- Defroster fan on highest setting
- Temperature control on its hottest
- A/C turned on
- Recirculate turned off
- Crack your windows
Ever wonder why the stove stays but the washer and dryer usually go when a house is sold? In Texas, if an item is permanently attached, or the property might be damaged by the items removal, it stays with the property. If a seller wants to keep a sentimental item, such as a rare cactus they planted in their outdoor rock garden, or the curtains that Aunt Erma made, the items should be specifically excluded in the contract. Likewise, a buyer who would like to retain a dining room table that was built to fit perfectly in the space, will need to state this in the Non-Realty Items Addendum. A REALTOR® can help make sure any variances from the standard contract are properly documented and agreed to by all parties. Take a look at this graphic from Texas Realtor Magazine for more on inclusions and exceptions.
SAN ANTONIO RESTAURANT WEEK
January 15-27, 2018
Just when you thought it was safe to stay home eating takeout and watching reruns wrapped up in your Snuggie—the folks at Culinaria are back with two weeks of tempting offers to lure you out of your pajamas and into area restaurants. San Antonio chefs will be showcasing their talents January 15-27 with special three-course prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner throughout the city. Plan your cheat day in advance, and make your reservations (which aren’t necessary, but why take chance) now for lunch or dinner at one of the participating establishments. Been reading all the buzz about Jason Dady’s new downtown steakhouse, Range? Now’s your chance to see what the fuss is about. Craving a pork chop the size of your head at one of your fancy favorites? J. Prime or Bob’s Steak and Chop House have you covered, at a fraction of the usual cost. When you arrive, show you’re in the know and ask for the Restaurant Week menu to take advantage of the curated fare and special pricing.
Tier 1 restaurants are offering a $15 lunch and $35 dinner multi-course menu, and Tier 2 restaurants will have a $10 lunch and $25 dinner menus. Just don’t forget to show your server some love, as tips (and tax) aren’t included.
And you can feel good about treating yourself. With each meal ordered, restaurants will donate $1 for lunch and $2 for dinner to Culinaria and the programs it supports.
Check the Culinaria website for a list of restaurants and menus.
Okay, San Antonio. We all made it through our big snow day, and while it may be another 30 years before we see whiteout conditions here again, it was the perfect reminder that we DO get winter weather in the Alamo City. Cold temperatures and icy conditions are a part of most winters here, and now is the time to make sure you are prepared for them.
In thinking about my own preparedness for winter storms, I took a look at several websites and found some helpful information I thought I’d share. Ready.gov has some great resources on making an emergency plan for your family, as well as a checklist of what to put in your emergency supply kit to make it comfortably through extended power outages. They also have a kit to create for your pets.
Texas Department of Public Service has some good home winterization tips. One I found interesting is finding the shutoff valve for the water to the house. For most of us, there is a hole with a metal cover in the front yard somewhere that has a meter and valve, but how many of us know where it is, where our shutoff tool is, and how to use it? A burst pipe can cause an incredible amount of damage, and everyone in the house, from young teens to adults, should be aware of the valve’s location, and try their hand at operating it. If you aren’t sure how to do it, Mr. Plumber SA has a great video you can find by clicking on the link.
Did you leave a restaurant on Friday to find an inch of snow on your car, or wake up in the morning with twice that on your windshield? Put a scrapper in your car to be prepared for unexpected ice and snow. A warm blanket and some kitty litter wouldn’t hurt either. (If your vehicle gets stuck on a slick road, cat litter can help create the traction you need to get out. The non-clumping kind works best for extra traction on slick roads.) Better safe than sorry. And to settle the old argument, the proper way to defrost your car windshield, according to Car and Driver is:
You can also find a cool 6-minute video about the science behind this at the link I included.
A last note on winter safety: please check your carbon monoxide (CO) detector’s batteries! Experts recommend that you change yours every year during daylight savings time, but if you missed out, do it today. Any time you burn fuel in stoves, lanterns, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces, CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, and you have no way of knowing if you are at risk without a working detector.
I hope everyone enjoyed our little version of a white Christmas, and that you all take this opportunity to make sure you stay safe and sound for the rest of the season.
The Platinum Top 50 awards celebration has become such a special event for me. Not only have I felt tremendously honored to be listed among the top 50 residential Real Estate Professionals in San Antonio since 2002, but this year I was privileged to speak as we recognized Amber Thomas, Owner/President of Platinum Top 50. Amber has lead the PT Top 50 since 2008, and has reinvented the program so that it stays on top of what’s new in the marketplace. It is an organization with which I am proud to be affiliated.
The Platinum Top 50 Awards Program recognizes more than just sales—the fifty residential Real Estate Professionals selected annually must also represent high achievements in education, industry participation and civic leadership.
I am honored to be recognized as a Platinum Top 50 Centurion for 2018, and I am so thankful for the trust my past and present clients and referring friends have placed in me. I truly couldn’t do it without them, or my hard working team.
Congratulations to my fellow Phyllis Browning agents who were also named as winners and finalists this year. I truly feel I am surrounded by “The Very Best” each day.
Selling a home from November to January isn’t at the top of anyone’s holiday wish list. But a last-minute job transfer or the desire to get kids moved and settled mid-school year sometimes necessitates just that. While the mere thought of selling your home during the winter months may bring out your inner Scrooge, it has some distinct advantages.
Because some buyers take their homes off the market during the holidays, and others delay listing until spring, you won’t have to compete with dozens of other homes just like yours to get buyers’ attention. Reduced inventory means more buyers checking out your home.
Another pro is that anyone who takes time out of their hectic holiday schedule to go on showing appointments is probably serious about buying. Perhaps they are buying a home now for tax purposes or are relocating to start a new job in the new year. But whatever the reason, as a general rule, buyers who are on the hunt for a home during the holidays are motivated and ready to buy.
So how do you sell your house while decking the halls—without losing your holiday spirit? I give my clients a few tips that help keep the holidays merry and bright while maximizing their home’s potential.
Keep Décor Simple
Tasteful decorations and a minimum of clutter allow buyers to see their own families celebrating the holidays in your home next year. Think about your home’s best feature, and highlight it. Dangle mistletoe in a graceful arched doorway, or display your menorah on the ledge of a bay window.
Use Lighting for Emphasis
Keep lighting simple, and use it to highlight unique and interesting parts of your home’s landscaping. Twinkling white string lights can make any home entry sparkle during the holidays, or draw attention to your beautiful live oaks.
Don’t Hide Gifts in the Closet
Buyers always open up and look in closets. The fewer hanging clothes, luggage or random objects tucked away, the better. Get a storage unit, or ask family or neighbors for a corner in their closet or garage.
Consider Hiring Help
The holiday season is hectic enough without having to spend time keeping your home immaculate for showings. One solution—hire help. Most national cleaning services offer short-term cleaning options.
When I’m working with sellers over the holidays, I stress the importance of staying flexible with showings while still blocking off a few dates that will allow them to enjoy their home and celebrate the season with friends and family.
Above all, I tell my clients to relax. My team and I are there to help make the entire selling process run smoothly from listing to close. It’s really can be “the most wonderful time of the year”—to sell your home!
Today is #GivingTuesday, making it the perfect day to pay it forward with random acts of kindness or by volunteering your time and talents at your favorite non-profit. It’s also a great day to make charitable contributions, as Facebook makes over 2 million dollars in matching funds available to organizations registered through their charitable giving tool. One organization making it easy to tap into your charitable spirit today and throughout the holidays is The San Antonio Food Bank.
Providing food to over 58,000 individuals a week—35% of those served are children—The San Antonio Food Bank partners with over 500 agencies to distribute millions of pounds of food and groceries across 16 counties, including Bexar. But they can’t do it without volunteers, and food and cash donations.
The Food Bank has made their own Christmas wish list of the “Most Wanted” food donations that Secret Santas of all ages can toss in their shopping carts and deliver in person. Print out their graphic, or just add peanut butter, cereal, tuna, beans, rice, mac & cheese, chili, canned stews and soups, canned lunch meats, full meal boxes and pop top food items to your grocery list before heading out to shop. Want to do more? Their website gives step-by-step instructions on holding your own food drive. Check out the San Antonio Food Bank website for more information.
Think a dollar doesn’t go far these days? Every $1 donated to the Food Bank provides 7 meals to those in need. Today, it will do even more, if you go to San Antonio Food Bank on Facebook and follow the link on their #GivingTuesday post.
Thanksgiving is still a few days away, but the holiday season is kicking off in a big way in San Antonio. From twinkling light displays to caroling on the River Walk, there’s no shortage of cheer in and around the city. Check out these eleven holiday events to help you get into the spirit.
Dickens on Main
When: Friday, November 24, 2017, 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Get your merry on as the 18th annual Dickens on Main celebration kicks off the holiday season in Boerne on Nov. 24 and 25. Shop for unique holiday gifts along Boerne’s Hill Country Mile while the whole family enjoys live musical entertainment, Dickens-era theatrical performances, a variety of children’s activities including Santa and a 60-foot snow slide, live ice sculpting shows, horse-drawn carriage rides, snow on Main Street and more. See Dickens on Main for a complete schedule.
When: Fri., Nov. 24, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 25, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 26, 2 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 2, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; and Sun., Dec. 3, 2 p.m.
Reconnect to your sense of wonder as San Antonio’s homegrown arts powerhouses, Ballet San Antonio and the San Antonio Symphony, team up to bring The Nutcracker to life on the Tobin Center for Performing Arts stage. The traditional holiday ballet by Tchaikovsky features immediately recognizable music, over-the-top pantomime and graceful dancers in a package that delights young and old alike. Tickets from $24.50. More information at Tobin Nutcracker.
Concert in the Cave-Sounds of the Season
When: Saturday, November 25, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Enjoy Tinsel—an a cappella quartet—for sounds of the Christmas Season with contemporary classics and beloved carols. Tinsel is not your average group of Christmas carolers; their roster includes Grammy® winners and classically trained vocalists. Tinsel’s original arrangements of holiday favorites sparkle with sophistication, while respecting tradition and cherished memories. Add a cool cave location with amazing acoustics to Tinsel’s unique sound for an unforgettable addition to your Christmas season. More information and tickets at Cave Without a Name.
Hands on Chanukah
When: Thursday, November 30, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Hands on Chanukah is back! This annual free family event will include crafts (dip-dye Chanukah candles!), activities, and snacks including latkes and applesauce, that will celebrate Chanukah. While the event is free, RSVPs are requested. For more information or to RSVP, contact Rachel at 210-302-6969 or click on Barshop Jewish Community Center.
La Cantera Resort & Spa Holiday Tree Lighting and Free Jazz Concert
When: Thursday, November 30, 7:00 p.m. –9:00 p.m.
La Cantera Resort & Spa hosts a free jazz concert by Paul Taylor, internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist. The concert coincides with the annual tree lighting ceremony on Plaza San Saba. Guests will enjoy free holiday treats, kids’ activities and photos with Santa. Donations will be accepted and proceeds will benefit a local children’s charity. More information at La Cantera Resort and Spa Tree Lighting.
Ford Fiesta de Las Luminarias
When: Weekends beginning Friday, Dec. 1 – Sunday December 17 at dusk along 3 miles of the River Walk
Experience the holiday serenity of the River Walk strolling along the lush banks of the San Antonio River, guided by more than 2,000 Luminarias. This centuries-old tradition begins at dusk Friday, Saturday & Sunday only for three weekends in December. Luminarias are a traditional Mexican Christmas lantern, originally consisting of a candle set in sand inside a small bag. These glow just as bright, but without the fire hazard.
Ford Holiday Boat Caroling
When: Weekends beginning Friday, December 1 – Friday, December 22, 6:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.; Tuesday – Thursday, 6:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
Joyous caroling fills the evening air along the San Antonio River Walk as nearly a half dozen boats carry different performing groups along the river. More than 185 school, church, company, and civic choral groups participate each year. The public is invited to stroll on the banks of the river or sit outdoors in a restaurant to enjoy the caroling. More information about both events may be found at The San Antonio River Walk.
Gruene Christmas Market Days & Holiday Lighting
When: Saturday, December 2nd; 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Cowboy Kringle and Lighting 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Get a start on your holiday shopping in Gruene when nearly 100 vendors converge on the downtown area offering Christmas gifts, uniquely crafted items and packaged Texas foods. Photos with Gruene’s own Cowboy Kringle may be taken during the Market Days event, with packages available for purchase. For more information, visit GrueneMarketDays.com.
At 5:00 p.m., watch as Cowboy Kringle rides into town on horseback and lights Gruene for the Holidays. Enjoy live musical performances with festival food and wine available for purchase. Afterwards, get some holiday shopping done at Gruene’s 30+ stores.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
When: Friday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 9, 2 & 7:30 p.m.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the holiday season at the Tobin Center for Performing Arts with its critically acclaimed holiday stage extravaganza. It’s a cirque show, Broadway musical, and family Christmas spectacular all in one. Witness snowmen, penguins, angels, reindeer, toy soldiers, gingerbread men, ornaments and of course Santa; with soaring acrobatics, gravity defying feats, elaborate production numbers, imaginative costumes, illusions and more. The show also celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with singers, original music and seasonal favorites all performed in a winter wonderland of amazement. Tickets from $38.50. More information at Tobin Cirque Dreams.
La Gran Tamalada
When: Sunday, December 10, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m
The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center presents La Gran Tamalada, the annual community workshop that honors the tradition of making tamales on at the Guadalupe Theater, 1301 Guadalupe St. The free event blends storytelling, the history of the tamalada and promotes cultural pride and lifelong learning. Children and adults participate in this hands-on opportunity to learn about the ingredients, recipes and cooking methods used in making this culturally iconic dish. The Cortez Family, owners of the popular Mi Tierra restaurant, will share their love of family, tradition, and tamales with the community. More information at La Gran Tamalada.
Holiday Block Party at Quarry Village
When: Thursday, December 15, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
This free, family-friendly event features a 15 x 15 foot play zone filled with real snow, a gorgeous Christmas tree lighting, live Christmas carolers, a Santa photo station, complimentary bites by area restaurants, wine, cocoa, and a cup of Christmas cheer (beer!) provided by Weathered Souls Brewing Co. A DJ, plus holiday sales and giveaways round out the evening. MBP Photobooth Co. will be providing complimentary photos with a pet-friendly Santa. Just bring a Toys for Tots donation for your photo print out. More information at Quarry Village Holiday Block Party on Facebook.
Despite less than four months of inventory available, home buyers were not deterred and contributed to a five percent jump in total home sales in October, according to the Multiple Listing Service Report (MLS) from the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® (SABOR). Just over 2,500 homes sold during the month, while days on market dropped four percent to 55 days. October ended with 2,203 sales still pending.
This surge was driven by low and mid-range homes, with 47 percent of homes sold priced under $200,000 and 48 percent priced between $200,000 and $500,000. Higher-end homes—those over $500,000—accounted for just five percent of the month’s sales, with 15 priced over $1 million.
“The San Antonio area continues to be one of the most affordable metro areas in the state, with almost half the homes priced under $200,000. In fact, the median price of a home in Bexar County in October was $196,000 while homes in Travis County sold for a median close to $340,000,” said Yvette Allen, SABOR’s 2017 Chairman of the Board. “When we look at everything in the MLS, which includes some inventory in surrounding areas like Boerne, our median goes up to $207,100, which is still far less than other parts of Texas and below the state median of $220,500.”
“With prices remaining stable and new listings continually coming on the market, there is something for both buyers and sellers here,” said Gilbert Gonzalez, SABOR’s interim CEO. “For buyers, there tends to be less competition in the off-season and they can see how the home functions in the colder weather. For sellers, homes are selling for 97.4 percent of list price.”
While the news is certainly heartening, those selling higher-priced homes need to make sure their property stands out to a more limited pool of buyers. That’s where a realtor with expertise in your area of town can be crucial. I have over 18 years of specialized experience working with sellers of fine properties in North Central San Antonio. Give me a call if I can help you understand and navigate the ever-changing real estate market in your neighborhood.
SABOR Multiple Listing Service Report: Home Sales Recap
|October 2015||October 016||October 2017|
|Total Month Sales||2,223 (5% increase)||2,399 (8% increase)||2,507 (5% increase)|
|Average Price||$229,637 (10% increase)||$240,373 (5% increase)||$241,127 (0% increase)|
|Median Price||$186,900 (6% increase)||$203,300 (8% increase)||$207,100 (2% increase)|
*Percentage increases are based on a year-over-year comparison.
Twelve days of early voting yielded Bexar County’s lowest pre-Election Day turnout in the last eight years. That means plenty of folks still need to head to their local polling place to vote today. What’s on the ballot? Besides several municipal races and local propositions, there are seven state constitutional amendments, including a property tax break for spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty. Other state propositions would establish new term limits for gubernatorial appointees and make several changes related to home equity loans, including a lower cap on loan fees.
Polling sites are open until 7 p.m. today. Not sure where you need to go to vote? You can find your polling location on the Bexar County Elections Department website.
It’s no surprise to anyone who lives here that San Antonio consistently appears at the top of “best places to live” lists. We have a great climate, interesting cultural roots, first class universities and a solid economy—plus our Alamo City was recently named by Forbes as one of the top twenty places in the nation to invest in a home due to affordability and growth. But there’s one list I wish San Antonio didn’t find itself on the top of year after year—the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s (AAFA) “Allergy Capital” ranking.
Last year, San Antonio ranked 22nd out of 100 of the largest U.S. metro areas by pollen count, allergy medicine use, and allergy specialists. And now that cooler weather and pumpkin-spiced lattes are in the air, it’s time to break out the tissues. If you’ve recently noticed yourself sniffling, sneezing and rubbing your eyes, you can blame ragweed and mold. But the worst is yet to come—one of my team members noticed a few ashe juniper trees beginning to turn tawny orange on their tips up in the Hill Country, meaning it’s only a matter of time before cold fronts carry those hazy yellow clouds our way again. San Antonio transplants might not notice much at first, since it may take years of exposure for sufferers to develop full-blown “Cedar Fever” symptoms.
But once you have it, all you want to do is make it stop. Besides seeing your doctor and figuring out which antihistamine and nasal steroid spray to use, what can you do to make this year’s allergy season better than last? Unfortunately, no one has come out with a magic bullet that works to stop cedar suffering, but there’s quite a bit you can do to minimize the fallout from pollen.
Keep Pollen from Hitchhiking Back Home with You
- Change clothes, or better yet, take a shower, when you come home after being outdoors.
- Take shoes off at the door and ask guests to do the same.
- Get daily wear contacts or wear glasses to reduce irritants clinging to lenses.
- Groom your pets more often if they spend much time outdoors, or wipe down fur with a cleansing cloth made for pets.
Make Your Home a Fortress
- Don’t be tempted to open windows to enjoy that fall weather. With the cool breeze comes pollen. Keep windows closed and run the AC if necessary.
- Clean carpets regularly in the fall and winter or replace carpets with tile. Hard surfaces are easier to clean and don’t retain pollen like carpets do. If you can’t replace your carpets, use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter for best results.
- Whether you are sipping hot cocoa while cutting your own tree in the Hill Country, or choosing one at a tree lot near you, be sure to spray it off with a hose when you get home. If your allergies are severe, consider an artificial tree.
- Replace your furnace’s filter. A furnace filter should capture most of the irritants that may trigger winter allergies, but won’t be as effective once it’s clogged. Replace your filter now, and again in late December or January, to keep pollen to a minimum
Choose Your Moment
- Time your workouts. It’s best to avoid the outdoors during high pollen count days, but that’s not always practical. So avoid the 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. window when most plants tend to pollinate. And skip the outdoor run and head to the gym on windy days, when pollen tends to get stirred around.
- Know your pollen count and plan accordingly—for a Facebook friendly listing of what allergens are in play on any given day, check out Dr. Paul Ratner’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/paulhratner.
And for those of you who haven’t seen the trees in action, take a look at this video from Youtube: