Real Estate Agents - Are they all the same?

I came across an add the other day that said "Get your Real Estate License for only $268"! And it was probably true not counting the application fees and other various and sundry costs required to obtain a license. So if you have $300-400 bucks and a computer then you too can become a licensed Real Estate Agent in the great State of Texas. You don't even have to have a high school diploma to obtain a license. This low barrier to entry is why so many people want to become agents. It's not that expensive and it's not that hard - and the allure of making easy money from friends and family is just too hard to pass up. Now many of these agents do well and become professionals in the truest sense of the word but the vast majority don't. 

A home purchase is usually the single largest financial transaction most will make in their lives! Are you going to choose an agent who became licensed for $268 and who may or may not have any additional education? So how do you choose an agent? I'm glad you asked. Here are a few characteristics of Professional Real Estate Agents:

1) Competency - Make sure the agent you choose is competent. Education does not end with a license - it is just the beginning. Competency indicates sufficiency of knowledge and skills that enable the agent to act with effectiveness and efficiency. 

2) Professionalism - Professionalism means so much more than just having a license. Is your agent a Master of the Trade? When a Professional walks in the room you know it! They are polished and skilled in communication, decision making & negotiation. They are sharply dressed and ready for business. Professionals are punctual and available! And lastly, Professionals are knowledge seekers. They continually hone their skills through continuous education. 

3) Integrity - If you skip the first two bullet points then please pay attention to this one! You want an agent who will put your needs ahead of their own. Someone who is honest to a fault, ethical, and trustworthy. An agent who cuts corners and who is more worried about their commission than your deal is an agent to avoid.

So are all Real Estate agents the same? Not hardly. Don't leave the biggest transaction of your life to chance. And don't pick an agent just because they are a friend of a friend. Choose a Professional who is a Master of the Trade and who will represent you with Competency, Professionalism, and Integrity!

Randy Peets, MBA, Broker-Owner

Oct. 1, 2022

5 Tips for Choosing the Right House as a First-Time Buyer

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5 Tips for Choosing the Right House as a First-Time Buyer


Buying your first home is all about excitement and learning. Much goes into the process, and you have to find the place that fits your needs and is within your budget. Before you start the process, consider these tips from Oil Town Realty to get you on the right path.


1. Consider Your Financial Status


The first step in searching for a home is knowing what you can afford. Start by learning your credit history and how it affects your borrowing ability. Create a budget by figuring out your debt-to-income ratio. Then research mortgages to see what you can afford. When you apply, lenders will review your financial status, including your credit history, employment, income, and what you intend to purchase. Before you speak with a lender, have an idea about what type of property interests you.


2. Consider the Pros and Cons of a Starter Home


A starter home is great for a first-time buyer with limited finances but who wants to get into real estate. Some pros of a starter home include the lower cost and minimal upkeep. You'll also be able to use the property as a rental when you decide to leave. The cons vary depending on the property, but some general disadvantages include the limited space and the likelihood that it will need more repairs. 


3. Consider the Pros and Cons of a Forever Home


If you prefer to purchase your forever home first, there are significant advantages. For example, you will be able to customize it exactly as you want because your intention is to never sell. Forever homes are typically bigger, allowing you room to grow your family. However, they can be more difficult to sell and require more upkeep than a starter home. Determining which property best suits you is a personal decision. Consider your current situation and future plans as part of the process.


4. Work With a Trusted Realtor


Working with an experienced real estate brokerage is always a good idea, but for a first-time buyer, it's an essential part of the process. You need their expertise and negotiation skills to help you get the right home for the best price. This is especially true if you plan to purchase a home "as is." The contract for an "as is" home states that the previous owner is not liable for any repairs the property needs. You need a realtor and an attorney to look over the contract and thoroughly inspect the property records for any red flags. Research shows that some common issues with "as is" homes include mold, structural damage, asbestos, and electrical problems.


5. Consider Insuring Your Home


Another financial consideration in the buying process is home insurance coverage. Be aware of what is and isn't covered. For example, most policies cover theft of belongings, structural damage, and injuries that occur on the property. 


However, if you want certain systems and appliances, such as your heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical, you'll need a home warranty. Take time to research the best home warranty company available. You want to ensure you’re getting good value for your investment. A warranty is helpful because you can renew it annually, and it will cover expensive costs to repair broken appliances and home systems.


For most people, the defining factor in choosing their first home is affordability. Remember to keep your finances in order and prepare to get your foot in the real estate market. Whether you choose a starter home or your forever home, you'll learn a valuable lesson about being a property owner.

Posted in First Time Buyer
Feb. 21, 2022

How to Purchase a Fixer-Upper as a First-Time Home Buyer

Oil Town Realty is dedicated to helping our clients in their real estate journeys. Whether you’re planning to buy or sell, reach out to us today to find out more! (432) 889-8296



How to Purchase a Fixer-Upper as a First-Time Homebuyer


Perhaps you’ve been searching for your first home, and you’re toying with the idea of buying a fixer-upper. Purchasing a fixer-upper can be the ticket to affordable homeownership. If you need guidance, connecting with a knowledgeable real estate agent from Oil Town Realty will make your search easier! In the meantime, here are a few things to consider if you’re house hunting for a fixer-upper.


Understand the Risks


Buying a fixer-upper can be exciting. You’re getting a great deal on a house, you’ll have the chance to customize the property to your liking, and you get the satisfaction of taking on a challenge! But there are also risks that come with investing in a fixer-upper, so be prepared for potential pitfalls. If you plan to buy a home “as is,” you’ll want to talk to a lawyer first. In addition, you should pay close attention to the property inspection and check out the land records for any warning signs.


Find the Right Real Estate Agent


You might be tempted to start looking for a fixer-upper on your own, but working with a real estate agent will make the process much simpler. To find the right person, you’ll want to talk to a few experienced agents and ask some key questions. MoneySense recommends asking about references from their former clients, what they know about your target market, and how you should prepare for making a competitive offer.


Financing Your Home


When you’re buying a fixer-upper, you’re probably going to pay significantly less than you would for a new construction home. Therefore, you might be thinking about paying for the house in cash. Trusted Choice states that a cash purchase can help you save money on interest and closing costs, but handing over such a large sum of money at once might make you nervous. There are advantages and disadvantages to this method, so take time to consider whether you want to buy in cash or take out a mortgage


Renovating Your Property


You’ve found the right fixer-upper, and now, it’s time to get started on repairs and cosmetic projects! You may be able to tackle some of these on your own if you know how to use the necessary tools and materials safely, but Zolo recommendsleaving any plumbing or electrical repairs to the professionals. 


For projects that are outside of your skillsets, such as a kitchen or bath remodel you’ll need to work with contractors, so make sure to account for these costs in your home buying budget. 


To Live In Or Not To Live In


If your plan all along has been to live in the property, this may prove difficult if you’re having major renovations. While there are ways to manage living at home through a significant remodel, it’s not for everyone. In which case your next best option is to find temporary housing. A short-term rental can be the perfect option, particularly if you find something in the same neighborhood where you bought your fixer-upper. 


On the other end of the spectrum, many owners of fixer-uppers intend to turn their homes into short-term or long-term rentals. This can be a great way to generate income and paves the way for another fixer-upper opportunity. Just bear in mind that as a landlord, you’ll need to register as a business with the state. The easiest option is to choose an LLC, which is a great choice for landlords. You get to enjoy tax advantages, and your personal assets are protected. 


Move-In or Sell?


Once you’re done renovating your property, and your house is finally move-in ready, you might be wondering if you should live there, or if you should sell and purchase a larger home for yourself. 


While selling your renovated home could be a good way to earn money and buy a bigger house in a more desirable location, the decision ultimately comes down to how well your fixer-upper fits your current lifestyle. Can you envision yourself being happy there for five to ten years? Or do you already feel like you need more space? Answering these questions for yourself will help you come to the right conclusion. And if you are on the fence, your real estate agent can help you assess the market to determine whether it’s a good time or not. 


Purchasing a fixer-upper could be the right decision for your future! If you’re in the market for a new home, and you’re unsatisfied with the new construction available within your price range, it might be time to think outside the box. Buying a fixer-upper can be a great way to save money and create your dream home.



Photo via Pexels

Posted in House Buying Tips
Dec. 16, 2021

Find Your Dream Home: Tips for First Time Homebuyers With Disabilities

Find Your Dream Home: Tips for First Time Homebuyers With Disabilities


Buying their first dream home is an exciting event for most home buyers. Unfortunately, it also comes with its share of stress and challenges. As a house-hunter with a disability, you may face more challenges than most. To buy your first home, you need to find it, be able to afford it, and know how to handle the move.


How to Find Your Dream Home

Finding a home when you have a disability may feel overwhelming at first. According to research, fewer than 5% of homes in the U.S. have accommodations for persons with mobility difficulties. When looking for homes, you may want to start on the internet. Some websites have an accessibility filter. Talking with a realtor with experience in buying or selling accessible real estate can also benefit you.


When beginning your search, list your requirements and keep a checklist. Think about how your disability alters how you function within your home. Some people need different accessibility options. For example, you may need all of or only a few of the following adaptations to a home:

  • Ramps instead of stairs

  • Handrails in the bathroom

  • Automatic doors

  • Lower shelving

  • Bedside controls

  • Easy-access closets


In some instances, you may need to make home modifications after you purchase the property.


Oil Town Realty can help you find the perfect accessible home for you, as well as walk you through the buying process from start to finish.


How to Prepare for the Costs

As a first-time buyer, there are several factors to consider before buying a home. First, consider your credit score. Your credit score determines your eligibility for a mortgage and may affect the interest rate you receive. To increase your credit score, try to keep your balances low and pay the bill on time.


Start to save money as early as possible. You will need to consider the down payment, the move-in expenses and the closing costs. Before meeting with a lender, make sure to organize your paperwork and be ready to answer any necessary questions. Be warned that sometimes you may qualify for a more expensive home than you can realistically afford.


Look for programs for people with disabilities or lower income. You may find down payment assistance programs, USDA home loans or home ownership vouchers. You should also seek programs to help you with any necessary modifications to a home. For many homeowners with disabilities, modification assistance can be life-saving when the costs of modifications add up quickly.


How to Move Painlessly

On top of housing costs, you need to consider the practical cost to move from one home to another. A local move may cost you in the ballpark of $1,200. A long-distance move, on the other hand, may cost you nearly $5,000. Your total costs depend on anything from the day of the week you require movers to the weight of your belongings and whether you are sharing the truck with any other households.


As a person with a disability, consider full-service movers. This allows you to relax and allow the professionals to pack up your belongings and move them to the new household. However, even when hiring full-service movers, you still need to keep an inventory checklist and decide what you want to pack.


For example, you may want to personally pack your change of clothes, electronics, first-aid kit, and any snacks or medications for your family. You can also transport sensitive documents or heirlooms yourself to ensure safe traveling.


Moving to a new location may be stressful, but if you want your dream home, there are steps to help ensure a seamless and productive move. Understanding what you need out of your new home and the costs associated can make all the difference.

Patrick Young

April 12, 2021

Signs and Causes of Foundation Issues

Signs and Causes of Foundation Issues

Although homeowners generally fear foundation problems, they are relatively common. Several homeowners don’t even want to imagine that their home can have this problem. But this attitude is one of the main reasons why foundation damage is so widespread.


All foundation problems have a cause, and by their nature, they happen very slowly. A home’s foundation will rarely fail without warning. Most of the time, the problem begins slowly with telltale signs that homeowners either ignore or misinterpret.


The failure to detect and deal with foundation damage early is the primary cause of foundation failure. When homeowners understand the factors that initiate foundation damage and the signs of the problem, they can often avoid foundation damage to their homes.


What are the causes and signs of foundation damage? Read on to find out.


Causes of foundation damage


1.     Expansive soils

Expansive soils absorb and release a lot of water, which causes them to shrink and expand at massive rates. That can have a significant impact on the stability of any structure erected on the soil. Homes in areas with high amounts of expansive clay soils, like Texas, are more exposed to this problem.


2.     Dried-out soils

Exceedingly hot weather and nearby plant roots can extract too much moisture from the soil beneath a home. That may lead the ground to shrink from the foundation, depriving it of the support it needs to maintain stability. If this happens, the foundation could become unstable and start to shift.


3.     Too much water in the soil

When soil receives too much water, two things can happen. The soil may swell and expand: in which case, it pushes against the foundation and forces it upwards. The soil may also become more compact and settle. That can cause the foundation to lose its underlying support and sink.


4.     Poor soil preparation

If a contractor doesn’t follow the proper soil preparation and compaction procedure, it can expose a home to foundation damage. You can use solutions like chemical grout injection to strengthen loose soils. But if the builder neglects to use the appropriate techniques, the result may be foundation failure.


5.     Improper drainage

Poor drainage around the home will predispose it to foundation failure. This problem can result from: downspouts discharging water on the walls and foundation; water pooling near the base of the home; low-lying areas in the yard that collect water; and damaged plumbing that leaks water into the foundation.


6.     Natural sinkhole formation

Natural sinkhole formation is probably the only cause of foundation damage that is almost beyond homeowners’ control. When water drains underground, it creates sinkholes. Such activity will sometimes create underground caverns. If these caverns collapse, the soil above them and any structure on it will also sink.


Signs of foundation damage

1)    Cracks and fissures

In the first 2-3 years after construction, it is normal for tiny cracks to appear on the foundation as the home settles. However, if there are horizontal cracks in a foundation, that is a problem. The presence of stair-step cracks in brick exteriors and fractures positioned at a 45-degree angle is also cause for concern.


2)    Signs of foundation settling or sinking

There may be a noticeable tilting of the building. It happens when a house settles unevenly due to differences in the characteristics of the underlying soil. One part of the house will sink lower than other parts. It could be the sides or center of the building. As a result, it throws the entire house out of level.


3)    Sticky doors and windows

Irregular movement in the home’s foundation will cause the structures on it to go out of alignment. This misalignment will make doors and windows in the house difficult to close and open. The doors and windows may stick at the top or bottom.


4)    Gaps around window frames

Another form of misalignment that may become visible in the home is gaps around the door and window frames. The foundation problem will sometimes reveal itself through doors – especially exterior doors – that fail to latch except you lift them or press downwards.


5)    Uneven floors

Floors are directly over the home’s foundation and are highly sensitive to movements in the foundation. Sagging, sloping, or uneven floors are among the apparent signs of foundation shifting or moving at a non-uniform rate.


6)    Counters and cabinets that detach from walls

Minor gaps may appear between counters or cabinets and walls as a result of a poor job. These gaps may become massive with time. That means the problem is due to the foundation shift causing misalignment between the walls and floors.


Posted in Market Updates
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates