Saturday, January 30, 2016

10 Tips for Home Buying and Selling

10 Tips for Home Buying and Selling

Buyers: Edge Out the Competition

Establish a price range. Use Redfin’s home-affordability calculator. This home buying tool considers not only your income and down payment but also total recurring monthly payments such as car payments, student loans, and credit card minimum payments.

Clean up your credit. If your credit reports are accurate, the home buying process is likely to go more smoothly. Read “Are Mortgages Now Harder or Easier to Get?" for more for information.

Get preapproved. Usually, that means a mortgage lender has checked your credit reports and determined how much it could lend you. It’s one step better than prequalification, in which a lender just gives you an idea of what you can afford. Lenders use different terminology, though, so make sure you ask for clarification. For instance, EverBank, based in Jacksonville, Fla., uses the term “preapproval” for what other banks define as prequalification. And what most banks call a “pre­approval,” EverBank terms a “credit only approval.”

Online Home Buying in 4 Simple Steps

Online Home Buying in 4 Simple Steps

Buying a home is probably the most important transaction you'll make in your lifetime. It requires bravery, patience and a little bit of luck. But new online tools make home buying easier and more convenient than ever before, bringing much-needed transparency to a complicated process. Below are the four basic steps to purchasing a home (almost) completely online.

1. Research, Research, Research
This is a crucial first step that a surprising number of home buyers ignore, mainly because they get emotionally attached after seeing a house they "just have to have". Our recommendation: Don't even look at houses when starting your home buying research. First, figure out how much house you'll need.

Start by considering your lifestyle. Do you entertain a lot? Will you need significant space for your hobbies, like a painting studio or a woodshop? Do you have a stable of cars, motorcycles or other recreational vehicles? Do you prefer the country life, or are you a city dweller at heart?

Home of the Week- 12830 Lone Star Leaf- The Beamer Rosa Thelma Garza YOU...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

New home sales beat expectations, rise 10.8%

New home sales beat expectations, rise 10.8%

New home sales kept pace with previous strong economic housing news this month, except its rise isn’t conditional on TRID.

Sales of new single-family houses in December came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000, surpassing analyst expectations, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

So You Wanna Sell Your Home? Step 4: Pretty It Up

So You Wanna Sell Your Home? Step 4: Pretty It Up

Once you've made repairs, chosen a Realtor, and decided on an asking price, your home is almost ready for market -- but first, how about a little primping and polishing? Or maybe a lot of primping and polishing. After all, you want your home to make a great first impression on buyers -- and that's where this fourth installment of our weekly, step-by-step 2016 Home-Selling Guide can help. To show your home in the best possible light, heed these savvy seller tips.

Stash your stuff

When you're just living in your home, a bit of clutter is business as usual. You know the drill: video game cartridges in the bathroom, toolbox in the kitchen, tuxedo shirt inexplicably in the garage. But when you're trying to sell, all this disorder can be deadly. That's because clutter can

12 Sneaky Ways to Save Money on Your Water Bill

12 Sneaky Ways to Save Money on Your Water Bill


Replace Those Guzzlers

A lower water bill starts with newer, more efficient appliances. When shopping for new washers, pay close attention to the labels that indicate the efficiency of the machine. Look specifically for the WaterSense and Energy Star seals, which indicate that the machine runs on 35% to 50% less water and 50% less energy per load. Consider purchasing a front-loading washer, which uses substantially less water than a top-loading model.


Home of the Week from Rosa Thelma Garza YOUR San Antonio REALTOR

Home of the week from Rosa Thelma Garza YOUR San Antonio REALTOR

Home of the Week from Rosa Thelma Garza YOUR San Antonio REALTOR

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

5 Things to Know About Buying a Home in 2016

5 Things to Know About Buying a Home in 2016

The new year looks like it's shaping up to provide first-time buyers with the opportunity to enter into the housing market. Interest rates are still hovering around record lows, so there's some time left to snag a great deal. If you're planning on taking the plunge into homeownership in 2016, here are some key points to keep in the back of your mind before you begin the process.

Forbes: San Antonio ranks high as 'America's cities of the future'

Forbes: San Antonio ranks high as 'America's cities of the future'

Debt collectors beware: Judge's ruling could change the game

Debt collectors beware: Judge's ruling could change the game

HAWTHORNE, N.J. (AP) — Ever had a debt collector on your back for money you knew you didn't owe? Listen to the story of Steven Psaros and take heart.

The Great Recession forced Psaros into foreclosure on the house he had bought in this northern New Jersey town in 1999.

Then, another blow. A debt collector demanded about $11,000 in homeowners' insurance, money Psaros claimed he didn't owe under terms of a mortgage refinance signed several years earlier.
He fought back in court and, in a ruling that could change how law firms handle debt collection, a federal judge held last month that the firm representing the debt collector could be liable for damages even if it didn't know its client was relying on incorrect information.

Should you refinance your mortgage?

Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

Dear Carrie,
I'm thinking of refinancing my mortgage since I know interest rates are going up. Does it still make sense or have I missed the boat?

--A Reader
Dear Reader,
Rising short-term interest rates are on a lot of people's minds these days. For savers, it's a plus, but borrowers--especially those with credit card balances--may see their payments creep up over time. However, for homeowners with a mortgage, it's a slightly different story.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Buying or Selling a Home?

7 Ways Being Debt Free Can Hurt You

Owing money to banks and credit card companies is usually a guaranteed way of never achieving the financial freedom you want. But there are cases when taking on some debt can be useful, especially as part of a long-term plan. Here are seven times when eschewing debt can be a bad financial move:

1. Market Returns May Be Higher Than Interest Rates

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Finally a homeowner

Buying a house is tough. Coming up with enough money is a major issue, and once you do, it’s still way more complicated than you would expect. Around here, we call the number of steps needed to buy a home “the real estate monster.” We’re used to seamless, integrated and delightful products and services. The way housing works is neither seamless nor integrated — let alone delightful.


Part of the reason it’s tough is that for many of us, it’s the first time we’ve ever done a transaction like this. That newness in itself can be daunting. Paired with that are a number of confusing steps and many, many pieces of complex paperwork. In the end, this doesn’t make for an enjoyable process.


Let’s take a closer look at some of the parts of the process

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Always good to remodel.

When Alec and Jennifer Harmes spent $264,900 for their first home in 2011—a 1,500-square-foot ranch fixer-­upper in Austin, Texas—they assumed they would be living there for many years. So the couple, millennials in their early 30s, embarked on a series of home improvements to make it suit their tastes and needs. They refinished the kitchen cabinets, and installed new stainless-steel...

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Home of the Week from Rosa Thelma Garza YOUR San Antonio REALTOR

7 steps to take today if you want to buy a home this year

Buying a home and obtaining a mortgage are no easy tasks. You need to have your finances in good order if you hope to get approved for a loan to buy a home.

If you want to buy a house in 2016, here are several New Year’s resolutions to follow through on that can help make you a better homebuyer.

Why the Housing Market Is Ready for a Resurgence

Much is written regarding the housing market, its recovery and the part Millennials may or may not play in the story. Right now, we're in a strange place for many people when it comes to the housing market -- especially the mortgage side of things.

As the President of a Midwestern, mid-sized mortgage lender I have a good point of view for middle America and average American home buyers. I see pent-up demand, rising rent, still-low interest rates and increasing home values as the formula for some great years ahead in the housing market. Let's take a look at these four factors, and how they affect the revitalization of the housing market.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

29% rise in housing market activity

A new report from Connells Survey & Valuation has revealed that total activity in the UK housing market grew by more than a quarter during 2015.

The total number of housing valuations carried out in December 2015 was 29% higher than in December 2014.

Is This The House That Will Turn Millennials Into Homeowners?

If you were born after 1980, there's a pretty good chance you don't own a house. Thanks in part to massive student loans and difficulty finding jobs after graduation, almost half of men ages 18 to 34 (and over a third of women, a record number) still live with their parents.

Others rent. And while it's true that some millennials would rather live in the city than the burbs, some do want to houses. So one Las Vegas builder is trying to figure out how to design a house they'll actually be interested in buying—and actually be able to pay for.

Monday, January 11, 2016

9 Little Things You Can Do to Help Sell Your House

10 Simple Home Staging Tips Every Seller Should Know

Luxury Real Estate Trends in L.A. Are All About the Wow Factor

Luxury real-estate trends in Los Angeles are like sequels to blockbuster action movies: Everything is bigger, more high-tech, and most definitely over the top. “What people are trying to do now is separate themselves from the rest and put something in their home that no one else has,” says Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles star James Harris on behalf of Trulia. “Developers want to stand out,” he adds, so putting in out-there amenities is a smart way to get spec houses noticed in a sea of otherwise similar homes. Perhaps the most extreme example of one-upmanship among developers is the $500 million spec mansion currently under construction in Bel Air. The 100,000-square-foot home will have a 6,000-square-foot master suite, plus a jellyfish room and an ice room, which are exactly what they sound like.

Luxury condominium tower for sale following foreclosure

If you’re looking for a deal on a 14-story luxury condominium building, today you are in luck.

The Regency Tower, located at 6600 Seminary Woods Place off Brownsboro Road, is up for sale after being foreclosed upon in 2013, according to a news release. No asking price has been disclosed.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

What to do if you win the Powerball jackpot: 9-step plan to handling your money

While these big paydays have spawned numerous rags-to-riches stories over the years, they have also spelled disaster for some. Not only do most winners have to deal with people coming out of the woodwork looking for a handout, but there's also bankruptcy, murder, robbery, drug abuse and legal troubles in many cases. In fact, according to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, nearly one-third of all lottery winners go bankrupt.

Here’s how much money you actually get if you win the $900 million Powerball

Everyone's buzzing to see if one lucky person will claim the $900 million Powerball lottery winnings. But while pondering how you could spend the cash can be fun, you may want to take your daydreaming down an ever-so-slight notch.

According to USA Mega, the take-home cash total for a $900 million Powerball is actually $558 million, or 62% of the total pool.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

3 reasons not to pay off your mortgage

Nobody wants to pay a mortgage any longer than necessary. It's a bit unsettling to have an enormous debt looming over you for years on end, racking up interest. You may even be tempted to pay off your mortgage early if you're fortunate enough to have the cash lying around.

However, paying off a mortgage early isn't always the smartest decision, and there's a reason mortgages are referred to as "good debt." So if you're thinking of paying off your mortgage early, here are three reasons to reconsider.

10 Home Decor Trends That Will Be Huge In 2016

Using Roth IRA earnings for a first-time home purchase

Dear Liz: My 29-year-old son recently married, and as a gift I pledged $20,000 as a down payment on a house. My daughter-in-law is beginning a career as a registered nurse and I know they will not be buying for a few years. Is there any type of account that will grow tax-free or tax-deferred for a first-time buyer? Maybe I could gift this money to them into a retirement account for the time being?

Answer: You may be able to give them enough money to fund Roth IRA accounts for both 2015 and 2016. They would be able to withdraw those contributions tax- and penalty-free at any time in the future for whatever purpose they wanted.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Read This To Learn All About Home Mortgages

If you've ever wanted to buy a home, then you know the mortgage process can be lengthy and very involved. So what's the best way to approach securing your own home mortgage? This article is going to discuss many tips that you can take with you to help you find what you’re looking for.

Understand your credit score and how that affects your chances for a mortgage loan. Most lenders require a certain credit level. If you fall below, you're going to have a tougher time getting a mortgage loan with reasonable rates. A good idea is for you to try to improve your credit before you apply for mortgage loan

6 Types of Homeowners: Which One Are You?

Whether you own a home or plan to one day, here's one question you may not have pondered: What type of homeowner are you? Because, let's face it, there are as many different types of homeowners as there are types of homes -- each with its own unique strengths and, alas, fatal flaws.

See if you recognize yourself (or a neighbor or three) in these common breeds below, and learn a bit about how each type can become the one kind of homeowner we all hope to be: happy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Needy Home? Lavish It With Home Improvement Ideas

There are so many projects that can be done around the house if you just have the right information to know how to do them. This article will help you get started on learning what you need to know to improve your home. Read on and soak up a bit of savvy home improvement advice.

One of the best tips to help you on your quest to home improvement, is to take a personalized look at what you wish to achieve. Your personal touch will greatly enhance the look of any home improvement project.



How To Maximize Your Home Improvement Efforts

You can look at home improvement as an insatiable obsession or as just a hobby. Consistently upgrading your home can add value. And as with any investment, there’s always the chance for disaster. The tips contained in this article will help you make knowledgeable decisions instead of costly errors.

You want a flourishing lawn and plants in your yard. One of the best ways to attain this is to fertilise them in the fall, before the first frost. This will give them a boost when they start to grow again in the spring. This extra feeding will bring rewards all of the next summer.



Great Advice When It Comes To Landscaping

What changes can be made to my yard to prevent it from being dull? What do you need to do to dazzle your friends and neighbors with your landscape? The answers your seek are right here. Also included are tips for deciding how big your project needs to be.

Know what the difference between annuals and perennials are. You’ll also want to know what shrubs, plants. Flowers work best in your area. You need to take your local climate into consideration when improving your yard. This is vital information for the success of any gardening or landscaping project.


10 Things You Absolutely Need To Know About Your Credit

After graduating from school, your credit score is probably the only grade you’re given that you care about deeply. Except this time it’s for your financial life. The three digit number is telling of how well (or how poorly) you’ve done with credit. Like academic grades, it’s also a big deal for your future.

Here are ten things that are crucial to know about building and keeping a good credit score:

Mortgage Lenders Get a Year-End Surprise After Complaints About...

Three months after new mortgage disclosure rules took effect, federal regulators and U.S. lenders are smoothing out some wrinkles that remain in the procedures designed to protect homebuyers.

The “Know Before You Owe” rules, which took effect Oct. 3, were written by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and require lenders to accurately disclose all details and fees at least three days before a closing. But lenders complained that the rules caused numerous delays in the mortgage process due to concerns over minor clerical errors in the Closing Disclosures form.


How Much Can You Afford to Pay For a House?

Many wannabe house purchasers wonder whether or not they can afford the price quoted on the house they would like to buy. Or if they have not started their house shopping, they may be wondering what price range they should be exploring.

If you intend to buy with all cash, you can pretty much answer the affordability question on your own. But if you will need a mortgage, as most home buyers do, the decision is no longer yours alone. A lender is also involved, and behind the lender are multiple government agencies that set rules that the lenders are obliged to follow. These rules define the minimum documentable income and cash borrowers must have, and the maximum debt payments they are allowed to have. In addition, when the purchaser's down payment is less than 20% of the price, mortgage insurance is required at premiums set by private insurers or by FHA.


Need A Better Home? Try Using These Tips To Get It!

Home improvement is an activity of knowledge and skill. It's an activity with the goal of improving upon your home so that it looks the way you want it to. Easier than it sounds though, correct? Don’t let that put you off! Read the tips in this article, to see what you need to begin improving today.

Use these two steps to make your ceiling look higher. You can put a lengthy floor lamp in the room or install striped wall paper. This will give something for the eye to marvel at. This makes the ceiling seem really high.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Oscar Winning Home Staging Tips

Why Home Staging Sells
Real estate agents and sellers know how important it is to show a home that is presented in its finest form.  Statistics show that staged homes sell faster and for more money. Interestingly, it is estimated that only 10 percent of prospective buyers can visualize a home looking any different than the way it looks when they walk in the door. They need help and you can help them!
Staged homes give the perception that a home is well-maintained and stylish. Working with the flow of a home, eliminating personal effects and clutter, and arranging furniture can make all the difference a home needs be best presented.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Bad bargain? Manufactured homeowners feel the financial strain

Twenty million Americans live in mobile, or manufactured, homes that offer affordable housing, particularly in rural parts of the country. Typically older and poorer than traditional homeowners, manufactured homeowners often face serious, unique financial difficulties that make it a bad bargain for some low-income Americans. NewsHour's Stephen Fee reports.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

How to Choose the Perfect Color — The Feng Shui Way

Choosing a room color is never an easy decision. Do the hues make you happy? Do they work with the size of the room? Do they flatter you? So, yes, you might balk at Feng Shui as yet another consideration in the paint aisle.

But when you follow this guide, you'll end up with colors that fit just right — they'll help your house work exactly as it should, and make you feel right at home. We tapped Laura Benko, holistic Feng Shui expert and author of The Holistic Home: Feng Shui Your Mind, Body, Spirit, Space, and New York-based interior designer Elena Frampton, who's been a Feng Shui hobbyist since she was a teen, for their most thoughtful advice on the subject. Consider this the color primer you've been waiting for — even if you don't think you're the Feng Shui "type."

DON'T BUY: Here are 15 US housing markets where it makes more sense to rent

Buying a home can be a good investment, but in some areas the cost discrepancy between renting a place and buying a place can be massive.

RealtyTrac, a real-estate research firm, compiled data from 504 counties in large housing markets across the US. They found that in these markets the cost to rent, as a percentage of median wages, was lower than a monthly home payment about 42% of the time.