacuum shampooed carpet.

    Some stains may require special treatment. Consult a carpet stain removal guide for best results.

  3. Go natural with vinegar and water.
    Vinegar is justly celebrated for its ability as a household cleaner, and it will also work well as a carpet cleaning solution. Mix one part distilled white vinegar and three parts cold water. Test the solution by spraying on the carpet in a location that is out of sight. Wait to see if there is any bleeding or change of color. If the carpet does not change color, go ahead and spray the bottle on a 3X3-ft. section. You will want to work in sections till the carpet or rug is completely treated. Make sure it's damp but not saturated. Leave the solution on for about five minutes, then blot the section with a clean microfiber cloth. Rinse the cloth out in a bucket of clean water. Then allow the carpet to air dry, refraining from walking on it till it's dry. Use an oscillating fan to help it dry.

  4. Another natural cleaner: baking soda and salt. 
    Another natural carpet cleaner is a mixture of baking soda and salt: mix one-to-one parts of soda and salt in a bowl. Starting in a corner, work in a grid pattern, sprinkling sections of the carpet with the mixture, then spraying it down with water. The carpet should be damp but not sopping wet. With a scrub brush, work the mixture deeper into the fibers. Work the brush in one direction, then at a 90-degree angle to that. This will help lift the soil. Then, use old towels to wipe away the dirt. Let the carpet air dry. Vacuum any remaining baking soda.

  5. Steam the carpet clean.
    If you have a clothes steamer or steam mop, use steam on the carpet after applying the baking soda and salt mixture and scrubbing with a brush.

Need more advice about getting ready to sell a home? Contact us today.


The Best Tuscaloosa Halloween Events

Spooky season is here! Here are the Tuscaloosa family-friendly events you can look forward to.

These days there's a lot of scary — and safe — fun for those looking for an alternative to Trick or Treat. For parents who've found their dream homes in Tuscaloosa homes for sale and who are concerned about playing it safe on fright night, you can take your pick of fun — and Scary Lite — activities to indulge in on Halloween in Tuscaloosa. 

  1. Trek Tuscaloosa Halloween Ride. 1800 McFarland Boulevard East #418, Tuscaloosa
    Got bikes and helmets? Lights would also be helpful. This is one for the whole family. Trek Halloween Rides take place over the whole country on Halloween Weekend. Join up for Tuscaloosa's no-drop Trek Tuscaloosa Halloween Ride from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28. Meet up afterward for tricks and treats at the Halloween party.

  2. Halloween at the Transportation Museum. 1901 Jack Warner Parkway, Tuscaloosa
    The local community is invited to the Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 1 to 4 p.m. to enjoy Halloween at the Transportation Museum. Come see costumes from 1905 on display in the "Threaded Through History" exhibit. The museum will be decorated with Halloween outdoor inflatables, with fall cut-outs on the lawn. Bring the family and enjoy Halloween music, candy, and light refreshments. It's all free!

  3. Tuscaloosa Academy Punkin' Knight 2022. 420 Rice Valley Road North, Tuscaloosa
    It's a real carnival of fun at the Tuscaloosa Academy Punkin' Knight 2022 on Monday, Oct. 24, starting at 5 p.m. Sponsored by the Tuscaloosa Parents' Association, Punkin' Knight offers an evening of fun-filled activities: carnival rides, DJ, inflatables, raffle with prizes, petting zoo, costume contest, face painting, train ride, carnival games, and cake walk. There are also yummy concessions and an International Deli tent. All those young spooks age 3-18 need an armband to participate in the rides, petting zoo, and carnival games. (Price of the armband is $20 and increases to $25 on the day of the event.) Concessions require cash payment. Adults and parents enter for free (parents and adults do not need to buy an armband for entry or to ride with small children).

  4. Haunting at the Museum. Museum of Natural History. Smith Hall, University of Alabama campus, 427 Sixth Ave., Tuscaloosa
    Haunting at the Museum
    hosts spooky scavenger hunts throughout the week of Oct. 24-28. There will also be an after-hours Halloween event on Oct. 26 from 4:30-7 p.m., with spooky kids' stories, mad scientist experiments, crafts, and much more. Lighting will be by 2L7's Lyndell McDonall. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for K-12, and free for children 5 years old and under. During the week, families with kids in costume are free. The after-hours event on Oct. 26 will be free.

  5. Halloween Spooktacular Dance. Calvary Baptist Church Gym, 1121 Paul W. Bryant Drive, Tuscaloosa
    Bring the gang along for the Halloween Spooktacular Dance on Oct. 27, 7-10 p.m. There will be a costume party, a contest, and a prize. The event is hosted by the Crimson Tide Ballroom Dancers.

  6. Other Halloween Events around Tuscaloosa:
    Horror Tuscaloosa, a haunted house, is ongoing through Halloween. 5477 Skyland E Blvd STE 5, Cottondale

    Ghost Hunting at the Drish House. Check out their Facebook page for this historic house's Halloween season events. 2300 17th St., Tuscaloosa

    Tech or Treat at the Gateway. Tuscaloosa Gateway Innovation and Discovery Center. 2614 University Blvd. E, Tuscaloosa. Oct. 25, 4-6 p.m. Gather candy at each table while learning about science and tech. Free to all ages.

It's no trick! Our real estate agents are experts at helping you buy or sell a home in Tuscaloosa. Contact us today.


Here's Why Some Home Sales Fall Through

On rare occasions, a home sale you thought was final falls through. Here's why it happens and what you can do about it.

If you've got your sights set on a house listed among Tuscaloosa homes for sale, the good news is that most home sales go through without a problem. In fact, Trulia announced in 2016 that fewer than 4 percent of home sales hit a snag. However, first-time buyers often run into some rocky situations because of inexperience.

But regardless of whether you've bought a home before or you're a first-time buyer, getting a handle on why sales fall through can help you avoid the pitfalls.

Our real estate agents have compiled a list of reasons why home sales commonly don't through.

  1. The seller has a change of mind.
    Sellers can change their minds for many reasons, but purchase contracts generally don't leave much room to back out -- not that you're going to want to spend time and money in court trying to enforce a sale. Most likely, your best option is to move on. Here's hoping you got something from the seller to cover expenses.

  2. Buyer has a change of mind.
    You, as buyer, may change your mind after you've signed a home purchase contract. If you've got some contingencies in the contract, you may be able to back out. For instance, one contingency might be that you don't get financing; another could be the inspection report may not be satisfactory. Yet another contingency might be regarding the buyer's home not selling, a contingency, by the way, that sellers don't like, although it's rather common. These contingencies sometimes allow the seller to receive backup offers, so the buyer may have to release the contingency if a better offer for the home in question shows up.

  3. Home inspection turns up problems.
    Most homes — even new ones — have some room for improvement. But if those improvements turn out to be serious, you can likely back out of a home purchase by invoking a contingency in the home purchase contract. You might also renegotiate the price.

  4. Sometimes, an appraisal comes up short.
    If your lending institution's appraiser declares the property you want to buy to be worth less than the asking price, what to do? A seller may agree to the lower valuation, but if the home is really worth what the seller is asking, they probably won't budge. You might appeal the appraisal with your lender, but you'll likely have to pay for a second appraisal. Or, you may switch lenders. You'll still have to pay for that second appraisal. But, if the home is really overpriced, the financing contingency in the purchase contract is likely your way out. Thinking about an FHA loan? These require an appraisal contingency so that you can get out of the contract.

  5. The buyer isn't approved for a loan.
    You should contact a lender to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage, so you will know how much you can afford to pay for a house. While you'll get a letter from the lender that they are willing to loan the money, it's not a guarantee of a loan. Your situation could change from loss of a job, more debt, or a change in credit score, and that could result in the loan being refused.

  6. The title isn't clear.
    Lenders want to be sure a home's title is clear of liens or judgments and that no one else has a right to the property. They may refuse the loan if there are other claims to the property or if back taxes are owed.

Enlisting the services of a qualified, knowledgeable real estate agent can help you avoid pitfalls in a home sale, whether buying or selling. Contact us today.


The Differences Between Buying An Old vs New House

Choosing between an old or new home can be a tough decision. Here's how to decide.

Old vs. new house: which should you buy? Fact is, each one has some positives and negatives. If you haven't made up your mind which you prefer to buy from Tuscaloosa homes for sale, then allow us to be of assistance. Our real estate agents can help you make the best choice for your situation.

With fewer homes available just now, and prices up, some home buyers will be looking at older homes as a more affordable choice. Yes, they're likely to need updating, but that can be done over time with the savings you get from purchasing an older home.

Here are some tips worth studying as you weigh buying a new home or an older one. Happy house hunting!

Pros of a New Home

  1. Bigger, better layout
    Older homes were, in general, constructed to be smaller, with smaller rooms and fewer bathrooms. Today's homes have bigger rooms, more storage and closet space, more bathrooms, plus a family room that likely connects with the kitchen.

  2. Fewer or no renovations
    A new home likely needs little in the way of renovations or reconstructions unless it's just some feature you can't live without in an otherwise satisfactory home. With an old home, you may be buying it "as is" and will need to make some updates and renovations.

  3. New appliances
    The appliances — HVAC, fridge, washer and dryer, water heater, and dishwasher — are all new and should work well starting out. Be sure your new home warranty covers costs if they break down during the first few years of operation.

  4. Just the right amenities
    If you're shopping for a new home, then you're going to want to find one with the amenities you desire — be it a swimming pool, a gym, a pet cleanup area, outdoor cooking or entertaining space, large kitchen island, spacious cabinets, and more. Older homes often don't have these features or else no place to locate them.

Pros of an Old Home

  1. Vintage charm
    Well, not every older home can be considered "vintage," but you know what we mean. Older homes have character that is often missing in new home construction, where there may be a cookie-cutter effect going on to save money. Older homes are often unique in a neighborhood, having been constructed individually rather than as part of a development. They also may be built of quality materials that are missing in the marketplace today. Further, houses may be on bigger lots, farther apart, than the houses in many new developments with near zero lotline construction.

  2. Closer to the hub of town
    New home construction often takes place on the edge or out of town to save money on land costs when developing a housing community, so that you can reckon on driving farther to get to work or perhaps to take the kids to school or to events.

  3. Throwing shade
    Ever notice that bald, scraped look of new home construction? You'll be waiting decades for that single tree out front to develop shade. Older homes often have a generous growth of tree canopy (that is, shade), shrubbery, and even established gardens.

  4. Older homes with "good bones": ripe for renovation
    You may pay far less for an older home that was well built of quality materials — described as having"good bones" — than you would for a new home, but you can use the savings to renovate and update the house with all the amenities you might find only in a new home.

New or old, your dream home is out there waiting for you, and we can help you find it. Contact us today.


The Best Tuscaloosa Spots For National Cheeseburger Day

Who doesn't love a good burger? Here are the Tuscaloosa cheeseburger joints to stop by on National Cheeseburger Day.

Bet you didn't know Sept. 18 is National Cheeseburger Day. Well, you do now, but you probably didn't need a reason to go for a juicy, mouth-watering cheeseburger. Oh, yeah, it has calorie overload with all that cheese and hamburger meat, but you can go for low-fat meat or even a meat substitute and low-calorie or fake cheese if you're worried. Or a ground chicken or turkey burger. Whatever you do, it's ok for the day. Just choose your favorite cheeseburger, chomp down, and celebrate the day in style — either at home or in one of the venues near Tuscaloosa homes for sale — where you got your beautiful home, in fact. 

New in town? You're in luck. Our real estate agents have some choice venues for you to try so you can find your favorite cheeseburger. 

  1. Baumhower's. 500 Harper Lee Drive or 4251 Courtney Drive, both Tuscaloosa.
    Founded by University of Alabama All-American and six-time All-Pro for the Miami Dolphins Bob Baumhower, Baumhower's started in Birmingham in 1981 and now has 10 locations throughout the state, with two in Tuscaloosa. Baumhower's is known for using fresh, local ingredients, for its distinctive sauces, and for keeping up with the latest food trends. There's nothing trendy about the traditional cheeseburger, but at Baumhower's, you've got a choice from several Gourmet Burgers, including the Hangover with fried egg, avocado, American cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, and onion bun, and the Victory, with a double stack of meat and applewood-smoked bacon — and several more.

  2. Mugshots Grill and Bar. 511 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa
    Mugshots is well known throughout the South, but aren't you lucky to have one near your Tuscaloosa home? The tradition at Mugshots is to submit a photo of yourself with Mugshots swag, and maybe you'll end up on the wall. Often honored for having the best burger around, Mugshots is known for its signature sourdough bun, countless toppings, and certified Angus beef.

  3. Avenue Pub. 2230 University Blvd. Tuscaloosa
    There's a new take on pub classics with the Avenue Pub's emphasis on "made-in-house" items from fresh, local ingredients. Open in Tuscaloosa since 2014, Avenue Pub is a great place for homeowners like you and local students to gather. Sample some of the distinctive appetizers, like Conecuh sausage and pimento cheese served on green tomatoes or Thai nachos, then go for the delicious Bacon Burger — with cheese, please.

  4. Milo's Hamburgers, 5020 Old Greensboro Road, Tuscaloosa
    For those who like their burgers straightforward, Milo's Hamburgers is the place to go. Founded by U.S.Army mess cook Milo Bowman in 1946, Milo's burgers feature the founder's secret sauces and come as double burgers, cheeseburgers, Mexi Burger, Bacon Cheeseburger, and other variations. Plus, there's chicken in several delicious iterations.

  5. Rama Jama's. 1000 Paul W. Bryant Drive, Tuscaloosa.
    Breakfast is great at Rama Jama's with their slightly crunchy pancakes for game day, but it's lunch where you want to be in place for one of their signature cheeseburgers. There are lots of burgers and burger platters to choose from: the National Champ Burger, with 18 ounces of beef; the Touchdown Burger with a fried egg and hash browns; and the Swiss and Mushroom Burger. There's nothing fancy about Rama Jama's, but you'll love the sports-centric atmosphere and the friendly service. Just for fun, try the fried green tomatoes in place of fries.

So are you making plans to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day in Tuscaloosa? We can't wait. Be sure and call us with any questions about other great venues in Tuscaloosa. Planning on buying or selling a house? Contact us today.


The Best Breakfast Diners In Tuscaloosa

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Here's where you can start your day right in Tuscaloosa.

Health experts regularly recommend that we eat breakfast to help our heart, digestion, bones, and ensure our cholesterol stays on the low side. So why not use breakfast as an excuse to get out and about in Tuscaloosa?

If you've been looking around for things to do and places to go near the house you chose from Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you're in luck when it comes to breakfast. There are so many delightful places to "break the fast" in this area, so even if you're not a big fan, you may find you've changed your mind and will welcome some bacon and eggs, waffles, or whatever.

So rise and shine, breakfast eaters. Let's see what our real estate agents have rounded up for our early morning delight.

  1. Historic Waysider Restaurant. 1512 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa
    Designated by Southern Living magazine as the best breakfast spot in Tuscaloosa, the Historic Waysider Restaurant has been serving up breakfast joy since 1951. You may have to wait a while for a table (you'll be sitting on an old church pew on the front porch), but it's worth it. Of course, in Alabama, football rules, so you can study the walls with pictures of football and other sports greats while you wait. Once you're seated, choose from Southern breakfast classics such as Steak with Two Eggs or Biscuits with Red Eye Gravy, or the Country Ham and Shortstack of Waffles. Don't miss the fluffy biscuits!

  2. T-Town Cafe. 500 14th St. Tuscaloosa
    As if the simple but tasty fare weren't enough, the T-Town Cafe also attracts with its friendly and welcoming staff. Expect to find your basic breakfast of eggs and breakfast meat, or Smothered Porkchop and Biscuits (smothered in Sausage Gravy), but you can counteract with a healthful option of three egg whites, bowl of oatmeal, cup of fruit, and dry wheat toast. There's also a nice selection of breakfast burritos. No matter what you choose, the price is right.

  3. Brick & Spoon. 2318 4th St., Tuscaloosa. 
    Brick & Spoon bills itself as an "upscale take on breakfast, brunch, and lunch," and we wouldn't disagree with that but we would add, it's worth expanding your horizons and giving it a try. What's for breakfast in Upscale Land? The scrumptious Beignet, for one thing, is served with powdered sugar and marmalade; follow up with Bananas Foster. But for the serious breakfast eater, we recommend the Garden Omelet with seasonal vegetables and feta cheese; or the Killer Creole Omelet,  with shrimp, tasso, onions, red and green bell peppers anf cheddar jack cheese, topped with housemade Hollandaise. Don't forget the Fire Roasted Corn Grits or Breakfast Potatoes on the side.

  4. Rama Jama's. 1000 Paul W. Bryant Drive,  Tuscaloosa
    Rama Jama's
    is all about your basic Southern breakfast in a sports-centric setting. Platters are substantial with various combos of eggs, pancakes, hashbrowns, and breakfast meat. Try the All American Omelet Platter, with eggs, cheese, breakfast meat, vegetables, and grits. Also, try breakfast sandwiches and sides of grits, oatmeal, or tater tots.

  5. Wright's Restaurant. 3750 University Blvd. E, Tuscaloosa
    Wright's Restaurant
    is the last word in Tuscaloosa family-style restaurants, with its traditional "meat and three vegetable" offerings for lunch. But if it's breakfast you're looking for, you can't go wrong at Wright's. Nothing fancy — just all the regular breakfast items, including eggs, meats, hashbrowns, grits, French toast, pancakes, and more.

Whether you need recommendations on where to eat out in Tuscaloosa, or you're buying or selling a house, our real estate staff can help. Contact us today.


Make Sure You Do This Before Making An Offer On A House

Before sealing the deal on your dream home, you want to check these tasks off your to-do list.

You've been shopping Tuscaloosa homes for sale and likely found one or two exciting prospects. The temptation will be strong to slap your down payment on the table and sign on the dotted line, but we say: Not so fast! Of course, our real estate agents are in business to sell homes, but we want to be sure our clients find just the right home. There are some things you need to do before you make an offer.

Myriad factors are at play that can affect the negotiation outcome, so consider these tips before you offer to buy a home.

  1. Pre-owned homes have a history. Find out what it is.
    Every home that's been lived in has a history, and before you buy, you need to track it down. Your real estate agent can help; agents know how to access records for information you need, such as the pricing history. Were reductions made? Was the property under contract and then came back on the market? Your real estate agent can contact the listing agent and perhaps find the reason for selling. Myriad reasons can prompt a sale, including job loss, down- or upsizing, elective move from the area, divorce, death, or family situation change.

  2. Go fishing for past ownership information.
    Confirm who owns the property, also noting when was the last purchase, and if there's a mortgage or additional loans taken out on the property. This information is available from tax, property appraiser, and court records. How much the seller owes on the property can affect the flexibility of the seller.

  3. Check out past permits.
    The idea is to see if claims made to bolster the selling price — new roof, major plumbing, or electrical upgrade — are backed up by a permit with the county or city. Be on the lookout for claims regarding a cooled/heated addition when there are no permits. Could be the seller is basing an asking price on square footage that would not be counted by an appraiser because there is no permit for the addition.

  4. Research additional factors regarding the house and neighborhood.
    In addition to information about the home's history and how many days it's been on the market, you should check out these things: the home's neighborhood, schools, property taxes, an estimate of utilities, and comparable sales. It's also wise to take a walk through the neighborhood, talk to the people who live there, and ask how they like it. If you find someone who's forthcoming, ask for the positives and negatives. Also, ask if there are frequent power outages.

  5. Research the inventory of homes in the area.
    Are there many homes for sale in the area? If so, it could be a buyer's market — that is, a place where the seller might be more willing to negotiate.

  6. Get your financials in order.
    While you may not need to go as high as 20 percent for a down payment, you'll need a substantial sum to get your cash together, whether that involves consolidating savings from various accounts or selling investments. You will also need money for closing costs.

  7. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage.
    Unless you have enough money to buy a home outright, you'll need a mortgage. Get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage. This will signal that you're making a legitimate offer.

  8. Research how much, beyond your mortgage, it will cost you to live in a house.
    Find out approximately how much you will have to pay in taxes, home owner association fees, home insurance, and upkeep.

Do you have other questions about buying or selling a Tuscaloosa home? Contact us today.


Make These Summer Fixes To Cut Costs

Home improvement shouldn't have to break the bank. Here are summer fixes that will save you money in the long run.

Whether you're saving to buy a home among Tuscaloosa homes for sale, or you've already acquired one and are looking for a few ways to cut expenses after the big outlay of buying a home — you can save money with some relatively painless hacks, and give yourself a bit of a financial boost.

Our real estate agents are very knowledgeable about the various fixes their clients have used to cut costs, so here are a few of them.

  1. Reduce energy usage.
    One of the best ways to cut costs is to reduce energy use. Yes, we know energy bills have risen because it's hotter than ever and oil prices are up, but there are some tricks that can help you lower costs, such as: A. Check your home's insulation and if it's lacking, shore it up, particularly on the floor of the attic; B.Seal air leaks with caulk and weatherstripping around door and window frames, baseboards, holes in exterior walls, attic hatch cover, and other areas where your cool air can get out and the heat gets in (install foam gaskets behind switch plates); C. Turn your A/C up a few degrees at night or when you're away from home, then turn it down when the family comes home and is moving around; D. Change your air filter regularly so your A/C doesn't labor to cool the home.

  2. Save money on irrigation.
    The best way to water your landscape in the warm months is with an irrigation system. But whether you use an irrigation system or you are hand watering and moving a sprinkler around, be sure you water effectively. Try to water at night or early in the morning, before the sun is up and the water evaporates. Watering at night or early allows the water to soak into the ground so it does the most good. Rather than watering frequently and to a shallow depth, water less frequently but allow the water to soak in. 

  3. Use fans to keep cool.
    If you don't have ceiling fans, install some. Make sure the fan blades are set to go counter-clockwise in the summer so that they can lift warm air from occupant level to the ceiling and help push down refrigerated air from the ceiling, down the walls, and down to occupant level. Keep fan blades clean, so they don't drag when operating. Also, use table or floor fans to supplement breezes as needed. You'll be able to cut back on air conditioning if you keep the breezes flowing.

  4. Shut blinds, curtains, and shades during the heat of the day.
    Shutting out solar radiation will keep the interior of your home cooler. If your windows aren't adequately covered, make it a summer-time project to cover them up.

  5. Cut down on cooking indoors.
    Use the microwave whenever possible to cook or to heat frozen, prepared dinners. Use the slow cooker out on the patio to cook meals; you can even bake potatoes in a slow cooker by pricking them, buttering up skins, and wrapping them in foil — then cover them up in the slow cooker for four hours on high, without adding moisture. If you've got an outdoor kitchen, even better.

  6. Use mulch to lessen heat stress.
    Use mulch generously around trees, shrubs, and flowers to maintain moisture levels and a cooler temperature in the soil so that you needn't water as much. But don't pile it against the plant.

Need more summer fixes to cut costs, or have you got a question about buying or selling a home? We're all ears. Contact us today. 


Here Are The Top Reasons To Move To Tuscaloosa

Tuscaloosa may just have everything you've been looking for in a community. Here's why you should plan your move now.

Shopping for a home among Tuscaloosa homes for sale? Then you probably already know it's a great place for finding a home you'll love at an affordable price. That's just one reason to move to Tuscaloosa. Our real estate agents have plenty of other reasons why you'll love it here. Let's have a look at the top reasons to move to Tuscaloosa.

  1. Warm weather
    Many folks fleeing the colder climes find a new home in the Deep South, where they can be warm a good part of the year. Yes, there is winter here in Tuscaloosa, but it's mild for the most part. For newly arrived snowbirds, our winter daily highs of around 60 degrees (rarely below 40 degrees) can be mighty pleasant. Extremely cold or warm temperatures are rare in the winter, and there's hardly ever any snow. Rain? Oh, yes, rainfall can be abundant, with an average of 53 inches a year, but there are also a lot of sunny days (214) for the rest of the year.

  2. Friendly people
    Many visitors to the Deep South are struck by the friendliness of the people, and Tuscaloosa is no exception. If you're moving from a place where people don't have time for you, be aware that is not the case in Tuscaloosa. In general, you will find the local populace warm and welcoming. With a population of close to 100,000 people, Tuscaloosa is a small city that provides enriching opportunities, while maintaining the advantages of more laid-back urban settings.

  3. A university town
    The University of Alabama has been a dominant force in shaping Tuscaloosa. As the flagship university of Alabama, "Bama," as UA is known informally, obviously offers outstanding educational opportunities to those who move to the environs. UA also extends cultural enrichment with lectures, art exhibitions, and community education. For sports fans, it's probably enough to mention the Crimson Tide football team in conversation and you'll get an earful and an understanding of how deeply Alabama and football are enmeshed.

  4. A museum/gallery town
    Love museums and galleries? There's something for the whole family in Tuscaloosa. Here are some of the top museums, galleries, and other venues for cultural enrichment: Alabama Museum of Natural History (UA);  Paul W. Bryant Museum (football history of UA); Warner Transportation Museum (UA); Moundville Archaeological Park (UA's Mississippi culture site); Sarah Moody Gallery of Art (a UA gallery); and Tuscaloosa Museum of Art.

  5. Lower cost of living
    The cost of living in Tuscaloosa is about 12 percent lower than in the rest of the country. The city offers a number of affordable housing opportunities, from rent-to-own apartments, rental apartments of one, two, or three bedrooms, and affordable houses, the cost of which is well below the national median. Overall, groceries, housing, and transportation are also less than the national average.

  6. Low unemployment
    The city has a low unemployment rate (3.6 percent) and a diverse job market, with The University of Alabama, Mercedes-Benz US International, and the DCH Health System being the major employers.

  7. Schools, colleges, and universities
    The Tuscaloosa City School System includes some highly rated schools: Tuscaloosa Magnet School-Elementary, grades K-5; Rock Quarry Elementary School, K-5; and Tuscaloosa Magnet School-Middle, grades 6-8.

    Alabama's largest university, The University of Alabama, is a  research university with an annual enrollment of 38,600. Stillman College is a black liberal arts college with 1,200 students, while Shelton State Community College is a two-year institution with an annual enrollment of 7,000.

Convinced about Tuscaloosa? Our real estate staff is eager to help you find your next home. Contact us today.


Make Your Landscaping Shine By Avoiding These Mistakes

Don't ruin your curb appeal with bad landscaping. Here are simple ways you can avoid the most common mistakes.

It's easy to make landscaping mistakes; just ask professional gardeners who have learned the hard way and, over time, have profited from the knowledge their mistakes have provided them. Similarly, as you have begun a big landscaping redo in that home you bought from Tuscaloosa homes for sale, we can point out a few of the major mistakes to avoid.

Our real estate agents get a lot of feedback from homeowners on mistakes made indoors and outdoors, so read on and learn what not to do.

Landscaping Snafus: Avoid These at All Costs

  1. Don't plant invasives.
    Certain plants are just bad news in the landscape. What does it take to make it to the "Do Not Plant" list for Tuscaloosa? Just about anything that's considered invasive is a big no. For instance, bamboo is inclined to take off and take over in our warm, wet climate. Privet and honeysuckle are also verboten, as are Cherokee, MacCartney, and Multiflora roses.

  2. Don't plant trees and bushes that are the wrong size.
    When planning a major redo of your landscape, it's a good idea to rough it all out on graph paper or even in computer software designed for the purpose. Planting trees? Plan for how they will grow and throw shade on any other plantings. (Plants need sun!) Also, think how they will affect your roofline.

    The same goes for bushes. Plant more compact, easier-to-care-for forms in the back, and perennials and annuals in front.

  3. Resist the temptation to just stick any plant in the ground (just because it was on sale at the big box store).
    Plan how plantings will look. Plan your color combinations. Some landscapers recommend contrasting hot and cold colors (say, fiery orange or bright yellow with blues and purples). Likewise, think about textures and hues of green and gray. Again, sketching and in this case, coloring, can help give you a sense of how it will look.

  4. Take it easy with the gravel.
    Granted, gravel isn't as popular in the Southeast as it is in the Southwest due to the fact we usually have abundant rainfall, but if you decide to go for a bit of xeriscaping, know that gravel can be a pain. First, it's really hot and can throw off heat that may scorch tender plants. Further, gravel is usually applied with a layer of weed barrier — which works fine the first year or so, but then accumulates dirt that becomes a growing medium for weed seed.

  5. Take it easy with the mulch.
    Yes, mulch is great for keeping moisture in the ground, so the plant thrives — but only when you refrain from mounding it around the trunks of trees and bushes. Leave a few inches of space around the plant, or you could damage it.

  6. Don't forget to water trees and bushes.
    Even in Tuscaloosa, we can have dry times — particularly in the winter. While you may remember to water perennials and annuals, don't forget to water trees and shrubs at least every six weeks in times of low rainfall.

  7. Deadhead perennials, annuals and blooming shrubs.
    Nipping off spent blooms before they turn to seed will prevent the plant's energy from going to making seed. That way, you'll have more prolific blooms.

  8. Cut back on fertilizing in the hot summer months.
    Over-fertilizing can not only burn your plants but may cause too much late-season growth. That, in turn, can leave the plants vulnerable to winter weather.

We're always happy to advise you on how renovating your home, inside or outside, will add value to your property. Contact us today.


Make Your Home Appraisal Ready With These Tips

Ready to sell your home? Here's how you can prepare for your home's appraisal.

Are you thinking about getting your home appraised? Maybe you're thinking of listing it and want to know how much your home is worth. Or, maybe someone is interested in buying your home and wants an appraisal to take to a lender — in which case, you want your home shipshape, so the lender will know your home is worth what you're asking for it.

While you don't necessarily need to get an appraisal before you list your home among Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you might want to learn a bit about how to prepare for an appraisal before you go for the real deal.

Here are some of the things our real estate agents recommend you do when prepping for an appraisal.

  1. Declutter and clean.
    Chances are, you can go through your house and find plenty to get rid of, either by donating to charity, selling on Facebook Marketplace or Poshmark, or just sending stuff out to the recycle pile. Once you've cleared some clutter, you're ready to clean. Go room by room, cleaning walls, fixtures, baseboards, doorknobs, light switch covers, and blinds (shades or drapes). We presume you're going to stage the home with a minimum of your possessions, so do make sure whatever stays in the home is free of dust and is sparkling clean.

  2. Spruce up the landscape.
    Beyond a good mowing, edging, and trimming of shrubbery, perform a painstaking cleanup of the property. Take out dead trees; have ragged, broken limbs trimmed and hauled away; rake up and bag dead leaves. Cut back weeds or perennial stalks left from previous years. Check the driveways and walkways; sweep them clean and get rid of any trash. Add mulch in flowerbeds and around trees and shrubs so it will look neat. Remove toys or any clutter; you can leave lawn furniture but it should be clean and in good repair.

  3. Repair damage.
    Walk around your home and assess everything with a critical eye. Repair cracks in walls, broken floor tiles, stained carpet, leaks in the ceiling, or damaged gutters. Your home should be in good repair prior to the appraisal.

  4. Safety equipment should be working properly.
    This includes fire and smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and home security alarms. Smoke and CO alarms are inexpensive to install but if you don't have a home security system, it may be a bit of an investment. However, you can probably find a reasonably priced (under $1000) system with sensors and cameras that will boost your appraisal.

  5. Replace dated materials.
    Some materials in your home may look like yesteryear's trend. Replace flooring with snazzy laminate or tile; redo the countertop with natural stone, granite, or quartz. Aim for a modern look with neutral, sedate materials.

  6. Make a list of improvements you've done.
    List any improvements you've made to your home so you can inform your appraiser. Include such redos and additions as gutters, siding, new roof, new appliances, and the like. Improvements will have a positive impact on your appraisal.

A word of caution here: most appraisals are for a buyer's lender. The lender will want to know if the home is worth the asking price. Chances are, that lender will not be interested in an appraisal done by the seller, who of course has every reason to get the highest appraisal possible. So don't dash out and get an appraisal with the notion that a potential buyer will heed the results. In fact, it's usually the buyer who orders the appraisal, and it is likely to come farther along in the negotiations.

Want to know more about appraisals? Contact us today.


Explore Tuscaloosa Local Arts At These Venues

If you want to explore the creative side of Tuscaloosa, make sure you visit these local stores and venues.

If you've been shopping for Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you probably want to know what your prospective neighborhood has to offer in the way of schools, houses of worship, medical facilities, restaurants, and recreation. But our real estate agents also recommend that you broaden your horizons by checking out the local arts scene.

Maybe you're already in a home, and it just never occurred to you to get to know what artistic and cultural amenities are nearby. Whether it's going to a gallery show, taking art lessons, listening to live music, or hearing a lecture in an independent bookstore, you'll find fun, interesting and edifying things to do for the whole family. 

Here are some of our recommendations for the Tuscaloosa area. 

  1. Ernest and Hadley Book Sellers.  1928 7th St, Tuscaloosa
    April 30 was Independent Bookstore Day, but even if you missed it, celebrate by visiting your local bookstore: Ernest and Hadley Book Sellers. Independent bookstores have struggled with competing against national chains, but also because people have found alternative means of "reading" by listening to streamed books or just forsaking reading altogether. But bookstores these days are much more than places to shop for a book — although you can certainly do that by sampling a few pages of the books you're interested in. You can also stop by for book signings and talks by authors, sometimes served with tea!

  2. Tuscaloosa Amphitheater.  2710 Jack Warner Pkwy., Tuscaloosa
    Tuscaloosa Amphitheater presents a range of performers, offering the finest in live music. Recent headliners include the Avett Brothers while coming soon are the Black Crowes. 

  3. The Arts Council. 600 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa
    Show your support for local arts in Tuscaloosa by becoming a supporting member of the Arts Council. Support a variety of arts initiatives from gallery exhibitions, to comedy shows, to cultural events and theater. The Arts Council encompasses Bama Theatre, Children's Hands-on Museum, Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center, Harrison Galleries, Kentuck Art Center, and others. 

  4. Oz Music. 506 14th St., Tuscaloosa
    Oz Music is Music Central for Tuscaloosa's discriminating indie music lovers, and others too, who just want to get a groove on by listening to the latest tunes. Plus, Oz buys and sells the latest vinyl, CDs, and DVDs. From Dance and Electronic, to Rap and Hip-Hop, to Blues and Jazz, to Classical and World Music, and Country and Folk, Oz is a real wonderland for the musically diverse.

  5. Art Garage. 2422 6th St., 2422 6th St, Tuscaloosa
    What a novel idea: a membership for the whole family so all can indulge their individual penchants for creating art. Buy a family membership and enroll the kids in such fun events as Dollhouse Camp or Crafts Camp. For adults, enroll in Parents' Night Out or Community Art lessons with a skilled instructor. Art Garage members may partake of exclusive benefits and have unlimited access to open play sessions.

  6. Kentuck Art Center and Festival. 3501 5th St, Northport. Art exhibitions are at various museums. 
    The Kentuck Center curates four exhibition spaces annually — the programming is chosen without biases of age, race, gender, and socioeconomic background and with the crossing of cultural boundaries. Some programming is free so that the underserved in the local community can participate. Further, there is an annual two-day festival in October, called Kentuck Festival of the Arts, which attracts more than 10,000 visitors, and features the works of 270-plus artists, live music, activities for children, spoken word, folk and contemporary craft demonstrations, food trucks, and craft brews.

Here's hoping you'll find your way to one of the fabulous arts and cultural venues around our area. Questions? Contact us today.


Proven Strategies For Selling Your Home At A Great Price

Hoping to get the best price from your home sale? Here are some tips that never fail.

Everyone wants to sell their home for a great price, so what steps can you take to make your property stand out from the competition? Fortunately, there's plenty that you can do to make sure that your home catches the eye of buyers for all of the right reasons and ultimately maximize the offers that you receive for your listing. Our real estate agents are experts on selling homes, and we've got some proven strategies to help you sell your home at a great price.

  • Start by Cleaning and Decluttering
    If you want your home to stand out from other Tuscaloosa homes for sale, start by making sure that it looks its absolute best. Before you welcome any potential buyers, invest some elbow grease or hire a professional cleaning service to clean your home from top to bottom. Just as importantly, take this opportunity to clear out clutter, which will boost your home's appeal and has the added advantage of lightening your load when it's time to move.

  • Present a Blank Canvas for Buyers
    One of the reasons that it's important to clear out clutter is that you want to present a relatively blank canvas to buyers so they can imagine what their own lives would be like in the home. You can add to this effect by depersonalizing the home and removing things like photos and other personal items. Last but not least, consider a professional staging service to make the home look as inviting as possible.

  • Consider Curb Appeal
    You want buyers to be impressed before they even walk in the door, which is why curb appeal is such an important consideration when selling your home. Make sure your yard is clean, your lawn is in good shape, and the area around your front door is looking its best. Give your curb appeal a boost with some fresh landscaping, or by planting some colorful, attractive new plants in your garden.

  • Be Proactive About Maintenance Issues
    It may seem tempting to leave any little maintenance issues with the home for the next owner to handle, but this can actually be counterproductive when it comes to getting the best price for your home. Proactively addressing any issues gives buyers one less reason to negotiate for a lower price.

  • Choose the Right Real Estate Agent
    Your choice of real estate agent is one of the most important decisions that you'll make when selling your home. Make sure that you choose an agent who knows your market and how to promote your property to generate maximum interest from buyers. Do your research, and choose an agent who aligns with your needs.

  • Be Smart When Setting a Price
    Pricing is a huge factor, both in terms of generating interest and ensuring that you ultimately get the best possible offers from buyers. This is one area where your real estate agent can really help, and setting the right price can go a long way toward achieving your goals when selling your home.

  • Maintain Perspective Throughout the Process
    There's no doubt that selling a home can be an emotional process, but sometimes emotion can get in the way of getting a great price. Try to maintain perspective, be objective, and lean on your real estate agent for advice throughout the process.

Searching for the right real estate agent to help you sell your home? Our experienced, local team is here to help with all of your real estate needs. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Tuscaloosa, AL area.


Active Dog Month: The Best Places To Take Your Canine Friends

Looking for places to keep your dogs occupied? Here are the outdoor spots in and around Tuscaloosa you should visit.

Many homeowners have acquired dogs and cats during the time of the pandemic — both to keep the kids occupied and also, for adults, as companions to combat enforced loneliness and isolation. As first-time pet owners may be learning, these animals are not inanimate stuffed toys, but living creatures that have needs. Dogs often need vigorous walks to keep them mentally and physically fit. 

It just so happens that April is Active Dog Month. If you're not doing it already, what better time to begin a regular regimen of exercising and playing with your dog outdoors? The weather's grand and your canine will love it, no matter when or where. But to get you started, here are some venues near Tuscaloosa homes for sale where you can concentrate on your dog's — and your — fitness and fun.

Tuscaloosa Canine Fun Spots

  1. Annette M. Shelby Park Trail. 1614 15th St., Tuscaloosa
    Annette M. Shelby Park features a .7-mile paved loop, but that can be plenty for a small or older dog. It's open to trail bikers, runners, and walkers year-round. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash. The park has a splash pad with nearby restrooms and water fountains. 

  2. Will May Dog Park (located within Sokol Park South), 5901 Watermelon Road, Northport. 
    If you or your dog has never experienced a dog park, you're in for a treat with Will May Dog Park. There are areas for small and large dogs, as well as a training yard. Water is available once spring arrives, but it's always a good idea to bring some. Dog waste must be removed. There's a limit of three dogs per person. No aggressive dogs, puppies under 4 months, or dogs in heat.
  3. Freeman Park. 3001 Dragons Lane, Tuscaloosa
    Freeman Park
    has a lot of amenities, including a swimming pool and shelter, but also a nice trail where you can walk your dog. 

  4. Sokol Park, 5901 Watermelon Road, Northport
    Sokol Park is a multi-purpose park, which includes Will May Dog Park. But for dogs that don't enjoy dog parks, there are trails, which are usually not crowded. Trails are of varying lengths and are not difficult.

  5. Hurricane Creek Park. 7005 Old Birmingham Hwy., Tuscaloosa
    The setting for Hurricane Creek Park is geologically special (it's where the Gulf coastal plain meets the Appalachian Paleozoic rock area ecosystem). Once a site where extensive mining occurred, it is now known for rare plants, scenic beauty, and some local history. You can hike on the Eagle Scout Trail but be aware there are some stream crossings, and your dog should be big enough to manage these. 

  6. The Riverwalk. 2710 Jack Warner Pkwy., Tuscaloosa
    The Riverwalk is a 4.5-mile walk that starts at Capitol Park and ends at the gazebo east of Manderson Landing. The paved two-way trail offers places to rest and rehydrate. There are even a few off-leash places on the trail.

  7. University of Alabama Arboretum. 4801 Arboretum Way, Tuscaloosa
    The 60-acre University of Alabama Arboretum is pet friendly. Devoted to Alabama's native flora and fauna, the arboretum is open daily during business hours, so bring your dog and take a walk in a beautiful setting. It's crucial to pay attention to the arboretum's pet policies so that it can stay pet friendly: keep dogs on leash; pick up after your dog; and don't allow your pet to dig in beds, disturb plants, or urinate on plants.

You'll enjoy living in a Tuscaloosa neighborhood near a park where you can exercise yourself and Fido. Ask our real estate agents about buying or selling a home in Tuscaloosa. Contact us today.


Celebrate Waffle Day Right With Tuscaloosa Breakfast

Waffles may be the ultimate comfort breakfast. Here's where you can start your morning right in Tuscaloosa.

Bet you didn't know that Friday, March 25, was International Waffle Day. Yeah, yeah, we know — as if we needed a designated day to enjoy waffles. These days, waffles have been front and center on the menu, not only at breakfast but for every meal, with everything from chocolate chips and peanut butter to crushed pineapple and bacon (!) being added to the mix. Not to mention, we're now topping them with not only whipped cream and syrup, blueberries and strawberries, but also chicken. Where will it end?

Whether you're whipping up your own favorite waffle recipe for the family in your new home from Tuscaloosa homes for sale, or dining out on the town, adding delicious waffles to the menu will be a hit with everyone. Who can blame the Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes for starting up International Waffle Day and also opting for the delicious waffle as a way to also celebrate the advent of spring?

If you're wondering how to celebrate International Waffle Day, our real estate agents have some suggestions:

  • Serve waffles for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with everyone's favorite toppings.
  • Try a new recipe for waffles, maybe with whole wheat flour; serve heart-shaped Swedish waffles with a dollop of cream; or find Belgian waffles in the frozen section. These are thicker than regular waffles and should be dusted with confectioner's sugar or given a coating of chocolate or cream.
  • Here's a potato waffle recipe that uses a minimal amount of flour, while calling for your leftover mashed potatoes.

Otherwise, try out some of these notable eateries and ask for the waffles.

  1. Heritage House Cofffee and Tea. 700 Towncenter Blvd., Tuscaloosa
    Heritage House
    is Tuscaloosa's first coffee house, having opened in 1993, and serving 40 international coffees, many types of tea, from-scratch baked goods, and even waffles. Visit any time of day for waffles, including dinner. Try the two Belgium-style waffles and top them with blueberries, strawberries, bananas, pecans, or whipped cream.

  2. Just Love Coffee Cake. 2531 University Blvd., Ste 100, Tuscaloosa
    There are lots of interesting food items on the menu for Just Love Coffee Cake, and most of them aren't about coffee cake. At any rate, go right to the Artisan Waffle section and scan for the Breakfast Slider with bacon or sausage, egg, cheese, and maple syrup; the Berry Berry Bo Berry, with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, whipped cream, and powdered sugar; the Flyin' Pig Waffle, with bacon, sausage, egg plus sausage gravy or maple syrup; or lots more waffle choices.

  3. Broken Egg Cafe1650 Jack Warner Parkway, Tuscaloosa
    The Broken Egg Cafe has a variety of scrumptious and healthful offerings, but do try the Power Belgian Waffles (made of whole wheat), topped with bananas, pecans, and a coconut milk-peanut butter sauce on top. Beyond breakfast, sample Chicken and Waffles, with fried chicken tenders on a Belgian waffle, plus house-made chipotle honey.

  4. Metro Diner, 1800 McFarland Blvd., East, No. 404, Tuscaloosa
    At the Metro Diner, breakfast is served all day long, with special emphasis on "comfort food favorites, new twists on classics, and traditional homemade breakfast platters." You can't go wrong with the Fried Chicken and Waffle, featuring half a fried chicken and a Belgian waffle, topped with powdered sugar, sweet strawberry butter, and sweet and spicy sauce. Try the Belgian Waffle, if you crave lighter fare.

At home or dining out, there are plenty of options for celebrating International Waffle Day. Have questions about buying your home in Tuscaloosa? Contact us today.


How To Organize Major Home Improvement Projects

The key to successful renovations and home improvement projects is organization. Here's how you can stay on top of your home upgrades.

When you found your dream home among Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you may have bought it with a plan to launch some major home improvements. Maybe you're an old hand at home improvements, but if you're just starting out, you could probably use some advice from our real estate agents. Follow these suggestions, and we guarantee you will have fewer home improvement snafus, and what's more, you'll love how close your results are to the improvements of your imagination.

Project Manager — or Not?

Now, before you launch into your role as a project manager for your home, it might be wise to take a breath and do a fearless self-assessment. You may want to save money by doing it yourself, and you're excited about undertaking this thrilling project, but are you the type of person who can bring it off successfully? Are you calm under pressure? Do you think and act strategically and confidently? Do you have time to plan, coordinate, and oversee the work? If these questions make you a bit uneasy, you might consider hiring a project manager. There will be a fee, but a bungled (by you) project will cost time and money and you could be looking at major disappointment. A pro can bring off the results you want.

Apps and Plans

Still ready to tackle orchestrating your home improvements? Then let's get you started with apps and software programs. If you've got money to pay an architect, never mind. Otherwise, here goes. An app such as Fiverr can provide you with 3D renderings but they don't come cheap, and they only give 1-2 revisions before they start charging. Try Arcsite or Planner 5d to save money and make your own renderings, with an unlimited number of designs for free.

A Trick for Visualizing Space

Most of us are lacking in the ability to visualize how things will look. Painter's tape and flooring paper can help you figure out the scope of space. For instance, you may want to know how well your projected dimensions for cabinet width will look. Tape it out, and you'll have a good idea.

Buy Samples — Lots of Them! — and Try Them Out

It can be tough to know if you're going to love that tile or flooring once it's in place. It might cost a bit, but it's better to buy a significant sampling of those materials and actually put them in place before you buy a whole shipment of stuff and commission an entire floor or wall. Ditto with paint. Those measly two samples they give you at the store just don't cut it.

Buy Dupes

Sometimes you can find a dupe for a pricey item. Shop around at big box stores and see if there's something that approximates that expensive thing you just have to have. For instance, installing aluminum-clad windows with thicker grids instead of installing steel windows is one clever dupe. They look similar to steel. There are lots of dupes out there if you spend time looking.

Go Over Where You Want Electrical Outlets

Most contractors will install electrical outlets any old where. If you're particular (and you should be), then you'll be thinking this through thoroughly. You might want some outlets concealed under an overhang or under cabinets. Be sure your contractor knows what you want.

Factor in Contingency Dollars in Your Budget

Things will go wrong. It's wise to factor in at least 10 percent contingency in your budget for unexpected issues, especially if you're in an older home.

Our real estate staff has lots more advice about managing home improvements. Contact us today.


How To Change Up Your Flooring In 2022

Changing up your flooring is a big commitment that can change the feel of your home. Here's how you can choose what's best for your home.

Nothing perks up a home like great flooring. Whether it's in the bathroom, kitchen, living room, or bedroom, the right flooring pulls the rest of your decorating or renovation efforts together and makes your home into a showpiece.

If you're ready for new flooring in the home you chose among Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you may find all the many choices to be bewildering. Let's take a look at some types of flooring you might be considering.


Hardwood remains the most popular choice among most homeowners, with nearly half of those surveyed in a recent poll by the flooring company 50Floor choosing hardwood as the top material for their floors. It's not hard to guess why. Hardwood, which encompasses such species as oak, map, hickory, and walnut, is beautiful, durable, and warm. It holds up to heavy use and can be maintained by removing and replacing damaged boards. It's also easy to coordinate with various color schemes and themes. It fits well with a wide range of accessories and decor. Hardwood's versatility is easily demonstrated by the various colors, textures, and designs available.

There are a few drawbacks. Being a natural material, hardwood can be subject to staining, warping, and scuffing. Hardwood also requires maintenance for a long life.

Hardwood is recommended for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and hallways.

Engineered wood flooring is an alternative way to get the look of hardwood but with more versatility and less maintenance. Engineered wood consists of two layers, one a thin veneer of wood, and underneath, a thicker layer of high-density fiberboard or plywood.


Coming in way behind hardwood as a second popular choice is laminate (at about 17 percent in the 50Floor survey).

Laminate, which is more durable than engineered wood, has a photo layer that looks like wood (or possibly stone or tile). Beneath the veneer there is a layer of rigid fiberboard. On top is a transparent plasticate layer that defends against wear and fading. Laminates are known for their durability and ability to take some punishment. It's a great choice for those with kids and dogs. It's also much less expensive than hardwood.

The disadvantage is that, although resistant to humidity and moisture, it is not waterproof. Further, you might not like the slippery, plastic-y feel of it. It also can't be repaired when chipped.

Vinyl Plank/Vinyl Tile

Made of  PVC, vinyl plank has several layers, with the design layer mimicking wood, metal, or stone. It's easily installed: you can glue it down, click-lock it as "floating flooring" or loose lay it, relying on friction and weight. Some types can be applied as peel-and-stick. Vinyl plant is inexpensive, comfortable to the feet, and can look like whatever material you like, plus it's waterproof. You can use it anywhere in the house.

The downside is it gives off VOCs (volatile organic compounds). The less expensive products also may look suspiciously not like wood, stone, or whatever.

There's also vinyl sheet flooring, inexpensive and highly recommended for bathrooms and laundry rooms because it's waterproof. It's made from PVC, so mind the VOCs.


Types of tile flooring include stone, ceramic, porcelain, and cement. Porcelain and ceramic can be glazed or unglazed. One great new option in the tile world is wood-look tile, which mimics wood grain. Use it in bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms with no fears. Tile is easy to clean, lasts forever, and looks beautiful. But tile can also crack or chip and may stain.

Our real estate agents have great tips for your Tuscaloosa home renovation. Contact us today.


Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth This Valentine's Day In Tuscaloosa

Valentine's Day is coming up fast, so don't waste time and visit these great Tuscaloosa chocolate and candy shops to find the perfect gift.

Valentine's Day, the day for celebrating love, has long been associated with sweet things — chocolate, in particular. Heart-shaped bonbons and heart-shaped boxes full of sweet treats all bespeak the association of love with sweets. But how did we get from celebrating Valentine's Day to sweet treats?

Valentine's Day began when a Roman bishop by that name defied a ban and secretly granted marriages to soldiers and their sweethearts. Valentine was imprisoned and was said to have sent a letter to the daughter of his jailer, signing it "Your Valentine."

A few centuries later, the tradition of sending love letters called valentines emerged, followed a few hundred years later with the beginning of sending sweets to one's beloved. Chocolate, which was a gift from the Aztecs to the rest of the world, was originally consumed as a drink. Europeans turned it into candy, and then the English turned these into a Valentine's Day tradition.

History aside, there are lots of ways to celebrate the sweetest Valentine's Day ever here in Tuscaloosa, and most of these venues are close to Tuscaloosa homes for sale. Shop for the perfect Valentine's Day gift, or celebrate your love by trying out something new and offbeat in the world of sweets.

Sweet Treat Venues in Tuscaloosa

  1. Peterbrooke Chocolates. 1530 Mcfarland Blvd N C, Tuscaloosa.
    Nothing says love like scrumptious, handmade chocolate. Besides individual chocolates (check out the heart-shaped red ones), Peterbrooke Chocolates also offers chocolate-covered popcorn, gift baskets (try the Lover's Gift Basket for Valentine's Day), and more.

  2. Babe's Doughnuts. 500 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa. 
    What could be less pretentious than the great American donut (or doughnut)? If your sweetheart is the down-to-earth type, who likes his/her sweets with a downhome flavor, then look no further than Babe's Doughnuts. Also known for their coffee drinks and breakfast sandwiches, Babe's shows it's not just about taste but also eye appeal with its versatile doughnut decorations.

  3. Tazikis Mediterranean Cafe. 1800 McFarland Blvd E. Tuscaloosa.
    In the mood for something with an international flair? How about taking your loved one out for a fabulous Mediterranean dinner at Tazikis? Sample one of the delicious gyros or maybe one of the trademark entrees, such as kebabs, pork loin, grilled salmon or a vegetarian feast. Declare your love after they take away the dishes — just as they bring the toothsome baklava or chocolate chip cookies.

  4. Edgar's Bakery. 1653 Mcfarland Blvd N, in the Tuscaloosa Galleria.
    It can be a challenge to find a place to dine out on Valentine's evening, but you can do a light lunch at Edgar's Bakery, then celebrate at home with a glass of wine and a slice of cake, some pretty petits fours, or other glorious pastries.

  5. Nothing Bundt Cakes. 1393 McFarland Blvd E, Tuscaloosa.
    Nothing Bundt Cakes is a franchise, but this bakery has held onto the things that have made it a national success: fresh ingredients. So if you're looking for a great cake as the centerpiece of your intimate Valentine's Day celebration, just call up Nothing Bundt Cakes. Take your pick from Snickerdoodle, Confetti, White Chocolate Raspberry, Pecan Praline, Marble, and so much more.

  6. The Wine Market.
    Love wine? We do, especially for Valentine's Day. Make your way to The Wine Market and try red or rose, or something with bubbles for extra sparkle — just right for Valentine's Day. Pair it with small plates, then follow up with a smooth and creamy French Silk Pie.

Our real estate agents know the Tuscaloosa neighborhood. Ask for recommendations, or let us help you sell your home, or find a new one. Contact us today.


Transform Your Home With The Colors Of The Year

If you need some new hues in your life, look no further than the 2022 Colors Of The Year!  Here are the top picks the color pros think you should explore this year.

Every year, color experts as well as the top paint companies name which shades and hues will inspire your home decor in the new year. 2022's Colors of the Year range from a vibrant purple to a minty blue-green, and they'll each create a new feel and vibrancy to your home. Our real estate agents share their favorite of the top colors this year, including tips on how to best incorporate them into your home to achieve the look you want.

  • Laurel Leaf by Better Homes & Gardens
    Better Homes & Gardens has chosen Laurel Leaf, a dusty green inspired by eucalyptus leaves. Because the pandemic motivated many of us to go hiking or just to spend more time in our backyards, Laurel Leaf aims to bring some of the outdoors inside. It pairs well with creamy whites, beiges, light to medium wood tones, and leafy house plants. Try using it as a backdrop in a dining room, where it adds sophistication, or in a bedroom, where it brings a touch of relaxation.

  • Very Peri by PANTONE
    Instead of pulling from its vast catalog of colors to choose for its 2020 color of the year, PANTONE has created an entirely new color — Veri Peri — for the first time in decades. Veri Peri is a blue with a violet-red undertone, resulting in a joyful and dynamic color. Use it in your home to paint an accent wall or add color with throw pillows. You can even refresh your home office or living room by pairing it with green tones. This color also pairs well with many other colors including white, grey, blue, terra-cotta, mauve, and beige.

  • Breezeway by Behr
    Breezeway is Behr's 2022 Color of the Year, a misty, refreshing shade of blue-green. Although it's reminiscent of the ocean, it also works well in contemporary and vintage-inspired decor. If you're looking for a new look in your kitchen, Breezeway can be combined with bright white and black accents to create a clean look. It also can be used to create a soothing, relaxing feel when you pair it with soft cream, warm taupe, or wood tones.

  • Art and Craft by Dunn-Edwards
    Art and Craft, Dunn-Edwards' 2022 Color of the Year, is a warm, earthy shade of brown that adds a touch of luxuriousness to your design. As a versatile color, it works well as a foundation that ties other hues together. Use it in living and dining areas as well as bedrooms to create an inviting feel. When it's combined with light neutrals, Art and Craft looks brighter, and when it's alongside jewel tones, it brings sophistication to your decor.

  • Aleutian by HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams
    Aleutian, the 2022 Color of the Year from HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams, is a shade of pale indigo that brings out feelings of comfort and relaxation. With its warm undertone, the Aleutian has a restful feeling that makes it appropriate throughout the home. It serves as the foundation for Softened Refuge, a larger color collection with ten complementary hues. Since Aleutian pairs nicely with any of the colors in the collection, you'll have no trouble finding complementary shades.

To see Tuscaloosa homes for sale, contact us today! Our highly trained real estate professionals can help you every step of the way when buying or selling a home.


Get Crafty With These Holiday DIY Projects

Want to get in the holiday spirit and keep your hands busy? Here are some holiday crafts you can make at home.

Looking for budget-friendly holiday crafts to boost your decorating efforts? Where do we start? There are so many easy-to-make, attractive projects to choose from, you may have trouble narrowing your focus. You might get some ideas from driving around Tuscaloosa homes for sale, studying holiday wreaths, for starters, but you can also go online and find images that inspire you as well as instructions for holiday ornaments, candles, garlands, and much more.

Let's start by taking a look at some of the projects our real estate agents have rounded up for your consideration.

Holiday DIY Projects

  1. Printed Tea Towel Stocking Stuffers
    You don't need many supplies for these charming tea towels: flour sack dish towels, black fabric paint, a sponge brush, a tree-shaped cookie cutter, a paring knife, freezer paper, and a sponge. Press the cookie-cutter about a through the sponge and save it for later.

    Iron the towel and lay it on a large piece of freezer paper. Paint the sponge stamp and press it onto the towel, repeating in whatever pattern you choose. Dry the towel or towels overnight, then iron with another towel between the iron and the towel. You can fold up and tie the towel as a stocking stuffer or wrap gifts with it and tie it off with ribbon.

  2. Holiday Wreaths
    Wreaths for your door can cost plenty, but the good news is you can make your own. Try snipping some greenery from your holiday tree, then add pine cones, ribbon, raffia, and ornaments. You'll need pruning shears and wire snips for shaping greenery; needle-nose pliers are also helpful. Other supplies you'll need are floral wire and floral tape in green and other holiday colors, twine, floral pins, and craft glue. Use a wire or Styrofoam form to anchor your wreath. You'll also need hanging hardware.

  3. Holiday Ornaments
    Glitter Leaves.
    Get some extra sparkle in your holiday tree with a few of these handmade Glitter Leaves. Cut out two leaf shapes from heavy paper. Affix glitter to the outer-facing sides of each. Loop a pretty ribbon through a bead; secure the ends between the leaves before pressing them together with glue to dry. Once they're dry, add more glitter with a glitter stick if you like, along edges, or make a pattern. Hang several in the tree for maximum sparkle effect.

    Wooden Ornaments. Order wooden ornament forms or wooden slices online, or find them in a hobby store. Cut out designs from pretty wrapping paper, fabric, or napkins. Water down some school glue, and affix the paper or fabric to the ornament forms. Let them dry, then cut away the excess paper with an X-acto knife. Run some raffia or ribbon through the pre-drilled holes in the forms to hang them.

  4. Lighted Pine Cone Baskets.
    Here's some added glow for your evening holiday decor. Obtain a basket big enough to hold several pine cones. Spray the cones with clear paint. Before they dry, sprinkle the cones with glitter. Use a glitter glue pen for extra sparkle. Pile the cones into the basket with a string of mini lights. Weave the lights amidst the cones in a way that looks pleasing to you, leaving enough of the lights over the edge of the basket to plug in.

Our real estate staff can also answer your questions about buying a home or selling your current property. Contact us today.


Jump Into The Holiday Season With These Attractions

The holiday season is in full swing, and there's plenty to do in and around Tuscaloosa. Here's what you can look forward to.

December is such a busy month. Most of us are zipping around, shopping for gifts and wrapping them up, decorating, baking, and making sure everything related to the holiday madness gets done. And this year, the pressure is on. We're planning holiday get-togethers again, including Yuletide dinners, parties, and the exchange of gifts. But in the days leading up to the holidays, it's worthwhile to take some time out, get out of the house and visit local holiday attractions. Happily, many are not far from Tuscaloosa homes for sale

Our real estate agents have some suggestions for attractions near you. Check them out, and enjoy.

  1. Weihnacht's Markt. 420 Rice Valley Rd N, Tuscaloosa, AL
    Here's your chance to shop at a traditional German Christmas market on Sunday, Dec. 12, 4-6:30 p.m. Weihnachtsmarkts are found in towns in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The market heralds the beginning of Advent, a holy season of the Christian church that leads up to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Christ. These markets draw millions of visitors, and are known for Nativity scenes; special foods such as Zwetschgenmannle (figures created from decorated dried plums); carved nutcrackers; and traditional Christmas cookies. Mulled wine and cider are also sometimes available. Our local market offers a great opportunity to become acquainted with this charming cultural tradition from the Germanic people.

  2. Theatre Tuscaloosa. Bean-Brown Theatre. 500 Old Greensboro Road, 154 Tuscaloosa, AL
    How about a theater weekend for you and your pals? (Sure, your significant other is absolutely welcome too.) Theatre Tuscaloosa is presenting "Girls' Weekend," playing Dec. 10-19. It's a madcap comedy where four friends plan a get-away at a remote cabin, but also plan how they can sneak visits with their sweethearts.

  3. Tuscaloosa Ice Skating. Government Plaza. 2106 6th St, Tuscaloosa, AL
    Ice skating is a great way to entertain holiday company or just to let the kids expend some energy. This year Tuscaloosa ice skating has moved to Government Plaza as part of Holidays on the Plaza, which will also feature the Tinsel Trail (benefiting Tuscaloosa's One Place, and other holiday parties and festivities). Enjoy ice skating through Jan. 17. Admission to Holidays on the Plaza is free, but you'll need to purchase passes for ice skating.

  4. Light Displays.
    You can pack the family in the car and drive around Tuscaloosa, exploring and finding your own pretty Christmas lights, or you can visit the ones we've compiled below, or see more compiled for the WBRC Magic City Weekend:

    Calera's Christmas Wonderland409 East Milgray in Calera (Southern Hills subdivision). Walk through 30,000 lights and enjoy a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Through Christmas Eve, 5 p.m. until 10 p.m.,  weather permitting.

    Bama Lights in Pinson. 8333 West Hill Road, Pinson, AL. Tune the car radio to 88.1 FM, then drive through the lights display. No charge, but donations are accepted for Magic Moments, an organization for children. Through Dec. 25, nightly from 5 to 9:30 p.m., weather permitting.

    Christmas at the Falls. Noccalula Falls Park and Campground. 1500 Noccalula Rd., Gadsden, AL. Enjoy thousands of lights, plus a musical light show at the Covered Bridge, a train ride, hopping animal habitat, and concessions. See Santa at the General Post Office through Dec. 23; visit lights through Jan. 2.

    Toy Shop on Magnolia. 211 Magnolia Street, Trussville, AL. Handmade decorations and lights made up to look like Santa's workshop. Nightly, starting at dusk, to the end of December.

Need more suggestions for brilliant holiday attractions you can visit? Contact us today.


Only In Tuscaloosa: BBQ Joints You Have To Visit

When you're in Tuscaloosa, barbecue may be the ultimate comfort food. Here are some of the best joints you need to visit.

Alabama is known for many iconic foods: boiled peanuts, fried okra, pecan pie, banana pudding, grits, and fried green tomatoes. But there's also fabulous barbecue. Fueled by hickory wood, and sometimes oak and pecan, Alabama is most famous for its distinctive pork, including ribs, shoulder, butt, and ham. However, the chicken and brisket are great, too. All in all, Alabama barbecue holds its own among the other Southern states that form the barbecue belt: Georgia, the Carolinas, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Ready to try it out? Fortunately, there are several great BBQ joints near Tuscaloosa homes for sale. Our real estate agents are happy to make some recommendations.

  1. Thomas Rib Shack. 2931 15th St., Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
    Thomas Rib Shack bills itself as a soul food joint, and that's fair. Barbecued ribs or any kind of barbecue might be called the original soul food. Pair it with the trimmings or go rogue and try the chitlin dinner, side of oxtail, pan trout, or catfish. It's not fancy, but it doesn't need to be because it's authentic. Check out their Facebook page so you can watch for announcements on Soul Food Sundays.

  2. Dreamland Tuscaloosa. 5535 15th Ave. East Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
    Dreamland Bar-b-que
    , like any famous Alabama barbecue joint, is noted for its ribs — but that's not all. You can get a half chicken, smoked sausage, and turkey breast, plus delicious sides including baked beans, potato salad, mac n' cheese, and coleslaw. What's the perfect dessert to follow barbecue? Why scrumptious, creamy banana pudding, of course.

  3. Archibald's and Woodrow's BBQ. 4215 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
    Depending on how hungry you are, choose one of Archibald's and Woodrow's BBQ plates, platters, or sandwiches. Take your pick of fabled ribs, sliced pork, chicken fried steak, or chicken, or opt for delectable fried catfish. For the calorie-conscious, there's whiting prepared several different ways. Sides are varied: potato salad, corn on the cob, beans, coleslaw, or collards, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas, fried okra, and fried green tomatoes. Leave room for banana pudding.

  4. Buddy's Rib and Steak. 2701 Lurleen B. Wallace Blvd., Northport, AL 35476
    Buddy's Rib and Steak is just down the road from Tuscaloosa, so you don't have to go far for some memorable barbecue. The menu is basic: plates of sirloin, chicken, beef, or pork and two sides for lunch, while dinner offers several steak choices, plus plates with ribs, beef, or pork.

  5. Hoo's Q. 101 15th St. E, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.
    Deservedly well known for their "Q" sauce, Hoo's Q serves up plates of ribs, chicken, meatloaf, and more with the special sauce. There are also tender wings, as well as salads — and a big favorite among Southerners — pimento cheese. Sides include grilled okra (as good as fried, many Southerners maintain), baked beans, and coleslaw. Don't skip dessert: fried pecan pie, peanut butter pie, and banana pudding. There's also Hoo's Q and Brew in N. Tuscaloosa (1825 Mcfarland Blvd., N. Suite No. 110, 35406), which has some of the same fare but with more of a brewpub flair.

  6. Bama Barbeque. 3076 McFarland Blvd. #14, Northport, AL 35476
    After you take in the Tuscaloosa River Walk, get in the car and drive the short drive (3 miles or so) to Bama Barbeque and Grill in Northport. Enjoy plates or sandwiches with pork, beef, ribs, smoked sausage, chicken, or catfish. Sides include the usual suspects: coleslaw, beans, corn, and potato salad. Finish up with lemon, strawberry cream cheese, or pecan pie.

Have questions about Tuscaloosa? Contact us today.


The Best Projects To Finish Up Before Thanksgiving

The holidays are a time to connect and celebrate with your family, so take some time beforehand to finish up these projects.

It's already November, and that means the holidays are approaching fast. Catching up with family and friends in a Tuscaloosa home for sale over home-cooked meals can be one of the most rewarding things you'll do this year, but it also means you may not have as much free time as usual. Before you host guests this holiday season, our real estate agents recommend finishing up the following projects.

Make Sure Appliances Are In Working Order

Your oven becomes quite the workhorse during the holidays. Before roasting turkeys and hams, make sure your oven is in proper working order and is also clean. Food debris can become charred and smokey if left unattended, so it's best to do a deep clean before putting your oven to work. Your dishwasher will also be working overtime, so if you know of any issues, even small ones like a faulty or broken tray, it's a good idea to fix it now. If your dishes aren't hot after a cycle, there could be something wrong. Don't forget your washer and dryer either — these can upend your plans if they act up.

Do A Deep Clean

Some people think you should reserve the deep cleaning for spring, but that's not true! Now's a great time to start cleaning your home for two reasons: you'll be hosting guests, and it will mean less work later. If you deep clean now, you'll only need to do some surface passes during the holidays. A deep clean involves dusting above cabinets, sweeping under the fridge, washing all sheets in the house, and shampooing the carpet if you have access to a carpet cleaner. This can add up to a lot of work, so try involving the entire family.

Complete A Safety Check

This one is simple, but it's perhaps the most important project. Check all smoke detectors to make sure they're working — or change out their batteries now, so you don't have to worry about them for the rest of the year. Also, take a peek at your dryer vent and remove any lingering lint balls. These can become a fire hazard if accumulated or not venting outside properly. Lastly, make sure your fire extinguisher still has pressure. If it doesn't, you can have it recharged, or you can buy a new one. If you don't own a fire extinguisher, now's the time to get one!

Finish Up Any Put Off Projects

Were you planning to put in new drawer pulls but never got around to it? Or how about how you wanted to change out the light fixtures in your kitchen and dining room? If you have projects you meant to get around to but just couldn't find the time, try allocating a weekend day to finish these up. Little things like these are usually cheaper compared to other major projects and can transform a room, especially if you've had the same drawer pulls for years, for example. That way, you can really wow your guests when they arrive.


Decorating is what you wanted to do all along, but you should save this for last. Once your home is clean, and all appliances are in working order, then you can shift your focus to turning your home into a seasonal getaway. Wreaths are fashionable in fall and winter, and string lights can help set the mood. Double-check that you don't have any burnt-out bulbs, and consider switching to LEDs that will last longer and don't get hot.

Need more tips on how you can keep your home in top shape this holiday season? Contact us today.


Keep Your Living Room Looking Fresh By Avoiding These Trends

Not all design trends are worth the fuss. Here are some living room trends that you should ignore.

You want your living room to make a statement as the showpiece of the home. As the name suggests, a living room is also where you invite company, and maybe even where you and the family spend time, so while eye appeal is important, so is comfort.

As you plan the living room of your dreams in the house you discovered from Tuscaloosa homes for sale, bone up on avoiding some of the most common decorating blunders. Our real estate agents have sourced the wisdom of top design experts to help you avoid mistakes and create the perfect living room for your home.

  1. Avoid magical thinking about your lifestyle.
    No doubt about it: that all-white living room you saw in the magazine at the doctor's office won't seem so appealing once the kids spill their juice on the sofa or Fido gets sick on the chair — never mind the black hair he sheds on the white carpet. You simply have to factor in the kids, the dog, and whatever other messy bit of reality arises. Unless you have a lifestyle that is guaranteed pristine, you're better off going the more practical route, with furnishings that resist the onslaughts of the tribe. Go for dark rugs and easy-to-clean fabrics — maybe even leather, which can hold up to rugrats and their canine allies.

  2. Stylin' is fun, but don't forget comfort.
    We bet you've been in rooms like this: no place to sit but that ancient, oh-so-expensive, hard-as-a-board Victorian sofa, or those minimalist but eye-catching metal and plastic chairs. Looks aren't everything. Building comfort into the home should be part of your design scheme.

  3. Get out the tape measure, and use it.
    You want to create good flow around all the furnishings in your living room, and to do that, you need negative space around the pieces. Be it paintings or artwork, or a coffee table and sofa, they won't look good if they're crammed together. Here's a general rule of thumb: leave 18 inches between the coffee table and sofa; aim for 32 to 36 inches of clearance between adjacent seatings.

  4. Avoid wrong-sized rugs.
    Rugs should fit the rooms they're placed in. A large rug will overwhelm and make the room look smaller; a too-small rug will force you to crowd the furniture too close, leaving the room off balance with the extra empty space. Use painter's tape to mark off the space the rug will take so you can better envision how it will look.

  5. Don't fall for (boring) matching showroom furniture.
    You really don't want your living room to look like a furniture showroom. Sure, it's easier to buy a furniture set, but you can create a unique and curated-looking space if you take time to choose pieces that complement each other.

  6. Don't overlook lighting.
    One of the most unfortunate mistakes you can make is to not include enough lighting in your living room. Add lighting with a table lamp or overhead pendant lamp, so you can read in a comfortable spot. Floor lamps help to anchor larger pieces such as a sofa. Don't feel like rewiring a wall? Add plug-in sconces next to furniture arrangements. If you're building or renovating, put a floor outlet in the middle of the room so you can float furniture, capping pieces with an end table and a lamp.

You can make all the right decorating moves by consulting the experts. Need some advice on whom to call? Contact us today.


No More Room? Here's How To Maximize Storage For Small Spaces

Storage space is usually hard to come by. That's why we put together some tips to help you maximize your home storage.

Storage space is always one of the most important features of any home and usually one of the first things buyers look for when touring a listing. If your home has limited storage space, all hope is not lost. There are many easy things you can do to increase storage, even if your home is short on closets and functional areas. Our real estate agents have seen some very creative storage designs that inspired them to compile this list of clever storage ideas that can truly help you maximize your space.

  • Use Bins To Maximize Closet Space
    If your dealing with a small closet, organizing your items into bins is a great way to make the best use of the space. Clear plastic bins can help keep you organize and pack your closet full without giving it a cluttered look. You can also create a compelling visual look by sorting your belongings by color or material and adding creative labels.

  • Try Vertical Stacking
    If your closet or basement has large open spaces, build vertical storage units out of some combination of drawers, shelves, and stackable containers. You'd be surprised how much more storage space you can create when building up. We love the way some of the owners of these Tuscaloosa homes for sale leverage vertical stacking to increase storage space.

  • Is There Room On Top Of Your Kitchen Cabinets?
    If there is a decent amount of space between your kitchen ceiling and kitchen cabinets, this is prime storage real estate that often goes underutilized. One of the best parts about storing things on top of kitchen cabinets is a lot of time they go unnoticed. As a result, it's a great idea to use this space for things you don't plan to use very often.

  • Hang Your Pots
    Short on kitchen space? Pots can consume a tremendous amount of storage room, which is why hanging pots on hooks has always been one of our favorite storage concepts. Not only will hanging pots free up space in the kitchen, but they can also create quite the culinary vibe.

  • Make Use Of Your Doors
    Using the back of closet doors for storage is one of the best ways to maximize the space inside your closet. Racks, hooks, mirrors, over-the-door shoe pockets, or any number of storage solutions can simply attach to the back door of your closet and provide additional space.

  • Don't Forget About Floating Shelves
    Floating shelves in the kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom can double as nice decor and extra storage space. Floating shelves are easy to install and are versatile enough to store books, photos, toiletries, or anything else you can think of.

Most buyers don't want to invest in a home that they may outgrow, which is why ample storage space is often at the top of the wishlist. For more tips on how to make the most of your storage areas, contact us today.


Try Something New With Tuscaloosa International Restaurants

Think you could be a food critic? Try these Tuscaloosa international restaurants for some new flavors.

Our real estate agents know buyers always look at what fun things they can do around the neighborhood. And right around the corner from Tuscaloosa homes for sale are some wonderful international restaurants for when you're in the mood for something a little different. Indulge in some amazing food and drink at one of these restaurants for your next date night or night out with friends and family.

Taco Mama, 2104A University Blvd. Tuscaloosa, AL 35401. 205-409-8173.

Located just a short distance from campus, nothing beats Taco Mama for a game day feast. Select one of their fresh, made-to-order specialty tacos or burritos for a delicious meal. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, customize a Quesadilla, salad, or nachos with your favorite toppings for a truly unique creation every single time you go. With almost endless options, everyone in your group is sure to find something they enjoy. There's also an extensive list of tasty margaritas you can add to complete your meal.

Glory Bound Gyro Co., 1301 University Blvd., Tuscaloosa, AL 35401. 205-349-0505.

Classic gyros and hummus appetizers are always a great choice, but Glory Bound Gyro Co. puts a few unique and tasty twists on these classics that you're sure to appreciate. There are flavors like BBQ ranch, buffalo chicken, and their award-winning pepper jack gyro.  Or stop in to try one of their daily fresh-made craft hummus flavors. You'll want to come back for seconds!

DePalma's Italian Café, 2300 University Blvd Tuscaloosa, AL, 35401 (205) 759-1879.

If you're in the mood for some classic Italian fare, you'll be glad you stopped at DePalma's Italian Café. Your favorite Italian appetizers like antipasti, baked feta, and caprese. Salads with homemade dressings. Classic dishes like Shrimp scampi, veal scaloppini, and lasagna, Spaghetti with sausage and roasted red peppers, shells Florentine. Unique options like Portobello mushroom ravioli, hand-tossed NY style pizza, calzone. Classic decadent desserts like cannoli and tiramisu. An impressive wine menu to accompany your meal.

Central Mesa, 519 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, 205-523-7738.

Central Mesa is located in beautiful historic downtown Tuscaloosa and offers traditional Latin American dishes with a little southern flair. They specialize in tacos, tequila, and whiskey, but the rest of the menu will impress you too. Everything is made from scratch with fresh ingredients so you're always getting the tastiest entrees and tacos. And because the focus is on fresh ingredients, there are several vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. For something a little different, try a pork belly taco or go more traditional with a Cuban sandwich. Interesting vegetarian options include a Spinach Quesadilla. You'll leave truly satisfied.

Taziki's Mediterranean Café, 1800 McFarland Blvd., Tuscaloosa, AL 35404, 205-344-6444.  

Healthy fresh veggies and lean grilled meats are the shining stars of Mediterranean cuisine at Taziki's Mediterranean Café. Soups and salads, grilled entrees, sandwiches, and gyros make up a delicious and healthy menu that will have you coming back again and again. And with convenient online ordering, you can save time too.

A meal at a great international restaurant can bring back memories of a favorite vacation abroad, make new memories enjoying everyone's company, or just satisfy your game-day cravings.

Hamner Real Estate can help you find your next new home in a Tuscaloosa neighborhood you'll love. Contact us today to get started.


Don't Get A Shock From Electrical Surges

When it comes to your home's electrical system, you don't want to cheap out. Here's what you can do to have robust surge protection.

If you're looking at Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you probably can't wait to move in and get settled. While you pack up all your electronics, you might wonder whether you should take steps to protect them. After all, it only takes one lightning strike or downed power line to cause a power surge and damage your devices. This may all seem scary, but the good news is that you can protect all your devices, and it's pretty simple. Our real estate agents recommend the following.

Whole-House Surge Protector

A whole-house surge protector works like a filter, allowing "safe" electrical currents in while blocking irregular voltage. This device is installed at your home's circuit breaker panel, and it protects against internal surges. Major appliances cycling on and off account for 60% to 80% of home power surges. These low-level surges often go unnoticed. However, they can degrade the circuitry of your expensive electrical devices, eventually causing them to burn out.

A professionally installed whole-house surge protector is a bit of an investment. Still, it's well worth the cost if you consider how much you've already invested in your television, kitchen appliances, computers, and anything else that's plugged in 24/7. 

External Surge Protector 

An external surge protector blocks approximately 80% of external surges. It serves as the first line of defense against huge power spikes that travel through the power grid. This will protect your home from lightning strikes and power station and power line issues. External surge protectors are installed where the utility company's supply meets the main breaker. These require professional installation.

Power Strip Surge Protectors

Most homeowners are already familiar with strip surge protectors. These outlet strips are plugged into your home's outlets and add a layer of separation between the electrical outlet and your expensive electrical devices.

Strip surge protectors are relatively inexpensive, making them a very smart purchase for your home. However, it's important to note that without the first two types of surge protectors in place, strip protectors only offer minimal protection. This is why it's best to protect your home with more robust safety nets.

Additional Ways to Protect Your Home 

Installing a surge protection system is an excellent way to protect your home and expensive appliances and electronics. However, for full protection, follow these tips as well: 

  • Use the correct wattage bulbs
  • Don't overload your electrical outlets
  • Keep electrical devices and outlets away from water
  • Replace or repair damaged electrical cords
  • Give appliances space for air circulation to avoid overheating
  • Keep exhaust fans clean to prevent fire hazards
  • Unplug unused appliances to reduce potential risks

If you've been thinking of buying or selling a home in Tuscaloosa, we have years of experience and can help you meet your real estate goals. Contact us today to get started.


Transform Your Family Photos With These Display Ideas

Your family photos deserve special attention. Here's how you can make them shine in your home.

Our real estate agents often hear that one of the best parts of becoming a homeowner is being able to decorate and display personal items any way you like. Adding all those personal touches to Tuscaloosa homes for sale will make you feel right at home in no time. So you probably can't wait to display those favorite family photos. But where should you even start? Here are a few creative options to inspire you.

  1. Opt for one large scenic photo. If you have a favorite vacation photo of your family somewhere with a nice view in the background, you could enlarge it and hang it on the wall.
  2. Small tile photo collage. Use small square or rectangle photos arranged in a grid pattern within a larger frame. This is nice if you have a lot of photos since you won't need to hang them individually.
  3. Black and white photos with color mats or frames. This idea creates a dramatic but playful effect. You could opt for different bright colors in a child's room or playroom. Or go with one or two colors to better compliment adult decor.
  4. Black and white photos against a boldly colored wall. If you have a boldly colored accent wall or are thinking of adding one, use an arrangement of black and white photos to give it that extra wow factor.
  5. Display your family photos in the dining room. It's a family gathering place where happy times like holiday meals and game nights happen, so why not display some of your favorite family photos there as well.
  6. Photo collage coffee table. This takes some effort but adds a real "at home" feel to your decor. Small photos are arranged on top of a wood coffee table, and a glass top is used on top of the photos to protect them. The end result is a family photo display like no other.­­
  7. Instagram styled photo wall. You can use your actual Instagram photos or other photos printed in the same style. You'll need a large number of same-sized square photos. Arrange them in a grid across a rectangular wall. You can unify the collection by color, theme, or photo composition for an Instagram-worthy look right in your own home.
  8. Garland style wall display. Drape wire, rope, twine, heavy yarn, or ribbon along the wall. Attach your photos with decorative clips. This display style offers almost endless options for customization to fit with any décor.
  9. Photo ledges. This is a nice look for modern décor because ledges are simple with sleek lines. They're also good for small spaces because they're only a few inches wide, unlike traditional shelves. You can layer photos, so you don't have to spend time hanging lots of photos directly on the wall.
  10. Door frame display. Use tape to display small photos around the door frame. This is a unique idea for a casually styled room or a teen's room.
  11. Opt for sepia or another effect. This can help maintain a look of coherence with photos of different styles, eras, or ones with colorful images that look out of place with other photos or decor.
  12. Mix horizontal and vertical photos. Instead of a traditional gallery wall try mixing horizontal and vertical rectangle photos for a more modern look.

Decorating your new home with all your own personal touches can be a lot of fun. We've helped so many families find the right home, and we can help you too. Contact us today to get started.


Things To Do This Summer In Tuscaloosa

Tuscaloosa is overflowing with things to keep you busy this summer. Here are some great options for the whole family.

Looking for some fun activities to do this summer? Our real estate agents have you covered. Whether you want something for a quiet afternoon or something a bit more exciting, we put together a list that should have something for everyone. After viewing Tuscaloosa homes for sale, enjoy a day in the area with these activities.

  • The Battle-Friedman House - 1010 Greensboro Ave.
    Built in 1835, The Battle-Friedman House was home to two prominent Tuscaloosa families: the Battles and later the Friedmans. Today, the house is open for Tuscaloosa residents and beyond to see what life was like almost 200 years ago. The Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society offers tours throughout the week if you'd like to learn as much as possible.
  • Bowers Park - James I Harrison Jr. Pkwy E.
    Need an activity that will keep you active? Bowers Park is the perfect site for all your summer fun. Their pool and slides are great for the whole family, especially if you're wanting to cool off from the summer heat. The park also has a disc golf course, eight baseball diamonds, playgrounds, an activity center, and more.
  • The Riverwalk - 2710 Jack Warner Pkwy.
    If you want a quiet day out exploring Tuscaloosa, the Riverwalk may be your best option. The paved two-way trail runs along the Black Warrior River and connects to park areas that are ideal for picnicking or just taking a break. The area is dog friendly too, so your furry friend can also get some exercise while you explore the waters trickling through Tuscaloosa.
  • The Buzz About Bees Exhibit (Alabama Museum of Natural History) - 427 Sixth Ave.
    The Buzz About Bees Exhibit
    is a collaboration between several organizations that care about bees, and their mission is to educate about this misunderstood insect. Visitors will be able to see live how honeybees make their famous combs as well as learn about their honey production and complicated social structures. By the time you're done with the exhibit, you'll have a new appreciation for this visitor you see in your garden each year.
  • Tuscaloosa Amphitheater - 2710 Jack Warner Pkwy.
    Located right by the Riverwalk, the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater is your go-to destination for the biggest shows and concerts. It's the largest outdoor theater in the west of the state, and that means it can host some of the biggest performing stars. Their 2021 summer schedule includes ZZ Top, Lady A, Santana, and more, but you better move quickly because tickets go fast.

Looking for other fun things to do in Tuscaloosa? Contact us today and we can help you find fun things to do as well as your dream home!


Spend A Day In Downtown Tuscaloosa

Downtown Tuscaloosa has a lot to offer. Here are some of the best stops to visit while you explore the area.

Need a break from searching for your next home? Spend the day in downtown Tuscaloosa! Our real estate agents know that downtown Tuscaloosa is full of unique shops and delicious restaurants. Here are some places to add to your itinerary.

  1. Cravings Artisan Pizza Company

Cravings Artisan Pizza Company serves mouth-water Detroit and Sicilian-style pizzas. Their menu also includes breakfast offerings and sandwiches. Order a refreshing glass of ice-cold beer or wine to complement your selection.

  1. Mugshots Grill & Bar

In the mood for a burger after checking out Tuscaloosa homes for sale? Stop by Mugshots Grill & Bar for a grilled Angus burger, complete with your choice of toppings. Mugshots has been voted the Best Burger in Tuscaloosa numerous times.

Try a traditional favorite, like the Middleberger (served with mayo, mustard, pickles, onion, and tomatoes), or order one of the specialty entrees, such as the Southern Burger (served with housemade pimento cheese, bacon, fried pickles, lettuce, and tomato).

Mugshots also offers salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, and a variety of deep-friend sides and appetizers, include beer-battered fries, onion rings, nachos, and wings. They also have milkshakes and a variety of brews on tap.

  1. The Makers Market

The Makers Market is a specialty gift shop and grocery store that has something for everyone. Pick up a jar of jalapeno, blueberry lavender, or fig balsamic jam. Or, try the delicious apple butter or one of the pepper jellies.

Many of the flavors also come in sugar-free varieties. Salsa, banana bread, and specialty vinegar combos are also available. This fun gift shop also offers seasonal wares and home decor perfect for your next holiday celebration.

  1. Lou and Co.

Founded by Alabama native Sydney Powers, Lou and Co. were established to satisfy the unmet need for elegant home decor, gifts, and clothing in Tuscaloosa. This creative shop is an excellent stop to find a gift for any occasion, including baby showers, sorority bid days, and birthdays. Lou and Co. also offers monogramming for many of their offerings, including packing cubes, totes, towels, ad blankets.

  1. The Shirt Shop

Need to overhaul your gameday apparel? Stop by The Shirt Shop! The Shirt Shop offers an extensive collection of shirts, vests, builds, and hats that make it easy for a Bama fan to spruce up their wardrobe.

Or, if you prefer a more customized look, take advantage of The Shirt Shop's option to build your own game day apparel. You can choose practically every aspect of your Bama shirt, including the style, color, logo, and logo location.

Want to start your home search? Contact us to get started!


Reimagine Your Outdoor Space With These Projects

Does your outdoor space need a little refresh? We have tips for making it fresh and functional again.

Does your outdoor space need a little refresh? Once the weather is warmer, everyone wants to spend more time outside, and Tuscaloosa homes for sale have all kinds of outdoor spaces available to help you do exactly that. Whether you're planning on selling soon or just want to add a personal touch to your new home, these projects will get your outdoor space ready to wow visitors.

  • Stain or paint your deck. This project will not only improve the appearance of your yard, but it will help protect your deck from the weather too. If there are any repairs to be made, do those first. Then thoroughly clean with a deck cleaner to get rid of dirt, mold, and mildew. Stain or paint and finish the job with a sealer.
  • Clean the outside of your home. Get rid of any debris from the roof and gutters, pressure wash the outside of your home, and clean the outside of the windows.
  • Update your entry area. Painting your front door is a good way to add some color and will help protect your door. But you can also change out door handles, knockers, or hinges. Or you might want to update the doorbell and light fixtures.
  • Update your address display. There are lots of options for creativity with this one. You can update the numbers with some that look more modern or to ones that better match the style of your house. Or you could paint the numbers or background a different color as long as it's still easily readable from the street. You can use wood, brick, stone, or almost any material that will withstand outdoor use. Or you could add accent lighting to improve visibility.
  • Paint or update your mailbox. This is another project that offers lots of possibilities for personal expression. A fresh coat of paint can cover small rust spots and help add some color to your yard. You can paint or decorate the post. Or, if you really need an update, a smart mailbox can help protect your mail and packages from theft.
  • Add potted plants or flowers. This is a quick and easy project. It adds instant color and curb appeal and works even in smaller spaces. You can group a few together or pick out a few unique pots for more visual interest.
  • Bring the inside out. Just because you have an outdoor space doesn't mean it has to have a traditional outdoor use. If you want to make the area a true extension of your living space, some outdoor furniture is a must. Sofas and chairs with cushions are popular for larger spaces, but you could even do a bistro set for a small space. Add some decor accents, a patterned outdoor rug and pillows, and outdoor curtains or blinds for privacy.
  • Build a fire pit. Evening events around a crackling fire pit are a fun way to enjoy your outdoor space. There are all kinds of directions out there, so you can have something that's the right size and shape for your yard and looks stylish too. If you plan on using it for cooking more than just roasting some marshmallows, you may want to add some grates.

A few outdoor projects that add personalization and functionality to your outdoor space will impress your guests and provide hours of enjoyment for your family and friends. Our real estate agents can help you find a home with that outdoor space you've been looking for. Contact us today to get started.


Explore The Best Tuscaloosa Burgers For Hamburger Month

A good burger always makes a day better. Here are great Tuscaloosa spots to find a mouthwatering burger.

May 1st marks the beginning of Hamburger Month, so celebrate by exploring some of the best pubs and restaurants in Tuscaloosa. Our real estate agents know that there are some fantastic options suited for every palate. Check out these eateries that are known for offering a delicious burger.

  1. Avenue Pub
    Avenue Pub is located at 405 23rd Avenue. Founded in 2014, this selection prides itself on offering classic pub fare and ice-cold beverages in a relaxing, inviting atmosphere. Many of the ingredients used for their dishes are sourced from local eateries.

    The bacon cheeseburger is a traditional option to help you commemorate Hamburger Month. Start your meal off with a tasty starter, like conecuh and pimento fried green tomatoes. 
  1. Rama Jama's
    Situated at 1000 Paul W. Bryant Drive in Tuscaloosa, Rama Jama's is a fantastic stop for burgers, milkshakes, and sweet tea. They also have a variety of sandwiches and breakfast options. This casual option boasts floor-to-ceiling sports memorabilia, making it a fun spot for any fan of Alabama sports. 
  1. Southern Ale House
    Nestled at 1530 N. McFarland Blvd., Southern Ale House is popular for its family-friendly atmosphere. This eatery puts a unique, modern spin on traditional southern cuisine. It's an excellent option for lunch or dinner when you're through viewing Tuscaloosa homes for sale.

    Try the "Pickle Burger" that comes with fried pickles, arugula, and bacon. Or, check out the "Black 'n Bleu Burger"; this scrumptious selection combines a half-pound burger with housemade bleu cheese dressing, bacon, and cajun red onions.
  1. Local Roots
    Local Roots rests at 1665 N. McFarland Blvd. It was founded with the guiding principle that a good meal has the power to bring people together.

    The Local Roots burger combines ground chuck with brisket for an interesting take on your typical burger; with toppings like white cheddar, bacon jam, and the secret special sauce, the end result is a mouthwatering burger boldly unique to this restaurant.
  1. Raised on Country Burgers and Grill
    Located at 2217 University Blvd. in Tuscaloosa, Raised on Country Burgers and Grill offers classic beef burgers and game burgers. Some of the game options include elk, antelope, venison, kangaroo, wild boar, and camel. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, check out the Sportsman Burger that combines beef, elk, bison, and wild boar into a single patty and pairs it with a fried quail egg and duck bacon.

    Regardless of your meat preference, Raised on Country Burgers and Grill offers a fabulous variety of toppings, cheeses, and upgrades for your meal. The menu also includes hotdogs, wings, and wraps. 

Ready to start looking for a home with your dream kitchen to try out new burger recipes? Contact us today to start your search!


Make Your House Spotless With This Spring Cleaning Guide

Spring cleaning is here, and we have some pro tips for making the process easy and effective.

It's spring again, and you know what that means — spring cleaning! Time to break out those cleaning supplies and get your home as clean and bright as possible. Whether you're selling soon or just moving into one of the beautiful Tuscaloosa homes for sale, spring is the time to get that deep clean your home deserves. Here's your guide to getting it done.

General tips

  • Start at the top of the room and work your way down. Get higher-up surfaces first and finish with the floors. That way you're not dirtying surfaces you've already cleaned when the dust and dirt fall off.  
  • Divide and conquer. Go room by room to make sure you get everything done. And if the job is too big to accomplish in one day, it will be easier to tell where you left off. This is also good if your family will be helping. You can assign each person to an area.
  • Start with clean cleaning tools. Clean your broom, duster, or dust cloths and vacuum cleaner before you start so you're not making things worse.
  • Do all the windows in every room. Make sure you get them inside and outside and the tracks and window sills too.
  • Include the tasks that don't need to be done often. Certain tasks like cleaning the carpet, cleaning out the trash cans, and wiping down outdoor furniture usually only need to be done a few times a year at most.  Make sure to put them on your list to get that deep clean. Doing these infrequent tasks at spring cleaning also makes it easier to remember when you did them last.
  • Know what surfaces require special care. Stone requires a special pH-neutral cleaner to prevent damage. Cleaners specifically for stainless steel help prevent build up, fingerprints, and scratches. Hardwood floor cleaners are designed to work without exposing the flooring to excessive moisture.


Wipe off of cabinets and appliances. Seal the countertops. Clean the fridge by taking out shelves and drawers and washing them with dish soap and water. Wipe down the inside and the door seals too. Run a cleaning cycle on the dishwasher. Clean the microwave by boiling some water (you can add a little lemon juice or vinegar if you want), the steam makes the cooked on food slide right off.

Living room

Dust ceiling fans, shelves, picture frames and light fixtures. Wipe down walls. Use canned air or the dusting attachment on the vacuum to get dust out of the air vents on electronics. Wash or dry clean curtains and drapes. Clean the carpet or area rugs and floor.


Dust ceiling fans, tops of windows, wall-mounted pictures and light fixtures. Wipe down walls. Wash the pillows and comforters. Vacuum the mattress, then remove spots if necessary and spray with disinfectant to freshen. Clean the carpet or rugs and floor.


Since the bathroom needs to be kept pretty clean anyway, deep cleaning here may be minimal. It's a good time to seal any grout or tile. Tackle any mold or mildew and clean the exhaust fan. Clean shelves, windows, baseboards and floors, making sure to get behind the toilet too.

Spring cleaning can be a big job, but also a satisfying one. And once you're done ,you can show your home off to your friends and family or potential buyers and be proud of a job well done.

Whether you're looking to sell your home or purchase your next one in the Tuscaloosa area, our real estate agents can help. Contact us today to get started!


Enjoy a Tuscaloosa Brew at These Spots

National Beer Day is upon us, and to celebrate, visit these Tuscaloosa breweries to find your new favorite beer.

After an exciting day of exploring Tuscaloosa homes for sale, stop and relax with an ice-cold brew at one of the city's local breweries. Or, celebrate National Beer Day on April 7 with a glass of your favorite brew or try a refreshing glass of something new. Our real estate agents recommend the following spots for a frosty glass of beer.

Black Warrior Brewing Company
Located at 2216 University Blvd. in Tuscaloosa, Black Warrior Brewing Company is situated across from City Hall in the city's downtown region. Black Warrior Brewing Company regularly holds discount nights for their wine and beer, as well as team trivia and bingo nights.

Choose from a variety of beverages to find one that suits your palate. The Apricot Wheat and Bama Blonde Ale are popular with patrons new to the world of craft beer, while the Lock 17 IPA and Blood Orange Double IPA appeal to beer drinkers well-acquainted with various types of beer.

Druid City Brewing Company
Druid City Brewing Company rests at 607 14th Street in the Parkview Center area. It's been in business since 2012 and prides itself as "Tuscaloosa's original craft brewery."

Try the Lamplighter IPA for the perfect mix of hops and floral notes. Or, check out the Downtown North Porter for an after-dinner treat; this malt-based beer includes delicious hints of chocolate and vanilla.

The Druid City Brewing Company is also a great spot for an evening of live music or a couple of hours of brain-teasing trivia.

Loosa Brews Craft Emporium
After a day of touring Northport homes for sale, Loosa Brews Craft Emporium is a lighthearted, refreshing way to end your day. Loosa Brews Craft Emporium is located at 412 20th Avenue in Tuscaloosa.

This brewery includes more than 30 draft beers on tap, including traditional favorites and rare offerings. Spend a couple of hours enjoying the onsight arcade and pinball parlor.

Feeling tired, or just want to enjoy your beer at home? Loosa Brews Craft Emporium offers many of their wine and beer varieties to go.

The World of Beer Bar and Kitchen
The World of Beer Bar and Kitchen Strives to help its customers make memories. Situated at 2107 University Boulevard in Tuscaloosa, this local gem is pet-friendly and offers an extensive menu of pub fare and lunch and dinner entrees.

Pair a German pretzel with your favorite draft, or take in the Truffle burger with your beverage of choice. You can expect periodic new offerings, as The World of Beer Bar and Kitchen rotates its beer offerings. The beer menu includes local favorites and varieties from across the globe.

Looking for a home with more space for entertaining? Contact us today to check out your options!


Discover Healthy Restaurants in Tuscaloosa

Want a mouth watering meal while keeping calories low? Try out these Tuscaloosa spots for a healthy meal.

Once upon a time, when food was referred to as "healthy," it was considered code for "tasteless." Fast-forward to the 21st century, when "healthy" and "flavorful" are no longer mutually exclusive. Our real estate agents enjoy delicious, guilt-free meals at these wonderful restaurants in Tuscaloosa and think you should explore them too.

  1. Frutta Bowls - 1800 McFarland Blvd. E., Suite 436, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
    Described as a smoothie you eat instead of drink, açai bowls opened up tasty new horizons in healthy eating. Frutta Bowls in Midtown Tuscaloosa incorporates options such as dragon fruit, kale, and oatmeal for added variety. The base of your choice is piled high with fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, honey, and other delicious toppings. Complete your order with a cup of freshly-brewed organic coffee from Golden Valley Farms. Hours are 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily.

  2. Sitar Indian Cuisine - 500 - 15th St., Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
    Creative use of seasonings adds depth and flavor to food without resorting to high-fat sauces, ingredients, or preparations. At Sitar Indian Cuisine, classic dishes such as Chicken Tikka Masala and Shrimp Vindaloo are served with your desired level of heat. Their Thali lunch special may be the best meal deal around Tuscaloosa homes for sale. Get four main dishes (vegetarian or non-vegetarian), basmati rice, bread, pakora, dessert, and a drink for only $11.95. Order online for speedy pickup. Sitar is open for lunch from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. every day but Monday.

  3. Tazikis Mediterranean Café - 1800 McFarland Blvd. E., Suite 300, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
    With its emphasis on fish, olive oil, and fresh fruits and vegetables, the Mediterranean diet has gained popularity for its heart-healthy benefits. Dine at Tazikis Mediterranean Café and you're likely to become a convert as well. Made-to-order gyros come in 10 different choices, and lots of customers come back for the grilled salmon. After a long day at work, call ahead for one of their family feasts-to-go that serves four to eight people. Tazikis is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. except Sunday, when closing time is 8 p.m.

  4. Chicken Salad Chick - 1800 McFarland Blvd. E., Suite 308, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
    Google "chicken salad" and an endless list of recipes will pop up. Once Stacy Brown's version received the seal of approval from family and friends, she was on the way from a humble at-home business to Chicken Salad Chick. The flavors featured at the restaurant, including Cranberry Kelli and Lauryn's Lemon Basil, are named after real "chicks" in Stacy's life who have inspired and influenced her. At Chicken Salad Chick, "the secret ingredient is always love." Hours are 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

  5. Edgar's Bakery - 1653 McFarland Blvd. N., Tuscaloosa, AL 35406
    From custom-designed cakes for a birthday party to snacks and veggie trays for Iron Bowl weekend, treats from Edgar's Bakery have been a part of local celebrations since 1998. In addition to catering, Edgar's offers a wide range of grab-and-go breakfast and lunch items that can be ordered ahead on their website. Pick up a Spicy Eggacado Sandwich or Edgar's Reuben for a day of viewing Northport homes for sale. Edgar's is open 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily.

Want more reasons why Tuscaloosa is a great place to call home? Contact us at Hamner Real Estate for the inside scoop.


Tuscaloosa: Outdoor Spots to Keep You Active

It may be chilly outside, but don't let that scare you from staying active. Our real estate agents are excited about the opportunity to get outside and do some exploring in the Tuscaloosa area. We hope to see you out there at one of these great local parks or trails.

  • Tuscaloosa River Walk - 2710 Jack Warner Pkwy, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
    Following the Black Warrior River's southern shoreline, the Tuscaloosa River Walk is one of the most popular spots in the city for a morning run or an evening stroll. A stone's throw from downtown and just minutes from these Tuscaloosa homes for sale, the River Walk is paved and well-lighted, stretching about 4.5 miles from Capitol Park to Manderson Landing. 

  • Van de Graaf Park & Arboretum - 3231 Robert Cardinal Airport Rd, Northport, AL 35476
    Spanning 141 acres in the community of Northport, Van de Graaf Park & Arboretum is an amazing place to surround yourself with nature. The park offers campsites, picnic areas, fishing access, and a kayak launch, all within a few miles of these Northport homes for sale. The park is also home to a picturesque walking path, which includes the historical span of the King Bowstring Bridge, originally built in 1882. 

  • Queen City National Recreation Trail - Queen City Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
    A short but scenic footpath, the Queen City National Recreation Trail spans about one-third of a mile and is popular among joggers, nature lovers, and anyone looking for a breath of fresh air. Located within Queen City Park, the trail is surrounded by towering trees and offers a glimpse at several historic park features built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s. The trail is just across the Jack Warner parkway from the Tuscaloosa River Walk Trail, and a planned pedestrian crossing will connect the two paths once completed.

  • Annette N. Shelby Park - 1614 15th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
    Annette N. Shelby Park is always a great place to go for a walk in Tuscaloosa. With towering shade trees, well-manicured lawns, and abundant park benches, it's a lovely outdoor oasis. The loop trail that encircles the park is paved and well-kept, making it perfect for a walk or run. The park also offers public restrooms, a playground, and picnic areas. 

  • Snow Hinton Park Trail - Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
    A wide-open green space with great views of the city, Snow Hinton Park is a great place to get moving and soak up some vitamin D. The park's highlight and most-used feature is the Snow Hinton Park Trail, a mile-long loop that runs around the circumference of the park. The park's picnic area and jungle gym are popular among families, and it's a great place for dog walking. 

  • Hurricane Creek Park - 7005 Old Birmingham Hwy, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
    A splendid natural recreation area just outside Tuscaloosa, Hurricane Creek Park is one of the best spots in the region to immerse yourself in nature. With abundant native plant life, unique geological features, and abundant swimming and fishing access along its namesake creek, Hurricane Creek Park provides endless possibilities. The park offers 5 miles of trails, the most popular of which is the 2-mile Hurricane Park Loop. The landscape has been virtually unchanged for thousands of years, and exploring it is like stepping back in time. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in the Tuscaloosa area, and talk to our team about finding your dream home in Alabama. We're here to help every step of the way!


Carpet vs. Hardwood: Your Guide to Flooring

Is hardwood better than carpet? It depends, which is why we're giving you our tips to help you decide on the best flooring for your home.

One of the first things you notice when you enter a room is the flooring. If your floors look old and worn out, it's probably time to replace them. Our real estate agents know that new flooring is also very appealing to potential homebuyers. Two of the most popular alternatives are carpet and hardwood. Here's what you need to know about these top options to decide if they're right for your home. 

Hardwood Floor Basics

Hardwood floor consists of boards that are produced from wood. The boards can be crafted entirely from solid wood, or they may consist of a thin hardwood layer that adheres to a layer of plywood (also known as engineered wood flooring).

Advantages of Hardwood Flooring

Aesthetics are one reason that hardwood floors are popular with homeowners. Hardwood floors create a bold look that suits a variety of home styles. With a lifespan of 50 to 100 years or more, hardwood floors are a long-lasting option for your home's flooring needs.

They're also easy to clean, making them a top choice for individuals with allergies. You can quickly sweep or vacuum dirt and dust, and for deeper cleanings, a damp mop with some wood cleaner works wonders.

When it's time to add your home to the list of Tuscaloosa homes for sale, hardwood floors will help you maximize your home's selling price. Potential buyers are often willing to pay more for a home with hardwood floors.

Disadvantages of Hardwood Flooring

One potential drawback of hardwood floors is that they're cold to the touch. While you might appreciate their cooler temperature during the muggy summer months, you may find them less appealing on chilly mornings. 

Hardwood floors also have a higher initial cost than carpet. On average, hardwood floors cost an average of $8 per square foot installed. For a home with 2,000 square feet, hardwood floors will cost an average of $16,000.

Carpet Basics

Carpet consists of a backing material containing loops of fibers (generally produced from synthetic materials). It comes in a number of colors, styles, and thicknesses. 

Advantages of Carpet

If you're on a budget, carpet is an affordable way to improve your home. Carpet costs an average of $3 per square foot, including installation. Assuming a home is 2,000 square feet, it will cost approximately $6,000 to install carpet. 

Some people also prefer the look and feel of carpet. It lends a cozy appearance to any space, and it's warm when you walk on it. If you're living in a home where noise is an issue, carpet can also help dampen some of the sounds that travel through your home. 

Disadvantages of Carpet

A drawback of carpet is that it has a relatively short lifespan; on average, carpet requires replacement every 10 years. If your household has a lot of spills, the carpet may need to be replaced even sooner due to stains.

Many find that it's not as easy to clean carpet. While vacuuming is relatively simple, more intense messes call for the use of a carpet cleaning machine or prompt attention with a scrub brush and cleaning agent. Carpet also provides a lot of hiding spaces for pollen and dust, making it a poor choice for homeowners with allergies. 

Ready to upgrade your home? Contact us to get started!


Tuscaloosa: Where to Train for Your Next 5K

Whether you're an experienced runner or not, there are many benefits to training for a 5K. Get ready for your big run with these 6 great Tuscaloosa trails.

There are so many benefits to training for a 5K, whether you're an experienced runner or you're aiming to cross the finish line for the first time. Training for a run is a great way to burn calories, stay in shape, and set a goal you will be proud to achieve. As our real estate agents know, many 5K runs also benefit local charities, so your participation can positively impact the community. Get ready for your big run with our guide to 6 great trails to train for your next 5K around Tuscaloosa.

  • Tuscaloosa River Walk – 2710 Jack Warner Pkwy, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
    Tuscaloosa homes for sale
    make it easy to train for your next 5K, thanks to great local trails like the Tuscaloosa River Walk. Running along the banks of the Black Warrior River, this paved trail is always kept in excellent shape, making it a favorite spot for runners. This trail is well-lit so you can train at night, and it is also dog-friendly.
  • Tannehill Ironworks State Park – 12632 Confederate Pkwy, McCalla, AL 35111
    Looking for a scenic place to train near McCalla homes for sale? Head for the historic Tannehill Ironworks State Park to explore the extensive trail system and get in touch with local history. This park covers more than 1,500 acres, with a museum, historic village, and countless trails to explore. Train in the spring with nature abuzz all around you.
  • Van De Graff Park & Arboretum – 3231 Robert Cardinal Airport Rd., Northport, AL 35467
    With 141 acres of natural beauty to explore close to Northport homes for sale, the trails at Van De Graff Park & Arboretum provide the perfect place to train for your next run. If you look forward to running by the water, then this is the place to be. This park is built around three large freshwater ponds covering more than 33 acres on their own.
  • University of Alabama Arboretum – 4801 Arboretum Way, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
    If you love to explore nature while training for your run, then it's hard to top the well-tended trails at the University of Alabama Arboretum. This facility features more than 60 acres of gorgeous natural scenery, with a focus on the native flora and fauna of Alabama. The trails here are extensive so that you can try a new route for each run.
  • Jennings Ferry Park Campground – 1001 Jennings Ferry Rd., Akron, AL 35441
    While primarily known as a great local fishing spot near Akron homes for sale, you'll find that Jennings Ferry Park Campground is also a quiet, peaceful place to train for a run. This park features a trail that winds around the shoreline, where you can go for a run through a tranquil wooded area with local wildlife and beautiful views.
  • Hurricane Creek Park – 7005 Old Birmingham Hwy, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
    Long a favorite place for naturalists to study where unique ecosystems meet, Hurricane Creek Park also happens to be an excellent place to train for a 5K. This park is dedicated to preserving local ecosystems, so there's very little development: just you, your training goals, and the natural beauty of Alabama.

With warm weather and ample outdoor spaces to explore, there's never a bad time to train for your next 5K around Tuscaloosa. Contact us to buy and sell real estate in the Tuscaloosa, AL area.


Colors of the Year for 2021

Colors of the Year

As we finally turn the page on a tough year, it's time to set our sights on the future. If 2021's color of the year choices are any indication, the future is certainly looking bright.

One of our favorite parts about this time of year is reading all of the interior design predictions for the New Year, and our real estate agents have been busy doing just that. In fact, we were so inspired by new colors in these Tuscaloosa homes for sale, we pulled together a list of the most popular 2021 colors of the year to help guide your home decor choices.

  1. Aqua Fiesta by Glidden - PPG1147-4
    If you're looking for a bright color that isn't too far over the top, Aqua Fiesta by Glidden is really a great choice. This color has a beautiful, happy vibe that can really create a calming yet intriguing feeling in any room of the house. It's a unique mix of blue and green, making a perfect complement to any kitchen or bathroom. However, using this color to cover a large wall might be a little overboard, so be sure to combine it with some neutral accents in the bedroom.
  2. Aegean Teal by Benjamin Moore - 2136-40
    Looking for a mid-tone color to bring harmony to your bedroom? Aegean Teal is really the perfect combination of bluish-green and gray that creates a feeling of wellness while maintaining a modern edge. It also has a subtle calming effect. Consider centering your bedroom, living room, or home office decor around an Aegean Teal base. We think these tranquil tones will really be in style next year.
  3. Urban Bronze by Sherwin-Williams - SW7048
    This earthy tone really generates a sense of calm and tranquility. Urban Bronze is Sherwin-Williams' 2021 color of the year, and it's a really comfortable tone with an organic appeal. It's a clean gray hue with a subtle gold tint that can really add a bit of sophistication or class while also adding a touch of nature-inspired energy. It's a great option for any house, but it works particularly well with biophilic elements such as light-filled spaces.
  4. Smoky White by Behr -  BWC-13
    Behr selected several colors for 2021, and among them was this new off-white tone. For those looking to stick to a neutral pallet, we definitely recommend taking a look at Smoky White. It's a darker shade of white that really gives off a sense of softness and serenity. It's a great choice for any room in the house. Best of all, sticking with a neutral paint choice gives you more flexibility with your decor colors.
  5. Arizona Dust by Valspar - 2003-8A
    Valspar's Arizona Dust generates a warm, organic ambiance. The color is best described as a modern apricot shade with a bold accent and really draws out a warm, energizing feeling. If you'd like to add a bit of nature-inspired vibrancy to your mornings, we'd recommend trying Arizona Dust for your kitchen.

If you're planning to revamp your interior design, we always recommend checking out the colors of the year trends for inspiration. We can't wait to see what design trends emerge next year. For more interior design tips, contact us today!


Why You Should Move to Tuscaloosa in 2021

Tuscaloosa 2021

Tuscaloosa is a fast-growing city that's been drawing new residents from all over the United States. The vibrant real estate market means there are plenty of Tuscaloosa homes for sale for anyone who wants bright opportunities and a change of pace in "The City of Champions."

Our real estate agents are eager to tell you all about it.

Founded back in 1819, Tuscaloosa now has more than 90,000 residents. It serves as the hub of industry, commerce, and healthcare for West Alabama. Through the University of Alabama, it is also considered one of the region's higher education leaders and holds some of the state's top-ranked public schools.

Let's take a closer look at some of the features that make Tuscaloosa so attractive:

  1. A Robust and Diverse Economy
    As home to the University of Alabama, higher education is the bedrock of Tuscaloosa's economy – but it's extremely diverse. Manufacturing, retail, finance, IT, and construction all offer opportunities, with leading employers like Mercedes-Benz, Michelin, and Phifer Incorporated.

  2. Parks, Trails, and Outdoor Wonders
    Thanks to its position on the Black Warrior River, Tuscaloosa has always taken its green spaces seriously. You'll find more than a dozen community parks, from the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk to Capitol Park, home to the remains of the 1840s-era state capitol building.

  3. High-Energy Festivals and Events
    Tailgate parties are only the beginning of the fun in Tuscaloosa. You can also enjoy the Weindorf Festival, which honors German culture, the March Sakura Festival celebrated alongside Narashino, Japan, the Kentucky Festival of Arts, and the Moundville Native American Festival.

  4. Classic Tuscaloosa Barbecue
    Tuscaloosa has been rated as one of America's best barbecue cities, hosting a lavish assortment of restaurants, outdoor eateries, and food trucks. Family-friendly dining is a way of life here – with American comfort food, fresh seafood, Mediterranean, and German cuisine all represented.

  5. The University of Alabama
    A terrific place to start or continue a higher education, U of A is a flagship institution with much to offer. Established in 1820, it's the oldest and largest public university in the state and enrolls nearly 40,000 students. Its arboretum is open to the public, and its campus is rich with historic landmarks.

  6. The "Winningest" Sports
    U of A's football team, nicknamed "Crimson Tide," is one of the ten most successful college football teams in the United States. Head coach Nick Saban is also a well-known hometown hero and a local celebrity in his own right. Great sports venues mean you'll always have something to cheer for.

  7. Memorable Museums
    The Children's Hands-On Museum of Tuscaloosa inspires young minds with remarkable interactive exhibits. You'll discover the Alabama Museum of Natural History, the Paul W. Bryant Museum, and the Westervelt Warner Museum of American Art, among many others.

Tuscaloosa combines all the amenities of a world city with the warmth and charm you expect from "Sweet Home Alabama." It truly has something for everyone, and an energetic community always prepared to welcome new neighbors. To find out more or get started, contact us at Hamner Real Estate.


5 Holiday Decorating Tips to Try

Holiday Decorations

If it feels like your holiday decorations never match the images you envision, it's time to try a few new tricks this holiday season. A few simple adjustments will help you maximize your decor's aesthetics so that your home looks its best. Our real estate agents know a well-decorated home will appeal to prospective buyers. Here are some decorating tips to try this season.

  1. Decorate Your Tree in the Correct Order
    When you're decorating your tree, you want to put the decorations on in a certain order, so your tree looks its best. Start by stringing your lights; many people find that it's easier to string lights using a vertical pattern. Begin at the base of your tree and string the lights up to the top of the tree, making sure that you position some of the lights into the interior of the tree so that it has more depth. Continue until all your lights are in place. Next, add any garland or materials that you plan to use in place of garland (such as beads or ribbon). You can hang them horizontally or vertically. Watch your spacing when hanging horizontally; make sure that there's an equal distance between each layer. If you opt to hang your garland or ribbon vertically, consider cutting them into pieces instead of using one long strand. This makes it easier to place them and tuck them into the tree branches. Last, hang your ornaments and add any additional tree accessories, like bows, tinsel, or flower sprigs. 
  1. Don't Forget the Bottom of Your Tree
    Don't let an unattractive tree base detract from your beautiful Christmas tree. Instead, see that you cover it with a piece that complements the rest of your holiday decor. This will also help your home look its best when compared to other Tuscaloosa homes for sale. A tree skirt is a traditional alternative, but it isn't your only option. You can also use a gorgeous table cloth or sheet to cover the base. 
  1. Deck Your Staircase
    Don't let your staircase go to waste; it's the perfect space to add a little holiday cheer. Drape evergreen garland across the banister for a classic look. If you prefer a bolder look, add lights or bows. Or add decorative pieces to the stairs themselves. The stairs are a fantastic spot to house some of your poinsettias or some of your less fragile holiday decor. 
  1. Take Advantage of Your Front Porch
    The front porch is the first space you see and sets the tone for your entire home. A wreath is a must-have, but you can also integrate other items, like a festive doormat, a potted mini Christmas tree, and faux snow. Or, if you have a bench, add some cozy throw pillows to make the space more inviting. 
  1. Add Timers and Smart Plugs to Your Decorations
    Once you've decorated your home, you should be able to sit back and enjoy your hard work. Make it as effortless as possible to turn your tree, lights, and other electric items on by using smart plugs and timers. With a smart plug, you can program your holiday decor to automatically turn it on and off.

Looking for a home with more space to decorate during the holidays? Our team can help. Contact us today!


5 Home Upgrades You Can Make Even on a Budget

Home Upgrades on Budget

If you're looking to upgrade your home, you'll want to look into projects that can be done on a budget. That way, for a minimal investment, you'll make a big impact that will improve the look or function of your home. Especially, if you are getting ready to list! 

Our real estate agents suggest the following 5 upgrades you can make even on a budget:

  1. Give your kitchen cabinets a makeover
    Your kitchen cabinets make a big impact on the room's overall appearance, and if they're too dark or scuffed, they can make your kitchen look dark and dingy. Replacing them can be expensive, but cleaning and painting your cabinets can give them a whole new appearance. This project can be completed in just a weekend. You'll need a cleaner, sandpaper, paint, a paintbrush, and some effort, but the results will be striking. And while you're at it, swap out your cabinet handles for a further style boost.

  2. Add some curb appeal
    The front of your house sets the tone for your entire home since it's the first thing you'll see as you come and go. Give your home's curb appeal a boost by painting the door, either to refresh what you already have or to add a bolder pop of color. Replacing the door's hardware, adding some containers of plants as well as hanging baskets, and creating a cozy seating area can further upgrade your curb appeal. If you'd like to take it a step further, you can also replace your porch's outdoor lighting fixtures.

  3. Use paint to renew old flooring
    Flooring can set the tone for an entire room, but if it's not in your budget to replace it, you might be able to paint it. Old vinyl or laminate flooring can be painted by applying flooring enamel and topping it with an acrylic sealer. Checkerboard or other geometric designs are popular choices for this type of project and can transform outdated flooring into a stylish asset.

  4. Add crown molding
    Crown molding creates a transition between the top of the wall and the ceiling and adds a finished, polished look to your home. You can buy crown molding at home improvement stores in lengths of up to 16 feet and easily install it yourself. This one upgrade can help take your home's interior from basic to interesting.

  5. Install a programmable thermostat
    Programmable thermostats are quite inexpensive, and they make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient. Installing one will let you program your heating or air conditioning to be turned on and off according to your set schedule so you can wake up or come home to a comfortable house. You'll also save energy since you can set the thermostat to run less when no one's home and then boost or lower the temperature shortly before you arrive back home.

Contact us at Hamner Real Estate to learn more about Tuscaloosa homes for sale and the upgrades that you can make for a minimal investment. Our experienced real estate agents would love to help!


National Take a Hike Day: Hiking Trails in Tuscaloosa

Hiking in Tuscaloosa

There are many reasons to love Tuscaloosa homes for sale, but this year, one stands out in particular: The county is dotted with beautiful parks and natural wonders you simply have to see to believe.

National Take a Hike Day is coming up on Tuesday, November 17th, and there are plenty of places in Tuscaloosa where you can do just that. Tuscaloosa boasts many large, well-kept parks in wooded and lakeside environments, many of them pet-friendly. Let's take a closer look at some of the area's most eye-catching hiking spots:

  1. Munny Sokol Park Trail – 5901 Watermelon Road, Northport, AL 35473
    Located on the grounds of Sokol Park, beloved for its dog runs is the Munny Sokol Park Trail. Ideal for trail-runners and bicyclists, it passes through most of Sokol Park and provides easy access to loops and side trails. It is just over 2.2 miles, with gorgeous scenery. The high season falls in May through September. Light traffic makes it a serene experience near Northport homes for sale.
  2. Tuscaloosa Riverwalk – 2710 Jack Warner Parkway, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
    The historic Tuscaloosa Riverwalk is a paved, 4.5-mile trail that winds along the southern bank of the Black Warrior River right in downtown Tuscaloosa. It is divided to allow both hikers and bicyclists to use it safely. On your journey, you'll encounter plenty of benches, gazebos, and trees perfect for a hammock. Street lights line the trail, ensuring it is well-lit in the early evening.
  3. Approach Trail and North Loop – 22550 2nd Ave Northwest, Falkville, AL 35622
    Hurricane Creek Park features 40 acres of forest rich with unique rock formations, waterfalls, and even a picnic pavilion. Although there are many trails to be found, the Approach Trail and North Loop will bring you on a scenic 3.5-mile journey hailed as the centerpiece of the park. Difficulty is moderate with some steep climbs, and leashed pets are welcome. A great spot to visit near Falkville homes for sale!
  4. Lake Nicol Outer Cliff Trail – See Website for Directions, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
    Lake Nicol is a popular wooded park right in Tuscaloosa, well known for its dramatic cliffs. The cliffs are numerous enough for several groups to gather, making them a popular locale for parties or family events. The peaks overlook the relatively small, human-made Lake Nicol. Several different trails are etched through the surroundings, offering mild elevation and taking about an hour to complete a circuit.
  5. Lake Lurleen State Park – 13226 Lake Lurleen Road, Coker, AL 3545
    For hiking near Coker homes for sale, Lake Lurleen State Park may be the crown jewel of Tuscaloosa County, and for a good reason. Trails circumnavigate the lake for a total of more than 23 miles to explore. Long routes are available, but hikers of all skill levels will find something to enjoy. Fall is the ideal season to visit, but Lake Lurleen welcomes visitors and their leashed canine companions all year round.
  6. Moss Rock Preserve – 617 Preserve Way, Hoover, AL 35226
    Looking for hiking around Hoover homes for sale? Showcasing 12 miles of trails that all connect to form a loop, Moss Rock Preserve is set on 349 pristine acres noted for the gentle gurgling of small streams and the many boulders hikers may climb (carefully!) for an unbeatable view. You can complete some trails in as little as two hours or stay all day to see the sights. 

Contact us at Hammer Real Estate to learn more about Tuscaloosa.


6 Kitchen Trends for a Timeless Look

Timeless Kitchen

Many refer to the kitchen as the heart and hub of the home. It's the place where meals are created and the primary gathering place for many families. Having a great kitchen can truly make all the difference in a home, which is why kitchen renovations are expensive yet worth the investment.

The quality of your kitchen also significantly impacts your home's value. It can also make your home much more appealing to potential buyers, as future owners won't need to worry about redecorating any time soon. If you're planning an upcoming kitchen renovation, our REALTORS® put together a list of 6 classic trends that will create a timeless look.

  1. Neutral Tones
    For a truly timeless look, you can't go wrong with neutral tones. White, off-white, and grays are good choices for walls, cabinets, countertops, and appliances. If you're planning to sell you home, neutral tones won't be distracting; rather, they'll allow buyers to focus on how they'd like to decorate.
  2. Classic Subway Tiles
    Talk about a trend that's been around for decades - a white subway tile backsplash can truly give your kitchen a classic look. A subway tile backsplash is not only affordable, it's a relatively easy renovation project. Best of all, subway tiles are versatile and can match any kitchen style.
  3. Kitchen Islands
    Kitchen islands really serve as the center of attention for any kitchen. Not only do they serve as a meal prep space, but they also make your kitchen feel cozier and more intimate. Islands come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, so it's important to find one that fits your kitchen and matches your countertops.
  4. Shaker Style Cabinets
    Shaker cabinets have been a staple of the American kitchen for decades, and they aren't going out of style any time soon. Shaker cabinets are simple in design - they consist of a cabinet door with a recessed center panel. Not only do they always look good, but they're also affordable.
  5. Quartz Countertops
    Quartz is one of the most durable materials out there, so quartz countertops are designed to withstand the test of time. However, not all colors and patterns are timeless, so be sure to choose neutral tones that match the rest of your kitchen.
  6. Stainless Steel Appliances
    Stainless steel is not going out of style any time soon. Appliances are expensive, so you don't want them to go out of style or show signs of use shortly after buying them. Stainless steel appliances not only look good, but they're also easy to clean and have a long lifespan. Stainless steel refrigerators, ovens, and microwaves are definitely the way to go.

A timeless kitchen can save you from future renovations and make your home more appealing to potential buyers when listing your home among other Tuscaloosa homes for sale. For more tips on how to create a timeless look for your kitchen, contact us today.

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