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What Exactly Will YOU Find on Our Blog?!
Market Reports and updates on the Local San Antonio Market
Helpful resources for home owners or people thinking of getting into the market.
Exclusive Interviews featuring Local Home Builders Throughout San Antonio.
Articles about living like a local in San Antonio.
Tips to save money and make the most out of your home investment.
The Giacobbe Group begins it's 5th year with eXp Realty and we were just honored with our 4th ICON Agent Production award by our company eXp Realty! Find out more about this prestigous award and what it takes to receive it!
So what does it take to become an ICON agent at eXp Realty? The Icon award is an annual production and stock award that is achieved when an agent or sales team pays off our company cap (Annual Broker's Dues) and then sells an additional 20 units beyond that. Production cap can usually be reached once an agent selling 2.2 Million in volume. this typically requires 40-50 completed transactions to reach ICON Agent status! That's 3+ homes a month on average!
What do you get when you hit ICON status? Producing agents who reach ICON status earn their company cap back in the form of eXpi our publicly traded stock. Stock awards have a vesting period of 3 years.
What do you attribute your success to? Finding great mentors and learning from some of the top sales and marketers I could find throughout the years. Education and mentorship is key whenever you have big goals. Finding people who are already where you want to be and learning from them. Also, becoming a mentor and helping others reach their goals too. I always want to find ways to find ways to add value to others, that's the definition of leadership.
What is one "Golden Nugget" you'd like to give? Darren Hardy one of my many mentors told a story one time that has always stuck with me throughout the years. The pendulum of success swings both ways. On the other side of every failure, you will always find your next big achievement. If you are going through any kind of difficulty it's important to remember that if you just keep going your next achievement is likely just around the corner. I am always surprised by what happens when I keep going despite set backs, it always leads to something great.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you or anyone you know is in the market to buy or sell a home either now or in the near future. Please remember, we love referrals!
It's just crazy how expensive everything has gotten! From the rising cost of gas, electricity, food, and now mortgage interest rates! It can feel like a daunting task just trying to keep your head above water. I wrote this blog article 6 practical tips to save money if you own a home or need to buy a home in the near future. Enjoy!
1. Position Yourself to Purchase: When you are purchasing a home or refinancing your credit score will play a part in determining what sort of interest rate you will receive. If you plan to purchase a home in the future start working on improving your credit scores far in advance. A top tier credit score when purchasing a home is usually anything over 740. Normally anything over 700 will earn you a much better monthly payment.
2. Mortgage Options To Consider: If you can't put 20% down, that's okay. You can avoid mortgage insurance by paying an upfront mortgage insurance premium. We have had clients purchase with as little as 5% down and still have no mortgage insurance!
3. Monthly In-Flow vs Outflow: Look at your total cost for ownership. Owning a home is more than just the monthly mortgage payment. Costs to consider should include maintenance, taxes, internet, water and electricity. When purchasing a home look at the total picture and see where you will save the most money in total. Sometimes paying more for the mortgage payment on a new might actually save you total costs when you factor in home efficiency and repairs.
4. Get cash-back: I recommend using cash-back cards for all of your home's needs including utility cost. Personally, I have been using the free coinbase card, which pays 4% cash back in crypto on all of your home's expenses. With the market being down.. 4% in crypto saved could potentially become 40% or greater if you accumulate and hold all of your free rewards!
5. Protest your Taxes: You should try to protest your property taxes every single year. If you don't protest your taxes Bexar County Appraisal district will automatically raise your property taxes every single year, save money on taxes by protesting each and every year!
6. Save on Electricity: Consider ways to lower your energy consumption. Options to help with this are installing heat reduction film on your windows, getting room occupancy switches, a garage door insulation kit, installing smart thermostats and finally consider going solar. Not sure who to go through for solar? I am a certified "Green Designated Realtor" and Independent Powur Consultant! Get a quote with me at www.FreeSolarPanelEstimate.com
About the Author: Since 2011, John Giacobbe has helped hundreds of families throughout San Antonio buy and sell homes. If you are interested in learning more about buying, selling or investing in a San Antonio area home give John Giacobbe a call or text at 210-857-6942
Here’s what I’m seeing today in real estate in 2021. Coming out of last year’s pandemic where we saw interest rates drop to the lowest levels in history there has been a period of rapid consumer demand which has pushed up on home prices throughout the San Antonio market.
Now in 2021, the market is beginning to see a period of consolidation & rebalancing, the bulk of great resale home inventory has diminished under the buying demand of consumers leaving fewer resale homes for buyers at much higher prices. New home inventory has increasingly become a more desirable option for home buyers because there are fewer options in the resale market, however, great resale properties are selling QUICK and at higher prices than ever before.
As mortgage interest rates begin to increase, home prices will correct. I believe that we will soon see the beginning of a period where home values will go flat.
Here are a few ways you can really capitalize on the 2021 San Antonio real estate market.
·If you own a home and want to sell it, NOW is a great time to gain a solid net profit. Lower supply & higher demand means more money in your pocket.
·Locking in a higher mortgage amount NOW can help you maintain a manageable payment on a larger or newer home.
·Consider buying a new construction home you may have an easier time finding and contracting on something new now vs resale.
If you are in the market to buy, sell, or invest in 2021, remember The Giacobbe Group has your back. We have over 10 years of experience and hundreds of 5-star home reviews. We will give you an honest opinion on your home value and help you maximize your real estate investment.
As a real estate agent there are hundreds of different activities that can occupy one’s day so I created this article to give new and experienced agent’s alike a winning formula for success.
By focusing on these 5 activities daily you will start to see your real estate business prosper, you will help more clients, and become the superstar real estate agent you strive to be. Let's get started!
Goal Setting- Every day I start with a simple goal setting activity.I write my life and business goals down on half a sheet of paper and on the bottom half I write everything that I need to work on that day to achieve my goals.
It’s easy to get off track from what you are trying to achieve but by starting with this one activity daily you will set the stage for your success- with every item you check off from your task list you are moving one step closer towards your goal.
Training & Development- There are so many facets to creating success as a real estate agent so it’s important that you take time each and every day to sharpen your skills.
There are numerous coaching and training programs available for every facet of your business.Some areas that I recommend studying and becoming proficient in are Sales, Marketing, real estate specific, relationships, and leadership.
After 8 years in the real estate business I am still learning something new every day.Through a constant focus on training and development you are refining your skills and becoming better every single day.
Prospecting- One of the most important activities a real estate agent can do every day is telephone prospecting.Making calls is the most effective way for an agent to create opportunities.So who exactly should you be calling every day when you are doing your prospecting hour? And the answer to that is everyone you know!
When prospecting your focus should always be to get a meeting scheduled with a ready, willing, and able buyer or seller.The main way that you will accomplish this is always through building relationships.The best way to build a relationships is by showing genuine interest and using the FORD principle to find the right questions to ask.Family, Occupation, Relationships, and Dreams.
Client Meetings- Now is your time to shine! If you can get the meeting, you can get the sale.Getting in front of ready, willing, and able home buyers and sellers should be the main focus every day within your business.
By getting belly to belly with your clients you are able to have the most influence and really help them find a solution to their real estate needs.Always take a consultative approach and have a list of discovery questions ready to gather any critical information you need to help your client reach their goal.
Business Development- This pillar can be very general to most real estate but a few activities that you can focus on for business development should include planning and creating content for social media, marketing activities, meeting with strategic business partners for coffee, or planning a community event and more.
Also, this part of your day should include anything that will allows you to create organization and improvement of your client’s experience.Take time each day to improve your workflow and build better relationships.After all, real estate is a people business so always focus on putting people first and all else will fall into place!
About the Author: Since 2011, John Giacobbe has been named as one of San Antonio's TOP Realtors with EXP Realty he has helped hundreds of agents throughout San Antonio and the United States excel at selling more homes and creating freedom through real estate with his FREE AGENT SUCCESS PROGRAM. If you are in interested in learning more about this topic or you are interested in partnering as a real estate agent within his eXp organization Call or Text John TODAY!
8 Steps to Sell Your Elderly Parents Home in San Antonio
Throughout my 8 year career selling homes in San Antonio I've helped several families going through a similar time of transition. When you are dealing with a loved one in their senior years you need to insure that their most important assets including real estate are handled with the utmost care. Here are 8 things to consider when it's transition time.
1. Decide where they will be moving- There are several options for senior living here in San Antonio. Depending on the level of care your parent will require. If their condition requires consistent attention then perhaps review different skilled nursing facilities. If they are still in good health than a lower maintenance apartment or house nearby may be a great option for housing. You want to make sure you assess their overall condition and seek out the best option depending on their individual need.
2. Discuss options with parent- This is usually the most difficult part of the process but also very necessary to make sure your loved one understand why they are needing to move. Your parent may have a deep attachment to their current home so you want to make sure you approach this discussion with care but also be firm of your desire to help them. When you discuss the game plan up front and explain the reason why they are needing to move you will have an easier time getting your parents to buy in to the idea.
3. Contact a Realtor to determine market value- It is important to contact a licensed Realtor that you trust to help learn about what exactly you can sell your parents home for. There are several investors out there that will try to take advantage of your parent's equity they have built into their real estate. A Realtor is going to put your parent's needs before their own so you will get the very most money for their house. In most cases the money you receive will help fund the many expenses that you are sure to incur later in the process.
4. Create an action list to prepare home- Over the years your parent may have accumulated tons of stuff & if you are reading this article it is very likely that you are concerned about their current living situation. Start by separating any items of sentimental value & important documents that your parent has. Make sure to take inventory of different repair items needed with the house. You will need to reference back to your list on the following step.
5. Contact home service vendors & contractors- By now you should have a list of necessary repairs to get the home ready for the market. Your next task will be contacting different home service vendors or contractors to gather repair bids. Depending on the condition of the home you may be able to sell it as-is or with a little money invested you may be able to get a much larger return from the sale. Feel free to review our list of trusted local home service vendors in San Antonio that we refer and trust.
6. Determine where sale proceeds will be held- Now the final step you'll need to take before starting the plan is determining where you will hold the money once the house has been sold. You will want to contact a trusted financial adviser to make arrangements for holding the funds. Since the proceeds of their home will likely be a large lump sum of money you want to make sure you select the right vehicle for storing the money post sale so it can be accessed as the need arises.
7. Start the move-out process & make repairs- Okay the day has come to start moving! You'll want to get an early start because there is a lot of work ahead. When possible it is always best to initiate the move-out process first so that the contractors can come in afterwards and make any necessary repairs to the property. Take time to get rid of any unnecessary items and keep any valuables set aside for safe keeping. Make sure that your parents are in good spirits about their new home and be there to provide encouragement as they go through this period of transition.
8. List home for sale- The final step of the process is listing the home for sale. Before listing the home make sure you recheck the current market conditions to see if anything has changed. Team up with a licensed Realtor that you trust. Make sure that the home is presented well when it goes onto the market and be careful about over pricing the house. Once an offer is received review the offer and understand what the net proceeds will be before you accept an offer. Congratulations, you did it! Your loved one is now in a more safe place and their home is sold!
About the Author: Since 2011, John Giacobbe has been San Antonio's TOP Realtor with EXP Realty he has helped hundreds of families throughout San Antonio and their aging parents with the process of selling their homes. If you or your loved one are in need of a licensed Realtor with a caring and thoughtful attitude contact John TODAY!
In this exclusive Interview with Lennar. Anessa explains more about the Smart Home Features and everything included way that Lennar is building their homes.
John: Hey everybody, John Giacobbe. I am out at Lennar Homes at Westpointe off of Wiseman and 1604. If you're interested in a brand-new Lennar Home, you're gonna wanna stick around and see what Anessa has to say. Hey everybody, John Giacobbe, I'm meeting with my friend, Anessa Meadows today at Lennar Homes at Westpointe. Anessa, if you could tell our audience out there today a little bit more about yourself, what did you do before getting into real estate?
Anessa: For 12 years, I was a firefighter-paramedic here in San Antonio, and now I sell homes for Lennar.
John: Awesome, so how long have you been with Lennar Homes?
Anessa: I've been with Lennar since September of this year, so I'm pretty new.
John: Awesome, very good. Now, we're over here today at Westpointe at Lennar, can you tell us a little bit about where this neighborhood is located?
Anessa: We're located off of 1604 and Wiseman, just out in Fronterra.
John: Very good, now with Lennar Homes, can you tell us a little bit more about what features makes a Lennar Home unique? What is the biggest thing that Lennar does differently?
Anessa: Well, Lennar is an Everything Included Home. We don't have any upgrades. What you see is what you get with us, so when you walk into our model homes, and our different series, everything you see is included, except for the automated blinds.
John: Very good, now technology is a huge thing with Lennar. Can you tell us a little bit more about the technology that goes into these Lennar Homes?
Anessa: Lennar is partnered with Amazon, so we have an agreement with them that our Alexa display, Echo Dot, and Sonos speaker all come included with Lennar. We're a Wi-Fi certified home, we have routers in the ceiling that make sure the home is Wi-Fi heat-mapped, so there's no Wi-Fi dead spots.
John: Very cool. Now what are some of the things that Alexa does in the new Lennar Homes?
Anessa: Well we have some scenes that are programmed into Alexa, and since we have the Ring doorbell, I can say, "Alexa, show me who's at my front door.", and the Ring doorbell will show on the display who's at the front door, and you can ask Alexa to do any kind of recipe you want, she'll show it on the screen, and if you have our automated blinds, you can say, "Alexa, turn on party time," and she'll lower the blinds, lower the lights and turn on some really awesome music.
John: Very good, now can you tell us a little bit more about the efficiency that goes into a brand-new Lennar Home?
Anessa: Yeah, our Lennar Homes are very energy efficient, so we have an R15 rating in the walls, and an R30 in the ceilings, everything is Low-E in the windows. We use GE appliances, they're very energy efficient, and since it is Wi-Fi, you can control your anything from your phone.
John: And now, this community that we're at today, Lennar Westpointe, what would you say is one of the biggest draws that brings people out to this area, to this location here?
Anessa: We have the Northside ISD school district and is one of the most desirable school districts in San Antonio, also we have a great amenities center, and here, it's a real community kind of feel. There's lots of young children, young families here, and there's so much just to do in our community.
John: And now, if somebody were interested in building a house from the ground up with Lennar, what does that process look like with you?
Anessa: Well, you come meet with me in my sales office. We'll go out and pick a lot, we'll pick a floor plan, and then I show you a color board. There's no upgrades, and you pick the color board you want. You want white cabinets, you can get white cabinets. You want dark cabinets, you get dark cabinets, and then you pick the elevation of your home, and then from that point on, it can take six to eight months to build your home, and then it'll be all yours at the end of the process.
John: Okay, and now if somebody were trying to decide between maybe buying a preowned home versus new construction, what would you say to that buyer? Why should they go with a brand-new home?
Anessa: 'Cause it's brand new. So, we have warranties that come with our home. We have a one, two, 10 warranty, and the one year covers everything in the home except cosmetics, two's gonna be all your major, like your electrical, plumbing, and wiring, and then 10 on the foundation and the structure. So, and then we have an amazing Customer Care, so if there are any issues, they come and help you take care of it.
John: And if somebody were considering the thought of buying a brand-new house, when would you say is the best time to get started?
Anessa: Right now, we have amazing amount of inventory that can close pretty quickly, and also interest rates are on the rise, they're not super high, but they're not super low like we're used to, so locking it in now would be the best time.
John: Absolutely, I couldn't agree with you more on that one. Now, if somebody were interested in Lennar Homes, where are you guys located throughout San Antonio?
Anessa: We have over 50 communities throughout San Antonio, all the way up to New Braunfels and down to Mission Del Lago, so I have a home for everybody.
John: Wow, so you guys are located all over--
Anessa: All over.
John: All over San Antonio.
John: Very good. Now if somebody wanted more information about Lennar Homes, where would they go to learn a little bit more about the builder?
Anessa: You can go to Lennar.com and look all the information up there, or you can contact me directly.
John: Very good, now how would somebody get ahold of you if they were interested in working with you to buy their new Lennar Home?
Anessa: They can just reach out to my cell phone number, which is 234-2454.
John: Very good, well thank you so much for being part of John Giacobbe's Builder of the Week!
Interested in seeing what homes Lennar has available in San Antonio?
In this exclusive interview you will learn about the Perry Homes difference with John Giacobbe - San Antonio's New Construction Realtor & Dennis Maldonado with Perry Homes.
John: Hey everybody, John Giaccobe here. I am out today at Perry Homes meeting with my friend Dennis Maldonado. If you're looking for new construction, or if you're thinking about buying a new home you're gonna want to hear what Dennis has to say. Hey everybody, John Giacobbe here. I'm out at Perry Homes in Kallison Ranch with my friend Dennis Maldonado. Wanted to introduce you guys to Dennis and Perry Homes today. Dennis, if you could tell us a little bit about yourself and what did you do before real estate, and how long have you been working for Perry Homes?
Dennis: Well, before real estate I actually was in school for two years at UTSA studying cyber security. Before that I managed businesses, had a couple businesses.
John: Okay, and how long have you been working here at Perry Homes?
Dennis: Been for four months. Four fantastic months, mind you.
Dennis: I worked for another home builder prior to was a semi-custom builder, but then had the opportunity to join the Perry team which I am very proud of.
John: Very good. Now what would you say is the biggest standout feature, or unique value proposition that Perry Homes has to offer?
Dennis: How much time do we have? The one thing about Perry Homes is although we are a production builder, our homes are built more like a custom builder. From the ground up, from the soil testing to the foundation to the way we frame a house, which is we stick build everything, nothing's trucked in, to the selection, it's just a top tier builder. We are a top tier builder by all means.
John: And, Perry Homes is just beautiful product, and the amazing house that you guys have here, what would you say is we're out here at Kallison Ranch today, just a few miles outside of 1604, just past Alamo Ranch area, what would you say is the appeal of this area?
Dennis: This is one of the hottest zip codes in San Antonio, if not the United States. Some of the benefits are, we have some of the lowest property taxes out here. We're actually in the county, not in the city of San Antonio, so that reduces taxes significantly. We also have great schools though. We have, Harlan High School is one of the top schools in San Antonio. The middle school and elementary schools are also fantastic schools. We have Government Canyon Park, right adjacent to us, wide open space a little over 8000 acres. So that always provides us a breeze here. There is never a day that doesn't have a breeze here. It's an amazing feeling being here. You're in the country, but you're close to shopping. You're close to 1604. We have a lot of military, and so Lackland is not far away, so really it's location, location, location. Those are the three rules of real estate.
John: Absolutely. You know that's always something that is important whenever you're looking for a house is being in a great location, and you mentioned that the tax rate was lower out here, so that is certainly a benefit when you're making your mortgage payment every month.
Dennis: Yes it is.
John: So with Perry Homes, now why would somebody maybe consider buying a brand new home versus getting something pre-owned, maybe saving a couple
bucks? What would be the benefit in your mind to go in new construction?
Dennis: You eliminate some of the unknowns. When you're buying a pre-owned home, nothing against pre-owned homes, the values out there and good ones to be had, but you never know when the air conditioning is going to go out, the water heater's going to go out, if you're gonna have a roof leak, what's going on. You don't know because the history of the home is not quite there. You just don't know. With a brand new Perry Home, we offer the best warranty in the business. It's two years, material and craftsmanship, 10 years on anything structural, so you eliminate some of that. When you move into a new home John, you know that there's expenses. Typically you buy new furniture. You're doing things to make the home yours, and so you don't want to have to replace an AC unit at that time. I promise you, or a hot water heater. So that's really one of the biggest reasons to buy a new Perry Home.
John: Absolutely. That definitely makes sense. When you're trying to get new things for your new house, the last thing that you want is for your air conditioner to go out, so when you go with new construction, you're getting a new roof, you're getting a new AC, and everything is warranted.
Dennis: We're in Texas. You don't want your AC going out. I promise you.
John: Now for somebody that was looking to build a house from the ground up, what is that process look like with Perry Homes?
Dennis:It's a very easy process. The first thing we do is sit with you, and find out what your needs are. How many bedrooms, how many bathrooms, do you need a study, how many garages, that kind of thing. And then we'll select a floor plan that is something that you like, something that you can see yourself living in. The next function is the lot. You want to make sure the house will fit on the lot, because sometimes if you do something to a house, it doesn't fit on the lot, sometimes it does. And then the process of just making the selections to make that house your home. So, structural things like something as small as maybe having a gas line on your back patio so that you can hook up your grill to. And then from there, you would go to the selection process. The thing about Perry Homes, is that we have a lot of the things that you see in the model are standard. The cabinets, the tile selection. There's standard tiles. There's standard finishes on the cabinets, but we sit down and go through a few of those things with you, those items with you. And then you go to the design center, and you'll actually be able to see the finishes, and select them to make the house your home.
John: Awesome. Now that's one of the first things that I notice whenever I come into a Perry Home, is the amazing quality of the finishes. Do you guys have a designer that works with each home buyer, and help put it all together?
Dennis: We do. When you purchase a home, to build a home, you sit down with a designer at the design center, and it's an appointment that you make, and you go through anything from A to Z in terms of fixtures, whether they be plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, tile, paint, all that is picked out there.
John: So it's, and I think that's one of the most fun parts about building your own house, is getting to customize and select what you want to make it your own so that's definitely an exciting part of the process. So how long does it typically take, from start to finish, from the time they come in the door the first time, to the time they get their keys?
Dennis: The building process takes about five months, provided it doesn't rain for 30 days.
Dennis: Sometimes the weather will affect it, but on average five months will get you from start to finish on your home. You mentioned the design center. One thing that's very unique about us, I'm gonna go back a little bit, is that I call it the Chama Gaucha effect, If you've ever eaten at the Chama Gaucha Steakhouse.
John: Of course.
Dennis: You go there, you fill up on the salad, and then you get all the meats, and if you were to survey all the people leaving the Chama Gaucha restaurant, or the Brazilian steakhouse restaurant, nobody's happy, they ate too much. One thing at Perry that we do since a lot of the items are standard, you won't be spending 50 or 60 additional dollars on your home, 50 or 60 thousand additional dollars on your home. So that is something to look out for when you're building, because the price of the home is not always the price of the move-in home that you get.
John: Absolutely. Now if somebody was looking to get into a new house, when would be the best time for them to get started with that process?
Dennis: There's no time like the present, and waiting will cost you. Those are the two things I tell folks all the time. As soon as you're ready, as soon as you think you wanna do it, you investigate the process. You investigate. Come take a look at the Perry differences. There is a difference. But if you sit down, and you do a mock build for example, where we sit down and we say, "Okay, if I were to build," "what would it take?" So interest rates are rising. Lumber costs are going up. We had a hurricane not too long ago, and so understand that a lot of the lumber is going that way, a lot of the work is going that way, where they're driving costs up here, and so now is the time.
John: You have your product available all throughout San Antonio. What are some of the different locations that you guys are offering Perry Homes at?
Dennis: We have a number of neighborhoods, and new neighborhoods opening up all the time. The best way to find that out is to go to the Perry Homes website, PerryHomes.com. Click on San Antonio, because we do build in Houston often, and Dallas as well, and you will see a map, and it will show you all of the communities, and so if you're looking for something in New Braunfels, we have it, Seguin, we have it, San Antonio, we have it. So that's the best way to do it.
John: Okay, now if any of our viewers out there were interested in getting a hold of you to start the process, what's the best way for one of our viewers to get a hold of you if they're interested in learning more about Perry Homes or coming out to see you guys.
Dennis: Well they can always start with you. Bring them out, or they can call me on my cell phone, 210-279-9948, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can go to our website, PerryHomes.com.
John: Awesome. Well thank you so much Dennis. I appreciate you being part of John Giacobbe's builder of the week. I'm really excited to be out here, showcasing Perry Homes to our audience, and again thanks so much, I appreciate your time today.
Dennis: John, it's been my pleasure. Just remember the Perry Homes value. Once you've had the Perry Homes value, once you see what we offer, the difference that Perry Homes makes, and how we build, you're gonna want one.
An Interview with Armadillo Homes in San Antonio, TX
In this exclusive interview you will learn what sets Armadillo Homes apart with John Giacobbe - San Antonio's New Construction Realtor & Richard Muzquiz from Armadillo Homes.
John: Hey everybody, John Giacobbe, I'm out here today at Armadillo Homes visiting my friend Richard Muzquiz. If you're looking for a brand-new home in the new year, you're gonna wanna see what Richard Muzquiz has to say. Come join me. Hey everybody, John Giacobbe, I'm out here today at Armadillo Homes meeting with my friend Richard Muzquiz out here. Wanted to share with you guys a little bit more about Armadillo Homes and what they have to offer. Richard, can you tell our audience out there a little bit more about yourself, what did you do before getting into new construction home sales?
Richard: Sure, so before new construction home sales I was a realtor, I was a general real estate agent. I did that for a number of years, before that I was a loan processor and a loan officer, and also I was in the military, I was in the army.
John: Well, thank you for your service, we appreciate that. Now, we're out here today at Armadillo. Richard, I want you to tell our audience a little bit, or what would you say is the most unique value proposition or biggest selling feature about Armadillo Homes?
Richard: I think our biggest thing as Armadillo, as a company, is our motto of help, don't sell. So and for us, we're really big on listening to the customer, what their wants and what their needs are before making any recommendations. As the professionals, we need to step back, understand what our clients are wanting before we make any type of recommendation to them. Or try and offer them any type of home.
John: Awesome, well I really like that motto, help not sell, so that's a really powerful thing. Now, with Armadillo Homes Weston Oaks, we're a few miles outside of 1604. What would you say is the biggest draw or appeal to people who are looking at moving in this area?
Richard: I think the biggest thing, 'cause we get a lot of people from out of state movin' into this area, I think their biggest thing and what I hear most, most of the time is gonna be the fact that they feel that they're getting the whole country living being away from the city, but yet close enough to the city where they feel like okay, they're not too far out, where they're living in the middle of nowhere. But, again, we're only about 20 minutes away from downtown, so that's one of the biggest draws out here.
John: Now I know you've mentioned to me in the past, that the tax rate over here outside of Potranco and 1604, a couple miles out, is a little lower. Can you tell us what that is and why people should know about that?
Richard: Absolutely and it's something that's different about us out here, we are outside the city limits. So the tax rate out here is 2.2%. Also this area does qualify under the USDA programs.
John: Okay, so huge savings, you know, on a monthly mortgage payment, right. Now, why should a buyer decide to go with a new construction versus a pre-own?
Richard: I think one of the biggest things, coming from real estate myself, and always understanding what the clients are looking for, whether it's a resale or a new construction, most times people will chose new construction because of the fact that they're not coming in having to do any type of repairs, they're not coming into someone else's issues or problems, so I think with a new builder, you are getting a lot of warranties on the home that transfer with you or with the home, versus a resale where a lot of people come in having to do some kind of remodeling, repairs, things like that.
John: With builders I know the warranty is a big thing. Can you tell us a little bit more about the warranty that Armadillo Homes has to offer?
Richard: Sure, so Armadillo Home offers a three-stage warranty. We offer our one-year warranty which is kind of like a vehicle, it's a bumper to bumper, covers everything about the home. There is a two-year warranty on the structure of the home and then there is a 10 year warranty on the foundation of the home.
John: Okay, well it sounds like a great warranty. So everything is covered.
John: Now, if one of our viewers out there were interested in building a house from the ground up, what is that process look like with Armadillo Homes?
Richard: Well, the process with us, again, it's all about helping the customer find the right home and helping them choose the right home, not trying to sell them one of our houses or something that we have available or trying to push. We wanna make sure we understand what they're looking for. First, we start off by choosing the home site or choosing the home plan. What space, how much space they're needing, how many bedrooms, bath, then from there, if they have a home to sell or they're working, then we kinda plan, have them get together with an agent, kinda come up with a timeframe of how much time they need on their side. And then come up with a mutual plan to start building their home. Whether we're doing a delayed start on their home or starting immediately, it's all about their timeframe.
John: What is the building process take with Armadillo Homes? How long does it take?
Richard: Well the building process from start to finish is gonna be about, about five to six months.
John: Okay, now I notice some of the amazing selections you guys have on finishes with Armadillo. How does the design process work with making their selections?
Richard: Oh so, absolutely, one of the good things that we have here at Armadillo, is that we're not a custom home builder but we allow our customers to make, or our clients to make a lot of customizations to the home. So we actually do have our design centers in house. So when somebody comes in, a family comes in, wants to build a house, when they leave here they know exactly what they're paying for the home, what it's gonna look like, we're not sending them out to a design center to be upsold again or anything like, anything different. We have the design centers here. We let them know what's gonna be standard. And at Armadillo, so many things are standard with us that we're not having to upsell you with anything or upgrade you to anything else.
John: I think that's one of the really unique features about Armadillo is the fact that you guys are doing the design center in house. And from my viewpoint that would really save somebody a lot of time and they leave knowing exactly what they're getting.
Richard: Absolutely, and that's one of the things that people love the most about us.
John: Awesome, now if somebody were interested in buying a new house, when should they get started?
Richard: I think they should get started according to their time frame, like I said, if they have a home to sell or whatever their living arrangement is, it's always good to come talk to us, let us know what you need and we will work around your schedule and kinda come up with something that works for you because as I mentioned before, if you have a home to sell, it's a good idea to get with an agent, come up with a plan of action, how much time that agent's gonna need to sell your home and then let us know so that we can all work together as a group and as a team to make sure that that family's experience is a smooth transition.
John: And I couldn't agree with you more, as an agent, it's really important that we look at what the market is doing, how quickly a house could sell, that way we can line up our timeframe, so that's an important thing that we need to look at to determine time frame for a new home buyer. Now, if somebody were interested in learning more about Armadillo Homes, where should they go to get more information or take a look at what is available.
Richard: Sure, you can always visit us at www.ArmadilloHomes.com/WestonOaks. That takes you directly to our community here. You can also email me directly at email@example.com. Or reach my cell at 210-702-0119.
John: Very good, okay, well thank you so much Richard, I appreciate you coming on John Giacobbe's Builder of the Week and look forward to helping more families.
An Interview with Meritage Homes in San Antonio, TX
John Giacobbe is a San Antonio New Construction Realtor & Justin Cantu From Meritage Homes discuss what sets Meritage Homes apart from the competition in this exclusive interview session!
John:Hey, everybody, John Giacobbe here. I'm out here today at Meritage Homes meeting my friend Justin Cantu. I wanted to take you guys in to see a little bit more about what Meritage Homes has to offer. Come on in, guys.
Justin: Hey, John.
John: Hey, Justin, how's it goin', man?
Justin: How are you?
John: Hey, good to see ya.
Justin: Come on in.
John: Hey there, John Giacobbe. I'm here with my friend Justin Cantu out at Meritage Homes. We are here filming our Builder of the Week. Justin Cantu here. Justin, I wanted to meet with you and visit with you today and ask you a few questions about Meritage Homes, ask you about yourself, and that way we can share with our audience a little bit more about what you guys do out here at Meritage. You guys build a fantastic home. Justin, wanted to ask you, how long have you been in real estate, what did you do before real estate?
Justin: I've actually been in real estate for about two years, so I've been kinda blessed enough to take advantage of new home sales. But what I did before, I used to work at a dealership up in New Braunfels. Actually did some selling power sports up there, sellin' a different product, but it was definitely a stepping stone and it was somethin' that I've always wanted to do and had a passion for was real estate. So, I was able to take it...
John: You've been Meritage Homes for two years now. What would you say is one of the biggest selling features about a Meritage Home? What do you guys pride yourselves as a builder?
Justin: You know, with Meritage, you know, a huge staple for us, you know, in the production side of building is our spray foam insulation. The way we insulate our homes is a big deal on any clients that we have are taking advantage of our homes. We do it nationwide, it's a standard feature. Basically, cuts your utility bills in half, which is a big deal. You know, we're, you know, anything that goes along with building our homes, you know, to our Low E-3 windows that we use, they let a lot of natural sunlight to come into our homes. Kinda goes hand-in-hand with the spray foam insulation, but definitely is one of our big staples.
John: So, energy efficiency is a huge thing with Meritage Homes.
John: For our viewers out there, what can an owner of a Meritage Home expect to pay? Like say, a 2,500 square foot house, what would you say the utility bills are like? You know, we're here in San Antonio. It gets hot during the summer. How much can they expect to pay?
Justin: Yeah, you know, with Texas, you know, we always are just blistering hot and, you know, I feel like, you know, 90% of the time out of the year. You know, with our homes, we have, you know, a ton of floor plans to choose from, you know, but on a 2,500 square foot home, I actually live in a Meritage Home myself, which is about that size, and I, you know, the lowest that I've seen my bill, you know, and I've lived in it for pretty close to about a year-and-a-half, almost two years, is about 130, 140 bucks a month on the high side that I've seen. But yeah, definitely is a big deal for that size.
John: So huge savings there on a monthly basis for homeowners of a Meritage home. Also, we're out here today at The Landing at French Creek, that's your community here.
Justin: Yeah, yeah.
John: This is your baby, so.
John: What is the best thing about your location out here?
Justin: You know, you know, this community's really stellar. You know, it's more of a boutique style community. Real, very private. You know, once of these things that I, you know, tell all of my clients out here, it's hard to find a location like this in San Antonio that's one road in and one road out. You know, I only have a total of 51 homes that are gonna be going in this community. We're getting close to the finish line, kind of on our exit, you know, train on out of this area, but, you know, definitely is, you know, what's another selling feature for this community it's just a smack dab in the middle of everything, really. We're located right off of Bandera and Prue inside the loop of 1604. Everybody that has taken advantage of this community is lovin' the conveniency of being so close to everything. You're really pretty much a hop and skip away to get a jump on any major highway to get to anywhere you need to be around San Antonio.
John: Well, it certainly seems like a very convenient location. You got H-E-B, what, like a mile down the road?
Justin: Yeah, you know, we have the biggest H-E-B in Texas that's literally in our backyard, you know, which is a huge thing for anybody, any homeowner for, you know, easy shopping, easy, you know, gettin' to point A to point B. But yeah, everything's really close.
John: Okay, and what do you see a lot of out here as far as buyers comin' out to your community? Are you guys getting a lot of military people or people from USAA, what do you guys cater to?
Justin: We have a lot of, you know, anybody, really, for diverse people comin' out here and takin' a look at this community. From military to young professionals to, you know, older citizens, things like that, you know. We have pretty much a good range, really, all over the spectrum, really, which I think is, you know, anywhere in San Antonio. It's just in real estate it's all about location as everybody always, you know, stresses on, or things like that. But yeah, we have pretty much a lot of diverse here.
John: Now, if somebody were to come in and they wanted to build their house from the ground up, what does that process look like with Meritage Homes?
Justin: With Meritage from start to finish we typically, on average, take about five months from start to finish to build a home. What that process looks like for any client comin' in, you know, they'll do anything as far as the structurals here with me in my office. When they go to the design center and start to pick out all the pretties and things like that, I don't do here. But what they'll do here is actually design the home with me on how they want it structurally. Pick a floor plan, kind of figure out what the family's needs are. But yeah, here in this location, I have eight floor plans that I offer. But yeah, that's pretty much how it would look like as far as construction.
John: So, it's about a five-month process. If they wanted to, say, customize their cabinet colors or the color granite or the type of flooring, is that somethin' that you guys do?
Justin: Absolutely. That's where the design center comes in. Once they've done visiting with me here in my office design center will reach out to them to set up that appointment with them after they proceed with the contract. That's when they get to go have some fun and have a time to go pick out all the pretties that they want, you know, cabinet colors, things like that. All the fun stuff. That's one of the fun parts of building is to go pick out everything in your home.
John: Absolutely. I know your neighborhood, you mentioned to me earlier that you guys are in a close-out mode. Do you guys still have lots available for somebody that's looking to live in this location here?
Justin: I do, I do. You know, the window's closing pretty quickly. I have two lots left here to build. They're gonna be around the model here. They're gonna be released soon. But I still have kind of a lot of other opportunities that are also still here in this community. They're gonna be quick move-ins for any families that don't have the luxury of maybe building from start to finish.
Justin: But I do still have a little bit of flexibility here, but it's goin' quick.
John: I know Meritage homes are available, you know, all throughout San Antonio. What are some of the locations that you guys are offering your product, and do you have the ability to cross-sell or...
Justin: Yeah, absolutely. With our team, you know, we're definitely have the blessing to cross-sell, you know, if a client's, you know, if this community's not the right for 'em we have plenty of 'em around San Antonio. I'm more than happy to stay along the journey with them if they want me to continue doin' the home search with me. But yeah, I can absolutely help them at any other community, it's just the home has to be at a certain stage for me to kinda stay along with them, or completed. That would be the process. But yeah, absolutely. You know, with our locations around San Antonio, we have quite a few, you know. It just depends on where you wanna be.
John: Okay, so, you guys are located all throughout San Antonio. Maybe a few out by Alamo Ranch and...
Justin: Mm hmm, yeah.
John: What are some of the other parts of town that you guys offer the product?
Justin: We have a ton of communities out towards Alamo Ranch area. We have off of Potranco, off of Wiseman. We have a couple more communities that are on close-out in that area. Also some other opportunities that are opening up. That location, too. We have three locations that are inside the loop of 1604, including myself. Everything else pretty much are on the outskirts. We have some that are out towards, you know, Universal City. We have one that's just a grand opening off of 281 in Redland, which is a big property that we are very proud of on that one, which is called Sienna. But yeah, but we're expanding, so we're excited.
John: So all throughout the city. Okay. Now, if somebody, one of our viewers was interested in working with you or looking at some Meritage homes, what's the best place for them to go to start their home search?
Justin: I mean, you can go to, you know, visit our website, you know, MeritageHomes.com. It's got a lot of information on there. They're able to, you know, kind of play with some things on there tryin' to look at some communities, some floor plans, what's available now, what's up and coming. Our contact center is doin' a great job on kinda filtering anybody looking for a specific location, and they'll set up an appointment with us through, you know, digitally, you know, through our email. Or you can go, you know, contact me at my email's the best way to get ahold of me. We do walk-ins, too. We highly recommend that for people to come take a look in first hand and take a look at our product, absolutely.
John: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Justin. I appreciate your time today. Looking forward to working with you
John: and taking a few clients out here to Meritage Homes.
John: Again, I wanted to thank you so much being part of John Giacobbe's Builder of the Week.
John: So I appreciate it, and looking forward to...
Justin: Doin' some business, yeah, absolutely. I appreciate the opportunity and we'll hopefully do some business soon.
So you are interested in selling your house, maximizing profits by saving on commissions, and make the very most amount of money out of your home sale. Well, look no further Mr. or Mrs. FSBO! We created this guide to help you make the very most out of selling your San Antonio area home as a For Sale by Owner. Here you will find everything you should know to pull off doing a FSBO like a PRO. We have over 7 years of experience helping San Antonio area families, just like yours, sell their homes for top dollar and you can learn how we did it with this easy to follow guide!
Your 8 Step Guide to 'For Sale by Owner' success in San Antonio
Here's a brief overview of what we will cover:
Create an Action Plan- Failure to plan means planning to fail.
Research the Market- What to research and where to look..
Know your numbers- How to calculate seller's net and more..
Prepare your home for the Market- Resources to stage and present your home well..
Marketing your Listing- Ideas to get your FSBO listing out there!
Coming to an agreement- What to keep an eye out for
From contract to close- Keep your deal afloat and look out for these things
Closing on the Sale- What to expect at closing, tips to know..
Step 1: Create an Action Plan
As the saying goes when you fail to plan you are planning to fail. Creating a solid plan is the first step to pulling off a successful home sale whether you are selling it yourself or working with an agent. Here's a list of questions you should start with to get your plan started.
What is your time frame for getting it sold?
Do you know where you will move after it's sold?
How much do you currently owe on the mortgage?
Are there any outstanding repairs needed at this time?
How much cash will you need for your next house?
Are you able to get pre approved for a new mortgage?
Pull out a pen and paper and answer these important questions first before moving on to step two.
Step 2: Research the Market
Although we can never time the market exactly you should start your 'For Sale by Owner' process with a bit more research about the local market first. Here's a few resources to help you along the way.
When doing research on what to set the price for your home at you'll want to look for a few things. First start by looking for similar homes within a 5 mile radius within the last 6 months. You will want to note a few bits of information down about each house.
How much did they sell for?
How long was it on the market for?
What was the sold price per sq. ft?
Was the house in better or worse condition than yours?
Did the seller pay any additional closing costs for the buyer?
Next.. You will what to research what your competition is. Each home buyer will only pick one house so at the end of the day selling a home is going to be a combination of a price war and a beauty contest. So you'll want to price and present your home to be competitive. Find out which homes around you are for sale, what are they asking, how do their photos look, how long have they been on the market for? Because you won't be paying commission you may be able to beat the competition when it comes to price.
Step 3: Know Your Numbers
So by this point if you have followed the first two steps you should by now roughly how much your home should sell for but this next step will let you know what you can anticipate walking away from the sale with. Here's a video where I show you exactly how to calculate out seller's net.
Keep in mind you will want to put in some breathing room with the numbers to account for negotiations and any closing costs you will very likely except to incur when you are coming to an agreement.
Step 4: Prepare your Home for the Market
One of the keys to success for a successful FSBO home sale is in the amount of time and attention spent in preparation. Here's a few things to get you on your way.
Consider getting a pre-list home inspection done- When a buyer comes along they will very likely have an inspection done here's a way to get one step ahead and avoid the deal going south.
Clean and Declutter- Take time to clean your house, put away personal photos, and clear the surfaces. Remember, you want the buyers to see the house and not the stuff inside of it.
Consider an Interior Design Consultation- As much as we all think our houses are perfect you may be able to gain professional insight on furniture placements, or updates that can make the most impact to the buyer's eye. The idea is to maximize your profits and compel buyers to make the drive out for a showing. Here are two local interior design companies that we recommend checking out..
Use Professional Photographs- Here is one step that you shouldn't cheap out out on, although it can be tempting to skip this step it is a critical piece that should always be done. Real Estate photography takes a bit more skill to be done properly and by using a professional photographer you are making the very best first impression on your buyers. Here are 3 San Antonio area photographers that we recommend.
So by now you should have photos ready and now this is where the fun begins. Start by writing a listing description that highlights the best features of your home. You will use this description on a number of websites that you will need to post your home on to help get it seen. Determine in advance if you are able to pay a buyer's agent a commission if they have a buyer that is interested in buying house.
Place a sign out- Make sure your number is visible. Are there any busy intersections nearby that you can add a directional sign at? You can find 'For Sale by Owner' signs at your local hardware store or even purchased online.
Lockbox or No Lockbox- If you will be home for each and every showing this may not be necessary, but if you're at work than consider using a lockbox to allow showings on the fly. The more people who see the house the higher your likelihood will be for finding a buyer. One of the benefits of hiring an agent is that they use Supra EKEY lockboxes that can only be accessed by other licensed agents. Either way, please make sure you practice caution when allowing people in your home.
Post your Listing Online- Most home buyers start their searches online. Post your list on these site.
Don't forget to share your listing with friends and family on facebook, instagram, youtube, and more, the more places you can post it the better shot
Schedule an open house- Open houses are a great way to get the buyers out. The best times to hold an open house is typically on the weekends. Make sure to advertise your open house online so buyers can find it.
Create a video walkthrough- Make sure to include lots of video content when advertising your listing. Video helps people to see and learn more and you will have better quality buyers that show up.
Step 6: Coming to an Agreement
So now that all of your marketing efforts have paid off and you have an interested buyer and an offer in hand now what? If the offer is a great offer you may consider accepting it right away, but if the buyer came in low you will want to negotiate and come to an agreement that everyone can live with. Start by reviewing the terms and time frames in the offer and prepare another net sheet.
At this point you should also ask a title company to help make sure everything on your contract is filled out correctly, or contact us if you need help with preparing a contract, we do offer a flat-fee service to help manage the escrow period. Here are 3 San Antonio title companies that have been our go to for escrow services.
Title companies will not be able to provide advice on negotiating, but you will still have the confidence to know that your contract is filled out correctly and they can also provide you with more exact figures on what you will net from the sale.
NOTE: Always ask to see a pre-approval letter or proof of funds before executing a contract with a prospective buyer. If the buyer needs a pre-approval here are a 3 local lenders that we recommend sending them to first.
You did it!! You NOW have a contract and it's all smooth sailing from here... NOT!
There are a number of pitfalls that can derail a home sale after you have already gone under contract. Here are a few of the main ones you should know about.
Inspection Periods- In San Antonio most home buyers will ask for 7-10 days to have the home inspected. The buyer will have the right to terminate the contract during this period. Get a head start by knowing potential problems beforehand and disclosing the known issues up front. You can always offer money in lieu of repairs versus fixing issues. Every situation is different but as long as the deal is fair most objections can easily be overcome.
Appraisal Issues- As part of the buyer's loan process their bank will order an appraisal. If the sales price is to high the buyer can often renegotiate or walk away without penalty. Do your research up front and price accordingly.
Buyer Gets Cold Feet- Unfortunately this does happen and there is nothing you can do about it. To keep the buyer engaged make sure you are openly communicating with them on a weekly basis.
Financing Issues- Keep in close communication with the buyer's lender throughout the process. It is important that buyers are pre-approved upfront to avoid this as an issue 2-3 weeks into the process. When dealing with financing review the third party financing addendum and give the buyer no more than 2-3 weeks to obtain full approval from the lender.
Although these are only a few of the potential pitfalls to look out for these are also some of the most common ones that can be avoided when you know about them before entering into a contract.
Step 8: Closing on the Sale
Congrats you made it!! Closing day has arrived and you SOLD it yourself! Schedule your closing times in advance. Bring your ID card to closing and a voided check. Funds will usually hit your account within 24 business hours of your sale. If you are purchasing a new home consider doing a leaseback with the buyer for a few days so you can finish making your move.
We hope that this article is a helpful resource to get you on your way to 'For Sale by Owner' success in San Antonio. If for any reason you get stuck on one of the 8 steps our team will be here to answer any questions you may have and provide guidance to you along the way.
Not sure where to get started? Give us a call TODAY and simply let our TEAM handle everything for you! We have a proven track record of helping sellers like you net the very most for their homes. We also have several move up programs to help you save money and time when selling your home.
About the Author: John J. Giacobbe is one of San Antonio's Top Real Estate Agents- since 2011 he has helped hundreds of families throughout San Antonio buy and sell residential real estate. Recently awarded as a Platinum Top 50 Agent he is a proven leader in the industry. John is a team leader for The Giacobbe Group, Realtor, writer, content creator, and family man. He has lived in San Antonio most of his life and understands what it takes to get homes sold in this market.
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