When Can I Back Out if I Change My Mind About Buying a House?

If you are planning on buying a home soon, or are already in the process of buying one, then it is natural to feel a bit of trepidation. After all, buying a home is the biggest purchase that most people will make in their lifetimes, so of course you are going to wonder whether you’ve made the right decision.

If you put a lot of thought into the decision before beginning the process of purchasing your home, then you probably do not have anything to worry about. While you may experience some last-minute anxiety, those fears will soon fade away once you move into your new home and fall in love with it.

But sometimes, you might have a legitimate reason for wanting to back out of a real estate deal at the last minute. As a real estate agent in Alpine, TX, we have seen it happen before. Here is an overview of some reasons why people need to back out at the last minute, and how it works.

Why you’re backing out

When people need to back out of buying a home, their reason usually falls into one of two categories: either their life plans or situation has suddenly changed, or something is wrong with the house.

That first category can include things like the death of a loved one, a sudden unexpected breakup or divorce or a change in your job or income level. When one of these things occurs, most people are willing to part with a bit of their upfront cash to get out of the larger responsibility of buying a house.

When it comes to the second category, final inspections can sometimes reveal problems with a home that were not already evident. In this case, there might be a chance you can walk away from the deal without losing a dime.

Contingencies and loopholes

When backing out of a real estate deal during an escrow period, you will probably lose some of the “upfront money,” generally equal to two or three percent of the total home value. But if a final inspection brings new, negative information about the home to light, then there will likely be a contingency in your contract that you can use to get rid of any obligation on your end.

“Subject to appraisal” is another contingency you ought to put in your purchase agreement. If a bank or other lender does not determine that the home is worth what you initially agreed to pay, then you might be able to get away scot-free.

Ask your realtor

At the end of the day, the process for backing out of a real estate deal will depend on your unique situation. That is why it is so important to have a real estate agent in Alpine, TX whom you can trust to help you through every step of the process. Realtors know to expect the unexpected, so they are always prepared to deal with curveballs as they come up.

If you need a realtor’s expert advice, get in touch with Carpenter Real Estate today!

How Much Do I Need to Do to Prepare My Home Before Putting It on the Market?

Are you planning to put your home on the market sometime in the near future? Whether you are moving to a new town, upgrading, downsizing or moving in with your partner, a change in where you live is an exciting time—and it can also come with a lot of questions. If you are one of the millions of Americans who will sell a home this year, you might be wondering just how much you need to prepare it—and what exactly those preparations ought to entail—before you put your home on the market.

As a realtor in Alpine, TX, we know that selling a home can be overwhelming to many people, which is why we are here to help you as much as we can. To that end, here is an overview of how to prepare your home before putting it on the market.

Cleaning and arranging

When it comes to preparing your home for the market, you might be under the impression that you need to make it completely spotless and perfectly arranged. But that isn’t necessarily the case! In fact, depending on how desirable your home is, and what your current living situation is, you might be able to leave it more or less as-is while a realtor shows it to perspective buyers.

Of course, that is not going to be the case for everyone. If the home you are selling is more of a fixer-upper, then you might want to do what you can to encourage potential buyers to see the best aspects of it. This is where cleaning and staging come in. Consider hiring a cleaning service to get your home tidied up before you begin showing it. And if you aren’t sure your furniture is right for showing buyers, ask your realtor for help with staging it. A quality realtor in Alpine, TX will know exactly what needs to be done to get your home into buyer-ready shape.

At the end of the day, every home is different in terms of how it might look to potential buyers, and what can be done to spruce things up. If you are concerned that your home needs a lot of preparation, ask your realtor for advice—that is what they are there for!

Ask a realtor

Now that the time has come to put your home on the market, chances are you have a lot of questions about how the process works and what you need to do to prepare. Fortunately, you will not have to go through the ordeal alone—a realtor in Alpine, TX will be by your side every step of the way, helping ensure the process goes smoothly.

If you are looking for a quality realtor in the Alpine, TX area, then we invite you to get in touch with the team at Carpenter Real Estate. We take pride in providing our clients with helpful advice, and in being able to make any home look its best before it goes on the market. We look forward to helping you as well!

What Should I Look for in a Plot of Land for Sale in Alpine, TX?

Are you considering a property investment? Perhaps you dream of developing some farm land. Maybe you envision a home on a private plot in the country. Whatever your plans, it’s important to know what to look for as you consider land for sale in Alpine, TX.

As you search, negotiate and purchase, keep the following in mind. If you have any additional questions, reach out to your local real estate agent for assistance:

  • You’ll need some cash: Are you hoping to finance your land purchase? Keep in mind that banks typically aren’t interested in lending money for vacant land purchases. If you have a good relationship with a bank, you might be able to get around 40 percent of the value financed. It’s more likely that you will have to come up with the entire purchase price. However, if you plan to build on the land, you might have better luck obtaining a construction loan for the future structure.
  • Your surroundings are important: If you want to build your dream home on a plot of land, you have to consider where that land is located. Are the neighboring homes similar to what you hope to build? For loan approval, appraisals and future salability, you’ll want to keep your property in the same price range as its neighbors.
  • You should check out the condition: Don’t assume just because the view is pretty that the land is in good shape. Order environmental tests to check the soil for contaminants. Research the area for flooding history. Ask a surveyor to identify the boundaries to prevent surprises—encroachments are more common than you might think.
  • Your access matters: Does the land for sale in Alpine, TX offer access to roads and utilities? As you consider the price of the land, be sure to keep this in mind. Adding infrastructure can be a significant cost. Check to see if the property offers access to sewers, running water and electricity, as well as public roadways. You might decide that the remote location you valued for its privacy doesn’t have quite as much access as you desire.
  • You can’t always rezone: Are you hoping to rezone the land for sale in Alpine, TX? Before you dream too big, confirm whether or not you can use the land for the purposes you have in mind. Local ordinances and zoning laws may prohibit you from rezoning to your desires. Check all codes before you choose a piece of property, to ensure you can use it as you hope.

If you are considering the purchase of land for sale in Alpine, TX, don’t dive in alone. Your local real estate agent can help you find the best land for your needs and help you get it for the best price. Carpenter Real Estate has deep roots in the surrounding communities and three generations of experience to help you with your real estate transaction. As members of the Alpine Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors, we are your go-to source for real estate. Call us today for a free consultation!

Alpine, Texas Real Estate Forecast

2019 Real Estate Forecast from Your Real Estate Broker in Alpine, TX

If you’re considering buying or selling a home this year, you probably have your ear to the ground for any news pertaining to the real estate market. You want to know what you can expect regarding pricing, housing demands and interest rates. Your real estate broker in Alpine, TX can provide this information for you.

With a trained eye and ear, realtors can provide an overview of how the market is doing and what trends you are likely to see next. Following is an overview of the current forecast for Texas. For more details, contact your local real estate broker in Alpine, TX.

Housing Supply

The basic principle of supply and demand holds true for the housing market. When there aren’t enough houses to go around, prices increase. Looking at construction activity in Texas, we see that current construction activity hasn’t been higher since before 2007. However, this trend may take a slight dip by the end of the year, due to rising interest rates and the issuance of fewer multi-family permits at the end of 2018.

Housing Demand

Texas has seen several consecutive years of explosive housing market growth. Based on current demand, you can expect a flatter trajectory for 2019. The affordability of homes and rising interest rates have lessened the demand for homes under $300K. However, houses priced between $200K and $300K are still seeing significant activity, and homes under $200K are experiencing the shortest market time.

For market time, homeowners can expect an average between 40 and 60 days if a home is priced under $300K. Homes above $500K are experiencing market times of closer to 90 days.

Interest Rates

Texans are currently seeing the highest interest rates in seven years. These rates are affecting refinancing options and slowing new-purchase mortgage applications. However, compared to last year, the number of applications is higher.


Typically, the top question on the minds of both buyers and sellers is: “How much?” For housing prices in 2019, real estate brokers in Alpine, TX are seeing small rates of increase. These percentages, varying from 2.6 percent to 5.2 percent, are different throughout the state, with Dallas-Fort Worth leading the pack and Houston bringing up the rear.

For those focused on more exact dollar amounts, you’ll be interested to know that the median Texas home price is just over $235,000. Across all metropolitan areas of the state, median price per square foot has risen since last year. Thus, the trend for buyers has been moving toward smaller homes to adjust for this rising rate.

Learn More

If you’d like to discover more about your local real estate market, contact your real estate broker in Alpine, TX. At Carpenter Real Estate, we’ve been specializing in residential properties, commercial properties and ranches for three generations. We’ve sold over 1 million acres in the Alpine area. Our vast knowledge and experience make Carpenter Real Estate the first team to go to for any and all real estate needs in Alpine, Texas and the surrounding areas. Reach out to our experienced team today!

Do Houses Sell in the Winter? Here Are Some Tips to Help You Succeed with Your Sale

It’s no secret that winter isn’t the best time of year to sell your home. Buyers tend to purchase real estate in the spring and summer, when the weather is more favorable and there is less interference from the holiday season. However, while you might have a more difficult time selling in the winter, it’s not impossible. In fact, by learning a little bit more about winter real estate listings in Alpine, TX, you can ensure a successful selling experience.

There are a number of things that you can do to improve the appeal of your home on the market, but it’s important to keep in mind that you are unlikely to get as many offers as you might if you listed your home in the spring or summer. Unless you live in an especially popular neighborhood with a major demand for real estate, you will almost certainly receive fewer offers—and less competitive offers—in the winter than you would in the spring. If you need to sell quickly and you can’t wait for the spring, it’s important to invest some extra time and energy into creating an appealing listing for your home. Here are some tips:

  • Choose marketing photos carefully: If you have photos of your home from the spring or summer, it’s better to use those in your listing. Real estate listings in Alpine, TX with photos from springtime tend to perform better than those with photos from fall or winter.
  • Invest time into your home’s exterior: Your home’s exterior can make a powerful first impression on a prospective buyer, so make sure it’s a positive one. You should mow your grass and keep leaves raked up so that buyers can see your landscaping unhindered by debris and overgrowth.
  • Maintain your home’s systems: Furnaces and water heaters often break down during the winter months, so be proactive with your maintenance. Make sure that all of your systems are cared for and tuned up to avoid a maintenance disaster during an open house or showing.
  • Be prepared for less foot traffic: You are likely to get less attention from prospective buyers during the winter months. While you can still get an offer near your asking price during the wintertime from the right buyer, you shouldn’t expect the kind of competitive offers that are more common during the spring and summer.

At Carpenter Real Estate, we understand that it can be difficult to sell your home during the winter months, and that’s why we’re here to help you with effective real estate listings in Alpine, TX that can get your house the attention it deserves and help you close on a sale. No matter what the specifics of your property may be, our team would be happy to walk you through the listing process and ensure that you receive the best offer possible for your property. Learn more about all of our services and get started with your real estate listing by giving us a call today. We look forward to working with you soon!

4 Winter-time Alpine, TX Home Selling Tips

Tips from a Realtor in Alpine, TX for Selling Your Home in the Winter

Most buyers prefer to purchase their new homes in the spring and summer months, when the weather is bright, warm and sunny. However, just because winter isn’t always the best time of year for real estate doesn’t mean you can’t still successfully list and sell your home by taking the time to prepare accordingly. Winterizing your home allows you to ensure that your listing makes a splash on the market, even during the fall and winter months. Here are some tips from an Alpine Realtor:

  • Clean your home’s exterior and interior: First impressions are very important when it comes to selling your home, so make sure that your house is as appealing as possible to potential buyers. Wash your windows, clear leaves and debris off your roof and consider pressure washing your siding to scour away dirt and grime. You should also take time to clean inside your home. Sweep, mop or vacuum your floors and lay out a rug by the door to prevent guests from dragging outdoor debris through your home.
  • Keep things cozy: Nobody likes dealing with skyrocketing heating bills, but it’s worth it to splurge on a little extra energy to keep your home warm and inviting during open houses and property tours. You should make sure that any prospective buyers who visit your home are as comfortable as possible. Offer warm baked goods for guests, spread some extra throw pillows and blankets on your furniture and light some seasonal candles (or your fireplace, if you have one) to give your home a cozy atmosphere.
  • Stay on top of your landscaping: As leaves fall from trees and windy conditions start to pick up, it’s important to keep your landscaping under control. Rake up your leaves and invest in professional tree trimming to prevent falling limbs over the winter months. There should be a defined walkway for your guests so that they can safely access your home without stumbling over debris or slipping on fallen leaves. It’s a good idea to consult with your real estate agent to help you determine whether your home is accessible enough.
  • Bring in some light: Since the winter months tend to be a little bit darker than spring and summer, it’s important to keep the inside of your home as bright as possible. Open up your curtains, wash the insides of your windows and keep the lighting turned on inside your home to make things as bright as possible. You can increase the effect of natural light by strategically placing mirrors throughout your home to reflect light.

Find out more about how you can get your home sold this winter by reaching out to Carpenter Real Estate. If you’re looking for a realtor in Alpine, Texas whom you can trust to get you the best results possible, we are the team to call. We have sold over one million acres of property in Alpine since 1947, and we continue to develop an outstanding reputation among our clients. We are proud to be a family owned and operated business with extensive experience in the real estate industry. Contact us today to find out more about what we can do for you!

Tips from a Realtor in Alpine, TX for a Smoother Home Sale

Your home is almost certainly the largest and most valuable asset you have. It’s also a setting for some of the most important memories of your life. Selling a house, therefore, is not only logistically and economically challenging, but also emotionally challenging.

It’s not surprising, then, that the process of selling a home is often fraught with emotion and stress. Fortunately, there are ways you can make the process go significantly smoother so you can cut down on the amount of worry the process creates.

Here are some tips from a realtor in Alpine, TX for how you can make it go more efficiently.

Start early

Start the process much earlier than you would normally expect to, so you don’t have to feel rushed. This also gives you some more time to work through your emotions, cut out any bias you have and get a more objective look at your home and what it should sell for. Take the extra time to do some research, talk to other people you know who have recently sold homes and figure out what goals you have to help your realtor figure out the best path forward for you.

Get a good overview of the costs you face

You’re not going to pocket all the money you make in a sale. You need to consider realtor fees, for example, as well as whether you’ll be contributing to any of the closing costs. You’ll generally pay 6 percent of the home’s sale price when working with a realtor—3 percent to the buyer’s agent and 3 percent to your own listing agent.

Choose the right realtor

Your realtor is a crucial partner for you in the home sale process. You want to find someone who will be good with communication and help remove some of the stress you face. It’s critical to find the right person so you save the most money possible and don’t feel like you’re going to lose your mind while trying to sell your house. They should also be an aggressive marketer of your home, and provide you with all the information you need to make informed decisions about the sale.

Address small issues with the property

Almost every homeowner has little side projects they’ve been putting off, simply because they’re so small that they almost aren’t worth taking the time to do. Now’s the time to get some of those projects done! Get rid of mildew, clean the carpets, put a dehumidifier in the basement, fix any doors that aren’t opening or closing properly, give your rooms a fresh coat of paint—whatever it is you need to get done to help you make a better impression on potential buyers, just do it. You should also be sure to dress the home to impress—better staging helps people better envision what they can accomplish in the space.

For more information about how you can make a home sale go smoother, reach out to Carpenter Real Estate today to speak with a realtor in Alpine, TX.

Questions to Consider When Deciding Whether to Buy or Rent a Home

Looking for a place to live? You might be considering whether it makes more sense for you to rent or buy in your current situation. But how can you come to a decision that makes sense for you and be completely sure it’s the best route to go for your current life circumstances?

Here are some tips from an experienced realtor in Alpine, TX regarding questions you should ask yourself so you can make a better, more informed choice.

Can you actually afford to purchase a home?

This is going to be the most important question you can ask yourself when making this decision. If you can’t afford to purchase, then the rest of the questions don’t matter. Keep in mind that there are more costs than just the monthly mortgage payments you need to consider—otherwise, it would almost always be cheaper than renting. You must also consider the property taxes in your area, the down payment you’ll need to make on the house, the interest rates you’ll have to pay on your mortgage loan, the closing costs and the potential PMI you’ll have to pay if you aren’t able to make a large enough down payment.

How is your credit?

Potential lenders will take a good look at your credit score to determine if they’re willing to lend to you and how much they’re willing to give you in a loan. You’ll need a credit score of at least 620 for most lenders to be willing to accept your application, and to get the lowest interest rates you’ll probably need a score of at least 740.

Do you plan to stay in the area?

If there’s any chance you’ll be relocating any time soon due to anticipated career or life changes, a home purchase might not be your best option—selling a home takes time, and it can be difficult to break even if you have to sell relatively quickly after you purchase. There is always the option to rent your home out if you do end up needing to move, but keep in mind this requires a lot of commitment on your end as a landlord.

Are you willing to handle the general upkeep associated with owning a home?

Be honest with yourself when it comes to this question. Yes, homeownership is rewarding in some regards, but you also need to keep up with regular maintenance and be able to make the surprise repairs that come up from time to time. You aren’t going to be able to text your landlord and let them take care of it if something goes wrong—that becomes your responsibility. This means you should always have some cash stored away in case an emergency occurs and you need to make a sudden repair.

For more information about the factors you’ll need to consider when deciding whether to rent or purchase a home, contact Carpenter Real Estate to speak with an experienced realtor in Alpine, TX. We can guide you through the process of buying a home to make it as understandable as possible.

Common Contingencies to Be Prepared for When Buying a Home

When you purchase a home, it’s important to make sure you work with an experienced realtor in Alpine, TX so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. For example, there are likely to be numerous contingencies you’ll have to deal with during the purchase, which you might not be aware of even if you’re an experienced buyer.

Here are a few examples of some of the most common contract contingencies you’ll need to be aware of when purchasing a new home or property.

The mortgage contingency

Most homebuyers will have to take out a mortgage loan when they purchase a home. The purchase and sale contract includes a mortgage contingency, which indicates the type of financing you’re applying for, the percentage that will be borrowed and the interest rate you’ll receive for the home.

In addition, the contingency will include a date as to when the mortgage commitment will be received, and the required repairs for the property. When the appraiser visits the property, he or she will look for items that must be repaired before the bank will approve the mortgage. The buyer will have a chance as part of this contingency to indicate how much money they would like the seller to be liable for with regard to these repairs—this number will be eligible for negotiation. Common issues include safety issues, like broken windows, foundation problems, missing handrails or other issues that might not be up to code.

Inspection contingencies

There are a variety of inspections that could be included as contingencies in your home purchase. The standard home inspection will be one of these, but other inspection contingencies could include radon inspections, mold inspections, pest inspections, chimney inspections, lead inspections and septic inspections. All of these types of inspections help to identify any potential issues with the home that would need to be resolved before the sale can go through.

Attorney approval

It can be helpful to have attorney representation when going through the home buying process. Some contracts will actually include attorney approval as a contingency. This gives the buyer and seller a chance to have their respective attorneys look over the contract and grant their approval. The real estate agent for the buyer will determine how many days each attorney will have to analyze the contract and grant approval. Attorneys will focus on finding vague areas within the contract that need to be clarified.

Sale and transfer of title contingency

If you already own another home, there’s a chance your contract could include a sale and transfer of title contingency. This shows a seller that you have an existing home that must be sold before you can purchase the property subject to the deal. The agreement often includes a set number of days for you to sell your existing home.

For more information about common contingencies in the home buying process, contact Carpenter Real Estate today to speak with a realtor in Alpine, TX. We look forward to helping you find your ideal home!

7 Fees You Pay When Buying a House

Fees You Should Prepare for When Buying a Home

When you’re purchasing a new home, you’re likely focused on costs, such as the price of the home and the interest rate you’ll get on the loan. These are, of course, important factors to take into account, but there are many more costs you’ll need to consider while you prepare to purchase a home. Some of these fees can be paid up front, while others will get included in your loan. It’s important to consider all of these potential costs so you can get a better sense of the true cost of your home purchase.

Here are some examples of those fees:

  • Private mortgage insurance: If you put less than 20 percent down on your home purchase, you will likely be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI is provided by a separate private mortgage insurance company to protect a lender against losses in the event you default on the loan. There are two different types of payment you may need to make: monthly PMI premiums and an up-front PMI payment. The up-front premium can either be paid at closing or rolled into the loan.
  • Homeowner’s insurance: You should never attempt to skip out on a homeowner’s insurance policy. This policy will combine your personal liability and hazard insurance to cover your home and everything inside of it. In most cases, you must purchase this policy before you close on the home. You’ll need to pay the first year’s premium in advance, which demonstrates to your lender you have insurance in place before closing.
  • Title insurance: This type of insurance protects the lender if any issues pop up with the title of your home. You’ll be required to purchase this policy for the lender, and its costs will be included in your closing costs or put into the loan. Personal title insurance is optional.
  • Appraisals: You’ll need an appraisal to determine a fair market value for your home. The lender wants to know the home is actually worth the amount of money you’re looking to borrow. This fee will be paid to a lender up front before the appraisal actually happens.
  • Escrow: An escrow account holds your money during the closing process while you finalize an agreement with the seller. You’ll have some of your mortgage payments go into escrow to pay for property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. There are typically some fees associated with this.
  • Origination fees: These are fees paid to the lender for the services involved with creating the loan.
  • Document preparation fees: Your broker or closing attorney will typically charge you fees to cover the preparation of all the documents required for the closing and the loan. These fees will usually be included in closing costs.

There are more fees that will likely apply to your home purchase, so for a full overview of all the fees you can expect to pay, contact Carpenter Real Estate to speak with a Realtor in Alpine, TX. We’ll be happy to provide you with additional information.