We had an incident in 2013 when a man walked into our office and demanded to see some property in Marathon. He continued to describe the property with much enthusiasm and his interest in real estate. As the conversation carried on, he became irritated and angry and began discussing the recent Boston Marathon bombing and how he knew about bombs and wouldn’t mind blowing up a few people. Our Agent became very concerned with his tone and behavior and the subject of the conversation and his threats. We called the local Sheriff department and they waited outside for our queue if the threat became more serious. Luckily, he ended up leaving, but still agitated. The Sheriff stopped and questioned him and found out he had been released from a mental hospital. That is just one bizarre story, of many, that our office can share. Working as a Realtor can be a fun and exciting job. We have the opportunity to meet hundreds of people and hear amazing stories of life changes and adventures from all over the world. It is so gratifying when we can help a buyer find the perfect home and be part of their life and dreams.
Unfortunately, the world has become a pretty scary place and working with strangers day-after-day allows Realtors to mix company with people they don’t know anything about. Lindsay Buziak was a Realtor in British Columbia who was murdered in 2008 during a showing with a client. Beverly Carter was attacked, kidnapped, and murdered at a showing in Arkansas in 2014. Crystal McDowell was another successful Realtor murdered in Baytown, Texas in 2017.
These cases are just a few of the stories where Realtors were targeted and murdered because of their community image, being at the wrong place at the wrong time, or were simply targeted based on their looks and charm. As a result of these attacks, the National Association of Realtors has advised Brokers to incorporate safety measures for their Agents to abide by as additional protection when showing property.
Real estate is considered a high-risk profession. At Mtn. View Properties, we have policies and procedures in place to protect our Agents and insure they are aware of their surroundings and the clients they work with. We not only have to be aware of people, but wild animals, dogs, and unsafe conditions can be a threat as well. We do not enter a home where we have not become friends with a dog. We do not enter a foreclosure without caution of animals or squatters. We have rules and steps to follow when showing property to strangers to protect ourselves. I believe it is important for every company or industry to have procedures if they are meeting with people outside the office or in the field. You never know when your life can depend on it.
Buying a home is usually a 1:1 ratio compared to renting. That means that you can find a home and make a mortgage payment that is equal to the monthly rent you were paying before. However, we don’t want to sugar coat things too much. There are a few things to know so you are prepared to be a homeowner. First, you will need to get pre-approved to consider buying a home. You need to call a lender and discuss your situation and see what your monthly payment and down payment requirements will be. Once they issue this magical pre-approval letter then you are free to call a Realtor to help you shop. One of the best things about buying your own home is that it belongs to you. You can change the color, make changes to the kitchen or have a dog and no one will tell you no. The drawback is that you become your maintenance man. You can no longer make a phone call to have someone fix your clogged drain or broken air conditioner without paying for their services. This leads to the next suggestion of having an emergency fund. This is your home and it will require maintenance and things do break. So be prepared and have at least $500-1000 set aside for when those breaks occur. Do you research and make sure you are changing the necessary filters and insulating pipes and doing the right routine maintenance to avoid certain seasonal problems. Lastly, your neighbors are forever. You can no longer eagerly wait for your lease to end and move if you become annoyed with your neighbor or their barking dog. Make sure when you are shopping for the right house to buy that you like the area and the neighbors. Buying a home is the largest investment you will make in your lifetime so make sure you invest wisely. Call Mtn. View Properties and we will gladly hold your hand through the process and provide the necessary advice along the way.
Believe it or not, there is an etiquette to buying and selling a
home, some unwritten rules that we would love to share with you to make the
process easier for all involved.
Money - do you know how you intend on buying this property?
If you have not spoken to a lender yet or gathered all the money under
your mattress, please do not look for a house. You need to make sure you
have what it takes to purchase real estate. We can recommend a lender to
you and it's a quick process that will not slow you down.
Time - Realtors and Sellers do not have all the time in the world
so please show up on time for your scheduled showing or call us at least an
hour ahead of time if you are going to be late. We usually have other
appointments to get to and the owners would love to return to their home as
soon as they can. Do not linger through rooms and study family pictures.
Take a quick look and see if this is a house that can stay on your short
list to return to for a 2nd showing.
Children - kids are very excited to look at homes and explore and
investigate but owners do not like returning to their homes with beds out of
order and things moved around on dressers. Please do not let your children
terrorize the cat or pull the fish out the tank and please keep them close to
you during the showing.
Just Looking? - Again, Realtors are very busy and always go, go,
go. It is very upsetting to tell an owner that the person they just spent
8 hours cleaning their house for is only looking or not planning on buying for
a few years. Please know your plans and be courteous when scheduling a
showing to see a house.
More Photos? - Realtors usually take pictures of every room for
their advertising online and some owners get very uneasy when a prospect starts
taking pictures of their home or belongings. Please ask the Realtor for
permission before snapping more photos of the property.
Disclosure - Too much information is appreciated! We want to
know about the leak in the roof or the toilet that doesn't flush. We want
to know that you are 6 months behind on your payments. When you list the
property, please tell us everything about your life in the home and experiences
you have had with repairs and mortgage payments and neighbors. We don't
want any surprises when the inspection takes place.
Honesty - Be honest with us on your plans. We have had
sellers back out of a contract at the last minute because they decided to stay
in the house. Make sure that you want to sell before we spend the time to
advertise and market the property and offer it to buyers.
What Stays? - Make sure to tell us about a light fixture that
doesn't stay or the curtains and blinds. Anything attached to the
property is supposed to stay upon closing so we need to know your plans before
we start showing the property.
One of the most common misconceptions we see as Realtors is the idea that a Tax Assessed Value is the same as the appraised value, also known as the Fair Market Value. This is not the case and often affects the offers we receive on listings. The truth is, the county assesses values on property based on a neighborhood or concentrated area and not an individual property. They also do not assess the value every year, but rather every 2-5 years because of the size of the area and the available team to make such assessments. Brewster County, for example, is the largest county in Texas and covers a wide range of territory. The option for the county appraiser to reach every single property to assess a value each year would be impossible. Most of the time, the properties are assessed at 80-90% of the Fair Market Value. Realtors and Licensed Appraisers actually visit the properties when they determine the Fair Market Value. After measuring the square footage and comparing the home to other sales and listings in the immediate area, a Fair Market Value is determined. This is the true value of a property because it is more specific. When buyers make an offer, instead of looking at the county’s assessed value, they should be asking their Realtor for comparable sales in the area of similar properties and make their offer based on that. It is very frustrating in our jobs when we have buyers telling us the value of the home is too low because the county has it $30,000 less than the list price. The facts are usually that the county hasn’t probably assessed the value in a few years, has never seen the inside of the home, they don’t know about improvements to the property or the neighborhood, and they do not have access to sales information since Texas is not a disclosure state. Sales in our area, and the state, are not reported to counties or taxing entities. Our advice is to ask for the comparables for nearby sales of similar property before making your offer. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Do not rely on the county assessment.
Spring has finally arrived here in west Texas after a hard winter of ice storms and cold weather. Flowers are in full bloom and trees are leafing out. The sweet smell of the agarita bushes in my yard fill the air each morning. Big Bend, Terlingua, and Study Butte have never been greener. Some parts along highway 118 look like a golf course with patches of bright yellow flowers and bluebonnets lining the road and fence lines. It's a great time of year to visit the area!
Wow! What a month seeing the critters and wildlife around here. I went to Fort Davis a few days ago and looked out to the Elk pasture on the right, before the incline out of the pass, and saw a huge bull elk. Luckily I had my camera with me so I turned around in the highway for the snapshot opportunity. As I was watching him I noticed he was walking in circles and bellowing and panting. His bones were very visible through his fur and he was very ill-looking. I watched him for a few minutes walk in circles and behave as if disoriented and then headed into Fort Davis to call a game warden. I figured he was either sick or about to die and needed help.
As I showed property in the Davis Mountains Resort that afternoon I drove up on a wild burro, cute as can be. I, again, had my camera with me and snapped a few shots.
Yesterday, Heath and I ventured to Terlingua to list some property and as we were driving down a ranch road in the middle of Solitario we had a mare and little colt walk toward us in the middle of the road, almost walking up to the hood of the truck. As I whistled out the window and jumped out of the truck with my camera they hurried off, the colt bucking and jumping around. Great pictures with the sun setting behind them.
I love west Texas!