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FAQ’s Port Aransas Real Estate

  1. Will the rental income from my second home cover my mortgage?

Probably not —but it probably will cover some of the other costs like Property Taxes, Home Owner’s Association dues (HOA) and Management Fees for homes used for rental income.

Like Dave Ramsey   https://www.daveramsey.com/  says “Cash is king!” so if you have the wherewithal to pay cash, it’s better.

 https://www.thebalance.com/what-are-the-benefits-to-paying-cash-for-a-home-1798721

Other mortgage tips from Dave Ramsey :  https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/the-truth-about-mortgages

There are some great deals occasionally when the entry price is low enough for the buyer to have a positive cash flow after all expenses are covered.

  1. What kind of financing is allowed for second homes?

Usually conventional loans are the way to go.  To qualify for a conventional loan on a second home, you will typically need to meet higher credit score standards of 725 or even 750, depending on the lender. Your monthly debt-to-income ratio needs to be strong, particularly if you are attempting to limit your down payment to 20%. All borrowers need to fully document their income and assets for a second home loan, because lenders will need to see significant cash reserves to make sure you have the resources to handle payments on two homes. (ref: http://www.investopedia.com/  )
Some lenders will finance properties at big condo/hotels with special loans.

  1. Is a house or condo better for a second home at the beach?

Both have their advantages.  Condos don’t require grounds or exterior maintenance. They usually offer on-site amenities such as pools, hot tubs, some recreational facilities and some have easy beach access.  They also have HOA’s and management fees and there’s always the possibility of an assessment being levied. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-are-hoa-assessments.html

Houses (called detached) don’t have HOA’s unless they are in a community (gated or otherwise) or unless they are in a condo regime.  You are responsible for your own exterior maintenance and insurance.  They are sometimes easier and cheaper to finance than condos.

  1. What is an HOA and what do they cost/cover?

Home Owner’s Associations vary widely in what they cost and what all they cover.  The higher priced monthly dues usually cover flood/windstorm/exterior in addition to the maintenance of the pool and grounds.  Larger units in the same complex may have higher dues.  They mandate the size and type of house, the exterior color and types of roofs and trim.   Basic home owner association info here: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/homeowners-associations-tips.asp

  1. What do management companies charge and what do they do?

In addition to booking, management companies arrange for the housekeeping and repairs on the property.  Fees can range from 20-25% for third-party management companies, to 40-50% on the big condo-hotels or condo-tels Generally, if a property has a front office, they do on-site management or contract it out and do not allow third-party management.   https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2006/08/03/what-are-condo-hotels-or-condotels-an-interview-with-joel-greene-part-i/

A small local management team is sometimes the best fit because they limit the number of properties they take care of.  http://www.visitporta.net/

  1. What about self-managing?

That’s an option, but it involves the owner being on-call all the time to book the unit and tend to repairs and maintenance when guests are in and check on the property condition each time guests check out.  But if owners are willing to do this and have some experience in property management, it can greatly enhance their bottom line.

  1. What is an assessment?

Condos levy assessments on property owners for big expenses such as roof repairs, repaving, resurfacing the pool and exterior painting.  They can cost home owners tens of thousands of dollars but improve the value of the property.  Usually, owners are given notice of a planned assessment several months in advance. Sometimes, motivated sellers will offer to pay the planned assessment for potential buyers.  See link above.

  1. What’s the occupancy rate?

Generally, a vacation home is rented during the high season from Memorial Day to Labor Day and a few other weekends before and after.  You can count on renting about 100 days per year.  Monthly rentals are done during the off season to “winter Texans.”  They pay a lower rate per day but are usually reliable tenants.  Some areas do not allow short term or “nightly” rentals, instead only permitting long term rentals–two week or one month minimums.

  1. Should I update or upgrade my unit to help it rent better?

Yes and no.  Vacation homes that are prettier and more updated will rent sooner than the others, but during the high season, most all of them get rented, regardless of how they look.  During the off-peak season, the cuter ones rent more because people can go online and view individual units.  When it’s time to sell, a little updating and redecorating usually help it sell more, as long as you don’t go overboard with spending.  Your place still needs to be in line with similar units especially in the same complex.  https://blog.evolvevacationrental.com/5-vacation-rental-upgrades-that-convince-travelers-to-book/

  1. What is the property tax rate in Port Aransas?

It is 1.82%.  Some condos and houses located further south on State Highway 361 are taxed in the Corpus Christi district at somewhat higher rate.  The cut off is the La Mirage Condominiums.  Properties south of this are in the Port Aransas zip code but in the Corpus taxing district.

  1. How much is windstorm and flood insurance?

On a 1500 square foot home, flood is about 900-1200, windstorm is around 2500.  Contents coverage is additional and varies with dollar amount covered.  Call a reputable agent to get specifics on the property you’re considering buying.  The local expert around here is Stephanie Waterman  https://agents.farmers.com/tx/corpus-christi/stephanie-waterman?SourceID=AMPL001L002&utm_source=GMB&utm_medium=Local

  1. How long does it take to close on a home?

With new government regulations, gone are the 30 day closings.  Most of the time, you should allow at least 45 days.

For fast reliable mortgage lending, I recommend Jennifer Perrin  or Juan Garcia at Starkey Mortgage.

jgarcia@starkeymtg.com

 https://www.starkeymtg.com/lo/JenniferPerrin

  1. What do I need to get started?

First, go speak with a lender, someone you trust.  I recommend going with a company that assigns a specific person to you, so you always talk to the same one to check the status of your loan.  They will need to pre-qualify for the loan.  They are mostly looking at how much you earn vs. how much you owe—to figure the debt to income ratio.

To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, you add up all your monthly debt payments and divide them by your gross monthly income. Your gross monthly income is generally the amount of money you have earned before your taxes and other deductions are taken out.  For example, if you pay $1500 a month for your mortgage and another $100 a month for an auto loan and $400 a month for the rest of your debts, your monthly debt payments are $2000. ($1500 + $100 + $400 = $2,000.) If your gross monthly income is $6000, then your debt-to-income ratio is 33 percent. ($2000 is 33% of $6000.) https://www.consumerfinance.gov/

The lender will give you a letter stating that you qualify for a certain amount, which is different than a pre-approval letter stating that they’d be willing to lend you that amount. They will also check your credit score, how reliable you are able paying your bills on a timely basis and if you have outstanding debt that you aren’t paying on.  Once you get pre-approved, it’s time to start saving money.  Don’t buy a new car, boat or other large purchase before you close on your house.

Contact a reliable realtor.  You will be spending lots of time with that person, so find someone you like, someone who’s honest and won’t just try to “sell you something.”  Tell them what you’re looking for and how much you want to spend so they can begin the search.  http://myfavoritebeachproperty.com/index.php/2016/11/22/whychooseme/

Once you identify that person, you should sign a buyer’s rep agreement with them, which is basically an employment contract.  Usually the sellers pay the real estate commission, so there’s no need to avoid this step.   http://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/what-is-a-buyers-agent-used-for/

  1. What is a buyer’s rep agreement and is this necessary?

A buyer’s rep agreement is basically an employment contract between a buyer and a realtor.  It states the time and the location in which a search will occur.  The realtor agrees to market the home in various ways and the buyer agrees to facilitate the sale.  If, at any time, the buyer feels the realtor is not doing an adequate job, they can break the agreement.  But since the seller usually pays the real estate commission in the transaction, there is no cost to the buyer.  The buyer then becomes a “client” as opposed to a “customer” and the realtor is able to negotiate the terms of a deal and be the buyer’s advocate.

  1. How important is online research when shopping for a home?

The National Association of Realtors found that 94% of millennials and 84% of baby boomers start their home search online.  Even home buyers over 65 start there first, as many as 65% of them do as well.  Keep in mind that real estate sites are only a place to start and that sometimes their information is incorrect or hasn’t been recently updated.  But it helps buyers sort through potential properties so that they can be more prepared when they meet with a realtor.

  1. How long will it take to find the right property?

The average time to find a property is as high as 11 weeks, according to the National Association of Realtors.  But like all bargains, the good ones get snapped up early.  When a buyer finds a good deal and they are ready, they should make an offer, particularly if it hasn’t been on the market long.  “Days on market” can tell a lot about a property. Sometimes, properties are overpriced and will languish on the market.  If that happens, the seller might be more motivated to take an offer, or they also might be the kind to put it on the market at an inflated price “just to see what happens.”

  1. What do I need to do before I list my home?

First, you need to “de-clutter.”  Since that can carry a negative connotation, I prefer the word “packing.”  Sellers need to realize that they are getting ready to close a chapter and move on to another, and this is an important first step.  Any personal items such as photos, memorabilia and calendars with the family’s schedule should be removed.  Before a showing is scheduled, be sure to store valuables in a secure location.

Any repairs, large or small that the seller can afford to do should be done prior to listing.  Some lenders will not loan money on a house that has big repairs needed.  Many times, the seller will end up paying for those, so they should go ahead and fix whatever they can before listing.

Then they should select a realtor that they feel comfortable with, someone they trust who has a proven track record and positive online reviews.

https://www.zillow.com/profile/lisahood25/#reviews

  1. What is “staging” and is it necessary?

Staging is a way to show the home in the best light to potential buyers.  It means to furnish and decorate a home with no personal touches.  Sellers should take out some of the furniture and accessories to make the rooms seem larger and uncluttered.  They should make sure the drive-up appeal is top notch with a manicured lawn and appealing entry.  The home should be well lit and spotlessly clean.  Buyers need to be able to visualize themselves living in that home, and having too much “stuff” detracts from that mental picture. Studies have shown that buyers are more attracted to homes that are staged and therefore more inclined to buy them.  Sellers can stage their homes themselves or hire a professional, which usually costs under $1000, a small price to pay when compared with their house staying on the market longer than necessary.  https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/2661221/list/sell-your-home-fast-21-staging-tips

  1. How long will it take to sell my home?

According to a study publish in the Corpus Christi Caller Times, the average days on the market in this area is less than 90 days.  Of course that number varies widely depending on the zip codes.  Southside and Flour Bluff are booming areas because of their good schools and properties take less time to sell there.  Port Aransas, since it is a resort town, has a more seasonal market. Most of the homes are higher priced and are sold as second homes or investment properties.

20.  What’s the bottom line?

While you might make a decent return on investment by owning a second home in Port Aransas, there are other advantages to consider.  Port Aransas is a relatively short drive from Houston, Austin and San Antonio with thousands of  visitors flocking here for the hot times in the summer as well as the influx of Winter Texans during the off season. So there’s always a steady supply of vacationers ready to rent properties.  And the beach is always a great place to make memories with family and friends.  It’s convenient to have your own place to stay when you come and a guarantee that you’ll come more often.  There are some tax benefits and write-offs you can take advantage of.  And when you are ready to sell, it is highly possible that your beach house will have appreciated in value.  After the historic real estate market crash of 2009, properties have rebounded in price and continue to appreciate.   With all the industry moving to the Corpus Christi area, the current building boom is sure to continue for the foreseeable future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does LOCATION really means in Port Aransas?

What does LOCATION really means in Port Aransas?  Here’s the inside scoop!

We’ve all heard about the first three rules of real estate:  location, location, location, but when buying property in the South Texas resort community of Port Aransas, what all does that entail?

ZONING:

Since most people buying houses or condos here want rental income generation from their property, buyers must consider zoning.  Although there was talk in the Texas Congress about changing the rules, as of now, only properties zoned R-2 can be used for nightly or short-term rental.  Some neighborhood put additional restrictions on that to mandate rentals of a minimum of 14 days.  Even if a buyer primarily wants the home for their own family’s use, they should probably consider buying in an R-2 zone to rent occasionally or if their needs change.  Also, these properties are usually easier to sell.

The majority of the rental income is generated during the hundred days of summer—roughly from Memorial Day through Labor Day, plus a few days before and after.  During the off season, the rates go down and many of the properties will be rented by Winter Texans on a monthly basis.

If a buyer wants to move here permanently or know for certain that they’d never rent their home, then R-1 zoning is the way to go unless they don’t mind the constant influx of renters.  A few neighborhoods like Channel Vista, Palisades Drive and Island Moorings are zoned R-1.

OLD TOWN:                                                                                                                                                                                       

Many buyers prefer to buy within the boundaries of the original area of Port A known as Old Town, which is anything north of Avenue G.  But those properties usually command a higher price.  Since there are no laws governing what type of houses can be placed where, this area is a hodge-podge collection of older homes, new homes, mobile homes, businesses and fishing cottages.  But it is quaint and some people consider this area more prestigious and desirable.

EAST vs. WEST

Since many locals and vacationers prefer to get around town on a golf cart, and no golf carts are allowed on state highway 361, many buyers choose to buy on the east side of the highway towards the beach.  Certain crossing areas are allowed, but this limited access hampers owners from using their golf carts somewhat.  With the increase in accidents caused by golf carts, the local police are cracking down on drivers who violate this local law.

For more info on golf cart usage, click on these links:

http://www.cityofportaransas.org/Golf_Cart_License_Plates.cfm

http://www.cityofportaransas.org/pdf/ORDINANCE%202009-16-GOLF%20CARTS.pdf

FLOOD ZONES:

Since Port Aransas is at the coast, it is basically sea level–which necessitates the purchase of flood insurance which is regulated nationally by FEMA.  If someone buys their home with cash they can choose not to purchase flood insurance.   Lenders require it. Most condominium complexes cover exterior insurance—including flood and wind—with the HOA dues they collect from owners.  But the elevation varies slightly, so even a few feet of difference can mean a huge difference in cost.  To find out the flood rating on a specific property, see this link:

http://maps.riskmap6.com/TX/Nueces/

Contact a reputable insurance agent to get a quote on insurance before making a final decision.  I heartily recommend my friend, Stephanie Waterman at Farmer’s Insurance.

https://agents.farmers.com/tx/corpus-christi/stephanie-waterman

HOA’s

When it comes to neighborhoods with a Home Owners Association, there are pros and cons.  Most condos and townhomes have an HOA, but some single family home neighborhoods do, as well.  They often cover big expenses like wind and flood insurance and other expenses like exterior maintenance, pool maintenance, landscaping and parking.  For houses, they can, but don’t always, regulate the type of building materials and colors that can be used as well as other architectural restrictions that serve to maintain the integrity and congruity of the neighborhood’s appearance.  But for some, those restrictions are too intrusive and owners chaff at the idea of additional expense of home ownership.  Occasionally the HOA plans a special assessment whereby the huge expenses like a new roof for a condo will be distributed among the homeowners.  As soon as they are aware of this, they notify the owners.  If a condo is for sale, usually the seller will pay this assessment or make arrangements to do so before it closes.

PROXIMITY TO WATER

Obviously, homes closer to the water cost more.  Sand dunes surround the coast here, so there are almost no homes that are actually on the beach.  Dunes are environmentally sensitive areas and cannot be removed or altered without great cost and complications.  It’s rarely done even for a walkway or a driveway.  Homes built directly behind the dunes have a beach view provided they are built up enough or will have a view from upper stories.  However, the closer a property is to the ocean, the higher the toll it from salt. There is another way to get a water view—purchase a home or condo located near the shipping channel or in an exclusive neighborhood like Island Moorings that have canals behind them.

BEACH ACCESS:

Since most people come to Port Aransas for the beach, having easy access is a plus.  Many condo complexes and neighborhoods have wooden or vinyl boardwalks that allow you to easily walk over the dunes in Port A.  Some even are made extra wide and sturdy so that you can drive your golf cart across.  Those are only accessible to the owners and guests of those neighborhoods.  Since the dunes are environmentally sensitive areas, it is forbidden to walk over them.  Besides, they are full of stickers and rattlesnakes, so that’s not advisable anyway.  If there’s no nearby boardwalk, having a beach access road nearby is the next best thing.

CORPUS vs. PORT ARANSAS

Several years ago, a portion of Mustang Island south of Port Aransas was annexed by the city of Corpus Christi.  The county appraisal district lists those properties as being in Corpus and they are taxed accordingly (2.4% as opposed to 1.82% in Port A).  Interestingly enough, the zip code is 78373—which is the Port Aransas zip code.  (Crazy, huh?)  The cut-off point is the La Mirage condominiums located at 5317 State Hwy. 361.  Anything south of that is Corpus—for better or worse.

GATED COMMUNITIES

Although crime is negligible here, being in a gated community does offer an added layer of security for a home owner.  This is particularly important for buyers who only stay at their home occasionally and fear for the safety of their property when it is sitting vacant for much of the year.  Several areas have security gates:  Beach Walk, La Joya and Village Walk and others.

BOTTOM LINE:

As in all real estate ventures, LOCATION is the number one factor in a purchase.  Knowing what that means in a unique resort market like Port Aransas is super important to beach house buyers.  Knowing who to call when you get ready is the easy part—call me!  I’ll make it easy for you to buy a little slice of paradise on the Texas coast.