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.

Expert Advice Part 9: Consulting the Agency

When preparing to enter the real estate market, you probably spent a lot of time researching properties, neighborhoods and potential homes on your own time. When you approach the stage of home buying that requires you to actually move forward with a transaction, though, you’ll have to secure the assistance of one of the real estate agencies in Alpine, TX.

Real estate agents act as your representatives as you move forward with buying a home. They make sure that your interests are looked out for during the transaction, and they help you negotiate the best possible price and deal on your home purchase.

Choosing a real estate agent to work with, however, is often one of the most challenging parts of purchasing a home. You have to find and select an agent that you can count on to watch out for your interests during every step of the real estate buying process, which is far from easy. You have to trust your real estate agent with intimate financial details, and count on them to secure you the best possible deal.

Here are a few questions that you should ask when interviewing real estate agencies in Alpine, TX in advance of signing an agreement or contract:

  • How long have you been in business? This is important. You want to work with a real estate agency that has extensive experience in the industry and in your local market. If you’re working with an inexperienced agent, they may not be able to provide you with the full suite of services you expect and need.
  • What percentage of your clients are buyers? Most real estate agents specialize in serving either buyers or sellers. If you’re looking for someone to help you purchase a home, you should work with an agent that has more experience and more of a vested stake in helping buyers, rather than sellers.
  • How do you differentiate yourself from the competition? Your real estate agency should be able to easily identify several differentiating factors that set their business apart. If they can’t, you should take your business elsewhere. You deserve to work with a real estate company that’s outstanding.
  • Do you offer any guarantees? Ask about any guarantees that the agency provides in case something goes wrong with the transaction. If you discover problems with the house after the sale closes, what will the agency do to remedy the situation? Do they offer any discounts on warranties or services?
  • Can you provide references? Every real estate agent should provide you with several happy former customers that you can call. You should verify the quality of services that the references received, and ask them if they’d recommend working with that agent again.

Since 1947, Carpenter Real Estate has been one of the most trusted real estate agencies in Alpine, TX. We’re proud to provide our clients with dependable, reliable representation. To learn more about ways that we can help you ensure your interests are looked out for during the real estate buying process, contact one of our highly qualified agents today.

Expert Advice Part 8: First-Time Home Purchases

Your home is the largest purchase you’re likely to ever make in your life. It’s understandable, then, that you might get a bit nervous about it, especially when you’re a first-time buyer. There’s a lot of information and paperwork to keep track of, not to mention the sticker shock you’re going to feel after signing and initializing all of the paperwork at your closing.

If you’re a first-time home buyer looking through real estate for sale in Alpine, TX, here are a few tips to keep in mind that will help you stay sane and confident in your purchase.

Seriously think about what you can really afford

There are far too many people who get wrapped up in finding their “dream house” that they don’t spend nearly enough time considering how much they can actually afford to spend on their home.

First, is it even the right time for you to be shopping for a home? Will you be living there for at least five years? Will your total housing payment for the home you’re looking at be less than 30 percent of your gross monthly income? You don’t want it to be difficult to cover other monthly expenses because you’re shelling out the bulk of your income to pay for a mortgage on a house you can’t comfortably afford.

Get your finances in order

Once you’ve determined you can afford a particular house, it’s important to make sure you’re financially qualified. Check your credit score first—you need to have a good credit rating to not only get approved by lenders, but also to get a good interest rate. If you need to boost your credit score, pay off your credit card balances and continue making timely monthly payments, and it will take care of itself over time.

Make sure you’re also saving up for a reasonable-sized down payment. You don’t necessarily have to put the commonly recommended 20 percent down, but just be prepared to pay for private mortgage insurance if you do put down less than that.

Finally, make sure you’ve got all your documents ready to provide to a lender as soon as possible so you can get pre-approved quickly for a mortgage. These documents include W-2s, pay stubs, bank statements and copies of your most recent several years of tax returns.

Find a lender

Shop around to several different banks and lenders to find one that will give you the best interest rate. It’s free to get pre-approved for a mortgage, and doing so shows you are a serious buyer who can be trusted. Consider whether you want a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage (most buyers should take out fixed-rate mortgages). Consider other mortgage fees that you might need to take into consideration, as well as PMI.

Don’t just accept whatever interest rate is provided to you in your first conversation with a loan officer. Spend a bit of time shopping around to see what you can get. The good news is that interest rates are still quite low at the moment, so you should be able to find a rate that is beneficial for you.

For more information that can benefit you as a first-time home buyer when looking at real estate for sale in Alpine, TX, contact Carpenter Real Estate today.

Expert Advice Part 7: The Down Payment

One of the most common questions we receive from people purchasing their first home is how much of a down payment they should aim to make on their purchase. In any circumstance, the answer is always going to be, “As much as you can afford, up to a certain point,” but if you’re looking for more specific advice, the answer really varies from buyer to buyer. You need to consider such factors as how much money you have saved up, how much money you earn each month, the price of the home and how much of a loan a lender is willing to give you.

Here’s some information from a realtor about home down payments in Alpine, TX and what you should know about them as you prepare to purchase a home or other type of property.

What is the purpose of a down payment?

The down payment is the amount of money you pay directly toward purchasing a home in cash. The amount of money you put into that payment is really up to you, and will typically be described as a percentage of the overall price of the home rather than a specific number.

Say, for example, you purchase a $200,000 home and decide to put $40,000 in cash toward the purchase right off the bat. That amounts to a 20 percent down payment. A cash payment of $20,000 for the same house would be a 10 percent down payment.

There are very few people who can afford to purchase an entire home in cash, and even if they can, it may not be in their best financial interests to do so. The down payment is helpful in this regard because it prevents you from having to cover the entire cost of the home up front.

Keep in mind that you can’t always just randomly choose your down payment amount. In some cases, especially if you’re involved in particular mortgage programs, there will be minimum down payment amounts you’ll have to make. Most of these minimum amounts aren’t very high. A VA loan doesn’t require a down payment at all, and an FHA loan only requires a 3.5 percent down payment.

When talking about conventional loans, the rules are slightly different. You must put a minimum of 3 percent toward the purchase of your home with a conventional loan, but 20 percent if you wish to get a loan without private mortgage insurance (PMI).

PMI exists to protect the lender from borrowers that pose a higher risk of defaulting on a loan, those being borrowers who put significantly less money down than average or who have lower income or asset levels. If you opt for a conventional loan but put less than 20 percent down, you will have added PMI costs to your monthly mortgage until you get to the point where you have at least 20 percent equity in your home, at which point you can have the PMI canceled.

While PMI might seem like a negligible number when you look at individual payments, it can really add up over time, especially on more expensive homes when you don’t put a lot of money down right away. This is certainly a factor you’re going to want to consider when deciding how much of a down payment you want to put on your home purchase.

One final consideration to keep in mind is that it doesn’t always make sense to make an especially large down payment. Large down payments can lower your rate of return on your investment, so consider market factors as well when looking at the size of the down payment you’ll make.

For more information about home down payments in Alpine, TX, contact Carpenter Real Estate today.

Expert Advice Part 6: Affordable Housing

Could you use some affordable housing advice in Alpine, TX? You’ve come to the right place. Many are struggling in today’s marketplace to find affordable housing in Texas. Several factors are affecting these conditions.

Following is an overview of some of the most important aspects of affordable housing advice in Alpine, TX. For additional information, contact your local experts at Carpenter Real Estate.

Income

A good principle of affordable housing advice in Alpine, TX is to look for housing that requires less than 25 percent of your income. When you spend more than this on housing, you don’t have enough left over to adequately meet other needs or pursue other interests. Of course, those with lower incomes may find this challenging. Fewer housing options exist when you limit a small budget to a low percentage. However, this is essential for financial success.

Rent

In order to make things more affordable, some Texans may look to rental options. While this may work out well for some, it’s important to note that rent typically uses more of your paycheck than a mortgage. Renters are far more likely to exceed the recommended 25 percent of their income allotment for housing. Consult with a realtor in Alpine, TX to determine your options for buying, as you might be better off in the long run.

Concentration

It is common for areas to develop concentrations of poverty. Research has shown that it is more difficult for those living in concentrated poverty to move up and out of these conditions. Affluent neighborhoods offer more prospects for jobs, health care and education. Areas of concentrated poverty lack these opportunities which can help people climb to a higher socio-economic status. If you’re looking for affordable housing advice in Alpine, TX, your local real estate agents can advise you which areas are best for investment.

Purchase

In addition to applying the 25 percent rule to housing expenses, those seeking affordable housing advice in Alpine, TX should follow the 2.5X principle. When purchasing a home, the buyer should consider properties that cost around 2.5 times his or her annual income. Of course, buyers don’t have to spend this much, but this amount should not be exceeded. If it is, the buyer will wind up spending a significant percentage of his or her income on housing expenses.

Shortage

Those seeking housing at the lower end of the price range may find it difficult to find many options. These homes are being built less frequently due to the costs involved. While they can still be found in some areas, it will prove helpful to work with a realtor who has knowledge of when and where to look for the best deals.

Find Affordable Housing

When you need affordable housing advice in Alpine, TX, contact the experienced professionals at Carpenter Real Estate. Family owned and operated, our company has been the go-to source for real estate throughout the area since 1947. We have deep roots in the surrounding communities, and our knowledge and experience make us an invaluable source for affordable housing. Call us today for a free consultation.

Expert Advice Part 5: Rural Living Continued

Owners of rural homes in Alpine, TX face unique challenges. A few pressing issues top the concerns that these homeowners must manage on a monthly, weekly or daily basis. Fortunately, there are solutions.

If you’re living in a rural home in Alpine, TX, consider the following concerns and how to overcome the challenges they present.

Education

With shrinking funding, some Texas school districts are facing potential closure. For some of the smallest districts, a lack of funding sources may mean they will close schools or cease crucial services at the institutions.

Another issue is student homelessness. Homeless youth need education, but services to assist these young people aren’t always available through schools that are struggling just to keep their doors open. Students needing assistance should look to food pantries, youth shelters and health clinics to provide the resources they need.

Medical Care

Large, high-quality hospitals are located in urban areas. But what about those living in rural homes in Alpine, TX? Finding quality medical care is often a concern. Not only are hospitals few and far between, but the ones that are in place are closing their doors. A slew of hospitals in Texas have had to close up shop due to lack of funding or lack of insured patients.

Specialized care is even harder to come by for those in many rural parts of Texas. Those seeking mental health treatment or prenatal care are often out of luck. New funding sources and regulations that encourage the development of better medical facilities in rural areas are needed.

Natural Disasters

Hurricanes and wildfires threaten various regions of the Lone Star State. While these destructive forces attack both urban and rural areas, it is the small towns that find it harder to recover. Businesses often shutter their storefronts. Farmers lose their livestock and fields.

The best bet to protect those living in rural homes in Alpine, TX from disaster is a proactive approach. Build with potential disasters in mind. Put appropriate insurance policies in place. Diversify investments. These steps will help with recovery if disaster strikes.

Environmental Hazards

Fracking, crop dusting and other agricultural efforts are taking their toll on residents of rural homes in Alpine, TX. They face contaminated drinking water due to chemical exposure. Crop dusters aren’t always as careful as they should be, spreading additional chemicals on people and animals. Fracking, meanwhile, releases toxic emissions.

Texas residents must take action to reduce or eliminate these environmental hazards. Report incidents of reckless procedures. Refuse to sign waivers that allow companies to pollute the area. Ask government officials to put policies in place that will protect the land, air and water of rural homes in Alpine, TX.

Learn More

Are you interested in rural homes in Alpine, TX? While the area is facing challenges, it also offers benefits. For more information about what the region has to offer, contact the experts at Carpenter Real Estate. Since 1947, our team has sold over 1 million acres in Alpine and the surrounding areas. Our vast knowledge and experience make Carpenter Real Estate the first place to go to for any and all real estate needs in the region.