Friday, August 12, 2016

Sellers – Protect your interests and your money!

 I am starting to notice an alarming new trend happening during real estate transactions.  Sales not closing as per the signed and agreed to contractual closing date.  This is a violation of the terms of the sale, and grounds for termination of the contract by the seller. 

 Whether the delay is caused by the buyer, the lender, the association management company, the surveyor or the appraiser, is not the issue.  The issue is that the delay is costing you, the seller, money.  Real estate taxes, homeowner association fees and interest accrue every day the property is in your name, and these unexpected increasing expenses were not incorporated into the agreed upon sales price and contractual terms.

 Do you have recourse? Of course, you can terminate the contract and start over, or you can try to negotiate that the buyer be responsible for the increasing costs when they present you with an Amendment to extend the closing date.  Both options are unfavorable with the second adding risk to the negotiation and finalization of the deal.

 So, what do I suggest?  I’m working with an attorney to provide the appropriate legal verbiage to add to the Special Provisions section of the contract stating from the onset of the contract that the buyer will be responsible for any added expenses to the seller for any and all delays extending the closing beyond the original closing date as specified in the contract not caused by the seller.

 For you potential sellers out there, I just wanted to alert you to a potential issue, and provide you with ideas to advert loss of your hard earned money.

Written by, 
Bill Barkley, Owner & Broker for River Valley Real Estate

River Valley Real Estate
19202 Huebner Rd, Suite 100
San Antonio, TX. 78258

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Big Five

The Big Five

In a very short and simple fashion, I am going to give you my best advice when you are buying a home. Especially if it is your first home.
 Let us assume you have selected the house you want to purchase, and you have negotiated a price satisfactory to both you and the seller.  Next, let us assume that you purchased a Termination Option period for days to complete and review property inspection reports, and you have ordered and received both a General Inspection as well as a wood destroying pest inspection.

So, now you have to evaluate the inspections.  Obviously, if the wood destroying pest inspection indicates an active infestation, you must negotiate a reasonable solution with the seller. So, I’m going to treat this issue separate from the issues within the general inspection.
A general inspection can often times be both daunting as well as discouraging to read.  Inspectors are required to note all deficiencies including items not meeting the most recent building codes.  Their intention is not to make the home appear as if it is falling down although the report may seem otherwise.  As a general rule, I typically read the report, and mark all noted deficiencies with a highlighter.  I also make notes on the side such as “current building code”, “easily fixed” or “Home Depot”.

  That is unless the issue pertains to one of the Big Five.  The Big Five consist of the following: the foundation, the roof, the plumbing system, electrical system and the heating and air conditioning system. All five of these components can require substantial money to remedy or repair, and some such as the foundation can possibly be a lifetime battle.  Most inspectors will recommend getting a qualified inspector, licensed technician or a structural engineer to further inspect the issue.

Heed this recommendation!  It is in your best interest with regard to your finances as well as your personal happiness regarding your new home.

Written By, Bill Barkley, Owner and Broker of River Valley Real Estate

19202 Huebner Road
San Antonio, TX 78258

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hill Country Adventure

            I’ve always been fond of the Texas Hill Country for the nature is breathtaking yet familiar. Luckily, our company lists plenty of lots out in the surrounding Hill Country of San Antonio and assigned me with the fun task of going out and photographing them. This week, I visited properties out in Canyon Lake and Spring Branch area and got to bask in the trees and shrubberies among the wildlife.

As we all know, this summer we have been fortunate (and unfortunate) to have plenty of rain storms to beat the drought away. Because of this, grass fields are lusher than ever and the lakes and rivers are high, boasting plenty of summer fun for our boat loving neighbors. This is evident over in Canyon Lake. There is an abundance of wildlife, tall, mature trees and blooming wildflowers that paint the landscape in a myriad of bright colors.

After perusing the area to find hilltops to gaze out at the forested land, I was envious of the those that built their homes on these hills for they get to enjoy the most impeccable views. The sunrise and sunset out in this part of Texas alone must’ve been the motive behind their decisions to reside in the Spring Branch and Canyon Lake area.

I look forward to my next Hill Country Adventure. Make sure to find it here. 

Written By Tim Ellis, Intern with River Valley Real Estate

Monday, June 6, 2016

Repurposed Living

 On the hunt for a good deal! That's my motto and something I've gotten pretty good at. Most of my home has been furnished by thrift store finds. I'm lucky in that here in San Antonio I can always find some pretty neat things. 
But Be Careful...a cluttered home is a direct effect from hanging out at thrift stores for too long. 
Anytime I have an empty space in my home I run right over knowing I'll find some sort of treasure. This time it was a chair. I wanted a little reading nook, cozy and inexpensive. Sure enough, I found a wooden folding chair. Only 6 bucks! This is perfect because I get to make it my own.

All the materials I needed:
·       Foam paint brush
·       Old towel
·       Fine grit sandpaper
·     Dark walnut oil-based stain (Minwax from Lowes)

I've been preparing this space for a while. Adding pieces slowly, but surely. I already have a mantle I stained and want to make sure the chair is the same color.  The first thing I have to do is sand the chair a bit.  Easy peasy, not too much!
After sanding the chair I like to wipe it off completely.  The staining part is easy to. Just make sure to do this outside if possible and try not to get it on your clothes. I say this, but I always make a mess. I used a foam brush to paint the stain on the chair. I've used regular brushes and even rags but I like the sponge brush the best.  It's probably best to stain the chair in sections, however me being me I don't wait. I give the whole chair one good coat and let it sit over-night.  Letting the stain really soak in helps me decide if I need another coat or not.  Again I'm impatient, so I'm satisfied with just the one coat.

I put my new piece in the corner, toss a blanket on it and my empty space isn't so empty anymore! This little project only cost me $6 for the chair, $5 dollars for the stain and $1 for the foam brush. TWELVE DOLLARS! 

Written By: The Treasure Finder, Hannah Caterina

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fiesta Decorating

Fiesta time in San Antonio means parties, parades, food, fun and Mexican themed decorations. With my background in design I've had to find the best sources for supplies. I thought I'd share some of my favorite shopping spots for all things Fiesta!

Travis Wholesale , located near The Pearl, has paper flowers in all shapes, colors and sizes. In this picture of my foyer I've used the flowers around the base of a large red vase. I've also added white and green branches (Styrofoam secures branches) to hang Mexican ornaments.  Travis Wholesale will also have the wide net ribbon, and wreath base for your fiesta wreath , which I sprayed bright blue. Start with your focal point then layer trays with candles and flowers, something fresh like a Bromeliad from Loews and paper garlands.

Tin ornaments and Girl bought at Fiesta on Main
Candles bought at HEB
Fiesta on Main now called Alamo Fiesta, is the number one hot spot for everything Fiesta. They have Guayuberas for men, dresses, sashes for medals and everything you'll need to decorate. I buy the small sombreros, and small ornaments there as well as the paper animals, garlands and Fiesta flags.  This is their busy time of year so allow enough time for parking and shopping. Oh by the way....The BEST pinatas ever!   As mentioned earlier, I've sprayed my wooded wreath bright blue, added loops of mesh ribbon (not bows) and started hot gluing flowers, hats and ornaments until it was full. Use hot glue and lots of it! 
                        Other hot spots for Fiesta...

Lilys Cookies is my absolute favorite for iced cookies in the shapes of Fiesta. They are edible masterpieces. Order early!

Nativa for gorgeous Mexican dresses and accessories. Their pieces are authentic and a little more in price but absolutely worth it. Each piece has a story of origin and are unique.

Hope this help in narrowing your search for Fiesta decorations. Have fun and Happy Fiesta!
Mandy Barkley with River Valley Real Estate

Monday, April 11, 2016

Southtown San Antonio: A Day in the Life

Southtown San Antonio
A day in the life

With so many wonderful areas in San Antonio, it’s easy for even the most demanding of families to find a great place to live. But if someone asked me choose a spot with the hottest restaurants, culturally diverse people, interesting neighborhoods and architecture, and the most exciting nightlife, I’d have to point them in the direction of Southtown. Currently a thriving bohemian district near downtown San Antonio, Southtown consists of the King William, LaVaca, and Blue Star neighborhoods collectively. And with so much to choose from and do, here’s a few suggestions on how to spend your day…..
Forget Starbucks. Start with locally roasted coffee beans and hand crafted drinks and pastries from the likes of White Elephant Coffee Company or Halcyon. Looking for something more substantial? Take a step back in time as you enjoy the ambiance and food offered at the home of the Pioneer Flour Mill’s founding family, The Guenther House, built around 1915.
With breakfast out of the way, your most exciting task will now be to decide how to spend the rest of your day taking in the city. Southtown provides a seamless thread between its neighborhood and downtown San Antonio. A literal common ground for both locals and tourists. Enjoy works from local artists at Blue Star Arts Complex or Gallista Gallery. If walking’s not your thing, enjoy a more contemporary experience of San Antonio offered by SegCity.  Jump on a Via trolley to tour the neighborhood or try the double decker busses offered by City Site Seeing Tours for a greater understanding of downtown’s history. Rent a bike if you didn’t bring your own already and enjoy the San Antonio Mission Reach Trails also accessible in Southtown.
Sightseeing and shopping are sure to work up a sweat. Cool yourself down with an ice cold drink from various watering holes including La Tuna and The Friendly Spot. Enjoy a mid-afternoon snack from either of their restaurants or head to B&D Icehouse for some world famous Bar-B-Q. I suggest the ribs over anything else.

As the sun sets in Southtown, sophistication is on the rise. Meet friends at Bar 1919 for the best cocktails in town or try the craft beers at Blue Star Brewing Co. Work up an appetite and head over to the higher end restaurants like Hearsay, Le Frite, or Bliss (voted San Antonio’s #1 restaurant).
Visiting Southtown is great. Living there is even better. Houses start at $245,000 to 1,950,000. Condos (very popular) start at $225,000 to $563,000. Rentals start at $925 to $2,500. Care for more information? Contact us today for details including photos and alerts to new listings. Allow us to schedule you an appointment to tour them first hand.

Written by: Oscar Felan, Realtor

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Upgrade your Racks! A summer craft for the Huntress or wife of a hunter.

Being the wife of an avid deer hunter, I love the horns collected and well earned through the process of the hunt. Bill, my husband can tell you where, when and how the shot was made and in all its full glory. In our home the horns carry memories, traditions and a reminder of the next hunting season.
 Decorating with the trophies isn't anything new. Many lodges, country homes and farm houses hang them proudly. However, in recent years modern homes, eclectic homes , and even up scale restaurants are using horns as decor. I've seen them gilded, with rhinestones, sprayed white, and moss covered. The problem decorating with them, is that although I personally love the covered velvet and the 80's green and red, they just don't fit our interior styles today. I have one answer to upgrading those beloved "racks" so that they have a better chance of coming out of the man cave or garage and front and center in your living areas.
First, start by removing the cap (in green) by pulling out the top and bottom nails that keep it attached and the gold metal plate. Those both pop off easily. Then sand the wood. This will help the paint adhere to the wood. 

 After wiping off the wood plaque, I paint using a Black multi surface acrylic. It does take two layers which won't take very long to dry. *Use whatever paint color and finish you think will look best. I used the black satin because my bedroom has neutral colors with blacks and grey.

While paint is drying remove the velvet from the styrofoam cover. The older racks have little staples that I saved to re-use. Then, I cut out a square piece of my new fabric. For my racks I used a basic burlap but there were many choices like grey, black and brown. I chose natural because I didn't want to match exactly. I like the contrast of black, burlap and horn color. Move around the styrofoam re-pinning and hot gluing, pulling fabric taunt as you go.  All that's left now is to re-nail the cover with the new fabric back onto the plaque. Use the same nail heads which should back into the original holes.

Here are 5 sets that hang proudly in our bedroom.  * Please note that keeping them close together and in an odd grouping keeps them a focal without being overwhelming.

The real visionary in this of course is the hunter who tirelessly surrenders to the cold conditions every year to bring me deer meat and horns. So, I'd like to thank Husband Bill!

Written By: Mandy Barkley
with River Valley Real Estate