| Randy Elgin
10999 W IH10 Ste 175
Are You a First-Time Home Buyer? Get My Free Guide
Buying your first home is a big step and one that is likely to impact your financial future for years to come.
Make it easier by requesting my free guide, “How First-Timers Can Make a Wise Buy.”
Just reply to this email and I’ll send it right out to you.
Each month I’ll give you a new question.
Just reply to this email for the answer.
What mineral deposits grow down from the ceiling in a cave?
Recipe: Strawberry Pistachio Bruschetta
Serves up to 8 as an appetizer
- 1 baguette, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup shelled salted pistachios
- 1 cup goat cheese
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1/4 tablespoon balsamic glaze (store bought or homemade)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450°. Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet, oiled side down. Place in oven until slightly browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Lower oven temperature to 350° and toast pistachios until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer to a cutting board. Let them cool down before roughly chopping.
Place toasted baguette slices on a platter, oiled side up, and spread a thin, even layer of goat cheese on each slice. Arrange strawberry slices on top, drizzle with balsamic glaze, sprinkle with chopped pistachios, and finish with black pepper.
Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question
I’m going to be house-hunting this summer. Are there any benefits to looking in the warmer months?
There are several benefits to searching for a new home in the summertime. The biggest upside is fewer competitors; house hunters who began looking in the winter and spring often take the summer off and start again in the fall.
Sellers may also feel fatigued after a spring without selling and might be willing to come down in price in order to make a sale.
Finally, the summer months can shed new light on a neighborhood. People will be out in full force, and you’ll get to observe the liveliness of an area, its green space, and the quality and popularity of its amenities. Kids will be out of school, and you’ll have a much better idea of how young or mature a neighborhood is. If you have kids of your own, with school out it’s easy to get them involved in the search for a new home.
|| Fridge Kaput? Chill Out with a Home Warranty
Dealing with a conked-out refrigerator, a malfunctioning dishwasher, a nonworking air-conditioning system, or a flooded bathroom can be a royal pain.
Appliance insurance helps homeowners deal with the hassle and manage the cost of unexpected home repairs. An appliance warranty, also known as a home warranty, is a type of service contract that covers repair or replacement of certain home appliances and systems when they fail due to normal wear and tear.
A basic plan that covers essential home systems and appliances typically costs from $350 to $500 per year. In addition, homeowners pay a flat service fee (in the range of $60 to $75) for each service call.
One obvious benefit of an appliance warranty is peace of mind. If a covered appliance or system breaks down, the homeowner can rest easy knowing the problem will be taken care of with a single call or email to the warranty company. Another important benefit is that major issues such as system breakdowns, for which a repair or replacement can cost thousands of dollars, won’t break the budget.
Preexisting conditions, like poorly maintained systems or broken fixtures, are not covered under a home warranty, so it’s important to schedule regular maintenance for all systems and appliances and document when and how they were serviced.
A home warranty is a great incentive for home buyers, and it has become increasingly common for sellers to include a home warranty as part of the sale of the home to encourage confidence and attract buyers. www.Consumeraffairs.com recently published a list of home warranty companies. Check: Compare Reviews for Home Warranty Companies
Nature Nurtures: The Power of the Great Outdoors
Everyone knows what research now proves: nature is good for you. Be they gardeners, dog walkers, or wilderness wanderers, people simply feel healthier in the great outdoors. But why?
In a recent column, gardening expert Mark Cullen tells us it’s all about trees. He writes, “We know we feel better when we spend time in the natural environment of a conservation area or urban park, or in our backyard. …” Referring to a University of Chicago study, Cullen adds, “In fact, 10 additional trees per city block increased…subjects’ health perception by as much as $10,000 in extra income (like winning a small lottery!).”
In a recent article in Ecologist, Richard J. Dolesh explains why: “New research reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine now provides scientific proof that walking in nature and spending time under leafy shade trees causes electrochemical changes in the brain that can lead people to enter a highly beneficial state of ‘effortless attention.'”
Psychology professors Rachel and Stephen Kaplan have been researching what they call “the restorative benefits” of nature for decades. In a cover story for the American Psychological Association, writer Rebecca A. Clay summarizes their findings: “People don’t have to head for the woods to enjoy nature’s restorative effects, the Kaplans emphasize. Even a glimpse of nature from a window helps. In one well-known study, for instance, Rachel Kaplan found that office workers with a view of nature liked their jobs more, enjoyed better health, and reported greater life satisfaction.”
So get out there! It’s good for you.
Why Emojis Are Taking Over Our Lives
Recently, Facebook introduced five emojis to replace the thumbs-up icon. But would they catch on? At the time, Jessica Guynn wrote in USA Today, “Acknowledging that ‘like’ isn’t the right sentiment for every occasion, the giant social network is offering new options. Reactions, five emoting emojis, [are now] rolling out to Facebook’s nearly 1.6 billion users around the globe…”
Around the same time, a USA Today headline used emojis, and as writer Esme Cribb noted in the Content Strategist: “Yes, emojis have now officially graced the pages of print newspapers…”
The emoji platform, which tracks online sentiment and builds strategies through the use of emojis, found in a study that some 60% of respondents use emojis weekly, and many more frequently.
And, as Andrea Ayers wrote in the Crew blog: “Over a five-month period…emojis were used over 1.7 billion times on Twitter.” Ayers asks: “What exactly is driving our use of emoticons?” And responds: “The answer is quite simple, they make us feel good.” A lot of Facebook fans might well agree.
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!
Gardening Can Be a Bed of Roses: Try These Tips
Dreaming of a bed of roses or rows of tasty tomato plants is easy; the reality may feel like a nightmare, particularly to first-timers.
If you’re planning on seeing whether your thumb is green this summer, note that gardeners are just as varied as gardens, and even those who grew up surrounded by high-rise buildings can nurture something from a plot of earth.
You don’t even need your own backyard; thanks to locavores, the local food movement is spawning community gardens galore.
Before you take that first step, read gardening blogs and books. Talk to gardeners. Learn from them. Then check out these DIY tips:
Know your space. Gardens can occupy most of a backyard or a square-foot box. Consider where you’ll plant. Walk around your yard at different times of day so you can see what areas get the most shade, and when.
Make sure you have the necessary materials. Have water buckets and/or a hose that’s long enough. Invest in good tools and the space to store them.
A word about water. Many areas in North America are suffering from serious drought conditions, while others have the opposite problem: too much water. Both issues shape the way individuals on this continent garden today.
Know your soil. Different plants grow better in different soil types. It’s important to know the pH level of your soil. You can purchase a home test, or you can submit soil samples to a lab and have experts look at it.
Know your strengths. Gardening takes time. For some, weeding, watering, pruning, and keeping your plants safe from insects and animals is part of the joy of gardening. If all that seems like drudge work, you may have to accept that gardening isn’t for you.
Know your plan. Successful gardeners plan ahead. During June, for example, you need to plant fast-growing summer annuals and heat-tolerant vegetables that can endure hot summers.