Blog

    • 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?

      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

      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

      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

      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

      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?

      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?

      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 --
    • What to Know About Building a New Home

      Before deciding to build a new property, there are a few key things you should be aware of first.

      The first and probably most important tip to know is to choose a builder who is reputable and won’t leave you hanging during the process. Unfortunately, some builders will vanish before the job is totally completed and leave the buyer with a load of unpaid bills.

      A good builder will not only meet your building needs, but will also service your house under the long-term warranty. Talking to people within your community, especially your agent, can help you choose the right builder.

      While building a home may sound like a good idea, make sure you take add-ons and upgrades into account before deciding if this is the best move for you. Both of these things will drive up the price, and will be charged for a premium. You may be able to do some negotiating, but ultimately you should make sure that the add-ons and upgrades you’re choosing are actually best for you and your home.

      That being said, remember to stay involved in the building process. Visiting the site, keeping in touch with the builder and contractors, and scheduling regular meetings will help you make sure that you are aware of everything that’s going on. This way you’ll be able to tell right away if something isn’t being done correctly.

      “Always stay involved in the building process.”

      Also, learn the neighborhood. You can choose the way your house is built, but once it’s finished you need to consider the neighborhood you’ll be left in.Partnering with an agent who knows the area will help you avoid any mistakes or conflicts.

      Keep in mind, too, that building is a lot different than simply buying a home. It is a messy process, so you’ll need to be patient and flexible. Deadlines may shift and issues will come up, so make sure you have contingency plans in place.

      During the process always plan a walkthrough. Because they have experience on their side, your agent will have the knowledge to tell you what to look for when you do this to make sure everything is as it should be. Hiring an inspection team to check the home throughout the process is also a must.

      Use your agent as a resource to help you look into home warranties, as well. Agents want the process to go smoothly and will have all the information you need for things like home insurance.

      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 --
    • 9 Ways to Cut Energy Costs This Summer

      If you’re looking to cut energy costs for the summer season, here are nine useful methods that will save you money without sacrificing comfort:

      1. Plug any holes you may have in your house. Use plastic film on any drafty windows or just replace them if you have the budget, as leaking air is one of the biggest ways energy gets sucked out of your house and costs you money. Foam and caulk any other problem areas you see, like gaps around your doors and windows and around your outlet plates.

      2. Close the shades. Anything that keeps the sunshine from coming directly into your house will help lower your energy costs.

      3. Keep your filters clean. You should check your AC filter at least once a month to make sure it’s clean and you should be replacing it as necessary. This way your air conditioner isn’t working twice as hard to circulate cool air throughout your house.

      4. Program your thermostat. If you aren’t home, you obviously don’t need it to be as cool as when you’re there, so feel free to raise the temperature a little bit. Only about half of all people actually take advantage of their programmable thermostat, which is unfortunate because it’s a cheap and effective way to reduce energy costs. Also, overhead fans can circulate and cool air a lot more cheaply than a low thermostat, so don’t forget to use them if you have them or install a couple to help keep your air just how you like it.

      “If you aren’t home, you obviously don’t need it to be as cool as when you’re there.”

      5. Unplug, unplug, unplug. Computers, TVs, mobile devices, and any other devices such as these that are plugged in can use up energy while they’re not in use. Unplug them when you don’t use them and you’re not around so they’re not drawing energy while you’re not there.

      6. Cut back on oven usage. Using a grill or outdoor cooktop instead will reduce the amount of heat being generated in your house.

      7. Turn down the thermostat on your water heater. Lowering the temperature from—say—130 degrees to 115 degrees can save you around $50 a year, which can add up over the long term.

      8. Get your HVAC tuned up. Don’t ignore your air conditioner until something goes wrong with it, because if it malfunctions when it’s 100 degrees out in San Antonio, you’ll want someone to fix it right away, and it will probably cost you a lot of money to get that done.

      9. Upgrade your systems.This means things like changing your light bulbs and replacing major appliances like your refrigerator, washer, or dryer. If and when you do, make sure you check out the energy efficiency rating of these items before you buy another so its replacement has a higher rating.

      If you have any questions about cutting summer energy costs or you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the San Antonio market, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be glad to help you.

      Written by -- CLIENT BRAND --