Unlike many larger cities and states such as California, Arizona, and Texas that are still struggling to establish solid footing, the Montgomery area housing market has been stable and has shown strong growth over the past four years. Each community has seen growth of over 10%, but we’ve seen more expansive growth in the outlying areas of the city, such as Millbrook, Prattville, and Pike Road. If you’re moving to the area or renting, here are some things to consider when looking for that perfect home:

Housing prices can vary greatly by community and neighborhood. Consider available amenities, such as proximity to medical care, schools, and shopping when comparing pricing. Don’t forget about quality- buying from an experienced builder with a good reputation is much more important than a cheap deal.

Talk to a local trusted lender. Realtors and builders can give you a list of lenders they have had good experiences with. Saving a few dollars by using an unknown lender may cost you big dollars in the long run if your closing is delayed. Some builders will offer to pay your closing costs and minimize out-of-pocket expenses.

Consider the tax savings as you build equity for yourself (not your landlord!)  Mortgage interest, property taxes, and some closing expenses are tax deductible. When comparing what you are paying in rent vs. owning, take this into consideration. In addition to building wealth, studies show the stability of homeownership has many social and economical benefits, including a higher rate of education and safety for families.

James (Jimmy) W. Rutland, IV was born in Montgomery and is the President of Lowder New Homes. He has been actively engaged in the residential construction, development, and real estate business in Alabama for over 20 years. In 2005, Jimmy was recognized by the GMHBA as the Greater Montgomery Home Builder of the Year. In 2012, he was named the State Home Builder of the Year by the AHBA. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Rachel Grayson Rutland, and they have three children: Wells, Gray, and Ella.