Read My Column Here

Jun. 25, 2018

Buy Now Before Prices Go Any Higher!

The U.S Census Bureau reports that San Antonio is the #1 Fastest Growing US city!  From July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017, the population grew an average of 66 new residents per day!

The Top 5 Fastest Growing Zip Codes in the San Antonio Metro area from 2010-2017 are:  (rank, zip code, population growth rate/percentage, 2017 total population): 

1.  78215, 16%, 3567

2.  78235, 8%, 722

3.  78253, 7%, 48,482

4.  78261, 7%, 21,710

5.  78015, 6%, 15,523

Closer to San Antonio, Comal County grew by almost 7,000 people from 2016 to 2017 to just more than 140,000 people!  It was the #1 Fastest Growing County in Texas!  In fact, the Top 3 fastest growing counties in Texas, are all part of the San Antonio commuting area!  Hays County was #2, with a population increase of 4.96% and Kendall County was #3, with a growth of 4.91%!

Overall, in 2016, Comal County grew by 5.12% and ranked the 7th-Fastest-Growing county in America!

AAAAAH, Statistics!  So, what does all of this mean to you the home seller or buyer????

It’s basic economics!  Supply and Demand drive prices.  It means home and rental prices are rising as new residents compete for a limited number of properties! 

Sellers could expect that if they correctly price a home (that is ALSO in good condition), they could possibly see even multiple offers come in, and a quick close!  According to Texas Quarterly, 1st Qtr 2018 saw an average Total Days on the Market of 100 days.

Buyers, who are competing with more buyers and fewer available homes, must be prepared with lender preapprovals and have the ability to make a quick purchasing decision:  If they want to secure the home of their dreams! 

Looking to Sell or Buy a home?  Call me at 210-608-0650 to help you make your real estate dreams come true! 

Gina M. Sohmer, is a veteran, a 2nd-Generation REALTOR®, a Graduate of the REALTOR® Institute, a Seller’s Representative Specialist, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, and a member of the Phyllis Browning Company.  You can reach her at www.ginasohmerrealestate.com.

May. 31, 2018

Thinking About Selling Without a Realtor?  Here’s Why You Shouldn’t!

Considering selling your home on your own?  Consider this:

Paperwork!  A ton of paperwork.  It’s more than downloading forms and filling in the blanks.  There are disclosures, surveys, marketing copy, photos, appraisals…and on and on.  Did you know that you can be held liable for known and undisclosed defects as the seller of a home?  Don’t lose the advantage that an agent brings to the table in paperwork knowledge alone. 

Price Setting!  Price it too high and it sets on the market.  Price it too low - and you have left money on the negotiating table.  How do you set the price, analyze the market, and know that you have received a fair offer?  Do you have the tools to do it right?

Staging, Marketing and Showing!  What are the best ways to stage for a successful sale?  Can you take photos and market them across various platforms to entice buyers to request a showing?  How are you going to safely perform showings?  Do you plan on ‘hanging around’?  Do you have time to do it? 

Buyers use Buyer’s Agents.  How are you going to get THEM to show YOUR home to THEIR clients?  A Buyer’s Agent sees a FSBO listing as a risky proposition and double the work.  They can’t count on their standard commission – and they often end up ‘playing’ agent for both parties at a reduced rate.  That’s NOT much of an incentive to show YOUR home to THEIR clients.

Realtors bring Knowledge and Experience in Marketing, Negotiation, Inspection and Repairs, Transactions and Closings!  Don’t let uninformed decisions cost you more money than an agent would have in the first place!  Hire a Realtor to protect YOUR interests! 

Don’t forget to give me a call if you are in the market to buy or sell!

Gina M. Sohmer, is a veteran, a 2nd-Generation REALTOR®, a Graduate of the REALTOR® Institute, a Seller’s Representative Specialist, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, and a member of the Phyllis Browning Company.  Reach her at www.ginasohmerrealestate.com or (210) 608-0650.

 

Apr. 17, 2018

You Have Closed on Your New Home! Now What?

Moving around the country for 20 years makes me kind of an expert on what to do right away when you buy a new home. So this month, for home buyers, let’s talk about TWO things that you really need to do when you first move-in.

First things first – you own the home now, so CHANGE THOSE LOCKS! Most after-market home warranties have a re-key coverage option. Get it! You can then have all of the doors in your new home re-keyed for one low trade call fee. Most of the time this runs around $75.00. If you have ever dealt with a locksmith that is dirt cheap! Why is this important? Because even though the seller turns over ‘all keys’ upon closing, they may have given copies of the keys to any number of people: cleaning or maintenance services, their brother-in-law, even your new next door neighbor may have a key! Sellers are not out trying to collect keys that they don’t remember giving out – they are packing up that moving van! So get your doors rekeyed before ‘Uncle Frank’ (who intentionally wasn’t told of the impending sale) pays you a visit by walking right in your front door!

Replace Filters and Check the Dryer Vent to make sure that it isn’t clogged. Clogged or dirty dryer vents can cause fires. So, replace the HVAC air filter, the vent filter above the stove, and the aeration filters in your kitchen and bathroom faucets. I know, some of you just went: “What?”. Yes, replacing the faucet filters can actually improve water pressure depending on the amount of sediment that has built up over the years. So basically: fire hazards: Bad!, improved water pressure: Good!

Don’t forget to give me a call if you are in the market to buy or sell!

Gina M. Sohmer, is a veteran, a 2nd-Generation REALTOR®, a Graduate of the REALTOR® Institute, a Seller’s Representative Specialist, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, and a member of the Phyllis Browning Company. You can reach her at www.ginasohmerrealestate.com.

Apr. 17, 2018

What to do BEFORE your Home Goes on the Market

Buyers do judge a house by its cover! Exterior items: Pressure Wash, paint, clean the windows, gutters and the front door to include replacing any worn door hardware or painting if needed, trim hedges, edge and removed dead plants. Make sure that first impression makes buyers want to open your door!

Next, they are inside, what are they going to see? Declutter! This includes counters, windowsills, tables, and all other visible areas – and CLOSETS and CABINETS, because buyers open them! A packed house looks smaller! Buyers will worry that THEIR STUFF won’t fit!

To paint or not to paint – that is the question! Stay NEUTRAL. You love your flame red bedroom – but it could be a turn-off to the buyer. If you don’t need to paint full rooms make sure that you are scrubbing and touching up baseboards, walls, and doors.

Buyers don’t fall in love with a stuffy, hot house: so service the HVAC! Besides, it is going to get inspected anyway, so get it taken care of now. Smoke detectors need to work - an inspector will check, and recommend that they be replaced if they don’t. Make sure that loose handles are fixed! Avoid the “What else is broken?” question.

Now: Time to Clean! Your property needs to look spotless and smell clean. Remember – a smelly house will kill a deal! Clean light fixtures and replace burnt-out lightbulbs. It is gross when ceiling fans are covered in dust or cobwebs. Be vigilant in the bathrooms, and make sure that they shine!

A well-maintained home is a FAST, top seller! The more wear and tear a home has, the more the buyer is going to reduce their offer price, or, not make an offer at all!

Last and most important, find a real estate agent to help you price and market your home! It’s tempting to try to save that commission – but it almost always ends up in a lower priced sale, or a home that sits on the market. Make the right choice in the beginning!

Gina M. Sohmer, is a veteran, a 2nd-Generation REALTOR®, a Graduate of the REALTOR® Institute, a Seller’s Representative Specialist, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, and a member of the Phyllis Browning Company. You can reach her at www.ginasohmerrealestate.com.

Apr. 17, 2018

Appraisals – The Real Estate Industry’s ‘Four-Letter’ word – The Buyer’s Dilemma

Last month I spoke about Real Estate Appraisals and how they affect the seller. This month, I am going to focus on what they can mean to a buyer.

Remember, an appraisal is an independent, professional opinion of value based on several types of property factors. From a buyer’s perspective, their dream home needs to appraise for the contract purchase price in order to get their loan. So, a low appraisal most likely will affect the sales contract!

Lenders use the appraisal to-determined the "value" part of your mortgage's loan-to-value (LTV) calculation. Usually, unless the seller agrees to lower the price, you will have to increase your own down payment to receive loan approval.

So, low appraisals can cause a few things to occur:

You and the Seller renegotiate a new, lower sales price.

You increase your down payment to meet new LTV and down payment minimums.

Either you or the seller requests an appraisal rebuttal; or,

You cancel the contract, and find another home.

In Texas, sales contracts requiring a mortgage are written with a Third Party Financing Addendum. The addendum’s property approval contingency allows you to cancel the contract and retain your earnest money, if your dream home fails to appraise for the contract price, or has lender required repairs. In fact, certain loan types, REQUIRE this contingency.

Buyers should NEVER waive this contingency, because it negates any negotiation leverage that they may have if the home appraises for less than contract price.

Remember, avoid the pain of a low appraisal – hire an agent to help you negotiate a fair price for the home of your dreams.

Gina M. Sohmer, is a veteran, a 2nd-Generation REALTOR®, a Graduate of the REALTOR® Institute, a Seller’s Representative Specialist, an Accredited Buyer's Representative, and a member of the Phyllis Browning Company. You can reach her at 210-608-0650.