As 650 Winding Ravine continues to take shape, Stadler Custom Homes has provided us with some new drone footage to share with you. The home, which is being built to benefit the Military Warriors Support Foundation and the San Antonio Food Bank, will be sold with all net proceeds going to these two terrific charities. Kimberly Howell Properties is thrilled to be a part of this project and we’re excited to see the home take shape. The home will be a 4,814 square foot, four bedroom, 3.5 bath contemporary luxury home right in the heart of Stone Oak. There aren’t many opportunities like this left in Stone Oak and with all of the proceeds being donated to worthy causes, this home will be something you can be proud of for many reasons. If you’d like to schedule a tour, please contact Kimberly Howell.
If you’re going to be buying a home any time soon, you’re going to need to start thinking about your downpayment. Typically expressed as a percentage of the sales price, the downpayment is often one of the more difficult obstacles for people to overcome on their way to home ownership. You’ll need to budget your money and save up enough to make your downpayment, but how much will you need? You’ve probably heard the rule – you’ll need to save for a 20% downpayment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20% is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long term goal and it can also help you get favorable interest rates from your lender. Additionally, the bigger your downpayment, the less you need to borrow, so the less you’ll pay in interest in the long run.
But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a smaller downpayment — as low as three percent – rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.
The Downside of a Small Downpayment
The downsides of a smaller downpayment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance (often referred to as just PMI) for years, and the lower your downpayment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20% downpayment, which will put some higher priced homes out of reach for you when searching.
THe Upside of a Small Downpayment
The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20% or three percent, the increase in equity is going to be the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.
The Happy Medium
Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20% and an investment focused, small downpayment. It’s always a good idea to talk with your Realtor and your lender to discuss the potential paths for you and to see what strategy works best for you and your personal needs.
image courtesy of AleXander Agopian
Agent Joyce Marie Jackson returns for another installment in her “Credit Healthy” series with information about the all important pre-approval. A very important step in the process of buying a home, a lender’s pre-approval relies on several factors, including your credit score. Let’s hear from Joyce…
Too often, people are more interested in their credit score than what’s in their credit report. The truth is a person can have a good credit score and still not qualify for a loan or credit card for a number of reasons. This concern opens the door for one of the most important questions a Realtor will ask a potential buyer, “are you pre-approved?” This important question may cause a buyer to stop communicating with the Realtor…for some misunderstood reason, for some buyers, the question seems offensive and invasive.
If it was asked incorrectly, I understand. However, it is one of the most necessary questions a Realtor will ask a buyer in addition to asking if you are already signed with another Realtor. Too often a person pulls their credit history and gets their credit scores through a number of sources for free or a small fee. The scores that come with this type of report may show credit scores at a higher number than what a lender will pull. It is frustrating trying to understand why the scores are so different. More to the point, why are the Lender scores usually much lower than what the buyer can pull independently?
There are a few reasons why. Most lenders will pull the FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score and there are several types of FICO scores: FICO Auto Score (250-900), FICO Bank Card Score (250-900), and FICO Mortgage Score (300-850). Other types of FICO scores vary: FICO 5, FICO 2, FICO 4, FICO 8, and FICO 9 all exist. They are similar and different. In addition, all lenders may not use the same FICO score algorithm. The FICO score will consider more of your debt than other types of credit scoring systems.
Once a lender receives your three credit scores, lenders have a formula that they use to determine your final score. One example could be, from three credit bureau, your scores were 730, 685, and 710. The highest and lowest score is knocked out. The middle score will stand as the winning number, 710.
With other types of scoring systems such as Vantage, all debt may not be included therefore resulting in a higher credit score.
These are just a few reasons why your free credit scores may be higher than the one the lender will pull. So, what should you do? You can still get the credit report and use it to clean up anything that is not yours or should not be there. Once you’ve done the credit clean up, then allow a lender to pull your report and provided you with the scores that will be used to qualify you to purchase your home. The Lender will go over the report with you and provide tips if needed to help boost your score. After the lender receives requested documentation, verifies employment, and the credit score is right, you will receive a pre-approval letter naming the amount you can purchase at. Sounds like a plan. So, the next time a Realtor asks if you are pre-approved, don’t let that question scare or stop you from moving forward. Knowing the answer to that question will open the door for a successful home buying adventure.
image courtesy of karmadude
This week, we turn the keys over to agent Tatiana Delaserna and let her take over the blog. In this post, Tatiana discusses “FOMO” – we don’t want to spoil her article, but we have to say, it’s a very real thing and we love that she’s teaching her clients about it (and now, we benefit from it, because she’s sharing the knowledge with all of us).
FOMO – “Fear Of Missing Out” is real. It is especially real in real estate – it is the very reason we see multiple offers on a freshly listed home. The ability to leverage this emotional response from buyers has never been so powerful as it is today thanks to our integrated world of social media, websites like zillow.com, and instant satisfaction consumers crave on all aspects of life. Because buyers can see in real time when a home hits the market, the idea of “you only get one time to make a great first impression” is more impactful than ever. If a buyer sees a home that looks great on pictures, in an area they have been looking for, and for the right price, they start wondering who else saw it too and the race begins.
Unfortunately, the opposite has also never been more damaging to sellers. When a buyer disqualifies your property, they will never revisit it online (they can block that home permanently!). If they feel it is overpriced, they will save it, and wait on the sidelines to see when seller will drop the price.
The three components of creating the perfect FOMO are visual appeal, being at the right place at the right time, and price.
- Visual appeal – Over 96% of all buyers start shopping online…and they will move on if you do not catch their attention within the first 3 seconds. If they cannot see how great your home is from the pictures, then you may have lost the “perfect buyer.” Taking the time to prepare your home before it hits the market is not a luxury, it’s a must if you want to ignite the desire of buyers. At Kimberly Howell Properties, many of our agents work closely with stagers for this exact reason.
- Being at the right place at the right time – Your property has to be seen by the right people at the right time (when they are in the market to buy!). If a buyer sees your property popping up in all the places she has been looking, the reality that other buyers are seeing it too hits home quickly. Unlike at our favorite clothing store, there is no way the buyer can hide your home behind the out of season sweaters – the only way of hiding it from other buyers is to submit a competitive offer and take it off the market!
- Price – There is that saying, “everything sells…at the right price.” The thing is, many times that “right price” is very different from what a seller has in mind and what the market will bear (what a buyer will ultimately be willing to pay for it). There are several pricing strategies for each seller situation but if we want to create that fear of missing out, there are some time tested principles successful listing agents utilize.
Remember, the biggest enemy of creating FOMO is days on market. The longer you property sits on the market, the less buyers worry someone will come and snag it from them. They have less and less desire to submit a strong offer and start to wonder why no one has bought it yet. It becomes a vicious cycle – they wonder what is wrong with it. Do not let your home become victim of “nobody wants what nobody wants,” let’s work together to create the perfect FOMO storm!
Once upon a time, we all started at the beginning, with a fresh new real estate license in our hands and a ton of things to learn in front of us…being licensed is one thing, but becoming an incredible agent takes time. Jessica Flores remembers her days at the beginning and in this post, she speaks to those that are just wrapping up their licensing process and entering the world of real estate for the first time. We’ll step aside and let her do the rest…
Congratulations! You just passed your state and national real estate exam and you are ready to go sell houses. But where do you start?
Well, first off, you are now an independent contractor, but you are required to be sponsored by a broker. So how do you choose your brokerage?
This may seem like an easy answer, but in reality your choice can be the difference between making it or giving up.
There are many brokerages that you can choose to interview with. You should take the time to find out which is the right fit for you. Some questions you may want to ask include: Will training and education be offered? What are office fees, if any? What type of support system is included? What are the commission splits? The answers you receive can help you decide where you will thrive.
Once you have decided where you will hang your license it is time to get to work. This is the hardest part. What you learned in real estate school does not fully prepare you for what you will be doing. What you have seen on the cable TV network shows is even further from the reality of the amount of hard work, hours, and dedication that is needed to become a producing agent.
But don’t let that scare you. If it is something that you really want to achieve then it will require work and often anything of worth requires hard work.
Now, don’t fret, get to work. Go help people to sell their homes and help others make new memories by getting them into their dream home.
image courtesy of j.o.h.n. walker
When it comes to buying a home, few things are more important than your credit. The better it is, the more buying power you have. In this article the first is a series of posts entitled “Credit Healthy,” agent Joyce Marie Jackson breaks down your credit score and takes a look at what it takes to build your credit health from the bottom up. Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or this is one of many purchases you’ve made in your lifetime, it pays to understand what goes into your credit score so you can be prepared when it comes time to buy. Enough from us…we’ll let Joyce take it from here…
Too often a buyer is so excited about buying a home, the basics are forgotten.
You’ve saved some money, that’s good, and maybe paid down some of you debt. Your lease is coming to an end soon, so I guess it’s time to shop for a home. Is that it or are there other steps?
Here’s an option:
- Contact your financial institution and inquire if they offer a credit score and/or monitoring plan for free or for a small fee. You may ask yourself, “Why do I need to do this?”
The reason is because before you can start a plan, you must know where you stand. Knowing what’s in your credit report is the first step in identifying the health of your credit worthiness.
Your credit worthiness is what a lender will use to approve or disapprove you for a mortgage loan. It’s all in the report, but it’s up to you to make sure it’s accurate.
- Know how your FICO score is determined.
- 35% – Payment History – Always make your payments on time.
- 30% – Amounts Owed – Knowing your credit limit is key. The amount you owe and the amount your have available will determine your utilization ratio and debt ratio.
- 15% – Length of Credit History – The age of an account is important. The longer you have a particular credit card, the better. If you decide to pay it off, that’s great! Just don’t close it out. Closing out a credit card that you’ve had for a long time can lower your credit score.
- 10% – Type of Credit Used – Similar to building your retirement portfolio, your credit should also contain a mixture of different types of credit, such as credit cards which are usually revolving credit, fixed loans, and other mixtures of credit.
- 10% – New Credit – New credit and the available amount. Don’t max it out.
- So, 35+30+15+10+10 = 100% of your FICO score.
You’ve identified what’s in your credit report and taken steps to make the report accurate. You know what makes up a credit score and what parts you may need to work on in order to increase it. Saving is also key and must be part of the budget. In addition to having a great credit score and low to no debt, there is still a need to have available funds for various buyer expense such as inspections, appraisal, earnest money, option money, closing costs, and down payment. Sounds scary and it can be, but if you are prepared it will be less stressful. Does this mean buyers have to have perfect credit and be debt free before they should purchase a home? No, it just means that the more you know and the better prepared you are, the better your home buying experience will be. So, “Build It Right from Ground Zero.”
image courtesy of zeevveez
It’s move in day! Moving into a new home is an exciting time. So much to do; trying to remember where you put your spoons or your coffee mugs, running up and down steps, paying the movers, meeting the neighbors for the first time while your hair is sticking up and you look like you just rolled out of bed, calming the cat down because she’s probably freaking out right about now…whew. Who else is tired already? Now you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture, but before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.
Change the locks. Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Even if the sellers handed you all of their keys, you never know if they made one for their uncle that time he stayed for a week or the maid and their best friend has one “just in case.” Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money. It’s also advisable to change the garage door code if you have a keypad entry. Not sure how to do it? Find your model and then look up the manual at ManualsLib.
Steam clean the carpets. It’s always a good idea to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It will also help freshen up the smell of the new place – it’s amazing how much odor gets trapped in those carpets! It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner – most HEBs carry them as well as the big box hardware stores. Not in the DIY mood? Call a steam cleaning company and have them arrive before your move in day.
Call an exterminator. Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. You’ve probably had a WDI inspection, but those only look for wood destroying insects. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home. Here in South Texas we have a lot of creepy crawlies and a good, regular pest control service will help keep the insects at bay.
Clean out the kitchen. If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances. If you’re feeling brave, see if you can pull out appliances like the refrigerator, stove/range, and dishwasher to get under and behind those. Be careful though, those appliances may be attached and can be heavy.
image courtesy of Genista
Breathtaking contemporary, luxury home in Hidden Canyon being built for a cause! This four bedroom, three and a half bath home by Stadler Custom Homes will be sold with the proceeds benefiting Military Warriors Support Foundation and the San Antonio Food Bank. The Preserve at Hidden Canyon is Stone Oak’s latest, premier, gated neighborhood and features an amenity center with pool, soccer fields, and clubhouse as well as nature trails and protected green spaces.
To purchase this home, please contact Kimberly Howell at (210) 861-0188 and ask about the HomeBuild4Heroes home, located in Hidden Canyon.
To learn more about the home and its construction or if you would like to know how you could customize the home to your liking, please contact Stadler Custom Homes at (830) 980-4198.
For more information about Military Warriors Support Foundation, please visit us at www.militarywarriors.org.
For more information about San Antonio Food Bank, please visit them at www.safoodbank.org.
To donate towards the cost of the home:, please visit HomeBuild4Heros at Zola.com
650 Winding Ravine San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 4 Baths 4,814 SqFt 1.080 Acres
When you put your home up for sale, there is a lot that happens “behind the scenes” in order to come up with the right price. You’ve heard about comparable sales (or “comps” as they’re often referred to) and they are hands down one of the best ways to determine the asking price for your home. There’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area. It’s both an art and a science and finding the balance between the two is the key to successfully pricing a home. Here are a few of the things we look for when working on pricing your home and preparing a CMA (comparative market analysis).
Location. Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better. We typically will start with a very narrow focus (street level, neighborhood) and then widen the scope to look further out if we’re not finding a lot of sales in the area.
Date of sale. We don’t want to use homes that sold too long ago as market conditions shift over time. A good rule of thumb is to look within the last three months, although exceptions can be made for unique properties that are not as easy to define. The closer the date, the better for comparable purposes as even a couple of months can shift the market in a different direction. Other factors, like time of year should also be considered (ie a home in the springtime market is more likely to sell faster and for a higher price than one sold in December).
Home build. Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics. We will often try to compare to the same builder or floorplan if possible. Knowing who built in a neighborhood and where else they have built can be a huge help in knowing where to look for potential comparable sales.
Features and upgrades. Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price, and so can less flashy upgrades like a new roof or HVAC system. We want to be sure to look for similar bells and whistles. If properties with similar upgrades can’t be found, adjustments can be made to compensate although it is worth noting that these upgrades never come with a dollar-to-dollar value.
Sale types and terms. Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons. Other items like seller paid closing costs and concessions should be looked at as well. A home that sold for $10,000 over asking price that included $10,000 in seller paid closing costs isn’t the same as a house that sold for $10,000 over asking with no seller concessions.
image courtesy of AlanH2O
You’ve most likely heard the rule or had one of your friends give you the advice: save for a 20 percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long term goal. As with any financial plan, you have to look at the pros and cons and determine which benefits you more both in the short and long term. It is always advisable to discuss with your lender and your CPA to see where and how you can maximize the benefits. Larger down payments can help you get favorable rates from lenders, but there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a smaller down payment, something as low as three and a half percent, rather than parting with so much cash up front, even when you have the extra money available.
The downsides of a smaller down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20 percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.
The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three and a half percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.
THE HAPPY MEDIUM
Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20 percent and an investment focused, smaller down payment. Your real estate agent can provide some answers and introduce you to a lender as you explore your financing options. Sitting down with the lender and discussing the finer details of your goals and your plans can help you make the best decision for you at this particular point in your life.
image courtesy of Mukumbura