Inventory, Prices, Buyers and Americans

What do all those words have in common San Antonio?

Home inventory has dropped again - this is the 9th consecutive quarter! There is tremendous pressure on the market right now and until more folks list their home for sale, it is going to be a rough road. Builders are doing their best to deliver new homes, but supply and demand are just out of sync. As always, things are temporary and will change again - perhaps with a wide swing to become a buyers market. If you are thinking of a change, now is a great time to list your home! Read more

The inventory shortage is creating new price pressure on existing homes and that is great news - if you are already a homeowner. If you have not yet purchased your first home - time is of the essence! If you are looking to downsize - then the market is great for you! If you are looking to move up, the market is good for you too! Your equity in your present home has increased as prices moved up and that should give you a greater down payment for your new home. But, make no mistake about it - the home you are looking to buy is also moving up. If that new home is a higher value, the chances are it is moving higher in value faster than the one you are selling. Don't wait for that spread to widen! More about rising prices

It is almost like a joyride in the real estate market. Rising prices, lots of buyers, an upward trend all seem so wonderful. But, never lose sight of the risks or become too confident. If you have a buyer who genuinely loves your home, why not work with them? They will work hard to do their part because yours is their dream home! You might get a higher offer - from a less credit enabled buyer, an appraisal may be short and all kids of issues can suddenly materialize. Take a good look at an offer before rejecting it. More about Buyers

And finally, Americans are still together in so many ways when it comes to homeownership. Collectively, we have it right! Real Estate is a good long term investment. If you have not yet jumped in, call me and I'll help you become a homeowner. If you are already a homeowner and ready for the next step up, call me and I'll help you too! And, for more - read today's article

And then, Call Me - Al

Are you single and renting?

Singles Are Falling for Their Dream Home! About a fourth of all recent buyers are single. The number one reason is they just wanted to own their own home. There are many other reasons and, of course, tax savings is one of them. It makes a lot of sense to hang on to or improve wealth - same story, why pay someone else's mortgage when you can pay your own. Whether you are a beginning single or returning to singledom, ownership offers many advantages. Have a look at today's article for more about singles and homeownership. I would be glad to help you find your new home

Myths Slayed, 3 Questions, 3 Tips, 84% Believe

Home Buying Myths Slayed! 88% of property managers raised rents in the last 12 months and no signs of slowing or stopping. So how high is UP and why do you want to keep climbing THAT ladder? You are just helping to pay down the landlords mortgage month after month. A lot of folks still believe you need something like 20% down to buy a house. You do not! A lot of folks believe you need to be a super star in your credit score. You do not! If you want to make the switch to your own home - and pay down your own mortgage - then try it. Seriously, START the house hunt by applying for a mortgage and get pre-approved or if not approved, find out what you still need to do to finally get approved. Still hesitant? Call me and we can talk. For more, checkout today's article on slaying the home buying myths

3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy. The questions are really quite clear and simple. First, why do you want to buy? What is your personal motivation (forget what everybody else is doing, make it personal). You might even have several reasons - share them with your agent. Where are home values going? Up is good. Down is not the end of the world as long as you can make the mortgage payment. Shocked by that? Don't be. Unless you must sell when prices are low, don't worry - you have a roof over your head and very likely prices will recover (we just lived through that didn't we?). And then there is mortgage interest and rates. This time going "up" is not good. Going down may be possible - maybe slightly or in another time. Right now, they ARE down. And, you want to miss that? You know - today's article

3 Tips to Succeed in Today’s Real Estate Market. Again, pretty basic here. Have a strategy, prepare - and, you might have heard this one - think outside the box. There are undiscovered gems out there. You have the power of discovery. You have the internet. You do not need an agent to do a drive by. You are searching the internet privately - go have a look - privately. Don't knock on doors and don't go in unless they are having an open house. If you do not follow the rules, you might scare somebody - or get shot! If it looks promising, get your agent on board for more information and and inside look. You may have to wait a little to get inside so the sooner you let your agent know, the sooner that process begins. Ask your agent - meanwhile, checkout today's article

84% of Americans Believe Buying a Home is a Good Financial Decision. OK, so we all know the mood of the country is not wonderful right now (you like honesty - right?) - so to get 84% - yes 84% of Americans to AGREE on something!!! WOW! They agree homeownership is opportunity, stability, wealth and prosperity. We are AMERICANS and that belief about homeownership is a part of who we are. But, did you know that people - many people - from other countries buy here in the United States because owning a home here IS a great investment. Are you ready for your turn? Or ready to move on up. You have so many choices all over. Here in San Antonio, homes for sale directly from the MLS (multiple listing service) are free for you to browse and you do not need to register! You like looking at homes at 3 in the morning - go for it (just wait about 5 hours before calling me so I can share in the excitement - when I am awake!). Have a look at today's article to see what Americans agree on

Act NOW San Antonio!

Thinking of Selling? You Should Act NOW! There is still a shortage of homes for sale at this time. If you are looking to move for whatever reason, now the market is in your favor. Have you had your home valued by a professional? You may be surprised at your home's worth. We offer our evaluation for free. For more, checkout today's article


Let's do that again. A Buyers Market. Your eyes did not deceive you. I did not make a posting error. You read it correctly. Here is the real headline: "Buyer's Market Helps Premium Home Sales Soar".

Great opportunities in the luxury market. If you are looking to move up to luxury, now is good. San Antonio has some beautiful Luxury Homes for sale. We give Luxury Homes starting at $1 million distinctive pages on our flagship website.

Social Capital

Have you considered the 5 Greatest Benefits of Homeownership? Owning is freedom. Owning is a way to increased wealth. Owning creates living memories. Owners enjoy tax benefits and stability. Owning brings a sense of pride as you live the American Dream for yourself. And the numbers are staggering - with the latest studies that a homeowner has 45 (yes, 45) times the net worth of a renter! The road to get there may be filled with challenges but the reward is yours. Time to claim your piece of the social capital. If you need help achieving that goal, call me - AL. Have a look at today's article for more information

Why REALTORS® need to have their own website!

Gone are the days when people used to read advertisements or visit their real estate agent’s office in order to find a home. Today most everyone uses the internet to narrow their search whether they have a real estate agent or not. The internet has also become a go to source for choosing a real estate agent when ready.

There are numerous websites offering details on homes and land for sale and, depending on your area, those sites feature tens, hundreds or even thousands of agents – your competitors. Just being listed on such popular websites might not turn out to be a good source of business for agents. Unless you are willing to pay month after month of high fees, you are not a “featured agent”. When you no long pay the monthly fees, your status as a featured agent abruptly ends. Is that a good long term ROI?

There are reasons to invest time and resources in your own website, a few are listed below:

Build your brand name
Having your own website insures you an individuality and uniqueness that no real estate portal can offer. It helps you create a brand name and a value proposition that will go a long way in establishing yourself as a successful professional in the real estate business. Not even your local broker’s site can do that for you!

Establish yourself as a LOCAL brand
Real estate buyers and sellers like to work with an agent who has local knowledge that a portal simply cannot duplicate. Your website would help you establish yourself as a local agent and a local business. Your own website affords an opportunity for special localized pages further adding to your credibility and sustainability in your market area.

Integrate with the local MLS
Featuring the properties in your local MLS on your website allows you to offer potential clients all the listings they can find on a large portal without the ads, distractions – and other agents. Clients can set up accounts to automatically receive new listings or price changes. Every time they receive a notice – they see YOU as the sender. It is personalized.

The Power of Team Brands
The same applies to your team! You can create a TEAM brand and TEAM website to draw new and repeat business. Use the power of a local group with a larger base in your market.

Work with a REALTOR® website consultant
You may or may not be well versed with the complexities of setting up or managing an agent or broker website or you simply might not have the time. This is where a website consultant comes to your rescue. Your best option is someone who is a practicing and licensed REALTOR® and has the knowledge and skills sets to do that for you. Whether you need set up only or ongoing management, we can help. That is why we built Agent Branded Websites - there is no charge for a consultation.

5 Reasons Not To

5 Reasons Why You Should Not For Sale By Owner (FSBO)! As I review the reasons, I find it interesting that #5 is what I would call #1 - you NET MORE MONEY using a REALTOR®. The skeptics will suggest that I say that because I am in the business. NOT true. Before I got in the business, I used to be a buyer and a seller - and I always used professionals. I do that too when I need a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, a plumber (especially a plumber - no joke, me and water - oh no!) Experience is a wonderful teacher - 'eh, sometimes reading about it is a lot less painful.

Back on track here. There are 4 other reasons not to do it yourself folks. You will find them in today's article. Check it out

Moving with pets

Moving is a big decision and it can be stressful for the entire family, including the family pet. Each pet is unique and will react to this situation in their own way - some with little impact, others somewhat traumatized. One thing is certain and that is taking precautions with relocating a pet minimizes stress for everyone and lowers the risk of injury. We are going to address primarily dogs and cats – and suggest you explore additional articles depending on the type of pet you have.

Never move your pet in the same truck or van with furniture. This can be very stressful for the animal and a couple of bumps on the road can have catastrophic consequences.

Depending on how far you are moving and what means of transportation you will be using; there are different things you can do to keep your beloved pet safe and comfortable. If your pet has a chronic medical condition, you should visit your veterinarian before you move to get a consult and necessary meds. This is also a good time to get any required vaccinations.

In addition, if you are going for a long drive, if you are using new and unfamiliar means of transportation, and especially if you are flying, you should consult your veterinarian about using sedatives for your pet. Other than health concerns during the trip, make sure you bring some of your pet’s favorite food and favorite toys. This can help minimize the stress for both you and your pet when you finally get to your new home.

If you’re transporting your pet in a carrier, the carrier needs to be big enough so the animal can turn around inside it and have some food and water available. For shorter trips and especially if you know your pet gets car sick, avoid giving food as it will probably cause the animal to vomit. If you are traveling by land, make sure you take breaks so both you and the animal can stretch your legs and take care of business. If you have to make stops overnight, make sure the places you’ll be staying at are pet-friendly. Groom the animal a few days or a week before your move so it doesn’t smell or shed a lot and so it doesn’t get your car dirty.

Spend some extra quality time with the animal to make sure it feels loved during this stressful time. When you get to your new home, check if there are some potential dangers for your pet before letting it explore the area. Get his/her favorite toys out and make sure you do not spoil the routine you had in your old home. Your pet can be confused with the new surrounding; this can have a more serious effect on cats, less serious on dogs, or on your goldfish or parrot.

Selling Twice

Homeowners: Your Home Must Be Sold TWICE! You found the perfect home. You know that prices in the area are rising fast. You make an offer and it is accepted by the seller. The title and mortgage process begins. And then - the appraisal. The bank wants a professional opinion of how much the home is worth. That makes good financial sense from their point of view - protecting their investment in case something goes wrong. And, what happens to the transaction if the appraisal is less than expected and less than the offer price. That depends on what percentage the buyer is contributing as a down payment. If the proposed mortgage has a low percentage down payment - say something like 5% - a low appraisal amount could cause the mortgage to be turned down. The bank may consider the risk too high. If the buyer was putting down something like 30%, the home with a lower appraisal might still be approved as the bank looks at their risk ration. For more, have a look at today's article

First Steps, American Dream, Low Interest

OK - maybe today's title is not as catchy as yesterday - but the message is equally important. In better explanation... when buying a home you need to take the first step. That first step gets you closer to achieving the American Dream - a home of your own! It has gotten a little easier lately and we'll talk about that too. Interest rates are down from when your parents may have bought their first home and that enables more folks to qualify for a mortgage. Finally, we will look at purchasing power and how it is impacted by lower interest rates.

Let's begin:

Many times our posts in this blog have addressed the issue of where to start - and why. There is a process called "pre-qualify" which can suggest the amount of home that you could afford. The problem is that there are SO many variables and things that the mortgage lenders look at, the pre-qual could be way off. Better is the "pre-approval" process. Knowing that you already have a pre-approval let's you shop for a home with confidence. You know what you can spend and approximately what your payment will be. It also gives confidence to the seller who is considering your offer. The seller has comfort knowing that your offer is a serious offer and you have the ability to pay. Pre-approval also eliminates disappointment later. You will not be shopping or looking at homes outside your budget. More on "pre-approval"

We truly believe in the American Dream - owning a home is a measure of success and a fundamental strategy to increase personal wealth. That statement has been on our flagship real estate site for years! We believe in it. The real estate market is perfect - or as close as it can be - for buying a home. Lenders have eased up a bit. The low interest rates have opened amazing opportunities. Sure, house prices have gone up - and will again (another reason to buy one!) - but rent prices have gone up too - and will again - and again - and again. Where do you want to be? Ready to live the dream?

We talk about low interest rates of the day - and compare them to what perhaps your parents had to pay, but lets go back even a little more - to your grandparents. There was a time when rates hit 18% - yes, 18 - YIKES! Somehow people managed to buy homes even then. But, you sure got LESS home because the majority of your payment was interest. Let us all hope we do not see that again!

So, we keep saying low interest rates give you more buying power - more home! What does that mean exactly. This is one of THE most important parts of today's post. Have a look at the chart. Rate movement has a HUGE impact on affordability. Want to discuss that? Call me - Al

DOM drops, Shortages up, SELL

Well now, that headline almost reads like something pertaining to the stock market. But not. It is all about housing.

This will be the first time since the inception of this blog that I am going to combine multiple posts. Let's see how it goes. It is not a concept I can take credit for. Actually, more like a necessity with me trying to catch up for not posting the last couple weeks. For regular followers, thanks for the many private condolence messages about Josh. Very much appreciated.

OK - here goes...

A drop in the number of days on market, means homes are selling very fast. It is a healthy market indicating that folks are able and willing to buy. It is also a sellers market as lower inventory means sellers can ask more and buyers have less options. If you are looking to buy a new home - either a first home or a move up, consider buying a new home. There are many benefits to going that route. If you are in San Antonio, I would be happy to show you some new homes and share some ideas. Not in my market, you can still call me and I will find you an agent in your area.

As we said above, there is a housing shortage. This is a great time to sell if you are thinking about it. Sell and upsize or sell and downsize, whatever is best for you. Not sure what your house is worth? Then call me - Al.

OK - here are the graphics. Homes are selling. The market needs more. Buyers are shopping. Sellers - the market is waiting on you!

Imagine getting 75% of folks to agree on something. Yes, 75% of homeowners are thinking NOW is a good time to sell. Need help with that?

Confirmation from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) - Now is a great time to sell. So who is ready already?

Epitaph for a Best Friend - Joshua

It happened on the 28th of June 2017. While I knew the time was getting closer, the day it happened was unexpected. Events moved rapidly that day – a visit to a friend’s home, a stop at PetSmart, some thought time at the dog park and what was supposed to be a routine visit to the veterinarian for nail trimming turned into the final trip for Joshua. I have euthanized best friends of the past, even a brother and sister at the same time, but nothing could have prepared me for this.

The procedure has changed since I last dealt with this. The old way was to give the animal an immediate shot without regard for their fear and apprehension of circumstance. For the caretaker (I do not like the word owner) it was easier. It was over in minutes. The animal had no control and was helpless, but it was over.

I do not have enough knowledge to suggest that it is a common practice, but what I will call the new way is much easier for the animal – and much more difficult on the caretaker. The animal is given a shot that relaxes their muscles and calms them. After about 20 minutes, the final shot – an overdose – is administered. And it is over.

I wanted to run. I wanted to get out of that room as fast as possible and not look back. But I knew that Josh was devoted to me for his 10 ½ years and I could not abandon him in his final moments. I had to stay there, not cry and maintain composure while my entire insides were self-destructing. I had to hold the tears and make it seem very routine so Josh, trusting me as always, would remain calm. I lied to him. I justify that by saying it was for his own good – and I know it was. Who am I kidding, he probably still read me – he knew.

For the first time in all my years of remaining during euthanasia, I kept my hand cupped at his muzzle and felt his breath the entire time. He relaxed from that first shot. The heaving breathing subsided. Then it happened - the second shot into his veins and I could feel his breath slowing more, getting weaker – and then stopping. Suddenly there was no more breath. A part of me had just died. His eyes were wide open but he could not see. Those eyes that looked at me every night in bed could no longer see. I could no longer see – my eyes were filled with tears.

When the vet confirmed that he was gone a numbness came over me and then my insides started twisting and I knew I had to get out of there. I had to escape. Knowingly – I paid the bill before and I just walked out of the office never looking back. The staff was kind – I was in a fog but I remember hearing “I am sorry for your loss”. I am really not sure how I drove home. Hopefully none could see through the dark windows.

Tissues and tears are getting me through writing this some eight days later. The loss is still there. I analyze it daily. I am missing this one more than others. It had been over 10 years since we flew home from his native Maine. In his own way, he was advocate, caretaker and protector of my mom until she passed away. Then he was glued to me. I was his world. Working from home, he was with me constantly.

In his later years Josh suffered from doggie Alzheimer’s - Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CCDS) – but he and I compensated for that. I miss the extra care he required, I miss his water bowl being in the way, his hair all over the place, throw rugs on the floor because he developed a fear of the tile, I miss his restless nights in bed when neither of us got any sleep. I miss the laughs and I miss the challenges of dealing with a senior canine. I miss Joshua. He was my best friend and loyal to the end.