Open Concept Lifestyle

March 2016
News You Can Use
Brought to You By: Randy Elgin

Randy Elgin
10999 W IH10 Ste 175
San Antonio
TX 78230
(210) 232-2310
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Buying a home is a complex process with many factors to consider. Preparing your home for sale can make the difference between getting the price you want and ending up disappointed.

Discover some easy things you can do by requesting my free guide, 50 Tips to Prepare Your Home for a Speedy, Top-Price Sale.

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Quick Quiz

Each month I’ll give you a new question.

Just reply to this email for the answer.

Einstein was said to have called what “the most difficult thing to understand”?

Recipe: Turkey Sausage and Pea Linguine

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 pound fresh linguine
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 10 ounces fresh peas
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
  • Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.

Add olive oil to a large skillet. Add turkey and cook at high heat while breaking up any large clumps.

Season with salt and pepper and continue cooking until lightly browned and cooked through.

Cook fresh pasta in boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until al dente. Reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta. Add cooked pasta to the turkey along with the butter, 2/3 cup of the reserved cooking water, and peas. Combine all ingredients until heated through. If too thick, add a tablespoon at a time of the reserved cooking liquid.

Add the tarragon and grated fresh Parmesan right before serving.

Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question

What are some new ways to update the outside areas of my property?

Adding outdoor living spaces and focusing on easy maintenance can update your backyard appeal, and you can enhance curb appeal with some inexpensive options to give your house and yard a modern look for less:

Add outdoor living features. You can add everything from a full outdoor kitchen to a bar cart on wheels, depending on your space and budget. At a minimum, devote some space to outdoor entertaining.

Remove high-maintenance elements. Consider taking out fussy plants, or replacing large swaths of grass with a patio or river stones.

Update your house numbers. Trade brass numbers for something more modern. Etsy has any number of great alternatives.

Paint your front door. Fresh paint in a trendy color instantly refreshes your curb appeal. Visit a local paint store with photos of the front of your home for new ideas.


Is It Curtains for the Open Concept Lifestyle?

For years, it’s seemed as though open-concept living was the design principle of choice.

Kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms were prized for their lack of dividing doors and walls.

Now, however, the dominance of the open-concept lifestyle is in question, according to architects and designers quoted in a November 2015 article in Dezeen, an international design magazine.

UK architect David Mikhail told Dezeen that he first noticed the shift while working on an affordable housing scheme. Residents were offered a choice between an open-plan living space and inserting a wall between their living and dining rooms.

“Much to our surprise, they all chose to put the wall in,” Mikhail said.

According to Mikhail, many designed homes include a mix of spaces, such that large living areas now comfortably coexist with nooks and crannies, reflecting a current desire for secluded spaces and privacy.

The trend to “flexible-plan living” may be a function of today’s mobile technology. So-called broken-plan spaces allow each family member privacy for tablet and smartphone use, as well as individual areas to watch different TV programs at the same time.

While open-concept design still rules, other design publications have also noted a renewed interest in closed spaces.

The New York Times, for example, reported that an increasing number of buyers preferred separate dining and living areas.

And, in dissing open kitchens, Houzz writer Vanessa Brunner suggests: “If you want to leave your smells and mess behind when serving meals, a closed layout could be for you.” Point well made.

Local Produce…Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You?

Farming Imagine craving an apple and walking a few steps to a neighboring apple orchard.

Imagine always having immediate access to your favorite fruits and vegetables.

Imagine watching your produce transition from seed to your table.

It’s happening now across North America as thousands of locavores take the concept of locally grown food to the next level: “agrihoods” – planned communities where homes are built around a functioning farm – are mushrooming across North America.

There are currently around 200 agrihoods in the United States, including the 160-acre Agritopia in Phoenix, the 1,000-acre Serenbe in Georgia, and The Cannery, a 100-acre project located near Davis, California, that opened in August 2015.

And in Canada, an agrihood of 129 homes is currently being built near Vancouver, B.C. In most cases, homes in the agrihood are high end; at The Cannery, they range from the mid-$400,000s to more than $1 million.

“The foodie generation has come of age,” says Ed McMahon, a resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, in Bloomberg News. “The mainstream development community has come to think of these as a pretty good way to build a low-cost amenity that people seem to like and that also adds authenticity.”

Agrihoods develop a sense of community, proponents say, as they tend to host neighborhood food-related events, such as wine tastings and pop-up restaurants featuring agrihood produce.

They also provide an unbeatable experience.

As one agrihood resident told the Los Angeles Times: “To get your hands dirty with growth … I think it’s good for the soul.”

The Good Old Backpack Goes High Tech

Laptop OK, so we all know what a backpack is: a cloth or leather sack with over-the-shoulder straps that you carry on your back.

Traditionally, it carried provisions when you hiked, extra clothes when you traveled, and books when you headed for the library. But that is so yesterday.

These days, whether it’s a personal power source or a svelte sound system, backpacks have gone high tech.

In a recent New York Times article, Eric A. Taub wrote, “With people juggling multiple digital devices that constantly need charging, backpack manufacturers have sensed a market opportunity.

Some new backpacks are specifically designed not only to protect our smartphones, tablets, laptops, headphones, and game players, but also to recharge them and track their whereabouts.”

Some of the latest backpacks feature a battery that can recharge several smartphones or tablets at once, apps to monitor battery status, and an incorporated warning system should you walk away without yours.

Backpack sharers can buy a customizable unit that accommodates each user’s charging idiosyncrasies.

And if the plain old backpack needs to go upscale, one company produces a model that transforms into a briefcase or messenger bag.

Oh, and for environmentalists, there’s a solar-powered backpack too!

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!

Solo Home Buyers Face Unique Challenges

Recent reports have noted a marked increase in the number of female home buyers across the United States. In fact, it’s not only young couples and families who are eagerly entering the real estate game; young, single women are buying in droves.

The most recent available data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) notes that single women have been purchasing homes at almost twice the frequency of their male counterparts.

“More women than men think buying a home is a good financial investment,” Jessica Lautz, NAR’s manager of member and consumer survey research, told Reuters. “Many of them are thinking of the pure desire to own a home and to settle and make roots.”

That said, single females don’t differ significantly from their male counterparts in the challenges they’re facing. There are two things both need to bear in mind when taking the plunge:

Affordability. A couple or family may have two incomes to contribute to a down payment and subsequent mortgage payments. If you’re making a big purchase on your own, knowing what you can comfortably afford becomes all the more crucial.

Despite what your mortgage approval says, make sure that you’ll be able to make payments without feeling stretched. And remember to factor in the costs of upkeep, repairs, and unforeseen circumstances; unexpected emergencies could cost you thousands of dollars – a cost that you’ll bear entirely on your own.

Protection. Just because you purchased your home on your own doesn’t mean you’ll always live in it alone. It’s important to remember that your home is probably your biggest investment, and you need to protect it. That may mean signing a prenuptial contract or another type of agreement in case you and a partner divorce/break up.

Insurance. Last, but certainly not least, be sure to properly insure your home against a wide variety of potential hazards. That includes purchasing homeowners, life, and, depending on the circumstances, disability insurance.

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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