Thursday, November 3, 2011

Best Clean Windows in San Antonio or Anywhere Else for that Matter

The home girl has cleaned up all the Halloween Decorations at the homestead. (with a bunch of help from the hubby)

Halloween has got to be one of my favorite holidays for many reasons.
  1. Candy
  2. Grown ups can play dress up.
  3. You don't have to have a clean house for it to look absolutely marvelous!
  4. Chocolate Candy
  5. Dust and spider webs and windows you can't see through are appropriate.
  6. Snickers, Butterfingers, Peanut M&M's
  7. Everybody loves witches and its ok to act like like one.
  8. More Candy
Alas, it's over. The pumpkins are melting, the bats and ghosts are back in a box, the left over candy is hidden so that I will forget where  I put it and all that is left are a few cobwebs, some dust and  thoughts of the next big event - Thanksgiving.  

It's time to clear away the dust and the cobwebs and get the home clean, sparkly and ready for the holidays.

The best way for a truly great outlook is to clean up what you are looking out.  (That's terrible grammar, but I hope you get the gist of what I am trying to say.)  Clean your windows!

The best recipe that I ever found for sparkly windows came from an article in the San Antonio Express News in December 2001 by Maribel Zimmerman. 

Please read the whole article and you will find the recipe for sparkly windows at the bottom of the page. 


San Antonio Express-News Sunday Real Estate  Sunday Dec 9, 2001
By Maribel Zimmerman

Some windows look like they were cleaned with a good amount of spit and an oily mechanics rag.  Sticky fingers and wet noses pressed to the glass can wreak havoc on your view, too.  But some windows look worse after they have been cleaned.  Why?  What could possibly have gone wrong?  Plenty.

Hastily pursuing the perfect view can mean forgetting the most important credos of crystal clear windows:  clean water and the right tools.  So, how do you get windows to sparkle the first time?  It's really not that hard. 

There are several ways to do the job right.  Commercial cleaning solutions can work well, but are not necessary for the job. Old fashioned household cleaners are plentiful in most homes - and expensive. 

Experts at Andersen-Windows suggest beginning with the right stuff:  rubber gloves; two buckets or one bucket with two wells; sudsy ammonia; white vinegar; rubbing alcohol; several clean, dry rags, a squeegee; and a ladder, if necessary. 

Now, follow these steps to the best view you've ever enjoyed:

1.  First, read and follow the manufacturer's instructions on each cleaning agent and all tools before beginning.  In addition, use extreme caution when using ladders around open windows to maintain safe operation and avoid injury.  If elevation devices are required, do not use furniture, only equipment intended for that purpose, including ladders, scaffolding, and step stools.  And follow all the manufacturers instructions for safe operation.
2.  Fill both buckets with 1 to 2 gallons of the hottest water your gloved hands can stand.  Use caution in handling hot water to avoid burns and scalding. 
3.  In one of the two buckets, add one cup each of ammonia and vinegar, plus two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and stir.  The latter will help the water evaporate and add that "twinkle" factor.
4.  Begin at the top of the house at the top of the window.
5.  Wipe the entire surface with the solution.  If necessary, bugs, stickers, and stubborn marks can be removed with a new straight-edge blade, being careful to avoid personal injury or damage to the wndow.  Once the dirt is removed, wipe the window a second time with the clear water.
6.  Immediately squeegee the window, using a rag to wipe the squeegee dry after each swipe.  This will limit the streaks caused by wet lines of water at the squeegee's edge and eliminate dripping onto your sparkling windows with wet tools. 
7.  Use a clean cloth to wipe only the wet corners and the sill.
Some extra tips
  • Again, use extreme caution when working around open window openings.  Never leave a window unattended, especially when children are present.  Falls may result in serious injury or death. 
  • Try swiping in only one direction - horizontal or vertical on the inside of the house, and the other direction on the outside.  If you do find streaks, you'll know which side needs to be redone. 
  • Change the water often to eliminate streaks.
  • Tie a rope to the squeegee and secure it to the ladder or your belt in case you drop it.  Letting the solution dry onto the window while you climb down to retrieve your tools could be the difference between sparkle and debacle.
  • Try cleaning windows on sunny, but dry days. Sunlight dries the solution too fast and makes streaks more likely. 
  • Really dirty windows may need to be rinsed first with the garden hose, but be prepared to clean them immediately.  Hard water stains can be stubborn. 
For more information about windows, including maintenance, repair and replacement, contact the Greater San Antonio Builders Association at (210) 696-3800 for a free copy of the Remodelors Directory. 

The Greater San Antonio Builders Association is a local trade association that offers opportunities to its members to display their products and services. 
It makes no representations expressed or implied , regarding the qualifications of its members or the quality of their products and services, but invites you to examine them for yourself at

Maribel Zimmerman is an architecutral representatve for Black Millwork Co. Inc., a member of the Greater San Antonio Builders Association Remodelors Council
This is the recipe for sparkly windows

1 cup ammonia
1 cup vinegar
2 Tablespoons Rubbing Alcohol
1 to 2 gallons of HOT water (stir it all together)

After removing the dirt, wipe with clear water only, then squegee.

*Home Girl Note
This article was written almost 10 years ago. The website for The Greater San Antonio Builders Association is still good, but I'm not sure about the phone number or if they still have copies of the Remodelors Council Directory. 
I do know this recipe for cleaning windows works.  It did 10 years ago, and it still does.  I have had many clients and other agents ask for my secret, and it's really no secret!  I found this article last week when I was cleaning out a file, and thought this would be a great time to share it.
Sparkly windows just make us feel better.  They make a home look better and may be just the missing piece to help somebody's home sell.  If nothing else, clean windows give us  a better outlook.  :-)  

I am Stephanie Kelley, Realtor® at Keller Williams Legacy, San Antonio, Texas. If you have questions about San Antonio real estate or just want to chat a bit about our wonderful Alamo City, please call me at or (210) 867-8743, or E-mail me at Our experienced Realty Solutions Team is always ready to help you with your home buying or selling needs. Visit me at

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Things to Do in San Antonio for Halloween

The home girl loves Halloween!    Here is a list of my favorite things to do this year in San Antonio., along with a few tips  for your added enjoyment.

 Haunted Houses    I was able to find 4 haunted houses that looked really good, and have provided links to their websites so you can get their hours, pricing and location. 
13th Floor   This one claims to be the longest and largest horror house in San Antonio, full of intense graphics and theatrics.
Ages 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult to enter. Please call (210) 338-0382

Nightmare on Grayson   A San Antonio Classic!  I was having my nails done yesterday with a lady who works there.  She told me that they have been there 22 years and it is family friendly.  I am most excited about Zombie Night, when you can dress like your favorite Zombie.

Terror Mansion  **** 4 Star Rated SA Express News  San Antonio's Scariest Haunted House

 Ripley's Haunted Adventure  I took Liby and Nikki  (my grandkids) here when they were around 7 or 8 and they LOVED it.  (They are pretty tough cookies)  We got chased by a monster with a chain saw who turned out to be pretty nice.  Nikki lost her flip flop while running and screaming in the dark  and the monster handed the flip flop to her.  It's a pleasantly creepy haunted house, but then it doesn't take much to scare me. 

Amusement Parks 

There is just too much information to share here, so click on the links below.

Sea World  
9-30 through 10-30 2011 Howl O Scream

Fiesta Texas  
 Weekends 9-30 through 10-30-2011 Fright Fest 

Artisan's Alley
Date(s): 10/22/2011 - 10/22/2011
Time: Sat. 11 a.m.

Wake up with Tim Burton at The McNay!  You can wear your PJ's!  Now that sounds scary! 

Beetle Juice  10/22 @ 11:00 A.M.
Corpse Bride  10/29 @ 11:00 A.M                        

6000 N. New Braunfels
San Antonio, TX 78209
Phone: 210/824-5367 

Fall Festival at the Botanical Garden
Sunday, October 23, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m
Thanks to H-E-B, all guests will enjoy $2 off admission to the Garden. 

·    Plant Sale from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m
     Last Chance Forever - Birds of Prey Show   12 - 1
·    San Antonio-friendly trees will be given away by the City of San Antonio Tree Mitigation Fund (while supplies last).
·    Learn about vermicomposting with the Texas Red Worms’ worm bins.
·    Participate in the BOO Fitness Challenge.
·    “Amazing Butterfly” Photo Contest winners will be announced.

Kids will especially love the following activities:
·    Costume parades at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
·    Getting gooey with Schulz Nursery’s Gak slime.
·    Face painting.
·    Corn printing.
·    Making wildflower seed balls.

The San Antonio Botanical Garden is located at 555 Funston at North New Braunfels Avenue with free parking. The Botanical Garden is operated under the auspices of the City of San Antonio Department of Parks & Recreation and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year round except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
For more information, the public can visit San Antonio Botanical Garden.

Train Rides and Halloween Show for the Family

Date(s): 10/29/2011 - 10/30/2011
Time: Sat and Sun 7 p.m. - 9.30 p.m.
Texas Transportation Museum
11731 Wetmore Road
San Antonio, TX 78247

"Dressed to Chill"

Bud Light Coffins on Parade   
Coffins on Parade  San Antonio River Walk
October 29, 2011 Time: 6:00PM - 8:00PM

You do not want to miss this famous Halloween spectacle. Imagine floating coffins in barges traveling along the San Antonio River!

Dance with the Dead

Institute of Texan Cultures
801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd
San Antonio, TX , 78205
Dance with the Dead

Come dressed as your favorite departed Texan!  It's a Halloween Masquerade Party with music, dancing, costume contest  + hors d'ourves and a cash bar.  

25th Annual Zoo Boo

Sunday, October 30 and
Monday, October 31, 2011
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Join the Zoo for some “spook”tacularly scary fun at the 25th Annual Halloween event, Zoo Boo at YOUR San Antonio Zoo.
Zoo Boo is an exciting, safe, and non-scary Halloween event for families with children 12 years of age or younder held on the grounds of the San Antonio Zoo.

This event can get REALLY crowded.  Go early, plan to walk far from parking , you may want a flash light or reflective clothing to get to and from the zoo.

The San Antonio Ghost Tracks
I've never actually done this, but I'm sure all my kids have, and it seems to be a popular urban legend.  San Antonio has rumours of ghosts at the Alamo, the Menger, the Emily Morgan and even the Missions, but I must admit this one truly intrigues me.  Maybe this Halloween I will check out a real ghost.  Or, maybe I will be a Zombie at Nightmare on Grayson. 

Do you have a favorite halloween haunt in South Texas?  Suggestions for a fun fall activity?  Please add a comment and keep it clean - Texas Home Girl runs a family friendly site :-) 

Happy Halloween!

I am Stephanie Kelley, Realtor® at Keller Williams Legacy, San Antonio, Texas. If you have questions about San Antonio real estate or just want to chat a bit about our wonderful Alamo City, please call me at or (210) 867-8743, or E-mail me at  Our experienced Realty Solutions Team is always ready to help you with your home buying or selling needs. Visit me at

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Texas Home Buyer Two Steps Around Her Agent

A friend stopped by the Home Girl's office yesterday. She was terribly upset because a client that she had worked with for over a decade was terminating their agency agreement.

It's painful to be fired. Ask any number of the currently unemployed who have been terminated or laid off due to downsizing and the lousy economy. Sometimes the termination is justifiable because of the employee's actions or non-actions, and sometimes not so much.

But no matter the cause, the sick feeling in the pit of the stomach is right there, a tight, nauseating knot that lasts for days. Even when the the termination makes sense, it hurts.

In the private sector, employees are paid for their services. In fact, if an employee is not paid for work performed, then a complaint can be filed for theft of services. Governor Perry signed SB 1024 eliminating a loophole that previously existed for a criminal theft of service charge. Under prior law, a party obtaining services from another under a promise to pay could avoid a criminal charge of theft of service so long as the party was making minimal payments. Read more here:

My colleague did not have such recourse. The buyer felt that she had "found" her home without assistance.
  • She failed to take into consideration the hours that were spent setting up searches using specific criteria requested by the buyer.
  •  She did not take into consideration the number of homes that had already been shown to her.
  • There was no accounting for time spent researching property values in communities in which she had expressed an interest.
  • No mention was made for reimbursement of travel or gas expenses.
This is just a partial list. This buyer just didn't understand or care what her friend and agent was doing on her behalf, spending considerable time (and time is money) and concentrated effort.

This agent is sharp. Had the buyer mentioned that she was not finding her desired home, that her needs had changed, then the search would have been tweaked and more homes may have been available. There was a signed buyer agency agreement and an established relationship of many years.

Instead of communicating her wishes to her agent, the buyer called ANOTHER agent to show her a property. Kind of like a first date with somebody when you are married to somebody else. I guess the showing agent didn't ask the right questions (are you working with an agent?), had no ethics, or the buyer answered, "not really".

When I receive a sign call and ask "are you working with an agent" and the potential buyer answers "not really" , I usually cringe and then proceed to lose the lead by saying something intelligent like,
 " Seriously?, What does that mean? Not really. Do you or do you not have an agent?".

These questions are not an effort to be lazy, to not show my own listings, but are used as an effort to be ethical, to respect the efforts that another agent has invested into his or her client, and to avoid the confusion caused by an existing buyer's agency agreement versus the procuring cause argument that will probably be offered by the agent that showed the one property that my friends client "found".

As Realtors, we have an obligation to be ethical. Customers are under no obligation to share in that responsibility, but clients have signed an agreement to be loyal. It just seems to me that you got to dance with who brung ya, and if you don't want that, then break up before the dance begins.

Post script.  I was able to visit with my colleague today to see how things were going.  It turns out that she did have a conversation with the "new" buyers' agent.  The agent did ask the questions, but the answer was the usual - not really, not a signed agreement. ( I guess the buyer forgot  - hmmm)   The new agent has offered to pay a referral to my colleague.  I don't really think this is a win-win.  I am happy that my friend is getting a little compensation.  My opinion of her former client is not so great, slightly better of the other agent, but now I am the one with a sick feeling in my stomach and I don't feel like dancing with anybody.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Home Preparation Tips Inspired by HGTV's House Hunters

The home girl loves HGTV's House Hunter! I don't really consider it to be entertainment.  At least for me, the show is more like "home" work. I try to guess which home the buyer is going to select, using the keen skills that I have developed over the years, watching their reactions, their body language, what they say and more importantly, what they don't say about each property.

This show is so staged that it's fairly predictable, and let's face it, most buyers are not professionally trained actors.

This episode that I watched this morning was focused on a soon to be married couple buying in the Richmond, Va. area in the $200,000 ish price range. The real estate agent did a great job of finding suitable properties close to the price range for this couple, although I don't think the editors/producers/writers of the show encouraged or allowed her to offer very much advice to the buyers.

What I loved about this particular show was the predictability of the choice the buyers were going to make. The buyers' final choice was to exceed their budget and buy a newly constructed home. Seller's should watch this to see what they are up against when trying to sell a home in a buyer's market.

One buyer remarked in both resale homes that the carpet was nasty, and that she couldn't stand nasty carpet. My TV is HD and it really didn't look THAT bad, but I must admit you could see a few dirty spots, so it probably wasn't in pristine condition. It's just hard to compete with new. 

She made a comment in one home about a cheap plastic door. It appeared to be a type of sliding door between a hall and living area,  probably set up for temporary privacy for an office or other purpose. It could have been easily replaced. It's just hard for weird and temporary appearing to compete with new. 

You can follow the show here:  Richmond Mom

The outcome of the buyers' decision could have been so different if the sellers in either of the previously owned homes had taken the initiative to properly prepare their homes for sale.  There were missing or burned out light bulbs, missing chandeliers, dirty and stained carpet, outdated countertops in addition to non-curable problems such as dangerous dogs next door and a three story drop from the deck. 

The non curables can be cured with the difference in price, but the real objection coming from the buyer seemed to be the dirty carpet, the cheap door and the missing tub in the master suite.  All of the previously mentioned items,  even a remodel for the tub and the cost of a new refrigerator would probably be less expensive after negotiations than the cost of new construction. 

In a buyers market, or really in any market, sellers should stage their homes to compete with new consruction, price to deal with non curables and prep their homes to show at their absolute best. 

There are plenty of ideas on how to stage your home to sell.  I can't find any that are as detailed as I would like for them to be, so I am writing a detailed check list on how to prep your home for sale.  You can get all the information by following this blog.  Just watch for it!


Don't miss out on an opportunity to be on HGTV.  They are coming to San Antonio!  Learn more by reading Randy's blog:  We are giving an additional bonus if they select one of our buyers.  Check it out!  Hurry!

I am Stephanie Kelley, Realtor® at Keller Williams Legacy, San Antonio, Texas.  If you have questions about San Antonio real estate or just want to chat a bit about our wonderful Alamo City, please call me at or (210) 867-8743, or E-mail me at

Our experienced Realty Solutions Team is always ready to help you with your home buying or selling needs. Visit me at please call me at or (210) 867-8743, Visit me at or follow my blog at

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

San Antonio Parade of Homes 2011

The Home Girl went to the Parade of Homes this morning! 

Every year the Greater San Antonio Builders Association puts on a show featuring the biggest, brightest and best homes, decorating, landscaping, pools, outdoor kitchens, outstanding craftsmanship, awe inspiring designs and ooh la la  that they have to offer. 

And OOH LA LA, it was!  They sparkled and shimmered with contemporary features. Silver metallic, or textured faux paint finishes added drama and elegance.   Beaded chandeliers were in abundance.  In most any home, the lighting fixtures were refreshingly different from those we have seen in Parades past.  There were sparkling glass accessories and lighted onyx sinks .There were crystal knobs on cabinet doors.  Glass tiles, marble flooring, marble, granite, Silestone, or under lit honey onyx counters could be found almost anywhere you looked.  It is truly amazing what a million or so will do!

There were outdoor living spaces so grand that you would never want to go inside.  One home even had disappearing glass walls that actually opened to the outdoor living areas, literally bringing the outside in.  Or the inside out, I'm not really sure, but it was quite nice and one of my  favorites. 

All of the houses but one had pools.  Two had fire and water features which kind of made me think of the fifth element.  High on the hill, we had wind, some of the most expensive earth in San Antonio,  fire, the negative edged pool had a gas line just beneath the negative edge so you saw a line of fire just above the edge.  It took my breath away! The other pool had a water fall flowing over an outdoor fireplace. I guess the fifth element would be a buyer for any of these homes.  I would be happy to assist and can be reached at  :-)

With most of the homes in the million dollar and up range, that I nor most of my clients would be able to afford the extreme luxury that was shown at the parade of homes.  What it does for us is open us up to new ideas, style changes and the opportunity to pick the minds of some of the best builders in the business. 

The Parade of Homes will be running through Sunday, September 11, 2011
For More Information: Schedule, Ticket Information and Map

I am Stephanie Kelley, Realtor® at Keller Williams Legacy, San Antonio, Texas. If you have questions about San Antonio real estate or just want to chat a bit about our wonderful Alamo City, please call me at or (210) 867-8743, or E-mail me at  Our experienced Realty Solutions Team is always ready to help you with your home buying or selling needs. Visit me at .

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hot Time, Not Cooking and Screaming at Goliath

It's hot. This is a major understatement this year in south Texas. It's really hot. I am ceasing to count the days over 100 degrees and instead counting the meager number of days that have blessedly slipped to under 3 digits.

I am hot, too. Not in the popular conversational movie star icon sense, nor in the more appropriate menopausal grandmother Hot flashy sense, but in the raging, screaming, "Falling Down", or even networky, "I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it any more" , hot around the collar kind of sense.

Last January, I updated my kitchen, a few light fixtures, and the flooring in my house. The decorator that I hired was competent and chosen mainly because I didn't want to deal with the inevitable hassles and problems that can occur during remodeling. Even though she is doing her best to help with what should be a minor issue, I can't help but feeling a little like David battling Goliath. I need a bigger rock, a stronger slingshot or at least a better strategy.

My minor issue is the oven. I cook good! I mean really good. Well is probably better gramatically, but I still mean good. Randy's eyes would roll around and he made yummy faces when I prepared something from our old oven. This NEW Jenn Air oven does not cook good. In fact, it does not cook a frozen pizza without burning the bottom. I spent forty bucks on cheese cake ingredients for the bake sale for the children's shelter and tried to make my famous blackberry cheese cake.  (I got the recipe from Texas Monthly - click link). I could not bring myself to sell that cracked up mess at the bake sale. It would have been far too embarrassing.

I knew there was something wrong with the NEW oven fairly early on, but thought that I just needed to get used to it. After about a month of trying to adapt, a call went out to Jenn Air. The response was that it needed calibration, and we had to do that ourselves before the service people would come out.

We calibrated it ourselves. It was 40 degrees off. The other problem was that it was not consistently 40 degrees off. Randy is accustomed to field expedience, ( military experience) and I just tend to make do with whatever is handy, so we wrangled up the thermometer that we use for cooking the turkey at Christmas, and have been using that to judge temperature on our  NEW hi tech, computerized, state of the art Jenn Air oven.

OK, I know that you can get a lemon with anything, and that most anything can be repaired, and with all the surveys and customer service and good will going on, this excellent product, backed by a very excellent company is sure to be repaired, lickety split. Right?

Wrong. Sometime, probably in late April or May, Jenn Air sent out technicians from General Services. They were nice young men, very polite, usually not extremely punctual, but always called to let me know if they had a flat tire, death in the family , or excuse du jour for why I was the appointment that had to be moved to 7:30 or 8:00 on Friday evening, or better yet why my Friday appointment had to be moved to Saturday. Poor things. I think they were over booked. They couldn't seem to get the right replacement parts, plus they broke my cooking stones when they turned the oven over. We even thought at one time they had discontinued a part for a brand new model oven, but found out later that was just a boo boo. Whew!ALTHOUGH IT REALLY DOESN 'T MATTER BECAUSE IT STILL DOESN'T WORK!
Jenn Air was obviously beginning to have doubts about General Service, because they scheduled another service company, South Texas to check out my oven and confirm if it was really irreparable.  The gentleman from South Tex said "No Problemo" and expedited the order for 3 parts to hopefully be here before I left for vacation on the 13th of July. 

Needless to say, the parts never materialized and while I was sunning by the pool on July 25th, I got a call from Jenn Air in Cleveland, Tennessee (so thankful they were calling from the USA) who in their infinite wisdom scheduled the nice, but ineffectual folks from General Services and the relative newcomers from South Texas Appliance to show up at the same time.  What Fun!  At least in my mind.  I envisioned something like a repair showdown, sort of between the "Showdown at the OK corral meets Hell's Kitchen". 

I am still waiting for a replacement for my cooking stone. The nice folks from General Services came for their scheduled appointment - a 4th or 5th visit to my house on Friday, July 29. For the second time, they deem the NEW oven to be irreparable. The representative from South Texas called and gets kind of whacked out because the competing company is here and will not come.  I am so disappointed.  No showdown.  THE NEW OVEN STILL DOESN'T WORK. 

It is now August 3,  we have been through vacation, have waited for a set appointment because South Texas has 1  of 3 parts  in.  They know that this part (which has already been replaced once - it's a mother board.  Is this second one a step mother board?)   will repair my oven that General Service has already deemed irreparable.  Yesterday, I literrally screamed at the supervisor when they didn't show up for a scheduled appointment and their excuse was that I did not call them back to confirm within 5 minutes.   I banged my head on the wall.  I acted like a real baby.  I shook.  Randy took my blood pressure. I did not want these people and their step mother board in my house.  All I wanted to do was pelt them with the pieces of the cooking  stone that the other service company had broken. 

It was a long afternoon and a longer night.  I was up at 2:30 a.m. watching Little Miss Sunshine and then Law and Order re runs because I was so bothered by my own behavior and because I had allowed a minor inconvenience, the 7 months long delay of the repair of a hi tech, computerized, lemon glazed oven and the absolutely horrible customer service.

I didn't pick  either of these service companies. When the people finally show up, they are personable, polite and seem to be knowledgeable, even though the problem is still not corrected.  The crux of MY problem is not only that my NEW oven doesn't work right, but the gatekeepers, appointment makers and schedulers who have been trained to "understand", don't really understand at all.  They don't understand how frustrating it is for a cooker who loves to cook to do without for 7 months, to not be able to perform a community service, to not be able to enjoy cooking with grandchildren and family.  I have missed cooking for: Easter, Numerous Birthday Cakes ( I do have a huge family) Red, White and Blue Cakes for 4th of July,Children's Shelter Bake Sale, Ham Biscuits to take on Vacation, I nearly blew the run Cake for Jason's grooms cake and I have really just been making do with my turkey thermometer.  Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  I think the appointment makers are reading off a script.  I don't think they understand or care for that matter.  An unhappy customer is just a kink in the works, a minor annoyance.  I want to find a piece of my cooking stone and pelt them with it. 
After my emotional explosion, Randy called, rescheduled the appointment. Of course now it was another day later before we could be worked into their busy, busy schedule.  He was told that our appointment time was between 8 & 1.  We MUST answer our phone to confirm that we are here for our scheduled appointement, because they will not come out if we do not answer and if for ANY reason we are on another line, we'd better call back in less than 5 minutes or they will have to reschedule. 

South Texas showed up today.  They called at 12:56.  So at least they were punctual - they had 4 minutes to spare.  They brought the step-mother board.  They did not bring anything to make sure the oven is callibrated. I guess we have to do that ourselves.  The frozen pizza from lunch nearly burned.  The Jenn Air is label is peeling off the oven.  I think it wants to escape.  I am still not happy.  I don't think I will be happy.  I feel like David just got peed on by Goliath and I still can't find my stones with which to hit him. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

July San Antonio Realty Market Report

The second week in July is typically San Antonio's realty market yearly high point. Many pending sales will close within the next 30 days. Uncommitted buyers with school age children must rush to find the right home in order to able to close on their purchase or at least be under a binding contract before school starts.

Many factors are converging to make this year’s San Antonio's realty market interesting.

The local economy is strong, population growth is high and, after being relatively flat for many months, home values in most neighborhoods are gradually rising. Home sellers have responded accordingly as evidenced by a gradual upward creep in the asking price for homes for sale.

Buyer response has been fair to good so far, especially for moderately to lower priced homes and for luxury grade housing. 

It is difficult to reach conclusions as to the long term market trends, but, in the short term, it's clear San Antonio's current home sales market parallels last year’s relatively tepid market.  Basically, it’s not unhealthy, but significantly less than vibrant.

For those who love stats, here are the key indicators for San Antonio's single family detached home listings as of 8 July 2011.

There are 12,094 active listings, compared to 12,891 one year ago. The inventory is slowly decreasing. That's a good sign for home sellers.

The average sales price for the most recent closings is $193,883, compared to last year's $190,763. The increase in average sales price, although small, is another good sign for sellers.

Average cumulative-days-on-the-market (CDOM) for the most recent sales is 133 compared to 122 last year. In 2010, CDOM dropped fast during the Federal Tax credit home buying frenzy, then rose quickly when that program expired. It remains to be seen if cumulative market time will improve, but a slight downward trend is possible in the short term. For the time being, CDOM da ta is positive for San Antonio home buyers.

Industry analysts see these data as reflecting a housing market drifting toward balanced conditions.  That means the market neither favors buyers nor sellers.

That's all for our July 2011 San Antonio realty market report. We encourage reader comments and recommendations about how to make our reports more informative and useful.

Monday, July 4, 2011

SUNDAY, JULY 03, 2011

San Antonio Area Fourth Of July Events


Schertz 4th Of July Jubilee - July 1-4 @ Pickrell Park, Schertz

July 4th Arts & Crafts Show - July 1-4 on the Riverwalk

Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus - July 1-4 in the Alamo Dome

Annual Freedom Fiesta - July 2 @ Central Park in Downtown Seguin

4th of July Jazz Explosion - July 2 100 @ W. Houston, 21st Floor of Frost Bank Tower

4th of July Celebration - July 2-4 in the Market Square

Seaworld 4th of July Fireworks Picnic - July 2-4 @ Seaworld

Lights of Liberty - July 3-4 @ Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Summerfest San Marcos Celebration - July 4 in San Marcos Plaza, 232 W. CM Allen Pkwy

4th of July Celebration at Woodlawn Park - July 4 Woodlawn Lake Park

Looking to buy or sell a San Antonio area home? Visit us at

Posted by Randy Kelley at 12:13 PM 0 comments Links to this post  
Labels: It's happening in Bulverde this weekend, Randolph AFB And Fort Sam Houston Living, San Antonio Real Estate, What's Happening In San Antonio This Weekend
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Monday, June 6, 2011

7 June 2011 Grilling On The Lot For The San Antonio Children's Shelter

If you're in north San Antonio in the area of 1102 East Sonterra Blvd around noon on Tuesday, 7 June 2011, you're invited to a cool event on a hot day.

It's GRILLING ON THE LOT, a charitable event for San Antonio's Children Shelter.

For a reasonable price you'll enjoy the best brisket lunch under the sun and have the opportunity to buy a yummy homemade desert prepared by a member of Keller Williams Legacy's stellar realty services team. Proceeds go to the Children's Shelter.

Enjoy our YouTube Flyer for this year's event and video of last year's grilling great time.

This year promises to be even better. See you there!
Realty Solutions Team
Randy & Stephanie Kelley
Keller Williams Legacy
(800) 201-9145
(210) 867-8743 (Stephanie)
(210) 863-2661 (Randy) Visit Our Blogs At:

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Friday, May 6, 2011

The Value of a Greenbelt

MacMillan online dictionary describes a greenbelt as an area of land around large cities where no buildings are allowed in order to protect the countryside.

Another definition that I like calls it an area of undeveloped land around a residential area created by covenant, deed restriction, or city zoning with the intention of preserving the open space and natural environment.

Here in San Antonio, for real estate purposes we have a lot description called "GREENBELT".  I think that sometimes that description is rather loosely interpreted and what some folks consider greenbelt may not exactly fall into ANY of the categories listed above.  What you can pretty much guarantee is that there is some undeveloped or unused land behind or adjacent to the home that is being offered for sale.

There are currently 36 properties listed as backing to greenbelt in the area where I live and specialize.  Now this is a huge area and we do have some wonderful parks with walking and riding trails, some river authority owned property , some flood plains, some golf courses, and even some power lines. All of the above can fall into the greenbelt category, so it is a good idea to have a good look at the pictures of your real estate if you are looking online or even better idea to have your agent take a look for you.  I just looked at the pictures of all 36 of these properties. I KNOW these houses and I KNOW these neighborhoods.  Some greenbelts are absolutely fabulous!   Some,  not so much.

My house backs to property that I think belongs to the golf course.  It may be owned by the River Authority because there is a part of the 500 year flood plain running through it, but it makes no difference to me.  It is my own personal "BACK 40".  It's a rough area of the golf course, far enough away from the fairways and greens to make it appealing, because we don't like golf balls hitting the back of the house. My next door neighbor has a path through to the course.   Our greenbelt affords views of the wildlife, and we have a great place to walk the dogs.   We can encroach with a sacrificial garden that feeds only the deer and rabbits.  (The one thing they don't eat is parsley)

TAAD  (Texas  Association of Appraisal Districts) gives appraisers "wiggle room" when it comes to value for views, but I can't find anything that discusses a distinct value for greenbelts. My experience has been that a buyer will usually pay much more if the greenbelt is a nature preserve or golf course, a little more if it is a drainage easement, and less for an electrical easement if there are power lines involved.  So, I guess the value can be compared to  beauty and all considered in the eye of the beholder.  Or you can ask those that own property adjacent to the greenbelt.  Greenbelts afford privacy and spitting room that is hard to come by in urban areas.  Go on, ask someone who lives near one. They will tell you . . . it's priceless. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Resta Fiesta

I can't believe it is almost over!  We've had so much fun and there has been something for everybody!  The San Antonio Home Girl took a little time off from showing houses and went to the Witte to see all the beautiful trains . . . the kind on the back of dresses, not the choo-choo kind. There were trains from before I was even born! Some looked like flappers from the roaring 20's and some were more like Miss America in the 1960's, and some even resembled stained glass windows in churches, but they were all gorgeous.  There were mariachis and of course Mexican food to be eaten in a courtyard.  The sun was shining and the weather was perfect. 

Check out the video from "A Taste of New Orleans".  The dancing was almost a flash mob!  We  do know how to have fun in San Antonio.  This event has some of the best jazz around during Fiesta.

 Today was the Battle of Flowers parade, and tomorrow you will find the home girl at my favorite event, the King William Fair and Parade.  You can use the link to make sure you don't miss anything . . . just two more days.

Saturday April 16 8am - 12pm

Fiesta Pooch Parade - Alamo Heights Swimming Pool, 250 Viesca

Saturday April 16 10am - 12pm

King William Fair and Parade - King William Historic District

Saturday April 16 7:45pm - 11pm

Fiesta Flambeau Parade - Downtown

Want to know more?  Go to

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Outside Schooling!

Think back to elementary school, and to those early spring days when the sun was shining, the flowers were beginning to bloom and the trees were turning green.  It was just NOT a good time to be in the classroom. 

In the spring a young kid's mind turns to thoughts of . . . . FIELD TRIP! 

This week San Antonio Home Girl got to join the kids at a local elementary (An exemplary school) on a field trip to Live Oak Park.  I haven't had so much fun since I was in elementary school. 

The kids and I got to meet June, the cow.  The nice dairy farmer who transported her there explained that 1 farmer feeds about 100 people in the U.S.  He taught the kids a little about nutrition, a little about technology( they got to see the milking machine in action), and gracefully handled the inevitable question about where the baby cows come out.  Ah, spring!

Next the nice folks from SAWS (San Antonio Water System) provided a presentation in which the third grade class that I was accompanying "built" a water system.  They had to learn to inspect the pipes, budget, and build a water system to carry water from a well (bucket) to the city ( another bucket) . It was an engineering marvel!  Playing in water is always fun on a warm day, but it was also educational, the children loved it and they learned a valuable lesson in preparation and teamwork.  I was truly impressed. 
 There were other activities and the kids settled under a shady tree for lunch before boarding the buses back to school. 

This is just one of many excellent schools in the San Antonio area.   I was so happy to be a part of this day and I know many parents and grand parents who would enjoy the same opportunity.  If you want to learn more about the schools in and around San Antonio  you can enter a street address at : Great Schools Report to get a report for nearby schools or you can click on the links provided below for several of the Independent School districts.

We’re Stephanie and Randy Kelley, Realtors® ,
at Keller Williams Legacy, San Antonio, Texas.
Contact us at (210) 863-2661 for Randy,
or (210) 867-8763 for Stephanie,
 Our broker is Steven Gragg at (210) 482-3200.

Check out our  real estate blog @

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What's Cookin' at Legacy ??

I have something yummy in my car!  I'm sitting at my desk thinking about it. 

Most marketeers know that a way to a Realtors heart (and clients) is through their stomach. . . or something to that effect.  So, they feed us.  When we are not selling houses we get to go to coffees and lunches and dinners,  to great buffets and grand openings and even networking events.  All provide  great food and munchies.  They wine us and dine us.  It's a marvelous life for an agent/foodie.

Now if that were not enough, most agents also like to cook.  I mean, if home is where the heart is and the heart of the home is the kitchen. . . . I think I mean that you will find lots of agents in the kitchen, cooking their little hearts out when they are not out working with a client. 

With that thought in mind, the agents at my office (Keller Williams, Legacy) conceived a great opportunity to share our love for food with our clients, and give the proceeds to The Children's Shelter.  We would create our own cookbook! 

This morning, feeling very Paula Deen and inspired by Guy Fieri,  I made my very first vlog/cooking show.   First,  I selected the 1 dish Easy Cobbler Recipe provided by JJ Arida .  The recipe can be found in the KW, Legacy cookbook, and it's a piece of cake to make! Ha!  Watch the video - it took less than 5 minutes to throw together and cooks in 45.   It smells absolutely heavenly and I can't wait to try it. 

If you come by the Keller Williams, Legacy office on Sonterra, you can have a bite.  Oh, you can get a cookbook, too.  They are $11.00 and the proceeds to go to The Children's Shelter.  If you are not in San Antonio, let me know if you want a cookbook and we can make arrangements to get you one.  I apolgize for not being able to get you a bite of the cobbler, but I'm sure that will all be gone this afternoon. 

We’re Stephanie and Randy Kelley, Realtors® ,
at Keller Williams Legacy, San Antonio, Texas.
Contact us at (210) 863-2661 for Randy,
or (210) 867-8763 for Stephanie,
 Our broker is Steven Gragg at (210) 482-3200.