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Al Ames
CRS, GRI, Distinctive Homes, Lakefront Specialist

Helping people move forward in life

With you every step of the way . . .

I specialize in Residential Homes, Investment property, Homes of Distinction, Luxury and Lakefront properties.

Helping People move forward in Life . . .

  • $18 million in transactions closed 2015-2018
  • National Sales Excellence Awards - distinguishes top 5% of Realtors nationwide
  • Top Agent Award from Howard Hanna
  • Named "Best of the Best" by Howard Hanna


  • I will provide a comparative market analysis to help you to determine the best price to sell your home within your time frame.  I grew up in Erie, and understand the Erie market. 
  • I will develop a marketing plan to provide your home with maximum exposure through traditional channels and through creative marketing approaches.
  • I will schedule open houses, and will provide feedback to you after each one.
  • I will respond to every communication from you and will keep you updated concerning the status of your home.
  • I will use all my skills as a Realtor, negotiator, and problem solver to guide you through the process of accepting an offer on your home which will maximize your profit.
  • My job is first and foremost to protect your interests and to guide you through the home selling process, making each step as easy and problem free as possible.


  • I will continuously search for appropriate properties which will meet your needs.
  • I will provide an overview of the Erie area if you are an out of town buyer, and I will target properties in specific areas that meet your criteria.
  • I will use all my skills as a Realtor, negotiator and problem solver to guide you through the process of making an offer to obtain the best price and terms for the property you choose.
  • My job is first and foremost to protect your interests and to make your home buying experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.


  • Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)
  • Graduate, Realtor Institute (GRI)
  • Homes of Distinction Specialist
  • Residential Relocation Specialist
  • 2014 President - Greater Erie Board of Realtors (Director for 6 years)
  • BA and MA Degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • National Sales Excellence Awards (ranked in top 5% of Realtors nationwide)
  • Top Agent Award from Howard Hanna
  • Named "Best of the Best" by Howard Hanna
  • Multi-Million Dollar Producer, Champion's Club Member
  • Habitat for Humanity - Site Selection Committee Chair
  • Real Estate Investor for 18 years - formerly bought, sold, owned and managed investment properties in the Erie market


Homes of Distinction
Custom Home
Luxury Homes

8 Secrets For Saving Thousands
When Buying Your Next Home


How To Find The Perfect Home and Save Thousands When Buying…

If you’re like most people, the decision to buy a home involves a number of stresses and strains.  And even experienced homebuyers make costly mistakes that can easily be avoided.  That’s why I’ve identified the 8 best “secrets” to find the right home at the right price, and get the right financing:


Secret #1:  Understand What You NEED

Analyze your basic needs before you even start looking so you don’t buy the wrong home:

1.   General price range

2.   Approximate size (in sq. footage)

3.   General location, area or subdivision

4.   Number of bedrooms

5.   Number of bathrooms

6.   Style and layout of home

7.   School requirements or districts 


Secret #2:  Understand What You WANT

Look at your present home and write down what you like and what you dislike.  From your list of “likes,” list out the features you want, then the benefits for each feature.  If you’re part of a couple, you and your spouse should rank each feature in terms of importance.  Ranking helps you set priorities as a couple and eliminate homes out of your price range.


Secret #3:  Understand How Much Home You Can Afford

Bankers and mortgage lenders use two guides to determine how much loan you can afford:

Payment-To-Income Ratio.  This compares your income to the mortgage payment you’re considering.  The “payment” is the mortgage payment (principal + interest) plus property taxes and insurance (PITI).

Debt-To-Income Ratio.  This refers to all your major monthly financial obligations, including car and credit card payments and outstanding debts. Your lender will compare your total debt to your ability to make current payments with your new home loan added into the equation. Here’s the key:  since each mortgage company sets different limits on your debt-to-income ratio, you need to find a lender who is motivated to loan you the money.  


What Do I NEED In My Next Home?

Feature               Benefit            Rank

1.   _______________________

2.   _______________________

3.   _______________________

4.   _______________________

5.   _______________________


What Do I WANT In My Next Home?

Feature               Benefit               Rank

1.   _____________________________

2.   _____________________________

3.   _____________________________

4.   _____________________________

5.   _____________________________


Secret #4:  Save A Bundle When Financing

Your ability to afford a home will be related to:


    1.   The price

2.   Your down payment, and the amount you will finance

3.   The interest rate and points of your loan

4.   The term of your loan: 15-year, 30-year

5.   The type of your loan.  Fixed vs. variable rates are common but there are many loan packages to choose from.


To shop for the best financing, do your homework.  Study each of these items and the relationship between them so you can understand what your mortgage lender is talking about.  Knowing these specifics will help you choose the loan that will be the best deal for your situation.


Secret #5:  Be Financially Prepared

Before you start looking for a home…


1.   Find a MOTIVATED lender.  Ask a REALTOR® to refer one or two reputable lenders to you.  The lender will usually give you better service because they want to keep getting referrals. 

2.   Get pre-APPROVED not just pre-qualified.  You’ll have more power to negotiate the price and terms you want because sellers know you can close on the transaction.

3.   Have deposit funds available immediately.  When you find the home you want, you will be prepared to proceed with your offer.


Secret #6:  How You Evaluate Homes Will Save You Thousands of $$$ + Heartaches!

Ask a knowledgeable REALTOR® for a “total market overview” not just the market analysis of the particular area where you want to live.Then, as you start looking at specific homes, these things will help you determine if the home is a good investment:  


1.   Location.  Buy the midrange home in the best neighborhood you can afford, which will appreciate faster.

2.   Lot siting.  Look at where the home’s lot is located in the subdivision.  Is it private or located on a busy street?

3.   Home siting.  Did the builder use the best features of the site?  


Secret #7: Save Thousands of $$$ Writing Your Offer And Negotiating your Deal

Never tell the seller or their agent why you need to buy or if you like their home because they’ll use this information against you to get a higher price.  That’s why it’s best to have a skilled REALTOR® prepare an offer after you carefully considering the following:

1.   The active listings in the area. Is the home you want comparable?

2.   The average selling price compared to the listing price of homes that have sold.

3.   A visit to other homes for sale in the area.  How do they compare with your choice?

4.   Average market times for homes in the area. If they're long, you may have more negotiating room.



The seller’s agent does not represent your financial interests.  Create a “buyer’s representation” with a REALTOR® so you have someone on your side working to negotiate the best price.  This won’t cost you a nickel because it’s paid out of the seller’s commission.

An experienced Home Buyer Representative can save you time and money with buying a home by:

¨ Helping you find the perfect home at the right price… so you don’t have to worry you bought the wrong home or paid too much.

¨ Providing you with direction and contacts to get pre-approved for a home loan… so you’re never lost trying to find the most affordable financing for your situation.

¨ Negotiating the best deal with the sellers… so you avoid costly traps and pitfalls. You don't make money when you sell a home, you make money when you buy it!

¨ Coordinating all inspections, appraisals, escrow and title services, with the very best companies… so you feel confident and can focus on other tasks with your move.

I offer a Preferred Buyer Program for those considering buying in the next 6 months.  My program includes an Advanced Home-Locator Service™ where my software will sift through the market each night to find hidden bargains and new listings before anyone else – and send you daily email notifications at no charge.  To enroll in my no obligation program or if you have questions about my Lowest Loan-Locator Service™ to help you find the best loan program for your needs – call me using this number:

Home Buyer Representative

Howard Hanna Real Estate

814-881-2000 cell

814-835-1200 Ext. 53 office  

                                                               Not intended to solicit property currently listed for sale.


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