Real Estate Information

Greater El Paso Texas and New Mexico Real Estate Blog

Barry & Tammy Karch


Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8

What To Look For When Buying A Home

by Barry & Tammy Karch

We have helped countless people find homes over the last 30 years.  In order to help you take advantage of our experience, we'd like to provide you with a few suggestions for considerations when house hunting.

1.  First step - if you are going to be financing your purchase, get preapproved.  There is no cost to do this and it may only take a day or less to accomplish.  You might ask why you should do this first.  There are several reasons.  First of all, you will find out exactly what price range is right for you so you can shop with confidence.  Secondly, you will know what you are looking at as far as expenses go so there will be no surprises.  Finally, when you find your dream home, you will need a prequalification letter with your offer to prove to the sellers that you are qualified so they will take your offer seriously.  We can recommend a mortgage company for you if you don't have one.

2.  Decide what features are must haves and which ones are wishes.  This makes it much easier to focus in on the right homes for you and will save you time and frustration.

3.  When you find a house you like, make sure to look at the neighborhood.  Do the neighbors keep up their homes well or are they in disrepair?  If surrounding homes are in poor condition, it's going to bring your value down.  You should also look at the size of the surrounding homes.  If the one you like is the biggest one on the block, the surrounding homes could also impact your home's value.  We can help you with finding out the selling prices of other homes in the neighborhood so that find out if the asking price is reasonable or not.

4.  Always get a home inspection.  Your home may be your biggest purchase.  It's worth a little bit of money to have a professional check it out structurally and mechanically - even if you are interested in a new home.  No homes are perfect.

5.  Consider resale.  Yes, you are just buying the home now, but you probably won't live in it for the rest of your life and will want to sell it one day.  Make sure that the home's floor plan will suit a number of different lifestyles so that there will be a large market of potential buyers in the future.  You'll want to think long and hard if the home you're looking at has any unusual features that would not appeal to many people.

6.  A home is generally a long term investment.  No one can predict the future, but we'd recommend that you have at least a 5 year time frame to own the home or you run a high risk of losing money when you go to sell.  It takes some time to generate enough equity to pay for your selling expenses and hopefully make you a profit.

Of course there are many other considerations and every situation is different.  We just wanted to provide you with some general guidelines to follow.  Let us know if you have any questions or if we can help.


Why We Love El Paso

by Barry & Tammy Karch

Recently we spent a weekend in a city we loved in our youth.  We thought it was paradise and always wanted to move back there one day.

Boy were we shocked when we got there.  Paradise no more!  The city has become way overgrown.  Nothing but traffic jams everywhere.  It took forever to go even a few miles.  And for the privilege of living there, you get to pay astronomical prices for the homes.  We saw a 2300 square foot home built in the 1970s - and not one thing in the home had been changed since then -it still had the felt wallpaper in the master bath! - and the price was $525,000!

When we landed back in El Paso, it really hit us that sometimes you don't appreciate what's right in front of you enough.  When we got out of the airport, the sun was shining, the sky was blue.  There was no traffic driving home.  Our home is much nicer that the one that we saw for $525,000. 

We love the majestic mountains running through the middle of town.  Our crime rate is the lowest of all the major cities in the US!  Our restaurant and entertainment scene continues to grow and become more diverse.  The people here are super friendly.

In summary, El Paso provides a great lifestyle.  While much of the country is experiencing record cold weather, we have temperatures in the upper 70s in February!  It's easy to get around.  There's lots to do.  Quality of life is great!

Glad to be home!!!

El Paso Market Statistics 2014

by Barry & Tammy Karch

El Paso's real estate market in 2014 was a bit like running on a treadmill.  There was a lot of activity, but we didn't get anywhere.  5% more homes sold than the previous year, but the median sales price remained unchanged at $140,000.  The average days for a home to sell was 70 days, which is very good - and when homes sold, they sold for 97% of the list price.

How will 2015 be?  It looks like it will get off to a fast start because 21% more homes went pending in December 2014 than in December 2013. 

Interest rates remain extremely low, which along with the low sales prices, should be the formula for another active year.

How Accurate are Zillow's "Zestimates"?

by Barry & Tammy Karch

I'm frequently asked about Zillow's "Zestimates" of property value.  How accurate are they?  The answer - they are not accurate at all.  They can be too high and they can be too low.  These are automated computer generated valuations - obviously no one has seen the house - and seeing the house is very important.  The most important factor in valuation is location.  What is the street like?  Is it a quiet cul-de-sac or a busy street?  Does it back to a highway?  What are the surrounding land uses?  Are there commercial properties all around?  What are the neighbors like?  Do they keep up their properties?

And what about the house itself?  How is it maintained?  Are there any updates?  Hardwood floors?  Granite countertops?  What type of air conditioning?  What is the floor plan like? And the list goes on and on.  You get the idea.  None of these factors are taken into consideration.

So why are there Zestimates?  To get your attention.  To draw you to the site.  To give you something to talk about.  I would consider them for entertainment purposes only but don't rely on them.  If they were so accurate, why are appraisals required?  Because banks want someone who is going to value the property to actually see it.

Automated valuation models are going to get more popular in the future as others try to compete with Zillow.  I wouldn't put much weight in any of them.  None of them are going to replace a person going to a property and actually taking a look at it.

The First Step To Take In Buying A Home

by Barry & Tammy Karch

Very often people contact me and say that they're interested in buying a home but don't know how to get started.  The first step that I recommend that people should take is to get preapproved for your financing (unless you plan to buy your home with cash).  Why?  First of all, you'll find out exactly what price range is right for you, allowing you to house hunt with confidence.  Secondly, when we find the right house, sellers usually want to see a prequalification letter before they will consider your offer. 

Why not take care of this upfront, so that you are ready when you find your dream home - and won't risk losing it while you have to wait to get preapproved?  The process is simple.  You can usually get an answer in only a few hours - AND - there is NO COST to get preapproved. 

If you are serious about finding a home, take care of getting preapproved right now.  Just click here and you can apply online - and then get on to the fun part - finding your new home!


Home Warranties

by Barry & Tammy Karch

Did you know that you can get a home warranty on an existing home?  There are many companies that sell one year coverage.  The cost is typically in the $375 - $450 range.  They generally cover electrical system, plumbing system, appliances, air conditioner, water heater, furnace, and more.  If a covered item breaks down during the warranty period, you would contact the warranty company and they will either repair or replace the item.  They will charge you a house call fee, typically about $75.

If you are buying a home, oftentimes the seller will be willing to pay for the warranty for you, so it doesn't cost you anything.  If you are the seller, why would you want to do so?  A few reasons, perhaps it will help get your home sold.  Also, it can lower your potential liability should an item break after you sell your home.

Warranty companies notify me when a claim is filed by a client of mine and I am amazed at how much money they pay out to repair items.  It seems like items often break right after the home is sold.

That reminds me, warranty companies also offer seller coverage - often at no cost - so if an item breaks during the listing period, it can be repaired or replaced for only the cost of the house call.

In summary, I think warranties are a good idea for peace of mind.  By the way, warranty companies do not pay me anything if a client of mine buys a warranty - so I am totally unbiased on this - just from experience it seems to be a good idea.

Let me know if you have questions on home warranties or if there is anything else that I can do to help.

You can search all homes for sale in El Paso Texas by clicking here.

$0 Down Financing Is Available!

by Barry & Tammy Karch

For a limited time, special $0 down financing is available!  There are two options.  One for first time home buyers and one for certain people who are not first time home buyers.  Here's how they work.

For first time buyers, you can receive 5% down payment assistance, which will not only cover your entire down payment, put will also cover some of your closing costs!  The interest rate on this loan is 4.5% (6.064% APR) for 30 years.  There are certain credit and income requirements.  Call or email me for details.

Non-first time home buyers have two choices:  you can also receive 5% down payment assistance, which, again, will not only cover your entire down payment, but some of your closing costs.  The interest rate is 4.5% (6.064% APR) for 30 years. Another option is 4% interest (5.56% APR) WITH 3% down payment assistance.  In order to be eligible for these financing options, you must be a professional educator or a hero (law enforcement or fireman). Again, there are credit and income requirements.  

If you've always wanted to own your own home but were short the down payment money, this may be your way to make your dream of home ownership come true.  Call or email me for more details.

You can search all homes listed for sale in El Paso by clicking here




Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Barry & Tammy Karch

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall down the road, while others are convinced that home prices will go up.

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have fluctuated, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, a one point rise in interest rates could cost tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates while they are still available.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8




Contact Information

Barry & Tammy Karch
The Real Estate Power Houses
5823 N. Mesa #732
El Paso TX 79912
Barry: (915)549-4663
Tammy: (915)203-7963
Fax: (915)975-8148