Category Archives: Home Buyers

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.

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!

1st TIME BUYER NEEDS A HOME

AgentVal.com | Metro Realty, San Antonio

AgentVal.com | Metro Realty, San Antonio

Three ways to ease your fears about making a move

With low inventory in many markets throughout the country, many homeowners are afraid to sell their homes because they’re concerned that they may not be able to find a new one. This can be a real problem, but if you are seeking to sell—whether to upgrade or find a new neighborhood—there are a few ways to combat the low inventory.

Look to buy first In most markets it is a real mistake to put your home up for sale before you start looking for your new property. Identify the geographic area where you are interested in buying. Even if you don’t see anything on Zillow, it doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t find the right home.

Think outside the box Be proactive! Keep in mind that there are probably many people like you who want to make a move but are afraid as well. Have your real estate agent send a letter to the neighborhoods in the geographic areas where you want to live. The letter should be heartfelt and personal while announcing that you are ready to buy a home in that neighborhood. You could find a home to buy that may not even be currently listed or for sale.

Protect yourself legally Each state varies in how the purchase process is conducted. Talk to your real estate professional about adding a clause in the purchase contract for the home you are selling that will enable you to not sell the home if you cannot find a suitable home to buy.


Have questions? Send a message or feel free to comment.

The hard truth about Renting versus Buying

rent-vs-own for fluffy

I recently had a conversation with a very intelligent young man who was SO convinced that renting was better than buying, his “wall” of judgement was too thick to penetrate. He wanted to “be convinced” otherwise. Look… there’s no other way to put it:

– a recent buyer-client moved into his new home around Christmas 2009
– mortgage payment:  roughly $1100/mo
– by late 2013 the home owner had about $15,000 in equity

Example:
Purchase Price December 2009:  $125,000
Market Value December 2013:  $140,000
Equity (profit):  $15,000

– mid-2014 his equity has jumped to about $25,000

Example:
Purchase Price December 2009:  $125,000
Today’s Market Value (July 2014):  $150,000
Equity:  $25,000

RESULTS – the renter versus the buyer:

– Ownership: $25,000 PROFIT accrued in 55 months (approx.)
– Renter: Just LOST $1100/month for 55 months totaling $60,500 (and that’s not taking rent increases into consideration after every lease renewal)

What do you think? Rent or buy?

No matter how you slice it, owning real estate can be much more profitable than playing the stock market. Where else can you get a +/-20.00% rate of return in less than 5 years?

THE TRUTH
I can’t guarantee these results with everyone, but I can stand by the value of real estate. The longer you own it, the more value it can have. Afraid of commitment? I’d be more concerned about never seeing $60,500 again.

This is a true story.


Yes, buying a home can be scary and intimidating, but don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you in the dark.  We can shine the light on the pros and cons of home-ownership.  If buying is a right fit for you, FANTASTIC!  We’ll guide you EVERY step of the way.  If renting is better for you right now, we can help with that too.  Rent or buy – as long as you know what your options are, we are here to take care of your needs. 

 

Val J Aranda, REALTOR® and Certified Home Marketing Specialist
“Coaching first-time Texas Home Buyers & Sellers”

METRO REALTY – SAN ANTONIO
http://www.facebook.com/agentval  -or- http://www.val-a-homes.com

IT’S A BIDDING WAR IN SAN ANTONIO!

I hadn’t even THOUGHT about selling my house, but after the month I’ve had, I’m thinking about it!  ~Agent Val

biddingWAR

It’s a bidding war!

The market started brewing at the beginning of the year, and it’s only getting HOTTER!

Listings are flying off the shelves!  If you happen to have a house for sale and you’re not getting any bites, you’re probably just priced too high.  If you’re still on the fence and waiting for the “right time to sell,” maybe these stories will push you off!

MY RECENT EXPERIENCES

REAL SCENARIO #1:
My San Antonio first-time home buyer was recently engaged to get married; we’ll call him Mr. Green (for the sake of privacy).  Mr. Green is ready to buy a home for himself and his bride-to-be.  One afternoon, I had arranged two showings for that same evening.  By 8:00 pm, we were touring house #2.

The house was in impeccable condition, priced within their budget and in an area they wanted.  In my book, that’s a grand slam!  I saw the stars twinkling in their eyes and knew I had to give them their fair warning,

“I know it seems quick guys, but if you want this home, we need to make an offer tonight!”

I saw their hesitation, so I shared the one common mistake many first-time home buyers make:

First-time home buyers are often surprised to find “the one” so quickly that they choose to “look at a few more, just to make sure.”  More often than not, that extra time results in a missed opportunity.  It’s during that “loss” when a buyer realizes just how much they wanted that home.  The side-effects of this mistake result in deep regret along with the buyer comparing every home thereafter to, “the one that got away.”  (It’s painful to watch.)

I gave them a brief moment to soak in the information and then I asked the million dollar question:

If I call you tomorrow to tell you this home is already sold, how would that make you feel?

I explained that I’d be in their corner regardless of their decision.  They glanced at each other, gave each other an accepting nod and gave me the green light.  “Let’s do it!”

I rushed to my home office to start the paperwork; it was almost 9:30 pm.  I pulled up the listing in MLS to gather information and guess what?  The new listing status read, “ACTIVE OPTION.”  It was under contract.  It was gone.  TRUE STORY.  I called the buyers to let them know right away.  Of course they were disappointed, but I hope there was a sense of peace knowing they acted quickly.  If they had waited, they would have regretted it.

DAYS ON THE MARKET:  1

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REAL SCENARIO #2 – SAME BUYERS, DIFFERENT LISTING:
I showed them two more homes.  Mr. Green loved one and she loved the other.  Even after experiencing their first home “loss,” they still decided to wait and take the night to think things over.  I was behind their decision 100%.  I believe they should both fall in love with the same thing (or at least feel they can compromise).  Mr. Green called me the next morning to say he was ready to make an offer.  By the time our offer got into the hands of the listing agent, two other offers were already there.

I advised Mr. Green to make his best offer upfront.  At this point, trying to “wheel and deal” would not get the house.  Sellers are not required to counter all of the offers.  They usually pick the best one and decline the others.

“If you really want this house, show them you’re serious.  Make an offer so strong that if you still lose this house, you know you gave it your best shot.”

We lost.  The offer that gave the seller the highest net profit won.

DAYS ON THE MARKET:  2

REAL SCENARIO #3 – We’ll call this buyer, “Mr. Red”:
Mr. Red is a little more experienced and has watched listings quickly disappear online.  We saw a listing in his area and in his price range.  There was a particular feature he wasn’t crazy about, so we kept house-hunting.  The “feature” was probably one reason the house had been on the market a little while.  After seeing what else was out there (for about 2 weeks), we noticed that the “feature” house had a price reduction.  Mr. Red decided to make an offer.  We offered full price (at the new price).

Lo and behold, by the time our offer got into the hands of the listing agent, THREE other offers had been submitted.  This situation created quite a stir and a “bidding war.”  I alerted Mr. Red immediately and asked if he wanted to make any adjustments to his offer, to place him in a better position.  He decided to offer the original list price (before the price reduction).  We STILL lost.

TOTAL DAYS ON THE MARKET:  89

DAYS ON THE MARKET WITH THE REDUCED PRICE:  8

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How can someone improve their chances during a bidding war?

Don’t ask for too much – limit contingencies.  If you’re making an offer below list price, asking the seller to pay some of your closing costs, and needing two months to close (for example), you’re weakening your leverage.  If you give full asking price and ask for little to no closing cost assistance, your offer will show you’re serious.  If you REALLY want that house, offer a little more than what the seller is asking for and eliminate contingencies.  You’ll definitely grab some attention!

Are you a home owner who just got the itch to sell?  Are you ready to see a bidding war on your house?

Contact your local REALTOR® today!  Why wait?  The market hasn’t been this HOT in almost 10 years!  Don’t have a REALTOR®?  Contact me using the form below.  I’d love to help you.  If I’m not in your area, I’ll find someone who is!

~Agent Val

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METRO REALTY | Val J Aranda, REALTOR®
A Certified Home Marketing Specialist
coaching first-time Texas Home Buyers and Sellers.

4007 McCullough Ave.  #477
San Antonio, TX 78212
*At your service*

APRIL FOOL’S DAY – 2014

Growing up with three younger brothers, pranks were not limited to April Fool’s day!  The worst prank was when my brother popped out from behind the shower curtain just as I was about to use the “facility.”  I was so startled, I quickly hunched over as if to hide between the commode and the sink!  He laughed so hard telling everyone I tried to hide behind the toilet.  “WHAT-A-DORK!”

Don’t worry, I don’t have pranks today.  As a matter of fact, I’m probably going to hide in my home office to avoid pranksters!

Today, especially for you, I have a special offer instead.  It’s a free “Home Scouting” smart phone application.  It’s designed to help Home Shoppers in and around the San Antonio area.  Whether you have an Android Phone or an iPhone, the app can be found in your Google Play/App Store.  (Also available on tablets and iPad).

HERE YOU GO – Start finding homes near you in just FIVE EASY STEPS:

1.  DOWNLOAD THE “HOME SCOUTING” APP

FREE APP for Smartphones

FREE APP for Smartphones

 

2.  USE MY VIP ACTIVATION CODE TO ENTER (shown on the screen below).  

FAQ:  Why do I need a VIP Code?
ANSWER:  The VIP code will personalize every customer’s private Home Scouting account  by linking directly to San Antonio’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

USE MY VIP CODE starting with 210...

USE MY VIP CODE starting with 210…

3.  CREATE YOUR PASSWORD PROTECTED ACCOUNT by completing your private registration.

FAQ:  How much information do I need to give for my new account?
ANSWER:  To register for your private Home Scouting account, all you’ll need to enter is your first name, last name, email address and password.

4.  Accept the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Disclosure Agreement.

5.  Tap “START SEARCHING NOW” to find active listings right now!

FAVORITE APP FEATURES:

  • “Find Homes Near Me” uses GPS to scout homes around you.  This is extremely helpful if you’re parked in front of a home with a For Sale sign in front of it.
  • Access 100% of our MLS listings!
  • “My Saved Searches” allows you to have multiple search options.  Debating between a condominium or a single-family home?  Want to search for raw land AND single-family homes?  You can create as many search types as you need to.
  • NO THIRD-PARTY ADVERTISEMENTS!  Your account is so private, “Home Scouting” does not allow third-party advertisers to promote themselves on the application.  What does this mean to you?  Unlike other real estate web sites, Home Scouting will protect your personal information and will not sell your contact information to third-party businesses.
  • The “CALL MY AGENT” button links you to ONE PERSON — me.  This special feature eliminates having to call multiple real estate offices and REALTORS® about their listings.  With just one call, I can provide you with all of the listing details for any MLS listing.
  • The “CALL MY LOAN OFFICER” button links you to my preferred Loan Officer, Daylon Brady of Castle & Cooke Mortgage.  Although you are not obligated to use his services, he will still offer free credit and financial advice to help qualify you for a mortgage.  He will also provide you with a copy of your credit report with notes on how to improve your FICO credit score (if needed).

If you have any questions about the application, feel free to reach out to me.  I’ll be happy to help and guide you.  I started referring my clients to this app for two reasons:

1.  HOME SCOUTING and the “Sold Home Alert” helps sellers stay on top of the market until they’re ready to sell.

2.  HOME SCOUTING allows buyers to house-hunt on their own time 24/7.  They can even “Schedule a Showing” with a touch of a button.

Metro Realty Logo

A House is Like a Box of Cereal

A FACEBOOK FRIEND BRINGS UP A GREAT “LISTING” QUESTION.  When preparing a house for sale:  “Extreme Makeover.  Is that the direction of today’s real estate market?”

I enjoy interacting with customers, clients and friends on my Facebook page (Val-A-Homes.com on Facebook).  This week, I had a potential seller post a web page showing some before and after photos of a house.  She was curious about the “after” shots.  She felt the makeover was pretty extreme (if this were a house being prepared for a listing) and wondered if that was the direction of today’s market.

SPECIAL NOTE TO THE OWNER OF THE HOME PROVIDED IN THE WEB PAGE” LINK REFERENCED ABOVE:  Your house is absolutely gorgeous!  The before and after shots are fantastic.  Your decor and creativity are top-notch!  The notes below are simply using your photos as examples of what to consider when listing a home.  (Not necessarily your home).   Thank you!  ~Agent Val, metro realty

One thing I pointed out was the “BEFORE” photos were of the house when it was listed for sale.  The “AFTER” photos were of the house after the family moved in.  BIG difference.

HOW SHOULD A LISTING BE DISPLAYED?
For the best results, appeal to the majority. The more people a house can attract, the higher the percentage of interested buyers. With taste-specific decorating, we minimize our “audience,” and can lose potential buyers.

HOW DOES TODAY’S MARKET AFFECT THE LISTING PREPARATION?
In today’s market, Sellers are fighting to get back what they’ve lost. So, to get top dollar, a house MUST stand out from the rest. It’s more than paint color. It’s about staging, rearranging, reorganizing, and repairing. To list a house, a seller needs to start thinking of the house as if it were a “product” on a store shelf.

life cerealA HOUSE IS LIKE A BOX OF CEREAL:

[EXAMPLE “A”]  A beat-up box of cereal will stay in the back of the shelf. When a potential buyer picks it up, even though the contents are not destroyed, the buyer will probably ask for a discount.

If buyers see a property in need of repair (even if it’s only cosmetic), they’re going to look for a discount.  Oftentimes, the discount is LARGER than the cost of the actual repair.

[EXAMPLE “B”]  A box of cereal that’s over-priced just because it’s “organic,” might stay on the shelf a little longer, because it doesn’t appeal to the majority.

Over-priced listings will get little to no showing appointments.  So, the small “audience” will result in a small percentage of potential buyers.  Why would a seller over-price?  Well, one obvious reason… MONEY.  Another reason; sellers take great pride in the house they’ve lived in.  There’s personal attachment and almost EVERY seller will think their property is an exception to the “fair market value.”

If a seller reaches too high on price, it’s very likely the house will sit on the market too long and become a, “stale,” listing.  Stale listings are perceived as deficient.  Even if there’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with the house and the Seller is simply “testing the market,” Buyers will think one of two things:  “What’s wrong with the house?”  and/or  “The seller must not be negotiable (or may be greedy).”  Yes, there may be a buyer willing to pay the price, but how long can you wait?

[EXAMPLE “C”]  A box of cereal that’s priced right in the middle, and hits all the right sugary spots, will get picked up every single time.  It appeals to the majority, so it’ll always fly off the shelves.

Listings that fall within the “Fair Market Value,” will receive serious offers and often sells closer to a seller’s asking price.  “Fair” is the key word.  A house will sell at a price the BUYER thinks is FAIR.  So, if a house is listed in the fair market range for the area, the house will get LOTS of attention.

THE GOOD NEWS: There’s a buyer for every box of cereal (and house).
The question is, how long do you want it sitting on the “shelf?”

Brought to you by:  Agent Val

Val J Aranda, REALTOR® and Certified Home Marketing Specialist – “Coaching first-time Texas home buyers and sellers.” – metro realty

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