Home for Sale? Prepare for Your Upcoming Move Now!

It’s so easy to get caught up in listing your home that you overlook preparing for the inevitable: the big moving day. Moving is stressful for most people, but knowing how to prepare for moving when selling your home will reduce much of that tension. However, do not put this off until the last minute—there are some things you can do now. Here are five tips for packing up your Alpine, TX home post-sale:

  • Declutter now: Old furniture in your garage, items you never use and clothes that no longer fit don’t need to follow you into the new house. Start getting rid of items now so you have less to pack later. This can be especially overwhelming when you’ve lived in one place for years, so go room by room or declutter based on types of items, like clothes, books, kitchen items, etc. Basically, if you do not need or want it for your new home, sell it or give it away.
  • Pack less immediate items first: After you declutter, start packing what you do not need every day. Start with items like books or wall art, and move boxes into the garage or a storage unit as you fill them. The kids’ playroom, the basement and closets are the best places to start. As you go through this process, you may find more items you no longer need and can combine this step with decluttering.
  • Store and organize: If you organize your everyday items, that will make it easier to pack them. Home offices, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens are high-traffic areas that are often full of stuff. Use decorative baskets, bins and containers to organize but also keep it attractive. This can also help with staging as potential buyers start visiting your home.
  • Scrub appliances: If any of your appliances are making the move with you, clean them out now so it does not become an issue on a high-stress moving day. Ovens and stoves should be clean, as well as refrigerators, washers and dryers. Also, you likely do not want to move dirty appliances into a new house, so this helps with your moving-in steps as well.
  • Check HOA regulations: When you are moving out of a condominium or a neighborhood with strict HOA regulations, check to see what you can and cannot do when the moving truck arrives. For condos, there are likely load limits on elevators and certain doors your moving crew must use. Neighborhoods may have limitations on where trucks can park and for how long. While moving can be disruptive to you and your neighbors, it is only considerate to reduce that as much as possible. Know the rules, and if you must deviate from them, communicate that clearly and apologize when necessary.

Carpenter Real Estate can help ensure you need these tips for packing up your home post-sale sooner rather than later. We can focus on selling your home while you focus on how to prepare for moving when selling your home in Alpine, TX and moving on to the next step. Contact us today to list your home with us.

Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

Buying a home is a huge financial commitment, and many first-time homebuyers don’t understand all the implications involved. From getting rid of debt and saving for a down payment to having enough on hand to deal with the inevitable repairs, there’s a lot to consider. Here’s how to decide whether to buy a home in Alpine, TX.

Can you afford a mortgage?

The biggest factor in buying a home is, of course, whether you can afford to do so. If you have enough money saved up to pay cash, you certainly can feel comfortable purchasing now. However, most people need a mortgage in order to buy a home.

Typically, your mortgage company will look at your credit, your debt-to-income ratio and how much you can truly afford. Mortgage brokers prefer to keep the front-end debt-to-income ratio at about 28 percent or less—after all, if you lose your job, have unexpected expenses or need major repairs, you don’t want all your disposable income going to a mortgage. Plus, since they’re usually 25- to 30-year commitments, you’ll also need to consider how reliable your employment is.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a better idea of what you can afford.

Do you have a down payment saved?

The more of a down payment you have saved, the better—you’ll have lower monthly payments and interest rates. Experts suggest having at least 20 percent of the purchase price saved up. However, if this isn’t a possibility, there are other options. Ask your real estate agent and mortgage broker about other sources of financing.

How will you handle repairs?

As a homeowner, you’re financially responsible for taking care of your home—if you’ve been used to renting, this can come with sticker shock. What happens if you spring a leak or find out that there are foundation problems? What can you fix yourself, and what will you need to outsource? How will you pay for it? Don’t forget to factor in increased utilities, lawn care supplies and other hidden costs.

What does the market look like?

The housing market is another major factor in readiness. If it’s cheaper to buy than rent, you are likely making a smart decision in purchasing. You’ll also want to consider whether the market is appreciating and growing and how depressed real estate prices may be—a depressed market can mean that your bargain home will grow in value as the market rebounds.

Do you plan to settle down?

Finally, are you ready to settle down in one spot? Consider how steady your job is, your ties to the area, potential family planning concerns (especially if you’ll need extra bedrooms), whether you’ll be taking care of aging parents and other lifestyle considerations. Remember that if you sell your home before living in it for two years, you may be subject to capital gains tax.

If these tips for buying a first home in Alpine, TX have reassured you that you’re ready, contact Carpenter Real Estate to get started!

How to Avoid Common Home-Buying Mistakes

Buying a new home—especially if it’s your first one—is a milestone in anyone’s life. It’s also a time when your emotions can outweigh your more prudent nature. Homeownership is more than signing a contract and moving in—it has many consequences that can take new owners by surprise. Here are some of the main home-buying mistakes to avoid in Alpine, TX:

  • Know what you can afford: It’s easy to fall in love with houses, but the last thing you want is to fall in love with one that you really can’t afford. Instead of attending open houses indiscriminately, figure out your budget and limit your search to places you can afford.
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage: In the same vein, it’s very helpful to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking. This allows you to see the difference between what the mortgage company will approve versus what you can afford. It also allows you to put in an offer quickly when you do find your dream home.
  • Know what you want: Just like you need to know what you can afford and know that you’re approved for a mortgage, you should also have a good idea of your non-negotiables. For example, do you absolutely need a three-bedroom home in a good school district? Look at places in those categories—don’t make the mistake of settling for two bedrooms. You’ll end up unhappy, no matter how great a deal the property may seem to be.
  • Get an agent: Working with a real estate agent is a smart idea—they’re ethically bound to advance your interests. You’ll also have an advocate on your side to advise you about whether a purchase is a smart one, whether a location is increasing in value and other important, expert advice.
  • Shop around: Don’t buy the first house you tour, no matter how perfect it seems, and keep a healthy sense of skepticism about you. Staging and cosmetic fixes can be deceptive, eliciting a much higher price tag than a home without them. Ask your agent if you’re unsure. You should also be wary of fixer-uppers—don’t buy a home that requires more time than you can devote.
  • Get all the right inspections: Never skip inspections, no matter how honest the seller seems. Before you make a major purchase, it’s important to make sure there aren’t any expensive, hidden flaws that could lead you to regret the sale.
  • Be ready to say no: At the end of the day, the biggest mistake you can make is buying a house with glaring red flags, whether it’s in a bad neighborhood, doesn’t have enough bathrooms or doesn’t pass inspection. Desperation leads to poor decisions. Even if you’re able to turn around and sell the home right away, you’re going to end up paying additional closing and moving costs, as well as the agent’s commission.

Carpenter Real Estate can help you find the perfect home at a price you can afford. Get in touch with us to start your search and avoid the most common home-buying mistakes in Alpine, TX.

How to Get Acreage Appraised

To the average person standing on a plot of land in Alpine, TX, all the land may be the same. Of course, that’s not true in the slightest. Depending on where you’re standing, a parcel of land could hold incredible opportunity or dire predictions. It all depends on how the property is appraised. If you’re curious about how land is appraised in Alpine, TX, here is a primer.

The view

One of the first parts of a property that gets discussed is its “amenity features.” That is, are there parts of the property that make it especially attractive? A nearby body of water or a scenic view of the mountains can go a long way toward bumping up the price of your property.

Shape and topography

The natural and legal boundaries on your property play a big part in their value. For example, a strip of land that is too narrow may not be ideal for building in any scenario. A patch of land that changes elevation too rapidly or continuously may also be bad for building. It’s critical to understand how the property could potentially be used when determining value.

Access

Hands down, the most important component of how land appraisal works in Alpine, TX is its access. Ideally, you should have paved, public access to your property. If the access to your property is landlocked, if it travels through private property or if it is one-sided, all of these things could drive down the value of your property.

Location

It probably comes as little surprise that the location of your property is extremely important. That said, depending on how the property will be used, a “good” location could mean one of several things. If you want to cultivate agricultural property, making sure it’s far from civilization is a good thing. However, when opening a restaurant, you’ll want to make sure it’s near population centers.

Legal status

If the property in question is under an easement or an encumbrance, you could see its value diminish significantly. For example, if your property is under a conservation easement, development is all but impossible. County zoning rules and land use requirements will also play a factor in the appraisal of your property.

Gradation

If your property has issues with flooding, or if the slope of the land doesn’t promote proper drainage, you could see your property lose value quickly. After all, potential buyers look at a poorly-draining property as money they’ll need to invest in improvements.

Put your land in the hands of Carpenter Real Estate

If you want to know more about how land is appraised in Alpine, TX, then come to the pros at Carpenter Real Estate. We have more than 70 years of experience providing the area’s most comprehensive real estate services. Residential or commercial, it doesn’t matter—we’re the team you can call on. Home sales, acreage, commercial real estate—we do it all!

All it takes is one call to Carpenter Real Estate to make your property needs a thing of the past. Call today. We can’t wait to hear from you.

What to Consider When Purchasing Commercial Land

Whether you’re searching for a prime investment opportunity or you want to find the perfect place to build your dream business, your success will begin and end with the piece of commercial land you choose to buy. Before you invest your valuable capital purchasing commercial land in Alpine, TX, here are some crucial factors to keep in mind.

Know your purpose

If you are in the market for a piece of commercial land (as opposed to agricultural or industrial property), the odds are good that you are developing it for some customer-oriented service. Maybe you want to build an apartment building with ground-floor retail. Perhaps you want to open a restaurant. Maybe you’re developing a shopping center with a little bit of everything. Before you can begin your commercial project, you need to know what your end goal is.

Get on the right side of regulations

Every time you erect a commercial building or purchase an existing structure, the land will come with zoning regulations, deed stipulations and more. Before you commit yourself to any property, it’s essential that you have an idea of the legal and regulatory implications of your purchase.

Get the land surveyed extensively

It doesn’t matter how big or small the property is when purchasing commercial land in Alpine, TX—you should certainly have an independent land surveyor assess your property and deliver an up-to-date report on the specifics of the land (i.e., boundaries, topography, slope, protected areas, etc.).

Do your homework

You wouldn’t build a restaurant 50 miles from the nearest neighborhood, would you? You wouldn’t think about constructing an office building in a location that’s difficult to reach, right? Before you break ground, make sure you’re studying your property as well as the community surrounding it. Before you purchase a piece of commercial land, you’ll want to make sure that it will get enough interest to remain viable.

Think about the future

When you first set foot on your property, it may look like an isolated stretch of land. That may be true in the beginning, but thanks to an incredible increase in the U.S. population and a consistent number of people leaving larger cities like El Paso, that may not be the case for long. Investigate the area you’re planning to buy. See if anyone else has expressed interest. You could be standing on a gold mine.

Find the right team

Easily the most vital component of finding the perfect piece of commercial land is enlisting the help of the right realtor. When you’re purchasing commercial land in Alpine, TX, that means placing a call to Carpenter Real Estate.

Since 1947, we have sold more than a million acres in Alpine, TX and the surrounding areas. We’ve gotten to know the intricate ins and outs of real estate in the area better than anyone else, and we can’t wait to put that knowledge to work for you. Whether your needs are commercial or residential, we can help. Pick up the phone and give us a call today. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Tips for Flipping a House

House flipping requires careful investment based on detailed knowledge of real estate and property management. If you want to learn how to flip a house in Alpine, TX, use the following tips to reap the best ROI.

Focus on cosmetics

If a home is outdated and far from aesthetically pleasing, it has good potential for house flipping in Alpine, TX. What you want to avoid is a home that has major mechanical issues. If you have to replace the electrical system or HVAC unit, these costs will eat away at any profits and make the home a money pit rather than a healthy flip. Focus on homes where you can add new carpeting, a fresh coat of paint and new kitchen appliances to transform the interior and resell the home for a profit.

Complete an inspection

Never attempt house flipping in Alpine, TX without first completing an inspection of the home. At times, investors may be tempted to buy a property sight-unseen because it seems to be a great bargain. However, the property may have many hidden issues that will make it more hassle and headache than profitable in the long run. An inspection will reveal any red flags and help you make an informed decision about your investment.

Know your audience

This adage holds true in many fields, including house flipping in Alpine, TX. Keep in mind the type of prospective buyer to whom you plan to sell the home. This should guide your renovations and the ultimate price point of the home. Know the area, the potential buyers and the current market. This will help you avoid making unnecessary improvements, making the wrong improvements or buying the wrong home for your investment goals. It will also help you make the best profit when you sell.

Educate yourself

Don’t try to go into house flipping blindly. Read about the business, learn the industry, the terminology and the dos and don’ts of how to flip a house in Alpine, TX. You may even want to take a few courses to familiarize yourself with the business. You’ll need to learn how to work with contractors, choose the right projects, find buyers and use real estate auctions to your advantage. All of these topics require research and study to ensure you have success with house flipping in Alpine, TX.

Stay organized

There are many moving parts involved with house flipping in Alpine, TX. You’ll need a good system to track the various projects and contractors as well as potential buyers. Choose a system that works well for you and is easy to manage. Many software programs are available that help you track everything you need as you learn how to flip a house.

Start flipping

For expert input on how to flip a house in Alpine, TX, contact the professionals at Carpenter Real Estate. Since 1947, we’ve sold over a million acres in Alpine and the surrounding area. Our in-depth knowledge of the market makes us your go-to source for all your real estate needs. Contact us today for a free consultation at 432-837-3325.

Open Houses During COVID-19

Many professionals have opted to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Others have been forced to work from home by order of their employer. For many, this is a viable option that changes little about their workload or paycheck.

The same is not true for real estate agents. Activities such as hosting an open house during COVID-19 in Alpine, TX have become more complex, making their jobs more difficult. Here’s how the pandemic is shaping the world of real estate and how realtors are handling the challenge.

Online options

Fortunately, the technology available today makes it possible for potential buyers to tour homes online. This eliminates the need for many home showings and open houses that were once necessary to gain exposure for the home.

Still, if a buyer finds a home online that catches their interest, they typically want to see it in person before making an offer. You simply can’t get the same impression from a camera that you can from an in-home visit. To handle these showings, realtors are taking typical precautions recommended by health professionals as well as taking some creative approaches to in-person showings that reduce the risk of exposure.

In-person showings

Self-showings have become popular during the current health crisis. This works especially well when the home is vacant. The real estate agent can give an access code to the potential buyer, who uses the code on a lock box to gain entry to the home. This eliminates any exposure between the client and the realtor while allowing the buyer to view the home in person.

When an agent must accompany a buyer, all parties can wear masks and maintain the recommended distance as they walk through the home.

Hosting open houses during COVID-19 in Alpine, TX

The need for social distancing during open houses in Alpine, TX makes the event a little more challenging, but it is still doable. However, many are opting to simply skip open houses and rely solely on individual showings of the home to sell their property. Real estate agents admit that open houses are more for them to meet new clients than to sell the home, so the homeowner is not really missing out on much by skipping this option.

If hosting an open house during COVID-19 in Alpine, TX is something the seller wants to do, masks, social distancing and disinfecting before and after the open house are essential. And if sellers decide an open house is not for them, real estate agents can effectively use online marketing to safely acquire new client leads and grow their business.

Learn more

To discover more about the current real estate market and hosting an open house during COVID-19 in Alpine, TX, contact the professionals at Carpenter Real Estate. Since 1947, we’ve sold over 1 million acres in Alpine and the surrounding areas. For three generations, we’ve specialized in residential properties, ranches and commercial properties. Our vast knowledge and experience make us the first place to go for any and all of your real estate needs. Call today for a free consultation.

Buying a Home? Make Sure All Work Was Done with a Permit

A newly renovated home sounds like a buyer’s dream—but if the seller didn’t get the necessary permits for the work, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. Depending on where you are in the buying process, you might be responsible for removing the work that was completed, paying any applicable fines and having to redo the work (with a permit) all over again. Avoid the hassle by ensuring that your closing costs include any necessary building permits in Alpine, TX.

How to tell if work was done without a permit

Depending on your location, you can usually find out what kind of work was done on a home by pulling the building permits from your local municipality. If the home has clearly been renovated, yet there is no record of a building permit for that work, you know you’re treading into murky waters.

Sellers are required to list any and all work done to the property, even unpermitted work, in their property disclosure. The property disclosure is required by law, and it’s meant to give buyers a clear picture of what assets and flaws a property has. This helps buyers make an informed decision, and allows them to decide if they want to continue with the purchase. Typically, this comes after the buyer has made an offer and the seller has accepted it, but some sellers will provide the information before the buyer makes an offer. Either way, make sure you do your due diligence by reviewing the property disclosure carefully and double-checking with your local building department.

What to do if you’re buying a home renovated without permits

Generally, as soon as the buyer signs the purchase agreement, they’re the ones on the hook for the renovations, so don’t sign anything until you know whether the work was done with all the necessary permits.

If your seller neglected to get the permits for their renovations, it doesn’t mean that you have to or should back out of the sale entirely, although in some cases that might be the wisest decision. Instead, have your attorney write a clause into the contract that the seller is responsible for pulling permits and ensuring that all building is up to code. If the seller refuses, revoke the offer.

Did you discover the permit problem after signing the contract? You might be able to get out of it through the home inspection. Professional home inspections can find work that wasn’t done up to code (or that was performed without permits), and depending on how your contract is worded, you may be able to halt the transaction if you’re unsatisfied with the results of the inspection.

Ultimately, it’s best to do your due diligence before proceeding with the sale, and ensure that any permits needed are included in the closing costs in Alpine, TX. Working with an experienced realtor like Carpenter Real Estate can help you spot problems before you sign, and ensure the buying process continues smoothly. Reach out to us today to learn more.

What to Know About Selling a Moldy Home

Selling a home is hard enough, so when homeowners find mold in their dwelling, they might panic. There are plenty of homes on the market that don’t have mold issues, and buyers are far more likely to find out about the mold and move on to one of those. After all, in addition to being unsightly, some types of mold cause serious health problems. Why risk it?

If you suspect that your home has mold, it’s important to get a home mold inspection in Alpine, TX and start on the remediation process. You may be able to save the transaction, although it’s likely that you won’t be able to command as much money.

Can you sell a house with mold?

In short, yes—as long as you disclose the mold situation to the buyer. Sometimes the seller doesn’t know that the home has mold until the inspection, which comes as a nasty surprise. Not all mold is toxic, however, and in many cases, if it hasn’t spread, it can be removed without too much trouble.

If you spot the mold before listing the house, repair the issue before your home goes on the market. Remediating mold can be a time-consuming process, which adds unnecessary days to your home’s time on the market—something that looks bad to potential buyers.

In many cases where you find extensive mold during the selling process, the buyer will simply choose to revoke their offer. Others might ask you to significantly lower your price.

How to save the transaction

So, what can you do when you’ve found mold in the home you’re selling? How can you ensure the sale is able to proceed? Here are some steps you can take:

  • Disclose the problem: You are required by law to tell the buyer that you found mold, even if it’s just a small amount. Depending on how large the problem is, they may revoke their offer—but that doesn’t mean your house will never sell.
  • Inspect for additional mold: Once you spot (or smell) some mold, it’s important to check the rest of the house to assess the extent of the problem. You may wish to get a professional home mold inspection in Alpine, TX to make this job easier.
  • Fix any leaks or moisture problems: Mold can develop anywhere there’s humidity and a surface for spores to land upon. Seal any leaks to prevent further spread.
  • Repair the problem: If your mold problem is small, you might be able to remove and replace affected drywall and other materials yourself. For larger mold issues, it’s prudent to hire a professional. They’ll be more adept at removing the mold, preventing cross-contamination and making sure all affected are treated. They will also use HEPA air filters to help remove any mold in the air and clean the mold stains.
  • Consider selling “as is”: If you can’t or don’t want to deal with the mold problem yourself, consider selling your home “as is.” That will require you to lower the price, but you won’t have to deal with real estate mold remediation in Alpine, TX yourself.

Are you selling your home and want to work with an experienced realtor? Call Carpenter Real Estate today to learn more about how we can help you throughout the process.

Don’t Let Minor Issues Get in the Way of a Home Purchase

First-time home buyers are often some of the pickiest customers, for a couple reasons: a) they’re not used to the process of purchasing a home and have a bit of anxiety about finding the “perfect” home for them, and b) they don’t know quite as much about what issues are and are not deal breakers. In other words, they’re not familiar with the reasons to buy or not buy a house in Alpine, TX.

A lot of people, for example, will pass over a beautiful home with a lot of potential simply because of cosmetic reasons—for example, some fixable damage to hardwood floors, siding they don’t like or color schemes inside the home. Part of going through the home buying process is figuring out what is and is not fixable, and what you’re willing to live with for a certain amount of time before you can make the changes you want. You always have the ability to negotiate the asking price to make the purchase more affordable.

There’s also a tendency for potential home buyers to shy away from purchases because they’re worried about hidden costs. But here’s the thing: any home is going to come with hidden costs—that’s just part of homeownership. So long as you get a good inspection done on the home beforehand, you can at least prepare for what those hidden costs might look like.

Situations in which purchasing is not a good idea

That being said, there are some circumstances in which you’re probably better off not purchasing a house, and it may or may not even have anything to do with the house in question. Here are some examples of some good reasons to put off a purchase or turn down a house:

  • You’re not financially prepared: You should have enough money saved up for a good down payment to save you money on interest over the long run. You should also have a good credit score, so you can get lower interest rates from your mortgage lender. If you’re not financially prepared to purchase a home, you could make life significantly more difficult for yourself in the long run.
  • The market conditions are poor: If the market is on the decline, you might purchase a home only to find its value continue to fall after you’ve taken ownership. There’s no guarantee your property will appreciate back to the level it was at when you purchased by the time you want to sell, especially if you’re not in the investment for the long haul.
  • There are significant issues with the home: Minor cosmetic issues should never be something that prevent you from purchasing an otherwise ideal house. But if the home has major issues with the foundation or other structural elements, or if the existing floor plan or number of bedrooms/bathrooms does not work for your needs, then it’s a wise choice to look elsewhere. Foundation issues are an especially large red flag, because they can be extremely expensive and difficult to repair.

For more information about when it is or is not a good idea to purchase a home and some good reasons to buy in Alpine, TX, contact an experienced realtor at Carpenter Real Estate today.