Blog Archives

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.

Five ideas that can dramatically improve your living room

wet bar stagedCan’t seem to create a living room that feels quite right? Looking for some styling tips that will bring your living room up a notch? Here are five ideas that can dramatically improve your living room.

 

  1. Move the furniture away from the walls: The tendency is to place your furniture against the walls, but giving it a little room to breathe will make the seating area seem cozier while also making the room seem more spacious.
  2. Mix old and new pieces: Using the same furniture set to furnish an entire room can make it seem a bit sterile. Try mixing and matching different pieces and styles to give your living room a more eclectic feel.
  3. Keep everything low: Arranging photos and artwork lower on walls will make a room appear larger, and can also draw more attention to the pieces themselves.
  4. Place a bookshelf behind the sofa: It doesn’t have to be your entire personal library. Mix and match books with knick-knacks and other items to add some depth and texture to the space behind your sofa.
  5. Try a smaller coffee table: Your current coffee table is probably larger than it needs to be, and it may be dominating the room. Try downsizing to a table that can still hold magazines, a centerpiece, and a few drinks, but will also give you a bit more room to move around your furniture.

fam room

These are all great tips for staging a living area, too!
~Agent Val

Five maintenance resolutions for your home

We may be a little removed from New Year’s Day, but it’s not too late to make some new resolutions for your home.

1. Start a home repair slush fund: Things in your home are going to break and need to fixed. It’s just a fact that comes with home ownership. Rather than letting expensive repairs take you by surprise, start planning for them. Set aside some money each month that you can eventually draw from when an appliance breaks or unexpected.

2. Inspect your fireplace: Even if you have a gas fireplace, you should still inspect the valves and ceramic logs yearly to ensure that everything is operating safely and correctly. If you have wood fireplace, hire a certified chimney sweep to do the job.

3. Maintain your garage door: Garage doors are big and heavy, and that puts a lot of stress on the hinges and tracks that are use to open and close the door several times a day. A regularly scheduled $50 inspection could save you hundreds or thousands in the long run.

4. Tune up your furnace: Regular furnace inspections will help identify minor problems before they turn into major ones. Also, set reminders to replace your furnace filter.

5. Clean your coils: The No. 1 refrigerator maintenance task should be cleaning the condenser coils. They can get clogged with hair and dust, reducing your fridge’s efficiency. Have you cleaned yours lately? You can hire a professional to do it, but it’s also an easy do-it-yourself job.

QUICK NOTE FROM AGENT VAL: Preventive maintenance is so important when owning a home. Fixing the little things now can save from big dollar expenses down the road.

If you are in or around the Greater San Antonio area and need a list of recommendations for handymen, plumbers, electricians, etc…, let me know. I’ll be happy to pass along a few recommendations.

REQUEST A LIST OF LOCAL CONTRACTORS OR SEND YOUR GENERAL REAL ESTATE QUESTIONS:

At your service!

~Val~

***

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

Home staging: Does it make a difference?

It seems to be universally accepted that home staging will help your home sell faster or for the best price—it’s been the common practice in the real estate business for a long time, and on the surface it seems like a no-brainer. Of course potential buyers will be more interested if a home is properly decorated, right?

That’s not necessarily true, according to a recent academic study. The study surveyed 820 homebuyers by showing them one of six virtual tours of the same property. In some instances the home was decorated with traditional furniture and color schemes, while in others more eccentric furniture and colors were used. In other tours there was no furniture at all, just empty rooms.

The overall results of the study were that staging is unlikely to increase a home’s sale price, and that staging isn’t quite as important as everyone believes.

Of course, real estate trends vary greatly from market to market. If you have questions about staging, talk to your trusted real estate professional.


A Special Note from Agent Val: In many neighborhoods within the greater San Antonio area, staging is extremely helpful. Want to know what’s best for your property? Contact me today. I’ll be happy to preview your property and offer a free no-obligation consultation.


HAVE GENERAL REAL ESTATE QUESTIONS?

At your service!

~Val~

——————————-

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

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.

Headline: How to avoid vacation rental scams

Headline: How to avoid vacation rental scams

Home sharing websites like airbnb.com are great for getting the most out of your vacation. Home sharing often saves a lot of money compared to similar lodging arrangements at hotels, and it gives you an opportunity to be part of a new neighborhood during your stay.

The downside is that there’s a bigger chance of encountering a scam. No one wants to have their vacation ruined by a fake rental listing, so here are a few easy tips to avoid scams.

Be skeptical of photos: If a property’s photos look a little too good, ask for additional photos. Photoshop and photography expertise can hide a lot of warts.

Only book with a credit card: Scammers prefer to operate with cash. You have a better chance of recovering your money if you only book with credit cards through trusted sites like airbnb.com.

Read the reviews: Sites like AirBNB and VRBO have customer reviews for each property. Read them to ensure that the rental is as good it seems—or that it even exists in the first place.

***

Courtesy of:

Val J Aranda, Metro Realty – San Antonio

http://val-a-homes.com - by Agent Val

http://val-a-homes.com – by Agent Val

http://val-a-homes.com

4th of July GRAND SLAM – Missions Baseball and Kevin Fowler

*******2014 POST****** *******2014 POST****** *******2014 POST******

WE’RE LOOKING FOR TWO LUCKY WINNERS!

baseball fieldEach winner will receive FOUR TICKETS FOR LOWER BOX SEATS ($100 value) to watch our Missions Baseball Team play on the 4th of July!

But… wait… there’s more!  Country singer and songwriter, Kevin Fowler, will be in concert, on the field, after the game. YES!

happy-July-4

Oh, you want more? Ok…. your night will be topped off with a grand firework display to celebrate Independence Day 2014!

BATTER UP! For a chance to win a four-pack of tickets, simply post your favorite photo showing your 4th of July spirit, Missions Baseball spirit and/or your favorite Kevin Fowler fan photo onto Agent Val’s Facebook page.  Photo with the most “Likes” wins the #4thofJulyGRANDSLAM PRIZE (four front row seats behind the Missions’ dugout)!  For the runner-up prize (four 4th row seats behind the Missions’ dugout), simply post your spirit-filled photos for an entry EACH!  YES, IT’S THAT EASY!

SHOW YOUR SPIRIT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THE #4thofJulyGRANDSLAM prize!

THE GAME RULES:

  • Two winners will be selected and announced on Agent Val’s Facebook Page on Wednesday, 25 June 2014 between 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm.
  • GRAND PRIZE [Four Lower Box Seats, front row – $100 Value]:  Photo with the most Facebook “Likes” wins!
  • RUNNER-UP PRIZE [Four Lower Box Seats, 4th row – $100 Value]: Facebook Friends can post as many photos as possible.  Every photo equals one entry into a drawing!  One winner will be picked randomly.
  • The tickets are for the San Antonio’s Mission Baseball game and Kevin Fowler concert being held on July 4th, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Nelson Wolf Stadium)
  • Game and/or concert are subject to cancellation (or change) due to weather or other unfortunate circumstances.
  • Participants must be at least 18 years of age and U.S. Residents.
  • Winners MUST respond via email to Val@val-a-homes.com within 24 hours of Facebook announcement to claim their prize.  Failure to do so will result in a new winner being picked.
  • Prizes will be delivered in person to San Antonio residents.  Out-of-town winners will receive prizes by mail.
  • BOTH PRIZES ARE SPONSORED BY YOUR REAL ESTATE TEAM:

 

This contest/giveaway/promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.  All participants release Facebook from any liabilities related to the giveaway.

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

—-

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

——-

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

———————————

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

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