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

Picture-Perfect Sunsets from your own Backyard
 
 

 
This stunning home sits on over 1/2 acre on a private cul-de-sac. Beautifully maintained home with an open floor plan. Four bedrooms, four baths, two dining areas and two living areas.  Chef's kitchen features a 5-Gas burner cooktop and lots of cabinets and counter space. Oversized family room features a stone fireplace. Guest suite and spacious master suite are both on the first level. Remaining two bedrooms are upstairs with a game room.

The backyard is sure to please with room for large get-togethers. There's an oversized covered patio perfect for an outside living space and time to cool off in the sparkling pool.

IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE HOME YOU BEEN LOOKING FOR,
IT CAN BE YOURS FOR ONLY $675,000.
 
For more details, contact me using the link to the right
 
Christine Henderson
Changing Real Estate Dreams Into Reality Since 1985
 

Cost vs Value: Adding a Pool to your Home

Many Americans look back fondly at the years they spent in their youth lounging in their parent`s backyard pool, but does having a pool on your property help or hinder when it comes time to sell your home? The answer is neither simple nor straightforward. Truthfully, investing in a pool can benefit one homeowner while not adding an ounce of value to the next.
 
Pool Market
Experts say the biggest market for pools consists of buyers who skew toward middle age with teenage children. However, there are some homeowners, specifically those with younger children, who might view a home with a pool as an accident waiting to happen. Experts say pools increase a property’s desirability if the home is in an area that has a large number of pools.
 
However, in recent years, pools have become part of a trend that places more emphasis on backyard landscaping, including fencing, walkways, decks, and other options.
 
Pool Myths
There is a longstanding belief held by many that pools don’t add value to one’s property when you are selling your home. That may be the case in some instances, experts say, however, there are plenty of examples of pools adding value to your property, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR). NAR statistics show that pools add approximately 7.7 percent to the average property value, and more than 11 percent to homes in the Southwest U.S.
 
Costs
The Wall Street Journal reports that while some companies in the United States advertise in-ground pools at prices around $16,000, the real price is likely double that. But costs don’t stop with the pool. Landscaping a backyard through a landscaping service can add anywhere from $3,000 to more than $100,000. While in-ground pools return approximately 50 percent of their initial investment, be sure to keep service records that show it’s in good working order.
 
Location, Location, Location
Before installing a pool, consider where you live. If your neighborhood has a community pool that can be easily accessed, you’ll likely struggle to attract buyers for your home with a backyard pool.
Above-Ground Alternatives
 
If you are concerned about the cost of a pool versus the amount it adds to your property’s value, then consider an above-ground pool. These pools have become increasingly easy to install and maintain, and cost only a fraction of the tens of thousands of dollars that a homeowner must pour into an in-ground pool. Most pool companies now say they install significantly more above-ground pools versus their in-ground models.
 
Source: Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

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

 A HOME THAT FEELS LIKE A LUXURY RETREAT



GORGEOUS CUSTOM HOME WITH SPECTACULAR VIEWS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL YOU'VE GOT AWAY FROM IT ALL. THE OPEN AND AIRY FLOOR PLAN FEATURES RICH WOOD AND TILE FLOORS. THERE ARE TWO LIVING AREAS, SEPARATE DINING ROOM AND STUDY/OFFICE. THE FIRST LEVEL INCLUDES THE MASTER SUITE, STUDY, AND SECONDARY BEDROOM. AN ADDITIONAL TWO BEDROOMS AND GAMEROOM WITH BALCONY ARE UPSTAIRS.

THE GOURMET KITCHEN FEATURES GAS COOKING AND LOTS OF SPACE FOR AN ASSORTMENT OF COOK ASSISTANTS. OUTSIDE YOU'LL FIND FABULOUS VIEWS FROM THE COVERED PATIO WITH AND OUTDOOR KITCHEN. IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE HOME YOU BEEN LOOKING FOR, IT CAN BE YOURS FOR ONLY $649,000

For more details, contact me using the link to the right
 
Christine Henderson
Changing Real Estate Dreams Into Reality Since 1985

Making a Move with Young Children

Are you excited and happy about moving? Or are you dreading the sorting, packing and other chores?
 
If you look at moving as an exciting adventure full of fun, new possibilities, then you’re halfway to getting your children on board for the ride. Your children will absorb your enthusiasm like little sponges.
 
There will be some worries, of course, but you can defeat those with a little preparation and understanding. 
 
Most children don’t like the changes associated with moving. The younger the child, the less able they are to "see into the future" as you do. They tend to focus on losing the security they’re used to, and they worry about missing friends and family. 
You can make childish anger and doubt grow into a sense of wonder and adventure. You can do that by acknowledging and empathizing with the loss they feel and showing them how to balance their feelings with what they have to gain.
 
1. Communicate with your child patiently and frequently.  Let your children know, step by step, what is happening and what is likely to happen next. Tell them what the move means to the family -- how important it is that Mommy got a big promotion or that Daddy is opening a new office for his company. 
 
2. List all the advantages there are for the child in the move. For example, will the family be closer to Grandma, the ocean, or another favorite person, place, or activity? Will they be able to see old friends and family frequently? Or at least at holiday time?
 
3. Show the child as much as you can about the new home. When you show your child their room, bath, and play area, make a game of it by asking where certain favorite toys or furniture should go. Have fun by showing your child the new house plans, or draw them yourself and let your child cut out furniture and toys to place in the rooms. Show your child a typical day in the home as you go from room to room.
 
4. Introduce your child to the new community online. Draw a map, and show how close Mommy and Daddy work, where schools are, where Aunt Bea lives, and other points of interest to help them orient themselves in their new surroundings.
 
5. Be ready for those "What about me?" questions. If your child is in scouts, little league, or other organizations, contact those associations for referrals in your new neighborhood or city. Knowing they won't have to give up favorite hobbies or sports goes a long way toward helping children adjust.
 
6. Let your child participate. Make a fun activity out of researching services you’ll need online, like finding a new veterinarian for your dog. Older children can find blogs online about their new school.
 
7. Keep your child occupied by letting them plan and pack a box or two of their special things. Consider their input on new decor and the layout of their new rooms. Encourage them to take the time to exchange good-byes with friends and loved ones and get addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers to stay in touch.
 
8. Try to stick to normal routines as much as possible. Let your children know that, although they will soon live in a new house, the rules of the household will still be the same. Bedtime is still at 9 p.m., and homework must still be completed before TV time is allowed. And although Mom and Dad are a little busier and distracted with the move, they love their children very much and are giving the entire household a new opportunity to grow.
 
9. On moving day, have a bag packed of personal belongings for each member of the family, being careful to include medications, clothes, and personal items. Let your children choose what amusements and favorite "loveys" they wish to take along, and reassure them they will see their other favorite toys when they arrive in their new home.
 
Your preparedness will go a long way in reassuring your children that their needs are being considered, even while big changes are happening around them.
 
Source: Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

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

DO YOU NEED LOTS OF ROOM  INSIDE AND OUT?
 
 
 
YOU'LL FIND IT HERE WITH THIS 6 BEDROOM, 4.5  BATHS HOME. THE MASTER SUITE IS DOWNSTAIRS AS IS A SECONDARY BEDROOM WITH AND FULL BATH. THE OPEN FLOOR FEATURES HIGH CEILINGS, HARDWOOD FLOORS, CARPET AND TILE.PLAN  
 
 
 
THE SPACIOUS KITCHEN FEATURES EXTRA SPOT LIGHTING, GRANITE COUNTERS, CUSTOM CABINETS AND STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES TO MAKE IT A TRUE SHOW SPOT.
OTHER FEATURES OF THIS HOME INCLUDE A GAME ROOM. FORMAL DINING ROOM, OFFICE, AND A FIREPLACE IN THE TWO STORY LIVING ROOM.  THE EXTERIOR OF THE HOME IS GREAT FOR ENTERTAINING AND FAMILY FUN. THERE IS GORGEOUS POOL, OUTDOOR KITCHEN AND LOTS OF GREEN SPACE TO PLAY. IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE HOME YOU BEEN LOOKING FOR, IT CAN BE YOURS FOR ONLY $689,950

For more details, contact me using the link to the right
 
Christine Henderson
Changing Real Estate Dreams Into Reality Since 1985

What Type of Mortgage Is Rght for You?

If you're considering buying a home, securing a mortgage loan is a key part of the process.  However, you’re probably wondering: how do I find the best mortgage loan for my financial needs? Generally speaking, there are two types of mortgage loans:
  • A fixed-rate mortgage offers a rate that stays the same over the life of the loan. This type of loan generally has a longer term and may be good if you plan to own your home for a long time.
  • An adjustable-rate mortgage offers an interest rate that adjusts based on market conditions (it goes higher or lower) after a specified time period. This type of loan may be good for people who need an initial lower monthly payment.
Consider the following factors to help you gain insight into the kind of home you can afford, and the type of mortgage that will best fit your financial situation:

How long do you plan to own the home?
  • Some loans have longer terms (from 15 to 40 years) that typically work well when you plan to stay in the home for a long time. Other loans have lower interest rates for a shorter term, and may be attractive if you plan to move in five to seven years.
  • CONSIDER: How many years do you plan to stay in the home? Will you move within seven years, or is this the place to "settle down?"
How much can you afford as a down payment?
  • 20% of the cost of the home is standard for the down payment on a conventional loan, but there are loans that allow you to put down as little as 5 or 10%.
  • The higher your down payment, the lower your monthly mortgage payment will be.
  • CONSIDER: How much can you realistically afford as the down payment?
What is the general price range for other homes in your neighborhood?
  • How many homes are for sale in the area? How are they priced? Do you have a list of comparable properties?
  • Are there other neighborhoods that catch your eye? How are the homes in these other areas priced?
  • CONSIDER: Which area/home features the best combination of location, quality, and cost for you.
Which of the following is more important to you?
  • To have low monthly payments?
  • To pay less over the life of the loan, even if monthly payments are high?
  • Some loans offer lower monthly mortgage payments over a long period of time. Other loans are designed to be paid in a shorter time frame, but have higher monthly payments.
  • CONSIDER: Which situation would work best for you? It helps to be clear about your financial goals and resources.
Your credit history
  • Mortgage lenders will look at your credit history and credit score to determine your track record for paying off debt.
  • CONSIDER: Do you have a good credit score? Review your credit report to find out.
Source:  Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

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

Ultimate Relaxation and Peace

 
 
Gorgeous contemporary home with plenty of space for everyone. This starts with               5 spacious bedrooms, 5 full bathrooms and 2 half bathrooms, 10 x 10 exercise room,    
12 x 10 loft / game room. two living areas, two dining areas. The kitchen features a huge granite counter island, stainless steel appliances and range draft hood - and yes a gas oven!
 
Master bedroom suite features a sitting area and spacious walk-in closet. Master bath features dual vanities and a whirlpool tub.
 
When you want to relax out back, there is a refreshing pool and spa nestled amongst the trees.
 
If this sounds like the home for you, it can be yours for only $860,000. For more details, contact me using the link to the right
 
Christine Henderson
Changing Real Estate Dreams Into Reality Since 1985

Home Energy Ratings: What Are They and How Can They Help You?

A home energy rating is the standard measurement of a home’s energy efficiency, which can be very useful when it comes to selling or buying a home. If you’re looking to buy a home, energy ratings let you easily compare the energy costs from one home to another and can help you qualify for an energy-efficient mortgage. And if you’re in the market to sell, a home energy rating can help you identify cost-effective ways to lower your home’s energy costs, which can be a great way to attract potential buyers. (It’s also a great way just to save some money yourself!). Read on to learn more about the how-to’s and benefits of having your home rated for energy efficiency.

How Home Energy Ratings Are Determined
Obtaining a home energy rating involves an on-site inspection by a residential energy-efficiency expert, according to the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), a nonprofit building industry organization that sets and maintains standards for energy-efficient building. A home energy rater who has been trained and certified by a RESNET-accredited home energy rating system will visit and inspect your home to measure its energy characteristics, such as insulation levels, window efficiency, wall-to-window ratio, heating and cooling system efficiency and the solar orientation of a home.
 
In many instances, the home energy rater will employ performance testing, such as a blower door test to measure door and duct leakage, and complete a thermal bypass checklist, a visual inspection of common construction areas where air can flow through or around insulation.
 
Following these inspections, the home energy rater provides a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) report outlining the findings. As part of the HERS report, homes receive a point score between 0 and 100 – the lower the number, the more energy efficient the home – as well as an estimate of the home’s energy costs. The energy rating can be used by homeowners to pinpoint specific cost-effective improvements than can increase the home’s overall energy efficiency.
 
The Benefits of Home Energy Ratings
The benefits of home energy ratings are manifold. First, home energy ratings help identify ways to easily and cost-effectively improve your home’s energy efficiency, which can result in reduced energy costs and less environmental impact.  For example, an energy rating will measure how much leakage you may have in the distribution systems for your heating or air conditioning, says RESNET Executive Director Steve Baden. “You can lose a big percentage of your expensive treated air through leaks,” he says. “A rating will show you exactly how much you are losing through your ducts and what you can do to improve it.” Each home energy rating generates a customized list of the most cost-effective ways to increase energy efficiency, Baden adds.
 
Second, an efficient energy rating can qualify your home for energy-efficient certification through a number of nationally recognized programs, which can increase its resale value. Homes that meet a minimum energy-efficiency threshold can qualify for a range of programs, such as the ENERGY STAR Certification and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Green Building Programs, says Baden. In many cases, RESNET-certified home raters can complete the paperwork for certification under these programs as part of the rating process itself, Baden adds.
 
The benefits of home energy ratings are perhaps most pronounced for prospective homebuyers, according to Baden. “A home energy rating shows in a very understandable manner just how efficient a home is and enables potential buyers to compare it directly to other homes,” he says. “It’s very similar to the EPA stickers on automobiles or the Energy Guide stickers on appliances,” Baden adds.
Finally, a home energy rating can help you qualify for an energy-efficient or “green” mortgage, which can result in substantial savings over time. Home energy ratings are also used to by the Internal Revenue Service to determine eligibility for certain tax credits.
 
Obtaining an Energy Rating for Your Home
RESNET provides a comprehensive state-by-state listing of certified home energy raters. To find one near you, click here.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate