SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio's hot housing market has cooled off somewhat after buyers have been paying amounts at well over asking prices for months.
Even though there are more homes on the market now compared to a few months ago, the San Antonio Board of Realtors says you need to move quickly if you're looking to buy a new abode.
"The houses are still selling and the folks are still buying," said Cher Miculka, chairman of the San Antonio Board of Realtors. "We just have to plan and make sure that it meets the need of that. In other words, don't wait 'til the last minute."
Comparing July of 2020 to July of 2019, the number of homes sold in San Antonio jumped by close to 300. But the next year was a different story; the figure dropped by close to 10% from July of 2020 to July 2021.
The average price also rose from July 2019 to July 2020, by 18% with a seller's market taking over. The number of days a home was on the market didn't change much from 2020 to 2021, but it dropped by more than 50% to just 25 days in July of 2021.
"People want to get settled before the schools start. And we've got one more district starting, I think, Monday, and some of the others have already started," Michulka said.
"Most new homebuyers don't really know what to look for when it comes to little hidden problems that might be going on in those homes," added Window World Texas President Martin Bomba.
DIY projects helped sellers get their homes to market quickly. But Window World says there are 11 red flags buyers need to look out for, like water stains or and aging HVAC systems.
"So this list was created to help folks who are looking at buying a new home to spot these possible telltale signs of problems," he said.
Here are all the things you should be on the lookout for:
- Doors don’t close all the way: If there are doors that don’t shut all the way, there could be a problem with the home’s structural framing. Check for doors that look like they may have been cut to fit; that could indicate a quick fix by the homeowner.
- Water stains: Look up! If you see water stains on the ceiling, there may be plumbing issues on an upper floor. Water stains can indicate a leaky roof or window, which may mean rotting wood or mold.
- Out-of-place paint: It makes sense for a house on the market to have some fresh coats of paint… but if you notice fresh paint on just one wall of a room, it could be hiding a problem (like a patch of mold or mildew).
- Strong scents: Does something smell… funny? Strong air fresheners can mask hidden odors, like carpet covered in pet urine. A musty smell may mean moisture and (you guessed it) mold.
- Drafty windows: Hold your hand near the edge of a window. Do you feel air blowing through? Drafty windows mean high electric bills! Look out for windows that have fog in between the panes, don’t close properly, or have worn weatherstripping. Older windows are less energy efficient, and problems here may be a window to deeper issues.
- Warped siding: If siding panels are warped or malleable, they may be rotted. Peeling paint may be a sign of water, which could be seeping into the home’s foundation.
- Large foundation cracks: Small cracks in a home’s foundation are common, but large cracks (wider than a ½ inch) could indicate an unstable foundation or structural problems.
- Aging HVAC system: Ask when the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units were last replaced. They may be less energy efficient — which means a bigger electricity bill — if they are nearing their expiration dates. A heat pump or air conditioner should be replaced after 10 years, and a furnace or boiler should be replaced after 15 years. (ENERGY STAR)
- Noisy garage door: Open the garage door and listen for unusual sounds, like squealing or rattling. Squealing may indicate the door is out of balance, and rattling may signify a loose chain or support rails.
- DIY improvements: Did the previous owners take a crack at large-scale DIY projects? Unless they are experts, this may mean costly repairs down the road. Look for signs like gaps in fixtures or uneven tile work.
- Small problems: If a leaky faucet or a dead light bulb doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, it definitely isn’t a big deal to the current homeowner. What other (bigger) problems have gone unnoticed?