Author Archives: Mandy Lohrman

Expert Advice, Part 19: Best and Worst Time to Buy

As volatile and chaotic as the Texas real estate market may appear to a newcomer, the market as a whole is a thing of patterns and repetition. The value of a property will rise and fall as a whole, and there are also certain times of the year when buying a home is advantageous and when it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

If you’re curious about the worst and best time to buy a home in Alpine, TX, we have your answer.

Avoid the paperwork tsunami

Anyone who’s ever purchased their own home understands that the process comes with a mountain of paperwork that needs to be found, filed and examined by a small army of financial and real estate experts. The more sales that these professionals have to juggle at once, the more likely they are to make mistakes. That’s just standard human error.

Which brings us to April, the time of year when, statistically speaking, most homeowners find the home of their dreams. The problem occurs when all these happy homeowners file their paperwork all at once. That puts a real strain on real estate companies throughout May, especially toward the end of the month.

Don’t buy in the spring

It’s natural to assume that purchasing a home just as spring is turning into summer is the best time to buy a home in Alpine, TX, but you’d be mistaken. Because of the increased buying competition, homes sell for inflated prices, possibly even more than their worth.

The resulting predictable backup in May can cause your paperwork to get pushed to June or even July, which could affect your loan’s interest rates.

Make your choice during the fall

August and September are statistically the best time of year to buy a home. Not only are there fewer buyers to compete with on the market (a factor that can result in lower prices), but sellers get anxious to shed themselves of their home because they believe that they won’t be able to sell the house during the cooler months of winter.

In fact, that same feeling—that a home is unsellable during the winter—can be a huge advantage to prospective buyers willing to wait until the offseason to make their choice.

Your home-buying steward

Whether it’s the best or worst time of year to buy a home in Alpine, TX, you can count on Carpenter Real Estate to help you navigate the complex waters of home buying. Since 1947, Carpenter Real Estate has established itself as one of the Lone Star State’s most capable and trustworthy real estate agencies. That’s how we’ve managed to sell more than a million acres since we opened our doors. For three generations, our family owned and operated business has worked to find the perfect plot of land for our valued clients. Commercial, residential and agricultural land cultivated for ranches—we do it all!

We’re proud to belong to the Alpine Chamber of Commerce as well as the National Association of Realtors. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today.

Expert Advice Part 18: Selling Your Home

Property sales can feel overwhelming. There are many moving parts and complex legal documents involved. In addition to the logistics, there are also emotions to consider. Both the buyer and the seller are facing big changes. With so much going on, it’s crucial to follow the right steps to make your home sale as smooth as possible. Use the following tips for selling your home in Alpine, TX to lessen your stress and help make your move quick and profitable.

Work with an expert

Partnering with the right real estate agent when selling your home can make all the difference in the world. Choose someone who is familiar with the area because they have experience with home sales in the region. Look for an agent with extensive experience and an established reputation in the industry.

This real estate agent can help you prepare your home for sale, suggest the right price and market your home to potential buyers. This partnership will help you obtain a better sale price for your home and help you sell it faster.

Prep for showings

Most homes aren’t ready for buyer viewings right away. To capture buyers’ attention and fetch attractive offers, homeowners must prepare the home for showings.

Start by decluttering. Keep in mind that you want the home to look as spacious and inviting as possible. Place extra items in storage, or go ahead and donate things you won’t want to take with you when you move. Make closets and basements as neat and roomy as possible.

The next step is to stage your home. Remove personal items that might distract buyers. You want them to be able to visualize themselves living in your space. Consult with your real estate agent about what items should be removed, as well as any other furniture rearranging that might help make your home more appealing.

Lastly, consider any home improvement projects that need to be completed before you put your home on the market. Again, ask your real estate agent for specific recommendations. Projects might include updates to fixtures, repainting rooms or sprucing up your landscaping to improve curb appeal.

Market with quality photographs

Getting the right photos is one of the most important tips for selling your home in Alpine, TX. In today’s market, the images of your home will make the first impression to buyers as they search online for properties. Put your best foot forward by using a professional photographer to capture attractive pictures of your rooms and the home’s exterior. Your real estate agent can provide this service or recommend a photographer. The agent can then use these images to effectively market your home online.

Get more tips

To get more tips for selling your home in Alpine, TX, contact the team at Carpenter Real Estate. We’ve sold over 1 million acres of Alpine-area real estate over the past 70 years. Family owned and operated, we specialize in both residential and commercial properties. Reach out to us for a free consultation on your next real estate sale.

Expert Advice Part 17: Negotiations

Negotiating the sale price of a home in Alpine, TX requires a certain finesse. By following the right steps, you can get the best price possible for the home. Of course, this requires the right knowledge and skills. Use the following agent tips to sharpen your negotiation skills for your next real estate transaction.

Do your research

To secure the best price for a property, you must be familiar with the current market. Research recent sales and current competition to learn about the going rates for homes in the area. This will allow you to develop a reasonable offer that does not offend the seller but still gives you a good deal on the home.

In addition to the prices of current and recent listings, consider the number of homes on the market. Current interest rates are also important. These factors help shape the nature of the real estate market, which affects how you should approach negotiating the sale price of a home in Alpine, TX.

Partner with a pro

It’s challenging for consumers to fully grasp everything that is involved with the real estate market when they are not immersed in it every day. This is where a real estate agent can help. The agent’s knowledge of the local market makes him or her an invaluable resource as you negotiate the sale price of a home. With experience in the market as well as the negotiation process, an agent is the perfect resource to tap in order to get the best price for a home.

Take a stand

Before you begin negotiations, decide what your walk-away price will be. This will be your absolute top dollar that you are willing to pay for the home. This should be based on the market research you have completed, input from your real estate agent and your own budget. If the seller will not move below this price, you must be willing to walk away.

Buying a home is an emotionally-charged process, so it’s important to make firm decisions ahead of time so you don’t get swept away. Keep in mind that many buyers make offers on more than one home before they ultimately purchase one that fits their search parameters.

Renegotiate

Once you’ve agreed on a price and signed a contract, you will probably order a home inspection. (Be sure to include this contingency in your offer.) Once this inspection is complete, you now have the opportunity to negotiate further. If the inspector brings up any items of concern, you can ask the seller to make repairs, offer a credit to cover the needed repairs or adjust the sales price accordingly.

Get the best price

Since 1947, Carpenter Real Estate has sold over 1 million acres of property in Alpine and the surrounding areas. We are your go-to source for negotiating the sale price of a home in Alpine, TX. Family owned and operated, we specialize in residential properties, commercial properties and ranches. Our vast knowledge and experience make Carpenter Real Estate the first place to go to for any and all of your real estate needs. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

Expert Advice Part 16: Home Inspections

If you’re debating whether or not to complete a home inspection before buying in Alpine, TX, there’s no doubt what your decision should be. A home inspection is essential for any real estate purchase. Always order one. It’s well worth the investment.

Once you’ve made this decision, keep in mind the following four tips. This will make your home inspection and your entire real estate transaction go more smoothly.

Choose the right inspector

Many professional home inspectors are available to complete this service. It’s not always best to choose the cheapest option. Remember, you get what you pay for. Be sure to find someone who is licensed and offers experience in their field. Ask for recommendations from your real estate agent to find someone trustworthy.

If you’re handy, and are tempted to do the inspection yourself, consider allowing someone else to do it. A professional’s report will carry more weight if you need to refer to it later, and they are less likely than a DIY-er to miss important issues.

Attend your inspection

If you hire a professional to complete a home inspection before buying in Alpine, TX, you may be tempted to skip attending the inspection itself. This is a mistake. Attend the inspection and use this time to get to know your property. You’ll have the opportunity to ask the inspector questions, and he or she will be able to explain things to you in person. This includes any current issues, things to watch for and simple tips on how to operate certain systems in the home.

Make the inspection work for you

One of the main advantages of completing a home inspection is that it creates a negotiation tool. If the inspection reveals any issues with the home, you can present these to the seller and request repairs or compensation to cover the repairs. (Be sure to include a home inspection clause in your purchase contract in order to make this opportunity available.) If major issues are present that the seller is not willing to cover, you can then walk away from the deal.

Keep the inspection for future reference

The inspection report is helpful for more than the initial purchase. It may contain information that is helpful for you for the life of the home. Keep your inspection report on file to refer to in the future for HVAC operation, system repairs or other related concerns that are included in the documentation. You might be surprised how helpful this document proves to be if you have a question about your home in the future.

Find an inspector

Since 1947, Carpenter Real Estate has sold over 1 million acres throughout the Alpine region. Family-owned and operated for three generations, we specialize in residential properties, commercial properties and ranches. Our vast knowledge and experience make Carpenter Real Estate the first place to go to for any and all real estate needs. Contact our team to find the right professional for your home inspection before buying in Alpine, TX. Call us today for a free consultation.

Expert Advice Part 15: Closing Process for Purchasing Land

An important part of any land purchase procedure in Alpine, TX is the closing process. Familiarizing yourself with this process will prove helpful as you navigate your purchase. There are four key components to the process.

Document review

When purchasing land, it might be tempting to think the process is simple and requires little to no paperwork. This would be a bad assumption. Simply because the property is land only, rather than a house or other type of building, does not mean you can skip essential documentation.

Be sure to review all the closing terms in the purchase agreement. Go over all contingencies and ensure these are met before closing. You won’t have time to review everything in detail at the closing and, for many items, it might be too late at that point to do anything about them.

Also review all financing terms. Look over the deed, loan summary and any other material that the bank provides. Again, the closing will be a time for a quick overview and signatures, not a time to thoroughly review terms, so do this ahead of time.

Lastly, review inspection reports, surveys and any septic system designs and soil logs, if applicable. Ensure all details are in order to avoid any surprises at closing or later on down the road.

Final walkthrough

You are entitled to complete a walkthrough of the property just before closing. The point of this inspection is to ensure the land is in the same condition as when you agreed to purchase it. Vacant land can be susceptible to dumping, so look for trash, appliances and other debris. Also check that all vegetation, sand and gravel are still in place.

Title insurance

Title insurance is required by the lender. Even if you aren’t getting a loan for the land, it’s important to pay for title insurance. This coverage provides a title search to reveal any issues with the property, such as liens, easements, boundary issues or anything else that could affect your ownership and marketability of the land in the future.

National title insurance firms handle this coverage. Your lender or your attorney will probably choose a preferred provider, but you can request one as well. Once the title report is completed, review it to ensure there are no issues with the property. If there are issues, you want to discover these as soon as possible so they can be resolved before closing.

Closing

The final step in your land purchase procedure in Alpine, TX is the closing. This is the meeting at which property ownership transfers from the current owner to the new one. You “close the deal.”

The closing can be “in escrow” or “in person.” In-person closings require a representative from all parties involved in the transaction to be present. For an in-escrow closing, a representative from the bank records the deed, and funds are held “in escrow” and distributed at the end of the day or week via checks to each party.

Partner with the pros

Since 1947, Carpenter Real Estate has sold over 1 million acres in Alpine and the surrounding area. We are your go-to source for assistance with your land purchase procedure in Alpine, TX. Contact us today with any questions.

Expert Advice Part 14: Selling Land

A lot of people think of real estate investment in terms of home sales and purchases, but there is a huge market for buying and selling land. While people can enjoy a lot of benefits from selling land in Alpine, TX, it is far different from selling a home, and it’s important for you to understand the process in greater depth if you want to be successful in your land sale.

How land sales and house sales differ

If you go into the land selling process expecting it to be essentially the same as the house selling process, you will likely be caught off guard by the reality. There are several major differences between house sales and land sales:

  • Different buyers: Home buyers and land buyers comprise different target markets, which means you will need to take a different approach to reach land buyers than you would to reach home buyers. Depending on what a buyer is hoping to do with a plot of land, ordinances, zoning, location, topography and configuration are all incredibly important, more so than when you are selling a home.
  • Different market: The market for land is completely different from the market for houses. Typically, homes are in higher demand than land, which makes it more challenging to generate interest from a land listing. To reach potential land buyers, you need to adopt different sales and marketing techniques and be prepared to wait for an offer.
  • Different staging: Just like with home sales, staging can be incredibly important when you’re trying to sell land. However, the staging itself is totally different between home sales and land sales. You can’t create the same atmosphere and aesthetic appeal on a piece of undeveloped land that you can inside a home, but you can still stage your property. Tending to landscaping, clearing away clutter and potentially even planting wildflowers and attractive plants can make your property more appealing to potential buyers.

Land selling tips

If you’re ready to list a plot of land or vacant lots for sale in Alpine, TX, there are several thing you can do to maximize your chances for success. First, you should take the time to prepare your land by cleaning it up and getting it looking its best. Next, post signage on your property to announce the land sale and provide specific information about acreage and features of the property. Post your listing online on sites that cater to land sales. You should also consider hiring a professional realtor to help you sell your plot.

Lots for sale in Alpine, TX

At Carpenter Real Estate, we know how different the world of land sales can be from that of home sales, and our team knows how to successfully navigate these differences. If you’re looking for assistance with real estate sales or purchases, you can feel confident that you will receive the best service available when you choose to work with our team. Give us a call today to get started with a free consultation!

Expert Advice Part 13: Home Auctions

A lot of real estate investors choose to purchase homes at auction in order to save money on a purchase. While buying foreclosed homes in Alpine, TX offers a number of benefits to real estate buyers, it’s important to consider some key advice to help you make the most of home auctions and avoid some common mistakes that home buyers make.

Home auction considerations

When a home is up for auction, it’s important to understand why. Typically, home auctions are used to sell foreclosed properties. Foreclosure is a legal process by which a lending institution, bank or tax authority claims possession of a property from a homeowner due to a failure to pay mortgage payments or property taxes. After the foreclosure process is initiated, the institution or organization claiming possession of the property will appoint an agent to sell it.

The agent appointed to sell the property will arrange a home auction. During this time, the previous homeowner has a limited amount of time to leave the premises. While homeowners are supposed to take their possessions from the property, foreclosed homes often still contain many of the previous homeowners’ personal items, and the properties are often messy and in poor shape.

In most cases, foreclosed homes sold at auction are sold as-is and with all flaws. Homeowners often don’t have the opportunity to inspect a home prior to purchase, which increases the potential risk to the home buyer. Still, the amount of money that real estate buyers save by purchasing foreclosed homes often more than makes up for the amount of money that they have to spend to repair the property.

Getting the most out of an auction

Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your home auction experience is successful:

  • Get pre-approved for financing: To prove that you have the money necessary to purchase a home at auction, you need to get pre-approved by a mortgage lender. Bring proof of your pre-approval with you to the auction to demonstrate that you have the means to pay for your home purchase.
  • Research property auctions: Not every property that goes up for auction is worth buying, so make sure you do plenty of research to find a promising home auction. You should at least drive by the property in advance so you have a better idea of its condition prior to the auction.
  • Don’t blow your budget: During some auctions, the bids can quickly exceed the budget that you have established for your home purchase. When this happens, it’s important that you are prepared to let a property go so that you can avoid exceeding your budget.

Buying foreclosed homes in Alpine, TX

For more advice about buying foreclosed homes in Alpine, TX, reach out to the team at Carpenter Real Estate. Since 1947, we have been dedicated to providing our customers with high-quality real estate services. As a family owned and operated business, we are committed to the quality of our services and the satisfaction of our customers. Give us a call to find out more about everything we can do for you and get to know our team!

Expert Advice Part 12: Hiring the Agent

The purchase of a home or other type of property is a major life decision and milestone. For many people, it will be the most expensive purchase they ever make. So, whether you’re buying for the first time or if you’ve done it a few times before, you will be best served by working with an experienced real estate agent to help you through the process.

There will certainly be no shortage of real estate agents for you to find. So how do you choose which one you want to work with? Here are some tips about hiring real estate agents in Alpine, TX:

  • Get preapproved for a mortgage before hiring: Before you begin shopping around for a real estate agent, you should talk to a lender and make sure you’re actually able to get preapproved. Assuming you’re able to do so, this will give you a clear idea of how much money you’ll be able to borrow, which will play a role in the kinds of homes your realtor can search for. It also helps demonstrate to your realtor that you are a serious buyer.
  • Ask family and friends: A great first step in finding a realtor to work with is asking friends or relatives who have recently bought houses about their experience, and whether they have anyone they can recommend. You can trust the recommendations of people close to you—they’re not going to want to steer you wrong.
  • Conduct some online research: You can search for candidates online as well, and if you’ve already developed a potential list of realtors, you can do some research on their background. Check out websites or professional social media profiles, and look for online reviews. You can get a sense from the kinds of properties they list if they’ll be a good fit for what you’re looking for, and reviews can at least give you an idea as to whether they’ll be good to work with.
  • Interview: Talk to at least several real estate agents over the phone or in person. This gives you a chance to get familiar with them and decide if you’ll be able to build a comfortable working relationship with them. You can ask them any questions you want at this point, including their availability, their preferred means of communication, the kinds of homes they tend to work with and areas in which they focus, etc. You can also request references that you can follow up with later to learn more about your potential realtor’s background.
  • Make a decision: Ultimately the best thing you can do is to go with whoever feels right. Select who you developed a rapport with and who you think is best positioned to find you a house in the area you want to be in. If you’ve researched the realtor’s background and are comfortable with their level of experience, then you should be armed with the information you need to make a good decision.

For more information about hiring a real estate agent in Alpine, TX, contact Carpenter Real Estate today.

Expert Advice Part 11: Closing Costs

When you reach the closing phase of purchasing a home, you’ll need to be prepared to pay a variety of fees for all the services required to finalize your mortgage and your purchase. Most of these closing costs in Alpine, TX are your responsibility to pay, but there are some that are also the responsibility of the seller.

Here are some examples of some of the most common fees you can expect to come up during a closing:

  • Appraisal: If you don’t pay the appraisal fee earlier in the home buying process, you can expect those fees to be added on during the closing phase.
  • Credit report: The lender will do a credit check to determine whether or not it will approve your loan and for how much money. There is a cost associated with generating this report.
  • Origination: These are the costs associated with making the mortgage loan, including processing the application, underwriting, funding the loan and any other administrative tasks associated with putting the paperwork together.
  • Points: Points are a percentage of your total loan amount. One point on a $150,000 loan is 1.5 percent of the loan, or $1,500. You can either avoid paying or receiving points entirely, pay points at closing to cut down on your interest rate or have points paid to you and use them to cover some of your closing costs.
  • Survey: In some cases, the lender might require you get a survey done on the property. The buyer is typically responsible for paying this fee.
  • Title insurance: Both the owner and the lender get a title insurance policy to protect each party’s investment. The fees associated with title insurance will be accounted for in these closing costs.
  • Title search: There is also a cost associated with searching the public record for the title of the property you are purchasing.
  • Document preparation: A variety of papers, including the mortgage, deed of trust, deed, note and other legal papers, must be prepared before closing, so you may be responsible for covering the costs of their preparation.
  • Recording fees: These are the fees associated with recording the new mortgage and deed.
  • Homeowner’s insurance: Lenders will require you to have a homeowner’s insurance policy in place by the time of closing. You’ll likely be required to bring a fully paid first-year premium to the closing.
  • Mortgage insurance: Depending on how much you put into your down payment, you may be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), which essentially protects the lender, as it will be making a larger investment to cover you.
  • Property taxes: You may be required to bring a certain number of months’ worth of property tax payments to closing.
  • Home warranty: Part of your closing costs may include payment for a home warranty, which guards you against unexpected failures of the appliances or other major systems in your home.

For more information about the various closing costs in Alpine, TX that are associated with closing on a house, contact Carpenter Real Estate today to speak with an expert.

Expert Advice Part 10: Reading Listings

If you’re in the real estate market, you may find the sheer number of available listings overwhelming. How are you supposed to sort through all of the available homes and find the one that’s just right for you and your family?

Further complicating the matter is the fact that not all real estate listings are easy to parse. Some listings use language that is, to put it generously, creative. If you’re struggling to find a real estate listing that seems both legitimate and meets your needs, it’s often beneficial to stop and take a moment to familiarize yourself with the best way to read between the lines when viewing real estate listings in Alpine, TX.

Many listing agents use strategically worded listing blurbs and strategically framed photos to make homes seem as desirable as possible. It’s up to you and your real estate agent to analyze listings, and determine which properties seem worth pursuing further.

Here are just a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to analyzing and understanding real estate listings in Alpine, TX:

  • Learn your abbreviations: There are a number of abbreviations that are commonly used in online real estate listings. These abbreviations include the easy-to-decipher (“1BR” equals one bedroom), as well as more obscure terminology, like “HDW” to denote hardwood flooring, or “AEK” to indicate an all-electric kitchen. Taking the time to learn these abbreviations can save you a lot of guesswork.
  • Verify neighborhoods via online maps: Does a real estate listing, when you compare the neighborhood, price and size of the property, just seem too good to be true? If so, it probably is. Agents might list a home as being in a neighborhood that is nearby, but not necessarily where the property actually lies. Check the property’s address on an online map to see which neighborhood it is really located within. Checking the property’s Walk Score is also a good way to determine how close it is to community amenities.
  • Be wary of certain descriptors: If you see a property that’s described as having a lot of “potential,” prepare to spend a lot of money bringing that potential to fruition. Similarly, terms like “cozy” are usually code words for “small.” If a seller is “highly motivated,” it might mean that there’s something wrong with the property.
  • Mix of photos: Real estate listings in Alpine, TX should have a mix of photos attached to the listing. For example, there should be clear images of the building’s exterior, as well as its interior. Be wary of any property that’s photographed with a fish-eye lens—this is done to make the property appear larger and more spacious than it actually is.

Since 1947, Carpenter Real Estate has been helping clients understand and analyze real estate listings in Alpine, TX. If you’re in the market for a new home, you can rely on our real estate experts to help you find and identify an abode that meets your needs as a prospective homeowner. Contact one of our friendly representatives today to learn more about ways that we can help you find the perfect residence for your needs.