Luxury Living in South Texas: This Week's Featured Listing From My Office

Texas Living is not only about living away from it all
on a ranch,
There's waterfront options. too.
Here's one of those opportunities. Live on a lake with a private canal and your own boat house! This Texas size home is all on one level. It's situated on .75 acre with pecan trees and blackberry bushes. The gleaming Chef's kitchen
comes complete with stainless steel appliances, lots of counter and cabinet space plus a fireplace setup for that outdoor feeling. for cooking. Flooring includes ceramic tile, wood and slate. Spacious bedrooms with ceiling fans. The house is built for entertaining with a an open family/game room that features a wet bar and beautiful lake views.

 If you're looking for a special property like this one, it can be yours for only $685,000

Check Your Thermostat for Possible Recall

Thought you should know...

White-Rodgers, a major thermostat provider, has recalled over 1 million thermostats in the United States and Canada due to a fire hazard caused by alkaline batteries leaking onto the thermostat’s circuit board.
Which Thermostats are Subject to Recall?
 The digital thermostats are white with blue lighted screens and will have one of the following names printed on the front: 
“COMFORTSENTRY,” “DICO,” “Emerson,” “Frigidaire,” “Maytag,” “Nutone,” “Partners Choice,” “Rheem,” “Ruud,” “Unico,” “Water Furnace,” “Westinghouse,” “White-Rodgers” or “Zonefirst.”

The thermostats have a battery door on the top, left-hand corner. There are three or four buttons to the right and three or four more buttons below the thermostat screen.
Recalled thermostats do not show a battery icon on the left side of the blue lighted screen. Only thermostats without a battery icon are subject to recall.

What Should You Do?
 If you own one of these brands, check your thermostat for the battery icon on the left-hand side of the blue lighted screen. If the battery icon is not shown, contact White-Rodgers to receive a free repair or a replacement thermostat.

Consumer Contact:
 Call White-Rodgers toll-free at (888) 624-1901 from
 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday—or visit their website at and click on the White-Rodgers 1F8x-04xx Thermostat Recall link found at the lower, left-hand corner of the homepage for more information.

To access the full report from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission...

Luxury Living in South Texas- Featured Listing from my Office

Live Like a Celebrity

This home was formally owned by a sports celebrity, but you don't have to be one to own this spectacular home -- you only need the income or the lotto win. This drop-dead gorgeous home is meticulously maintained from it's professionally landscaped exterior with varying layers of shrubs and trees to the beautiful flagstone walkways with accent lighting all around. 

The backyard is designed to appeal to the richest donors you may entertain for your for favorite fundraisers.  The yard comes complete with 2 waterfalls. 5 fire fountains,  spectacular pool & spa, 1500 square foot covered patio and 2 outdoor kitchens. This yard cost more than most people pay for a home! 

The indoor kitchen was remodeled in 2013 and includes a Sub-Zero refrigerator, Viking gas range with 6 burners, huge kitchen island and seemingly endless counter and cabinet space. 

And what home would be complete without it's own media room with comfy individual chairs so you can feel like a movie director doing your own private screening. When the movies are done you can sip wines in your private wine room. All this and more in a comfy 5200 square foot of living space.

This home is priced like a mini bungalow on a California beach, but since it's in Texas, all this can be yours for the low price of $1,250,000.

Vacation Home Sales Surge While Investment Property Purchases Decline

NAR’s 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, covering existing- and new-home transactions in 2013, shows vacation-home sales jumped 29.7 percent to an estimated 717,000 last year from 553,000 in 2012. Investment-home sales fell 8.5 percent to an estimated 1.10 million in 2013 from 1.21 million in 2012. Owner-occupied purchases rose 13.1 percent to 3.70 million last year from 3.27 million in 2012. The sales estimates are based on responses from households and exclude institutional investment activity.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun expected an improvement in the vacation home market. “Growth in the equity markets has greatly benefited high net-worth households, thereby providing the wherewithal and confidence to purchase recreational property,” he said. “However, vacation-home sales are still about one-third below the peak activity seen in 2006.”

Vacation-home sales accounted for 13 percent of all transactions last year, their highest market share since 2006, while the portion of investment sales fell to 20 percent in 2013 from 24 percent in 2012.
Yun said the pullback in investment activity is understandable. “Investment buyers slowed their purchasing in 2013 because prices were rising quickly along with a declining availability of discounted foreclosures over the course of the year,” he said.

“In 2011 and 2012, investment property was a no-brainer because home prices had sharply over corrected during the downturn in many areas, creating great bargains that could be quickly turned into profitable rentals. With a return to more normal market conditions, investors now have to evaluate their purchases more carefully and do their homework,” Yun added.

The median investment-home price was $130,000 in 2013, up 13.0 percent from $115,000 in 2012, while the median vacation-home price was $168,700, up 12.5 percent from $150,000 in 2012.
All-cash purchases remained fairly common in the investment- and vacation-home market:  46 percent of investment buyers paid cash in 2013, as did 38 percent of vacation-home buyers.
Of buyers who financed their purchase with a mortgage, large down payments continued to be the norm in 2013. The median down payment for investment buyers was 26 percent, while vacation-home buyers typically put 30 percent down.

Forty-seven percent of investment homes purchased in 2013 were distressed homes, as were 42 percent of vacation homes. Lifestyle factors remain the primary motivation for vacation-home buyers, while rental income is the main factor in investment purchases.

The typical vacation-home buyer was 43 years old, had a median household income of $85,600 and purchased a property that was a median distance of 180 miles from his or her primary residence; 46 percent of vacation homes were within 100 miles and 34 percent were more than 500 miles. Buyers plan to own their recreational property for a median of 6 years, down from 10 years in 2012.

Buyers listed many reasons for purchasing a vacation home:  87 percent want to use the property for vacations or as a family retreat, 31 percent plan to use it as a primary residence in the future, 28 percent wanted to diversify their investments or saw a good investment opportunity, 23 percent plan to rent to others and 22 percent intend it for use by a family member, friend or relative.

Investment-home buyers in 2013 had a median age of 42, earned $111,400 and bought a home that was relatively close to their primary residence – a median distance of 20 miles. Fifty percent of investment buyers said they purchased for rental income, 34 percent wanted to diversify their investments or saw a good investment opportunity, and 22 percent bought for a family member, friend or relative to use – often to house a son or daughter while attending college.

More than eight out of 10 second-home buyers, both for vacation and investment homes, said it was a good time to buy. Approximately 43.4 million people in the U.S. are ages 50-59 – a group that dominated second-home sales in the middle part of the past decade and established records. An additional 42.7 million people are 40-49 years old, which is the historic prime age range for purchasing second homes, while another 40.4 million are 30-39 years of age.

NAR’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows there are 8.0 million vacation homes and 43.7 million investment units in the U.S., compared with 74.7 million owner-occupied homes.

Source: NAR’s 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey.

What Determines Your Interest Rate?

There are many factors that determine your interest rate when purchasing or refinancing a home. Ever wondered why you see low rates advertised but once you've gone through the application process, your rate is different? Well, you are not alone; many homebuyers and homeowners get confused when their interest rate comes back higher than what was initially advertised. There are many variables in assessing your mortgage rate. Some of the most important variables are explained below.
  • Credit score
  • Type of property you are purchasing or refinancing
  • Down payment
  • Debt to income ratio
  • Employment history
  • Term of the loan
  • Loan amount
  • Loan to value ratio
  • Location

What is an Interest Rate?
The interest rate is a percentage of the loan amount that is charged for borrowing money. 

 What is an APR?
The Annual Percentage Rate is the total cost of the loan. You take the interest rate and add on the lender fees required to finance the loan to calculate your APR. It is typically higher than the interest rate because it includes the fees. 

The Difference Between Your Interest Rate & Your APR
Think of the interest rate as a 'starting point' of what you will pay for a mortgage loan. Once you tack on the associated fees, you have your actual APR.

Source: Susan Ferris, Loan Officer NMLS-217468
Cobalt Mortgage Inc., NMLS-35653
18545 Sigma Rd. No. 105 San AntonioTX 78258
Phone: (210) 538-0061

Luxury Living in South Texas: This Week's Featured Listing from our Office