Property Tour – 17Feb2011

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…and when a bidet is not in your budget… you compromise?  :-/

“Oh my goodness, do you really want to grab that?!?”

Sorry to say…. THIS IS A TRUE STORY!  A truly OMG moment!!

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

PROPERTY PREVIEW – 16Feb2011

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Today, I’m previewing a home before I bring my Client.  Since we’ve worked together before, I have a pretty good idea of what he’s looking for.

I really like the flow of this property… I’m just not sure he’ll dig the size of the kitchen.

What do you think about this Medical Center home?  Think it suits a bachelor?

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

Why you, Val?

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What sets me apart from all the other, “REALTORS?”  Well, it’s after 9:00 pm on a Tuesday and while I handle a “house-call,” I answer a text from a buyer, send a list of garden homes to another buyer and help a Tenant (over the phone) with questions on a rental application.

I don’t have to give you a “song and dance” about what I do… I JUST DO IT!  (Although, given the right music, I have been known to boogie!)  🙂

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

Home Builder Facts

“The Builder didn’t tell me that!”
[updated: 09 Nov 2017] 

First of all, this is by no means a post to bash home builders! I LOVE working with home builders.  Unfortunately, the average Joe/Jane is not familiar with the partnerships between Builders and REALTORS®, so they walk into a model home blindly.  They shake hands with the Sales Counselor, pick a house and then hit cruise control until the house is completed.  It’s during the “cruise control” when things can go wrong.

The most common “The Builder didn’t tell me that!” complaint I hear is referencing mortgage payments. Some Builders will finance a home using the Real Estate Tax on the land BEFORE the house value is added to it.  So, a year later, when the county adds the House to the Tax Value, the Tax Payment skyrockets and so does the mortgage payment. “OUCH!  I can’t afford my mortgage!”

Another “The Builder didn’t tell me that!” topic is about Home Inspections and repairs. Always remember, the Sales Counselor is not a Buyer’s Representative.  The Sales Counselor works for and represents the Builder at ALL TIMES.  So… when a Buyer asks the Sales Counselor, “may I hire my own Inspector?” chances are the Sales guy/gal will say, “You can but you won’t have to.  We have our own Inspector.”  What’s wrong with that answer?  Well, who do you think the Inspector works for? You may have guessed it –  They work for the Builder!

We all know if we ended up in a courtroom for some reason, we’d want to hire our own Attorney, right? You wouldn’t want to use the other guy’s attorney, would you? Think about that when buying or building a home.  Just as you’d walk into court with your own representation, you should walk into a home-buying scenario with your own REALTOR® who is bound to represent Y-O-U.  Many REALTORS® do NOT charge fees to represent buyers.  The Builder pays a REALTOR’S® commission at closing, and it won’t affect your purchase price.

The truth is, buying a home will probably be the BIGGEST financial investment in your lifetime. Let us help you protect your investment – it’s our duty!

P.S. A few Builders might make you believe that you’ll receive a discount if you don’t bring a REALTOR®. That’s not entirely true. They would simply keep the profit. The biggest benefit for a Builder when a Buyer does not have a REALTOR® is that the Builder can lead a buyer by the nose without the buyer knowing what questions to ask.

Why am I disclosing this to you?  Because it’s important for consumers to know that the benefit of having a REALTOR® is even recognized by Builders. We are their LARGEST source of business; we educate our clients. 

So, if having a REALTOR® won’t cost you a dime, wouldn’t you prefer to have one on your side?

Here’s one last example of, “The Builder Didn’t Tell Me That”: When your new home construction is complete, the builder will schedule a walk-through a few days before closing.  During the walk-thru, you’ll have an opportunity to point out flaws and/or items in need of repair.  Most flaws are cosmetic and easy to fix, but if you don’t know a lot about home construction, you may miss a lot of important details.  HIRE YOUR OWN INSPECTOR.  Most builders will not even suggest hiring a third-party inspector, I’m suggesting that you do!  Yes, even in a brand new home, an Inspector will find more flaws than you think.

Just another example why a Builder wouldn’t want us to represent you!

The Builder (in most cases) will repair flaws reported by your Inspector.  Just take caution… Some Builders will tell you, “don’t worry… we’ll fix it right after you move in.”  DON’T DO IT!  They want you to sign your closing documents and move you to the back of the line. If you delay closing to wait for repairs, trust me… THEY WILL MAKE THOSE REPAIRS QUICKLY!

If you decide to tour Model Homes without a REALTOR®, you are taking a risk.  Builders will have you sign a registration card; and if you leave the REALTOR® section blank, they’ll know you have NO REPRESENTATION.  

If you have a REALTOR®, but want to tour a model home on your own, be sure to add your REALTOR’S® name on the builder’s registration card, and tell your REALTOR® about your visit.  This small step will protect you when you are ready to sign a contract.  Your REALTOR® will have the authorization to represent you throughout the entire building process.  THIS IS YOUR RIGHT AS A HOME BUYER!

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

In The Line Of Duty

I stand at attention.  I wait for my orders.  I salute the Texas community.

Army Val – 1994

This year, I am making some improvements.  My Real Estate career is officially under construction.  My focus has been and always will be to provide a top-notch service to my Real Estate Clientele.  Now with almost thirteen years of Real Estate experience and almost three years of running my own Real Estate Business, I’m headed to a new level!  I am on the path to being your new Real Estate Broker.

In the military you have Non-Commissioned Officers and Officers.  In real estate you have Real Estate Agents, REALTORS® and Real Estate Brokers.  A Broker is like being an Officer.  Not only do Brokers serve a community, they can have Real Estate Agents and REALTORS® in their command.  Real Estate Brokers take on a larger responsibility and I’m taking the challenge!

In order to execute my plan successfully, I’ve decided to temporarily leave my post at “Own a Piece of Texas Realty” and join the ranks of “San Antonio Metro Realty.”  While under a new “General”/Broker, I will begin my educational journey to join the elite group of Texas Real Estate Brokers.

In the next few weeks, I will begin my transition.  I’ll build a new web site, order new business cards and update my contact information.  In the meantime, my cell will remain the same.  I will continue to provide ’round-the-clock service to better serve YOU.

The services I offer will also remain the same.  I will list your property and/or find your dream home.  I will be available seven days a week in order to accommodate your work/school schedules.  If I happen to be in class during a time you need me, I’ll have an Assistant, an Office Manager and a Broker who will gladly jump into the line of duty.

This challenge I am taking is to better serve you.  I will continue to build my Real Estate Business with YOU as my TOP PRIORITY!  “HOOAH!”

Your Texas REALTOR®, U.S. Army Veteran

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

A STORY: Culebra Rd and Red Lobster

In late 1986, my Dad received his USMC Orders to transfer from Beaufort, South Carolina to San Antonio, TX. Our REALTOR® (at the time) drove us through new neighborhoods around the Ingram Mall area, since Dad’s new recruiting office was off of Ingram Rd.

Weaving through construction zones and trying to avoid pot holes, the REALTOR® kept our focus on the “growing community.” Dad asked when the construction was scheduled for completion; the REALTOR® chuckled and said,

“It’ll be done by the time you move into your new home in January (1987).  If it isn’t, I’ll treat your family to dinner at Red Lobster!”

Well, for those of you who know the area… there is STILL construction on Culebra Rd!  Here we are in 2011, and the orange barricades are as much of the community as La Popular Bakery. 🙂

Oh, as for “Red Lobster,” we didn’t hear from the REALTOR® after we moved in… BUT we found him years later…

In 1990, Dad retired from the Marine Corps and began a career in Real Estate.  In 1998, I became a REALTOR®.  In 2005, my brother Andy received his real estate license.  Guess who was our Real Estate Instructor? Haha!  That poor REALTOR®… there was no escaping us.

Without knowing, we each shared our “Red Lobster” story with the REALTOR®/Instructor (jokingly of course).  Finally, after hearing the story for the third time, he followed through with his promise and gave us a gift card to Red Lobster!  We got the family together (adding spouses and children)… we shared a good laugh and a basket of cheddar biscuits, compliments of our REALTOR® friend!

Lesson #1: The Aranda Family will never forget a promise.

Lesson #2:  I don’t think construction on Culebra will EVER end!  lol!

P.S.  The city proposes a construction completion in the Fall of 2011… however… I’m NOT making any promises.  😉

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Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

NO Assembly Required

Your “baby” wants her first bicycle!  You go to the store, you inspect every 2-wheeler (with training wheels) and you compare prices.  Your little “Dora the Explorer” will be cruising the driveway in no time!

BUT WAIT… you’ve been standing in the same aisle for 30 minutes… you’re trying to decide between TWO great prospects.  One bike comes with a bell and streamers… but the kicker is, “Assembly Required.”  Ugh!  The other bike doesn’t come with the bell or streamers… it’s $30 more… and look, “NO Assembly Required.”  What do you do?

I know… “will favorite Uncle Sonny help me put this thing together so I can save $30?”  Hmm…. “Uncle Sonny hates asking for directions… is he really going to read the instructions?”  Chances are, you’ll pay the extra $30 to save on time and to insure safety.  It’s cheaper to buy the bell and streamers separately, anyway… right?

What does this have to do with Real Estate?  Well… I’m glad you asked…  Here’s the new topic for today… “Property Preparation” … to Fix or not to Fix…

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

Don’t Hire My Cousin Vinny!

Why You Should Work With a REALTOR® and not a Real Estate Agent…  (yes, there’s a difference)

Lisa: What the (heck) is going on here, Vinny? You (screwing) up this case or what?
Vinny Gambini: I explained it to you already, didn’t I? It’s procedure. I’m bound to (screw) up a little.
Lisa: A little? You’ve been thrown in jail twice.”

Source Unknown My Cousin Vinny 1992

“Most of us have seen that hilarious movie, “My Cousin Vinny.” Vinny passed the Bar Exam (after SEVERAL attempts), but never followed through with his practice and procedure requirements.  When it came down to it, his lack of practice, procedure and training cost him a night in jail!  Yes, it was his best night of sleep, but how did his Clients feel?

Hiring a plain ol’ Real Estate Agent (not a REALTOR®) is like hiring Vinny.  While Joe Pesci can turn his mishaps into a wild and crazy courtroom comedy, a Real Estate Agent may not have such a comedic outcome.

Remember, a REALTOR® is not a used car salesperson trying to rip you off.  A bona fide REALTOR® is the ONE person in your corner who will protect your best interest throughout the entire real estate transaction.  Find a REALTOR® you can trust and hire him/her to represent you during your home purchase or selling.

A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® who is committed and required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. We are held accountable.

Still not sure what to do?

Here are five more reasons why it pays to work with a REALTOR®

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

Menu of Services

“Gourmet Service at BBQ Prices”  ~Agent Val~

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MENU OF SERVICES FOR:  TEXAS HOME BUYERS

Whether you are “just looking” or you’re ready to make a move… I have a “Menu of Services” just for you.  If you have special requests or unique requirements, the Menu is completely customizable.

MENU OF SERVICES FOR:  TEXAS PROPERTY SELLERS

If you’re thinking about selling, I have a few tools to help with your decision-making.  Receive a complimentary Property Valuation, an Estimated Net Sheet (showing what you can walk away with), and complimentary staging/preparation ideas.  If listing your property is the route you take, I’ll gladly expose your listing all over the globe!

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Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

Texas Homestead Exemption

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS offered in the state of Texas:

ALERT!  New filing requirements took effect September 1, 2011.  This page provides the new law and filing requirements.

JANUARY 2013:  FILING FOR A HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION

what is a homestead exemptionWHAT’S A HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION?  It’s a way to receive a discount on your Property Taxes. In TEXAS you have the right to claim your primary residence as your “Homestead.” Doing so, will give you a nice tax break (up to $15,000)!

Here’s the official word on Homestead and other exemptions available —> Bexar County Appraisal District (BCAD)

HERE’S AN EXAMPLE OF HOW THE TAX BREAK WORKS… Let’s say your homestead (your primary residence) is valued at $100,000 and you qualify for a $15,000 HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION.  Instead of paying School Taxes on $100,000, you’ll pay school taxes as if your home was only worth $85,000.  NOT BAD, HUH?

As long as the property meets certain criteria AND you have lived in the home as of January 1st of your filing year, you should qualify easily!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • A copy of your Driver License (or state-issued I.D.) —AND—
  • A copy of your Vehicle Registration Receipt
  • If you do not own a vehicle, simply sign an affidavit stating so and submit a copy of a utility bill.

The Driver License and Vehicle Registration Receipt (or Utility Bill) MUST show the property address you’re filing for.

HELPFUL NOTE:  A Homestead Exemption also protects your home from a “Forced Sale” by a creditor.  See “Homestead Exemption” for more information and exclusions.

ALERT!  ALERT!  ALERT!  YOU MIGHT RECEIVE SOLICITATION IN THE MAIL OFFERING TO FILE YOUR APPLICATION (ON YOUR BEHALF), FOR A NOMINAL FEE.   **DON’T DO IT**  This is a FREE service!

SCROLL DOWN FOR HELPFUL LINKS AND APPLICATION FORMS…

Homestead Application can be found online at www.bcad.org (Bexar County Appraisal District).
*** YOU ONLY HAVE TO FILE ONCE *** 

For other Texas Counties, visit www.texascad.com

Once you’ve landed on the correct County Appraisal District Web site, follow these quick and easy steps…
[The following hyperlinks are for Bexar County]

  1. Click on “Forms
  2. Click on “Exemption Application Forms (ex. Homestead, Veterans, AG, Freeport etc.)”
  3. Select “Residential Homestead Exemption (General, Over 65 and Disabled)”

You will be directed to Homestead information, instructions and the Homestead Application.  Fill out the form using the tax records for your property [link leads to Bexar county property search].

You can search your property by name or address.  The “Geographic ID” number on your Tax Record is the “County Account Number” you will need for your Homestead Application.

V.I.P. SERVICE OFFERED BY Val J Aranda, REALTOR® – Metro Realty:
Clients who purchase a home through Val, will receive their Homestead Exemption Applications in the mail.

If you are NOT a client of Metro Realty, but would like additional assistance with your Homestead Exemption application, we welcome your questions.  We are here to guide you, too.

State Government answers to in-depth Homestead Exemption questions.

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Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

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