Should I?

Sometimes renting does make sense. Sometimes circumstances are such that rent is the best option. I get that. Necessity triumphs. Right now, I am a renter! For all other...

Spring to Sell

Oh lordy - research says the first week of April is the best time to list your house for sale!

So maybe you should quit reading this post and call me right now. All kidding aside, this is a short read, so go ahead and then call me. We can still get you on the market quickly.

The experts that did the number crunching report that listing the first week of April contributes to 14 times more property views (you read that right, 14 times!) You can read more in today's report.

Two additional reports from NAR - National Association of REALTORS - support selling now. They are the Existing Homes Sales Report and the Pending Homes Sales Report.

Homes sales slowed a bit even though the job market is good and interest rates are low. The problem is a mismatch of available inventory. Starter homes are in short supply. Larger more expensive homes have the greater inventory.

The pending sales had a huge jump in January in all areas of the country - especially in the South. There is an expanded explanation in today's report.

Regular readers know this already - if you are thinking FSBO - For Sale By Owner - don't do it.

If you do, it's going to cost you. Buyers are smart. If they see that you are selling on your own, they will want a reduced price since you are not paying an agent. You just set the stage for that battle. Then there are security concerns, contracting with the non-qualified, paper work, etc.

There are other methods for selling that are "hot" right now - and getting much media attention. We'll talk about that in a future post - for now, reality check, those companies are in business for profit. Sure, they can make things happen in an instant and they "sell" the escape from having to deal with selling - but, at what cost?

You need a Pro in your corner.

In my previous life - corporate work before becoming a real estate agent - I bought and sold and grumbled about how much it cost me to have a professional handle everything. But I stayed with the professionals because I wanted things done - and done right. And I did not have the time nor the knowledge to pursue it.

Now that I am on the working side of the real estate transaction, I can confirm that a good agent - a professional REALTOR - really earns their commission. Today's report barely touches on what an agent must do and how they must prepare.

What to do?

If you want to get the most money for your home - prepare it for sale. It is that simple. The chart lists 20 tips - your real estate professional will guide you in greater detail.

Have you heard of the KonMari Method™?

You need to read about this one! I am very much on board with it.

Make sure you get the price right - the first time!

We all want the most for our house when selling, but generally speaking, we cannot get more than the house is worth. If you want to sell and move on, then best to let your real estate professional guide you. If you interview 3 agents and 1 says your home will sell for $$$ more - the question is - why?

One final thought. You can scroll back up to the first paragraph now - and call me - Al, 210-757-0211


Now, you may be thinking "is he out of his mind" talking politics on a real estate blog!

Truth is - I am neither talking politics nor out of my mind, yet! Just wanted to get your attention so I can share something really cool with you today. Have you ever explored the Census Bureau website? The site has an amazing wealth of information; more than I can cover here and definitely worth a look. You can even sign up for their occasional emails and stay informed.

The link on that site that caught my attention today is My Congressional District. You can choose your district (or look it up by ZIP code or street address) and find information about who represents you and all kinds of information the government is reporting about the local area. Check out the demographics today!

The Home Buying Process Explained

Home buying is not terribly complicated if the right folks are on your team. Working with a licensed real estate professional and mortgage loan officer gets it done in the shortest possible time. That is what they do on a regular basis! Let them help you. We can do that!

Tax Refund - Could Be Key

What to do with your tax refund?

Many Texans are lucky! According to the charts in today's report, we in Texas are the recipients of some of the largest tax refunds in the country. That refund can be used in many ways - to pay off bills accumulated throughout the year, to buy something special, perhaps bank and use monthly for the coming year.

But, what about repurposing that refund and using it to get into your own home? Finally stop the drain of your cash - stop paying rent - and increase your own wealth. It is an opportunity certainly worth exploring - don't you think?

Mortgage and Credit Scores

Checkout our updated mortgage and credit scores page. We have the basics like the three main credit bureaus, a link to your free annual credit report, links to free credit report monitoring and identity protection, information about locking – and unlocking – your credit, and information about “personal reports”.

If anyone has suggestions for additions to this page, just drop me a note!

This Spring Market Is Better

We are so privileged to have a beautiful Spring happening right now! The Wildflowers are said to be magnificent and perhaps the best in the last 9 or 10 years!

The Housing Market is also making a grand splash this year. More homes on the market, folks have good jobs, and getting a mortgage loan is very doable. Checkout our very short video here. This could be your year - a first home of your own or moving up to another home of your choice. And, don't forget the NEW home option. We can help with that too (the Builders pay us - no added cost to you). Call - let's talk today!

A Message For 46 Million Millennials

WOW! Great news for homeownership and the home buyers of the future.

The experts have crunched the numbers and the forecast is millions of potential first time buyers. Will you be one of them? Have a look at today's report for a brief explanation of how those stats are calculated.

If you have not already downloaded our special Millennial's Guide to Homeownership, why not do that now. The information is so important we want to share it with all - feel free to pass it on to your friends. There is a link in the rightmost column of this blog - or you can access the link directly. Both require registration - but we have also made it available for a direct download - same great guide - your choice of English or Spanish. Contact me if I can be of help to you - no matter where you live - we have a well connected agent referral network.

6 Reasons to Own a Home

In a very short video we share with you 6 reasons we encourage you to buy and own a home of your own.

Agent Opportunity

Texas licensed agents - if you are looking for an extra income opportunity - and - a way to offer savings to your clients needing a mortgage - or - if you have a challenging mortgage situation - take a look at Texas Turbo Mortgage.

Follow the directions on the card to your left - or visit my site and look under "Contact Us".

It does not matter what brokerage you are with.

Cost of Rent vs Buy

I think most of us grow up thinking that it is less costly to rent a place rather than owning. The numbers have changed a lot from the "old days". Check out this video.

Don’t Let Your Luck Run Out!

Start earning equity now! Rates are favorable and there is a little more inventory to choose from.

It is a great time to buy your first home - or move up. If you have been thinking about about a new home, now is the time to explore the possibilities. Prices and terms do not last forever. You can lock in your payment now!

Today's report.

San Antonio Family of Homes

We started with SanAntonio.Homes - we have added a lot more of the .Homes domains. Visit your preferred area in one simple click! Check out this video today. Thanks for visiting.

How to Save Thousands in Interest

Did you know that you can control how much interest you can save?

It's true. The typical mortgage of 30 years can be paid off years sooner. You can make an extra monthly payment, you can also make additional principal payments.

If you get an bonus or maybe a tax refund - whatever your source of extra money - consider applying it to your mortgage loan and earn a reward of thousands of dollars saved. You will also achieve a greater amount of equity sooner - equity that you may use to buy your next home! Checkout the numbers in today's report.

Buy vs Rent

As much as I encourage you to buy and invest in yourself, I understand that sometimes that is not the right action at the present time. The choice is personal. I can only point out the advantages and answer any related questions that you may have.

What If I Wait

The answer is quite simple. It is going to cost you!

Have a look at today's report for more details but consider home prices will go up, interest rates likely will too. You will be paying another year of rent - helping your landlord pay their expenses or mortgage - and instead of a paid off home 30 years from now, it will be 31 years from now (or however many years you take to pay off your home). Ready to buy now?

Thinking of Flipping?

Watch Out For These 2 Profit-Killers

By Jeremiah Rizzo (Guest Poster)

The excitement around flipping homes and investing in real estate seems to have hit an all time high. Networks like HGTV continue to create new shows featuring couples who rehab homes for profit, and with the advent of social media and YouTube, it’s easy to find vlogs, resources, and how-to’s from self-proclaimed professionals.

But flips aren’t always as easy, neat, or clean as they look - and I’m not talking about debris or demo day. Anyone who’s flipped a home or who knows the industry well, will tell you that if you get just one aspect of the flip wrong, or simply come across unforeseen damage, your dream flip can turn into a nightmare.

That said, there are a few things you can watch out for, to make sure you preserve as much profit as possible on the other end. While there are always hidden things that could bite you (like ripping off drywall only to discover you have a massive mouse infestation eating your insulation), there are also consistent factors to account for on every flip, that should allow you to walk away with some degree of profit.

So, if you’re considering emulating Chip and Joanna Gaines and trying a “fix & flip” of your own, here are 2 major profit-killers to watch out for...

Danger #1: getting your calculations wrong.

Professionals know that if you get your rehab or ARV calculations wrong, you’re in the hole from the start.

Eden, one of the founders of As Is Homes DFW, specializes in buying and selling homes for profit in the Dallas Fort Worth area. She warns, “the biggest profit killers are first, a wrong calculation of the repairs the house will need, and second, a wrong calculation of the home’s ARV.”

This is perhaps the most common reason homeowners or professionals don’t walk away with a profit, so let’s break each one down:

A wrong calculation of the repairs you’ll need.

In other words, when you walk through the home and make a list of the repairs the home will need in order to get it to selling condition, you either miss things or severely underestimate them.

Sounds simple, right? But this is a really easy mistake for newbies to make, because you simply aren’t familiar with everything you should be looking for. Or, you’ll see something that on the surface looks like it should only cost $x to fix, but in the end, ends up costing much more.

Even experienced contractors end up finding things during the gut or rehab that they couldn’t have seen, so you won’t be immune from making the same mistake.

Miscalculating the home’s ARV.

For those who don’t know, ARV stands for “after repair value”. The mistake here is that you essentially overestimate what the home will be worth, or what someone will be willing to pay for it after you’ve fixed it.

In other words, if you’re considering a “fix and flip”, you’ve got to make sure that someone is willing to buy it at the price you want to sell it for at the end, or you’ll be losing profit.

Danger #2: paying too much for the home.

Besides miscalculating or not factoring in costly repairs into your estimate, and besides overestimating what you think buyers will be willing to pay after the home is flipped, the next major profit killer is simply paying too much for the property.

Carter, the owner of Carter Buys Homes, is a professional real estate professional, and flips homes for a living, and thinks overpaying is the biggest contributor to a loss of profit: “overpaying for a property is always the biggest killer. It's very difficult to spend your way out of a bad deal.”

You can walk through the home, take a detailed inventory of all your rehab costs, and know exactly how much it will cost you to gut and flip the home, but if you pay too much for it - you’re behind from the start, and no amount of repairs is going to help you make what you should have.

So, what can you do to avoid these 2 dangers?

Just because these two factors are the biggest reasons most people walk away without profit (or in the hole) from a flip, doesn’t mean they can’t be avoided.

Here are a few tips to give you a better chance at success:

  1. If you’re inexperienced, pay a trusted contractor to walk the home with you and write up a detailed estimate of repairs. This will help you both learn what to look for, and ensure that you don’t miss anything obvious due to your inexperience.

  1. Invest a lot of time into researching the local housing market where you’ll be purchasing the property. Gain a very solid understanding of what homes in a related condition are actively selling for, and what homes in good condition are selling for. Be sure to look at homes in the exact neighborhood/area you’re buying in. This will help you recognize a deal when you come see one, avoid purchasing for too much, and help you get an accurate ARV for the home.

  1. Keep some extra padding in the bank before you flip, for unforeseen costs. Again, these things happen to even very experienced contractors. There are some issues you just can’t see until you get party-way through the flip. So having a little extra in the bank designated to your flip, will help ease the stress and risk of coming across a major repair that you didn’t account for.

Flipping a home can be a great and rewarding experience, if you have a proper understanding of what it’s going to take. So if you’re new to it, and gearing up to tackle your first flip, make sure you watch out for these two profit killers, and take steps now to educate yourself and prepare well. 

Author: Jeremiah Rizzo  
Digital Marketing Expert at  AdWords Nerds

Buy New or Existing?

There are options - and the choice is yours. Some folks prefer the charm of an existing home or the opportunity to do a makeover on one that otherwise has the right location, the right trees, the right style and so on. It is a very personal choice.

Your agent can discuss the advantages of both. Here are some thoughts on that.

No matter which way you go, there are style preferences to be considered. We have a page for that - styles, elements and even historic homes. Be sure to check it out.

Top Renovations Before You Sell

If you are thinking of selling, it may make sense to do a little remodeling or upgrading to achieve the best possible price for your home.

Not everyone will want to or be able to, but if it is possible - it is definitely worth looking into.

Have a look at today's report on that.

Selling Your House Spring 2019

This is the newest edition of the Home Seller Guide. Once again, making it available to you without any registration. You can download if you like. And, you can share it. Your choice - English or Spanish.

Buying A Home Spring 2019

This is the newest edition of the Home Buyer Guide. Once again, making it available to you without any registration. You can download if you like. And, you can share it. Your choice - English or Spanish.

International Women's Day Challenge

International Women's Day challenge to fund 10,000 new loans - join me in this endeavor.

Make a small loan and help them help themselves!...

Yesterday we did 4 new loans - 3 to new countries (22 countries in total now) - and another to someone in the USA - today's loans all to Women Owned or Managed organizations.

Loans are generally paid back in a short time - you get to choose from shorter or longer term loans. Once paid back, you can loan again or request your money to be returned.

You can get started with very little money. You particiapte in a group making the loan together.

There are so many options to choose from. You decide how your loan is packaged with other lenders.

Then and Now

A few days ago, we shared a video reviewing the cost of homes for the last 50 years - in less than 2 minutes.

Here, you can have a look at wages just for the last two years! No matter how you look at it - interest rates, as low as they are, make housing all the more affordable - whether first timers or moving on up!