Mardi Gras

Let the Good Times Roll!!!

Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday” is the annual celebration that marks the last day before the start of the 40-day Christian fasting season from Ash Wednesday and Easter also known as Lent.  

Mobile has always claimed to be the first Mardi Gras, but I decided to delve into its history to verify this claim.

In 1702, Mobile was founded as a French settlement and served as the initial capital of Louisiana.  The inaugural celebration was known as Boeuf Gras (fattened ox) in 1703.  It originated as a French Catholic celebration to prepare for the commencement of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

1711—the first Parade rolled down Dauphin Street, featuring a colossal bull’s head on wheels, reminiscent of ancient carnival traditions in France. 

On the other hand, New Orleans was not founded until 1718 with the first float appearing in 1857 although celebrations began in the 1730’s. 

Therefore, Mobile’s claim as the “Mother of the Mystics” is legitimate.  Let the Good Times Roll. Mobile, along with the Eastern Shore, Gulf Shores, and Dauphin Island all participate in the revelry.  People love this time of the year.

Here is this year’s parade schedule for the Eastern Shore.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!!

Make this a Special Christmas!!

Tonight, I was lucky to watch Christmas at the Opry, and what a fabulous program. If you did not watch it, you missed a great program filled with all the songs of the Christmas season. As I watched, I reflected on the memories that are centered with Christmas and I invite you to do the same.

The 13th of December is the first night of Hanukah, which will start 7 days of celebration for the Jewish faith. It is a special time for all.

But going back to many of my memories I reflect on my lifetime and the old and new memories. My father died when I was 5 ½ and was raised by my beloved Mother. Mother always had a Christmas tree which normally set on our bay window. This one year, she decided not to get one. I was in the 10th grade and my date and I picked up one that had been discarded on a curb right before Christmas and delivered it to my Mother. That night we decorated it together and the next day Santa came and delivered Christmas under that tree. You know, you never know what Christmas will bring.

So many memories on this season. Now, my biggest and fondest memory is to invite all of our grands and greats to decorate Ju Ju’s tree. Lights are put on with one grand and my brother-in-law. Then the action begins with each one reaching in the big red storage bin and pulling out the decorations. Our tree blossoms with love from each one that has participated. Pizza is normally served, and it starts the season.

This year, take time to remember and share with your families. It is a special time of the year.

Welcome to Fairhope’s 2023 Holiday Events

Mark your calendars for Fairhope’s lineup of festive events.

  • November 16 – 5:30 PM: Fairhope’s Lighting of the Trees. Mayberry comes to town when Fairhope’s trees come to life with sparkling lights. This enchanting event sets the stage for a magical holiday season. This event starts our holiday season and is a must-see!
  • November 18 – 6:30 PM: 12th Annual Movie in the Street Grab your blankets and chairs and head to the heart of Fairhope for the 12th Annual Movie in the Street. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy a family-friendly film under the starry night sky.
  • November 19 – 1:00 PM: Fairhope Christmas Open House Experience the charm of Fairhope during the Christmas Open House. Explore the town’s boutiques and shops, which will be adorned with holiday decorations, and discover unique gifts while enjoying the festive atmosphere.
  • November 25: Small Business Saturday Show your support for the local businesses that make Fairhope special on Small Business Saturday. It’s the perfect opportunity to shop for holiday gifts and support the community’s entrepreneurs.
  • December 1 – 7:00 PM: Fairhope Magical Christmas Parade Don’t miss the Fairhope Magical Christmas Parade, a highlight of the holiday season. Spectacular floats, marching bands, and Santa Claus himself will fill the streets with joy and wonder.
  • December 2 – 10:30 AM: Santa Saturday Bring the kids to Santa Saturday, where they can meet the jolly old man himself. Capture the joy on their faces as they share their holiday wishes with Santa Claus.
  • December 31 – 8:30 PM: New Year’s Eve Family Celebration Bid farewell to the year at the New Year’s Eve Family Celebration. Enjoy a fun-filled evening of entertainment, fireworks, and festivities as you welcome 2024 with your loved ones.

Fairhope, Alabama, will be decked out for the Christmas season. We invite you to come together with joy and create cherished memories with us. Please join us and share our city’s spectacular holiday calendar.

October, the month of Halloween, casts its enchanting spell over Fairhope!


October, the month of Halloween, casts its enchanting spell over Fairhope!

The town’s charm is brewing as we eagerly await the upcoming Art Walk this Friday. As always, the Art Center will fling open its doors, revealing magical works of art, and the streets will come alive with a bustling crowd. The festivities usually kick off around 5:00 pm. It’s the perfect opportunity to leisurely explore downtown Fairhope and perhaps reserve a spot at your favorite restaurant for dinner.

The crisp, cooling air is a welcome change that beckons us outdoors. While our region may not be adorned with a multitude of falling leaves, our sunsets are nothing short of breathtaking. Picture the skies ablaze with brilliant oranges and reds, reminiscent of the turning leaves in more northern climes.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 26th, when Fairhope will be awash with the Fairhope Witches Ride. Hundreds of witches and warlocks will traverse the picturesque streets of downtown Fairhope, culminating in a spellbinding Witches Ball at the Halstead Amphitheater. This year’s festivities promise to be a bewitching experience, complete with music provided by the Incredible Tip Tops. Best of all, the proceeds from this magical event will benefit the Baldwin Humane Society.

Until we meet again next month, I invite you to savor the magic of October in Fairhope.

Warm regards,

Judy Niemeyer



Summer Market Update

It’s hard to believe but August is almost over, and hopefully cooler weather is coming our way.  The heat this summer has been brutal.  Hopefully hurricanes will continue to stay away.

Our market has been very unpredictable.  Homes that we think will sell quickly can take longer to sell.  Our inventory is still extremely low.  We have only 375 active listings from Spanish Fort to Point Clear.  Out of the 375, 119 are brand new construction.  308 homes are under contract with 140 brand new construction.  Since January 1, 2023, we have had 1,421 homes to close with 482 of this new construction.  Most of the new homes are priced in the lower range.

The big difference between new and resale is gold certification, which gives you reduced insurance rates.  Please remember when you get a new roof, verify that the roofer will certify it.  Once certified, you can claim that the roof is fortified.  Homes with older roofs really increase home insurance premiums.

The major obstacle in today’s world of real estate is the increasing mortgage rates.  Today a 30-year mortgage with 20% down is 6.75%.  According to one lender, rates are predicted to go up to 8%.  Hopefully this prediction is not true.  Of course, cash is big today.

Market wise, between now to Labor Day, our market slows.  Right now, so many buyers are busy getting their children back to school.  But after Labor Day, they get back in the action.

If you have any questions about the market, please reach out to me..

Fairhope Sunsets Can’t Be Beat


Sunsets on Mobile Bay can be truly breathtaking. Mobile Bay is a beautiful body of water located on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, offering stunning views and vibrant colors during sunset. As the sun descends towards the horizon, the sky often transforms into a palette of warm hues, ranging from vibrant oranges and reds to soft pinks and purples.

One of the popular locations to enjoy sunsets on Mobile Bay is at Fairhope Pier. This picturesque spot provides an excellent vantage point to witness the sun setting over the bay, casting its golden light on the calm waters. As the sky reflects the fading sunlight, the bay becomes a mirror-like surface, creating a captivating scene.

Another notable area to experience sunsets on Mobile Bay is at the Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores. With its long stretches of sandy beaches, this park offers a serene atmosphere and ample space to admire the vibrant colors as the sun dips below the horizon. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to gather and enjoy the natural beauty of the bay.

Whether you choose to watch the sunset from a beach, a pier, or any other scenic location along the bay, Mobile Bay provides a stunning backdrop for this daily spectacle of nature. Don’t forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the mesmerizing moments and create lasting memories of the sunsets on Mobile Bay.



It’s a Sellers’ Market on the Eastern Shore

It’s a Sellers’ Market

It’s a Sellers’ Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • Over the past year, homeowners have gained an unprecedented opportunity to sell with great success while buyer demand is soaring.
  • With homes selling twice as fast as they did last year at this time, getting multiple offers, and rising in price, homeowners are in the driver’s seat.
  • Let’s connect today if you’re ready to learn about the leverage you have as a seller in today’s housing market.

Springtime Is the Beginning of Entertainment Season – Is it time for a remodel?

Eastern Shore Real Estate

Spring will be upon us before we know it.  As most of you know, Judy Niemeyer is a name that is recognized as an agent who knows the market in Fairhope, Montrose, Daphne, Spanish Fort and of course Point Clear. Locals call this area, the Eastern Shore of Alabama.  My real estate career began in 1979, and oh how our homes have changed since then.  Gold and green were the main colors back in 1979 and wallpaper was big.  Wallpaper is coming back and I thought I would never say that.  White is big and neutral is the new game in town.  Accessories are being used to add the warmth.

If you are ready to make a change in your home,  you may ask “Where should I start?”  Most people like to start in the kitchen and Judy says YES!!!.  Step back and give your kitchen a critical eye.  Start pulling up suggestions either from internet sites such as Pinterest or Houzz, magazines, or even open houses in newer neighborhoods.  If you need an outside eye, consult a kitchen designer but first think of budget.  Get a notebook and start making a plan!

Appliances always show age, especially stoves. If you’ve had yours for years, go out and buy a new one.  This is one of least expensive changes in a kitchen and makes an easy and immediate impact.  Stainless has been popular for many years and still seems to be in style.  Gas stoves are very popular and are favored by people who love to cook.  Cabinet depth refrigerators certainly enhance the look of a kitchen, but they are usually more expensive.

Cabinets designs are simpler than they used to be.  Shaker or slab doors are currently in style and present a clean and sleek look.  In most cases, just replacing doors and adding hidden hinges will make a tremendous difference.  Paint instead of stain is currently more common.  Pull-outs shelves and Lazy Susan corners are a great way of utilizing your storage space if you are getting all new cabinets.  Keep your kitchen color scheme as neutral as possible.  Color can be added by using art and accessories.

Simple lines are fashionable.  Lighting needs to flow.  Quartz on countertops is used more today instead of granite or marble due to its versatility and resilience.  Some people add depth to the countertop to create an additional dining space.  Choose a simple backsplash but also keep it neutral.  You do not want the updates to go out of style.  I love a separated farm sink. If you replace the countertops, then choose a neat sink.

It can be tough to choose hardware that compliments your overall design.  If your cabinet design is simple, stick with a simple pull.  When choosing a faucet, consider spout height, pull down vs conventional, single vs. multiple handles and finish.  Single handles are much more convenient to use as you can control with one hand.  I recommend buying one that is easy to maintain.  Pay for quality but easy maintenance.

Take your breakfast area and make it happy with comfortable chairs.  This is a great gathering spot in a kitchen.

Updated kitchens bring a wow to a home.  Have fun with the updates but remember start with a budget.



What’s the Difference between an Appraisal and a Home Inspection?

Home Inspection versus Appraisal

What’s the Difference between an Appraisal and a Home Inspection?

If you’re planning to buy a home, an appraisal is an important step in the process. It’s a professional evaluation of the market value of the home you’d like to buy. In most cases, an appraisal is ordered by the lender to confirm or verify the value of the home prior to lending a buyer money for the purchase. It’s also a different step in the process from a home inspection, which assesses the condition of the home before you finalize the transaction. Here’s the breakdown of each one and why they’re both important when buying a home.

Home Appraisal

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

“A home purchase is typically the largest investment someone will make. Protect yourself by getting your investment appraised! An appraiser will observe the property, analyze the data, and report their findings to their client. For the typical home purchase transaction, the lender usually orders the appraisal to assist in the lender’s decision to provide funds for a mortgage.”

When you apply for a mortgage, an unbiased appraisal (which is required by the lender) is the best way to confirm the value of the home based on the sale price. Regardless of what you’re willing to pay for a house, if you’ll be using a mortgage to fund your purchase, the appraisal will help make sure the bank doesn’t loan you more than what the home is worth.

This is especially critical in today’s sellers’ market where low inventory is driving an increase in bidding wars, which can push home prices upward. When sellers are in a strong position like this, they tend to believe they can set whatever price they want for their house under the assumption that competing buyers will be willing to pay more.

However, the lender will only allow the buyer to borrow based on the value of the home. This is what helps keep home prices in check. If there’s ever any confusion or discrepancy between the appraisal and the sale price, your trusted real estate professional will help you navigate any additional negotiations in the buying process.

Home Inspection

Here’s the key difference between an appraisal and an inspection. MSN explains:

In simplest terms, a home appraisal determines the value of a home, while a home inspection determines the condition of a home.”

The home inspection is a way to determine the current state, safety, and condition of the home before you finalize the sale. If anything is questionable in the inspection process – like the age of the roof, the state of the HVAC system, or just about anything else – you as a buyer have the option to discuss and negotiate any potential issues or repairs with the seller before the transaction is final. Your real estate agent is a key expert to help you through this part of the process.

Bottom Line

The appraisal and the inspection are critical steps when buying a home, and you don’t need to manage them by yourself. Let’s connect today so you have the expert guidance you need to navigate through the entire homebuying process.