It’s always good to remember to leave the stress behind when buying a home. There is a lot going on during the transaction and it’s easy for the best of us to let it get to us. Take our advice with these 5 simple secrets to a stress free transaction. With a little preparation, communication, and flexibility, you can be on your way to a smooth sailing transaction. Of course, the best way to have a stress free transaction is to call a Kimberly Howell Properties agent (you knew we were going to say it!). Want a downloadable PDF to share with your friends?
Negotiations can be a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties – the so-called “win-win” situation. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly and make even the most agreeable sellers quickly say no and shut down the process. Negotiations are both an art and a science and there are plenty of opinions on how to best handle them, particularly when it comes to real estate. Here are five of the most common negotiation tactics we see that buyers can resist to avoid killing the sale.
- Lowball offers. Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer. While we encourage our sellers to look at all offers and counter even the lowest of them, sometimes the lowball offers backfire and no amount of change in the offer price will get the sellers back to the negotiating table.
- Incremental negotiations. Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities. This can be especially true in hot market where multiple offers are common – someone is going to step up with a bigger, better offer quickly and you’ll find yourself left holding the bag.
- “Take it or leave it.” Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it. Remember, a seller spent their life in this home so it often means a lot more to them than just price.
- Nitpicking after inspection. Obviously if a home inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate. Whether you’re asking for price concessions or the actual repairs, remember that most people are simply not going to fix everything.
- Asking for more, more, more. Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to feel that they’re doing all of the giving. Give a little to get a little as they say…the more flexibility you show, the more flexible they will become.
image courtesy of rbrwr
When you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, it’s important to remember that you want to show it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells…and for what price. Some of these items won’t cost you a lot and can be done over a weekend or two and if DIY home repair just isn’t your thing, these can be done by a local handyman for not a lot of money. Here are our top five recommended repairs to make before listing your home and putting it on the market.
Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to make it look great, and generally, it can be a weekend DIY project. Make sure to cover any walls with scratches and chips (and patch and re-texture if the damage is large enough) and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.
Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting or having them professional steam cleaned can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new!
Refresh The Landscaping
Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the in. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and put down a fresh layer of mulch. Make sure you keep the lawn watered and green.
Fix Your Fixtures
Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detail-orientated minds. Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can really detract from your homes other better qualities. Updating cabinetry (even just changing out the hardware or painting cabinets can help), repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment.
Small changes can make a large impact and it’s always a good idea to knock out some of those quick fixes you’ve been meaning to get to, but never can seem to get crossed off your list.
image courtesy of emily @ go haus go
If you have unused medications laying around the house, you can safely dispose of them at the MedDropSA event sponsored by SAWS, SAPD, and the City of San Antonio. On January 26 from 8am-1pm you can bring prescriptions, unwanted and unused medications, and other household hazardous waste to the Bulky Waste Collection Center at 2755 Rigsby Avenue. These items will be accepted free of charge and disposed of in a safe manner. Proper disposal of medications helps keep drugs that can be abused off the streets along with keeping them out of the reach of children and out of our water system (flushing medications down the drain is not a safe disposal method!). For more information, visit the MedDropSA.com website (you can also see other dates and sites for safe disposal of unwanted and unused medications).
image courtesy of e-MagineArt.com
Join Kimberly Howell Properties and McNair Custom Homes for the Dream Home Open House event in Canyons at Scenic Loop this weekend, January 19 and 20, for a tour of this beautiful home and many others. The top builders will have models open and you won’t want to miss McNair Custom Homes open house at 10211 Nina Ridge, a 5,246 sq. ft. 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath two story home on over a half acre. We’ll have agents their to guide you through the property and showcase some of the custom detailing throughout. And of course, this home comes complete with McNair Custom Homes legendary energy efficiency, which will save you money with their heating and cooling cost one year guarantee. Don’t miss this event if you’re interested in living in Canyons at Scenic Loop!
When: Saturday, January 19, 10am-5pm and Sunday, January 20, 11am-5pm
Where: Canyons at Scenic Loop
Homes for Sale in Canyons at Scenic Loop
22977 Stallion Ridge San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 4 Baths 4,814 SqFt 7.305 Acres
Listing courtesy of Blain Johnson with JB Goodwin, REALTORS
23315 PEPPER CANYON San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 6 Baths 5,250 SqFt 1.070 Acres
Listing courtesy of Shane Neal with Keller Williams City-View
9743 Autumn Canyon San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 5 Baths 5,058 SqFt 1.146 Acres
Listing courtesy of Kimberly Stewart with JB Goodwin, REALTORS
23413 Joshua Creek San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 4 Baths 4,600 SqFt 0.602 Acres
Listing courtesy of Michael Harrell with Rhapsody Realty Services, LLC
22911 Linwood Ridge San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 5 Baths 3,894 SqFt 0.529 Acres
Listing courtesy of Holly Floyd with Fathom Realty
9707 Autumn Canyon San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 5 Baths 4,162 SqFt 1.010 Acres
Listing courtesy of Pamela Roberts with Keller Williams Heritage
23115 Norfolk Canyon San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 4 Baths 3,984 SqFt 0.660 Acres
Listing courtesy of Brittney Bounds with Phyllis Browning Company
10811 Kendall Canyon San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 5 Baths 3,907 SqFt 0.538 Acres
Listing courtesy of Johna Hutchison with JB Goodwin, REALTORS
22817 LINWOOD RDG San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 4 Baths 3,683 SqFt 0.710 Acres
Listing courtesy of Autumn Martens with Rainmaker Realty
22906 Linwood Ridge San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 5 Baths 3,925 SqFt 0.589 Acres
Listing courtesy of Miguel Herrera with CB Harper Global Luxury
10009 Ivory Canyon San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 5 Baths 3,805 SqFt 0.603 Acres
Listing courtesy of Carlton Simpson with Carlton S. Simpson
23214 HENNESS PASS San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 4 Baths 3,522 SqFt 0.530 Acres
Listing courtesy of Kara Gilbert with Texas Property Group
23406 Collin Canyon San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 5 Baths 4,155 SqFt 1 Acres
Listing courtesy of Charo King with RE/MAX North-San Antonio
23417 EDENS CYN San Antonio, Texas
4 Beds 4 Baths 3,234 SqFt 0.550 Acres
Listing courtesy of Darren Graichen with Marshall Reddick Real Estate
Every year at Kimberly Howell Properties, we take a look back through the activity on our website to see what you’ve been looking at on the site and see what’s been on your minds. We try our best to put out content that you will find interesting and relevant to your real estate needs (and we’re always open to suggestions from our readers!). This year has been a great year on our website and we’ve added lots of new content as well as some new features (our latest IDX powering some of our property searches will see a big expansion through 2019). It’s definitely a labor of love – it takes a lot of work to bring you content that isn’t canned, cookie cutter rehashes of the same old recycled content, but it’s something we take great pride in and based on the feedback and compliments we’ve received from you over the years, we know it’s something you have come to expect from us. We promise to continue working to bring you the best content possible.
Here are the Top 10 Pages and Posts from our website through 2018:
10. Closing on a Home While You’re Out of Town? No matter where you are there’s always a solution to getting you closed, no matter where you are.
9. Disclosing Death in Texas We hear this question a lot and we see it’s a very popular Google search as well.
8. Time is of the Essence: What Does it Mean? Tick, tock. The countdown is on – what does this important real estate phrase mean in contracts?
7. Our Agents We’re proud of our agents and we love that you look them up and learn about them before picking up the phone!
6. What If Your Property Survey is Incorrect? It does happen from time to time – so what do you do when it’s discovered?
5. The Option Period: Termination and Timelines Real estate contracts have several important timelines and the option period is one of the most crucial to buyers.
4. Writing Effective Repair Amendments Repair amendments are a critical piece of the contract and writing them well is a skill.
3. What’s a T-47 and Why Do I Need One? Apparently, a lot of people have questions about this form that is used in conjunction with the survey.
2. Search for Homes We’re all here to talk about homes, so it’s no surprise that our search feature is one of the most popular items on our site.
1. Why is My Rental Application Taking So Long? No one likes waiting and we get a lot of questions about the length of time it takes to process applications.
image courtesy of Meno Istorija
We’ve written on this subject multiple times, but it never becomes less important. Recently, we’ve seen quite a few clients choose to go without an inspection on a new build home and we’re concerned it may be a growing trend. A general home inspection (and at times other key inspections like pool, HVAC, well, septic, etc.) is an essential part of the home buying process. Common wisdom is that when you inspect an older home you will find problems – no home is perfect. We’d like to make it common wisdom that if you inspect any home, old or new, you will find problems. It’s just a fact of life.
We could write lists of things we’ve discovered on inspections at new homes: windows not caulked and sealed, fireplaces built in the wrong place, missing wiring, wrong appliances, broken appliances, exterior walls missing insulation, dangerous wiring improperly done, doors you couldn’t open, windows installed crooked…it’s an endless list. Pointing this out is not to say all builders are bad, but rather all builders are human. Ever have a bad day at work and know your focus isn’t solid like it should be? Ever had family stuff distract you from the work in front of you? Ever just flat out forget a key step in what you do day in and day out and realize it days later after it’s too late to correct? It happens to all of us.
Inspections allow you a second set of eyes to look at the things. They allow you an independent opinion of the house. All builders go through their own inspection processes, but those inspections are designed to benefit them, not you. That’s not to say they’re shady and one big set up, it’s just that we all have our focus – the builder’s is not exactly the same as yours.
An inspection will cost you money, but the money you spend will save you money by finding the problems before they become big problems later. Talk to your agent about getting an inspection and if your builder discourages you from getting one, let the red flags wave.
image courtesy of dynamosquito
We wanted to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas. Regardless of your beliefs or personal traditions, we hope you have a wonderful time and get to spend some time with your families and friends. While the holiday maybe rooted in religious traditions, we find it to be a great time to look around and celebrate with loved ones and share with those who may not be as fortunate. It’s about the spirit of the season and we want you all to have a great day. Kimberly Howell Properties and its family of agent’s will do our best to relax and enjoy a little time off as our offices will be closed Christmas Eve (December 24) and Christmas Day (December 25). We’ll be back on Wednesday and ready to wrap the year up.
image courtesy of nan palmero
Your eyes are incredibly complex human machines. If you don’t believe me, google any one of the thousands of optical illusions that get passed around the internet – like what color is the dress or are the plates upside down or right side up. The eye can play tricks on you and when it comes to painting and choosing paint colors, you often have to try and outthink your eyes. We sat with a designer recently and discussed how choosing paint colors can be difficult but with the right mindset, you can overcome some of the common things that come up.
Darker isn’t always darker. One of the first things people think about a particular color is that it’s too dark. While it can be, it’s not always the truth. Dark colors can actually draw in more light and make rooms seem brighter. Painting an entire room black probably isn’t going to work to make it look sunny, but you’d be surprised how dark colors can actually lighten a room.
Test in large areas. Most people will paint small swatches on their wall when trying to make a decision. The designer suggests painting large patches – think feet, not inches to truly get a good idea.
Let the paint dry. Paint colors change as they dry (and they dry differently on different walls and surfaces).
Don’t always count on a color that looks good in your friend’s house. Paints are affected by a lot of factors and what looks one way in your friend’s house may not look anything like that in yours. Everything from the surface to the natural lighting to the objects in the room can make the color look completely different.
If you just don’t feel you have an eye for it, don’t be afraid to ask the experts in the store or to hire a designer or professional painter to assist. Not everyone has the natural ability to bring color and design together to make those picture perfect rooms that we all dream of having.
image courtesy of acme
They say having plants in your home will make you happier and healthier. A burst of green along with the fresh, clean smell of flowers are welcoming and comforting and can take a house to a place you’ll call home. So what do you choose? How do you keep your plants thriving? Do you have a green thumb?
I’m not the best at keeping plants going. It’s a curse I was born with, but I continue to try. I’ll buy a plant, try and solve its riddle and usually succeed for awhile, but then somewhere along the line, the leaves start to turn brown and the plant starts to look a little rough. I google and try everything I can find, but in the end I tend to lose the battle. But I don’t like fake plants and refuse to use them in my home.
So how do you keep your plants alive?
Pick the right plants. Plants need sunlight to thrive and some need more than others. Pay attention to this when shopping – putting a sun thriving plant on a shady part of your living room is going to guarantee disaster. Also watch for drafts. You may have a bright sunny window, but if the cold air is creeping in through that window, all the sun in the world may not save the tropical plant you put it in.
Watch the water. One of the easiest things to do is to overwater a plant. Trust me. Making things worse, overwatered plants often have leaves that turn brown and start to curl up…which is also a good indication of underwatering. Watering is probably one of the hardest parts to master. If a plant seems to be dying and you’ve been watering, back off on the water and see if that helps.
Poor potting. Read about the plant and know how to set one up. Proper drainage is usually required on most plants. Leaving water stagnating at the bottom of the pot and close to the roots can cause all sorts of fungus and diseases in your plant that will kill it off slowly while you watch in horror and try in vain to stop the slow spread.
Feed me Seymour. Don’t forget to feed your plants with fertilizers. Check your plants’ specific needs. Since they are not living in soil whose nutrients are replenished in the natural cycle, you’ll need to replenish those nutrients through fertilizers.
Despite all that advice, I still admit to being really good at killing a plant. I’m currently nursing a bird of paradise and some orchids and while I refuse to give up, I have a larger plant that I think I need to admit defeat on. If you have some great tips, we’d love to hear them.
image courtesy of Amadeusz Leonardo Juskowiak