Reputation. You build your entire life based on it. You put it on the line with everything you do. Your reputation is everything. When your name is on the door and everything you do becomes a part of that reputation, it becomes even more essential to provide the best. That’s why Kimberly Howell Properties has teamed up with McNair Custom Homes to be their exclusive listing partner. For years we have sold their homes and joined them in various projects and we have always known their solid reputation for building quality homes with legendary energy efficiency. It goes beyond just listing the properties, these are homes we back with our reputation as well. When you buy a new home with McNair Custom Homes, you’re not just buying a home, but becoming a part of a family of owners who have seen that reputation firsthand.
McNair Custom Homes and Kimberly Howell Properties – Reputation is everything.
Join Kimberly Howell Properties as we officially open the Hidden Canyon amenity center on April 25 from 3-5pm. There will be food, drinks, and fantastic prizes plus a chance to take a look at Stone Oak’s premier gated neighborhood and the gorgeous homes available. The amenity center has a sparkling pool, covered pavilion area, soccer field, and plenty of parking. You’ll want to spend your entire summer lounging by the pool once you’ve had a chance to take in the sights and learn all that Hidden Canyon has to offer. Don’t miss this fantastic neighborhood and the grand opening festivities! Check out some of the videos of the amenity center and guard gated entrance to get an idea of what you’ll find when you decide to buy a home in Hidden Canyon.
Win tickets to Taste of the Northside, one of San Antonio’s favorite Fiesta events!
Hidden Canyon Pool and Amenities
Hidden Canyon Entrance
Buy low, sell high – it’s a base principal of all economics and it’s no different in the world of real estate. Price reductions don’t change that theory. Whether you’re a stockbroker, a manufacturer, making a few extra bucks online, or buying a house, your goal is always spend the least as a buyer and earn the most as a seller. So when a buyer sees a seller slashing prices, they start to salivate, thinking this is their moment to pounce and pick up a steal. But is it? Since there can be many reasons for a seller to lower the price of their home, you can’t always lump price reductions in to one easy category. Let’s explore some of the reasons sellers reduce the price of the their homes.
While homes are a commodity and have values based on costs of materials and labor, we also spend a lot of time with our homes – we build memories, watch our kids grow, pass milestones in them – they have a value that isn’t always easy to write down on paper. Because our lives are so linked to our homes, we often assign a value to them that takes into account those feelings. Unfortunately, the buyer of your home isn’t looking to purchase your memories too, so that value doesn’t exist for them. When a seller overprices their home on this “feel-good” factor, they often have to face facts at some point and start slashing prices. These are often the most painful price reductions for sellers to make.
Most of us can’t afford to carry two mortgages, so when we’re ready to move up, we need to sell the current home in order to use that money to help pay for the new one. If you find the home of your dreams and want to buy it, you may need to get your current home sold fast. Price is king – so a reduction in price can bring more potential buyers to the table and get your home under contract much quicker.
Have you ever seen sharks in a feeding frenzy? It’s an amazing sight to behold. That same feeding frenzy is sometimes used by sellers who drop their price so low that they know it will sell for above that price. If there are multiple offers and everyone wants the house, they can drive the price up higher – so sometimes dramatic price cuts are a tool used to drive up the price (seems backwards, but it can work).
Time ticking away as a house sits on the market is one of the toughest psychological barriers there is. We hear the question all the time, “why has the house been on the market so long, is there something wrong with it?” As the days on market grows, buyers begin to get fearful that there’s a reason no one is buying that house and they certainly don’t want to be the one that makes that mistake. A price drop brings attention back to the house and can bring the offers finally.
Maybe it was just overpriced to start. We see that a lot. Everyone wants to believe their house is the best, biggest, most beautiful, etc. Sellers often will compare apples to oranges and want to price it like caviar. That’s where the CMA (comparative market analysis) comes in – the numbers don’t lie.
A need to move quickly can also drive pricing – in a city like San Antonio with a large military presence and a growing economy, we see a lot of traffic both into the city and out of the city. Whether it’s a company shifting a CEO to a new market, a small startup attracting new employees, or a member of the military assigned to a new station, relocation is a common factor in price cuts. These are people that often have to move quickly and don’t have time to test the waters and see how it goes. They’ll be much more aggressive in slashing prices because they need the house sold fast.
Price Reductions Come In All Shapes and Sizes
As you can see there are many different reasons to reduce the price of a home while it’s on the market. Be careful you don’t get caught up in a price reduction game though (see our article “Are you reducing yourself right out of a sale?“). Price reductions can be very effective is done right, but they can also lead to a downward spiral that drags the price down if you’re not careful. The best thing you can do? Price the home correctly to start – talk to you agent about the market factors and your needs. While your agent can’t solve your need to make 10x what the home is actually worth (we all have that need), they can take into consideration some of the factors of your current situation that may affect price.
image courtesy of rafael-castillo
You’ve found the home of your dreams, got it under contract, and are working with your lender to gather all of the documents they need to make your loan happen. It’s all going perfectly and you’re getting more and more excited by the day. Then the loan hits underwriting and suddenly you feel like you’re buried in paperwork requests. They need copies of this, letters explaining that, printouts of bank account statements from years ago – they ask for strange things that don’t seem related. It becomes a deluge of requests and you feel like just giving up – no house is worth all this paperwork, is it?
It can be discouraging to have to sift through all of your documents and scanning and sending and resending, but all of that paperwork is leading to your new home. Lenders will request things once, twice, three times…it can be a bit frustrating. The underwriter’s job is to mitigate the lender’s risk and part of that involves creating a papertrail so that there are no doubts about what they see when they look at your financial picture. Often it seems like they’re just harassing you, but they are just creating a file that documents why they felt it was an acceptable risk to give you that loan.
Prepare Paperwork for Your Lender in Advance
While you’ll never be able to predict everything the lender will ask you for, you can start preparing the paperwork long before you apply for the loan. Gather your bank statements, pay stubs, tax documents, loan information – anything reflecting your income and your debts. If you have some outstanding issues, know what they are. You can get a free copy of your credit report through www.annualcreditreport.com and check for anything that might show up. Do a household budget (you’ll be surprised where you can save some money!). The more documentation you have prepared, the better.
When the lender starts asking for paperwork, turn it in quickly. It can get a bit frustrating when they ask you for the same thing you’ve turned in 10 different times – just take a breath and resend it. The quicker you turn those items in, the quicker someone can review them. Sometimes there will seem that there is no rhyme or reason to what they’re asking, but to them it makes perfect sense. Don’t question it, just send it in and ask if they need anything else.
image courtesy of isaacbowen
On May 6th, San Antonio voters will decide the future of their city by voting on the San Antonio Bond Program for 2017. This bond package, earmarked for several different Propositions, is the largest municipal bond in the city’s history. This bond package will serve to improve the city’s long term infrastructure needs and move the city towards its future goals of sustainable growth for a city that is growing fast and shows no signs of slowing down thanks to its strong economy, cultural diversity, and forward thinking. What was once an afterthought to people outside of Texas, San Antonio is making huge strides to ensure that the world knows we are here and we are ready for the future.
San Antonio Bond Program Highlights
The 2017 bond package includes a wide array of projects across the city. One of the largest complaints about any city’s bond programs is that they often focus on the downtown and tourist areas and leave the suburban areas behind – the places where many of the voters live and work. You can view a map of proposed bond projects on the City of San Antonio’s website. The San Antonio Bond for 2017 focuses mainly on infrastructure projects and is broken down into a series of 6 Propositions to highlight how the money will be used. We will briefly touch on each of those Propositions, but we highly recommend you read more at the San Antonio Bond 2017-2025 page and The Rivard Report’s coverage of the bond package, from genesis to the vote.
Proposition 1 covers the improvement of streets, bridges, and sidewalks. It is estimated that over $4 billion is needed to build, improve, and update city streets. This piece of the San Antonio Bond 2017 doesn’t spend nearly that much ($445,263,000 spread out over 64 projects), but it is a step in right direction for the city’s infrastructure needs.
It goes without saying that San Antonio deals with flash flooding when the rains hit. We’ve seen the effects from downtown to the far reaches of 1604 and beyond on many occasions. Proposition 2 seeks to improve drainage and flood control with $138,998,000 spent on 19 projects.
This segment of the San Antonio bond package will focus on parks and recreation with $187,313,000 spent on 79 projects. By government standards, that’s a lot of bang for your buck. The proposed projects are spread out all over the city and will impact residents no matter where they live.
If you’re not utilizing San Antonio’s library system, you’re missing out. Yes, the internet has millions of pages of information right at your fingertips, but nothing compares to reading a book with no distractions from start to finish. Libraries provide an important service to our communities and encourage children (and adults) to read, learn, and be curious about the world around them. Skills that will help them develop and succeed in life. With 13 projects costing $24,025,000, this is just a small investment in the world of learning for the city.
Public safety improvements will come for this piece of the bond package, with 5 projects totalling $34,411,000. As real estate agents, we work with a lot of police and firefighters and we know these vital pieces are often underfunded. These men and women give tirelessly to their communities and they deserve to have the support of the city in bringing their facilities up to speed as the city develops.
As real estate agents, affordable housing is a key element to our daily lives. This $20,000,000 proposal will inject some much needed cash into projects that will focus on bringing the necessary infrastructure and laying the groundwork for affordable housing construction in several areas. As the city grows and home prices climb, affordable housing becomes a major issue for everyone no matter where you live. Expect to see a lot more discussion on affordable housing as the city continues it’s rise in the ranks of world class cities in America.
Early voting takes place on April 24-27, April 29, and May 1-2; election day is May 6. Voters will be asked to vote on each Proposition separately. We encourage you to read more and learn about each segment of the San Antonio Bond 2017 so that you can make an informed choice at the polls. To learn more about bonds, how they work, and how they affect the citizens, we recommend taking a look at the 2017-2022 Bond Program Information Guide, which you can also get in Spanish. You can also download the information guide (PDF) (and in Spanish) for later study. We encourage you to get out and vote on these Propositions that are vital to the city’s long term health and continued growth.
image courtesy of szeke
This week, we take a look at the most famous of real estate questions – are the schools good? We hear this one all the time, whether the buyers have school aged children or not. People want to know about their future and the schools in the area can play a big part in that, whether they intend to have children or are just thinking about resale value down the line. Whether schools are good or not can be rather subjective and it’s rarely a yes or no answer when asked. In order to provide some insight, we asked agent Carrie Fischel, herself a former teacher, what she learned from talking to parents over the years.
Are the Schools Good in This Area?
Are the schools in this area good? This is a question Realtors hear often…and it is a loaded question. Choosing the right school for your child is one of the biggest and most important decisions you can make as a parent. Every parent wants the best for their child and it is no different when it comes to schools. How do you know which school to choose? Not all schools are created equal and with so many choices to choose from today it can be very overwhelming. As a Realtor and former teacher, I’m going to try to help you determine which school is best for your child by simply sharing several attributes that great schools have in common. With the new grading system being given to schools in Texas, I really encourage you to place more emphasis on these aspects, as they will be a much better indicator of how the schools measure up and assist you in determining “are the schools good?”
One of the first things you will notice about a school, and arguably one of the most important, is the school culture. Why so much emphasis on culture? There is a direct correlation between a student’s relationship and feelings towards their teacher/school and the student’s achievement. School culture can be very apparent as you walk through the hallways. Some things to consider and take notice of while walking through the hallways…
- Does the school have an inviting appearance? (I’m talking about whether or not it is welcoming, not the actual architecture.)
- Are the walls in the school covered with student’s work?
- How does the office staff treat its guests?
- How are the teachers communicating with the students and other teachers?
- Can the principal be found walking the hallways and engaging with teachers and students?
- Does the school have a lot of parental and community involvement?
- What type of activities and opportunities do parents have to be involved in with their student’s learning?
- Do you see a mission statement for the school? Do they have a school wide program that they implement such as the 7 Habits of Happy Kids or are other positive goal-setting models displayed?
- Does the school have a school wide discipline system that they implement?
Let’s look at the last two bullet points a little closer. Although they may or may not be as noticeable in the hallways, those items definitely deserve a lot of emphasis. It’s important that the school has the universal belief that all students can learn. Of course learning will look differently for everyone and everyone doesn’t learn in the same way, but it’s utmost important that they believe every student can and will learn.
It is also of major importance that students feel safe and secure and know the campus expectations for behavior. When students know what behavior is expected of them there is little grey area allowing students and teachers to give more focus towards learning, rather than addressing behavior issues. School behavior also includes the dreaded “B” word – bully. Students and parents should feel safe and confident knowing that their school has a zero tolerance towards bullying, violence, drugs, alcohol, etc.
If you’re not able to visit a school personally, you can gather as much information from the school’s website as well as their PTA’s website. You can also join the different local Facebook groups to reach out to that particular community.
High standards and expectations are another important aspect of great schools. I know what you’re thinking…yeah, that all sounds great, but what does that look like? Teachers should set clear objectives and goals for their students. Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” If teachers want students to meet their goals and expectations, then they need to be well defined so the students know where they’re aiming. Look in the classroom to see if the teacher has their rules, assignments, projects, and newsletter displayed or readily available. If you’re searching online, check out the school’s webpage and click on the different teachers’ pages to see what they have available. Also, check to see how students are expected to complete their work? Do they complete independent work consisting of worksheets and bookwork all the time or are students encouraged to use technology and complete project based assignments as well? Since high expectations will look different for each student, it is also important to note if the teacher uses group teaching in different subject areas, particularly reading and math, to ensure that they’re meeting the students at their current level and pushing them towards their goal.
Communication is Key to Good Schools
Another important attribute of a great school is how well they communicate…
- How often does the teacher or school communicate with the parents?
- Do they have a weekly or monthly newsletter?
- Do the teachers email or call parents if they’re concerned?
- Do they have frequent conferences offered?
- How high is the parent and community involvement in that school?
If you’re searching schools online, you can easily access the different schools’ websites. Most websites list the teachers for each grade and have a link to their personal webpages as well. On the webpage you can usually see whether or not they have a newsletter, how often the newsletter goes home, and if they send out a weekly email,update, etc. When you visit the school’s page you can also check to see if they have a link to a Facebook page or school PTA page – all of these will have ample sources of information.
Whether it’s public, private, or charter, these are all ingredients that make up a “good” school. Although the decision can seem very overwhelming, do your research and know that wherever your child attends school, it’s about the relationships that are created between school and home that foster a great environment for your child to learn.
image courtesy of amitp
This year’s Luxury League will feature two agents from Kimberly Howell Properties, Paul Garcia and Kimberly Howell. Kim has been a member in recent years, but Paul broke into the ranks this year with his stellar performance in 2016. Luxury League members represent the small segment of the agent population that works in the luxury market, a highly specialized field that requires knowledge, experience, and the ability to connect luxury clients from all over the world to these properties. If you’re in the market for a luxury home, these are the agents with the expertise to get the job done, whether you need to sell your home or are looking to buy a new one. These agents will continue to dazzle us and excite the senses with their incredible listings representing some of the finest homes in San Antonio and beyond. Welcome to this year’s Luxury League Paul, we look forward to seeing your impact throughout the year.
Kimberly Howell Properties is proud of our agents and this year, we’re excited to announce our Platinum Top 50 Early Qualifiers – Sonia Flores, Paul Garcia, and Kimberly Howell. Each year, Platinum Top 50 kicks off the spring market by announcing the early qualifiers who then go on to the semi-finalist and awards phases of the program. Semi-finalists are chosen based on sales through the winter months, which is not always the hottest time in the market, so to be selected is always an honor. The final awards themselves are based in sales, community service, participation in the industry, and education, so it is not just about how many homes you sold, but it’s about how much you are a part of the local real estate community and what you give back. We hope all three make it through to the final awards and are recognized citywide as much as they are within our offices. Each of these three agents work hard and share their experience and knowledge both with their clients and with our agents and we appreciate all that they do. Congratulations!
Join Kimberly Howell Properties and McNair Custom Homes as well as agents and builders from all across San Antonio for the Spring Tour of Homes. Billed as the “Biggest Open House in Central Texas” the yearly event draws thousands of visitors to homes all across the city for four days. For 2017, the Spring Tour of Homes will take place on April 1-2 and April 8-9 from 11am-6pm and features a wide range of homes. You can see the full list of homes available on the tour at the Greater San Antonio Builders Association website). We hope you’ll come out and enjoy the fun, view all the homes, and enter for the grand prize giveaway.