Category Archives: Community NEWS

Five ways you can get earnest money back

EARNEST MONEY = “GOOD FAITH” DEPOSIT

get-em-back

No matter how much time you spend on researching and educating yourself about your home purchase, it’s hard to cover every detail. Here are a few tips for avoiding rookie mistakes with your first home purchase. Earnest money is a deposit you pay when you make an offer on a home—it’s a way to show the seller that you mean business. Usually, you can’t get it back, but there are several circumstances that allow you to recover your earnest money.

  1. Appraisal contingency: With an appraisal contingency, you can recover your earnest money if the home is appraised for less than your offer. This gives you a better negotiating position—if the seller doesn’t agree to a lower price, you can get your earnest money back and walk away from the deal.
  2. Major problems with the home: It may be your dream home at the surface level, but an inspection could reveal major, major problems—such as issues with the foundation, or flood damage. In that case, you can get your money back if the seller doesn’t agree to a lower price.
  3. The seller backs out: Obviously if the seller changes their mind about the transaction—maybe they decide not to sell or accept a higher offer—you get your earnest money back.
  4. Your house hasn’t sold: Many buyers can’t afford a new home if they’re still financially responsible for their old one. In this case, you can work a sale contingency into the contract, and get your earnest money back if the home doesn’t sell soon enough.
  5. Financing issues: Though there are some limits on financing contingencies, you can get your money back if you’re unable to get a loan.

NOTE FROM AGENT VAL:

Contracts vary from state to state. Consult your REALTOR® and/or Real Estate Attorney regarding details specific to your contract. REALTORS® cannot offer legal advice.

If you are looking to buy or sell real estate (first home, luxury home, garden home, duplex, condominium, townhouse, investment property, vacation home, etc…), and you are not currently represented by a Texas REALTOR® or Attorney, I would love the opportunity to assist you!

Send a private message and I will help you find the best path to your real estate goals!

logo with metroVal J Aranda, REALTOR® & Certified Home Marketing Specialist

“Coaching Texas Home Buyers and Sellers”

Metro Realty Logo

4007 McCullough Ave, Suite #477
San Antonio, TX 78212 | Call/Text Val: 210-378-5987

The advice and opinions expressed and shared on AgentVal.com are the sole opinions and advice offered by Val J Aranda, Metro Realty. This is not intended to solicit business from consumers under a Buyer/Broker Agreement or Listing Agreement with another Real Estate Firm.

Budget friendly projects with a big Return of Investment (ROI)

crop_sm_Remolding

Not all home improvement projects are created equal. Some renovations may cost a lot but not add significant value to your home. This list goes in the opposite direction: Here are some inexpensive home improvement projects that will not only increase your enjoyment of your home, but will also increase the home’s value.

  1. High quality ceiling fans: In a recent National Association of Home Builders survey, ceiling fans ranked No. 1 as the most-wanted decorative item. If your ceiling fans are outdated, replace them with something in the $400 range—it’ll make a big difference when it’s time to sell.
  2. Trees: Mature trees can be worth as much as $10,000 toward the value of your home. Trees also protect your home from the elements and prevent erosion.
  3. Energy efficiency: Buyers are increasingly interested in saving energy, so any efficiency update is worthwhile. Switching from a wood to gas fireplace is a great start.
  4. Outdoor lighting: Exterior lighting is great for highlighting the accents of your home, and you can typically expect a 50 percent return on investment.
  5. Molding: You can finish a room with crown molding or railing for as little as $1.50 per foot if you take a DIY approach, and it’s extremely desirable among prospective buyers.

Are you thinking about selling soon but are not sure if your house is “ready”? Since each listing should showcase its own personality, it helps (and it is encouraged) to have a Professional tour your property for advice on how to properly and effectively prepare your listing. A professional Property Stager, a Certified Home Marketing Specialist (CHMS), and/or a REALTOR® can create a custom list of “to-dos” to help dress your house for a successful sale. Having a pre-listing walk-through with a Pro can save you from spending money on the wrong home improvements.

An experienced local REALTOR® is likely to have a team of people who can assist you with listing preparations. Make one call and get it all done – call your favorite REALTOR® first!

We know what it takes to get a house sold the quickest and for the most money. Let our experience help get you the biggest bang for your buck!  ~Agent Val, metro realty

Have Questions? I’m here to help. Send a quick message for a FREE CONSULTATION:

Val-A-Homes

Val J Aranda, REALTOR® & Certified Home Marketing Specialist

“Coaching Texas Home Buyers and Sellers”

Metro Realty Logo

4007 McCullough Ave, Suite #477
San Antonio, TX 78212 | Call/Text Val: 210-378-5987

The advice and opinions expressed and shared on AgentVal.com are the sole opinions and advice offered by Val J Aranda, Metro Realty. This is not intended to solicit business from consumers under a Buyer/Broker Agreement or Listing Agreement with another Real Estate Firm.

What to avoid before you buy a home

Even with the help of a trusted real estate professional, it’s easy to fall into some common traps when you’re buying a home. Here are some of the most common regrets from home buyers—make sure to consider them before you make similar decisions.

Using all of your savings
It can be tempting to throw all the cash you have into your down payment so that you can have a lower monthly payment. But keep in mind that there are several other costs on the horizon—closing costs, inspection, and more. There will also be surprise repairs, taxes, and home maintenance. It’s a good idea to keep some cash in reserve for hidden or unexpected costs.

Borrowing the full amount offered
Banks will often offer a bigger loan than you can comfortably afford. You may be able to pay the mortgage, but it’ll really tighten your budget. A good rule of thumb is to only take 80% of what’s offered. That’ll give you a lot more flexibility in the long term.

Assuming you’ll like the neighbors
Your neighborhood is part of the package when you buy a home, so it’s important to learn about your next door neighbors. Make an effort to do a little homework on the neighbors, and their history with pets, home maintenance, and general behavior. You don’t want to be stuck living next to someone who is rude or inconsiderate.

Thinking short term with your loan
An ARM with low introductory rate and mortgage payment can be attractive. It’s easy to think “I’ll be making more money when the rate gets adjusted.” But life can throw you some surprises, and there’s great security in knowing that your payment will be consistent for 15 or 30 years. If possible, go for the fixed-rate mortgage.

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Val-A-Homes

Val J Aranda, REALTOR® & Certified Home Marketing Specialist

“Coaching Texas Home Buyers and Sellers”

Metro Realty Logo

4007 McCullough Ave, Suite #477
San Antonio, TX 78212 | Call/Text Val: 210-378-5987

The advice and opinions expressed and shared on AgentVal.com are the sole opinions and advice offered by Val J Aranda, Metro Realty. This is not intended to solicit business from consumers under a Buyer/Broker Agreement or Listing Agreement with another Real Estate Firm.

Casa Blanca, Alamo Ranch – The experience

casa blancaI love going to the movies, bowling, and wining & dining. Now, at Casa Blanca – Alamo Ranch, we can enjoy the splendors of a date night (or night out with friends) all in one place!
HERE’S MY EXPERIENCE FROM OPENING DAY (06-09-2016)
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The seats are reserved. You’ll know if you have recliners when you order. When you arrive to the theater, go directly to a kiosk and select, “pick up tickets.” As soon as you swipe the credit card you used for your online purchase, your tickets will dispense! SO EASY – SO COOL! (You can also enter your order number to get your tickets).
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PARKING & ENTRANCE:
There will likely be a LONG line waiting to turn onto Alamo Ranch Parkway (between Casa Blanca and Lowe’s). Go to the next entrance, you’ll see “Now Open” flags. That small road will take you directly to the theater’s parking lot. Since few people took this road, there were plenty of parking spaces when we arrived.
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DINING & RECLINING:
Not all theaters offer table-side food delivery and the fancy electronic recliners. THEATER #12 is one with both dining and reclining! FINALLY, we get to feel at home in a movie theater. Stretch your legs, lean back, and have someone walk in front of you from time to time – just like home! There’s ample space between rows, so for once, no one was kicking the back of my seat or smacking my head with a purse. IT WAS AWESOME!
They have a fancy call-light instead of the antiquated paper notice when it’s time to order food and drinks. We ordered popcorn, beer, a slice of pizza, and a Bleu Burger with fries. THE FOOD WAS FOODGASMIC. I loved my burger (when I finally got it)! You can order a whole pizza and they’ll deliver it to you in a pizza box.
I was expecting some hiccups in food service since this was opening day. Our meal ended up being complimentary since it arrived so late in the movie.
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CASA BLANCA – THE EXPERIENCE
I had hopes for grandeur. I expected to walk in and gasp with my hand over my heart, like I did when Palladium opened. Casa Blanca is a single-story little sibling to Palladium. But what they’ve jam-packed is impressive nonetheless. Kiosks as you enter (instead of a ticket booth), a bar to your left with 16 bowling lanes behind it, a bar and food service to your right, Starbucks and ice cream in the center, a video game room in the rear left corner, and 16 movie theaters along the back. Casa Blanca was smaller than what I expected, but I will still claim this as my new place for movies! As for the bowling, when the hype dwindles, I would totally bowl here. For just over $20/hour for up to 8 people, it just might be better than Main Event.
~Agent Val
(Blogging is for fun, real estate is for life!)
casa blanca1
(from left to right: David G., Anne G., Blanca B., and Val Aranda)

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Keeping my day job.

Val J Aranda, Metro Realty – San Antonio, TX

How Veterans and First-Time Home Buyers can find the best Home Loan in Texas

mortgage options fha va 203k arrowsDID YOU KNOW you have options when applying for a home loan?

DID YOU KNOW most big banks and credit unions DO NOT offer FHA, VA, Texas Vet and/or USDA loans? What are all those acronyms, you ask? They’re your link to zero-down or low down payment loans for Veterans, First-Time Home Buyers, and/or Buyers who haven’t purchased a home in the past 36 months.

It’s already a little confusing, right? That’s why you want to speak with someone who works with mortgage banks and mortgage brokers EVERY DAY. Just because a TV ad sounds appealing, or a local credit union swears on their service, don’t feel like it’s your only option.

It’s okay to apply with your financial institution if you’re curious about qualifying. But go to a trusted source for a second or third opinion. You’ll be surprised at the different options, the difference in the cash needed to close, and the difference in FEES, FEES, FEES!

LOOKING FOR GUIDANCE?
NEED SOME DIRECTION?

Call/Text/Email us. We’ll help you find the BEST loan for your BUCK!

We work for Y-O-U.
~Agent Val

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Val-A-Homes

Val J Aranda, REALTOR® & Certified Home Marketing Specialist

“Coaching Texas Home Buyers and Sellers”

Metro Realty Logo

4007 McCullough Ave, Suite #477
San Antonio, TX 78212 | Call/Text Val: 210-378-5987

The advice and opinions expressed on AgentVal.com are the sole opinions and advice offered by Val J Aranda, Metro Realty. This is not intended to solicit business from consumers under a Buyer/Broker agreement with another Real Estate Firm.

New Listings in Real-Time! It’s finally here in San Antonio, TX

HAS THIS HAPPENED TO YOU?

You see a “New” listing you like and ask your REALTOR® to show it to you. After you walk through the home, you say, “let’s make an offer!” Your REALTOR® gets in his/her car, calls the listing agent immediately and hears, “sorry, we JUST accepted an offer.”

It’s happening OVER and OVER and OVER again. If you and your agent are acting quickly to see new listings, the “timing” is not your fault nor your agent’s. In the Greater San Antonio area, specifically, we are experiencing a shortage in housing inventory. Basically, there are more buyers than homes for sale. Low supply and high demand.

Today, when a new listing hits the market, every buyer looking for that type of house is making arrangements with their REALTOR® to tour it right away. If a buyer is touring the home in the morning, they are probably making an offer while the 8 t0 5 folks are on their lunch breaks. By the time daytime workers see the home at 5:45 pm, there could be an accepted offer or multiple offers by then.

In this scenario, it doesn’t matter how fast you get “New” listings in your inbox. If you can’t see the home right away, you may miss out on it.

But, if you have a day off, a weekend off, or you’re available during a holiday, an instant and REAL-TIME MLS Alert could mean the difference between a lost deal and a done deal!
REAL TIME LISTINGS-fb postIf you are working with a San Antonio REALTOR®, today’s your lucky day! Overnight last night and into the wee hours of this morning (5/3/2016), our San Antonio Board of REALTORS® (SABOR) revamped our Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to offer our clients REAL-TIME MLS ALERTS! YES!

So, if you don’t mind multiple emails from MLS, contact
your REALTOR® and request REAL-TIME MLS ALERTS. When a new listing hits the market, you will receive the listing information INSTANTLY!

SERVICE AREAS INCLUDE BUT NOT LIMITED TO: San Antonio Board of REALTORS® (SABOR) listings in and around Leon Valley, Helotes, San Antonio, Shavano Park, Hollywood Park, Timberwood Park, Stone Oak, Castle Hills, Balcones Heights, Alamo Heights, Windcrest, Wilford Hall USAF, Brooks AFB, Fort Sam Houston, Randolph AFB, Converse, New Braunfels, Cibolo, and more.

*Don’t have a REALTOR®, yet? Scroll below to enroll today!*

 

NOW AVAILABLE - REAL TIME LISTINGS

Don’t have a REALTOR®? Give me a call. I’d love the opportunity to assist you with your home buying process. We’ll take care of you from our first handshake to closing day (and beyond).

~Agent Val

*** *** REAL-TIME SABOR MLS ALERT SIGN-UP *** ***

If you are a customer or client of Val J Aranda, Metro Realty, and would like REAL-TIME MLS ALERTS of New Listings, please fill out and submit the form below. Your information will be kept confidential. NO WORRIES – NO SPAM – NO OBLIGATION (EVER)!

 

The advice and opinions expressed in this graphic and on AgentVal.com are the sole opinions and advice offered by Val J Aranda, Metro Realty. This is not intended to solicit business from consumers under a Buyer/Broker agreement with another Real Estate Firm.

WHICH WEBSITE IS THE BEST AND MOST ACCURATE FOR LOCAL HOME SEARCHES?

In short, there are NO PUBLIC SITES who can publish listings in real-time. Real-time listings are limited to REALTORS® who are members of their local Board and who are subscribed to the Board’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

The closest to “real-time” you can get today is from REALTOR.com. REALTOR.com updates every 15 minutes. All other public websites update so sporadically that it’s difficult to know what’s current. Some sites are even known to throw in some OLD & SOLD listings just to generate business. So, be careful where you register your personal information.

For THE MOST CURRENT listing data, you can rely on your REALTOR®. Not only do we have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), but we can and will contact listing agents for the most updated listing status, current offer situation, and/or showing availability.

REAL TIME LISTINGS.jpg


REAL-TIME LISTINGS FOR CLIENTS COMING SOON!

If you are a customer or client of Val J Aranda, Metro Realty, and would like REAL-TIME LISTINGS when they come available, please submit the form below. Your information will be kept confidential. NO WORRIES – NO SPAM!

The New and Improved Doorbell

doorbell new improvedYou’re probably familiar with devices like Nest, which use smart technology to automate your thermostat and save you money. Think of Ring as the Nest of doorbells. It’s a product that replaces your standard doorbell with a device that connects to your home WiFi connection and sends video and audio of your doorstep to your mobile device.

In other words, you can use your smartphone to see who’s at the door, and you can do it from anywhere in the world.

It brings a whole new level of convenience. You’ll never have to worry about missing a delivery or having a package left in the wrong place—you can be at work when FedEx arrives, and use the intercom feature to tell the delivery man to leave the package where you please.

It’s also a great security tool. You can use the intercom to give the appearance that you’re home, turning away everyone from annoying salesmen to potential burglars. It activates with motion detection, so you don’t have to wait for the doorbell to ring before you’re alerted that someone is at your home.

There are various ways to install Ring, and it starts at $199. Go to ring.com to learn more.

When looking for a rental, should I hire a REALTOR or an Apartment Locator?

Published on Mar 31, 2016

Frequently Asked Question:

faq

“When looking for a rental, should I use a REALTOR® or an Apartment Locator? What’s the difference?”

THE SCOOP:
I’ve been receiving a lot of rental referrals lately. One of the first questions I’m asked from renters is, “how does this work?” in regard to my service. The other question that most people ask (or hesitate to ask) is, “what do you charge? Do I pay you?”

My name is Val Aranda and I’m a Texas REALTOR® in San Antonio. This short video will explain what my FREE RENTAL SERVICES include. I will also briefly explain what an Apartment Locator does.

Are you new to San Antonio or are you just looking for a new place to hang your hat?

Whether you’re looking to buy, build, sell, or rent, I’m at your service. Let me know how I can help you!

~Agent Val

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Val-A-Homes

Val J Aranda, REALTOR® & Certified Home Marketing Specialist

“Coaching Texas Home Buyers and Sellers”

Metro Realty Logo

4007 McCullough Ave, Suite #477
San Antonio, TX 78212 | Call/Text Val: 210-378-5987

Can I look at a new listing after I’ve submitted an offer on a home?

Advice from Val J Aranda, Metro Realty

Every REALTOR® has a different perspective on ways to best serve our clients. Every piece of advice varies from client to client because everyone’s needs vary. The advice and opinions offered on the video are the opinion of Agent Val in San Antonio.

My advice is based on the experiences I’ve had with my clients. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in San Antonio, I will tailor my services to suit YOUR needs.

~Agent Val

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