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What Will Happen If Rates Go Up?

Our market is doing great right now. We expect that to continue throughout 2017, even if interest rates go up.

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Over the past few months, there has been a lot of buzz about potential interest rate increases. First, they were predicted to go up last September. That didn’t happen, but they did go up in December. Nobody knows if or by how much rates will go up next time, but we do know that they will still be historically low.

It is widely expected that the Federal Reserve will increase rates in 2017. Even if they go up by 1% or 2%, it won’t affect our market much. There are three reasons why:

1. Mortgage rates often move independently of the Fed rate.

A small increase in rates won’t affect our market much.
2. Any increase in rates will be small. Whether they go up by .25% or 0.5%, they will still be historically low.

3. A shortage of inventory. With a limited supply of homes out there, the Fed will keep the health of the real estate market in mind before taking any action.

In short, the market is doing great right now and it’s likely to stay that way for the rest of the year, regardless of what happens with interest rates.

If you have any questions for me or want to take advantage of current market conditions, give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

6 Home Maintenance Tasks You Need to Do

As the weather starts to warm up, it’s time to tackle home maintenance projects. Here are six home maintenance tasks you need to take care of today. 

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As a homeowner, it’s important that you keep up with home maintenance. It’s especially important when you are preparing to sell your home. Here are six tasks that you should take care of today:

1. Apply a coat of fresh paint throughout the house. Fresh paint will go a long way and make your house show very well. Spiff up the walls, cabinets, doors, and trim. Make sure you eliminate scuff marks.

2. Redo your laundry room. Take advantage of every square inch of the laundry room. Make sure the room is clean and organized so that it looks as open as possible. Don’t just leave a big pile of clothes in there.

3. Clean out your dryer vents and ducts. Not only will you take care of a dangerous fire hazard, you will also lower your utility costs.

4. Clean your refrigerator coils. Save energy and improve the longevity of your fridge’s life.

Make sure your laundry room looks clean and open.

5. Give your mattress some love. Flip the mattress, rotate it, and vacuum the coils so that the mattress is fresh and comfy.

6. Look for leaks. Inspect the roof for missing tiles and damaged vent hoops. You should also check out your foundation. If you’re not sure how to inspect your roof, take a flashlight into the attic and look for leaks. That can help you determine if you need to address any issues with the roof.

Taking care of these six home maintenance items will make your home more appealing to buyers. Even if you are not selling for a while, these six tasks will improve your home and make it feel fresh.

If you have any other questions about home maintenance or about selling your home, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Should You Invest in a Fixer-Upper?

Today I want to talk to you about a few things you should consider when purchasing a fixer-upper.

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Today I want to talk a little bit about buying a fixer-upper. Is it worth it? How can you tell?

The first thing you want to do when considering purchasing a fixer-upper is evaluate the price. Do your homework to make sure you can afford the project.

Treat the remodel like it’s a business, not a hobby or a get-rich-quick scheme. Determine the after repair value, the value of the home after it’s repaired, based on the market values of the homes in your neighborhood.

Next, start evaluating what improvements are needed. Some projects, like painting and landscaping, have more sweat equity involved and will give you more bang for your buck.

Get accurate estimates for professional projects such as getting a new roof or putting in new floors before you commit to buying the house. Those projects can add equity, but they can also be very expensive.

Treat the remodel like it’s a business, not a hobby or a get-rich-quick scheme.

Stress is a huge factor when taking on a fixer-upper, so you need to make sure you can handle it. There are hidden costs that always pop up during a remodel, so having some extra money set aside will help keep things running smoothly for you.

Lastly, hire an expert to help you through the process. Have someone who is familiar with fixer-uppers help you make decisions in order to stay on a clear path and stick as closely as possible to your budget.

If you have any other questions about fixer-uppers or if you have any other real-estate related questions, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I’m more than happy to hel

6 Staging Tips to Help You Sell for Top Dollar

If you want to sell your home quickly and for top dollar, you need to follow my top six home staging tips. 
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Staging your home is incredibly important when selling. Today, I’ll go over six tips to help you stage your home for top dollar.

1. First impressions are the only impression.
It’s important that people feel warm and welcome when they approach your home. You only have one chance to make a first impression, so make sure the exterior of your home is clean and fresh for the spring market. Declutter your entryway, trim trees and bushes, and add some fresh mulch to your yard. These are cheap, easy ways to spruce up your exterior.

2. Always be ready for home showings.
You never know when a buyer is going to walk through that door, especially since so many schedule showings at the last minute. Before you leave for work each day, make sure that all of your beds are made and that the kitchen and bathrooms are picked up.

3. Kitchens and bathrooms really do sell homes. Small updates, like new paint or hardware, can make a dated kitchen look like new. Updating to stainless steel appliances or bronze fixtures can make a huge difference to buyers.

Depersonalize and declutter your house.

4. Take the home out of your house. That means you should remove any personal items, like personal photos. Invest in a storage unit and get rid of about a third of your stuff. Pull stuff out of your closets so that they appear half empty. The more open you can make your home, the better it will be for showings.

5. Conceal animal accessories. Not everyone likes animals in their home. If you have pets, the best rule of thumb is out of sight, out of mind. I also recommend that you get some air fresheners. You might not be able to smell your pets, but buyers will definitely detect the pet odor in your house.

6. Hire an informed real estate agent with an aggressive marketing plan who will price your home right. Pricing and marketing are key to selling your home, and if you follow the other five tips as well, you can sell for top dollar.

If you have any other questions about selling your home, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

3 Key Home Buying Considerations

Great cosmetic features are great to have in a home you're buying, but don't forget to consider these three extremely important factors.

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What should buyers look for in a San Antonio home?

We often see buyers look for homes with window dressings or modern fixtures and appliances. These are great, but it's just as important to look at these three factors when you choose a home:

1. Resale value. Don't just think about the house you buy, think of it as a house you'll have to sell in the future. Consider the neighborhood, the pricing, and the size. Buying the biggest and best house in the neighborhood could present major issues down the road when selling.

2. Make sure the house is structurally sound. It should have good windows, doors, floors, and roofing, and should not have water spots on the ceiling or cracks on the inside or outside walls. Look for the house that has the best 'guts' rather than just looking at the design. Always have a home inspection to make sure you're not overlooking something that could be a costly headache down the road.

3. Cost of repairs. Plumbing, heating and cooling, roofing, and water heaters are all very costly systems to repair or replace. Make sure they're all inspected and addressed during the inspection period of the home buying process before you're fully committed.

If you have any other questions about the important things to look for in a home, or you're thinking about buying or selling a home in the San Antonio market, give me a call or send me an email. We'd be happy to help.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation

 If you want to ensure that your home stays safe and sound while you’re away during your holiday vacation, take these five precautions before you leave. 

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While you’re relaxing on a tropical beach or strolling through a quaint European resort during your holiday vacation, thieves could be planning on invading your unoccupied home and ruining more than just the vacation. The good news is that there are five easy steps you can take to make sure that you don’t come back to an empty house:

1. Get a Wi-Fi doorbell. Products like the SkyBell actually videotape any visitors that come to your front door and sync that video to your smartphone so you can keep a watchful eye. Not only are these devices cheap, but they are also easy to install. I would recommend buying one for your home at all times—not just during vacations.

2. Utilize exterior lighting. A well-lit property is less likely to be an attractive target for potential intruders. Motion-activated lights that pop on whenever they detect movement are an excellent deterrent. A watchful spotlight will send any unwanted visitors scurrying.

3. Let your (trusted) neighbors know that you’ll be gone. If those that live closest to you know that you’re away, they’ll likely monitor your home for any strange noises or unfamiliar faces skulking about and alert the police is they see any suspicious activity.

Check once, check twice, and after that, check one more time.

4. Alter your mail and newspaper delivery service. You can either call your mail service provider and temporarily suspend your deliveries or ask one of your neighbors to pick them up for you as they arrive. An overflowing mailbox and a pile of newspapers are sure signs that no one is home.

5. Double-check that all doors and windows are locked before you leave. Statistics show that roughly 33% of all home invasions happen through an unforced entry, meaning they likely occur through an unlocked door or window. A good rule of thumb is to check once, check twice, and check one more time before you and your family depart. If you have kids, this step is especially important.

Following these steps will help you rest easier while you’re away and ensure that everything is safe and sound when you come back. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email. I’d be happy to help!

Our Top 3 Tips for Selling Your Home in the Winter

Today we’re here with our top three home selling tips for those of you who are trying to sell your homes this winter. 

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There are several things you can do to prepare your home to sell in winter. Here are our top three selling tips for this time of year: 

1. Pay close attention to your curb appeal. When it comes to styling your front porch, there is a slippery slope between a nicely decorated porch and a farmer’s market. The idea is to enhance your curb appeal, not obscure it. While too many fall decorations will take the focus off your home and its best features, a few tasteful accents will make your home feel inviting and fresh.

You also want to make sure that all of the fallen leaves haven’t taken a toll on your yard. Buyers may be understanding if your yard is unkempt because they are dealing with the same thing, but that doesn’t mean your home will make a good first impression. Do your best to make sure your yard is neat and tidy before showings.

2. Go easy on the holiday displays. Tasteful displays will show the home in its best light. Outfitting your home to compete with the Griswolds will make your home a spectacle, but won’t necessarily make it sellable.

Keep the lights on during the short, dark winter days.

So, let in the light. Always make sure that your blinds are open and the windows are sparkling when trying to sell your home. It is especially important to maximize the light in your home during the shorter days this time of year. Light will make your home look larger, fresher, and highlight your home’s best features. Place plenty of lamps throughout the home for additional illumination.

3. Make your space inviting. As the weather cools down, a warm and cozy atmosphere will make the buyers feel at home. Use plush throws on the couch and beds and add fall-accented pillows to your chairs. You can even display fall foliage or seasonal fruit in vases or bowls throughout the home.

These tips will definitely help your home appeal to buyers this fall and winter. If you have any other questions about the home selling process or about real estate in general, give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!