Spring Cleaning is Underway

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 3.06.32 PMSpring is in the air and so is the “cleaning bug”! Garages, yards, windows, and “carpets”.

How do you clean those carpets to reflect the freshness of Spring?

The two most common are Hot Water Extraction or also known as Stem Cleaning and Hot Carbonation, often referred to as Dry Chemical Techniques.

So which method do you choose? Here are some highlights to make your selection somewhat easier.

Hot Water Extraction/Steam Cleaning

  • High temperature of the water kills bacteria
  • Extracts the dirt out of the carpet
  • Deep cleans
  • Long drying time –  normal 4 hours
  • If inferior equipment is used water and soap residue can be left behind

Dry Chemical

  • Uses 1/5 amount of water
  • No soap or detergent
  • Natural solution used for cleaning
  • Pet and Family friendly
  • No soap residue which can attract dirt

Always check with the carpet manufacturer for their recommended cleaning recommendations to ensure you don’t void the carpet’s warranty.

Happy Cleaning and Happy Spring!

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FSBOing: This Time It Was Embarrassing

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 1.39.37 PMThis is an interesting read if you are considering selling your house yourself instead of hiring a professional REALTOR®.

FSBOing: This Time It Was Embarrassing.

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Prepare For Summer Heat

Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 2.31.58 PMEven though the weather is fluctuating this time of year, the summer heat is just around the corner. Before we hit those sweltering days now is a great time to prepare to ensure your air conditioner is in top shape to handle the load.

Here are some tips to ensure you and your system is ready.

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FIESTA Time in San Antonio!

IMG_1288It’s FIESTA TIME in San Antonio and everyone is ready to party for 11 fun filled days!

There will be river, day, and night parades, 5K & 10K runs, carnivals, art, music, dancing, exhibits, and FOOD…lots and lots of FOOD!!!  …not to mention the FUN!….So much FUN! Way to much FUN to mention. There is something for everyone and every age.

If you have never been be sure to plan on it this year. With so many activities one should surely appeal.

Check out the schedule on the FIESTA webpage.

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Holding Steady…

…and booming is what is taking place in the San Antonio housing market.

With interest rates at historic lows and the summer months just around the corner, the San Antonio residential housing market is booming with increases in homes sold and prices each month. The Multiple Listing Service report by the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® (SABOR) reported the March 2013 average price of a single family residential home at $194,271 and the median price at $158,900. While the median price held steady with 2012’s March median price, the average was up five percent compared to last year. Days on market fell to just 90 days from February’s 99 and the month finished with 1,935 sales still pending after the 1,826 that were closed.

“Low rates continue to make this a prime time to buy and sell real estate. We saw how the low rates cause the housing market to prosper in 2012, and we are continuing to see that trend as 2013 fares even better,” said Steven Gragg, 2013 SABOR Chairman of the Board.

According to a recent report by Freddie Mac, the average rate for the 30-year fixed loan recently fell to below 3.5 percent. The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage dipped below 2.7 percent.

Housing inventory is at 5.3 months, compared to 6.6 months at this time last year. With a quick turnaround in sales, the market is skewing in favor of sellers with 96.9 percent of homes being sold for list price. Homes sold in the price range under $200,000 accounted for 66.8 percent of total homes sold and those between $200,000 and $500,000 accounted for 29.2 percent. Homes priced at $500,000 and more made up 3.9 percent of the total sales for March.

“San Antonio was recently ranked by Forbes as one of the top 25 cities in the country to retire, citing the city’s low cost of living and stable economy. While other cities in the country experience peaks and downturns, San Antonio remains steady and consistent which makes it the perfect place to call home,” said Angela Shields, SABOR President and CEO.

                                                San Antonio Home Sales Recap

March 2011

March 2012

March 2013

Total Month Sales

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Average Price




Median Price

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Getting A FHA Loan? Changes Coming April 1!

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 3.32.51 PMNew FHA mortgage program changes – what buyers need to know before April 1, 2013

The Federal Housing Administration has announced several changes to FHA mortgage programs that will begin April 1, 2013. These changes will impact customers who are in the market for or have recently qualified for an FHA loan.

The new changes revolve primarily around increasing mortgage insurance premiums. Before going into more detail, it may help to do a quick review of the two types of mortgage insurance required on the majority of FHA-insured loans:

  • An upfront mortgage insurance premium, or UFMIP, which is paid once at loan closing. FHA allows this premium to be financed into the loan.
  • A mortgage insurance premium, or MIP, which is paid in equal installments, is part of the mortgage payment.

Increased insurance premiums – and tightened criteria

As noted, the FHA program changes focus on mortgage insurance premium increases, but there are also other factors buyers should be aware of:*

  • Annual mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) paid by borrowers on most new FHA loans will increase by 10 basis points, or 0.1 percent; for loans of $625,500 or more, there will be an increase of 5 basis points or 0.05 percent.
  • Upfront mortgage insurance premiums will rise to 1.75 percent of loan size.
  • Most FHA borrowers will now have to continue paying annual premiums based on the unpaid principal balance for the life of their mortgage loan. (This reverses a policy that automatically cancelled required premium payments after loans reached 78 percent of their original value.)
  • It will be more difficult for borrowers with FICO scores below 620 and a debt-to-income ratio higher than 43 percent to qualify for the loans. They will not be eligible for processing through the FHA’s automated underwriting system and so will have to be processed manually, with lenders documenting compensating factors such as larger down payments – or a higher level of reserves.

Buyers beat the date

Buyers can still take advantage of the current, lower premiums. The new FHA mortgage insurance rates will apply to most loans that have a case number starting April 1, 2013 or later. Buyers  consult with a mortgage advisor about eligibility or the next steps you may wish to take.

*Source: Inman News, January 2013.

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Mardi Gras River Parade and Festival

New Orleans isn’t the only Mardi Gras celebration around. Put on your beads, feather boa, and any other Mardi Gras fashion finery you may have and come on down to the San Antonio River to enjoy a Mardi Gras River Parade and festivities on Saturday, February 9, 2013.

Mardi Gras Ad


The river will be transformed into a floating Bourdon Street with a procession of decorated floats which will take place from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Festivities begin from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm with live music on the Arneson Stage and a festival of food, arts & crafts, activities and more at La Villita.

Experience Mardi Gras San Antonio style!


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Wise Home Improvements

Spring is around the corner and that is also a time many begin to think about remodeling or making updates to their homes. Some choices are a “must do” while others may be “want to do” to enhance your lifestyle or to enhance the value of your house. 


The 2013 Cost vs Value Report has been released with the best return and the least return in value. This is important to keep in mind if you are making improvements to your house to increase the value to sell your house and receive a better return.

Some homeowners feel they should receive a dollar for dollar return; however this is not an accurate assumption.

A steel entry door replacement has the highest return for a midrange project with 83.8% of its cost being recouped. According to the report, the upscale project with the highest percent recouped is new siding, followed closely by replacing the garage door.

Which project has the lowest return? A sunroom addition will only provide a 50.9% return, but still higher than the 2013 national average of 46.5%. And with only 57.6% of its cost recouped, a master suite addition has the lowest return for a large-scale project.

Find out where other projects fall in our region and on a national level by downloading the Remodeling 2012-2013 Cost vs. Value Reportfor free.



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Green is Not Just For the Emerald City

Color Trends: How to Decorate Using Emerald
By Stacy Chandler
It’s not hard to conjure up a vision of emerald, Pantone’s pick for 2013 Color of the Year.
It’s all around us in summer, dressing up the trees in a hue that sparkles against a blue sky. And the gemstone never goes out of style at jewelry stores.

But it’s not always easy to incorporate such a bold color into your home décor. So we asked decorators to give us some ideas for bringing this gem of a color down to earth.

Allan Chapman, Allan Chapman Interiors, Charlotte, N.C.:

“The color emerald green exudes elegance and sophistication, rich in its layers and endless variations.”

• Upholster your sofa in a rich emerald hue, in a cotton-velvet. It will create a wonderful backdrop for pillows in lighter silks and linens.
• Paint your study, library, den or dining room in glossy emerald paint. For a dramatic effect, accessorize with metallic accents such as gold picture frames, sconces or a vibrant chandelier.
• Update an otherwise neutral room with emerald window treatments in solid silk. Simple, pleated panels hung from a gilded rod will add instant glamour.
• Accessorize with pops of emerald. Try a pair of emerald green porcelain lamps, or malachite green picture frames, boxes and carved figurines.

Andrea Robinson, Andrea Robinson Interior Design and Consulting, Charlotte:

“I associate the color emerald with elegance. It is rich, lush and regal.”

• To create a bold, striking contrast, paint an entire room in emerald with crisp white trim. Ground the space with a graphic black-and-white rug and neutral upholstery.
• Turn a neutral setting into an exotic space by introducing emerald upholstery and an antique rug.
• Emerald green can be incorporated into an existing environment with artwork, lamps and glassware.
• If you are just beginning a room, consider an emerald velvet sofa as the inspiration piece.
• If you just want to freshen up an environment, add a variety of emerald pillows to existing upholstery for a quick and easy update.

Davetta Moore, Davetta Moore Designs, Concord, N.C.:

“Emerald is commanding but nurturing all at the same time.”

• Paint the walls in a foyer, hall, den or library.
• Use the color on an upholstered piece of furniture.
• Update an old dresser and paint it emerald green.
• Paint an antique chair frame emerald, then add new fabric.
• Use plants, flowers, fruit or vegetables as a way to include the color green.

©2013 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

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Inventory, Inventory

The real estate market is in the midst of a major comeback. Sales are greater than any time since 2007. Consumer confidence is increasing. Economists are now saying housing is the major tailwind to our nation’s overall economic recovery.

However, there is one major challenge that could stall the housing market: a lack of inventory.

In San Antonio we ended the year with 5.1 months of inventory of houses for sale. This is an indication of a tilt toward a Seller’s market.  Short term supply is good news for increase in prices; however an increase in inventory is crucial for long term recovery.

With interest rates still at an all time low there is still a great opportunity for buyer’s to buy.

The San Antonio housing market finished the year strong with a total of 19,940 homes sold, a 10 percent increase from the number of homes sold in 2011, according to the December 2012 Multiple Listing Service report by the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® (SABOR). Both the year- to-date average and median prices also increased from the previous year each by five percent.

Locally, the average sales price for December 2012 for single-family residential homes registered at $192,789 (a four percent increase from December 2011), while the month’s median price was $160,200. This is a five percent increase from December 2011’s median price. Breakdowns in prices show 64.6 percent of homes sold in the low-range ($199,000 and below), 32.04 percent in the mid- range ($200,000 – $499,000) and 3.17 percent in the high range ($500,000 and up).

                                                     San Antonio Home Sales Recap

  December 2010 December 2011 December 2012
Total Month Sales 1,308 1,421 1,548
Average Price $192,228 $184,993 $192,789
Median Price $155,070


$152,900 $160,200

The information is not guaranteed by Trudy Pape, REALTOR® and she nor Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper REALTORS® are responsible for any errors or omissions. Information  courtesy of  The San Antonio Board of REALTORS®. SABOR and KCM Blog.





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