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Realtor Spotlight: Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team, REALTORS

September 01, 2022

This month's Realtor Spotlight stars Montgomery's Sandra Nickel. A lover of old houses and, of course, hats, Nickel has been a licensed Realtor since 1981 and leads the Hat Team Realtors.

What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in real estate during your career?

On the positive side, we have instant access to listing data rather than having to wait a week to get “the new book.” We no longer have to drive all over town to deliver documents. Cell technology means we no longer publish our home telephone numbers (and, consequently, addresses), a real safety upgrade. On the negative side, so many clients communicate via text or email, and that makes “getting to know you” a challenge. And agents don’t seem to talk to one another anymore, making negotiations much more difficult and often adversarial. I think the clients are the big losers in this changing process.

Have you recommended the Step Up down payment assistance program to homebuyers?

Heavens yes—that and the Mortgage Credit Certificate program. Over the years, I and my team have utilized these tools to enable homeownership for dozens of clients who might not otherwise been able to achieve that “American dream.”

What do you think is Step Up's greatest benefit for homebuyers? 

Study after study tell us that saving the money for a down payment is the number one hurdle would-be homeowners face. Step Up flattens that hurdle!

What is the best advice you can give to first-time homebuyers? 

Your parents probably didn’t get a “move-in-ready dream” as their first home. Don’t hold out for that yourself. Be willing to buy an “equity home” now and let leverage work for you. You’ll be building equity on the “bank’s money” as well as your down payment, and that will then allow you to move up to your dream.

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

Helping others achieve their dreams makes my heart happy. And homeownership is still the big American dream.

Any advice you'd like to share?

Always put the client ahead of the commission. Take care of the client now, and they will take care of you with repeat business and referrals.