The Tiny House Movement

May 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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What is May’s birth flower?

Recipe: Quinoa and Portobello Mushrooms with Tahini Dressing

Serves 4 as a main dish for “Meatless Mondays”

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 4 portobello mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted


Place quinoa in a bowl. Add spinach and raisins and season to taste.

For the sauce, whisk together lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, tahini, honey, and garlic. Season. Add a tablespoon of water if sauce is too thick.

Heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Add remaining oil. Fry mushrooms top side down until browned. Place lemons cut side down in the same skillet until caramelized. Season mushrooms, turn, and cook until brown and softened (3-5 minutes per side). Place quinoa on a platter. Top with sliced mushrooms. Drizzle with sauce and almonds. Serve with lemons on the side and remaining tahini dressing.

Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question

What do those short forms mean in the real estate ads?

Real estate is an industry that loves its acronyms. They’re not used to confuse, but to shorten and simplify descriptions that would otherwise require sentences to explain. Typically they’re used in listings to describe features of a home.

The list of real estate acronyms is exhaustive. Here are just a few to help you read those ads like a pro:
appl: Appliances
br: Bedroom
ba or bath: Bathroom
2-c: Two-car garage
cac: Central air
cntp: Countertops
crpt: Carpeting
crwn mldg: Crown molding
cth: Cathedral ceiling
dsp: Garbage disposal
dw, d/w: Dishwasher
ll: Lower level
ul: Upper level
loc: Location
hdwd: Hardwood floors
w/o: Walk-out
w/w: Wall-to-wall


The Tiny House Movement: Fad or Solution?

You don’t have to be house shopping to know that “tiny” is very now. “Tiny” as in “tiny homes,” that is. TV shows, magazines, and the lifestyle sections of newspapers have been promoting the “small is beautiful” philosophy for months now. What’s it all about?

A tiny house or apartment is generally described as less than 400 square feet (37.16 square meters), and, according to Betsy Shiffman in Forbes, “While tiny apartments are hardly a new phenomenon…a new wave of tiny houses and micro apartments is targeted to people who can afford more.”

In the past, families in urban areas lived in tiny apartments because they couldn’t afford bigger. Today’s tiny home buyers go tiny because they want to.

As Shiffman points out, “In Manhattan, a 100-square-foot broom closet on the Upper West side goes for a cool $1,100… and in Tokyo, so-called “coffin” apartments go for anywhere between $500 and $1000 per month for 50 to 75 square feet (4.6 to 6.9 square meters) of space.”

In the U.S., according to Collin Binkley of Associated Press, “Backers of tiny living say the movement is growing, and certain areas have become hotspots. Villages of little homes have popped up in cities like Portland and Seattle.”

However, a recent article in the Globe & Mail takes on the myth of happy tiny-home owners. “Are tiny homes really sustainable?”

The writer, Erin Anderssen, points to at least one poster family for the tiny housing movement: “They lasted 18 months before they decided it was ‘too small’ and moved into an apartment.”

That said, the movement remains popular across North America, especially with the millennial contingent.

And, interestingly, several urban areas are currently exploring the feasibility of tiny homes in the battle against homelessness.

Are tiny houses just another craze or might they represent a solution to an intractable urban problem? It remains to be seen.

Are You Being Served? (And Do You Really Want to Be?)

Being Served Self-checkout options first appeared in grocery stores more than a decade ago, offering shoppers a “quick” and “easy” alternative to lining up. Now, self-serve alternatives appear everywhere, from fast food restaurants to movie theatres. But do they truly offer consumers ease, speed, and convenience? Maybe not.

In a recent episode of the television show Marketplace, shoppers were provided with identical grocery lists; some were asked to use the self-checkout, while others lined up for a cashier. Interestingly, the cashier was faster, and made fewer mistakes. The show noted that mistakes are common among self-serve customers, who often enter the incorrect code or push the wrong buttons. Employee input is required to fix the mistakes.

The technology does offer companies proven benefits. As Marketplace reported, an early experiment by McDonald’s found that consumers spent an average of 30 percent more when using self-checkouts, possibly because they might be too embarrassed to upsize their order in front of the cashier.

Of course, the self-serve option saves money that would otherwise be spent by businesses to staff checkout lanes, supply desks, and kiosks. According to a report on self-service published by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the cost of an airline staff member check-in is $3. The cost of a passenger checking in via a self-service kiosk is 14 cents.

For many consumers, it’s not about time savings or convenience; it’s about doing it yourself. These days, many shoppers prefer to take control of the process and navigate the checkout or check-in process by themselves.

How to Plan the Best Vacation Ever

Vacay Summer vacation time is approaching, and now’s the time to start planning. Vacations aren’t a luxury; they’re crucial. Spend the time, and money, to make it great for everyone. Book good hotels. Consider nonstop flights. Fill your itinerary with must-see items.

Consult the kids. Going on vacation is a team effort. Choose activities with everyone – including you – in mind. Go to where the locals are and enjoy what they enjoy. The kids will love the energy, and you’ll love giving them the chance learn about other cultures.

Strike up conversations with strangers; it’s amazing what you can discover from other travelers.

Be active. We all spend too much time in front of screens. Swim. Snorkel. Surf. The key to your relaxation-and rejuvenation-could be breaking a sweat.

But embrace the quiet, too. Not every trip should be a meticulously planned whirlwind educational tour. Plan some time to be alone as a family. It’s something everyone will enjoy…and remember.

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!

Get Fast Mortgage Approval From the Comfort of Home

While it certainly isn’t for everyone, if you’re comfortable with Internet shopping, a do-it-yourself mortgage may be for you.

According to a recent article in Fortune, the mortgage market has tightened over the past few years, and even qualified buyers are finding it difficult to enter the housing market. It may be time to look elsewhere.

The most recent product, Rocket Mortgage from Quicken, has been around since 2015, but attracted mass attention through an ad during this year’s Super Bowl game. Competitor Guaranteed Rate is using TV home makeover host Ty Pennington to promote its product. Both provide an online option that may give traditional lenders a run for their money.

“Applying for a mortgage and supplying supporting documents – traditionally one of the most time-consuming, paperwork-intensive, and frustrating financial exercises around – increasingly is being automated. That means applicants will find the process easier, faster, and, possibly, less expensive than before,” says financial writer Russ Wiles in USA Today.

According to one Rocket client, you get actual approval in minutes, including verification of credit, income, and assets. It also shaves off an estimated seven days from the process. The human touch is evident, as hands-on appraisals and underwriter approvals are required; humans are also available to work through glitches.

Some are concerned about a seeming return to the risky lending practices of the bad old days, but this does not appear to be happening. The only negative to date is applying for a mortgage in your sweats with your morning coffee. And is that really a negative?


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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