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!


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

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



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 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


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.

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

HVAC – DIY Preventive Maintenance

I’ve toured and sold miles, and miles, and miles of homes. Most contracts start with a home inspection, and on almost every home inspection, the HVAC System needs to be serviced.  And if you don’t know by now, the HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), is one of the MOST EXPENSIVE items to replace in a home.

So… before the A/C or heating system freezes up and/or gives up – change your air filters every 30-days! It’s one of the most important (and least expensive) preventive maintenance tips you can follow. When you change your air filter, go ahead and pour about a cup of vinegar into the drain line of your interior A/C system. It’ll help clear up some of the goo and gunk that builds up in your drain line. Vinegar is said to be better than bleach since it’ll end up in your yard. Vinegar is less harmful to the kids and pets playing around in your yard.

(as recommended by many HVAC Service Technicians)

STEP 1: Find your A/C drain line. Remove the plastic cap with a simple twist and pull.

STEP 1: Find your A/C drain line. Remove the plastic cap with a simple twist and pull.

STEP 2: Use about 1-cup of vinegar to pour into the drain line. (I use an empty water bottle).

STEP 2: Use about 1-cup of vinegar to pour into the drain line. (I use an empty water bottle).

STEP 3: Slowly pour the vinegar down the drain line. (I use a funnel for less mess).

STEP 3: Slowly pour the vinegar down the drain line. (I use a funnel for less mess).

STEP 4:  Check the drain line outside. Chances are it sticking out of your foundation. Make sure the vinegar is flowing out.

STEP 4: Check the drain line outside. Chances are it’s sticking out of your foundation. Make sure the vinegar is flowing out.

If the vinegar does not come out or if it’s a very slow drip, you may need servicing.

If you have a Home Protection Plan, but NEVER try these preventive maintenance tips, it’s very likely that your plan will not cover repairs and/or maintenance if your system breaks down. IT’S BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY.  There’s nothing worse than 105 degree TEXAS weather without an A/C!

If you need a local HVAC Technician who’s licensed, bonded and affordable, I recommend Frank Garcia, owner/operator of “Air Strike: Air Conditioning and Heating.”  He’s quick to respond and services the Greater San Antonio area.

Air Strike AC & Heating

Frank Garcia

Phone: (210) 639-9054

—- - by Agent Val – by Agent Val

Brought to you by- Val J Aranda, metro realty – “Coaching Texas Home Buyers and Sellers”

San Antonio, TX

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”


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

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


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!


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!



  • 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 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.


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.


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:


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!


  • “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.

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Open House Timeline: Countdown to a Successful Sale

  • Curb Appeal[Article 2 of 6]

    NEW SERIES FOR SELLERS:  Helping Owners Get Ready To List Their House

  • Open houses:  Not every REALTOR® holds open houses, and there are different reasons why.  When interviewing agents, ask about his/her marketing plan.  If an open house isn’t brought up, don’t hesitate to ask why.  Experts in your area will be happy to explain whether or not an open house would benefit your listing.
  • Statistics show that houses are sold more through MLS, other REALTORS® and the internet.  So, I’ll focus my marketing dollars on Broker-to-Broker advertising and online marketing.  However, if a listing is a great candidate for an open house, it needs to be done RIGHT!

Not only does a listing broker have a lot of preparation to do, but the seller does, too. Since the first impression can make or break a deal, it’s imperative that a house is in tip-top shape and ready for prime time showings! 

For a successful Open House, here’s a “countdown” to help get things in order.  Keep in mind, people will judge a book by its cover.  ~Agent Val

Visit for more articles like this.



“Coaching first-time Texas Home Buyers and Sellers”

4007 McCullough Ave, Suite #473
San Antonio, TX 78212 | Call/Text Val: 210-617-3011
*At your service*

5 Tips to Prepare Your Home For Sale

  • Curb AppealNEW SERIES FOR SELLERS:  Helping Owners Get Ready To List Their House


  • [Article 1 of 6 – “5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Sale”]

There are so many indicators flashing and pointing to the light at the end of the tunnel.  HOUSES ARE A HOT COMMODITY, AGAIN!  Two big indicators are Appraisals and Surveys.  Once they’re ordered, it usually takes about a week to get results.  Nowadays, it’s taking about two weeks!  (Meaning they are backed-up on orders).  Another huge indicator:  Sellers are not only seeing multiple offers, but Buyers are lining up to see the same popular house on the block.  TRUE STORY!

If you’re on the fence about selling your house… let me give you a little nudge:
BUYERS DON’T HAVE ENOUGH INVENTORY!  Your property might be the one they’re waiting for.

For the biggest BANG for your BUCK, here’s a list of “5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Sale”

Visit for more articles like this.



“Coaching first-time Texas Home Buyers and Sellers”

4007 McCullough Ave, Suite #473
San Antonio, TX 78212 | Call/Text Val: 210-617-3011
*I’m ALWAYS on-call* 


I spend my days talking about houses and explaining about maintenance.  I teach homeowners how to take care of their home, but I don’t always practice what I preach.  I’m like my mechanic who fixes everyone’s car but his own.

“Do what I say, not what I do!”  🙂

During “Spring Break 2013,” I’m staying busy with house showings and listing appointments.  BUT, I did take a few hours off to take care of some plumbing issues I’ve ignored.  I thought I’d share my recent hot water heater experience with you.  Hopefully, it’ll help prevent you from making the same mistakes I made.

MY WATER HEATER STORY – The hot water wasn’t traveling to the back of the house (don’t laugh at me when you find out why):  I bought my house in 2004.  It was built in 1994.  My water heater was the original.  Over the years, I noticed the hot water wasn’t traveling all the way to my kitchen or utility room (the furthest rooms from my water heater).  I adjusted the temperature on the Water Heater, and raised it to about 120 degrees.  It really didn’t make a big difference.  My thought:  “Maybe there’s something blocking the hot water from traveling the pipes.”  *think*think*think*  (I never called a plumber).

SPLISH-SPLASH!  My water heater leaked.  I caught it pretty quickly and had it replaced.  The water to the kitchen and utility room was about the same temperature with the NEW water heater, so I continued to assume the lack of hot water was due to a water-line problem (not the temperature setting).

I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!  Washing dishes and doing laundry in luke-warm water was just not cutting it anymore.  I resorted to washing dishes with bleach water just to make sure I was “disinfecting.”  As for my laundry, thank goodness for, “Cold Water Tide.”  But that still doesn’t beat bubbling hot water for my loads of whites.

plumbingHELP IS ON THE WAY!  I received an email from a Master Plumber who was starting his own business.  He was looking for work and offering a discount.  “You had me at 10%!”  🙂

I called him up and he came to the rescue.  Now, I have to interject here with a side note:  I like taking care of things on my own.  Especially when it’s something small.  I’m like most people; I’d rather NOT spend BIG BUCKS on labor when I know it’s a $5 fix!  Okay, back to my story: I was expecting the Plumber to dig holes and jack-hammer his way to the “problem.”  Why wasn’t the hot water traveling to the kitchen or utility room?

The first thing the plumber asked was, “how old is your water heater?”  I proudly responded with, “no more than two years.”  “Uh-huh,” I thought.  “Puzzling isn’t it?”  He went to the kitchen and ran the water at the sink.  He stated that the water pressure was pretty strong.  He said, “let me check the temperature setting on your water heater.”  I told him, “go right ahead.”  In my mind I was thinking, “that’s not the problem.  The temperature setting on the OLD water heater was up to 120 degrees and that didn’t make a difference.  There’s NO WAY the temperature setting on the NEW water heater is going to help solve the mystery!”

While he went to his truck to grab his tools, I went into my kitchen to work on breakfast.  I was planning on this guy being at my house for most of the morning.  He was going to have to investigate and settle the case once and for all.

After about five minutes in front of the water heater, the Plumber called for me.  “I want to show you something.”  Okay, here goes.  I braced myself for the news that would break the bank.

Plumber:  See the temperature setting?  It’s below 120 degrees.  I’m going to raise it to 150 degrees.

Me:  What?  No way.  No.  Seriously?  There’s no way that could be it!

Plumber:  Yes, ma’am.  I think it is.  (He turns up the heat, and we could hear the water heater kick into gear).

Me:  Are you kidding me?  (I hit him in the arm)  That’s what it was THIS WHOLE TIME?  (couldn’t believe I hit him)

Plumber:  (Laughs)  I believe so.  Let’s go check the water in the kitchen.  (Turns the water on.  Freakin’ water is hot and getting hotter).

I was so embarrassed.  I even had a couple of friends over because I just knew I was going to be stuck at home ALL DAY LONG!  Well, I’ll be doggone.  All the plumber had to do was turn a small screw/knob on the water heater to adjust the temperature.
[Here’s a helpful YouTube video showing how to do it:]

I asked the Plumber:  “If it was as simple as setting the temperature, why didn’t it work with the old water heater?”

Electric Water heaterHere’s the million dollar answer:
 The main heating element is at the BOTTOM of an electric water heater.  On the old water heater, there was probably a layer of sediment (calcium build-up and other debris) at the bottom of the heater.  The layer was probably so thick, that the heating element couldn’t heat the water properly.

*Palm to the forehead*  DUH!  That makes perfect sense, now.

How much did he charge me?  $0.00!  I’m pretty sure he saw the look on my face and felt sorry for me!

SO… IF YOU’RE HAVING HOT WATER ISSUES, check the temperature setting on your Hot Water Heater!  I’ve heard some plumbers say to keep the water around 120-125 degrees.  My plumber raised it to 150 degrees.  I might reduce it eventually, but for now, I’m enjoying washing my dishes!  Never thought I’d say that!  🙂

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