Real Estate Blog

Planning for 2014


Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and definitely a Happy New Year for 2014! We are in the process of reviewing 2013 and planning for 2014 and are real excited about the prospect for the real estate business in 2014, especially here in central Texas!

While planning how we are going to expand our bokerage, I reviewed some of the local market data and just want to share that we are seeing a very positive growth in real estate value across the scpectrum here. From raw land because they just aren't making any more of it, to commercial and multi-family, as well as traditional single family residential units, the average real estate property increased about 15% in 2012-2013. Not sure what your bank is paying, but a "safe investment in a bank will probably yield about 2%. And with the Fed not planning to raise interest rates much over the next year, we are probably going to see more of the same.

So, are you looking to increase your investment portfolio? Do you want to just take advantage of the increasing market and find a nice home to live in while it increases in value? Do you need to be close to good schools or work? Are you long term and can buy some land to hold onto? Do you have the assetts to delve into a commercial investment? All are positive options for 2014, just need to have a plan. Need to discuss options? Call and let's talk, you'll be glad you did!


Inspections and Investment


Although many investors look for cost first, then value, it is important to use a third party to provide another view on your property. With experience you will learn just what to look for, and will have access to your network of professional tradesmen. but until then, you need to interview a few local inspectors and team up with one you can trust to work with.

Inspectors are licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission and have to undergo extensive initial and continuing education to obtain and maintain their license. Still, using a local expert can help when they know the neighborhoods, the zoning, the inspection criteria used by the municipalities, and the trends in the market. They are into the workings of homes and know where certain neighborhoods have a tendency to have foundation issues, or that homes built during a specific period may have used certain materials such as "black PVC" or "Chinese Drywall" in construction that may pose a threat down the line.

By working with your inspector, you will gain critical insight to the value of a property and what it may cost in upkeep, read costs, during your time of ownership. You can better budget and be prepared for maintenance rather than be surprised when needed. So, get out and meet the inspectors that are active, that have a good reputation in the real estate community, and that will want to work with you as well. It will be worth every penney!


Investing for Profit

Investing for Profit!

Investing in real estate should be for profit! Seems simple, and it can be, but some investors overlook the real cost of ownership with purchase price. Yes, we are always looking for the best entry price into an investment, but there are some obvious, and more subtle costs as well.
The first, and possibly most obvious costs, will be structural and mechanical. The roof of an older home will most likely be old as well. In south and central Texas, the typical composite shingle roof will last about 15 years before it will demand serious repair or replacement. Figure about $5000 minimum to replace a roof, more if it's a steep two story! 

Next are the mechanical systems, meaning the heating and air conditioning, water heater, and any other motors like vent fans, etc. A typical HVAC system will last about 15 years with regular maintenance, maybe longer if it was installed post 2000. Otherwise, with a rental unit you can expect that the tenants didn't replace filters regularly, or other maintenance was deferred as well. HVAC can run $4000 or more. The water heater is a less expensive item, but many cities are requiring a pressure overflow tank be installed on new and replacement systems. This can add carpentry as well as material labor costs that exceed the usual cost of a tank. You can estimate between $600 and $2000 for replacing a water heater.

The moral of the post here is simple - don't try to save a few thousand on purchase price only to be surprised with much more, as well as a lack of rental income when things don't work. Work with a professional REALTOR that understands investment property. Hire professional inspectors, and always have a plan! Good luck!

Investing in Real Estate


Just a few notes on real estate investing in our Corridor area. First, we live in an area that is growing rapidly and have hundreds of individuals and families relocating weekly to work in the Eagle Ford Shale oil fields, support our military population, join our expanding education systems, retire, and find available work in many associated sectors of the economy.
This growth fuels a need for housing and most folks that relocate prefer to rent for at least the first year until they get to know the area and are comfortable purchasing for the long term. This leaves a wonderful opportunity to own investment property and keep it rented at fair market values. And our fair market values continue to rise as our inventory is reduced!

This leaves today as a wonderful opportunity to purchase investment property, rent it with positive cash flow for a few years, and turn it over for a profit in the future. No, there are not any of the late night TV "no money down" programs in existence, but with 10 - 20% down, you can get into well maintained properties that won't require additional investments in repairs before getting rental income flowing.

I'll be getting more in depth in future articles, so stay tuned and call us today to discuss investment opportunities now! 210-659-6700......RE/MAX Corridor is ready to help you!

Update on New VA Loan Funding Fee

It's official now, the latest news from the VA is that the bill was signed by the President and is effective October 1, 2011.

For first time users, the rate is changed from 2.15% to 1.4%. With 5% down, the rate is now 0.75% and with 10% down, the rate is now 0.5%. These are significant changes that can save you thousands of dollars over the life of a loan. Even if you sell your home in a few years, you will both save on the cost of the loan, but will have more equity sooner as this will not be added to the loan.

For second and subsequent time users the fee is reduced from the current 3.3% to 2.8% through 9/30/2012. It is then reduced to 2.15% through 9/30/2013 when it is fully reduced to 1.25%.

For Veterans, the home loan guarantee is one of the most valuable benefits of service and can be used numerous times to assist in purchasing a home. The loan cap is still $425,000, but you can work with lenders to obtain special jumbo packages for homes in high cost areas that exceed the cap.

Good News! Share this!

New VA Loan Funding Fee Information


Just got this update to the recently published news on VA loan funding fee reductions:

" Today the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) posted an update to the VA Funding Fees schedule to take effect on October 1, 2011"


The Department of Veterans Affairs issued a Funding Fee notice on September 30, 2011 that stated both houses in Congress have passed a new VA Funding Fee Bill. ** The bill is now PENDING the President's approval and signature*****


IF President signs the bill... THEN the VA Funding Fees scheduled to take effect per Circular 26-11-12


If signed Saturday, October 1, 2011...will NOT take effect as originally scheduled and Existing higher VA funding Fees will remain in effect until November 17, 2011.


If signed After Saturday, October 1, 2011.....Will only be in effect for a very short period of time, and VA will notify of reduced Funding Fee validity period.

More Good News

More good news for the Schertz area! The city has found a new Director for Economic Development. Mr. David Gwin comes to Schertz from College Station and brings over 20 years of experience with him. He was selected from a group of 40 highly qualified candidates to fill the position vacated by John Kessel who was hired as the City Manager in April.

Mr. Gwin has worked in city management for four Texas cities during his career and looks forward to the challenges of working in a growing community. He start his new job on October 3.
The City is moving rapidly with economic development projects and will benefit from the energy and experience that Gwin will bring to the position.

What A Summer So Far

Welcome to the greater San Antonio area! This is historically our busy season, and it has been so far. Of course, we are in a different kind of season this year - the season of rentals!

We have a lot of families moving here for Military, other government, as well as private sector growth that want to purchase but are not able for various reasons. This makes the market much more attractive to those that can purchase as there are more choices for them. Still, there are a lot of renters this year. And with sales slow, many owners are opting to become landlords, although relunctantly at times.

If you are coming in soon, be prepared if you are renting - homes for rent don't stay on the market long at all! Most are less than 3 weeks.. And don't even think about "negotiating'  a rental price. landlords are locking in solid rates as long as the house is clean and in good condition.

If you are able to buy, there are a lot of choices as well, but be prepared as well. Our average sales are 95% or better of list price. That means we don't have a lot of "pennies on the dollar" deals here. Still, we never went wild, so our prices are still very attractive and interest rates continue to be crazy low.

Give us a call and we'll help find the right answer to your particular housing needs!

Are You Ready to be a Landlord?

As we progress into the summer moving season, it is becoming more and more common for homeowners that are forced to move like the military, are not able to sell their home at a price they need, and are becoming landlords. Especially with our Military population that have used their VA loan benefits to purchase a home with zero down payment, leaving no equity or even a little bit upside down.

Many home owners are finding that they must look into the rental option to keep their property and make those mortgage payments. Thankfully in the greater San Antonio market,  we have the incoming and growing population that readily supports the rental market, helping these moving owners keep their homes for the future. This is also making them investors in the real estate community, and helping to build wealth in an unforseen manner.

Still, the new landlords are also finding that the house must be clean, ready to move in, in a desired area, and priced competitively. Sound familiar? Although our rental market is healthy and rent rates have increased annually, the rest of the formula still applies.

And this is opening up new room for investors to purchase property at all time lows, with low interest rates, a ready rental population, and healthy inventory. Now is certainly the time to investigate investing in the best asset class in the investment world. Call and we can provide personalized options based on your requirements and abilities.

Friday on the Corridor

Friday morning on the Corridor and the traffic has been heavy already! A lot is happening here along our IH-35 corridor between San Antonio and Austin. It seems we always have something under construction or being upgraded and the traffic flow moves, but increases almost daily.

The recent retirement of Schertz City Manager Don Taylor opened up the opportunity to hire John Kessel. John was recently selected to lead the Economic Development Corporation, and was barely in the office before he threw his hat in the ring and interviewed for the City Manager position. He is an experienced leader and has overseen the growth of McKinney from about 35,000 people to the current population of over $120,000. We look forward to his energy, experience, and leadership in taking Schertz forward as well.

Cibolo has had it's share of political upheaval and the recent elections should help them get back on track shortly. The Cibolo area has enormous potential for growth, just needs to get a good plan and make it work.

The increase in activity with the oil exploration in the Eagle Ford Shale zone is providing some economic development for the area as well. They are hiring rig workers, drivers, engineers, and support staff in significant numbers. Since the ranch land that is being drilled on has not been developed, the workers are using the greater San Antonio region as their base of operations. From housing to training functions, we are seeing positive signs with the oil industry.

A good weekend ahead, enjoy it and come see us on the Corridor!
Page:  of 000  |    

Contact Us

Office Phone: 210-659-6700
Office Fax: 210-659-6764
17156 IH-35 North
Schertz, TX 78154
Office: 210-659-6700

Connect With Us

Find Us on Facebook Connect on Twitter View My Youtube Channel

Find us on Facebook