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.
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!
One of the privileges of listing ranches I have discovered is having to hike or drive to amazing places. Heath, Hayden, and I drove down to Terlingua on Sunday to list Leon Mountain Ranch. 1250 acres near Study Butte. We've done lots of research on the property online with maps and Google Earth but never realized how beautiful it was until we hiked to the peak. It gave breathtaking a new meaning while I was either hauling a 30 pound camera box with a drone in it or a 2 year old boy. Boy, was I exhausted! But we took our final few steps up the peak and looked up to find we had reached the top of the world. We were not only above Study Butte but we were eye to eye with Bee Mountain and Hen Egg and could see past the Christmas Mountains and far into Mexico. It was stunning. Heath took a second to capture our experience on the drone camera before we slid down the mountain.
Then, when we thought our adventures were over for the day, we took a drive toward Solitario to find a new piece of property to list and photograph. For the past 8 days the area has had rain non-stop so us thinking we were going to get through Terlingua Creek really was a stupid moment. We drove 12 miles off highway 118 on North County Road and twisted and turned on the roads, going through mud pit after mud pit. There were several times when the rain had washed so much of the road away we only had a few feet to pass and had a mountain on one side and a 10 foot drop on the other. I was a nervous wreck! We reached the end when we hit Terlingua Creek. 60 foot wide creek full of water, and who knows how deep...normally a dry creek. God, it was beautiful though! The valley on the other side of the creek was green and the sun was setting and shining on the mountains and cliffs stretching up. We thanked God for getting us lost so we could experience that moment. Plus we had the opportunity to go mudding on the way back. I hadn't done that since high school. It was a great day.