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


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!*



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


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 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.

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

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

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?

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”


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 ( 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.

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.

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.


[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


“RETAINING WALL REQUIRED… but let’s close anyway!”
~Builder (will remain unnamed)

Retaining Wall THIS IS A TRUE STORY.  I share it only to educate the next buyer who wishes to build their next home.

The buyers of this property (right of the fence) are my clients.  They live so close to this subdivision, that they drive by their soon-to-be home frequently.

On a recent visit, the Sales Associate (with instruction from the Builder), told my clients the following:

BUILDER’S SALES ASSOCIATE: [paraphrased] We are scheduled to close you next week.  The only things that won’t be complete is the landscaping (sod/grass) and the retaining wall.  But don’t worry, buyers agree to do this all the time.

MY CLIENT’S RESPONSE:  I don’t think we should close before the house is done.

BUILDER’S SALES ASSOCIATE:  The retaining wall and landscaping are NOT part of the house.  If you don’t close, there’s a chance the builder will put your house back on the market.  “I’ve seen it happen,” she tells them.

MY CLIENTS NEXT MOVE:  They immediately called to inform me.  I am their hired, “Buyer’s Agent.”  My job is to represent my Buyer’s best interest during their home purchase.

MY MOVE:  I contacted the Builder’s main office and got a hold of the Owner.  I let him know the situation and how my clients felt about being pushed to close with an incomplete project.  Before he could try to sell me the idea that the retaining wall and sod were not a part of the house, I reminded him that if we had inclement weather, before the retaining wall was completed, the result could affect the foundation; therefore, it IS a part of the house.

The builder/owner was (and is) very understanding and has agreed to postpone closing until the entire project is complete.  My clients are relieved.

UNFORTUNATELY, THIS TYPE OF SITUATION does happen often.  And TOO often, buyers build their new homes without the assistance of a REALTOR®.  Builder’s Sales Associates are convincing, that’s why they have that job.  It’s their duty to sell on behalf of the builder.  If my clients would have gone with the flow, just to close, who knows when that retaining wall would have been completed.  After closing, my clients wouldn’t have been priority anymore.  The builder and their staff would have redirected their attention to the next buyer waiting to close.  This could have been one sloppy mess.

You know what I’m wondering, now?  I wonder if the buyer on the left side of that fence has protection and representation from a REALTOR®.  Will they close with their yard looking like that?  I wonder.

Builder and Clients will remain unnamed for privacy.  This post is not to bash builders and their associates.  Not all builders push to close an unfinished house.  This post is to help buyers understand the purpose of hiring a REALTOR®.  Building a home without a REALTOR®, is like going to court without an attorney.  No, REALTORS® are NOT attorneys and cannot offer legal advice.  REALTORS® are a Buyer’s secret weapon!



“Coaching first-time Texas Home Buyers and Sellers”

4007 McCullough Ave, Suite #473
San Antonio, TX 78212 | Call/Text Val: 210-378-5987
*I’m ALWAYS on-call* 


[SUNDAY NEWS- San Antonio Real Estate as seen by Val J Aranda, REALTOR® – Metro Realty]

REAL ESTATE HIGHLIGHT:  I had a pretty interesting encounter with a Builder this past week.  For the first time, in a long time, a Builder’s Sales Counselor could not wave enough “incentives” in front of my client to entice him to buy a New Construction Home.  What made this interesting to me was the obvious change in today’s real estate market.  Let me explain…

Most of my first-time home buyers come to me with a budget and a move-in time frame in mind.  When they can’t find a pre-owned home they love, it’s common for them to adjust their budget to build a new home.  This common flip-flop from the pre-owned market to a new construction home keeps a Builder in the driver’s seat (usually).

Read the rest of this entry

LOCAL REAL ESTATE NEWS (Builder-Owned Homes)

[Express News, San Antonio, TX – SUNDAY, 04 March 2012 edition – referenced article; “Just Closed.  Builder-owned home a perfect fit”]

REAL ESTATE HIGHLIGHT: Going through the Sunday paper (a day late), I read an article and thought it was a good topic for first-time home buyers.  In the article, we learn about a buyer who purchased and closed on a “builder-owned home.”  After reading through it, I wondered if the general public was aware of move-in-ready, “builder-owned homes.”

Have you heard of a “SPEC HOME?”  A Spec Home (or Builder-Owned Home) is a new construction home a Builder is trying to sell.  It’s either a home built to show as a model (and is now for sale), or it’s a home they built for a potential buyer (and the buyer backed out).  Either way, the home has never been lived in and it’s available to the public!

It’s like any other home, however.  You want to have a Buyer’s Agent (your own REALTOR®) when previewing and purchasing a Spec Home.  The on-site Sales Counselors and/or Listing Agents showing the property are representatives of the Seller/Builder… NOT the buyer.

HELPFUL ARTICLE:  “What?  The Builder didn’t tell me that!”

—> San Antonio New Home Builders <—

Agent Val A., Offering ‘Valet’ Real Estate Service Around the Clock!

If you have general real estate questions, I’m always on-call.  Whether you’re a Home Buyer, Home Seller or a Tenant… I’ll gladly tailor my service to suit your needs.


4007 McCullough Ave, Suite #473
San Antonio, TX 78212 |
Call/Text Val: 210-378-5987

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Home Builder Facts

“The Builder didn’t tell me that!”
[updated: 14 June 2012] 

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 sky rockets 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?  Yup… the Builder!

We all know if we ended up in a courtroom for some reason, we’d want to hire our own Attorney, right?  Think about that when buying and 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®.  Many REALTORS® do NOT charge fees to represent buyers.  The Builder pays your REALTOR’S® commission at closing.

And if the thought has crossed or is crossing your mind, the answer is, “no.”  The builders will not reduce their purchase price (in the amount of a REALTOR’S® commission) just because you show up without an agent.  The builder keeps the profit.  If they started reducing sales prices for un-represented buyers, builders would lose their largest source of business, which happens to be REALTORS® and their clients.

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.  And since that’s the case, don’t you think home buyers should have one?

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-thru 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.

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.

If you delay closing to wait for repairs, trust me… THEY WILL MAKE THOSE REPAIRS QUICKLY!  If you close and then wait for repairs, chances are you’ll be on the back burner since you have already sealed the deal!

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!


Val Aranda, REALTOR®
Metro Realty

Call/Text:  210-378-5987

“Coaching First Time Home Buyers & Sellers.”

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