Should You Invest in a Vacation Home?

The Newsletter

Should You Invest in a Vacation Home This Fall?
Many people dream of owning a vacation home, but wonder if it’s a good investment. According to the real estate gurus, it may well be.

According to many experts, fall is a great time to consider buying a vacation home, as prices are often lower in the off-season. And, while you may envision a summer hideaway or a perfect winter retreat for you and your family, you also could consider raising additional income by offering it as a three- or even four-season rental.

In a recent online article, the InvestorJunkie wrote: “We don’t normally think of vacation properties as investments, but at certain times and under certain circumstances, they can be one of the best investments you can make.”

RISMedia recently reported that, according to an annual survey of residential homebuyers by the National Association of Realtors: “Vacation home sales cooled off in 2015 but remained at the second-highest amount in nearly a decade.” In addition, the median price of vacation homes increased in 2015.

As with any investment, there are risks; as InvestorJunkie notes, “Vacation property is luxury real estate, not the basic roof-over-your-head type. It’s more discretionary than it is necessary, and that means the market for it can dry up much more quickly. When it does, prices can crash even when the general housing market is stable.”

Nevertheless, CNBC contributor Shelly Schwartz says if you can afford it, do it. The title of her article is “The Time to Invest in a Second Home Is Now.”


It’s a Dog’s World, Thanks to Home Tech
Dog house

It’s not only humans who benefit from the boom in home technology. As a recent article from RISMedia suggests, pets are reaping the rewards, too.

Smart thermostats allow homeowners to monitor temperature in each room and adjust for weather conditions from their smartphones or tablets. This can be a lifesaver for pets, who often suffer when owners are away and temperatures dip or rise drastically.

Owners also can control remotely when their pet’s food will be dispensed, and even be notified if supplies are running low.

And for owners who have to leave their dogs alone for the day, there are “smart doggy doors” that use radio frequencies to communicate with a tag on the dog’s collar and let puppy in and out.

These days, it truly is a dog’s world!


From Butcher to Bun: The History of the Hot Dog
Hot dog

Along with nice weather, summer brings together two important pastimes: grilling and baseball. These popular activities share a common culinary theme: hot dogs.

Enjoyed in thousands of backyards each year, and by sports fans in stadiums across the country, the hot dog has become a summer staple. But where did the idea originate to grill a tube of meat, insert it in a bun, and load it with toppings?

In fact, both Austrians and Germans lay claim to the honor. Germans claim the “frankfurter” was created in Frankfurt, where Germans made thick, fatty sausages and coined the term “franks.” But the Viennese point out that the name given to the first hot dogs was “wienerwurst.” In the Austrian language (which is slightly different from standard German), “Wein” means Vienna, and “wurst” means sausage, so clearly they were Austrian sausages first!

Either way, we can thank German immigrants for bringing their native sausages with them to the New World, where they first sold hot dogs from pushcarts in New York City in the 1860s. Some stories claim the bun (or roll) was added simply so customers wouldn’t burn their hands on the hot sausages.

As for the moniker “hot dog,” legend has it the term was coined in 1902 at a New York Giants baseball game. The cold weather prompted one vendor to switch from supplying ice cream and sodas to hot sausages as a particularly apropos alternative. The call went out: “Get your dachshund sausages, red hot!” and the hot “dog” was born.


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!


5 Ways to Boost Your Home’s OQ for Less
When getting a home ready to sell, most homeowners focus on interior upgrades and fixes. But what’s on the outside counts, too.

Lawns, walkways, patios, gardens, doors, and windows all play a role in the livability of a home – and its salability as well.

Thinking of selling soon? Here are five ways to boost your home’s Outside Quotient (OQ), courtesy of a Williams Ski & Patio infographic:

For an investment that could range from $300 to $1,000, you can undo the damage wrought by weather, weeds, and all those other nasties that invade your lawn (not to mention the dog and your kids).

Re-sod and give your outdoors a whole new look. Isn’t that worth the investment?

You could consider a less expensive alternative to make your outside sparkle: power wash your deck and wash your outdoor furniture for an investment of between $50 and $100, and some elbow grease.

Don’t forget the front entrance to your home; boost your curb appeal and add some color and design with planters featuring seasonal greenery.

During summer you can pop in some color inexpensively by adding a pot of annuals or two from your local garden center.

July is hot just about everywhere, so don’t forget to water your additions regularly. Cost: $20 to $200 depending on the size and type of planters.

While you’re at it, check the driveway. Cracks and holes can deter future buyers and are just plain ugly. For $50 to $200, a new topcoat of driveway sealer will do the trick…unless it’s REALLY bad.

For front or back yards, fill in holes in the vegetation with mature plants.

It’s a bit more expensive, depending on the kinds and number of plants you need, but it will give your outdoors the look of a much more pricey landscape job for much less. And that OQ? Awesome!

SA Realty Watch Group
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Recipe: Grilled Chicken Skewers with Tamarind Marinade
(Can’t find tamarind? See * below)
Serves 4
1/4 cup tamarind concentrate
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins
Wooden skewers
Directions
Whisk tamarind, garlic, sugar, salt, and oil in a shallow dish until sugar is dissolved. Add chicken and toss to coat all pieces. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before using and preheat grill to medium high. Thread 1-2 chicken tenderloins onto each skewer. Place them on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Using tongs, remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

*Tamarind can be found in most Asian grocery stores, or mix equal parts of lime juice and additional light brown sugar as a substitute.


Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question
I live in a condo complex. How can I feel secure in my new home?

The good news is, you don’t need to hire Biff the bouncer from the nightclub downtown. Instead try these simple tips:

Lock ’em out: It can be tempting to leave your entrance unlocked while getting the mail or visiting a neighbor. Take a few extra seconds to lock up behind you. Check to make sure the door in your apartment condo (as well as the garage door) closes behind you. In townhouses, don’t hide your key. As convenient as it is for you, it’s convenient for burglars too.

Light ’em up: Common areas such as entrances, hallways, and walkways should be well lit. If you notice any burned-out bulbs, contact your building manager right away.

Shut ’em down: If your building requires buzz-in, make sure everyone uses it. It may feel rude, but don’t hold doors to let in strangers. If they belong there, they will either have a key or know someone who will buzz them in.

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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