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  • Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You Today’s housing market is truly one for the record books. Over the past year, we’ve seen the lowest…

    Written by Reagan Williamson
  • Why Does Gary LeVox From Rascal Flatts Trust Our Team?

    Why Does Gary LeVox From Rascal Flatts Trust Our Team?

    Recently we were fortunate enough to land an endorsement from one of our favorite musicians: Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts.

    You can hear everything Gary had to say in the full endorsement above, but one thing that stood out to us was the connection he made between his music and what we do.

    “Ever since “I’m Moving On” hit the radio, it’s been very cool hearing from our fans personally how this song helped them get through the hard times. Moving across the street or across the country can be very stressful too. But it doesn’t have to be. You’ve got a great agent right in your backyard who can make it easy and virtually stress-free.”- Gary LeVox

    “Our team always strives to make things simple and stress-free.”

    Gary got it absolutely right. Our team always strives to make things simple and stress-free for our clients. If you’re moving on, we can help.

    If you have any questions for us, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Written by -- CLIENT BRAND --
  • Who Posts the “We Pay Cash for Houses” Signs?

    Who Posts the “We Pay Cash for Houses” Signs?

    Let’s talk about what the deal is with those “We Pay Cash for Houses” signs. You’ve probably seen them around town, even if you’ve never given them much thought.

    The people who post these signs are** people who target a certain type of home seller: people who are in financial stress**, who can’t sell, are getting divorced, maybe have a damaged home they don’t want to deal with, or owners who are evicting tenants.

    They’re hoping that these types of people will give them a call so they can come in and give them a very lowball offer the house. They often don’t pay real estate commissions, and will boast about how they process their sales.

    How do they do it? Typically, we refer to them as EPs (equity purchase companies). These fast-cash buyers often deal solely with your equity position. Their strategy is to get cash-for-home companies to negotiate the lowest possible price for your home using your equity, after which they’ll flip it and liquify it to somebody else who will go in and do the rehab.

    “They’re hoping that people in financial stress will give them a call so they can come in and give them a very lowball offer the house.”

    A lot of times, these buyers may or may not be in your best interest. You have to be aware of the financial position that you’re in. These companies are designed to take over a bad situation, usually not for a conventional home that’s in good shape.

    If you truly aren’t desperate, you need to stick with a brokerage that will get you the most money for your house so that you can take advantage of that equity.

    Regardless, we’re happy to come out and take a look at your house and give you an honest opinion. If you want, we can even do a cash purchase as well. Typically, we beat those guys because we know exactly what the market is able to bear. So we can do the work ourselves and get it sold for you and maximize your outcome.

    If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, call or email us today for a free real estate consultation. Have a great day.

    Written by -- CLIENT BRAND --
  • Answering All the Questions You’re Afraid to Ask During a Home Tour

    Answering All the Questions You’re Afraid to Ask During a Home Tour

    Have any questions on what the proper decorum is for buyers touring a home? Here are your answers.

    Q: “Should I take my shoes off?”

    A: Typically, you should discuss this with your Realtor before you enter the house. Many times, the home seller will request this specifically in the home showing instructions. Of course, if it’s rainy or wet outside, it’s a good idea to do this out of common courtesy.

    Q: “Can I use the bathroom?”

    A: Typically, yes. If you’re looking at houses all day, you’ll inevitably need to use the bathroom. Try to leave it as it was before you got there.

    Q: “Is it okay to bring in my coffee?”

    A: Sure! If you have a coffee cup that has some sort of lid on it, I don’t see any issues with that. If you bring in an open container and you have kids running around you, that’s probably not a good idea. You don’t want to spill on someone else’s floor and leave a mess for them to clean up.

    “Respect the seller’s house as if it was your own.”

    Q: “Can I peek into the closet?

    A: Absolutely. You can peek in all the closets, just don’t look into any drawers. All the rooms should be viewable, and you should be allowed to open any doors to see what kind of space the area behind them offers.

    Q: “Can I take a selfie?”

    A: Taking a selfie with a piece of furniture may be funny or good for some laughs on social media, but I don’t advise doing it. You don’t want to post someone else’s stuff on social media because they might get upset about that kind of thing. These days, a lot of sellers have hidden cameras placed throughout their house, so you’ll probably be on camera going through some houses, and your audio may be heard as well, so be careful what you say and do. A good rule of thumb is to respect the seller’s house as you’d want your own house to be respected.

    Q: “Can I plop down on that chaise lounge?”

    A: See my previous answer. You want to respect another person’s house and their belongings the same way you’d want yours to be respected.

    If you have any other questions about home tours or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in our market, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I’d love to help you.

    Written by -- CLIENT BRAND --
  • 8 Things to Avoid After Buying a New Home

    8 Things to Avoid After Buying a New Home

    Today, we’ll be discussing eight costly missteps new homeowners make in their first year.

    1. Going with the lowest bid on projects around the home. It’s a good idea to get multiple bids on the different projects you’ll be doing, but going with the lowest bid isn’t always the wisest move. Make sure you are researching all the different contractors available to ascertain whether or not they’re reputable—just because they have the best bid does not mean they do the best work. Check reviewing sites to make sure the bid you choose will stand behind their work.

    2. Submitting small insurance claims.It’s never a good idea to submit small claims to your insurance company, especially if they’re close to your deductible, because it will end up increasing your insurance rates in the long term. Try to take care of small issues yourself to avoid this unnecessary increase.

    3. Making improvements without checking the return on investment (ROI). If you do any improvements to your home, be sure that you’ll get a good return on them, or be prepared to absorb something that doesn’t give you that return. For example, putting in a new $50,000 swimming pool will probably not get you a return on your investment. Some people want one anyway, but just make sure you understand that you’re probably not going to recoup your money on a project like that.

    4. Going on a furnishing spree. Spending thousands of dollars on new furniture isn’t a good idea after buying a new home, especially if you put that on credit. You’ll have to pay that off over time, and many times you’ll be charged outrageous interest rates if it’s not paid off quickly. Don’t overextend yourself.

    “If you do any improvements to your home, be sure that you’ll get a good return on them.”

    5. Throwing away receipts and paperwork. Keep all the papers from closing your home not only for the warranty, but also for when you resell the house. If issues should arise with the buyer (perhaps with disputes over improvements made), you can easily pull out the paperwork and save yourself money.

    6. Ignoring small items on your inspection report. If you buy a used home, there will likely be a lot of things you can’t get sellers to fix. It’s important to address these issues as soon as possible once you’ve moved in, so they don’t become bigger issues down the line. For example, simple gaps in your siding can lead to water penetration and ultimately water damage inside of your home. Address these issues soon to avoid the cost and headache.

    7. Remodeling without doing any research. You should always have licensed, competent contractors take care of your remodeling—you may run into any number of issues while remodeling your home yourself if you aren’t properly trained to do so.

    8. Buying cheap tools. We’re all on a budget. When you move into a new house, you’re trying to save money, so naturally you may want to buy the lower priced tools. But these cheap tools don’t last. Buy quality tools, especially if they have lifetime warranties, even if you have to pay a little more for them. Breaking and replacing tools regularly will be costly and just add to the time it will take to complete a project.

    If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, call or email us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have about real estate as well.

    Written by -- CLIENT BRAND --
  • You Can Make a Difference for Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

    You Can Make a Difference for Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

    Hurricane Harvey has caused a great deal of destruction along our coast.

    Now, following the devastating storms that have hit our state, many people are wondering how they can aid those who’ve been affected.

    First of all, there are many different organizations that are collecting relief effort funds. The mayor of Houston, himself, has begun collecting funds at the Great Houston Community Foundation. GoFundMe and the Salvation Army are both also accepting donations.

    There are also ways you can aid those affected through non-monetary means. Blood donations are needed at the American Red Cross, and AirBnB has opened up an urgent accommodation site that allows you to open your home to those who may have lost theirs.

    Area food banks, too, are accepting donations of food and money.

    “These relief efforts are truly saving lives.”

    This certainly is not a comprehensive list of the ways you can help. We merely wanted to provide you with a starting point. However, for a more complete list of ways to aid those affected, simply click here.

    Finally, we would like to extend our sincerest thanks to those who have already given their time and effort to this cause, and especially to those who have risked their lives in doing so.

    We appreciate the resources, time, and money given by so many of you, already,  to those in need. These relief efforts are truly saving lives. In this time of great hardship, please keep those affected in your thoughts, prayers, and daily efforts. May God bless Texas.

    If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Written by -- CLIENT BRAND --
  • Why Full Disclosure Is Best

    Why Full Disclosure Is Best

    In the state of Texas, there are certain disclosures that you are required to provide as a seller unless your home is brand new or in an estate. These disclosures cover anything and everything that has gone on in the home, from water damage to mold to any other mechanical or cosmetic issue. You’re also required to disclose any environmental dangers that a home possesses.

    There are certain federal disclosures that also apply no matter where you live. For example, if you own a home that was built prior to 1978, you must comply with The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 and provide an addendum on your contract.

    “Full disclosure protects you legally.”

    When in doubt, disclose. Full disclosure will protect you from future legal claims as a seller and give you more confidence in purchasing as a buyer. I’ve seen several sellers in the past fail to disclose certain things and end up being held liable for more than the cost of the home because of it.

    If you have any questions about disclosures or anything else related to real estate, give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Written by -- CLIENT BRAND --
  • What Is the Cost of an Appraisal?

    What Is the Cost of an Appraisal?

    How much will your appraisal cost? This is a question many people wonder at some point in their real estate transaction.

    The cost of a home appraisal is typically paid in advance by the homebuyer after acceptance. This usually happens once the inspection is completed to satisfaction.

    However, fees will vary. This variation is largely dependent upon location, complexity of the appraisal, and to some degree, market demand.

    In our San Antonio area, residential appraisal fees will typically cost between $350 to $500. If a property is a farm, ranch, acreage, or is complex in another way, this amount can be a little more.

    So, how is an appraiser selected? This is something that will depend on your lender and that you can ask them about ahead of time. However, most lenders tend to either keep a list of trusted appraisers or will make use of an appraiser management company.

    “You should ask your mortgage lender about the cost of appraisal as soon as possible.”

    However, after the Dodd-Frank era, it has since been necessary that lenders rotate their certified area appraisers.

    While they are aware of the stakes for both the buyer and seller, an appraiser cannot base their appraisal strictly on the sales price.Appraisers will look at comparable homes to help them determine value.

    Low appraisals can happen. At that time, however, you have a couple of options. You can either renegotiate the contract or, in some cases, you may get a second opinion.

    Ultimately, if you are curious about the cost of a home appraisal, this is something you should ask your mortgage lender about as soon as possible so that you can accurately factor it into your closing costs.

    If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Written by -- CLIENT BRAND --
  • Could Another Market Meltdown Happen Soon?

    Could Another Market Meltdown Happen Soon?

    With housing prices slowing down, a lot of people are asking themselves if there is a meltdown coming in the housing market. After the crash in 2007, we had a few really bad years. Since 2010 however, the market has been on a strong run.

    The San Antonio real estate market is pretty stable with mostly single-digit appreciation levels on an annual basis. Inventory is still pretty low, however, for both resale homes and bank-owned properties. During a slowdown, you’ll see an increase in the number of bank-owned properties. That hasn’t happened yet.

    “The market is cyclical and there will always be ups and downs.”

    Will another meltdown happen soon? It’s hard to say. What we do know is that the primary factor that led to the last meltdown, bad lending, has since been corrected. Lending guidelines are much stricter now. However, the market is cyclical and there will always be ups and downs.

    Your best bet is to get with us so we can help shield you from these wild swings in the market. If you have any questions for us about this topic or anything else related to real estate, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

    Written by -- CLIENT BRAND --