Make Upgrades to Improve Home Value in Alpine, TX Before Selling

Like any homeowner, you want to sell your home for the best price possible. You know your home could use some updating and upgrading to fetch a higher price, but you’re not sure where to invest your dollars. What will provide the best ROI? Realtors in Alpine, TX specialize in answering these types of questions.

Use the following tips to improve home value in Alpine, TX and get the most from the sale of your home. For additional guidance on your home sale, consult with experienced realtors in Alpine, TX.

Kitchens and Bathrooms Sell Homes

These spaces top the list for buyers. If you’re going to invest your dollars somewhere, start here. In the kitchen, you probably don’t have to completely remodel the space to make it more appealing. A few minor changes can add to home value in Alpine, TX. If appliances are outdated, consider updating them. If cabinets are out of style or need some TLC, you can often replace just the doors, paint the cabinets or add new hardware to create a fresh look. New counter tops can also change the entire look of a kitchen without requiring any other remodeling.

Modern Kitchen

In the bathroom, look at what you can do to make the space feel sparkling clean. Make sure there is plenty of light. Consider replacing faucets or other fixtures if they are dingy and worn. Keep in mind that a fresh coat of paint can often work wonders for any space.

Buyers Like More Space

Another important aspect of adding home value in Alpine, TX is the square footage of the home. This includes the layout of those square feet—not just the total amount. Consider how you can make the best use of the space in the home. Finishing the basement or adding a bathroom can add value. Sometimes, simply labeling a room as a “flex space” can make the home more appealing. For example, a first-floor room could be a den, game room or guest room.

As you prep your home for sale, it’s also worth putting some effort into your storage spaces. This might not even cost you anything but time. Clear out all clutter to show off your home rather than your stuff. Make closets, pantries, basements, attics and other storage areas look as big as possible.

Fresh and Neutral Is Ideal

Is your favorite color orange? Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with you. If you painted your master bathroom in a lovely shade of “volcano burst,” you might want to repaint to increase your home value in Alpine, TX. Neutral shades of beige and gray are typically more appealing to more buyers.

Even if your paint choices are neutral, you might want to freshen things up. If it’s been a while since your walls saw a new coat, a fresh paint job can really brighten up the space and make it more inviting. Consult with realtors in Alpine, TX to determine which rooms might need repainting.

Boost Your Bottom Line

The best way to improve home value in Alpine, TX is to partner with a realtor for the sale of your home. Realtors in Alpine, TX can advise you about what upgrades make the most sense for your market. If you’re considering selling your home, contact the team at Carpenter Real Estate today for a consultation.

8 Things to Inspect When Buying a Home

Home Inspections in Alpine, TX and What to Look for When Buying a New Home

If you’re new to the home buying process, you might not be familiar with home inspections. This is an important part of the transaction. The home inspection should reveal any concerns that could prove costly down the line. It allows the buyers the opportunity to take a closer look at the property they are about to purchase, and negotiate with the seller to make repairs or provide credits to cover the costs of any work that will be needed on the home.

Of course, you must first know what to look for during the home inspection. Use the following guide to ensure your inspection is thorough. Realtors can also assist you with setting up the inspection and following up on any concerns it reveals:

  • Top: Your inspection should include an overview of the roof. What is the overall condition of the roof? How old is the roof?
  • Bottom: The inspection should include the foundation of the home. Look for cracks, shifts and any potential issues with trees. Be sure to check both inside and outside.
  • Sides: What is the general condition of the walls of the home? Check the drywall for large cracks and any signs of leaks. Do the same for the floors.
  • Below: If the home has a basement or crawl space, it is essential that the inspection include a thorough review of these areas. Look for dampness, proper insulation and cracks in walls. cracked wall
  • Above: You may never use the attic, but it’s important to check it out anyway. Look at the roof structure from here. Check for leaks or pest infestations.
  • Inside: All interior systems should be checked during home inspections. Look at plumbing, electrical, HVAC, appliances (if they are being sold with the home) and windows. Check all systems for proper operation. Confirm when the HVAC system was last serviced by a qualified technician.
  • Outside: Check gutters and downspouts for proper attachment and flow. Look for any areas on the exterior that need repair. Be sure to review the condition of the lot as well. Does the landscaping provide proper drainage? Are there any safety concerns? Look at the condition of any outdoor structures, such as fences, sheds, pools and decks.
  • Within: In addition to inspecting the major structural components and systems of the home, examine the various features and fixtures. Look at the condition of cabinets, counters, vanities, light fixtures, fireplaces and any other amenities that are featured in the home. While the inspection does not encompass style and aesthetic choices, you should note whether there are any safety or repair concerns with any of these items.

Partner with a Pro

Buying a home is one of the most significant purchases you will ever make. It’s important to have a professional in your corner to help walk you through this process. When it’s time for home inspections in Alpine, your expert real estate agents at Carpenter Real Estate provide the insight you need. Since 1947, Carpenter Real Estate has sold over 1 million acres in Alpine and the surrounding areas. We are your go-to real estate agency in Alpine. Reach out to us 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.

Clean Home

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—realtors 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!

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.

Should I Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before Looking for a House?

The short answer is definitely, yes, you should. The fact is that with today’s competitive housing market, it’s essential to get pre-approval for your mortgage before you start house hunting.

Many first-time homebuyers are hesitant to get involved in the process because there’s so much paperwork involved. But this is one of those times when, if you snooze, you lose! So it’s essential to get started early on and land that pre-approval for a mortgage so you’ll have it in hand when you find that dream house.

While the world of real estate may seem intimidating, an expert realtor in Alpine, TX can help smooth out the process. Let’s take a look at why getting pre-approval for a mortgage is the ideal first step in the homebuying process:

  • Resolve financial issues: The last thing you want is to find the perfect home for you, only to realize that unresolved financial issues, such as a low credit score, will prevent you from getting a mortgage. Obtaining pre-approval means you’re taking a close look at your finances right away. It’s something you might feel you want to avoid, but if you’re looking to move into a home, you’re going to have to do it at some point. Lenders can help you resolve any financial problems—but they need to know about them first.
  • Narrow the search: Mortgage pre-approval will determine what your price range is going to be. This means that lenders will agree to give you a line of credit on a mortgage up to a certain amount—that’s the top of your price range. Different lenders may give you differing maximum amounts, but this should give you an idea of how much you can feasibly spend.
  • Move fast when you need to: So you’ve found a house that’s in your price range and has everything you’re looking for. Now it’s time to make an offer. But wait—you haven’t gotten pre-approval on a mortgage? That’s going to hold things up. You want to be able to submit an offer and show you have serious interest, which means you need pre-approval.
  • Look for a good deal: Don’t just go to one lender—shop around for the best deal. After all, a home is probably the largest investment you’re ever going to make. It pays to compare the terms lenders are offering and take the deal that best suits your needs.

Are you looking for a trustworthy realtor in Alpine, TX? Then Carpenter Real Estate is the choice for you. We’ve served the region since 1947, selling over 1 million acres of real estate. We’re a family-owned and operated enterprise with plenty of experience in residential property, commercial property and ranches. Over three generations, we’ve built the knowledge base and expertise necessary to navigate all kinds of real estate dealings.

Our roots extend deep into the community because we’re here to stay. We are a member of the Alpine Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help you.

What Happens to Earnest Money if Buyer Backs Out

What Happens to the Earnest Money If a Buyer Backs Out?

Every real estate transaction requires the buyer to submit an earnest money check at the outset of the sale, along with the signed purchase contract. This money demonstrates good faith on the buyer’s part, and the amount is usually determined by the seller. Its purpose is to provide the seller with some compensation in case the buyer ends up pulling out of the deal for any reason in which the seller is not at fault.

Here’s an overview from a real estate professional in Alpine of what could happen to earnest money if the buyer backs out of the purchase, as well as situations in which the buyer can retain his or her earnest money.

When canceling the agreement does not result in lost earnest money

All contracts for real estate purchases have deadlines for achieving certain milestones in the transaction process. These deadlines are subject to negotiation on the part of the seller and buyer. While these deadlines can be changed if both parties are willing to do so, there is nothing that says each party must be flexible, so it’s important to set these deadlines at realistic dates from the outset of the transaction.

Each of these deadlines gives the buyer a chance to back out of the contract without losing their earnest money as long as he or she provides appropriate notice of the intent to withdraw from the purchase.

One example is the inspection contingency deadline. The buyer must negotiate a deal that gives them enough time to complete all desired inspections. If, during the inspection, the buyer discovers an aspect of the property he or she simply cannot live with, the buyer will have the option to drop out before that deadline without forfeiting the cash. Note that this only applies before the deadline—if the buyer discovers something else about the house that makes them wary but this discovery occurs after the deadline, the seller will be able to keep the earnest money.

Another big example is the loan contingency deadline—the date by which the buyer must secure financing for the house. If this date passes without word from the buyer, the seller will be able to keep the earnest money, and at this point that money is nonrefundable.

Getting back your earnest money

If you’re the buyer in a real estate transaction and want to back out of the deal, it’s important to know how to get your earnest money back. Depending on the terms of your contract, that money could be held in escrow by a title company, broker, bank or attorney. The buyer should contact that escrow holder, apprise them of the situation and the need to release the money, and then check to see if any specific forms must be signed and submitted to get that earnest money back.

An experienced Alpine Realtor will work with you throughout your real estate transaction to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Contact Carpenter Real Estate today to learn more about how we can help.

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