This Weekend – October 5 and 6

Saturday, October 5 it’s The 20th Annual Huevos Rancheros Gala and Silent Art Auction. Location is the Guadalupe Plaza, 1327 Guadalupe St 78207 and time is 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. This event is hosted by San Anto Cultural Arts and supports after school art programs. There will be live music, art for sale and of course Huevos Rancheros! Cost is $10.00 per person. Click here for tickets and more information.

Oh My! It’s Bark in the Park this Saturday, October 5. This is an annual pet costume contest taking place at the Sunken Garden Theater. Time is 4:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. There will be food trucks, music, a kid’s zone and much more. To enter your dog, the cost is $7.00 with prizes up to $1,000. Click here for more details.

Legoland Discovery Center (Lego Land in River Center Mall) is hosting the Halloween themed Brick or Treat during October. Their usual exhibit is transformed into a Halloween attraction.  This weekend their expert model builders will be building a giant witch and there will also be other activities for the kids. Click here for discounted online tickets ($19.00 versus $22.00) and more information.

The Corn Maze is open at the Graff 7A Ranch in Hondo. There is much more than the maze. There’s a slide mountain, hay rides, good eats and a lot more! General admission is $17.50. Click here for more information and the purchase tickets.

Posted on October 4, 2019 at 7:33 pm
Deborah Elwood | Category: Uncategorized

What’s On This Weekend – September 28 and 29

12th Annual SNIPSA Race for the Rescues The 5K event includes competitive and non-competitive races. Race alone or with your dog! Saturday at the Alamo Heights Swimming Pool. The money raised benefits homeless and abandoned animals in our city.  Registration begins at 6:15 am and the race starts at 8:00 am. Participation cost is $35.00. Click here for details.

Starting Friday at 5:30 pm and continuing through the weekend, it’s the Alamo Beer Company Annual Oktoberfest. Come for the German music, German food, cloggers, and more. Admission is free, children are welcome, and the beer garden is dog-friendly. Click here for details.

The 39th Annual Cajun Festival is this Saturday from 11a to 10p at Medina Lake with live music, a gumbo cook-off, and lots of other great food. Entrance fee is $12 and kids under 10 are free! Click here of details on the fun and revelry.

Saturday from 10a-3p, “Síclovía is a free, bi-annual event, organized by the YMCA of Greater San Antonio, that turns city streets into a safe place for exercise and play.” Broadway will be closed for you and your family from Funston St to Travis Park. Take your bikes or any other self-powered transportation down the middle of the street! Free to the public, activities for children, treats for pets, and more! Click here for details.

Sunday the German Heritage Festival 2019 Parktoberfest in Breckenridge Park at the Kohler Pavilion from 3p-6p. Free event with samples of German beer, German food, music and more! Click here for more information.

Posted on September 27, 2019 at 5:28 pm
Deborah Elwood | Category: Uncategorized

Fun This Weekend September 20-22

Friday and Saturday, September 20 and 21 it’s Jazz’SALive. This is San Antonio’s official Jazz Music Festi­val. This free event is held at Travis Park and includes festival food, craft vendors, live music and much more. For more details and a full list of musicians click here.

Also, Friday, September 20 the Beethoven Maennerchor, are having Beethoven Gartenfest the Real “Oom-Pah-Pah”! This event runs from 5:00 to 11:45 P.M. They will have a 25-piece brass band from Germany, cold pours of Octoberfest brews, and delicious German food available. Tickets are $20.00. Click here for more information.

Saturday, September 21, the Congenital Heart Walk takes place at the San Antonio Zoo. Registration opens at 7:30AM, sign up is $15.00, and all proceeds will go to support research for congenital heart failure. Music, food, games, and much more will also be available. Click here for details.

Sunday, September 22, from 1:00P – 5:00P the Social Spot on Broadway is having the 6th annual Queso Bowl. Local chefs will be serving samples of their Queso creations. While you’re there enjoy the live music and, of course, cold beer. Tickets for this kid and pet-friendly event are $30 and all proceeds go to cancer research. For more information and tickets click here.


Posted on September 20, 2019 at 4:37 pm
Deborah Elwood | Category: Uncategorized

This Weekend September 14 and 15

Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 12-6, 9/14 & 15 it’s the Morphinominal Expo! This event for all the Power Ranger fans out there and is at the Wonderland of Americas. There will be actors portraying the Power Rangers as well as movies. Everything Power Ranger will be at this event. Free for the entire family with free parking. Click here for more details.

Saturday, 9/14 from 6p-10p, it’s Brews and Blooms at the Botanical Gardens. They will have over 40 craft beers, live music, food and so much more! Member tickets are $35, and non-member tickets are $40. Bring a blanket or chairs to relax in the garden as you enjoy this event. Click here for tickets and more information.

Are you looking for an indoor activity? The Northstar Mall is holding its 14th Annual Canstruction contest. Teams from the local architectural and engineering industry have used over 30,000 cans to create amazing sculptures. The event is free. Visit during mall hours until September 21. Click here for additional information.


Posted on September 13, 2019 at 5:05 pm
Deborah Elwood | Category: Uncategorized

Weekend Activities September 7 & 8, 2019

Saturday, September 7, 2019, a Vinyl Record Show is at the Schertz Civic Center from 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. Search for hard to find records and newer ones as well. Get in early with a $10.00 admission or at the standard price of $5.00. Click here for information and tickets.

The Pickerell Park Pool in Schertz, TX is open on Saturday, September 7, 2019, with their Paws in the Pool event. Swim with your pet from 12:00 P.M. until 4:00 P.M. Limit to 2 dogs and admission is $3.00. Click San Antonio Current for details.

Free event this Sunday from 1:00 – 2:00 P.M. for the fans of Downton Abbey. You’ve likely seen that it is returning to the big screen this weekend. But there is a tea party taking place at the Pan American Library off Hwy I-35 to celebrate with adult coloring and photo opportunities. Some people will be dressing up as characters from the show, and you are invited to do the same. Click here of details.

Another free H-E-B Outdoor Family Film movie is playing at the Mission Marquee Theater. Disney’s 2019 remake of Dumbo is playing and starts 15 minutes after sunset. Bring your chairs, food, and drinks. You can even bring your pet and parking is also free! Click here for information.

Posted on September 6, 2019 at 7:33 pm
Deborah Elwood | Category: Uncategorized

Ready for the Labor Day Weekend?

Are you staying in town for the 3-Day Labor Day weekend? Make your choice from among these activities.


Ever wanted to play at the Doseum without the kiddos? Tonight 7:00-9:00 is Adult Night at the Doseum. There’s music, drinks, bites from local restaurants, and more! What a great time for anyone over 21 to explore the museum. Tickets are $35.00. For details and tickets, click this link.


The Botanical Gardens Big Bugs Event is opening this weekend. The artist David Rodgers has created larger than life sculptures of bugs displayed throughout the Gardens, reflecting the importance of insects to the ecosystem. The price of admission includes the Big Bug Exhibit. For more information, click this link.


Saturday and Sunday at Sunset Station it’s Vegan Fest. Tickets are $8.00 for a single day and $12.00 for 2-day tickets. Enjoy the food, food demonstrations, yoga, Pilates, speakers, and live music. For more information and tickets, click here.


Yum! Watermelon! Saturday, August 31, 3:00-10:00 at the Roundup in Boerne. Lastly, tomorrow in Boerne: Food Trucks, giant slip and slide, water balloon fight, and, of course, watermelon. Kids 12 and under are free, and ages 13 and up are $10.00. For more information and to purchase tickets go to this link.

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Posted on August 30, 2019 at 4:49 pm
Deborah Elwood | Category: Uncategorized

Are Institutional Buyers (iBuyers) a Good Deal?

The term “iBuyer” may not be familiar to the consumer., but most have heard of OpenDoor, Perch, etc. I like to define “iBuyer” as an Institutional Buyer, aka sharks. They sell convenience to the consumer. If the consumer doesn’t realize their real risk (and most don’t), it can look very tempting.

Here’s a realistic view of what convenience costs for a house selling $270,000.

Institutional buyers are short term investors

The iBuyer isn’t going to make a profit by carrying houses on their balance sheet. These investors are taking advantage of a seller’s market. In San Antonio on average, homes sell in less than two months. Mostly, iBuyers are flippers.

Institutional buyers have all the power in the transaction

In Realtor® represented transactions, the Seller can negotiate repairs after the Buyer inspection. Typically, these repairs cost less—sometimes much less—than $3,000. The Seller can decline. And in our market where multiple buyers are vying for houses, buyers may not ask for any repairs.

With an iBuyer contract, the Seller has already agreed to make any repairs required by the iBuyer. Inspectors are required to note every deficiency, so there will be a lot more expense in meeting iBuyer required repairs. (I also wonder if those repairs get made.) The Seller has signed away their ability to negotiate.

Institutional buyer service charges are higher than Realtor® representation

Just remember that the iBuyer is not working for you and wants to mitigate all costs. I expect those costs include the ones they will incur when they sell your house. A good Realtor® absorbs the marketing costs by being good at their job and earning new business. Regardless, the typical actual service charge is higher than Realtor® representation. (See above: $16,200 versus $23,085.)

Posted on August 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Deborah Elwood | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

This Weekend in San Antonio Area August 24-25, 2019

Witte Museum

Tonight, August 23rd, at the Witte Museum, they are having an event called Whiskey Business. It will have dozens of samples of whiskeys, bourbons, and scotches from local distiller­ies, Scotland and more! They will also have sample dishes from many of the hottest restaurants here in town, live music, craft beer, and so much more. It begins at 8:00 P.M. and runs until 11:00 P.M. Tickets start at $60.00, and you must be 21+ years or older to attend. Click here for tickets and more information.


Wishing Lanterns return August 24th from 5:00 – 10:30 P.M. on the Riverwalk. This event has grown through the years so you might want to get there early. The event is free to attend, and if you want a lantern to send out a wish, the cost is $5.00. For more information.

Tobin Theatre

It’s been five years since the magnificent Tobin Theatre opened. This Sunday, August 25th, from 2:00 – 6:00 P.M., they are having an Open House to celebrate their anniversary. This event gives you the chance to see parts of the theater you may have never seen, listen to some pop-up performances and much more. Admission and parking are both free! They will have discount tickets to future shows at the theater also available. Here are the details.

Bat Night

August 24th is International Bat Night. To celebrate this, Elmendorf State Park is holding a Bat Walk from 7:30 – 9:00 P.M. Come to enjoy crafts, live bats present­ed by the Southern Wildlife Rehabilitation and much more! This event is free for the whole family. Look for details here at the Friends of SANA Calendar.

Posted on August 23, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Deborah Elwood | Category: Uncategorized

What to Look For When Shopping For a Mortgage Lender

There’s a lot of competition between lenders looking for your business, and you deserve to find the best fit for you. An article on Investopedia said a Google search for “mortgage lenders” yields around 72 million results. Here is the daunting list of things to think about when choosing a lender.

  • Is this the person I’ll talk to throughout the process?
  • Is this lender a good fit for my style, needs, and personality?
  • Are they available for questions?
  • Is the lender available to coordinate with me and my agent?

You Can and Should Shop for a Lender

It’s illegal for a lender to scare you against shopping for a loan, but that doesn’t stop some lenders from hinting at a non-existent danger. When a lender first pulls your credit, it will show up on your report as an inquiry. A few additional inquiries by other lenders won’t harm you. Lenders recognize you are shopping for a loan.

Will They Work with My Agent?

A lender who will work with your agent is probably the most important factor. Why? Because having timely access to your lender (including weekends and after hours) can help you win the house.

You need a prequalification letter from your lender to support your Offer. Most Listing Agents require a prequalification letter accompany all offers, and not all prequal letters are created equal. A good Listing Agent calls the Buyer’s lender and gets to know their lender. As a Listing Agent, I inquire about research done prior to issuing the prequalification letter. I also try to get a feel for two things: 1) the ability of the lender to close on time and 2) how reachable they are.

Is Your Lender Available to Coordinate with Us?

Timely access to your lender can play a big part in the acceptance of your Offer. Here is just a couple of ways.

  • Provide you with a property-specific estimate of the monthly payment. Property tax can make a significant difference. I’ll provide the information to your lender.
  • Provide you with a property-specific letter to submit with your Offer.
  • Answer questions from the Listing Agent and help sell your Offer.
  • Coordinate with me to structure the most competitive Offer.

Here are a couple of examples of questions I might want to pursue.

  • What can the Buyer offer and still have their desired monthly payment? If the property taxes are lower than anticipated, the lender can help us decide if we can offer more and still have your desired monthly payment.
  • How much “Seller-paids” does the Buyer need? (See note below.)

Types of Lenders

The type of lender you’re most likely to deal with is an intermediary who works between the borrower and the lenders. They shop the various lenders and find one fitting your situation. They do not set the terms of the loan. Most lenders will have a variety of products to offer, so I recommend focusing on service. However, I highly recommend you get a local lender who knows your market.

The Internet lenders (or highly advertised non-local lender) are getting better at competing with local lenders. They’ve stepped up their game both at understanding the different markets and at being available. But it helps to have someone in your own time zone. In addition, it’s likely a local lender will offer the same incentives as the Internet lender.

Lender Competition

Most lenders are competing on service and good reviews, but you’ll see other enticements too. Closing quickly has become the hot promise, and it’s common to both Internet lenders and local lenders. A local lender has a better chance of realistically assessing those time delaying factors no lender can control. Many times a lender will advertise themselves as “VA experts” or something similar, but I’ve found that to be more of a tagline.

Be skeptical of offers of reduced fees. The fees a lender can charge are set by regulation with both maximums and minimums. But you should be aware that some banks don’t feel the need to compete on fees because they are counting on client loyalty to sell their loans. In other words, your bank could charge more for your loan, but they could also offer incentives like help with Closing Costs.

I have the names of several lenders, and I’m happy to discuss further.



Note: “Seller-paids” (also known as Seller Concessions) are negotiated monetary amount implemented for the Buyer at Closing. These concessions are used to help the Buyer with their Closing Costs. When several Buyers are making offers for the same property, reducing the requested amount of Seller Concessions makes you more competitive. The amount a Seller can contribute to a Buyer’s Closing Costs is limited by the Buyer’s loan.

Posted on June 19, 2019 at 6:00 pm
Deborah Elwood | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Things to Know About Shopping For a Home Online

All those real estate websites and apps help me help my client, but buyers need to be savvy. Some sites fail to keep out the fraudsters and even if the property is properly listed, a buyer could be setting themselves up if they aren’t careful.

Agents Buy Leads

If you request information on property showing on Zillow,, or just about any site, the agent getting your information paid big bucks for it. Sometimes the lead will go to multiple agents. These leads are expensive and agents are going to work to make it pay off for them. Many agents have their own website and putting in your information on these sites limits your exposure.

You’ll Get Bothered

It’s probably no surprise that if you enter your contact information, you will receive follow up from an agent—perhaps multiple agents (See 1 above). Contacting an agent directly and setting up a relationship can eliminate the craziness. Sure, a good agent will put you on a contact list for follow up, holiday greetings, or whatnot. But once there is a relationship, the wise agent doesn’t make a nuisance of themselves.

Just Click and Get a Showing — Nope, There’s More Involved

First off if you do get connected with the Listing Agent, you need to know that they work for the Seller. That means their loyalty and accountability is owed to the Seller and anything you disclose will be disclosed to the Seller. Many times agents will refuse to show properties without the buyer signing a Buyer’s Representation Agreement. That means you’re in a contract. Any broker or agent can show you houses listed by other brokers.

(I often do not write a Buyer Representation Agreement until my buyer is ready to make an offer. And I love that my broker guarantees to let the Buyer out of the Representation Contract at any time for any reason.)

Still More Before You Get a Showing

Zillow and other sites will often quote a payment amount for a property showing on their site. It’s not a true representation—at least not entirely—and this is one of the reasons to get preapproved before looking for your new home.

Nothing breaks my heart more than the disappointment of potential buyers when they realize they have been looking at houses outside of their price range (or mortgage payment comfort level). The second heartbreaking experience is losing out on their dream home in our fast-moving market because they don’t have the preapproval. A buyer will also have a better understanding of what their true payment looks like once they’ve spoken to a lender. And shopping for a mortgage will not affect your credit rating like a store card or car loan does.

All the Information is Online — Not in Texas

Texas is a non-disclosure state, that is, sold prices are not publicly listed. What does this mean for the buyer?

  • In Texas, Zillow’s Zestimate is generally only correct 6% of the time.
  • You can’t be sure you’re not paying too much for that property. Market statistics for similar houses in the neighborhood is only available through an agent with MLS access for the local board.
  • The Listing Agent (who works for the Seller) has no incentive to cut a buyer a deal—they’ll likely want both sides of the deal. (A buyer’s agent is paid from the Seller’s proceeds.)

Look at What Hiring an Agent Can do for You

  • Hiring an agent means you’ve got an experienced real estate negotiator on your side.
  • Hiring an agent means you’re hiring market and neighborhood experience.
  • Hiring an agent means you’re hiring transaction experience.
  • Hiring an agent means you’ve got someone watching the deadlines and answer questions.
  • Hiring an agent means all the proper forms. (Some forms are not available to the general public.)
  • Hiring an agent means hiring the experience that can help you avoid pitfalls.


Posted on January 12, 2019 at 7:30 am
Deborah Elwood | Category: Uncategorized