Buying your first home? Read on!

Buying your first place can be an exciting but often overwhelming experience. From finding “the one” to figuring out how you’ll pay for it, you’ll face many choices along the road to home ownership. 

Before you box up your belongings and prepare to put your new welcome mat in place, you’ll have to do some serious soul searching. Let’s explore the most common decisions first-time homebuyers face. 

1. Location vs. square footage?

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When it comes to real estate, the first thought that flashes through most minds is the old “Location, location, location!” But if you want a home in a coveted spot, you may have to make certain sacrifices in order to afford it. 

For example, if you’re seeking waterfront property, a swanky pad in the city, or a colonial in a top school district, you’ll quickly realize that you’ll get a lot less room than you would in an area that’s off the beaten path. It’s a tough decision to make, so put together a list of priorities and choose accordingly.

2. Turn-key vs. fixer-upper?

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Buying a place that needs a little TLC can save you a bundle — if you’re handy and capable of working a little DIY magic, that is. Taking care of renovations yourself also gives you a chance to redecorate to your own specifications and taste.

On the flip side, if you select a home that’s in turn-key condition, all you have to do is put your feet up and enjoy. Of course, you’ll probably pay more for that, but you can entertain right away rather than waiting for the paint to dry and the new carpeting to arrive. Both sides have their pros and cons.

3. Big loan vs. big down payment?

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Having a nest egg saved for a down payment is a blessing, but figuring out how to divvy it up can feel like a curse. While putting 20 percent down typically saves you from springing for mortgage insurance, it can feel like a heavy hit. Throwing as much toward a mortgage as possible also means you’ll pay less interest over the life of your loan, but it leaves you with less in your pockets to put toward any emergencies that may pop up. Still, deciding how to spend your money is never a bad problem to have.

4. Starter home vs. forever home?

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Moving typically ranks high up there among the most stressful life changes a person can experience, so it makes sense that someone might not want to do it more than once. 

Choosing between a starter home and forever home can be a real conundrum. If you’re hoping to live out the rest of your days in the same space, chances are you may have to save up a little (or a lot) longer to afford it, delaying your purchase by a few months or years. Once you’ve got that down payment ready, you’ll probably put a lot more time into your search. Starter homes can offer an affordable way to stop paying rent, just be sure to choose one you won’t outgrow too soon. 

5. Condo vs. free-standing home?

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If you love the idea of owning a home but dread the thought of doing all the not-so-little things that go with it, such as landscaping, snow removal, and other routine headaches, er, maintenance, you may be better off in a condo or townhome where, for a fee, those issues are handled for you.

Of course, there are times when you may see -— and hear — your neighbors more than you’d wish, making you feel like you’re back in your college dorm. 

Also, if you want to make significant changes to your place, you’ll probably have to run everything past a condo board first.

6. Single family vs. duplex?

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Do you treasure your privacy or would you rather play the role of landlord to defray the cost of your mortgage? This is a tough choice. Rents go up over time while your mortgage stays the same, making the thought of buying a duplex an attractive one. 

But remember, if you live right next door and anything goes wrong, your tenant knows exactly where to find you the split second there’s an issue. But, there is good news for owner-occupants in that they often have more options when it comes to mortgage loans.

7. Urban vs. suburban?

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If you love easy access to mass transit, cultural happenings, and a bustling world just beyond your doorstep, city living may be for you. If you prefer a quiet, residential area where you can hear crickets as opposed to blaring horns, you might want to put down roots in a suburb. 

Consider how you feel about your commute and what you value most. The cost in living in a city is typically higher than it would be in a suburb because of additional amenities and a superior infrastructure. So you’ll have less space, but if you find that you’re rather be out and about exploring, that may suit you. If you’re more of a homebody who cherishes peace and quiet, a suburb could be the right move.

You are ready to buy a house…now what?!

So you have made the decision to buy a home – and most likely part of your decision has lead you to Google or a similar search engine.  The good news?  You get LOTS of results.  The bad news?  You get LOTS of results!  Same thing happens when you search some of the consumer search options for buying a home.

It’s nice having options, right? Especially when it comes to making a big purchase like a home. If you’ve started your home search by using online listing sites, you’ve probably found a long list of properties you want to tour.

Even though it’s exciting to see what’s out there, are you wondering how you’ll be able to choose a favorite? Are you overwhelmed with your choices? That’s normal. In fact, research shows that when people have too many options, they have a harder time making a decision and tend to be less satisfied with their selection. Instead of making such an important decision on your own, there’s an easy way to get there faster: Hire a Texas REALTOR®.

Texas REALTORS® can help you quickly focus on properties worth seeing because they can eliminate those that may look good online but don’t actually meet your needs. They also have access to current information about whether a home is still on the market, and when homes you thought are out of your price range might actually be open to negotiations. This is information you won’t find on your own searching online, and even if you could, it would take a lot of your valuable time.

So give us a call today!  We can help you navigate the home buying process and get you the results that fit your needs!

4th of July Festivities in Seguin, Texas

If you are planning your celebration for the 4th of July, look no further than Seguin, Texas! The Kiddie Parade starts on Saturday at 6:30 and will be followed by the national anthem and a patriotic salute to the military and all veterans. Freedom Fiesta starts at 6:00 and goes until midnight with live music provided by Austin Party Band – The Grooves. There will also be a DJ providing music.

Head back to Central Park on Sunday, July 3rd for a Patriotic Concert by the San Antonio Symphonic Band from 7:00 – 8:30. After the concert, the fireworks are scheduled to begin at 9:30.

On Monday, July 4th, the Biggest Small-Town Fourth of July Parade starts at 10:00 am on Austin Street.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Guadalupe County Courthouse Update

If you haven’t been by the courthouse lately, take a peek! The work being done is showing progress and it looks like a great refresh for the beloved county icon. Once construction is completed, the Commissioners court offices and other administrative offices will move back to the courthouse from the Justice Center.

This is a quick picture from Facebook last week – cannot wait to share more progress.

If you haven’t been to downtown Seguin lately you are missing out!

Earn a college degree in high school!

We recently attended a luncheon where the Early High School model was explained to a room full of people excited about the growth and opportunities in our community.

What exactly is the Seguin Early High School model? This is an amazing opportunity that some high schools are offering in conjunction with a partnership with a college. The point of the program is to help those students that might not otherwise consider college an avenue or option for them. The program allows students to not only earn a high school diploma, but they can also earn up to 60 college credit hours at no cost to the student or their family!

The Seguin Early College High School is a stand-alone comprehensive “College for All” campus that began in 2014 and offers four pathways that lead to post-secondary credentials. These pathways, while well-defined, are designed to be fluid so that students may transition seamlessly between them.

Seguin ISD is making some great positive changes and we are excited to see the students make the most of the opportunities this provides them!
Call us today to discuss the progress! Melissa Trost (830)556-0927

Downtown Seguin Grant Program Updates

Downtown Seguin has some great businesses that attract locals and tourists alike, but now it is even easier to access those great locations!

Thanks to some new Fix-It Facade grants downtown Seguin will soon be looking better than ever! The Seguin City Council approved grants that will provide funding for some of the building facades in downtown. Some of the buildings that will utilize the grants include Mimi’s Mini Mart on East Court Street, the old Starcke Furniture Sleep Shop on Court and Austin Streets, Lone Star Home Solutions on West Court Street and Raymond James Financial Services on South River Street. There was over $31,000 available for the grants this year and the improvements will range from awnings and drain spout repairs to repainting and better signage for visibility. Between the amount of grants received and the investment by the property owners, downtown will see almost $100,000 in improvements.

Main Street was also awarded a $150,000 grant from the state that will be used to reconstruct the sidewalks and to ensure ADA compliant ramps to help ensure better access to downtown. The grant will go to fund 18 ADA ramps on the south side of downtown Seguin as well as improving the existing sidewalks. The sidewalks will help connect the new library with the Walnut Springs Trail and Heritage Village.

At a recent luncheon where Mayor Don Keil spoke, he said downtown is going to be seeing the addition of 47 new head in parking spots. This will greatly improve the accessibility of the downtown attractions to those wishing to visit them. And it is further proof of Seguin growing – including the new population information indicating Seguin now has a population of over 30,000!

If you have not been downtown recently go check it out – Seguin is booming and thriving! I would love to discuss some of the opportunities in Seguin with you – give me a call today! Melissa 830-556-0927

Seguin is booming!

Seguin is booming! The Seguin Daily News just had a great article about some of the exciting things happening, including improvements to our infrastructure.

Some of the projects planned include retail expansion, streets and new sidewalks. There are some great quality of life projects planned as well, including the upcoming public library and the recently completed community park. According to a recent article by the Seguin Daily News team, more than $100 million is being invested in these exciting projects by the City of Seguin!

The Texas Department of Transportation is planning a major project on North Austin Street from Interstate 10 by the Home Depot all the way to the rail road tracks. The plans include a continuous center turn lane with a lane for traffic in either direction, a bike lane, and a sidewalk as well. This is expected to begin in April and will bring some necessary updates to traffic flow and patterns on Austin Street. Sidewalk projects are planned for other areas of Seguin as well, including Cedar Street, College Street, and Jefferson Avenue.

Construction has begun for the new utilities operation center for the City of Seguin as well – to be located on Strempel Road close to the new Tractor Supply Distribution Center. The center will be $14 million dollars and will include office space as well as warehouse buildings. This building will replace the out of date and in bad repair building located on Fred Byrd Drive. The building will house 16,000 square feet of offices and 35,000 square feet of warehouse space. The city expects the building to be completed by January of 2017.

If you want to talk about any of the exciting changes going on in Seguin please give me a call! Seguin is a great place to be and great things are happening here and I would love to help with your real estate needs – residential or commercial. Call me today! Melissa (830)556-0927

New Seguin HEB grand opening!

The new Seguin HEB is open and ready for business. The expanded size of the store allows for a bigger and better selection of everything you could need – from locally brewed beer on tap to Texas BBQ! This is just one of the many great changes and growth opportunities our community is experiencing. If you have any questions or want to discuss the commercial or residential options in Seguin or surrounding areas give me a call! Melissa Trost (830) 556-0927

Today marks the official opening of Seguin’s new HEB store. Customers are invited to shop each new aisle as they celebrate the much anticipated completion of the nearly 100,000 square-foot store and in-house barbecue restaurant. The new store currently edges up to the west side of the old store located at 1368 E. Court St.

The store’s celebration officially began Thursday morning during a speak preview ceremony with some of Seguin’s VIP’s and elected officials.

Addressing the crowd was Seguin Mayor Don Keil. Keil says with the opening of a new store, he can officially scratch the item off the list of things that for years have been requested by the public. He says he commends HEB for hearing the needs of the city and for making a real investment in the community.

“It’s a benchmark for our city. It shows that one of the premier grocery suppliers in the country has enough faith in our community to make this kind of an investment. HEB does not make an investment like this just out of the blue. They have to look at a community and make sure that that community is going to prosper and be able to support the investment that they put here. Obviously, HEB thinks Seguin is a great place that is prospering and growing and has the ability to support a facility like this. It’s a great thing for the community and like I said ‘it’s one of those benchmarks that puts us right up there and it shows that we’re growing and prospering,'” said Keil.

HEB General Manager Danny Crowson says he is thrilled about the new store which offers customers thousands of unique product selections in a variety of new and expanded departments.

“We got an in-house pharmacy with expanded pick up and drop off counters, immunization and a patient education room. We will have in phase three of construction a drive thru pharmacy. So hang with us, be patient. We hope to have that by May; an expanded seafood department with a wider variety of meal ready solutions, fresh, wild and natural sea food, including live wild caught lobster and made-to-order sushi; a new Healthy Living Department offering the bulk food items, sports nutrition products, energy bar; a beer and wine section — we’re more than doubling the size of its predecessor with a variety of local, national and international labels to choose from; a produce section with expanded organic products, fresh in house juices and a greater assortment of fresh cut, ready to serve fruits and vegetables (and) more meal made simple options to provide dinner for the whole family in less than 30 minutes,” said Crowson.

Crowson says the availability of even more new items will no doubt be noticed in its deli, meat, floral and bakery departments.

“An expanded deli featuring more than 100 new items, including fresh cut artisan cheeses; an expanded line of curry items and in house roasted meats; an expanded bakery department with six new artisan breads and self served pastries as well; an updated floral department now offering online ordering and delivery service in addition to the same great service customer you’ve come to expect from our Floral by Design; a general merchandise department with expanded offerings, specifically in the categories of baby, house ware in the kitchen, health care and Texas Backyard, just to name a few,” said Crowson.

Perhaps the most exciting feature is the store’s new restaurant, “True Texas Barbeque.” Crowson says alongside the tasty barbecue, will be craft beer on tap.

“And last but not least, the all new True Texas Barbecue — a feature we are thrilled to bring to Seguin. Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., True Texas Barbecue offers customers barbecue by the plate or by the pound. Whether you’re shopping for lunch or catering for your Super Bowl Party, we have what you’re looking for. Stop by or order to go – savory Texas favorites, like our 14 hour smoked brisket over Texas post oak wood or our smoked ribs ( my favorite), turkey, chicken and sausage. Customers can enjoy barbecue trimming classics, like cream corn, brisket beans, spicy Texas coleslaw or potato salad or dine on bistro sandwiches and salads or Texas sized baked potatoes. Finally, for all you brew heads out there. That’s a new word. I just learned that last week. We will be offering 12 Texas craft beers on tap. I envision a lot of guys coming to the grocery store with their wives and checking out right here to go in here and sit down until she’s ready to go,” said Crowson.

Until crews can begin demolition of the old store, the entrance to the building will be fenced off, providing public access from both a south and north side parking lot. Store hours will continue daily from 6 a.m. to midnight.