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.

Shift Away from Urban Living Results in Increased Sales of New Homes

The COVID-19 pandemic has had some interesting effects on new home sales trends in Alpine, TX and throughout the United States. Initially, sales of new homes fell to a massive extent below normal levels, but by the fifth week of the pandemic, the numbers began to climb back up.

The coronavirus pandemic essentially brought the entire nation’s economy to a halt, so it’s no surprise that purchases of new homes and new home construction fell down by as much as 85 percent from the normal numbers at this time of year. As the numbers slowly started to climb back up after the first four weeks, however, the market was looking especially good for new home construction, particularly for first-time and entry-level buyers.

Why the increase in demand for new construction?

Part of the reason behind the demand for new construction is that renters are leaving apartments and looking for new homes. One study showed young couples with two incomes and secure employment were starting to grow weary of renting in major urban centers, but also are not necessarily willing to take on fixer-uppers. By building their own homes, they get everything they want in a house right from the get-go.

Another issue has been the changes in lifestyles under the pandemic. The lockdowns imposed by governments to contain the spread of the virus may have some lasting impacts on where Americans live, and how they live. The millennial generation has been leading a move back to denser urban areas, but worries about shelter-in-place orders may encourage first-time buyers to move away from these city centers to places where they have more space to roam and call their own.

Any concerns of future shelter-in-place orders could have people seeking areas where they’re not going to feel as confined. After all, most of your average urban apartments don’t have large back yards, basements for exercise rooms or easy areas to set up a home office.

In addition, it is expected that more companies will begin allowing employees to work from home even after the pandemic is over, which could result in some people deciding they’d rather live in a place with dedicated home office space.

Zillow, the largest real estate listing site in the United States, reported there has been a slight increase in search traffic after a drastic dip in searches at the beginning of the pandemic. As the demand increases, the supply is there—in fact, the supply of newly-built homes for sale is estimated to currently be twice the supply of existing homes for sale. There had already been a shortage of existing homes for sale even before the pandemic, but the pandemic seems to have had the effect of convincing would-be buyers to avoid putting their homes on the market until the economic situation across the United States stabilizes and values rise back up.

For more information about some of the new home sales trends in Alpine, TX resulting from the pandemic, contact the team at Carpenter Real Estate today.

What Could Hold a First-Time Home Buyer Back from Seeing Their Dream?

Owning a home has always been the cornerstone of the American Dream. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer young people are becoming homeowners as time goes on. According to the widely-respected Urban Institute, homeownership rates among Millennials is down about 8 percent from Baby Boomers. People aged 21 to 37 aren’t buying homes at the rate their parents did 20 to 30 years ago.

Why aren’t young people buying homes? It’s a hotly-debated issue with many sides to the conversation. Unfortunately, the chief reason stems from an inability to afford a home. There are too many first-time home buyer problems preventing up-and-coming adults from becoming homeowners—making it harder to buy a home from Alpine, TX to Zion, IL.

Student loan debt

The biggest factor preventing Millennials from buying homes is overbearing student loan debt. The average person’s student loan debt today is $37,172—roughly the cost of a new car. At a reasonable interest rate, that person ends up paying almost $400 per month against their loan. And, with such a large principal, it’s unlikely they’ll chip away at that loan very quickly. Most students have their loan for more than a decade.

Contrary to popular belief, banks don’t penalize home buyers for student loan debt—not in the same way as credit card or auto loan debt, anyway. The real burden of student loan debt is in how much it lowers the borrowing power of the buyer and strains their finances when taking on a mortgage. Thanks to that extra payment every month, a person isn’t likely to be able to afford a mortgage payment.

Healthcare hurdles

What does healthcare have to do with buying a home? Well, when you consider that about 26 percent of people have some form of healthcare debt looming over them, it starts to make sense. Not only does healthcare debt take away from a person’s buying power, it makes it extremely hard to save for a down payment.

Worse still, many Millennials are at an age where they no longer benefit from their parents’ insurance. Anyone working a job without benefits will need to purchase an affordable insurance plan… which typically comes with a high deductible. Even someone who saves diligently for a home down payment may find that savings erased by one visit to the hospital for an accident or illness.

Wage woes

It’s no secret that Baby Boomers are working longer. What this means for Millennials is a longer wait time for upward mobility in the job market. As Boomers retain their positions longer, Millennials are stuck in positions with wage caps that aren’t conducive to buying a home. Even established professionals might not be able to afford the costs of homeownership on their stagnant salary.

The American Dream is the same

Owning a home is still a cornerstone of the American Dream, but it’s becoming harder and harder to attain for younger generations. Mounting first time-home buyer problems are making it hard for Millennials and younger people to afford a house. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!

Consider looking for a home in a smaller town like Alpine, TX, or applying for a loan through the state’s Housing and Economic Development Authority. It’s also smart to talk with a realtor and a lender about how to make the buying process more affordable. If owning a home is your dream, don’t let the headwinds slow you down—contact Carpenter Real Estate to arrange a consultation.

Follow These Simple Tips to Prepare for a Mortgage

Buying a new home is an exciting process—whether it’s your first one or the next one. Going out and looking at different houses, exploring the different neighborhoods of Alpine, TX and working with your realtor are all fun, adventurous activities. And when you’ve found the home you love, there’s no better feeling.

Unfortunately, things can take a turn for the worse when it comes to the mortgage underwriting process. If you’re not prepared to deal with the bank, the entire experience could sour. You might not be able to get the interest rate you want. There might be extra hoops to jump through before you can sign for the mortgage loan. You might even be denied! All this, because you weren’t prepared for the financial side of homebuying.

Don’t let the mortgage process keep your dream home out of reach. Follow these simple mortgage preparation tips and make working with the bank as simple as possible:

  • Boost your credit score: Before you go out and start actually looking at homes, check your credit score. Bad credit is the fastest way to derail the homebuying experience. If you’ve got a score in the middling 500s, it’s going to hurt your chances of getting a loan with great terms. Aim for the mid-700s or higher to get as much borrowing power as possible—including great terms. Fixing your credit score is tough, but not impossible!
  • Pay off debt: If you have any bad debt—like credit cards or unpaid fines—it’s best to clear these things up before talking with the bank. Your personal balance sheet should show minimal debt and paint a picture of fiscal responsibility.
  • Don’t make big purchases: The last thing the bank wants to see before you apply for a mortgage is a huge purchase for something else—especially a discretionary purchase. In this same vein, don’t open any new lines of credit right before you apply for a mortgage.
  • Get preapproved: Preapproval is the bank’s way of making sure you’re a creditworthy borrower and confirming it with you. They’ll provide you with a piece of paper that says “we’ll approve you for a mortgage of up to $X.” It shows sellers your buying power, so they can feel confident in negotiating with you. It also lets you, the buyer, know where you stand before the actual underwriting process begins.
  • Know your budget: Just because you’re preapproved for $X doesn’t mean you can afford to spend that much on a home! Use a mortgage calculator to figure out what you can reasonably afford based on your household income, and factor in the tentative interest rate your bank provides. Consider things like property taxes—for example, if you’re looking in Alpine, TX, you’ll need to look at property tax rates for Brewster County.

It’s a good idea to start thinking about mortgage preparation tips three to six months before you plan on buying a home. This gives you enough time to start working on presenting yourself as the picture of fiscal responsibility—someone ready to own a home in the eyes of the bank. Reach out to Carpenter Real Estate for more tips.

Expert Advice, Part 20: Time to Start Shopping

When you finally find yourself in the financial position to begin searching for a new home, it can be tempting to start your hunt right away. Depending on which time of year it is, however, you may be best served by waiting until the perfect time to kickstart your home-buying journey.

Knowing when to buy will help you establish a home buying timeline in Alpine, TX that can make a typically complex process run much more smoothly.

The best time to buy

Most real estate experts believe that the best time to buy a new home is in the fall and winter when market competition is at its lowest, and sellers are at their most anxious. To some extent, that’s true. That said, if you have the financial means to begin shopping around for a new home, then you shouldn’t wait.

Of course, the key to finding the best deal on your dream home is to exercise patience. Don’t commit to a property unless it’s perfect for your needs. Mediocre homes are a dime a dozen, but the right house is something you’ll need to wait to find.

Once you begin your search…

While you’re looking for a new home in Alpine, TX, here’s a house hunting guide with some strategies intended to help you avoid mistakes:

  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage: Before you begin your search in earnest, talk to a mortgage broker. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage accomplishes two tasks. Sellers are more inclined to sell their home to a buyer who already has a line of credit, and it sets the price range for your house hunt.
  • Use a professional: Don’t try to find a home yourself. No matter where you are in the country, the home-buying market is tricky. That’s why it’s crucial to find a real estate agent you can trust to offer helpful tips on your journey.
  • Keep your emotions in check: It’s easy to get drawn into an emotional whirlwind when you find the home of your dreams. After all, it’s the place you’ll be living for years to come. Don’t let those feelings lure you into bidding too quickly or paying more money than the home is worth.
  • Be realistic: Above all, make sure that you’re staying pragmatic about your budget. You might think that your income will eventually rise to meet the level of a mortgage, but that’s not true as often as you’d hope. Ultimately, if you stay true to your financial needs, you’ll find yourself much more comfortable in your new house than if you’d overpaid.

Ultimately, if you keep a level head and follow the advice of a professional, you’ll be just fine.

Your home-buying ally

The very best thing you can do to pin down your home buying timeline in Alpine, TX is enlisting the help of a seasoned real estate veteran. Throughout southern Texas, the best option for home buyers is Carpenter Real Estate. For more than half a century, our knowledgeable, courteous staff has provided commercial, residential and agricultural clients with the very best in real estate service.

We’re proud to help you find the perfect piece of property. Give us a call today to find out more!

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 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!

Purchasing A Home in 2017? Good Schools Should Be Your Top Priority

The complicated process of looking at homes for sale whether you’re looking in Alpine, TX or another area, comes with a lengthy checklist. There are so many things to consider, such as the work commute, the proximity to the nearest Walmart, the strength of your cell reception, the utility costs, the market value of the real estate, and the question of whether or not the place is haunted.

Oh, and don’t forget the educational opportunities available. The ghosts are probably more important, but we’ll focus on the more corporeal of the two for now.

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Alpine, Texas, the Best Climate For Your Dream Home

As good as we’ve gotten at keeping ourselves comfortable no matter the forecast, the weather’s impact on our day-to-day is unavoidable. When exploring real estate for sale, then, a discerning home buyer has to think beyond hardwood floors and marble countertops (though those are important, too) and look at the bigger picture: Are you in for a lot of rainy days? Frigid nights? What are your seasons going to be like, and are you going to be able to live with them year in and year out?

With that in mind, allow us this pitch for Alpine’s glorious averageness. For a lot of things, intermediates aren’t the best (or most interesting) choice, but when it comes to the unavoidable outdoors, they’re like to be your saving grace.

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