STAY COOL MY FRIENDS

Helter swelter, you could fry an egg on the sidewalk! Eat the egg, but don’t BE the egg. If you follow these 10 tips, you may actually find that there are ways to enjoy the dog days of summer. Our bodies, moods, and bills take a toll during the scorching summer heat, but don’t let the temperature and humidity keep you from the beach, outdoor entertaining, and boating. Stay cool, my comPADREs.

  1. Clothing is your friend. It seems instinctual to remove as many items as possible without fear of an arrest. However, loose, long garments made from natural and breathable fibers will actually keep you cooler than bearing it all. The shade from the clothing protects the body, and the loose fit allows air flow to evaporate sweat.
  2. Accessories are not your friend. You’re still cute without your statement metallic necklace and fun hoop earrings. These are sun magnets and could actually burn you. Furthermore, if you’re able to pull your hair off your neck, opt for that flouncy pony tail or bun. You want that breeze on your neckline (pressure point, which we’ll get to later). Sunglasses ARE an acceptable and encouraged accessory.
  3. As are hats. It’s believed that roughly 20% of our blood supply flows to our faces. Simply covering your head can lower the heat to the rest of your body. Hats, bandanas, and hooded tops can make all the difference. Dust off that floppy beach hat you wear only on vacation – it’s functional AND adorable!
  4. On the topic of fashion, light colors are better than dark. White, beige, and light pastels reflect the sun and keep you cooler, whereas its darker counterpart absorbs heat. Welcome, your new go-to trend for this season’s garb. Be bold, try mint!
  5. Speaking of herbs and trends…do as the traditional herbalists do and reach for those mint body washes, lotions, and oils. They have a cool and calming effect that when eaten or used on the skin can help fight the heat. See? I have given you the reason you’ve been searching for to slurp down that mint julep. Try dabbing a bit of spearmint or peppermint oil on your neck or chest for a quick burst of cooling sensation.
  6. AFTER your mint julep, get busy hydrating. This is possibly the No. 1 preventive measure you can take to stay cool. Drink as much water as your belly can handle. Your body actually won’t tell you that you’re thirsty until it’s too late, as thirst will usually come late in the dehydration process. Be proactive in your hydration. Don’t love water? Try lemonade, sports drinks, coconut water, or munch on some watermelon!
  7. That’s right, eating can help, too. Aside from the obvious choice snacks that are high in water concentrate such as cucumber, celery, lettuce and strawberries, a less obvious but surprisingly effective alternative is spicy food! I know, it seems counterintuitive to want to sip a bowl of hot chili, but studies show that eating spicy foods can cool the body by making you sweat and therefore lowering your internal temperature. Whip up a nice curry chicken salad or jalapeño guacamole and let your mouth do the work.
  8. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. Protecting your skin does more than preventing you from premature aging, sun poisoning, and even skin cancer. Our intensely strong South Texan sun can burn even the most experienced sun worshipers in 20 minutes. Sunburns impact your body’s ability to cool itself down, therefore increasing your risk for dehydration. If you’re not on the sunscreen bandwagon, try an SPF 15. Anything is better than nothing.
  9. Cool your pulse points. These are the points on your body where you can easily feel your pulse – the skin is often thinner there and your blood vessels are closer to the surface. Cooling your blood helps cool your entire body. Tip: Keep a cup of water nearby to dab on the body’s cooling points: temples, wrists, knees, ankles, thighs and elbows.
  10. Seek shade. This may seem obvious, but compared to direct sun, shade can make the temperature up to 15 degrees cooler! There is a huge difference between an unbearable 100° and a lovely 85°. Can’t find shade? Make your own! Bring an umbrella to the beach, put a sail shade over your pool, or put an awning over your patio. If you can find some shade and a nice breeze (don’t have a hard time finding wind here!) you are sittin’ pretty.

PADRE ISLES PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION – DID YOU KNOW?

As a Real Estate Agent, I am commonly being asked questions regarding the Island’s POA. Whether you are new to the Island or have lived here many years, I hope to provide some clarity and possibly unknown information to those who may be wondering…what are they all about.

The POA oversees 26 subdivisions, with the exception of Packery Channel (who doesn’t have one), and Cane Harbor (who has their own). All but three subdivisions (Seapines, Section A and Section B) that DO belong to the POA pay the new fees (that aren’t really new anymore). Back in 2007, they changed. Annual POA fees are calculated by the size of the lot itself. Prior to 2007, the fees were .1 cent a square foot for an interior/water access lot, and .2 cents a square foot for a waterfront lot. With the exception of the three aforementioned subdivisions that did not approve the fee change, they’ve been .2 cents a square foot for interior/water access lots and .10 cents a square foot for waterfront lots for 10 years now. These annual fees cover the following: Maintaining the medians at Whitecap and Seapines, common area maintenance such as cul de sacs, canal end landscaping, and the 7 public boat ramps around the Island. The reason the cost is higher for a waterfront home is because these fees also cover canal bulkheads.

FACTS:

POA

  • When voting, POA board members need 50% + 1 to pass.
  • They have a seed account in the event of a hurricane in access of $9,000,000, of which they added $300,000 to this past year.
  • They spend roughly $500,000 a year on repairing canal bulkheads.
  • The architectural control committee (ACC) is responsible for reviewing plans for new builds, renovations, fencing, decks/docks, shade structures/any structure really, but NOT landscaping. Currently, the committee has 4 members, but they are seeking a 5th.
  • The ACC is also in charge of “unsightly properties,” defining them, and working on cleaning them up to maintain property values.
  • A gentleman is out on the canals every single day cleaning the debris.
  • On the POA website, you can find requirements for building, setbacks, decking depths, etc. for each and every subdivision.
  • The POA has three notaries.
  • The POA has a swapping library.
  • Approximately 5,300 residents are within the association, making PIPOA the largest HOA in Texas and possibly the United States.

ISLAND STATS

  • Available lots left:

629 interior

148 waterfront

87 multi-family

277 commercial

  • The population on the Island is approximately 13,000, compared to roughly 330,000 in Corpus Christi.
  • Of all crime committed in Corpus, only 2% of it comes from the Island, and 60% of that is “victim assisted,” meaning garages are left open, items in boats aren’t put away, etc.
  • 525 children are enrolled in the Island charter school.
  • All parks on the Island are actually owned by the city.
  • Water depths: 18 inches – 2 feet near the bulkheads, and roughly 6 feet in the center of the canals.
  • It is a NO WAKE ZONE until you get to the ski canals or the Laguna Madre.

ISLAND STICKER

  • Often referred to as the “vanity sticker” as Island residents are proud to show where they live, the sticker allows residents to park at the boat ramps.
  • Common misconception: the sticker DOES NOT allow you back on the Island in the event of an evacuation. Sticker or not, you’ll only be allowed back on with two forms of ID showing your Island address AND utilities have to be back on before anyone is allowed access.

 

 

THE TIME OF THE TOWNHOUSE

islandtownhomes448x298These dwellings are having their shining moment, thanks to an increased demand by both first-time buyers and Boomers alike! Both appear to be seeking the appeal for walkable communities in which the amenities are grand, you can get a great bang for your buck, and often less maintenance (big perk for both busy, young families and Boomers alike!).

Nationally, the number of townhouses built last year increased 18% percent over 2014. Here on the Island, the number is even more incredible!

70 townhomes were sold between September 15, 2015 – September 15, 2016

44 townhomes were sold between September 15, 2014 – September 15, 2015

That’s a whopping increase in townhome sales! The long-run prospects for townhouse construction are positive given the large numbers of homebuyers looking for high density “neighborhoods,” near the action (eh em, the new Marina District perhaps?) that offer proximity to the happenings along with community amenities.

Perk #1: Own That Land, You American Dreamer You!

What’s the main difference between a condo and a townhome you ask? It’s simple. As a condo owner, you own only your unit, nothing below or above you. As a townhome owner, you own the planet Earth beneath you, and the sky above you. And, as the Homeowners Association will nearly always maintain the complex grounds, you can be a lazy bum and still have a nice yard, albeit likely small.

Perk #2: That HOA Though…

So you own a nice patch of grass, or maybe a cute pom pom bush. Your HOA will take care of it! Many HOAs will even allow owners to plant that desired petunia border you’ve always dreamt of, just ask. So long as you pay your monthly dues, your grass will be mowed, your exterior painted, your roof re-shingled, your pool cleaned, your exterior insurance paid, and the list can go on. Now, each HOA will be different, and each will have a list of items they maintain and don’t maintain, so make sure you know what’s agreed upon and who does what in the yard. As many prefer to keep the fronts looking manicured and uniform, you may have to plant your Sneezewort Yarrow in the back.

Perk #3: Don’t Ever Leave!

When you buy a townhouse, it often comes with a community, and that community has amenities. Some developments have a pool, a laundry room, possibly boat slips (if on the canal) maybe a recreational room, etc. You may not have to leave but to go do your grocery shopping! This can be very appealing. And as an owner, you own a percentage of each of the common facilities.

Perk #4: Save Some $$

Although this isn’t a steadfast rule here on Padre, townhouses can be less expensive than single-family residences. Townhouses sometimes have the fancy upgrades built right in that you otherwise couldn’t afford in a house, like granite countertops, high-end appliances, or eco-friendly materials. And although they are often multilevel that share a side wall or two with another unit, they can have as many bedrooms and bathrooms as will fit in the floor plan, just like a single-family house. The point is, you can get a lot of the same stuff in a townhouse that you can find in a regular house, but you typically pay less for it.

Perk #5: Tight-Knit Community

Having Mrs. Kravitz nearby isn’t always a bad thing! With units that are close, and parking areas that may be shared, it’s possible that you and your neighbors see and know what’s going on with one another. As most townhomes on the Island do not allow short-term rentals, the neighborhood is often more stable in terms of less turnover and more face familiarity. This can be desirable for the young family who needs neighborly help watching kids, or the more “medically fragile” older couple who may find peace of mind knowing that their neighbors could check on them if they go sight unseen for a day or two. Travel a lot? Now Nosie Nelly doesn’t seem so bad, as she’ll be able to stink eye anyone who looks out of sorts lurking around your townhome.

With 84 townhomes currently for sale on the Island, maybe it’s time to pay them some attention!

CONSEQUENTIALLY CONTINGENT

22869326 - coming to an agreement through negotiation illustrated by three road or street signs with the words you want, i want, negotiate

The C word – it’s not well understood, so it’s not well liked. But, we should no longer feel the need to whisper it only in dark shadows after certain hours. Unless you’re a first-time home buyer or have been renting, there’s a chance you’ll need to sell your home before purchasing a new one. And the safest way for a buyer to do this is through a contingency. Let it be known, this is a beautiful risk and has pretty perks, so for those of you who see the glass half full, this one’s for you. For the rest, as they say, pour your liquid into a smaller cup and no longer fear this scenario.

 

What does it Mean?

By definition, it means a future event or circumstance that is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty. In real estate, this clause defines a condition or action that must be met in order for a real estate contract to become binding (as aforementioned, with a home sale contingency in place, the transaction is dependent upon the sale of the buyer’s home). The contingency becomes part of a binding sales contract when both parties agree to the terms and sign the contract.

Why is it Risky?

To Sellers: the main risk is that there is no guarantee that the home will sell. Before agreeing to a contingency, a seller may want to do their due diligence, for instance: is the home already for sale, is the list price attractive, what’s the sales time for homes in the neighborhood.

To Buyers: Buyers must still spend the same amount of money on home inspections, repair negotiations, appraisal fee (to name a few) and the buyer does not get these monies back if the deal falls through due to their property not selling on time. Also, because sellers are taking a gamble of sorts of the buyers ability to sell their current property, buyers need to make their offer as attractive as possible so that the seller will consider this risk.
What are the Benefits?

To Sellers: One major benefit is that the home can continue to be shown, and the seller can continue to receive offers. If the seller accepts a written offer, the seller is required to notify the buyer of such acceptance.  Per the contract, the buyer has a specified amount of time (say, 2-3 days) to either remove the contingency and put down additional earnest money, or the contract terminates automatically and the earnest money is refunded to the buyer. A home sale contingency might also be a good thing if the seller has had the property on the market for a while and is unable to find a buyer. A contract with a contingency is still a contract, and there is a chance that the property will sell.

To Buyers: A home sale contingency gives buyers the opportunity to not miss out on the home they want, while allowing them time to sell their property. This way, buyers can avoid owning two homes and holding two mortgages at one time while waiting for their own home to sell. A home sale contingency can allow the buyer to sell their property with peace of mind knowing their next purchase is already in motion.
Why is it Misunderstood?

Many may only see the risks and not truly understand the benefits. Home sale contingencies protect buyers who want to sell one home before purchasing another. Upon receiving or writing a contract involving a contingency, it is important to review and understand the terms of the sale. This is something your real estate agent should be able to explain in detail to you. Fear not the world of contingencies, as knowledge is power!

 

Save and Spend Smartly

piggy-bank-It’s hot here on Padre Island, and I’m not talking just the high temperatures. It is real estate’s steamy season, and properties are being listed and sold faster than season tickets at the ‘bahn. With the active market, it’s critical to take a look at your spending. How can you be assured you’re not wasting money? Here are some smart tips on how to save and spend during peak purchase season. Do not fall victim to these common money mistakes.

 

BUYERS:

DO NOT overpay. Unless you find yourself in a bidding war for the home of your absolute dreams, there is not a single home like it, and you do not plan to leave, ever ever ever, do not pay over the appraised value. Note: Do not get this number from the tax office, get this from an actual appraiser who visits the home and runs their own detailed determination of real value.

DO get an inspection. It’s worth the couple hundred dollars. Do your due diligence and know what you’re buying. If there is a deficiency on a large ticket item, it’s best to find out ahead of time so you can budget for it in the future or you can ask the seller to help right the wrong. You do not want to find these deficiencies later, once the sale is over, and you haven’t budgeted for them.

DO NOT make a lowball offer. Negotiating is normal, and it’s okay to not offer full price. But if you’re interested enough to make an offer, make sure it’s worth your time and the seller’s time. Your agent will be able to give their best advice as to what a good offer price would be, based on comparables and their knowledge of the market and area.

DO lender shop. Different lenders can offer different rates. Shop around, see with whom you can save and where.

DO NOT make large purchases prior to closing. This is a huge expensive mistake, as it can alter your credit score and can actually take you from having loan approval to not. You can lose your property and in turn gain something of expense (whatever it was that you bought, albeit a car, boat, etc.).

SELLERS:

DO NOT remodel what won’t pay off. If you’re going to do some upgrading prior to listing your property, spend money in the kitchen. This is a room that’s important. Otherwise, less expensive updates you can do include painting, new hardware, fixtures and carpet. Gutting bathrooms and shellacking your garage floor is likely not worth the pay off.

DO price properly. Your listing agent will be able to guide you to a proper sales price, so use their knowledge! You’re paying them, after all. If your property is priced too high, it’s likely to not sell as quickly, wasting your money on months of bills, taxes, mortgage payments, etc.

DO NOT reject reasonable offers. Letting your emotions get in the way of your sale can be tough, but you do not want to push qualified buyers away because you’re not remembering that this is in fact business. At the very least, provide a counter offer.

DO disclose. If there are issues that you do know about, it’s the law to disclose known deficiencies. If you do not, this could turn in to a lawsuit. Talk about expensive!

Try to keep these Dos and Don’ts in mind this summer and in to the fall, and you will be free from the most expensive mistakes that buyers and sellers tend to make. You work hard for your money, so keep your dollars where they will work for YOU!

Hydrostatic Testing

plumbing-840835_640You got your home under contract! You’re so excited, a buyer loves your home as much as you do! Then, inspections are set up. The three inspections typically performed on a home here are the general inspection, the pest inspection, and the plumbing inspection.

It’s this last one that seems to be an inspection that, as of late, has been causing some unease among sellers.

Fear not, sellers! The truth is, this is not at all a scary or intrusive test. But it is an important one. The only way to calm a fear or unease is to be well informed. Here I’ll break it down so that when the time comes, as either a buyer or a seller, this test is nothing to think twice about.

Definition: A hydrostatic test is a way in which pressure vessels can be tested for strength and leaks.

Don’t let the word pressure fool you. There is a common misconception that pressure is put on your system during this test. That is far from the truth. What the plumber does is quite simple. They will find your sewer cleanout/sanitary drain pipe and insert a testball/balloon into the piping and inflate it near the perimeter of the foundation. Next, they’ll simply fill the system up with water. They will then find a commode and/or shower on the lowest level and monitor the water levels. If the water maintains its level (they’ll typically watch for roughly 15 minutes) then there are no leaks! IF the water happens to fall, there is indication of a leak somewhere in the system.

Leaks often occur when foundations have shifted. Because we are built on sand here on the Island, it’s relatively rare to have a failed hydrostatic test as foundations move less on sand. In the case of a failed test, the next step is to find where the leak actually is. That test is slightly more involved, but still not dangerous to the system. An Isolation Test is what should be scheduled next, and this test finds the actual source of the leak. It’s smart to have a different plumber perform this test to eliminate the possible suspicion of an intentional failed test to get more business (as the isolation test is far more expensive).

The entire inspection/hydrostatic test takes roughly 20 minutes. Like a ninja in the night, you may not even know they were there! Our local plumbers are knowledgeable, true professionals who are happy to answer your questions or concerns.

Note: This test typically costs around $85, and only a licensed plumber is to perform this inspection.

Did you know? A hydrostatic test is DIFFERENT than a static test. They are sometimes accidentally interchangeably used in casual conversation regarding the plumbing inspection, and there’s where some confusion can occur in terms of whether pressure is put on your system during a hydrostatic test. A STATIC test is what indicates pressure, and you can do it yourself – it’s a gauge that you can purchase at any hardware store that you screw on to your hose bib. Then, turn the water on and the gage will tell you how much pressure it is outputting. Don’t let a static test be confused with a hydrostatic test.

Dine Island

dineisland

Here on the Island, we all speak one common language, and that is FOOD! It’s something that since the beginning of time has brought people together – we have holidays for food, special rooms in our home for making food and eating food, and food is a very universal topic of conversation.

For those of you who are familiar (or, rather, unfamiliar) with Dine Downtown, this event, hosted by Marina Arts, went on from January 18th-31st. It featured some of Corpus Christi’s best restaurants who were able to offer a three course value-priced menu. Residents bought tickets, dined, had a wonderful time, and were able to check out local eateries they may not have been to prior.

It was such a huge success, that Island resident, Debbie Noble, is bringing this concept right to our front doors! But her model is slightly different.

Sponsored by the Padre Island Business Association and the Padre Island Moon, Noble is bringing us together to break bread. This is the first restaurant-type event the Island has ever seen. Restaurants all over the Island have signed up to offer unique three-course dining experience at value price. This does not include beverages, tips and taxes.

The idea is to get both Island residents to try the local fare they haven’t yet made it out to, and to also encourage non islanders from all over the Coastal Bend to come see how special our restaurants are!

“We are so excited to show off our great Island restaurants to the rest of the city and give people a reason to come OTB,” Noble exclaims!

Currently, participating restaurants include: Veranda, Costa Sur, Boathouse, Angry Marlin, Padre Pizzeria, Island Time Sushi, JB’s German Bakery, A La Mode Gelateria, Mikel Mays, Scuttlebutts, Surfside Sandwich, Texas Mesquite BBQ, Black Sheep Bistro, Dragonfly, and Docs. Many will likely offer drink specials or signature drinks for the meal.

What’s best? Every meal that is sold, the participating restaurant gives $1 that goes toward the Corpus Christi Food Bank. Padre Pizzeria is so excited that they are donating $2 for every meal! According to the Food Bank, every dollar allows them to provide 7 meals. Talk about a delicious event for a worthy cause.

Coastline Properties has also graciously offered to match the money from the restaurant that does the most dine island meals. “Cheri Sperling is an instrumental member of the community and wanted to get involved as well,” Noble says.

Mark your calendars, and get ready for two weeks of marathon meals! The hope is to make this an annual event, so mangia!

 

Tax Time 2016

Your home is likely your largest asset, and therefore, deserves special attention at tax time. Be sure you’re handling them correctly this year, using these tips!

Deduct from the correct year:

Here, we’re billed in arrears on our taxes, which can be confusing when taking the tax deduction. You’ll want to be sure to enter the amount you actually paid in that tax year, no matter what the date on your tax bill says. Because of this, it can be easy to confuse your payments and actually claim the incorrect amount.

Note: If taxes were paid from your escrow account, do not just deduct the amount escrowed. That’s because sometimes the amount you pay from this account can be a little bit higher or a little bit lower. Your lender will align the two to make sure they end up matching.

For example: Your property taxes were $6,000. Your lender collected $5,800. Or, maybe your lender collected $6,200. You’ll deduct $6,000, the actual taxes paid. This number will be the amount noted on your Form 1098.

Deduct your mortgage interest:

A home mortgage interest deduction allows you, the taxpayers who owns your home, to write off any interest you paid on a loan secured by your home (main home or a second home). The loan may be a mortgage, a line of credit, or a home equity loan. This allows you to reduce your taxable income by the amount of interest paid on the loan.

Note: You must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040), and prove your mortgage is a secured debt on a qualified home in which you own.

Exceptions: You cannot deduct mortgage interest on a mortgage that is over $1,000,000, or you have over $100,000 in home equity debt.

Refinanced?

If you’ve refinanced, you’ll be deducting points over the life of your new loan (as opposed to your regular mortgage, where you’ve been deducting points based on what you paid your lender to secure your mortgage over the course of your loan’s life – 15 years, 30 years…)

For example: Let’s say you paid $3,000 in points for a refinance of 30 years. You’ll divide 3,000 by 30 and pay $100 a year.

Went green?

If you made any energy improvements, such as installing solar electric, solar water heater, geothermal, any energy-efficient systems…you may be able to take a 10% tax credit up to a certain dollar amount. However, these are one-time credits. If you claimed your new energy-efficient windows last year, you can’t do it again.

Note: See Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits

Don’t forget to:

  • Keep track of your home-related expenses.
  • Track your capital gains (If you sold your main home last year, you’ll have to pay capital gains taxes on your profit from that sale). Keep your receipts as long as you own the property plus three years.
  • Deduct your home office (If you’re eligible, you can deduct $5 per sq. ft. up to 300 feet, or up to $1,500 a year).
  • Keep your mortgage payoff statements forever. You never know when you may need that proof.
  • Keep your appraisal or valuation used to calculate depreciation as long as you’re the owner plus three years.
  • Keep your property tax payment, year-end mortgage statement, PMI payment, and energy tax credit receipt for three years after the due date of the return showing the deduction.

WHAT’S YOUR NORTH PADRE ISLAND STREET NAME MEAN?

A La Entrada – An expedition or journey into unexplored territory, or, in Spanish it means Entrance.

Almeria – A city of southeast Spain on the Gulf of Almería, an arm of the Mediterranean Sea.

Aloha – Hawaiian word used when greeting or parting from someone.

Aquarius – The Water Bearer, a zodiacal constellation – A good person who doesn’t judge.

Aruba – An island in the Netherlands Antilles, in the West Indies.

Atascadera – Atascadero in Spanish means stumbling-block.

Barataria – A bay in The Gulf of Mexico, off Louisiana (See Laffite).

Beaufort – An empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land.

Binnacle – A built-in housing for a ship’s compass.

Blackbeard – Nickname of Edward Thatch who was a notorious English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies.

Bonasse – Easy-going and simple-minded.

Bounty – A British naval ship commanded by Captain William Bligh, which was on a scientific voyage in 1789 between Tahiti and the West Indies when her crew mutinied.

Bowsprit – A spar, extending forward from the stem of a ship, to which the stays of the foremast are fastened.

Brigantine – A two-masted sailing ship, square-rigged on the foremast and having a fore-and-aft mainsail, often with square main topsails.

Broomsedge – Broom sedge: any of several grasses of the genus Andropogon.

Bullion – Gold or silver considered in mass rather than in value.

Cabana – A cabin, hut, or shelter, especially one at a beach or swimming pool.

Cabo Blanco – It’s a fishing village in northwestern Peru, or in Spanish, “White Terminal.”

Camino De Oro – In Spanish, meaning “Path to Gold.”

Camino De Plata – In Spanish, meaning “Path to Silver.”

Canadian Mist – A brand of Blended Canadian whisky produced by the Brown-Forman Corporation.

Capstan – A revolving cylinder with a vertical axis used for winding a rope or cable, powered by a motor or pushed around by levers.

Captain Kidd – 1645(ish)–1701, he was a Scottish navigator and privateer who was hanged for piracy.

Caravel – A small, fast Spanish or Portuguese sailing ship of the 15th–17th centuries.

Carlos Fifth – Carlos THE Fifth is the name of a creepy looking candy bar from Mexico, what you call someone that does something in a stupid manner.

Cartagena – A seaport in SE Spain.

Catamaran – A yacht or other boat with twin hulls in parallel.

Cayo Cantiles – Cayo, in Taíno meaning “small island,” Cantiles in Spanish meaning “cliff.”

Cayo Gorda Ct – Cayo, in Taíno meaning “small island,” Gorda in Spanish meaning “fat.”

Cobo De Bara – Cobo, meaning “sea snail” and Bara in Hebrew means “heaven and earth.”

Commodores – A naval officer of high rank, in particular an officer in the US Navy or Coast Guard ranking above captain and below rear admiral.

Coquina Bay – A soft limestone of broken shells, used in road-making in the Caribbean and Florida.

Cozumel – In Mexico, the name was given to it by the Spaniards; however its origin is derived from the words Cuzam (meaning Swallow) and Lumil (meaning land of).

Crossjack – The lowermost square sail set on the mizzenmast of a ship or of a bark with four or more masts.

Cruiser – A relatively fast warship larger than a destroyer and less heavily armed than a battleship.

Cumana – A city in NE Venezuela founded in 1523 that is the oldest European settlement in South America.

Cutlass – A short sword with a slightly curved blade, formerly used by sailors.

Cuttysark – It is a British clipper ship built on the River Clyde in 1869 for the Jock Willis Shipping Line and was one of the last tea clippers to be built.

Dasmarinas – It is the largest city in the province of Cavite, Philippines. In the 19th century during the Spanish Colonial Period, Dasmariñas was originally called Tampus meaning “end of the forest.”

Dorsal – Relating to the upper side or back of an animal, plant, or organ. Fin – an unpaired fin on the back of a fish or whale.

Doubloon – A Spanish gold coin.

Dragonet – A marine fish that often lies partly buried in the seabed; the male is brightly colored.

Ducat – A gold coin formerly current in most European countries.

Dyna – Simply defined as “power.”

Eaglesnest – The nest of a bird built high up on a cliff or on the top of a mountain OR a room or building built high up so that people inside can see things happening below them.

El Soccorro – It’s a Portuguese-Spanish noun meaning “help” or “relief.”

Emerald – A bright green precious stone consisting of a chromium-rich variety of beryl.

Encantada – In Spanish, means “delighted” as in “pleased to meet you.”

Escapade – An act or incident involving excitement, daring, or adventure.

Finistere – Element which has reached the limits of its expansion.

Flintlock – An old-fashioned type of gun fired by a spark from a flint.

Forestay – A stay leading forward and down to support a ship’s foremast.

Fortuna Bay – Fortuna was the goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion and was represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Justice, and came to represent life’s capriciousness.

Grenadine – A thin fabric of leno weave in silk, nylon, rayon, or wool. Presently, a syrup made from pomegranate juice.

Gun Cay – Where the Lighthouse is located less than 10 miles south of Bimini.

Gunwale – The upper edge of the side of a boat or ship.

Gypsy – A nomadic or free-spirited person.

Halyard – A rope used for raising and lowering a sail, spar, flag, or yard on a sailing ship.

Hawksnest – The nest of a bird of prey OR a house located high on a hill or mountain.

Highland Mist – A Blended Scotch Whisky.

Isabella – A wine made from the fox grape. Also, Queen Isabella  of Castile whose marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon in 1469 marked the beginning of the modern state of Spain.

Isla Colon – Isla meaning Island in Spanish, Colon is a city of northern Panama at the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal.

Isla Pinta – Isla menaing Island in Spanish, Pinta was the fastest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first transatlantic voyage in 1492.

Jackfish – A pike or sauger, especially the northern pike.

Jacktar – It was a common English term used to refer to seamen of the Merchant or Royal Navy. By World War I the term was used as a nickname for those in the U.S. Navy.

Jibstay – In schooners, the stay to which jibs are hanked.

Jolly Roger – A pirate’s flag with a white skull and crossbones on a black background.

Keel  – The longitudinal structure along the centerline at the bottom of a vessel’s hull, on which the rest of the hull is built, in some vessels extended downward as a blade or ridge to increase stability.

Key Largo – The largest island of the Florida Keys.

King Phillip – [War] (1675–77) the first large-scale military action in the American colonies, pitting various Indian tribes against New England colonists and their Indian allies.

La Blanquilla – (N) A very small coin, A Californian fish, A white grape.

Laffite – Pirate Jean Lafitte: he and his brothers smuggled goods to local merchants through the La Barataria (See Barataria) berth on the Louisiana coast in the early 1800s, after the Embargo Act of 1807 barred such trades. Barataria was far from the U.S. naval base, and ships could easily smuggle in goods without being noticed by customs officials. Later, legend has it, he came to our own Packery Channel, as, when pursued, Lafitte’s shallow draft boats could escape into the knee-deep Laguna Madre where larger boats could not follow. Folklore says that he buried treasure here, right near the Port A jetties, and marked it with a golden dagger. 

Lafitte – See Laffite. Pirate Jean Lafitte and his elder brother, Pierre, spelled their last name Laffite, but English-language documents of the time used “Lafitte.”

Lanyard – A rope threaded through a pair of deadeyes, used to adjust the tension in the rigging of a sailing vessel.

Leeward – On or toward the side sheltered from the wind or toward which the wind is blowing; downwind (see opposite, Windward).

Longboat – A large boat that may be launched from a sailing ship.

Main Royal – [mast] Part of the mainmast situated immediately above, and generally formed as a single spar with, the main topgallantmast.

Man O War – An armed sailing ship.

Mingo Cay – An island of the United States Virgin Islands.

Mizzen – The mast aft of a ship’s mainmast.

Mutiny – An open rebellion against the proper authorities, especially by soldiers or sailors against their officers.

Nemo – In Oromo it means “The Man,” but in Latin, the same word means “Nobody.”

Palmira – A city of western Colombia southwest of Bogotá where coffee and tobacco are grown.

Palo Seco – In Spanish means “without anything else.”

Peseta – The basic monetary unit of Spain (until replaced by the euro).

Pionciana – A tropical tree with showy red or red and yellow flowers.

Playa Del Rey – Spanish for “Beach of the King.”

Port Royal – It is a city located at the end of the Palisadoes at the mouth of the Kingston Harbour, in southeastern Jamaica founded in 1518.

Portillo – It literally means “small port” from Latin portus.

Ports O Call – An intermediate port where ships customarily stop for supplies, repairs, or transshipment of cargo.

Primavera – The hard, light-colored timber of a Central American tree.

Punta Bonaire – In Spanish, Punta: point, Bonaire: an island in the E Netherlands Antilles.

Punta Espada – In Spanish, Punta: point, Espada: sword.

Quarterdeck – The part of a ship’s upper deck near the stern, traditionally reserved for officers.

Queen Johanna – She was Queen of Naples and Countess of Provence and Forcalquier from 1343 until her death. She also reigned as Princess of Achaea and claimed the crowns of Jerusalem and Sicily.

Reales – A unit of currency in Spain for several centuries after the mid-14th century.

Royal Fifth – An old royal tax that reserves to the monarch 20% of all precious metals and other commodities acquired by his subjects as war loot, found as treasure or extracted by mining.

Sabre – A heavy cavalry sword with a curved blade and a single cutting edge.

Salt Cay – The second largest of the Turks Islands.

San Felipe – A city in NE Venezuela, on the Orinoco River.

Skysail – A triangular sail set on a stay between the fore and main trucks of a racing schooner.

Tajamar – Spanish for the cutwater.

Tesoro – Spanish for the word treasure.

Three Fathoms Bank – Fathom: a unit of length in the old imperial and the U.S. customary systems, used especially for measuring the depth of water.

Topgallant – The section of a square-rigged sailing ship’s mast immediately above the topmast.

Topsail – A sail, or either of a pair of sails, set immediately above the lowermost sail of a mast and supported by a topmast.

Tortuga – Spanish for the animal Turtle.

Verdemar – Spanish for the color sea-green.

Vincent – From a Latin word meaning “conquering.”

Whitecap – A small wave with a foamy crest.

Windjammer – A merchant sailing ship.

Windward – The side or direction from which the wind is blowing.

Yardarm – The outer extremity of a ship’s yard.

Design Trends in 2016

destrends2016

“This home is so ’70s.” How many times have we heard a home identified by a year based on its appearance and finishes? Well, 2016 will be no different, as fun and fresh designs are sure to be trending.

Outdoors, Indoors

Here on the Island, we practically live outdoors most of the year! Designs are beginning to recognize this. Homeowners are working on bringing the outside in with things like plants, and double doors, and also purchasing furniture that can be used both indoors and out. Create a fluid space where the indoor outdoor living concept is seamless.

Geometric Tiles

Tile backsplashes aren’t a new concept, but what we expect to see in 2016 are using the tiles to create more geometric patterns that feature fluid movement. New materials for this are coming onto the scene such as cement and wood. Whether it is a backsplash, an intricately patterned floor or a countertop, fluid geometry is eye-catching and coming in strong this year.

White Appliances

With so many homeowners going with the trending white cabinets, white appliances just blend right in. Also, many are becoming tired of the maintenance from the marks and handprints that are so evident and inevitable that show up on stainless steel appliances. Try Ice White from Whirlpool. Slate kitchen appliances can also bring a classic and modern look and are gaining momentum.

Metallics, Metals, and Minerals

All trends come back around, and the 1950s and 1970s are hot fashion trends in 2016, and this will also translate to the home. Gold and metallic finishes are exceedingly popular right now. Retro bling, shine, and polished geodes will rock your home (pun intended). Accessorize with oversized bowls of fools gold, big chunks of quartz, or even unpolished semi-precious stones turned into door pulls. Go au natural!

Chevron is Out

Herringbone, Chevron, Zig-Zag, the fun and often colorful pattern was so 2015. If you are still a fan of it, try putting it in easily removable ways, such as an area rug or throw blanket. Don’t stick it up on a large wall. Instead, try solid-colored, textured fabrics, or even animal hide is in!

Bye Brass

Brass hardware is one design element that almost immediately outdates a home. Hardware is one incredibly easy and inexpensive way to update! To replace brass hardware or other knobs, be sure to choose a size that will cover the “footprint” of whatever is currently installed. For 2016, try brushed or satin nickel hardware. Magic.

Fake Wall Treatments

Solids are back. 2016 interior design approaches emphasize authenticity. The prevalent use of natural materials (back to minerals, above) goes back to midcentury modern design. That means it may be time to get rid of the fake wall treatments such as Tuscan paint finishes and marbled columns. Use a solid paint! It’s chic, clean, and IN.

THE REVERSE MORTGAGE, REVISED!

reverse-mortgage-corpus-christi

It’s no longer just a refinance tool, but now also for use with purchases!

First let’s review what a reverse mortgage is. It’s a loan available to homeowners who are at least 62 years old, where instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the lender makes payments to the borrower. The idea is to aid elders and retirees who have wealth in their homes, but have limited income, to cover their basic living expenses and health care expenses.

BUT there is a new program that we should know about. It is called the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for Purchase product. This can greatly enhance the real estate service options we can offer our senior customers who would like to purchase a new home while still maintaining their retirement goals. Many mortgage companies in our Coastal Bend now have departments offering this option, which could be valuable for many seniors looking to relocate closer to family members, downsize, upgrade, or move to an active adult community.

This is an exciting option for qualified homeowners who are purchasing a home. This mortgage option allows homeowners to keep the home in their name while not having any monthly payments.

Who qualifies?

If you are 62 or older, will use the home as your primary residence, have no federal debt delinquency, can pay annual property taxes and homeowners insurance, vow to keep the property presentable, the property meets FHA guidelines, and agree to participate in a counseling session, YOU are qualified!

So how does it work?

When bundling the HECM with a new home purchase, the buyer can buy the property by mixing the HECM loan proceeds along with the proceeds from their previous home sale and/or savings to complete the transaction.

For example: Charlie is looking to downsize. He receives $700,000 from the sale of his home. He buys a home for $300,000. HECM loans Charlie $160,000 ($10,000 to cover closing costs). Charlie puts $150,000 as his downpayment. The remaining $400,000 goes straight into Charlie’s pocket!

  • It involves financing that doesn’t require monthly principal and interest mortgage payments
  • It includes increased purchasing power for those who are upsizing or downsizing
  • It has a streamlined closing process as the buyers are purchasing and getting a HECM all in one transaction
  • It may include supplemental income to support a better retirement, including a growing line-of-credit

Repayment

Just like other loans, the HECM loan must be repaid. But it is unlike traditional loans in that this repayment isn’t due until the owner has sold the home, no longer uses it as their primary residence, or passes away. When one of these scenarios occurs, the HECM and any accrued interest and mortgage insurance must be paid, but the perk is that the homeowner will never pay more than the home’s market value at the time of repayment.

So run, don’t walk! Your dream retirement home is waiting…

SECOND HOME BUYING ON PADRE ISLAND TEXAS

I, for one, admire Winter Texans. They’ve got the right idea: Come to our piece of paradise, spend a few months, spend a few bucks, then repeat! Some come in RVs, others have a home/townhome/condo to which they retreat. The time is coming to welcome our Winter Texans back, and it’s the Winter Texan “way” that reminds me of one powerful investment tool – real estate of course! We are lucky enough to live in a place where many come to vacation. Whether you live here and want to capitalize on the growing rental market, or you’ve got relatives and friends to whom you’d love to persuade to do the same or invest in a vacation home…Get your own piece of Padre Island Pie!

But WHY is now a good time, and WHAT makes real estate this aforementioned “powerful investment tool”?

WHY:

With the population of the Coastal Bend steadily increasing, more businesses coming to the area, and the increasing amount of national attention we’ve gained over the past few years, it’s no wonder investors and second home buyers have piqued interest.

Most would agree that the spring and summer are the good selling months. But I say, why discriminate?! Winter has its perks, too! The crowds looking to invest that haven’t already are coming at a good time…price reductions are common this time of year, and sellers aren’t competing with as many other homes for sale as, say, the spring time.

First thing is first, what are your goals? To be an investor, or to use the property for vacation and enjoyment? There is certainly NO wrong answer here!

WHAT:

But what are the elements of value to an investor? Well that depends on their commitment: Do they intend on having a long-term or short-term investment? Will they live there part-time themselves or will they use it as a rental? Property values and their projected appreciation may play a large role in a buyer’s intentions. So may tax depreciation, capital gains, and inflation hedge. As important as these matters are, they may be a little snooze-worthy. So let’s make it quick.

Let’s take a look at each of these potential advantages:

Projected Appreciation: This is a percentage that estimates what your property will be worth in the future. Of course nothing is promised, but the numbers could aid in the decision process.

Tax Depreciation: COULD help you maximize your tax savings. This is the depreciation that can be listed as an expense on a tax return, the gradual charging to expense of a fixed asset’s cost over its useful life.

Capital Gains: Another key tax advantages of owning investment property. Capital gains on investment real estate is the difference between the sales price and the cost of purchase and improvements. They’re taxed at either a short-term rate or a long-term or reduced rate.

Inflation Hedge: This has to do with the rent that’s charged to the tenant. Some leases have provisions for rent increases to be indexed to inflation. In other cases, rental rates are increased whenever a lease term expires and the tenant is renewed. Either way, real estate income tends to increase faster in inflationary environments, allowing an investor to maintain its real returns.

Selling: When rental properties are sold, the proceeds can be rolled into other rental property without paying capital gains taxes. This is called a 1031-Tax Exchange.

Now, what about those who’d like to get away from their primary residence and invest in a second home? Fortunately for many of us, you don’t have to be a part of the ultra rich to own a second home! This, too, could be wise, even if it will only be used for family and friends and not as a rental.

Here are some helpful tips that may guide you in the right direction:

  1. Have money. This may seem obvious but daunting, but let me explain that it doesn’t mean millions in the bank. Unless you’re paying cash, your lender’s underwriter needs to see that you have adequate reserves (as often your downpayment will be larger for a second property).
  2. Consider your debt-to-income ratio. If it’s too high, this may be an issue for your lender.
  3. Spend time in the area, first! Know that you love the region and foresee wanting to be there often before buying there. Do your due diligence on the right neighborhood, the costs of maintenance, HOA dues, taxes, insurance, etc.
  4. Double the fun, but potentially double the work! Assess the yard – will you need someone to mow it while you’re not there? Will the pool need weekly maintenance?
  5. Work with an agent that is very knowledgeable about the area. Here in our Coastal Bend, most agents are accustomed to working with investors/second home buyers.

DO BOTH!

If you meet the less-than-14-day-or-10% test, you can write off all the usual expenses associated with owning a rental property. Or, if you rent the house a quarter of the time, for instance, a quarter of your mortgage interest, property taxes, utilities, insurance costs, and repair expenses are deductible against rental income.

The options and advantages seem to outweigh the fear of dabbling in real estate investing or owning a second home. Try it, you may become a mogul! So come and stay and play at your leisure, then make the money, honey!

LIGHT APPROVED AT INTERSECTION OF AQUARIUS AND SPID

LED_traffic_lightSTOP! Or, you soon will be! On August 18th, a traffic light at the intersection of Aquarius and SPID was approved by the City Council.

After years of monitoring the intersection, results showed a daily average of over 33,000 vehicles during the summer months of 2012, and that number has continued to increase over the years. And on other parts of our barrier island, such as Galveston and South Padre Island, the speed limit is much slower going through their business districts.

Drivers coming over the JFK Causeway toward the island will be given a warning to the upcoming light when the traffic is backing up to the high peak of the bridge. This is meant to decrease the likelihood of collisions with the cars that are stopped at the light. There have been numerous attempts over the years to place this light, but the short distance between the intersection and the top of the JFK has been a reason for several failures to get the appropriate approval. But, city traffic engineers have done their due diligence and have given it the thumbs up.

Word on “the street” is that Turner-Busby Development, based in San Antonio, is looking to use the site on the east side of SPID near the intersection of SPID and Aquarius Street for a development called Packery Pointe Subdivision. This traffic light is simply part of their plan, and is set to be coordinated with the other lights along SPID. The light may cost up to $600,000, and will provide a convenient physical stop for vehicles to turn into this new development.

Turner Busby Development has apparently been working on the plans for the $30 million development for a few years. It will likely include a hotel, retail sites, Starbucks, small bar/restaurant, and even possibly some single family homes.  Now that Schlitterbahn is in full swing, it sounds as though the developer is more confident in beginning the project.

But, change is often met with opposition, as many residents are weary to the whole thing. The main concern seems to be that the signal could cause large traffic backups, and the new development with its possible chain restaurant(s) and commonality feel will ruin the quaint, quiet, and familiar island feeling.

Hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

TEXAS WINDSTORM REFORM BILL

twiaIt’s no secret that it costs a lot to live on the coast, especially once you add up your taxes, homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, and windstorm insurance. And in 2012, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) proceeded forward with several proposals to fund the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), the provider of last resort for windstorm insurance on our coast. It was then that TWIA adopted a 5% increase on all residential and commercial windstorm insurance policies to policyholders in the 14 counties (Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, and Willacy) comprising the Texas Coast. This was the third rate increase since 2009. But the long fight is finally over.

Back in May, State Rep. Hunter announced that Senate Bill 900 has passed the Texas House of Representatives, a major victory.

And now after years of the unknown, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has just signed into law the Windstorm Insurance Reform Bill. The bill will spread the cost of storm-related increases to the rest of Texas instead of having the lion’s share being paid by the 14 coastal counties.

Last year, on March 5, over 400 residents came to a public hearing the city held at Texas A&M for our residents to voice their opposition to the proposed “tax,” as State Representative Todd Hunter referred to it. He pointed out that the TWIA website specifically states that they do not discriminate against geographical locations, which is exactly what this surcharge would have done. Rep. Hunter suggested doing an economic analysis on the minority groups affected. Perhaps his suggestion was heard.

Hunter believes the measure will benefit property owners along the Texas coast should a hurricane strike. For instance, when hail or tornadoes pummel other parts of Texas, funding from our coastal counties goes toward aid. But what if our coast gets hit with a hurricane? It has been on us and us alone to pay for the damages. This has made many of our residents scratch their heads. But this bill creates a new funding structure to provide fair and better insurance rates throughout the 14 coastal counties in Texas. It also changes the makeup of the Texas Insurance Board.

Over the years, there has been a lot of support from our local power forces. Mayor Nelda Martinez explained this surcharge would have a burdensome affect on the momentum of our community, and that an increase in insurance over the past 14 years will economically sink these 14 counties. She wrapped it up by saying “Mother nature doesn’t discriminate…”

JJ Johnson with TPCO American noted that with all the new big plants coming to Corpus (TPCO, Cheniere Energy, M&G Chemicals, Schlitterbahn…) there will be thousands of workers, too. We need to ensure that our new laborers on blue-collar salaries can afford to live here.

State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa commented on the misconception that all coastal residents are rich. In reality, we’re just like the rest of working America, where many of us can’t afford to pay much more.

At the Corpus Christi Association of Realtors luncheon at the Corpus Christi Town Club on March 13 2014, Representative Hunter explained that they will probably pass the rule, but they may be hesitant to enforce it. He promises to “fight them forever.”

Here’s to hoping he doesn’t have to!

Major Changes Coming to Mortgage Disclosures

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE

“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing”

it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”

― Fulton J. Sheen

 Changes-Ahead

Come October 1, there are major changes coming to mortgage disclosures that I would like to share with you. Buyers, sellers, loan officers, title companies and real estate agents will all be affected.

No longer will there be a HUD-1 Settlement Statement or a Good Faith Estimate from a buyer’s lender. Both forms are going “bye-bye,” as is the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosure form. Replacing them are two new forms: the Closing Disclosure and the Loan Estimate.

Why does this affect anyone aside from those on the real estate, lender, title side? Because there are also new rules for the closing procedure, where the buyers and sellers tolerance come into play, as closing delays are almost unavoidable for the first few months.

One rule requires all forms to be ready three (business) days prior to closing. The National Association of Realtors recommends all closing documents are actually ready an entire week prior to closing, or “consummation” as is the new verbiage (yes, chuckling is OK).  So if everything is ready seven days prior to consummation, when you go into the three-day period, there are likely no changes to make. Because making changes as the countdown ensues comes with a cumbersome set of hurdles.

Everyone involved in the transaction is under pressure to get everything squared away earlier than in the past. Currently, the settlement statement can be completed and approved just hours before closing. Gone are those days. And as aforementioned, the buyers and sellers have to be cooperative, because if last-minute changes are made, a new three-day waiting period kicks in. Are there exceptions you ask? Yes! Bona fide financial emergencies such as the imminent sale of the consumer’s home at foreclosure. Any financial emergency must be accompanied by a written statement and will be very fact intensive.

The good news is, this doesn’t affect cash buyers, and many Realtors, Lenders, and Title Companies are taking the time and courses to get familiar with this new system and forms so we are ready! Communication will be KEY. But patience, grasshopper, good things come to those who wait.

How to Rid Those Summertime Pests

Pest-NoBugsSignThey fly, crawl, bite, invade and annoy! And the word is that this summer, they’re coming in larger numbers due to the increased rain we’ve received this spring.

The cockroaches are sneakier, the fire ants are terrorizing from their sandy mounds, the ticks hide in unmentionable places, and the mosquitoes are the size of small hummingbirds. Then of course, with lots of rain, comes lots of pretty flowers with lots of buzzing bees!

Here are some tips to still enjoy the summertime, spend time outside, and not end up itching, burning, screaming, and picking.

  1. First and most effective is to have your local pest control company come and spray your yard and home. Then when your landscapers come, ask them to blow the dead ones away.
  2. On that note, be sure to keep your yard maintained and cut regularly, as insects will lay eggs in your lawn.
  3. Clean your house and reduce any clutter. This gives them places to hide. Cockroaches in particular will be drawn to food in your pantry or pet food. Keep those items tightly sealed.
  4. Check your screens. Even the smallest of holes is equivalent to a fancy written invitation to a pest to enter.
  5. Get rid of outdoor lights. If you do need them, use yellow lights. The bugs are less attracted to those.
  6. Check your yard for standing water, which is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, among other insects. Eliminate any standing water you do find.
  7. Plant onions in your garden. They HATE onions!
  8. Keep your trash covered or taken our regularly. Need I explain more?
  9. Use a Eucalyptus-based repellent or just plain old Eucalyptus essential oil (Walmart sells this) and rub it on your exposed skin. The bugs will stay far away from you.
  10. Don’t forget about your pets! Treat them and give them their monthly doses of flea and tick meds. Not only do we want them to be protected, but they provide a first-class ticket for these insects into your home.

Enjoy this amazing time of year, and don’t be bugged by the bugs!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SELLER’S DISCLOSURE FORM

what-you-need-to-know-about-mortgages

This one form, filled out by the seller of a property, is more important than you may have realized. I compare it to a hard hat at a construction site. Seems overly precautious until a large piece of material falls from above and suddenly you’re awfully glad you had that protection!

In 1993, this form became mandatory, exclaiming that “Texans would be bound to truth in selling their homes…is designed to protect Realtors from the burgeoning number of ‘failure to disclosure’ lawsuits…the bill would require sellers to complete a disclosure form detailing the condition of the house, property and certain equipment within the house.”

What is it?

This statement is a disclosure of the condition of the property in compliance with the seller Disclosure Act. This statement is a disclosure of the condition and information concerning the property, known by the seller. Unless otherwise advised, the seller does not possess any expertise in construction, architecture, engineering, foundation, roof, or any other specific area related to the construction or condition of the improvements on the property or the land. This statement is not a warranty of any kind by the seller and is not a substitute for any inspections or warranties the buyer may wish to obtain. NOTE: For sale my owners are also legally required to provide this form.

Can your agent help you fill it out?

No. As Realtors, this would infringe on our duties to abide by the National Association of Realtors “Code of Ethics and standards of practice.” We are not lawyers and cannot give any advice or interpret any law regarding what the form says or means. If there are any questions, sellers need to consult an attorney.

Both TAR and TREC have a seller’s disclosure notice. Which to use?

Both forms are in compliance with the law. With that said, the TAR form is far preferred. It asks more questions, is far more thorough, is easier to fill out, spells out specific safety hazards the TREC form does not, is more useful for buyers and is designed to serve as a better risk-reduction tool for sellers. It is in your best interest as the seller to ask your agent to provide you with the TAR form.

Who is exempt from filling this form out?

There are 11 exceptions, but the most common are:

  • A builder of a new home
  • A trustee or executor of an estate
  • The lender after foreclosing on a property
  • Duplex owners

Even though these types of sellers (and a few others) are not required to provide a disclosure notice, they still must disclose any known material defects. Requirements of Section 5.008, all sellers have an obligation to disclose known defects about the property. Failure to do so exposes them to liability under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act or other civil laws.

What about previous death in the property?

The statute does not require disclosure of deaths by natural causes, suicide, or accidents unrelated to the condition of the property.

Previous Inspection Reports

If a seller bought the home within the past 4 years OR if a seller receives a copy of an inspection report from a buyer but the contract with that buyer falls through, the seller and brokers should consider sharing the report and they have a duty to disclose any known material defects. Possession of a prior inspection report may be evidence of the seller’s or broker’s knowledge of a known defect, although no law requires that the report must be provided.

Consequences When Sellers Don’t Disclose

A seller who doesn’t disclose known defects can be sued by the buyer after the defect is discovered. As a seller, you don’t want to look back after closing!

If a court finds the seller responsible, they may be required to:

  • Repairs and other damages resulting from the undisclosed defect
  • Pay the buyer’s attorney’s fees and costs of the lawsuit
  • Take back the house if the court invalidates or rescinds the sale
  • Punishment for punitive damages of failure to disclose defects

 

A surprise birthday party is fun…a surprise moldy house is not! Use of this form may result in fewer surprises to the buyer after closing and less liability for the agents and the seller(s). Don’t make your home sale any more challenging than need be. A seller’s accurate and honest disclosure is worth it.

PREPPING YOUR HOME FOR A SPRING SALE

Sell-a-home-in-the-spring

Spring cleaning isn’t the only thing many people do in April here in South Texas – it’s also the beginning of the popular time of year to sell property! If you’re considering listing your home this Spring, my guess is that you want to sell quickly and get top dollar. Right? Well now that the sun is shining and the checkbooks are coming out of hibernation, consider these steps!

  1. Shop around. For an agent that is! A size 9 shoe will fit no matter which store it’s from, but not every agent will be the right fit for you. There are many options…many GOOD options. Ask questions that are important to you (do they host open houses, do they market their listings, do they provide feedback and advice). Find the agent whose vision matches yours.
  2. Price it right. This sounds like an obvious suggestion, but an overpriced home may not sell as quickly as one that is priced right. Sometimes the longer a home sits, the more buyers may wonder “what’s wrong with it?” A well-priced home is more likely to move, get multiple offers, get the sales price both seller and buyer desire.
  3. De-Personalize. When a buyer steps into your home, you want them to envision their own life there. As beautiful as your family portraits are, it may make it harder for a buyer to visualize – this goes hand in hand with STAGING. If a room is designed as an office but you use it as your exercise room, do your best to turn it back into an office.
  4. The heart of the home – it’s most likely the most important room for the majority of buyers. Anything you can do to upgrade or stage your kitchen will be beneficial.
  5. Mow! Or…rake your rock garden, or do whatever maintaining needs to be done to grab positive attention at the curb. Curb appeal is like the book cover – you don’t want buyers to not even open the door because the exterior is unappealing.
  6. Make your house shine, sparkle, smell of roses (or sugar cookies or bahama breeze or whatever lights your wick). There’s no bigger turnoff than a home that hasn’t been sustained. This is especially important if you have pets. Love the fur babies, but don’t want to smell them!
  7. All clutter and valuables. Any extra “stuff” lying around is distracting, and valuables are even more so! Clean out your closets, jewelry boxes, china cabinets, knick knacks, collectibles, etc. and stick it in a storage unit. It’ll make moving easier when that time comes, anyway!
  8. Lighten up! Your home is bigger, happier and brighter when blinds are open and all bulbs are working. Quickly changing out your burnt bulbs is probably the fastest task with the largest reward. Unlike your dancing partner at the nightclub, a home is prettier in the light!
  9. They will be opened. Not because buyers are snoopers, but because buyers like to see storage spaces. Best to tidy up those drawers, organize your pots and pans, alphabetize your spices. Ok, you don’t have to go THAT far, but you get the idea.
  10. Selling your home/memory keeper/safe haven, can be an emotional challenge. Start the detachment early! Think happy thoughts of your next journey, your next sanctuary. So when that offer does come in, you’re ready and it’s more about business than attachments.

 

 

The Art of Negotiating

youwant

Whether you’re trying to get the best price at the flea market, ask for a higher salary, or buy a new car, having good negotiating skills is important. Luckily, during a real estate transaction, you have a hired professional to do the tough stuff for you! Whether you are buying or selling, your agent should be representing your needs and wants through this fine art of negotiating.

Some may believe that negotiations are “all or nothing.” That one party wins over the other. This could not be further from the truth. While the goal of negotiation is most certainly getting what you want, the fact is that the best deals incorporate terms from both sides.

First, think about what you want to achieve from the process. Make a list of what you want from the negotiation and why. This helps determine what would cause you to walk away so you can build your strategy within acceptable terms. Try, also, to understand what your counterpart’s motivations are as this is equally as important. By studying the other side’s goals, it may help you frame your own by realizing that there’s a solution for you both. The single most important tool you and your agent have is preparedness. Communicating with each other the main goals and why they’re the goals gives your agent the best negotiating power there is. Follow these steps:

1.      Establish a fair sales price. Your agent should run a comparative market analysis (CMA) for you to assess what a fair asking price is based on other sales in the area.

2.      Establish what you can afford. If you’re buying, your agent should be able to help you with this a bit, and if you’re working with a lender they will be invaluable here. If you’re selling, what is your bottom line?

3.      Decide what other things would be a deal breaker. Price is typically the most important factor. However, it may also be a deal breaker if you’re selling and you cannot afford to pay the buyer’s closing costs at their request, or you’re the buyer and your insurance requires a windstorm certificate that the home doesn’t have.

4.      As a buyer, when it comes to inspections, negotiating repairs can become just as important as presenting the offer itself. If the home you’re seeking isn’t advertised as being sold “As Is” then you likely have some negotiating powers when it comes to repairs.

5.      Try not to get emotional. This is a tough one as a home is personal. And if you get too emotional, you may make an exception to your goals. But your agent is there to represent you, your goals and to make it about business so this doesn’t happen.

From there, your licensed Real Estate Agent should be able to clearly communicate your desires.  It’s your agent’s job to ensure you are represented correctly, fairly, and your voice is heard! It’s all about collaborating to meet both ends, making it a “win/win” situation.

What should you look for in an agent? These characteristics may be beneficial: An active listener, someone with a reputation of getting along with others, someone with a mild-mannered and optimistic personality, and a clear but firm communicator.

So sit back, and let US work for YOU. If you’re feeling like your agent is trying too hard to convince you to forgo your main goals, then perhaps it’s not the right fit. There’s a solution to every problem. Think outside the box, discuss rather than argue, and don’t forget, it never hurts to ASK!

WHY USE A LOCAL PADRE ISLAND REALTOR?

Local-Realtors-corpus-christi

WHY USE A LOCAL REALTOR?

This question probably prods every seller at one point or another…it’s your property, aren’t you the best suited to sell it? Perhaps. Then again, let me explain why maybe not. As a buyer, it’s just as critical to use a local Realtor. It comes down to the three Ts: Tools, Training, Transaction-Related Matters.

Tools:

Real estate agents have tools, and they don’t come in a box or on a belt. One of these tools is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This is a system paid for by agents to showcase listings to all other agents. It also allows us to see and search every other property for sale, along with what’s closed, what’s under contract, etc…always in real time. Because the MLS dates back decades, it is trend and individual property history at our fingertips. It gives agents the unique ability to create a comparative market analysis on your property with the knowledge we have from recent closures. As a tight-knit community, we have a network of other agents and a network of title company experts who keep us up-to-date on changes to contracts and changes to the law. We are vested in the community where we live and work, and where you want to live or sell. We are familiar with the local market, building guidelines, and numerous specifications that our seaside area requires.

Training:

OK, it sounds like we’re running a marathon, but seriously, sometimes a real estate transaction feels like one! Real Estate Agents went to a school focused specifically on real estate and can help you navigate the (sometimes rough) terrain. Both a national and a state required exam must be passed to become licensed. Pricing, contract paperwork, real estate finance and law, these are all areas we’re proficient in and experts at. Likewise, we’re required to continue our education with a certain number of hours each year to ensure we stay informed and updated on the ever-changing regulations occurring in this industry. Also, not all real estate licensees are the same; only those who are members of the National Association of Realtors are properly called REALTORS and can proudly display that trademark on marketing and sales literature.

Transaction-Related Matters:

This comes down to the meat and potatoes of it all, concerning the contract itself, to the negotiations, to possible repair work, to closing details, and every possible scenario in between. It also heavily involves our Code of Ethics – for over 100 years, this code ensures agents treat their clients professionally and ethically. These ethics are strictly enforced, and you know you will be working with a true professional who focuses on your needs and wants. Your agent is accountable for fulfilling their full “fiduciary responsibilities” to you (has your best interest in mind from finances to full disclosure to confidentiality).  Realtors are committed to treat all parties in a transaction honestly. An independent survey reported that 84% of home buyers would use the same Realtor again.

The best agent I know once told me, “You’ve done your job if you’ve made it look easy.” So I invite you to relax…have a lemonade…allow us to make the process appear as seamless as possible.

THE TRUTH ABOUT FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS

foreclosures

Foreclosures: There’s something about them that makes ears perk up. A “good deal” is hard to ignore…but what are the foreclosure auctions all about? Here are some tips and tricks if you ever find yourself with a paddle in your hand, bidding on your very own foreclosure.

1. Bring the funds with you. This must be in the form of cash or a cashier’s check

No personal checks, pre-approval letter, or your mom’s famous coffee cake. These simply won’t cut it.

Because you pay directly on the spot upon winning, you don’t want to overpay as it will take approximately 30 days to get that refund. Instead, if you’re coming with a cashier’s check, come with multiple denominations so that you can add them together to create the appropriate amount. Also, have them made out to you so you can deposit the left over checks back into your bank account. If you win, you simply sign them over.

If, however, you are in an auction online, you have a bit longer to come up with the funds.

*Some companies charge a percentage of the final sales price as a buyer’s fee. Be sure to ask about this, or read the fine print.

2. Do your research: Foreclosures are sold “AS IS, WHERE IS, NO PROMISE OF ANYTHING.”

There is no guarantee of a clear title, functioning plumbing, electrical, structural issues, etc. You must do your due diligence to make sure you know what you may be purchasing. Liens on properties are public record and can be found online or at the local courthouse.

3. Opening bid does not necessarily mean you can get the property at that price.

This number is normally set by the foreclosing lender, and is usually the estimated loan amount owed to the lender. Sometimes, the opening bid is simply an estimated minimum by law that includes only taxes delinquent on the date of judgment, or a number that the creditor believes will spark interest. This minimum bid can be just a tool to get the bidding ball rolling  – but if the bids do not reach the creditors bottom line, then the property will not sell and will go back to the creditor to do with it what they choose.

4. Purchasing an occupied foreclosure.

If the homeowner does not vacate the property after the foreclosure sale, you as the new owner, must give them a formal notice to move out. If they do not, you have the right to bring on an eviction lawsuit. If the person occupying the property is a tenant of the former owner, a different form of action must be taken. There are certain laws that actually protect these types of tenants. It all comes back to doing your research before you purchase so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

5. If you’re the one bidding, you’re the one buying.

There is an exception: By signing a Power of Attorney, you may appoint a representative to bid for you. Sometimes, auction companies may offer live remote bidding by telephone through an auction representative or has live Internet bidding capabilities. There are options if you are unable to attend an auction.

6. If the auction begins at 10, be there before 10., the first Tuesday of every month, at the county courthouse.

Auctions in Texas are the first Tuesday of every month, on the south side of the County Courthouse. The auction may only last 10 minutes total, so be timely, or you may miss the whole thing!

With that said, Texas law requires a three hour window from the time given on the auction notice and when the auction actually happens.

 

If Corpus Christi foreclosures are something that interest you, final words of advice would be: Save your money, do your research, and don’t be late! Happy bidding!

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HOME APPRAISALS!

homeappraisals

Appraisals are a key component to every real estate transaction, with the exception of an all-cash transaction. Whether it’s a property using a mortgage, refinancing an existing mortgage, or selling property, the appraisal matters. But how does the appraisal work and how is it determined? Whether you’re a buyer, owner or seller, the following are important points to understand.

 

Appraisal Definition

The act of judging the value of something by an unbiased professional.

Why Appraise?

Most often, an appraisal is ordered for use in a sales transaction. The appraised value is used to determine whether the property’s contract price is appropriate given its condition, size, location and special features. In a refinance situation, the appraisal serves as a guarantee to the lender that they won’t be loaning more than the property is worth.

Why Do Lenders Care?

For mortgage companies, the property serves as collateral if the borrower defaults on their loan. That is why it is important for lenders to ensure that homeowners are not over-borrowing for a property: If foreclosure occurs, the lender can likely recoup the money it lent by selling the home.

How Appraisal Values Are Determined

Because the appraisal primarily protects the lender, they are normally the ones to order the appraisal. It’s important to note that an appraisal must be made by a qualified and licensed appraiser; someone who has no direct or indirect interest in the transaction and who is familiar with the area.

Once the lender has ordered the appraisal with a recognized appraiser, they will not only visit the property and conduct a thorough visual inspection, but they’ll also compare recent sales of similar properties. Factors that may influence the value will be some of the home’s amenities, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, floor plan functionality and square footage. The appraiser may also note any conditions that adversely affect the property’s value and, if necessary, may request repairs to fulfill the loan.
The appraiser then provides a report with the appraisal value, which includes an analysis and conclusions about the property’s value based on his or her observations. The appraiser’s detailed report costs several hundred dollars, and typically, the buyer/borrower is responsible for paying this fee.

Knowledge For Buyers

If the appraisal comes in at or above the sales price on your contract, the transaction proceeds as planned. However, if the appraisal comes in low, it can derail the transaction. If the seller is willing to come down in price to the appraised value, you’re back on track. After all, you both have the same goal: Get the property to close! But if the seller will not come down, you may consider negotiating to meet somewhere in the middle, or even terminating the contract altogether. Because the lender will not loan over the appraised value, it keeps buyers from overpaying.

Knowledge For Sellers

If the appraisal comes in low, but is accurate, you will likely have to lower your property’s sale price to allow the transaction to move forward toward closing. As we already know, lenders won’t approve loans for more than a home is worth, and holding out for an all-cash buyer is a risky move and possibly improbable.
If you think that your property’s appraisal has been incorrectly valued or it has been dragged down by the sales prices of nearby foreclosures and short sales, you have options.  Depending on the type of loan, you may be given the opportunity to convince the appraiser that your home is worth more. If a low appraisal is standing in your way, consider getting a second opinion. Appraisers are only humans after all, and can and do sometimes make mistakes and/or have faulty or incomplete information.

Knowledge For Refinancing Homeowners

Your property needs to appraise at or above the amount you want to refinance for your loan to be approved if you have a conventional mortgage. On the contrary, if you have an FHA mortgage, you can refinance through the FHA Streamline program without an appraisal.

Crux

Even though the appraisal is just one of the dozens of moving parts that must get ticked off on the loan-closing checklist, it is a critical player. Know what it means for you in the role you play in the transaction. Don’t be afraid of the dreaded appraisal…Knowledge is power!

The Dawn of Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi

2014-01-16 05.46.14

From sunrise to sunset, the new water park gracing the Upper Padre Island skyline is creating big waves with the Torrent Wave River and Boogie Bahn surfing on the horizon, two signature attractions that are in the works to be completed in the next couple of weeks.

But most importantly, what tempting enchantments await you NOW? Lil’ Skipper’s Cove Kiddie Pool and Bob’s Cabana Bay Swim-Up Bar along with concessions were ready for swimmers and drinkers alike on the soft opening June 21, 2014. Since then, Schlitterbahn has welcomed approximately 300 new members, and just last week the park opened up to the public for $10/person. Now members and the public alike can bask in Schlitterbahn glory from 10 am – 8 pm daily.

But this is nothin’ compared to what is to take shape over the coming months. What do we have to look forward to?

Colette Rye, Marketing Director, has briefed me on what’s to come over the coming weeks. The front part of the park will open next, which will include:

  • A tasty new restaurant, The Veranda Restaurant and Bar, which will be a full service Seafood and Mexican restaurant in the clubhouse
  • A retail space for souvenirs, also in the clubhouse
  • A river system
  • Kids play area
  • Two volleyball courts
  • Another swim-up bar
  • A wavepool
  • Amphitheater (no concerts yet planned)

Slightly further in the future, Schlitterbahn will see:

  • Master Blaster Rollercoaster
  • A fine dining private restaurant (yet to be named) tentatively located on the 4th floor of the clubhouse (open to members only)
  • A barge called the “Jubilee,” which is a casino boat brought from Louisiana (not to operate here as casino boat), will be equipped with hotel rooms (likely won’t open until next season)

Think you want to be a part of this booming park? Caitlin Grant, Operations Dispatch, says you’re in luck…they’re hiring! Tuesday, July 22 and Wednesday July 23 from 1 pm – 6 pm, the park is hosting a job fair to hire staff for The Veranda Restaurant and Bar. Come to the front of the main building, bring 2 forms of ID, and apply online to save you time. Be prepared for on-site interviews and even on the spot hiring!! Don’t have a food handler’s permit? Don’t worry about it! They will have an onsite course for that.

For additional job opportunities, visit: http://schlitterbahn.com/corpus-christi/jobs

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. And don’t miss out on the suntan and family fun to be had while the summer (and your inner child) is still young!

 

Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Club

Welcome to the “New Coast, Now!”

mT=f(P2 + t + s + a)

But what does this mean?

Motivated team = function (Passionate People + training + strategy + accountability)

This is Legacy International Resort Properties’ winning formula for their brand new resort, Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Club.

Designed by award-winning developers Bart Koonz and Red McCombs, this community has it all…Beach. Bay. Golf.

Philip Jelufka, President and CEO of Legacy International, outlined the resort’s 5 Key Differentiators at a discussion hosted by San Jacinto Title Company on May 14, 2014 at the Comfort Suites on Upper Padre Island. They are:

  1. World-class golf course
  2. Expertise in financing and world-class management and developing
  3. Beach. Bay. Golf.
  4. Product offering – homes, condos, hotel, etc.
  5. Being a part of New Coast. Now.

This 700-acre resort is designed to be pedestrian friendly, with a grand opening date of August 2, 2014.

June 10, 2014 Coastline Properties toured the site. Tiffany Pritchard, Sales Executive, has shared her unmatched knowledge of the resort and outlined each detail, big and small!

This walkable community is made up of Village North, Village South, and the Marina (refer to photo below). The Marina, northwest of Village North (Map1, in orange) will house 150 uncovered boat slips on the bay side. Adjacent to the marina is the intercoastal waterway and close proximity to the airport.

Map 1 Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Club

Across 361 then is Village North. The green plots (Map 2 Picture Below, Village North) you see are home sites – there are a limited number available. These range in price from $195,000 – $815,000. There are currently 4 preferred builders, but yes, you can bring in your own. By the end of summer, 8 homes will have broken ground. Once you purchase a home site, you have 2 years before you are required to start construction.

Map 2 – Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Club

Three of the 4 builders are:

  1. Keystone Company – 3 bed/4 bath, 2,826 sq. ft.
  2. Conner Coastal Homes – 4 bed/4.5 bath, 2,504 sq. ft.
  3. T. Kypke Builder Inc. – 4 bed/4.5 bath, 2,840 sq. ft.
  4. Buckwild Builders – 4 bed/4 bath, 2,942 sq. ft.

The vertical village concept will keep the resort pedestrian friendly and architecturally consistent. Each home must have a minimum of 2 stories, but some home sites allow for a 3.5 story maximum. Homes that dead-end will have towers atop them to further enhance village feel and ‘curb’ appeal.

Want to use your home as an investment opportunity? No problem – there is on-site management for homes in the rental pool.

The yellow blocks you see (Map 2) are for future development, but “yet to be determined” regarding what kind. The resort take its cues from the market to identify what it wants. More homes? More condos? Do you have a good idea? Feel free to write in and give us your own input!

Then you’ll see the grey area (Map 2), where Seagate Condominiums will go. Set to be finished in 2015, the condo is “breaking ground” in June (wait, that’s now!!), and will be going vertical in the next several months. These units are also available for sale, and will be located near the entrance of the village once you pass the Welcome Center. The L shaped condominium will be 4 floors high, totally 9 different floor plans to choose from. There will be 18 condos in total, ranging between $365,000 to $985,000.

Floor One:

  • Juniper Floor Plan – 3 bed/2 bath, 1,524 sq. ft., patio 143 sq. ft.
  • Jasmine Floor Plan – 2 bed/2 bath, 1,372 sq. ft., patio 168 sq. ft.
  • Lantana Floor Plan – 1 bed/2 bath, 1,040 sq. ft., patio 179 sq. ft.

Floor Two:

  • Mesquite Floor Plan – 3 bed/2 bath, 1,646 sq. ft., balcony 180 sq. ft.
  • Mulberry Floor Plan – 2 bed/2 bath, 1,357 sq. ft., balcony 180 sq. ft.
  • Myrtle Floor Plan – 2 bed/2 bath, 1,407 sq. ft., balcony 256 sq. ft.

Floor Three:

  • Palmetto Floor Plan – 3 bed/4 bath, 2,817 sq. ft., balcony 344 sq. ft.
  • Retama Floor Plan – 2 bed/3 bath, 1,971 sq. ft., balcony 189 sq. ft.

Floor Four:

  • Wisteria Floor Plan – two stories, 3 bed/4 bath, 2,271 sq. ft., 3rd floor balcony 545 sq. ft, 4th floor balcony 143 sq. ft.

* The third and fourth floor(s) have 6, 2 story units.

But what about fees?

Home sites

  • $3000 per year Homeowners Association (HOA) fees

Seagate Condos

  • 36 cents per square foot on master HOA fees
  • $1200 per year for pool and amenities fees

So now that we know about the ‘designer’ living here, what does the resort offer in terms of amenities and entertainment?

  • Golf: This 222 acre, 18 hole “gold” course is (as of August, 2013) managed by internationally renowned Troon Golf, and designed by Award-Winning Arnold Palmer Signature Courses. The grass on the tees and fairways are Seashore Paspalum. A fine choice due to its tolerance to heat, salt water, and dense root system(s), which provide desirable turf-like characteristics and is the same grass used on the Augusta course. Although this will still remain a public course, resort owners will be privy to some perks (perks program is currently in the works). The clubhouse has a new restaurant named the Black Marlin, which boasts sophisticated, yet fun and fresh coastal dishes. The outdoor seating is set up with hanging lights, a stage, and even a bar 3 stories up overlooking the gulf.
  • Grand Lawn: Next to the clubhouse and Black Marlin, there will be a grand lawn, which can be used to host events.
  • Hotel: This will likely be a Hyatt boutique hotel, meant to provide luxury to those coming to spend a relaxing weekend away, likely with a spa and a pool. But it will also have a conference room and both casual and fine dining. Soon to be an overnight golf destination sensation, they’re expecting an influx of golfers to come and stay a night or two. A hotel on the premises is the convenience they’ll seek.
  • Pool: A brand new pool, bar, and amenities center (located near the home sites and Seagate Condos) is set to open this summer, equipped with loungers, umbrellas, and cabana boys serving chilled grapes. OK, I made that last part up, but there WILL be cabanas.
  • Beach: It’s right there!! Perfect for fun in the sun, waves, shelling, and birding. Private beach access with dune crossover will be built to provide private beach access.

Although the developers currently have their hands full concentrating mainly on developing Village North, Village South and the Marina may not be far behind – it will be exciting to see it all unfold.

Arnold Palmer himself quotes this project as an “enthusiasm I haven’t felt in a while.” That’s good enough for me!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at 847-830-2087 or whitney@coastline-properties.com for additional information. The Palmilla Beach Resort Welcome Center can also answer your questions at 361-749-3628. Or simply visit palmillabeach.com and click around!

Great “New” Listing Below

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 225309 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

 

New Plans being Laid for Lake Padre Area

What do Bricktown, Oklahoma City and North Padre Island, Corpus Christi have in common? A water taxi system! Or at least, soon to be.

With Schlitterbahn, Harbor Marina, and Island Walk Village coming in phases to Padre Island, this picturesque canal system linking the island’s main attractions will bring new tourism and new life into the Island. Paul Schexnailder, a partner in the project, highlighted some of the main and most exciting aspects today at the State of the Islands talk, held at the Comfort Suites by San Jacinto Title Services.

CLICK ON PICTURE BELOW TO BLOW UP AND DOWNLOAD OR PRINT A COPY

Schlitterbahn, still set for a soft opening at the end of May, is part of Phase I. Although rain and labor has hurt the construction schedule, Jeff Henry, co-owner, has said this is the best park he has ever built. And we’re OK with that…good things come to those who wait! Here’s why!

The main clubhouse boosts four stories of fun.

  • 1st Floor: “Fajitas” restaurant and retail space
  • 2nd Floor: The floor for the locals – will have TVs, a lounge, a game room, and food and drinks
  • 3rd Floor: A 4500 square foot event center, equipped with 6 meeting rooms
  • 4th Floor: Fine dining open to the public, as well as  a private dining room for golf course and park members only
  • There will also be roughly 80 hotel rooms in the building 

To top it off? The clubhouse overlooks an Amphitheater that can hold approximately 2000 people. This was not in the original plans, but it sounds like the perfect place for some great island venues. You got fins to the left, fins to the right… 

Harbor Marina, set to be operating this time next year, will be instrumental in the “Water Taxi” System. Referring to the maps provided, Cruiser canal is being expanded to continue straight and curve to go toward the marina. See the arrows on the maps? That is where a new bridge is going to go (between Commodores and Whitecap). It will orchestrate boat and pedestrian traffic by 3 separate arches. The center arch will be for the boats, and the two arches on either side will be for pedestrians and golf carts. The canal archway will have a 13 foot clearance, whereas the two pedestrian archways will have a 10 foot clearance. The canals will be finished late 2015, early 2016, and the bridge has an end-of-the-year completion date. 

Island Walk Village is an Ingredient in Phase II. And yes, I am talking restaurants. It will be the site of at least 6 restaurants all up and down the newly dug canal system (will there be gondola rides in our future?). The structures will house the eateries on the main levels by the water, and then living spaces above that. Worried about parking? Don’t. The village has been drawn to have about 1400 parking spots.

..And even though gossip of a grocery store is spinning, those in “the know” are being understandably coy about the details. The good news is, there WILL be one!

This hardly touches the exciting developments the island will see over the next 5-10 years. The good news is that we have a built-in market here on our coast, and something tells me it won’t be “off the grid” much longer.

WINDSTORM INSURANCE: WILL ISLANDERS END UP PAYING EVEN MORE?

It’s no secret that it costs a lot to live on the coast, especially once you add up your taxes, homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, windstorm insurance, etc. But it could get worse. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) may be adding surcharges to existing rate policies that could greatly increase insurance costs for our Coastal Bend residents in these 14 coastal counties: Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson,
Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, and Willacy.

Perhaps it’s because we haven’t had a catastrophic event since Hurricane Celia in 1970, but in the event of hurricane damage that exceeds the amount the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) can pay, all of the below policy holders will be assessed a yet unspecified amount of money.

  • Auto policy
  • Motorcycle policy
  • Recreational vehicle policy
  • Boat policy
  • Homeowners policy
  • Windstorm policy
  • Renter’s insurance policy
  • Commercial building policy
  • Fire and allied lines
  • Farm and Ranch owners

 

What really stings here is this: when hail or tornadoes pummel other parts of Texas,funding from our coastal counties goes toward aid. But what about if our coast gets hit with a hurricane? It’s on us and us alone to pay for the damages. This is making many of our residents scratch their heads.

On March 5, over 400 residents came to a public hearing the city held at Texas A&M for our residents to voice their opposition to the proposed “tax,” as Representative Todd Hunter referred to it. Below are some of the arguments made during the hearing:

State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa commented on the misconception that all coastal residents are rich. In reality, we’re just like the rest of working America, where many of us can’t afford to pay much more. 

State Representative Todd Hunter expanded upon this idea, calling the surcharge a discrimination on the minority population of the 14 coastal counties. He pointed out that the TWIA website specifically states that they do not discriminate against geographical locations, which is exactly what this surcharge s. Before any surcharge law is passed, Representative Hunter suggests doing an economic analysis on the minority groups affected.  

Mayor Nelda Martinez explained this surcharge would have a burdensome affect on the momentum of our community, and that an increase in insurance over the past 14 years will economically sink these 14 counties. She wrapped it up by saying “Mother nature doesn’t discriminate…”  

JJ Johnson with TPCO American noted that with all the new big plants coming to Corpus (TPCO, Cheniere Energy, M&G Chemicals, Schlitterbahn…) there will be thousands of workers, too. We need to ensure that our new laborers on blue-collar salaries can afford to live here.

This surcharge could add up to hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars extra per person per year. At the Corpus Christi Association of Realtors luncheon at the Corpus Christi Town Club on March 13, Representative Hunter explained that they will probably pass the rule, but they may be hesitant to enforce it. He promises to “fight them forever.”

The general consensus seems to be that our coastal residents should not pay these surcharges. Or, at the very least, spread the cost evenly across the state. As it turns out, there’s been a conclusion since 2009, but only now will this law be put into effect. After Hurricane Ike hit, the Insurance Council of Texas approved these surcharges,
given any subsequent hurricane damage exceeding $1 billion dollars. Here’s to testing our luck!

M&G Chemicals Plant Update: Corpus Christi Site

On Thursday, February 13th, at the Padre Island Business Association lunch, Jeff Shea, Site Manager for M&G Chemicals, spoke to update us on the M&G Chemicals PET/PTA Facility.

The privately owned company has locations all throughout the world, but this site here on Port Corpus Christi, Inner Harbor (across from Flint Hills Resources) will be the largest plant yet.

WHAT WILL THE PLANT PRODUCE?

The plant produces polyethylene terephthalate (PET for short), which is a safe and easily recyclable plastic polymer used mainly for containers of all sorts due to its superior water and moisture barrier quality. It will also produce the PET key raw material, purified terephthalic acid (PTA). Production is estimated at 1200 KMT/yr (kilometric tons per year) of PTA and 1000 KMT/yr of PET. This process is FDA approved, and a $1 billion investment.

CO-GENERATION PLANT

This means the plant intends to produce its own electricity. They will do this by using natural gas combustion for electricity, steam and heat. This is efficiency by using “waste.” Water usage is also at the forefront of the plant, as its projected to use approximately 6 million gallons per day. So M&G plans to generate their own water so Corpus Christi doesn’t suffer from drought due to the plant. They will bring in water from the Gulf, pull out the salt, and then put the brine back into the ocean. The technology used here is called “reverse osmosis membrane.”

WHY CORPUS CHRISTI?

According to Shea, “you guys got it all!” (which we already knew J). Corpus is located on the Gulf, it has easy access to three railroads, there are six refineries around, deep-water access, and there is Port access to the Bay and Viola Channel.

BENEFITS TO CORPUS CHRISTI?

This is thought to be an international investment to the area in that it holds the possibility of attracting upsteam and downstream industries as a result of the M&G investment, as this is a company with a proven track record of renewable resources. Not to mention, it will generate many jobs.

LET’S TALK JOBS AND TIMELINE

Jobs:

  • 250 direct full-time employees
  • 700 indirect employees
  • 3,000 construction workers at its peak (5 million man hours!)

Timeline:

  • Summer 2014 – Federal Air Permit received
  • 2nd Quarter of 2014 – Construction begins
  • 4th Quarter of 2015 – Construction completed
  • 1st Quarter of 2016 – Plant commissioned and operational

Color Pyschology: How they Effect Emotional States!

Have you ever come home to find that your house has been broken into, your husband has canceled your recordings of The Bachelor, and it appears as though your “big bad guard dog” has actually led the robber to the fine china? I truly have “seen red” before. And I bet you have, too.

So how do colors affect human emotion and reaction? Company owners, home decorators, web designers, have all recently been paying more attention to not only what colors to choose, but why to choose them. Color psychology is now known to play a larger role in marketing, design and branding. Perhaps as homeowners, we, too, should choose wisely. The colors you choose for your spaces can actually play a role in your mood and temperament.

Black begs power and authority. You wouldn’t bully the karateka sporting the black belt.

For the home: Choose an accent wall in your home office and paint it black! Own your work space, and make it be known that you’re the boss in there! It will demand dominance.

White symbolizes purity, innocence, and sterility. Wouldn’t it just seem odd to baptize a baby in a red gown? Or to paint the walls of an operating room a dirty tone of split pea soup?

For the home: If you have a case of kitchen OCD, a white kitchen is a necessity. White will make the kitchen appear larger (and it IS the heart of the house, so the bigger, the better!), but the more sterile this room feels, the better. Perhaps your guests don’t want to question whether their food was prepared in a germ breeding ground, as white countertops and cabinets are no hiding place for grease splatters or red wine rings.

Red brings about feelings of passion and rage. Studies also show that it increases circulation, action, and exudes an empowering masculine energy.

For the home: Assuming most households do have at least one man in them, perhaps use red as an accent color: Red pillows, a red door, red vases. Does your house have a man cave? Red that room!

Orange has the tendency to elicit increase in energy and optimism. Think of the fruit – it’s bright, sweet, makes you want to do an Irish jig.

For the home: If you have a home gym, this is the PERFECT place for this color. It will likely give you that needed boost an extra shot of espresso may provide…without the calories!

Yellow sometimes enhances concentration, but can lead to irritability and anxiety. Just because it’s gender neutral doesn’t mean you should paint your nursery this color. Studies have shown that the same baby will cry more in a yellow room than in a blue room.

For the home: As with red, use this color as an accent. If you just love the color, a downstairs powder room would be a nice place to put yellow on the walls. It will add a kiss of zest to the first floor. Consider the sun…it’s always nice when it’s out, but you never want to stare at it!

Green…ahhhh green. It’s natural…relaxing…can’t you smell the fresh cut grass? Not only does green bring you down to earth, but it can symbolize greed and envy. So, use green wisely.

For the home: Incorporate green by using indoor plants! Plants will bring the outdoors in, and studies have shown plants and flowers will reduce stress and improve general well-being. You wouldn’t bring your sick friend a gerbil, right? You’d bring them a fresh bouquet! If you’d rather bring green in another way, go with a nice pale green for the living room.

Blue has a similar effect as green. You feel calm around blue. It symbolizes loyalty and peace. Straight from Wikipedia, “In 2000, Glasgow installed blue street lighting in certain neighborhoods and subsequently reported the anecdotal finding of reduced crime in these areas.”

For the home: I’d choose a navy blue as an accent wall in the dining room, or a light blue for a bedroom. If you’re like most, your bedroom is the one place you can really go to unwind. Blue will allow you to feel soothed and restful. Light up a beach wood candle, and you’re in heaven! Just don’t go painting clouds on the ceiling. Then you’ve taken it too far.

Purple is the color of royalty, wealth, and sometimes romance. In ancient healing therapies, the color psychology behind purple was believed to treat skin problems, and purple crystals were used for both emotional and physical healing.

For the home: If it is believed to aid in skin therapy, what better place for a purple paint job than the master bathroom? Maybe the good purple vibes will work their magic and make you forever beauteous. If that’s not what you’re about, picture a relaxing lavender scented bath. Purple is also said to spark the imagination. I know many people do their best thinking in the bathroom!

Pink makes people think of love and romance. But it also brings about a sense of nurturing and immaturity – the silly, playful kind.

For the home: A little girl’s bedroom is the obvious choice here. But I think another less obvious space would be lighter maroon color in a playroom. This may help mold creative thoughts and visionary children.

Now go grab some color swatches, and create your own desired household aura!

MAYOR NELDA MARTINEZ: STATE OF THE CITY

“Bold and Balanced Growth” is how Mayor Martinez described our Emerald City by the Bay, Corpus Christi – and she isn’t kidding. On the afternoon of February 6, 2014, at the American Bank Center, she touched on two major statistics that will hopefully make a big impact in the Real Estate realm this coming year.

Corpus Christi is one of the fastest growing metro economies in the United States coming in at No. 10 with a 3.8% increase in 2013 and a projected 3.1% increase for 2014. This is also due to a 4.3% rise in jobs. More people coming to Corpus = more buyers in the real estate market! Finally, the scale is tipping.

Mayor Martinez also pointed out that since 2010, there has been a housing rise of 19%. There has been a sizeable increase in new construction in Corpus, creating roughly 3,800 new jobs in 2013. Why would there be this kind of boom in new construction you ask? Because we want to be prepared for the economic growth that is expected. From 2012 to 2013, there was a 32% increase in new residential permits alone.

With that though, there has been a shortage of affordable housing. The city is attempting to change this by building some low-income housing, such as The Palms at Leopard, to accommodate 120 apartments, which broke ground Nov. 14, 2013, on Leopard Street. The goal is to offer a healthy mix of housing options throughout Corpus Christi, and to continue with neighborhood cleanups.

As for the Island, Schlitterbahn is projected to bring mass amounts of people to the park, increasing the growth and relevance of the island. Property values are expected to increase due to this exposure, and there will certainly be many more people looking to buy and rent around the island.

Onward and upward, Corpus Christi!

Drones: The Next Big Thing in Real Estate Photography?

Move over Google Earth. The Drone may soon be invading the aerial photography kingdom. These drones don’t listen to private conversations, nor are they combative, but they can be a highly useful tool for Real Estate Agents!

Traditionally, aerial photos for Real Estate were taken by photographers in privately hired helicopters, and even more recently, Google Earth.

But a new twist may be coming onto the scene – remote operated Drones equipped with cameras. The operator is able to direct the drone around and above any piece of desired real estate.

If you haven’t already droned me out (pun intended), consider how an aerial view can be a worthy exposure. As a seller, you are able to showcase the property in its entirety, along with its surrounding areas. Favorable differences from your standard point-and-shoot camera might more effectively show yard size vs. house size, the leveling of the land, angles, quality of roofing, etc – These features may be hard to visualize unless seen from a bird’s eye view.

A house on the water is said to be valued around 3 times that of an inland home. The use of a drone that would show proximity to water, would be valuable.

But don’t go placing your orders just yet. In an effort to protect the surveillance of private properties, Texas law passed Sept. 1 states that using drones for real estate photography is illegal and punishable by a fine. It might be three years before the savvy camera-carrying unmanned aircraft can capture your property of choice.

Loophole? House Bill 912 Senate Version (1E) states that “Code include a person who: (8) with the consent of the individual captured in the image and the individual who owns or lawfully occupies the real estate property captured in the image.”

Here’s to hoping we’re at least many decades away from robots selling the properties, too!

 

Cheniere Energy, Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project Update!

Chenier Energy coming to Corpus Christi

This past Thursday, Jan. 9, at the Padre Island Business Association lunch, we had the pleasure of listening to guest speaker Jason French update us on the latest Cheniere liquefaction plant. To be located just northeast of Corpus Christi on La Quinta Channel of Corpus Christi Bay.  French, Director of Government and Public Affairs for Cheniere Energy, described this as a time of “energy revolution” due to the “rise in manufacturing because of mass supply of oil and gas in Texas.” The plant, which should take roughly 5 years to complete, will start construction this time next year for an estimated completion year of 2018.

In a nutshell, liquefaction is the process of super cooling liquid natural gas to make it safer for long distance transportation.

Click here to read all about the liquefaction process and what this plant will do:
http://www.cheniere.com/corpus_christi/corpus_project.shtml

Benefits to the public?

This $10.5 billion dollar project will bring in jobs for approximately 300-400 people per day
during construction as well as permanent employees once completed. French also estimated
about 50,000 permanent indirect exploration and production jobs, a $5.2 billion dollar secondary
economic impact to the greater Corpus Christi region, and a $7 billion dollar reduction in trade
deficit.

It’s a new year, but what’s in? New vs. Existing Homes

North Padre Island (Upper Padre Island)

….started developing in the 70’s, and with Schlitterbahn on the horizon, the island is becoming more and more desirable to purchase. It seems like building your dream home has been on the upward trend. But what are the advantages of an existing home? A buyer has one of two options: Embrace the new or embrace the existing. Here are some variables that outline the pros of each!

Character and Uniqueness

New: Build the character that you want! Do you like the bay windows of a Victorian, the half-timbering of a Tudor, and a central chimney of a Colonial home? You have the liberty to mix and match!

Existing: You get true history, vintage hardware, and maybe a hidden crawl space! Personality shines through, as this house is less likely to look like your neighbors.

Bang for your buck

New: If you’re building, you can choose which materials to splurge on, and where to cut costs. Go for brick on the exterior, but laminate floors on the interior. If a huge crystal chandelier in your entry reigns supreme, consider offsetting your must-haves with less expensive detailing in other areas.

Existing: You can often get a larger, older home for less per square foot than you might pay in a new home. Looking to gain a little profit? Flip it!

Quality Craftsmanship

New: Builders have fine-tuned their skills and in a timely manner! The average 3-bedroom house can go up in about 3 months. Here, you can get efficiency, and have it done quickly.

Existing: In years past, craftsmanship was an art and materials are more likely to be the real deal: Brick, hardwood floors, custom molding.

Desirable Location

New: You have options! There are lots to buy, or houses to renovate or demolish. With the right vision and plan, you can have the location of your dreams.

Existing: More times than not, the fabulous locations were snatched up a long time ago. Location, location, location. You’ve heard it a thousand times. But that’s because it’s important! Here on Padre, the first homes built probably have the best views and biggest lots.

Test of Time

New: You don’t have to wonder how previous owners treated the property. If you maintain your home and property, it is probably going to last you a very long time. The ball is in your courtyard!

Existing: If the home is still standing, something was done right! This goes hand in hand with the craftsmanship. If properly built, that house will last to see many generations play capture the flag and to host decades of turkey dinners.

Landscaping

New: You have a blank canvas! Plant the trees, bushes, and flowers that you want to see grow over the years. Prefer the maintenance free kind of yard? Rock out with a rock garden.

Existing: Mature landscaping can be a huge advantage to buyers and sellers. It takes many years for trees to grow big! The older the home, the bigger the trees.They provide privacy, shade, curb appeal, and heck, they can even increase the value of the home!

Grandfather Clauses

New: Your home will be up-to-date with all the most recent requirements.

Existing: When a new zoning ordinance or code comes into effect, these older homes will likely be granted a grandfather clause, meaning they are not in violation of the law. For instance, you may be given a grandfathered rate of flood insurance in a place where the risk of flood has since increased. Always ask about grandfather clauses on an older property – you may be pleasantly surprised by what advantages you have over your neighbors!

There is so much to consider, and lots of options awaiting you on Padre Island. Best of luck in your adventures!