How To Find a Realtor in 2023

Buying a house can be difficult if you do not know real estate laws, rules, and regulations. If you want to buy a house, you can enlist the help of a real estate agent or a realtor. A realtor and a real estate agent are almost the same, but a realtor chooses to join the National Association of Realtors.

A professional realtor can help you find a house with the best deal and ensure you close on your new house as fast as possible. Whether buying or selling a house, you might need the services of realtors.

Here are some tips on how to find a realtor in 2023.

Personal Network

Sometimes finding a realtor is not that hard; you can use people around you to recommend a realtor. Some of your colleagues, relatives, or friends have bought houses and used realtors to do so. If a close relative or friend recommends hiring realtors, you can trust them because they will likely recommend a great realtor.


You can also find a realtor by searching for realtors near you on the internet. Nowadays, many professionals have an online presence; hence it is easy to find someone to do a particular job for you. You can review each realtor’s website and read their profiles, customer testimonials, and consumer ratings.

Visit their Offices

Many realtors have physical addresses where you can go and speak to a realtor. You can visit several of the offices you found while researching online that you believe have realtors that can work for you. When you visit realtors, ask them several questions to ensure they are qualified to do the job for you.

Use a Referral Agent

If you are looking to buy a house in a different state, you can use a referral agent to get a realtor in that state you want to buy property. A referral agent can be a local agent you know who has connections in other states. If realtors refer you to an agent out of state that will help you purchase a house, that agent usually receives a cut of the local agent’s payment; therefore, you do not have to worry about paying more to the realtor.

-Buyer’s or Seller’s Agent

During a real estate transaction, a buyer can have an agent representing them, while the seller can also have an agent. In some states, dual agency is allowed; hence a seller’s agent can also act for the buyer. Therefore, if you live in a state that allows dual agency, you can use a seller’s realtor to represent you in the transaction.

Trust Your Instincts

Sometimes the realtors recommended to you might not fit the job; hence you must trust your instincts and choose the one you can find. If you visit realtors and, after speaking to one realtor and you feel that they can do the job, you can go ahead and hire them.

Seek the Services of a Professional Realtor

The real estate market keeps getting tough as house prices increase daily. Therefore, hiring the right realtor can make a great difference. However, before you trust someone to help you get a house, you need to hire someone who can help you get the best deal and guide you through the process while keeping your best interests at heart.


Fall Home Maintenance Checklist: 18 Things to Do Every Year

Feel that nip in the air? Fall has arrived! Here’s how to get your home and yard ready for winter before it’s too late.

1. Clean Gutter and Spouts

Those falling autumn leaves can cause big problems for you this winter if you don’t get them out of your gutters now. Clogged gutters can cause roof and wall leaks, peeling paint, wood rot, and damage to the gutters themselves that can be difficult to repair. Your plumber’s snake is a great tool for pulling clumps of wet leaves out of clogged downspouts. An old plastic spatula makes a great tool for cleaning debris from gutters! It doesn’t scratch up the gutter, and you can cut it to fit gutter contours with snips. Whether you do the job yourself or hire help, don’t procrastinate this important task.

2. Clean Your Chimney

How often do you need to have your chimney cleaned? It depends on the moisture content of the wood you burn. If you see moisture bubbling out the ends of the logs when they’re burning, the wood is wet. This green wood doesn’t burn cleanly and sends a lot of unburned particles (smoke) up the chimney, where they build up as creosote and soot. Dry hardwoods, such as oak and birch, burn hotter and cleaner.

Creosote and soot buildup in the chimney flue is dangerous because it can ignite and cause an uncontrollable chimney fire. A quick way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you find a 1/8-in. or more layer of buildup (the thickness of a nickel), call a chimney sweep

If it’s been a few years since your last chimney cleaning, now’s a good time to schedule one. The cleaning includes an inspection for soot buildup, obstructions, cracks in the chimney liner and signs of water damage. Older chimneys often have gaps between clay liner sections where the mortar has fallen out.

3. Check Your Detectors

With furnaces turned on, the windows closed and portable heaters humming along, fall is a great time to make sure your smoke and CO detectors are working. This chore only takes a minute and can save lives.  Inspect your smoke detector alarms to make sure they are operating.  If your smoke detector has a power indicator light, make sure that is on.  Then, press the test button to see if the alarm sounds.  Go ahead and put in fresh batteries while you’re up there.  Check batteries and expiration dates – smoke detectors are typically good for 10 years, and CO detectors last for about six years. If you don’t already have them, consider installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home, too.

4. Have your heating equipment checked

 In addition to making sure your heating system is ready to perform in cold weather, having it inspected by a qualified contractor can keep it operating efficiently, which can save money on energy bills.  Be sure to change your system’s air filters monthly, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Bleed Hot Water Radiators and Clear Steam Radiator Vents

When trapped air clogs a hot water radiator, some or all the ‘fins’ will stay cold. At the top of the radiator, look for a small valve like the one shown. Take a radiator key, 1/4-in. 12-point socket, or a flat screwdriver (depending on the valve type) and slowly turn the valve counter-clockwise until water starts dripping out. This releases the trapped air and lets hot water into the cold fins. While you’re at it, you might as well repeat the process on all your radiators. Have a cup or dish handy to catch the water.

Steam radiators have an air vent. Unfortunately, many of these vents get painted over, plugging the air hole. Clear the air hole in the top of the vent with a small wire or sewing needle. If you’re still worried about the air vents working properly, consult a hot water/steam heat specialist who can replace the vents.

6. Change Your Furnace Filter

Changing your furnace filter is one of the easiest things you can do to keep your furnace in good shape. If you haven’t changed it in a while, make sure you have a fresh one before you turn your furnace on for the first time.

7. Water in the Fall

Your lawn still needs water in autumn, even though the leaves are changing, the growing season is winding down and your grass isn’t growing as fast. Fall watering helps your lawn recover from summer stress and gain strength for the winter ahead. Also, if you fertilize in the fall, watering is necessary for fertilizer to dissolve and soak into the ground where it’s needed. So don’t put your hoses or sprinklers away until the ground starts to freeze, your fall grass still needs the water.

8. Aerate the Soil

‘Aerating’ simply means making holes in the ground by removing plugs of soil. And it’s the single most important task you can perform to maintain a healthy, good-looking lawn. It relieves compaction caused by foot traffic and creates extra pore space in the soil, allowing air, nutrients, and water to enter. All that helps roots to thrive. Aerate your lawn at least once a year, preferably in the fall. You can rent a lawn aerator at any home and garden equipment rental store. Be sure to get one that removes plugs of soil rather than one that just pokes holes in the ground.

9. Fertilize in the Fall

If you want the best lawn in town, fertilize four times a year. But if you can only fertilize once a year, you can still have a great lawn if you fertilize in the fall. Choose a fertilizer that’s labeled 4-1-2. (The numbers refer to the % of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the fertilizer.) Better yet, ask an expert at a garden center for advice about the best fertilizer blend for your fall grass type and local soil conditions. Apply the fertilizer about three weeks before the last mowing of the season. Fertilizing in the fall provides energy and nutrients for the grass roots as they multiply in cooler weather before the grass goes dormant. The roots store food for the winter as well, which gives the grass an initial growth spurt when it emerges from dormancy in the spring.

10. Cut Grass Short

First, rake and remove all those dead leaves. Otherwise, they’ll be sodden mats in the spring and smother the sprouting grass below. (Plus, it’s lots easier to rake dry leaves!) Then, just this one time of the year, set your mower to cut your grass short, at 1-1/2 or 2-inches. And tall grass blades won’t lie down and smother the new grass next spring.

11. Trim the trees

Cut back any dead branches, particularly those that are hanging over your house. In stormy, windy, or icy weather, these could fall and potentially cause damage and injury.

12. Winterize Your Sprinkler System

You don’t have to pay someone to blow out your sprinkler system. You can do it with your own compressor but be aware that even the largest home compressor isn’t powerful enough to blow out the entire system at once. According to the Family Handyman, if you like number crunching and you have the original irrigation layout showing the gallons per minute (gpm) of each sprinkler head, divide the gpm of each zone by 7.5. That’ll give you the cubic feet per minute (cfm) you need to blow it out. Otherwise, rent a 10-cfm compressor and hose from a tool rental center. Set the compressor air pressure regulator to a maximum of 80 psi for rigid PVC pipe systems, or 50 psi for flexible black polyethylene pipe. Then turn off the water supply and set the system timer to open just one zone. Next, open the manual drain valve at the end of that zone (if equipped). Then, connect the airline to the blow-out port, as shown. Close off both valves on the backflow preventer. Then remove the plug on the blow-out port and screw in a quick-connect hose adapter. Snap on the air hose and connect the other end to the compressor. Now blow out the line. The heads should pop up and spit out water. Disconnect the hose as soon as it runs dry. Don’t overdo the blow-out—without water cooling the plastic gears, they can melt in less than a minute. Move on to the next zone and allow the heads to cool. Then go back and blow out each zone a second time.

13. Drain Garden Hoses or Waste Money on Replacements

I sometimes neglect to drain garden hoses before putting them away for the winter. Usually, it’s not a problem. But occasionally, freezing water splits a hose open. I’ve lost a few cheap hoses this way and a super-expensive one (ouch!). That’s just a waste of money because draining hoses is so quick and easy: Blast out the water with an air compressor or stretch them out on a sloped yard or driveway. If you need to buy a new garden hose, learn how to do a simple test, right in the store, to see if the hose will be kink-free!

14. Extreme Temperatures

Paint doesn’t handle extreme temperatures very well. Bring latex/acrylic paint into the house. And while you’re at it, don’t forget the latex caulk. Freezing ruins both latex paint and caulk. Another temperature-related painting mistake is painting when it’s going to freeze. Paint can’t dry properly in freezing temps. It will only dry partway and will easily come off when touched. At the other end of the thermometer, painting a hot surface is also a bad idea. The paint starts to dry before you can spread it evenly and bubble and slough off. Plan your painting to avoid direct sun if possible. Or at least try to paint south-facing walls in the morning or evening when the sun is less intense.

15. Winterize Your Gas Grill

If you’re not a winter griller, now’s the time to pack away your grill. In addition to giving your grill a thorough cleaning to remove grease and food scraps, take these steps to help prevent any unpleasant surprises when you fire up your grill again next spring.

Shut off the gas at the LP tank, unfasten the burner, slip the gas tubes off the gas lines and lift out the unit. Coat the burners and other metal parts with cooking oil to repel moisture that can build up over the winter and to prevent rust. Then wrap the burner unit in a plastic bag to keep spiders and insects from nesting in the gas tubes during the winter. This is a common problem that can make for balky starts, uneven flames or even a one-alarm fire the next time you light your grill.

If you’re storing your grill outside during the winter, just keep the propane tank connected (but shut off) and put a protective cover over the entire grill when you’re done cleaning it. If you’re storing the grill indoors, don’t bring the tank inside, even into the garage or a storage shed. A small gas leak can cause a huge explosion if the tank is stored in an enclosed space. Instead, disconnect the tank and store it outside in an upright position away from dryer and furnace vents and children’s play areas. Tape a plastic bag over the grill’s gas line opening to prevent insects from nesting.

16. Store Lawn Chairs

Here’s how to store your lawn and folding chairs so they’re out of your way. Take two pieces of 1×4 lumber (any scrap lumber will do) and create some simple, cheap, and useful brackets on the wall. Cut each board 7-3/4 in. long with a 30-degree angle on both ends. Fasten pairs of these brackets with three 2-in. screws to the side of the exposed wall studs, directly across from each other, and you’ve got a perfect place to hang your chairs. Get more ideas for garage storage.

17. Make a Winter Driving Kit

This kit is overkill for year-round driving, but it could be very useful during winter. It only takes a few minutes to put together and you probably already have most of the stuff!

18. Get Your Property Ready for Ice

Take a few minutes to inspect your property. Remove rocks, dog tie-out cable, extension cords, holiday light cords and garden hoses.

What makes a home look expensive? 11 tricks designers use that won’t break the bank

There are plenty of ways to make a home look expensive without the high price tag. The secret to achieving an expensive look for your home isn’t actually rooted in the amount you spend. In fact, when it comes to making a home look expensive, less is often more.

Why make a home look expensive? It’s obviously wonderful to live in a home that feels well-curated, but it’s also a great way to increase your home’s value if you are thinking of selling up any time soon. Whether you are looking for luxury living room ideas or luxury bathroom ideas and beyond, these expert interior design tips will help you achieve an expensive aesthetic in every room of your home.


Making a home look expensive primarily comes down to the materials you use and how you dress your space. Every interior design project should begin with a declutter – there are plenty of decluttering tips to help you. Decluttering your home will ensure that you are starting with a clean slate – after-all, clutter definitely doesn’t say ‘expensive’. It is also important to avoid anything that makes your house look cheap.


Gone are the days of a matching suite of furniture being a marker of great interior design. Today, it’s all about texture, interest and character. Decorating with antiques, especially wooden pieces, is a great way to make a house look expensive. You can mix antique and newer finds to curate a space that is truly unique to you.

‘When decorating with wood, resist the urge to pick furniture in the same species or tone as this can sometimes make a room feel flat. Instead opt for pieces with slight color variation for a more sophisticated and polished look,’ advises Rob Ellis, head of design at Dwell.


Originally used in period homes as a method of insulation, today wall paneling ideas are loved for the way they elevate a room – giving the scheme a sense of gravitas that instantly screams ‘expensive’. There are ideas available for paneling any room of your home, from living room paneling ideas through to bathroom paneling ideas. Plus, it’s a surprisingly cost-effective way to decorate, often more affordable than wallpaper.

While wall paneling is by far the more traditional option, why not consider ceiling paneling? One of our favorite ceiling ideas, it adds architectural interest to what can be an overlooked part of your interior design and will also emphasize the height of the space, another technique that makes a home look expensive.


No expensive-looking interior is complete without a chandelier, which, in itself, needn’t be costly (you can even buy affordable chandeliers on Amazon, vital if you are decorating a home on a budget). However, they aren’t just reserved for houses straight out of a period drama, both modern and traditional homes can both benefit from the instant elegance of a chandelier – and there are plenty of living room chandelier ideas from which to choose.

One of our favorite ways to make a living room look expensive, a bold pendant light will also draw the eye upwards, emphasizing the height of the room which in turn makes the space feel bigger and brighter. ‘Statement chandeliers are the jewelry of an interior,’ says Owen Pacey, founder of Renaissance London. ‘A great way to level up your living room is with a grand, statement chandelier, whether that’s an ornate, rococo-style, gilt piece or a contemporary sputnik globe.’


Updating your staircase might seem like an unusual way to make a house look expensive, but new staircase ideas, whether a new or refinished banister or balustrade or smartly painted risers, can transform the way in which people perceive your home.

‘A staircase is an integral part to the structure of any home and is the first thing that yourself and guests see when walking inside, so guaranteeing your entryway is impactful is key. A bespoke staircase is the perfect way to transform a space into something that was once ‘tired’ into somewhere that is stylish and welcoming,’ says Gareth Betts, Neville Johnson’s staircase designer. Let yourself be inspired by the latest staircase trends, but always stick to a design that suits the period of your home and your existing interior design.

Even if you don’t go for a total change, there are many ways to decorate a staircase that are sure to give your existing flight a new lease of life. Consider ripping up staircase carpets that are worn and replacing them with elegant wood flooring ideas or even wood-look flooring. You can then dress these with pretty stair runner ideas that will help with grip as well as adding aesthetic value.


‘It may seem obvious but having fresh flowers on the counter is an instant color burst adding endless decorative value,’ advises Kristina Phillips of Kristina Phillips Interior Design. Decorating with flowers is a quick and effective way to make a house look expensive. Not only do fresh flowers bring color and texture to a room but they also bring a sense of life and some even imbue the room with their beautiful fragrance.

‘Eucalyptus is a favorite among florists for creating fragrant and luxury displays perfect for high-end interiors. Paired with a simple glass vase and beautifully interspersed among fresh flowers such as lilies, carnations, roses and thistles, the stunning shapes of the eucalyptus stems will add height and dimension to any room and add a look of opulence for a more expensive interior,’ says Dani Turner, customer experience director at Bunches.

Why not go a step further by planning a cut flower garden so you can harvest fresh blooms from your own flower beds? ‘This is a much more sustainable way of growing flowers for arranging in your home and avoids buying ones that have been flown halfway across the world,’ explains Amelia Bouquet who trained in garden design at the English Gardening School.


Decorating with art can seem like a daunting prospect, from choosing the right colors and textures to size, shape and position. Thankfully, there is lots of advice to help you choose art for your home and plenty of gallery wall ideas that are sure to inspire.

‘Bare walls will make a space feel empty and lacking, but enormous prints of a cityscape are certainly not the way to go. Taking time to invest in pieces you genuinely like, that also fit your space will make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of any room and help to craft something that feels authentic and meaningful. Don’t rush this process or put pressure on yourself to have all your art within six months. Building your collection is all part of the fun,’ says Sam Greig, senior designer at Swoon.


Timelessly beautiful, wooden flooring is a highly desirable feature. Loved for its authentic, natural appearance, durability and warmth underfoot, it will add an expensive look to any room in which it is installed. ‘Flooring is the key element when it comes to setting the tone for any interior. Get this right and all the other details will fall into place,’ says Darwyn Ker, Managing Director of Woodpecker Flooring.

There are lots of options from which to choose. A reclaimed wood floor is imbued with history and character which is nearly impossible for newer boards to emulate, however it is poorly suited to a kitchen as there are more durable kitchen flooring ideas from which to choose. If you love the look of wood but want something a little more budget friendly, luxury laminate wood-style flooring will achieve a similar finish at a fraction of the price.

‘Lighter boards create an element of freshness all year round and while they might not offer the same drama as their darker counterparts, they still add wonderful character to the home. They are ideal for those who prefer to walk on the fresher, brighter side of interiors,’ adds Darwyn.


You don’t have to go all out when adding luxury materials to your home. Yes, a marble bathroom will look stunning and definitely give off expensive vibes, however, it is not the only way. First, consider saving in certain areas that don’t matter as much to you – perhaps you go for engineered wood flooring over real wood or you opt for a more affordable paint brand – so that you have the budget to invest in the items that really matter to you – maybe a marble sink for your kitchen or grand fireplace for your living room. You can also accessorize with pieces made from luxury materials, such as a marble tray on a coffee table or a gold candle snuffer; this will help to make your house more look expensive without breaking the bank.


We live in a technological world, and it is likely that there will be wires in every room of your home, from the TV in the living room, appliances in the kitchen to chargers in the bedroom. However, even the most elegant room will be brought down by a tangle of stray cables. In order to achieve an expensive looking home, it is essential that this source of visual clutter is reduced as much as possible.

If you have a wall mounted television or are thinking about TV wall ideas, consider running the cables through the wall to achieve a seamless look. Then hide peripheral devices in sideboards or adjoining cabinetry to continue to wire-free aesthetic. For device chargers, consider an all-in-one wireless option. The single cable can tuck behind sideboards or bedside tables and the dock will provide an easy, minimalist way to charge all your devices without all the cables.

In the kitchen, the easiest way is to keep appliances out of sight. Store toasters, blenders and other occasional gadgets in a cupboard or pantry until needed. This will not only reduce the wires but will also keep your kitchen countertops clear.


‘Luxurious rugs can make a home look and feel more expensive. Choose options that are durable and stain-resistant,’ says Jessica Nelson of Jessica Nelson Design. Knowing how to choose a rug can make or break an interior scheme, and the right design is a simple way to elevate your space.

‘Rug pads also make a big difference in the design. We usually opt for thicker felt options over the thinner webbed versions. There are some great expensive options out there, but we also love vintage rugs we find on Etsy as a more budget-friendly option,’ adds Jessica. Once you’ve chosen the perfect design – there are plenty of bedroom rug ideas or living room rug ideas that are sure to inspire – it is also important that you know how to clean an area rug in order to keep it looking its best.


Finishing touches are a great way to make your home look expensive. Think door handles, drawer pulls, light switches and sockets. These elements are often overlooked but the right design can pull an entire scheme together. ‘Light switches are the most interactive part of your interior and should be an integral part of the design,’ says Howard Solomons, head of design at Wandsworth Electrical. ‘Anything handled so frequently must reflect quality, not only in its look but also in its touch.’

While outlets and switches are small details, this is not a place to skimp – opt for the best you can afford. Create a harmonious look by ensuring that door handles and the pulls on drawers and cupboards are in the same material and finish as your sockets and switches.


One of the best ways that you can make your house look expensive on a budget is with your decor. Whether it’s vases of flowers, artwork or window treatment ideas, all of these elements can help to make your look more expensive.

‘While many of us have been spending so much time at home, it seems like every day we’re finding something that we want to change in our space. If you’re working with a minimal budget, updating your window treatments can play an integral role in a refresh without going overboard. Think of your window treatments as a canvas for the rest of your space,’ says designer Mariko Blakemore of Stoneside Blinds & Shades.


One of the easiest ways to make your house look like it’s worth more is by repainting. ‘To give a room life and look more expensive, go with the power of paint. A fresh coat of paint in an eye-catching color – either bold or moody – can make all the difference,’ says Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design.

Also ensure that your home’s design is cohesive. ‘A home executed with a master plan, where each space ties into the next, elevates the feeling of a home. Colors, textures and furnishings need to be well thought out for each space in how they relate to each other and add to the overall experience. Tasteful application of color and placing of textures creates an atmosphere that hints at luxury. Furnishings should be both functional and beautiful; one should be able to indulge in comfortable yet visually interesting pieces. Pairing luxury and comfort make the home feel expensive,’ says Laurie Davis from Eralyn Interiors.

Should I Sign an Exclusive Contract With a Real Estate Agent?

Have you been asked by your real estate agent to sign an exclusive contract? Or perhaps you’ve heard that you, as the home seller or buyer, should ask your real estate agent for an exclusive contract. No matter who brings up the topic of signing on the dotted line, there are pros and cons for both sides of having an exclusive contract.

In this post, we’ll explain what an exclusive contract is, why either side may want this kind of agreement, and give you expert insights to help you decide if it’s right for you in your upcoming real estate transaction.

For real-world insights on exclusive contracts for agents, buyers, and sellers, we spoke with Scott Myers, broker-owner of Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors in San Antonio, Texas, who has nearly 50 years of experience in the real estate business.

What is an exclusive contract with a real estate agent?

An exclusive contract with a real estate agent is an agreement between the buyer or seller of a home and their agent. Sellers can have an exclusive listing agreement, and buyers can have an exclusive buyer-broker purchase contract.

An exclusive contract assures the buyer/seller that the agent will be completely committed to working for their client’s interest. It also gives the real estate agent the assurance the buyer or seller is committed to completing the transaction. It protects the work the real estate agent puts in on their client’s behalf.

Myers, who leads a team of top-performing agents at his San Antonio brokerage, explains that it’s always better to have terms and conditions in writing, but you can have a spoken agreement with an agent, to begin with.

“You can have an oral agreement and not have it in writing but still be representing the client,” says Myers. “Having it in writing enforces in the client’s mind that they are being well represented.”

An exclusive contract is more than just the details of the real estate agent’s commission. It establishes commitment levels and plays a role in making your home sale a priority, which we’ll discuss below. It’s also not a tool or trick to keep a client stuck with an agent.

Exclusive vs. non-exclusive listing agreements

Listing agreements are typically classified as exclusive or non-exclusive.

As the name implies, a non-exclusive listing contract allows a seller to list a property with more than one real estate agent. A non-exclusive agreement establishes that a commission will be paid only to the agent who sells the house.

On the other hand, an exclusive listing agreement grants the agent the right to a commission reward, regardless of who sells the property.

State laws or regulations can dictate how listing agreements are written, but the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy, provides three definitions regarding the various types of listing agreements, which we’ve summarized below:

Exclusive right-to-sell listing: This is where the listing broker acts as the agent, and the seller agrees to pay a commission to the listing broker, regardless of whether the property is sold through the efforts of the listing broker, the seller, or anyone else. However, the seller can name specific “exemptions” or exclusions. If the home is sold to any exempted individual or entity, the seller is not obligated to pay a commission to the listing broker.

Exclusive agency listing: This means the listing broker acts as the agent or as the legally recognized non-agency representative of the seller, and the seller agrees to pay a commission to the listing broker if the property is sold through the efforts of any real estate broker. If the property is sold solely through the efforts of the seller, the seller is not obligated to pay a commission to the listing broker.

Open listing: This is where the seller agrees to pay a commission to the listing broker only if the property is sold through the efforts of the listing broker.

What can sellers expect with an exclusive agent contract?

When a seller commits to an exclusive contract, they agree to work only with a specific agent for the length of the agreement. The seller agrees to cooperate with the agent by taking suggestions regarding improving the property, the selling price, and what offer to accept. The seller also agrees to carefully examine the paperwork that will go along with the property sale.

Sellers commit to:

Signing an exclusive contract that gives the real estate agent permission to sell your property. Sellers will receive professional suggestions to increase the value of the property, and an advertising and marketing strategy geared toward their property. This can lead to higher offers and an easier home sale. But sellers will have to pay the real estate agent a commission on the home sale in this type of agreement.

Seller pros:

  • The seller can be assured their real estate agent is committed to selling their home for the right price in a reasonable time frame.
  • Agents often prioritize their exclusive contracts first.
  • Your home is shown to the right kinds of buyers.
  • You’re more likely to receive higher-quality offers from serious buyers.

Seller cons:

A seller may not want to sign an exclusive contract if they have a potential buyer in mind (a friend or family member, for example). An open listing may be a better option for home sellers who want to do their own marketing and advertising and will mean they do not have to pay a commission to a real estate agent.

Should a seller sign an exclusive agent contract?

“Without an exclusive right to sell, the agent may not be as motivated to put as much time and effort into it,” says Myers. If the seller can just sell it to someone, they know themselves, it could be a waste of time for the agent. Unless the seller already has pretty firm interest from someone, they know for the home sale, it’s often in the best interest of both parties to sign an exclusive contract.

Most real estate agents will ask for an exclusive contract, to preserve their time, and to make sure they have the bandwidth to properly serve the home seller throughout the entire home-selling process.

What can buyers expect with an exclusive agent contract?

When a buyer commits to an exclusive contract, they agree to only work with the one agent for the duration of the agreement. The buyer cooperates with the agent by looking at the homes the agent presents and reviewing the paperwork that will go along with the potential property purchase.

Buyer pros:

  • Agents often prioritize their exclusive contracts first.
  • You will be more likely to find out about new listings sooner because your agent will be watching listings more closely for their exclusive clients.
  • Agents with exclusive clients establish a closer working relationship and explain the purchasing process in more detail.
  • The buyers don’t have to worry about the agent putting them under pressure.
  • The buyer can be assured their real estate agent is committed to finding them a home in their price range in a reasonable time frame.

Buyer cons:

Make sure your agent understands exactly what you are looking for and that the agent has a communication style that fits your needs before signing an exclusive contract. If you’ve signed an exclusive contract with an agent, you cannot work with another agent until the terms of the current contract expire or are terminated by the agent. In some instances, such as a military family being reassigned or other extenuating circumstances, an exclusive contract may be amicably terminated by both parties.

Should a buyer sign an exclusive agent contract?

There are very few reasons for a buyer not to sign an exclusive contract. “Frankly, the client is going to get the same treatment from us, whether it’s in writing or not,” says Myers. “It’s more in the agent’s interest to have an agreement signed than the buyer’s interest.”

This doesn’t mean it’s not in the best interest of the buyer. It is, in that their agent will be more motivated to tend to their needs over clients who may not have agreed to sign an exclusive contract.

How long is an exclusive real estate agent contract?

While the length of an exclusive real estate agent contract can be any period you choose, Myers says it typically falls between three to six months for most normal listing situations. The contract period can also depend on housing trends and regional sales conditions.

Many agents will be hesitant to accept an agreement for less than a month because it’s difficult to effectively market a property in such a short amount of time.

Any listing agreement will have the beginning and ending dates spelled out.

What is a protection clause in an exclusive listing contract?

Some seller’s agents will insert a protection clause that applies even after an exclusive real estate agent contract expires. The clause acts as an insurance policy to prevent a back-door deal from being brokered between the seller and a buyer that the agent introduced.

An unprincipled seller might attempt this tactic to avoid paying the agent a commission. If inserted in an agreement, a protection clause typically lasts for 30 to 90 days after the listing contract expires.

What is an exclusion clause in an exclusive listing contract?

An exclusion clause is not as common but can be helpful for home sellers under certain conditions. This clause allows sellers the option to sell their home to certain parties listed in the agreement without having to pay a commission.

For example, you may sign an exclusive contract with your listing agent, but you include an exclusion clause stating that if your child or a grandchild comes up with the money, you can sell the home to them without paying the agent a commission. Or perhaps you have a neighbor that’s always wanted to buy your house, you might include their name in an exclusion clause.

Can I cancel an exclusive contract with a real estate agent?

There are always exceptions to the rule, but exclusive contracts are usually not broken. “It’s always on a case-by-case basis,” says Myers. “The short answer is no, but circumstances come into play.”

For example, when unexpected life circumstances change, real estate agents are more willing to be flexible in terms of breaking the contract. In some cases, the agent may ask for the buyer or seller to cover the agent’s out-of-pocket expenses and will let them out of the contract.

Or, if it can be shown that the agent has not upheld their responsibilities as stipulated in the agreement, you may have a legal right to terminate the contract early without financial concessions.

But in many cases, you may not need to apply legal leverage regardless of the reasons for canceling the contract. In an industry that relies on reputation and referrals, most agents want to keep their clients happy, even if the agreement is being broken.

However, Myers points out that if someone wants to switch agents because they have overpriced their home against the agent’s advice or in a similar situation, the listing agreement typically cannot be canceled unless the agent’s fee is paid.

How can I find a proven, trusted real estate agent?

Before you sign an exclusive contract with a real estate agent — whether you’re buying or selling — you’ll want to find a top agent in your area.

HomeLight’s free Agent Match tool can connect you with a proven professional who is familiar with your market and can advise you on every step of your homebuying or selling journey. See each agent’s strengths, experience, selling results, and reviews from other buyers and sellers who have used their services.

Before you sign an exclusive contract, it’s important to find an agent you can trust and feel comfortable committing to for your real estate transaction.

By April Blake
Contributing Author

How to Manage the Stress of Selling a House: 11 Helpful Tips

The stress of selling a house is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed. People tend to struggle with big changes and moving is nothing short of a seismic life disruption. The emotional ties to our homes can also cause feelings of anxiety and sadness when it’s time to say goodbye. “The stress of selling the home is very specific to the individual,” explains Andrew Robinson, a top-selling agent in Columbus, Ohio. “Even with a couple, sometimes the wife is ready to go and the husband is having a hard time leaving.”

On top of that there are logistical challenges like scheduling showings, uncertainty of when you’ll sell, and if you’ll be satisfied with the outcome. “So much of it is out of your control, and you spend a lot of time just waiting,” adds top real estate agent Dalton Carroll of Arlington, Texas. “You’re waiting for showings, waiting for offers, waiting for your buyer to submit repair requests, and waiting on the lender for the clear to close.”

To get through a process that can be challenging in so many ways, review this list of strategies and resources to help you cope during this limbo home-selling period and minimize stress along the way.

1. Reduce stress with an online cash offer

When you’re about to lose your mind with the hassles of selling a house the traditional way, there is another option. You could consider requesting a cash offer instead and avoid a lot of the usual headaches. With this method, you skip staging, repairs, and showings. No strangers traipsing through your home office, no lengthy or expensive roof repairs holding up the sale.

A cash buyer will offer the entire amount for the house with no mortgage or other type of financing involved. This eliminates the processing of a buyer’s loan and home appraisal, which are typically the two most time-consuming steps in the home sale process. It also reduces the likelihood of contract delays.

According to Dec. 2021 data from the National Association of Realtors, issues related to the buyer’s financing were responsible for 23% of delayed settlements. An all-cash offer removes this specific risk, creating a clearer path to closing. Many cash-for-homes operations have moved online, while iBuyer companies go so far as to value your home using technology and provide a near-instant offer for convenience.

HomeLight’s Simple Sale website, for example, provides a great alternative solution for sellers who need to move quickly by facilitating cash offers on its platform. To request a cash offer from Simple Sale, enter the address of your home and answer a few quick questions about it. We’ll provide an all-cash offer within 48 hours. You can sell your house in almost any condition, and close in as few as 10 days.

2. Contact an agent 90 days before listing

Let’s say a direct cash offer isn’t for you. You’ve decided to move forward with an open market sale, which does have numerous benefits — like the possibility of buyer competition driving up the price of your home. But remember in college when you had to pull an overnighter to complete a term paper that had been assigned weeks before? Or when you tried to make dinner reservations for Valentine’s day on February 13 and every restaurant was booked?

When selling a house, like many things in life, it pays to plan ahead and you’ll thank yourself later for it. One of the best steps you can take to reduce stress in the selling process is to contact a Realtor or real estate agent a few months before the date you plan to list. Robinson suggests aiming to hire an agent 90 days ahead. This allows time for your agent to complete an initial walkthrough, determine which improvements and repairs to make, and schedule work to be done on the house as necessary.

In 2022, pandemic-related housing projects have kept contractor schedules full and the possibility of delays is higher than usual. “If you want to have your house on the market next week,” he explains, “it’s going to be a lot more stressful than if you want your house on the market three months from now. We can execute to that deadline with less stress.”

3. Find a top-rated agent online

However, one of the biggest stressors in selling a home begins with how to find a qualified real estate agent. Recent statistics show that there are over 3 million active real estate licensees nationwide.

In the past, the main way to find a quality real estate agent was to ask for a referral or call different real estate offices. However, companies like HomeLight have made the search for a top-rated real estate agent or Realtor® fast and easy to do online. It’s definitely a lower-stress way to find an agent you can trust. To get started, you simply answer a few questions about your timeline and priorities, and HomeLight provides you with two to three agent recommendations in two minutes. HomeLight’s agent-matching platform is 100% free to use and it’s not pay-to-play, so agents can’t pay to be listed or appear as one of your matches. The company analyzes over 27 million real estate transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you based on your needs.

4. Reduce clutter for an easier move

“So many of my clients have been in their houses for 20 years, they can feel a bit overwhelmed,” Robinson says. “For many, one of the greatest anxieties is what to do about all the stuff in the house.” That’s why Robinson’s referral list includes not only moving companies and storage facilities but local auction partners, home organizers, and charitable organizations.

If you’re downsizing, you might be distraught about the potential of taking a loss on the investment you’ve made in curating fine furniture, paintings, and collectibles. Maybe your kids have grown up and out of clothes and toys or your design aesthetic has changed. Fortunately, there are businesses who are eager to consign, upcycle, and recycle just about any item you no longer need.

  • Auction houses

These days, you don’t even need to haul your grandmother’s 90-piece set of Reed & Barton silver, your autographed ripped Ramones t-shirt or baseball collection to the auction house for assessment. In most cases, you can email or upload good quality photos to their website. Then, their experts estimate value and determine whether to accept your items for consignment. Once the item sells, usually the auction house and former owner split the proceeds.

To find the closest auction house or one that handles specialty items, visit

  • Estate sales

If you are getting rid of the contents of an entire house and you have the luxury of time before the property goes on the market, you may want to consider an estate sale. Working on commission, estate sales professionals typically stage every room from the half-bath to the garage to show off every item available for sale. Their devoted followers know the first day of the sale is full price with discounts for every successive day.

For an introduction to your area’s estate sales companies, visit

  • Charitable organizations

If you have clothing, housewares, toys and other usable items, consider a donation to your local homeless or battered women’s shelter or a national charity such as Goodwill, Vietnam Veterans of America, or Habitat for Humanity.

5. Refresh (don’t renovate) your home

Not only is it stressful to perform major renovations to your home right before you sell it, but it can also be a bad move financially. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2021 Cost vs Value Report, the average cost recouped on 22 common home improvement projects is only 60%, with returns on major bathroom and kitchen overhauls being some of the lowest. Rather than spending $25,000 on a complete bathroom redo, Robinson says, “sometimes, you can create the same wow factor for $1,500 by changing light fixtures, cabinet hardware, mirrors and vinyl flooring.”

So when in doubt, refresh rather than renovate, and focus your attention on these high-ROI home prep efforts:

  • Deep clean and declutter (adds over $4,000 in resale value on average)
  • Improve your curb appeal (adds nearly $12,000 in resale value on average)
  • Stage an outdoor seating area (ranked as the #3 most-desired feature among today’s home buyers)
  • New carpet, freshly painted walls, and repairs to make sure HVAC, appliances, and other mechanical systems are operational may also be recommended. See HomeLight’s guide on what to fix before selling a house for further guidance.

6. Communicate your comfort level in pandemic times

The COVID-19 pandemic and recently the omicron variant may be adding additional stress to the process of selling your home. Talk to your agent about your concerns about health and safety so that they can assist and share all of the available options with you. For example, your agent may be able to help you reduce in-person showings by adding a virtual tour, 3-D walkthrough, or aerial video to your listing to give buyers a better idea of your home’s characteristics online. Remote showings or virtual open houses are additional tools agents have used during the pandemic. It’s also good practice to screen buyers for pre-approval or proof of funds before they view the home to cut back on useless showings. If you’re a little uneasy about having people in the house who may be infected, provide masks, gloves, shoe covers, and sanitizer at the entrance of your home for peace of mind.

7. Create a system for low-stress showings

Even in a pandemic, physical showings are still happening. With safety precautions in place, the market has adjusted. A year ago, “there was still some apprehension about social distancing at a showing appointment or open house,” Robinson says, “But, the demand for housing outpaces the anxiety about COVID so, we’re seeing a very high level of activity at showings and open houses.”

However, maintaining a neat and clean home throughout the listing period is perhaps one of the most painful parts of the process. To make things easier, develop a pre-showing routine that you can execute with muscle memory.

First, get the supplies you need:

  • Invest in a few decorative storage boxes with lids that blend seamlessly into the décor of your bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and living room. These let you quickly tuck any personal items out of sight.
  • Then, pick up an assortment of cleaning wipes so you can wipe down countertops and easily polish up mirrors and faucets.

Then, use this checklist or some variation that works for you:

  • Put all dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
  • Empty garbage cans around the house.
  • Wipe down surfaces.
  • Make the beds and fluff pillows.
  • Stash small rugs and excess clutter from bedrooms.
  • Hide outdoor toys and garbage bins.
  • Close toilet lids.
  • Shut closet doors.

In addition, make sure to communicate your preferred window for showings to your agent. Plan ahead with a few go-to activities you can do with your family to get everyone out of the house for a few hours. This is easier in good weather conditions, when you can go for a walk or head to the park. Otherwise, check with local friends and family members if they would be OK with you hanging out at their place while the house is being shown. Restaurants, the library, coffee shops, or the gym could be alternatives. In pandemic times, make sure to stash a few masks for each family member in the car so you have them if needed on-the-go.

Once the system is set up, not only will you be able to get ready for guests at a moment’s notice, you can share your protocol with family or roommates. That way, they can pitch in and lighten your load, and won’t be surprised when you announce you’re going out for dinner or headed to the children’s museum during a showing.

8. Be prepared for a fast or slow sale

The current low inventory and low interest rates have conspired to create a seller’s market. However, each house and local market is different. If your house is not selling as quickly as you’d hoped, the situation is certainly stressful; but, it’s not hopeless. A little research into common reasons houses remain on the market can help you identify the issue and get back on track. Robinson finds clients are equally stressed by the possibility of their house selling too quickly in this low inventory market. “While sellers want to take advantage of the market and they don’t want to carry two mortgages,” he says, “they don’t want to be left without a place to live.”

Robinson is often able to leverage his connections with a few townhome rental agencies to provide his clients with the ability to get a six-month lease. That way, they can go to market, extract the maximum equity from their home without worrying about where they’ll live. With advanced planning, new construction is another option. “If they go into contract on a new build that maybe is on a six- to 12-month schedule,” Robinson explains, “they have a very strategic timeline of when we take their house to market, so that they don’t have to move twice.”

9. Practice self-care

While the process of selling a home is stressful, it’s usually compounded by factors that prompted your move in the first place and issues resulting from the decision to make a major life change. For example, if you’re moving for a job opportunity or to be closer to your aging parents, you worry about how your kids will adjust to a new school. You may have second thoughts about downsizing now that your spouse has just announced plans to retire and foster for a Great Dane rescue.

No matter the source of the stress, self-care is essential to diffuse the situation before your mental status wreaks havoc on your physical well-being. Luckily, stress relief can be quick, inexpensive, and accessible 24/7. It can be as simple as walking your dog, having coffee with a friend, or making time to do an activity you enjoy. There’s also plenty of free stress management information available to help you find serenity now or develop a long-term plan.

10. Access free expert advice

Believe it or not, accurate information is a powerful stress buster. The better you understand how processes work, definition of terms, the roles of people involved and the options you have at certain stages, the more confidence you have in your ability to handle the sale successfully. If you can pinpoint the components of the sales process that are causing you the most anxiety, Homelight’s Seller Resource Center has a free, virtual library of blogs written in plain language to answer your questions.

11. Keep the stress in perspective

No matter your reasons for moving, selling a house is stressful. Staking the for-sale sign into the ground could trigger a vivid memory of a birthday celebration or backyard barbecue which hits you like a ton of bricks. Or showing requests may conflict with your job responsibilities, creating scheduling challenges now that you work from home. However, remember that this is part of the plan. If you’ve gone so far as to list the house and start fielding offers, you have already put a ton of thought into this decision and now’s not the time to second-guess it.

Hire the professional help you need, stay organized, and find ways to decompress when stressors arise. Remind yourself of what comes next: the opportunity to live closer to loved ones, enjoy a better neighborhood, and embrace a new chapter.


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Super Easy Late Summer Home Maintenance Tips

They don’t call them “the dog days of summer” for nothing. Hot, sunny weather can take its toll on any home, especially the exterior. But sticking to a maintenance plan can ensure that your home continues to look great and handle all that fall and winter is about to throw at it.

Here’s a closer look at what should be on your to-do list as summer winds down.

(If you’re planning to put your house on the market for the fall selling season, these should become “must dos.”)

1. Clean the Gutters

Cleaning the gutters of your home should be done at least twice a year. The end of summer is one ideal time to do this. That’s because with the likelihood of autumn rainfall on the way, you want to ensure runoff will be able to drain properly from the roof. Clogged gutters can lead to spillovers, potentially eroding the foundation of your home.

2. Inspect the Roof

While you’re cleaning the gutters, hop up onto the roof to check things out. Be on the lookout for soft spots, loose shingles, and warped or damaged shingles. Any damage to the roof increases the likelihood that water could be entering your home and causing structural damage.

3. Seal Windows and Doors

Here’s a simple task that you don’t want to overlook, especially with brisk fall nights and winter on the way—caulking around windows and checking weather stripping around doors. Sealing your home against drafts keeps heated air in, thereby bettering your utility bills in the process.

4. Change the Air Filter

Hot summer weather has a tendency to really dirty an air filter with bacteria and debris. It’s why the end of the summer season is a good time to swap it out for a new one. Most filters these days can simply be discarded and replaced. Replacements are inexpensive and available for purchase at any hardware or home supply store.

5. Store Outdoor Furniture

Give your outdoor furniture a longer life by stowing it away in your garage or your shed prior to that first frost. Cold, wet weather has the potential to wreak havoc on furniture, especially if it’s made from wood or wicker.

6. Tidy Up Landscaping and Garden Beds

Give your landscaping and garden beds some summer loving. Pick a not-too-hot weekend and head outside with the garden shears to deadhead perennials and annuals. Deadheading encourages more blooms as sunny weather continues. The weather that results in lush flowerbeds will also bring a bumper crop of weeds. Pull weeds by the roots. You can compost weeds correctly by following a few tips to make sure that weed seeds will be killed completely. Put down another layer of mulch to spruce up all planting beds and control weeds.

7. Clean Outdoor Garbage Bins

Last but not least, we recommend not overlooking the importance of cleaning outdoor garbage bins. When colder weather arrives, small critters are going to be looking for a place to call home until spring. Smelly, unkempt garbage bins can often become that place. Keeping them clean can help prevent this. Squirt a little dishwashing liquid inside the can and use the spray attachment on your outdoor hose to wash it down. Let it dry in the sun.

How you can help your lawn and plants survive the drought


If your lawn is already gone, crispy and brown, Dave says it is time to wave the white flag. At this point, in the middle of summer (and with another heat wave coming), trying to bring the green grass back would be nearly impossible. It’s best to let it go for now and wait for fall. At that point, he recommends doing some over-seeding in preparation for a big comeback next year. Once we get back into a more normal (wetter) pattern, put down some fertilizer.

If your lawn is on the brink, there are some things you can do now in an attempt to revive it. (These tips assume that you still are allowed to water in your town)

  • Water between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. not in the heat of the day
  • Water once every 3 days or so and for longer amounts of time. The water needs to sink several inches into the ground, reaching the roots.
  • If you don’t have an irrigation system, move the sprinklers around each day. Water one area for a long duration one day and then move to another location the following day.
  • Don’t cut the lawn too short! Leave it 4 inches long at least, you may not even need to cut it at all for several weeks!


When watering it is better to use a slow drip or mist setting for a longer duration. Soaking with a heavy stream of water tends to just run off with the soil this dry. Again, you need the water to get down several inches. Dig down and check that the soil is damp. If it isn’t, you need to water deeper.


Spider mites (very tiny) LOVE the dry weather. Typically, we talk about them over winter with indoor plants because of how dry it is in our homes. This year, they are breeding outside due to the lack of water. They are so small you may not even notice them at first, but what you will see is their webbing on your plants. One of the more common places you will see them is on your phlox, but they could be anywhere.


YES! In fact, most farmers would tell you that this July is a thousand times better than last July. They would prefer drought to flooding rain every time. You can water to help drought but there is little you can do if you get too much rain. Too much water also breeds disease and there was a lot of that last year.

Under these conditions, Dave says crops like peaches, grapes and tomatoes should be mighty sweet and tasty (as long as they are being watered). They may be slightly smaller in size but the sugar will be more concentrated and again, there is very little disease to take them out.

The best San Antonio neighborhoods for first-time homebuyers

We’ve been told over and over that it’s impossible to buy right now, but that’s not necessarily the case. If you’re a first-timer looking for your new home, there are several San Antonio neighborhoods you should keep in mind while searching.

Keep in mind that you’ll have the most success as a first-time homebuyer if you work with an experienced agent to keep up with the competition. You’ll also want to keep an open mind and stay flexible with some of your priorities.

Redbird Ranch

Median sales price: $290,000

Distance from downtown San Antonio: 25 miles

School district: Medina Valley

At the far-west edge of San Antonio is the new-build community of Redbird Ranch, which has proven very popular with families. Homes start at $289,000 and spacious floorplans range from three to five bedrooms.

Neighborhood amenities include a park, playground, pool, walking trails, and more. It’s also a popular choice for military families because it is just 20 minutes from Lackland Air Force Base.

Wolf Creek

Median sales price: $260,000

Distance from downtown San Antonio: 13.2 miles

School district: Southwest ISD

Homes tend to sell quickly here, as the area blends the peaceful atmosphere of the suburbs with quick access to the ever-increasing amenities along 410 and Highway 151. Many of the houses were built in the ’90s, and new construction is happening here as well.

For families with children, the area has two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. This is another neighborhood popular with military personnel because of the nearby Lackland Air Force Base. Compared to other neighborhoods and San Antonio’s sister city of Austin, the area is reasonably priced for mid-size homes.

Leon Valley

Median sales price: $250,000

Distance from downtown San Antonio: 12.2 miles

School district: Northside ISD

This neighborhood is interesting because it is an independent municipality surrounded by San Antonio. Technically its own city, Leon Valley has its own public safety departments and even its own mayor.

Leon Valley is a gateway to many of San Antonio’s main attractions, like SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Residents can easily access the Medical District that’s just three miles away and the San Antonio Airport eight miles away. Buyers will also find that they can get to jobs in the northwest sector via Bandera Road and Loop 410.

Lafayette Place

Median sales price: $179,950

Distance from downtown San Antonio: 8.8 miles

School district: Northeast ISD

This is one of the neighborhoods in San Antonio that has everything a buyer wants, according to a study from Redfin, which looked at the prominence of affordable homes, levels of inventory, an easy commute, and more. The area has two elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools.

Buyers looking at homes in Lafayette Place will find they are in close proximity to the South Texas Medical Center, the University Health System, the USAA Corporate Office, a variety of employers in downtown San Antonio, and the convenience of being next to I-10 and Loop 410. For all your shopping needs, La Cantera is less than 10 minutes away.

El Dorado

Median sales price: $260,000

Distance from downtown San Antonio: 13.6 miles

School district: North East ISD

For buyers looking for the convenience of easy neighborhood parking and close proximity to plenty of eateries, consider the El Dorado neighborhood. Houses here tend to sell for less than the median price in San Antonio, making it a good option for first-time homebuyers looking to spend less than other areas.

There’s a variety of single-family homes and newer condos, ranging from 859 square feet to 3,073 square feet. This North San Antonio neighborhood has amenities like a pool, a park, and a playground.

Stillwater Ranch

Median sales price: $353,500

Distance from downtown San Antonio: 23 miles

School district: Northside ISD

Though the price point here is higher than others on this list, Stillwater Ranch still offers luxury homes at a lower price than other areas. This master-planned community features the open and sprawling beauty of the countryside without compromising on amenities.

Residents can enjoy parkland, hike and bike trails, and nature trails, and the neighborhood also backs up to the Government Canyon State Natural Area. Additionally, there’s a tennis court, basketball courts, swimming facility, and the onsite Scarborough Elementary school.

Tobin Hill

Median sales price: $394,000

Distance from downtown San Antonio: 1.5 miles

School district: San Antonio ISD

Located conveniently close to downtown San Antonio, this is a great neighborhood for young professionals looking for a walkable, urban area. From Tobin Hill, residents can walk to Pearl, a revitalized brewery with eclectic shops and incredible restaurants that will soon feature a marketplace.

Buyers here may end up with less space than in other neighborhoods, but they will be right next to world-class shopping, amenities, and the San Antonio River. The continuing development of Tobin Hill has increased the desirability of the area for both residents and businesses.

Great Northwest

Median sales price: $232,250

Distance from downtown San Antonio: 15 miles

School district: Northside ISD

This Far West San Antonio neighborhood consists of older, more established homes at a reasonable price point that are located near I-410, Highway 151, Loop 1604, and Highway 16.

Families are attracted by the schools, pools, playgrounds, and sports facilities. For shopping, ​​​​residents can enjoy a quick trip to the Ingram Park Mall and the newly constructed Alamo Ranch Shopping Center. The area is also rapidly developing, making it a great choice for first-time homebuyers looking to purchase a home now. Buyers looking in this area may also want to consider the nearby Northwest Crossing for many of the same reasons.


Median sales price: $270,000

Distance from downtown San Antonio: 25 miles

School district: Northside ISD

If the Great Northwest neighborhood appealed to you but you’re looking for newer homes, check out Bridgewood. This neighborhood in Northwest San Antonio calls itself the largest community in Bexar County, and new homes are being added consistently.

Buyers who love nature should take advantage of the neighborhood’s location near Government Canyon State Park. There is a wide variety of floorplans and home sizes from which to choose, and an active homeowners association — which could be a plus or a minus, depending on your wants and needs.

Hills of Shaenfield

Median sales price: $242,000

Distance from downtown San Antonio: 22.5 miles

School district: Northside ISD

This small neighborhood in West San Antonio has a peaceful feel, with houses that vary in size and style and typically aren’t much older than 10 years.

The neighborhood has what many people look for in suburbs: a close community, a park, a playground, trails, and nearby restaurants and shopping. Additionally, the neighborhood is close to the Alamo Ranch Shopping Center.


Median sales price: $286,000

Distance from downtown San Antonio: 8.7 miles

School district: Northside ISD

The Wildhorse neighborhood is a good middle ground for many first-time homebuyers. It is close to downtown San Antonio without feeling too busy, a large number of the homes tend to be newer builds, and there’s plenty to do, including a theme park. There’s also a new pool and a nearby H-E-B.

Wildhorse blends the beauty of the Hill Country with the convenience of city life. The neighborhood is also close to Highway 151 and Interstate-10, so residents can easily access the rest of Central Texas. The neighborhood boasts schools as well as nearby employers like the Medical Center, USAA, and Lackland Air Force Base.

The Arbor at Sonoma Ranch

Median sales price: $320,100

Distance from downtown San Antonio: 19 miles

School district: Northside ISD

This neighborhood near The University of Texas at San Antonio has several schools for students of all ages. It sits among gated communities, and is close to shopping and dining opportunities.

The Arbor is right near 1604, so residents can quickly access attractions like Six Flags Fiesta Texas. This neighborhood is in Helotes, which is where the Floore Country Store is located. Willie Nelson fans might recognize this as the place where he got his start, and you’ll still find live music and dancing here.

San Antonio suburb named one of the hottest ZIP codes for homebuyers

A new ranking from real estate platform Opendoor puts the 78130 ZIP code in New Braunfels at No. 4 among the country’s 20 hottest ZIP codes for homebuyers.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New Braunfels ranked fifth for population growth from July 2020 to July 2021 in cities with at least 50,000 residents. The San Antonio suburb saw its population skyrocket by 8.3 percent during the one-year period. New Braunfels is now home to nearly 100,000 people.

In May, 447 homes were sold in Comal County, the highest monthly total since September 2020. New Braunfels is the county’s biggest city. Last month’s median price of a home in Comal County stood at $432,000, up 18 percent from the same time a year earlier.

“People have found New Braunfels — the word is out,” the city’s mayor, Rusty Brockman, told The New York Times last year. “And I think we are going to continue to deal with this growth for a long time.”

Opendoor identified the top ZIP codes by analyzing data from local Multiple Listing Service programs where Opendoor operates. The ZIP codes were ranked by the total number of homes that went under contract within 90 days of listing in 2022.

In all, 10 ZIP codes in Texas — including three in San Antonio — appear in the ranking. Aside from 78130 in New Braunfels, they are:

  • 78641 ZIP code in Leander (Austin) lands at No. 6.
  • 77494 ZIP code in Katy (Houston) lands at No. 7.
  • 75126 ZIP code in Forney (Dallas-Fort Worth) lands at No. 8.
  • 77493 ZIP code in Katy (Houston) lands at No. 9.
  • 77433 ZIP code in Cypress (Houston) lands at No. 10.
  • 78253 ZIP code in San Antonio lands at No. 11.
  • 76227 ZIP code in Aubrey (Dallas-Fort Worth) lands at No. 15.
  • 78245 ZIP code in San Antonio lands at No. 16.
  • 78254 ZIP code in San Antonio lands at No. 18.

In first place nationwide on Opendoor’s list is the 37042 ZIP code in Clarksville, Tennessee, northwest of Nashville.

If you’re looking to buy or sell your home, contact us for a free market analysis to see how much your property is worth today!

9 Father’s Day Traditions to Start This Year

It’s time to celebrate all the dads, grandpas, and other father figures in your life. This year we’re leaning into experiences rather than gifts, so we’ve rounded up our favorite Father’s Day ideas and traditions you can start now and keep up year after year. Of course, you can stick to the classic card and gift—or, plan an afternoon of hiking, grilling, or exploring. He’ll appreciate making memories more than an item that’ll just sit on a shelf, and you can get the whole family involved!

Father’s Day is June 19, 2022, so whether you’re making plans for your dad or your partner, these Father’s Day ideas are sure to make his day.

1. Make Breakfast Together

We’re sure Dad would love a classic breakfast in bed, but sometimes cooking is half the fun! Let him sleep in, then surprise him with all the ingredients for his favorite breakfast foods. Turn some music on and get cooking!

2. Explore a New City

Turn his Father’s Day celebration into a weekend-long affair by taking a road trip! Travel to a new city together and plan filled with the best local food and activities. This can be a budget-friendly day trip or a full-on mini-vacation—and no matter what you plan, Dad will love the extra quality time together.

3. Have a Movie Night

Put a twist on the classic family movie night and have Dad pick his favorite childhood movies. (You may have to bust out the old VHS player!) He’ll love re-watching them with the family, and it’s an easy annual tradition to keep up with.

4. Have a Virtual Lunch

If you don’t live near each other or can’t be together in person, there are plenty of ways to celebrate virtually! After celebrating two Father’s Days in a pandemic, we’ve got plenty of ideas for celebrating from a distance. Having a virtual meal together is easy: Order in your favorite meals, and then FaceTime or Zoom while you eat and catch up.

5. Give a Sentimental Gift

Giving Dad a Father’s Day gift is one of the most timeless traditions there is, so while you might not want to skip the gift for an experience, be sure to give him something meaningful. These sentimental gift ideas will help you thank Dad for everything he’s done for you.

6. Make a Craft Together

Get the kids involved by having everyone make a Father’s Day craft together. These printable coloring pages are a fun and easy activity for younger kids, and you can have them fill out the same pages year after year so Dad can see how their answers change.

7. Have a Grill-Out

Make it a generational affair by hosting a grill-out for the whole family! All generations of dads will enjoy these easy Father’s Day dinner recipes coupled with quality time spent chatting and playing games outside. And don’t forget the Father’s Day desserts!

8. Give a Handwritten Card

A handwritten card will mean more to Dad than just about anything, and we’ve got plenty of free printable Father’s Day cards to help you get started. You don’t have to be great with words to write down something meaningful: Jot down what he means to you or list out all the reasons you’re thankful for him.

9. Go to a Baseball Game

It’s your turn to buy Dad some peanuts and Cracker Jacks! Take him out to a ballgame to see his favorite team or cheer on the local minor league. It’s a fun activity for the whole family, and there are usually plenty of weekend games this time of year.