10999 W IH10 Ste 175
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What is the most common chemical element found in the universe?
Recipe: Banana "Ice Cream" with Caramel Sauce
- 4 medium bananas
- 1/3 cup candied or toasted nuts (optional)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
DirectionsPeel the ripe bananas. Slice, place in a single layer on a plate and freeze for a couple of hours.
Meanwhile, make caramel sauce by combining sugar, butter, syrup and salt in a small saucepan. Over a medium-to-low heat, stir until blended (about three minutes), then bring to a gentle boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and vanilla. Let cool then cover and refrigerate.
To make "ice cream," place frozen bananas in a food processor and process until it has the consistency of soft ice cream, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Stir in nuts and serve with sauce.
Ask the Agent: This Month's Question
What should I know about becoming a landlord?
Many people dream of becoming a landlord to help pay the mortgage and provide extra income. But there's more to it than simply renting out your basement. These days, savvy tenants are looking for location, location, location ... plus all the bells and whistles, such as in-suite laundry, high-end finishes and upgraded kitchens and baths.
If you are looking to become a real estate investor and purchase a property to rent, be sure to consider all your costs, including closing costs, fees, property taxes, utilities, and more. Most important, you need a real estate agent familiar with the rental business.
Finding a tenant is easy; finding a good tenant, who will treat your property with respect, is more difficult. You have to spend to get, and that may mean loan payments for renovations.
In the end, becoming a landlord can be financially rewarding. You may wonder why you waited so long.
Inside your newsletter this month...
Bad Neighbors can be Hazardous to Your Property Values
It's every homeowner's worst nightmare:
Your new neighbor has decided to tear down the charming colonial and build a monster home. Or he's turned his backyard into a junkyard. Or she's having noisy parties.
Yes, having bad neighbors can be awful. And did you know they also can lower the value of your home by up to 10 percent.
A recent study by the US Appraisal Institute indicates that your neighborhood - and your immediate neighbors - can be game-changers when it's time to sell. You may be looking at a 5-10 percent drop in your home's value. And a lower selling price.
And it's not just close neighbors; it's your street and often your whole neighborhood. Barking dogs, poorly maintained properties, utility towers, and even funeral homes can make your neighborhood less desirable, and your home less saleable.
What can you do? Not much after you've bought, although you can approach your neighbor and/or a lawyer to try to stop the offending behavior. But you can practice due diligence before you buy.
Visit your potential neighborhood at night and during the day. Drop by on weekends. Drive around neighboring streets to get a feel for the area. Note the proximity of commercial properties. Chat with the neighbors to find out if you share the same commitment to maintaining your properties. Consider contacting the local police and checking crime stats.
Whether you're buying for the long term, or may sell in the next few years, checking out your neighbors and the neighborhood only makes sense.
Walkies can be fun ... for Fido and you
If you like to sleep in, it can be hard to get up and take Fido for a walk. But there are ways to inject fun into morning walks (a.k.a. walkies) for you and your furry friend:
- Go to a dog park. Not only will your dog get to socialize with other pets, but you can socialize with their humans, as well.
- Take a new route and let your dog lead. Who knows what new and exciting adventures you'll discover together?
- Find a dog-walking buddy. Both Fido and you will enjoy the company.
- Turn your walk into a jog. You'll get a great workout, and so will your dog.
- Work on training. Use your walks to work on obedience commands or tricks (but don't forget the treats!)
Singletons are Living Alone ... and Liking it
It used to be a stigma: bachelors and spinsters sadly missing the pitter-patter of tiny feet and the companionship of a spouse. But that was then; this is now.
Singletons - as those who live alone have been described - are now choosing this lifestyle, and "going solo" has become statistically significant in North America, according to Eric Klinenberg.
Klinenberg, sociologist and author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, says that almost half the current population in the US is unmarried, representing 28 percent of American households. And many of the singletons he interviewed for his book highly value this lifestyle: "It allows us to do what we want, when we want on our own terms," Klinenberg commented in a recent Globe and Mail interview.
For the most part, his singletons are alone, not lonely: "Many people ... said there was nothing more lonely than living with the wrong person," he noted. And they're not bored. Single people populate gyms, clubs and coffee shops, where they can mingle with a purpose.
However, there are downsides: Living alone may be fulfilling, but it can also be frustrating. There's only one income to pay the bills, and statistics show that solos are at higher risk of accidents or crime. As well, the majority of Klinenberg's singletons are young.
What will happen as they age?
Ah, says Klinenberg, living alone is a "cyclical condition, not a permanent one." So chances are his young singletons will follow the traditional path - eventually.
Wondering How Much Your Home is Worth?
How has the price of your home changed in today's market? How much are other homes in your neighborhood selling for?
If you're wondering what's happening to prices in your area, or you're thinking about selling your house, I'll be able to help.
Click the market report below or select San Antonio Real Estate Market and complete the requested information about your home!
Which Comes First … the Buy or the Sell?
When a hermit crab decides it's time for a new home, it scopes out a new shell before vacating its current accommodation.
But for homeowners, the process is not so easy.
Whether you buy a new home before selling your current one - or the other way around - the choice of what to do first comes down to which option makes you the most comfortable.
Both have pros and cons, and here are some to consider:
- When you know what your current home has sold for you can zero in on exactly what you can afford in your next one.
- Because you already know the conditions of your own home's sale, such as the closing date, you can make informed offers.
- The downside: If you can't get possession of your new house before leaving your current one, or even worse, can't find what you're looking for, you'll need temporary housing. Can you afford a short-term rental, and what will you do with your furniture while you're waiting?
And double stress.
- If you've found a home with unbelievable features in a great neighborhood at an awesome price, the pressure is on. You really want this dream home, so in this case, you may have to buy before selling.
- If the local real estate market is hot, you might feel safer buying first.
- It's probably a safe bet your home will sell fast, unless it's out of step with its neighbors; if it's a fixer, or if it's the best home in the neighborhood, it may languish or sell below asking
- The downside: If you buy first and your home does languish, the worst case scenario is you're stuck with double mortgage payments.
Some families handle risk better than others. What kind and how much depends on your circumstances.