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Real Estate LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 18, 2012

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Inside Real Estate:

Color Trends - Page 3 Local Real Estate News - Page 5

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On The Web:

Housing Recovery - Page 5 WTHBA Featured Floorplan - Page 7

ABR, ASR, Broker/Owner

Where did you grow up? I grew up right here in Lubbock. When I bought my company, I wanted a name that reflected my love for Lubbock and it being my “hometown.”

What tips do you have for someone looking to buy or sell a home? For buyers, don’t get so caught up in what everyone else around you is saying because they saw it on TV or know someone who, or they watched a video tape series, etc. Do your own homework! Hire a Realtor that not only has book smarts, but street smarts as well. By street smarts, I mean, “been there, done that” as far as the type of real estate transaction you are desiring. For sellers, don’t overprice your home to test the waters. Buyers are a lot smarter these days, plus they are represented by smart Realtors. Overpricing has many consequences. Buyers question what is wrong with a home if it has been on the market for a while. I can help you show buyers your property is a commodity with smart pricing.

How long have you worked in real estate? My husband and I bought our first investment property about 18 years ago and have continued to buy/sell/manage our portfolio since then. I became a licensed Realtor in

2005 and a Broker in 2007. What is your specialty? I have a lot of experience in residential, investment and commercial properties. However, I would not limit myself to only those areas at all. Whatever my client needs is my specialty.

Monique Carabajal, Real Living Hometown Realtors Photo by Misty Setzler

to the rest of the market. This is what ultimately puts money in your pocket when you eventually sell. The most critical part of this process is having an experienced REALTOR that can really help you make those informed decisions. As far as the most gratify-

at its

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Real Living Hometown Realtors 806-548-1338 monique@moniquesellslubbock.com

What are the most challenging and most gratifying aspects of your job? The most challenging thing these days is clients thinking real estate has one formula, especially after all the TV shows focusing on real estate. I have seen smart buyers and investors miss great opportunities because they were convinced, no matter the price of the property, they could get it for less. It’s this idea that we should never pay sticker price that plays a big part in their offer. The reality is that sellers are motivated to sell their home for many different reasons. A smart seller that needs to sell quickly may price their property low. This includes short sales and foreclosures. An experienced buyer or investor may even pay more than the list price to get that great deal. At the end of the day, it’s not whether you paid sticker price, but how much less you paid compared

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that I have connected one of my investors with the “right” property and it is delivering a strong return. Pretty gratifying stuff right there!

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? In addition to Real Living Hometown Realtors, my husband and I own and operate three additional businesses. We have a child care center that we have owned for 11 years, The Learning Zone; a property management company for our investment properties, Ro-Mo Properties; and a car lot, Carabajal Motor Co. Believe it or not, I still consider myself a full-time Mom to our three amazing children, Dalton, Nolan and Bella. I always have time for baseball games, karate lessons, volunteering at their school, baking, cooking, playing games, puzzles… all that fun stuff. I am always crazy busy, but I juggle it all well and absolutely LOVE it!

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Realtor Revealed Monique Carabajal

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ing, there are many, but for sure the relationships that I build with my clients that continue to bless me with referrals through out the years. The excited look on my first time home buyers’ faces when they get their keys placed in their hands for the first time, and when I know

Why should someone choose you as their real estate agent? Hire me because I am an expert who has been where you are today. Let my knowledge and training help you. Quick note, however, you will enjoy it and we will laugh… A LOT! No matter the situation, I will help you find the joy and blessing in it.

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Spring into 2012 with the hottest colors (ARA) – As you anticipate what exciting things this year will bring, you might notice your home decor has been left behind. Fortunately, you can easily beautify and modernize your home using hints from design experts on the hottest color trends. Don’t worry that you’ll need to break the bank – simply updating the shades of your walls can create the feel of an entire new home without the cost of buying one. And you’ll enjoy starting the year in fresh, contemporary surroundings. “Our world has become increasingly complicated and fast-paced in recent years, to the point that many people are now taking steps back to reevaluate their lifestyles and consider what’s truly important,” says Donna Schroeder, Dutch Boy Paints manager of Color + Design. “As we look back to simpler times, we also see how design and style have evolved. Dutch Boy’s 2012 color forecast is based on this reflection and the selfexpression of what people find meaningful. This year’s diverse color trends are rich and full of history, helping people create spaces that truly show their inner selves.” Featuring five groupings of the hottest colors in home decor, the Dutch Boy color forecast offers options for any room or personal taste. The 2012 trends palettes are as follows:

Ethereal. Whether it’s the search for enlightenment or just the best cup of organic coffee within 20 miles, the path is about more than the ground covered. The Ethereal collection floats above other color palettes, airy and atmospheric with tea-stained and faded hues evocative of the lightness of the sky under the midday sun. Light colors from this palette include Epidermal, Faded Mint and Feather Lite. Primitive. A meandering path through the forest takes us past colors only to be found in nature. Deep barks, shocking citrines and raw earth inspired the natural colors of this palette. The Primitive colors are as mysterious as the shaded canopy of the woods that inspired them. Suffused with energy, they speak to growth, regeneration and life. This natural palette includes Raw Garnet, Symbiotic Green and Indigenous Teal. Fundamental. We’ve walked far away from the beige computer housings of the 1970s, only to find the hues from this budding technological era coming back full force. Retro office meets geek chic for a new take on ‘70s style, as seen in this grouping. The Fundamental color palette makes full use of classic, contrasting neutrals like beige and gray – designed to work as the perfect foil for bold main accents of green, orange and vibrant

Simply updating the shades of your walls can create the feel of an entire new home. The Dutch Boy color forecast for 2012 features five groupings of the hottest colors in home decor. One collection – Etheral – features faded, light hues which are timeless and comforting. blue. Basic colors in the Fundamental palette include Ink Blue, Aged Cognac and Rudimentary Beige. Pastimes. It’s time for a road trip back in time to motels boasting refrigerated air, a gallon of gas that cost a dime and the game of miniature golf that was every family’s obsession. The Pastimes color palette is filled with exuberant

shades reminiscent of lazy summer days at a lake house without a television, or the intensity of the circus coming to town. It’s American culture from the 1940s and ‘50s – a simpler time, an antidote to the fast-paced buzz and hum of modern technology. Bright Pastimes hues include Clown’s Nose, Kiddie Pool and Orangesicle. Compose. A street of

dreams with a focus on soft femininity and vintage 1930s floral fashions are at the heart of the Compose color palette. Rich, dark hues are offset by bright pops of color that despite their origin in an earlier era, look fresh and new. This is a collection that worships the creative being in all of us, and encourages self-expression through home decorating. This

inspired palette contains shades such as Purple Pencil Skirt, Lip Stain Pink and Theatrical Teal. Choose any path to fit your home, whether it’s a light, shimmery mint from the Ethereal palette, or a natural green from the Primitive palette. Using these cues from the color professionals, you can ensure your home enters 2012 in style.

Are tankless water heaters for you? Thirty percent of a home’s energy budget goes to heating water for cleaning and bathing. Some homeowners are looking to new and efficient tankless water heaters as a money-saving option on water heating costs. Consumer Reports found that while tankless heaters that use high-powered burners to heat water as it flows through the unit to provide hot water on demand are 22 percent more efficient than gas-fired hot water tanks, there are some pitfalls as well. Tankless heaters tend to be more expensive

Are you among the 57 percent of consumers planning to buy a mattress in the next three months? The latest memory foam mattresses feature cooling technology.

Five tips to help you sleep (NAPS) – Getting a comfortable night’s sleep can be much easier than counting dozens of sheep – thanks to new memory foam technology. Here are five tips to help the 57 percent of consumers planning to buy a mattress in the next three months who are considering memory foam: 1. Getting into the thick of it. Memory foam mattresses come in a variety of thicknesses. Decide which thickness you want. Thinner mattresses will be less expensive but thicker ones can provide a more supportive sleep environment. 2. Comfort and support. How much support do you want? If you need a firm foundation for a good night’s sleep, compare levels of support. 3. All foam or some foam. Consider construction. Some ­mattresses are entirely made of memory foam while others are a combination. 4. To flip or not to flip. Ask if your mattress should be flipped. Some of the new memory foam mattresses do not need to be flipped. 5. A cool option. Ask if the mattress has a cooling system. Memory foam mattress-

es are very comfortable but one problem that one in four consumers report with memory foam mattresses is that they retain heat and “sleep hot.” Fortunately, new product lines solve that problem. For example, Simmons’ ComforPedic Loft line took those complaints and used them to develop new memory foam technologies that address concerns. The mattress is designed for quick recovery – if you press down on the foam, it promptly expands back to its original shape. The collection also features a sleep system that dissipates heat and provides cooling. “Designed to work with the memory foam, the sleep system features a stylish mesh border so the bed can breathe,” said Scott Smalling, Simmons Specialty Sleep Division. “The mattress core gives extra support while the edge offers sleeping comfort and stability right to the edge of the bed.” Select models also include gel technologies for more support and a cooling sensation. That’s good news for anyone who wants to get a good night’s rest. Visit www.ComforPedic.com for more information.

than traditional water heaters, so it could take several years to recoup costs in terms of energy savings. Also, inconsistent water temperature is a complaint among testers of tankless products. The hot water does not come instantaneously, and much like standard water heaters, if there is residual cold water in the pipes, this will have to be forced through first before the hot water arrives. Because many tankless water heaters work with electric controls, in the event of a power outage, hot water could be lost for the duration of the outage.


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Local Real Estate News – Lubbock Association of Realtors

What you should know about homeowners associations

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BY Debora Lopez, President Lubbock Association of REALTORS®

If you’re planning to buy a house or condominium, keep in mind that the property may be governed by a homeowners association. An estimated 4.8 million Texans live in communities managed by homeowners associations (HOAs). Many home LOPEZ buyers appreciate the benefits provided by HOAs, but the mandatory dues and covenants, conditions and restrictions placed on the group of homes occasionally rub some people the wrong way. Before you make an offer on a property governed by an HOA, here are some things to consider. What’s In It For You? Homeowners associations often provide access to attractive ame-

nities that individual residents couldn’t otherwise afford – pools, gyms, tennis courts, walking trails – and their rules can protect property values in the neighborhood. Some associations also take on services traditionally provided by the local government, such as trash pickup, landscaping, street lighting and street and sidewalk maintenance. Beyond the Golf Course Your perfect condo may have a great pool or your dream house might be sitting on the first tee, but remember that those things are only part of the HOA’s scope. When you purchase a property governed by an HOA, you enter into a legal contract with the association. You agree to abide by the association’s regulations and pay its dues. In exchange, you get a community guided by an HOA and the access to its facilities and perks. Read Before You Buy Make sure that any uses or freedoms you expect to come along with your property are allowed

in the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CCRs). Some HOAs have restrictions on parking things like a boat trailer in the driveway as well as permissible colors that a home can be painted. Reforming the Rules Texas Realtors supported several HOA reforms during the most recent session of the Texas Legislature that enhance the rights of property owners who belong to HOAs. In fact, the efforts of the Texas Association of Realtors led to changes in state law now in effect. Homeowners in HOAs are now guaranteed the right to place religious displays on their front doors; fly U.S., state and military flags; and install rain barrels and solar panels on their property. In addition, new laws require HOAs to hold open meetings and make records more accessible to all HOA members. The associations also are now required to see a judge to foreclose on homeowners who are behind on their dues and offer homeowners a payment plan if they are behind on payments.

Paying Your Dues HOAs run on dues – your fee for living in the community. Some are charged quarterly, some annually. These fees range from less than one hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on the neighborhood or building and what amenities it offers. Ask how much the dues are when you’re house hunting, if they’ve increased during the past few years and how often you are required to pay them. In addition, find out what the dues cover and what they don’t. For example, your condo association may perform all exterior maintenance. That means when the roof leaks, your dues pay for its repair. Of course, if the association manages a pool, you’re paying for that too, even if you can’t swim and never use the amenity. Who’s In Charge? When you review an HOA’s documents, be sure to ask about its finances. Is the HOA solvent? Does it have a reserve fund? Who controls the money? What kind of

oversight is that person subject to? Find out who manages the HOA and what role residents have in its governance. There may be a board or other group of property owners who are elected to manage the association. Take some time and talk to people who currently live in the community. How do they feel about the neighborhood, development or building? Find out their impressions of the HOA and how it’s run. It’s in your best interest to perform due diligence before signing a contract to purchase a property governed by a homeowners association. You’ll be able to make an informed decision about the HOA’s pros and cons, as well as your responsibilities, without jeopardizing the transaction or subjecting yourself to regulations that aren’t consistent with your lifestyle. For expert advice about HOAs and all kinds of information about owning, buying or selling a home, visit TexasRealEstate.com and to search for homes in Lubbock, visit LubbockRealtors.com.

Simple steps to sell your home

With a few updates around your home, you can greatly increase its perceived value and appeal. Put some time and resources into key areas and you’ll soon reap the benefits of your investment.

(ARA) – If you plan to put your home up for sale, or if it has been on the market for some time, you might consider investing in a few key updates to improve your odds of attracting a buyer. Of course, you don’t want to sink a load of cash into a place you aren’t going to stay in, but focusing on a few influential fixes can drastically improve the home’s overall appearance – and your chances of selling. Freshen up – Potential buyers often look for obvious signs of neglect, such as leaky roofs, water damage or crumbling foundations. But even without these problems, making your home look like new again can be as simple as applying a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Cooking, smoking and everyday living can discolor and fade your ceilings and walls, making your

Tight credit conditions impeding housing and economic recovery, Fed chairman tells home builders Restraints on credit for home buyers and home builders alike continue to impede the housing and economic recovery, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week in an address to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Board of Directors in Orlando. “Banks remain reluctant to make loans, both to mortgage borrowers and home builders,” said Bernanke, who noted that current credit conditions are too tight for the financial system, for the construction industry and the economy. The Fed chairman said that his message to regulators is for them to take a balanced approach and to Bernanke approve loans for those who meet sound underwriting standards. “Do not turn away creditworthy borrowers, and that includes home builders,” he said. “Chairman Bernanke understands that today’s tight credit conditions are preventing qualified buyers from obtaining home loans and builders from getting financing for the construction of viable new home building projects – and that this is harming the housing market as well as the overall economy,” said Barry Rutenberg, the Rutenberg newly-elected chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. Noting that many local markets have an overhang of empty and foreclosed homes, the current harsh lending environment, and that the weak housing market is impairing the financial health of home owners, Bernanke said that the “state of the housing market has been a key impediment to a faster recovery.” “For these reasons, and because the troubled housing market depresses construction activity and employment, we need to continue to develop and implement policies that will help the housing sector get back on its feet,” the Fed chairman said. “No single solution will be sufficient. But sustained efforts to address the many interlocking factors holding back the housing

market will pay dividends in the long run.” He also added that the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac limits on investor loans are counterproductive in the current economic climate and that policy should be to encourage more loans to help ease the inventory of distressed properties. Bernanke’s remarks on the need to take more aggressive action to support a housing recovery confirms what the nation’s home builders have been saying for some time and reiterates similar themes in a Jan. 4 white paper provided to Congress, in which the Federal Reserve noted that “restoring the health of the housing market is a necessary part of a broader strategy for economic recovery.” Fixing the nation’s housing woes is taking on a sense of increasing urgency in Washington. In unveiling a new plan two weeks ago, President Obama cited the important role that housing plays in the economy. “A lack of building demand has kept hundreds of thousands of construction workers idle,” said Obama. “Everybody involved in the home building business – folks who make windows, folks who make carpets – they’ve all been impacted. The challenge is massive in size and scope, because we’ve got a multi-trillion dollar housing industry.” Again last week, the President reiterated the high value that Americans place on homeownership and the need to help home owners while commenting on the mortgage settlement agreement reached between the states and five major banks. “We can’t wait to get things done and to provide relief to America’s home owners,” Obama said. “We need to keep doing everything we can to help home owners and our economy.” “You work and you save your entire life to buy a home,” Obama added. “That’s where you raise your family, that’s where your kids’ memories are formed. That’s your stake, your claim on the American Dream.” With the proper policies in place, housing can serve as an engine of job growth, said Rutenberg, who noted that building 100 homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs and generates $8.9 million in federal, state and local revenues to fund local schools and strengthen communities across the nation. “In this key election year, the voters are calling on the Administration and Congress to take actions to restore the health of the housing industry in order to create jobs, increase household wealth and keep the economy on an upward trajectory,” he added.

home seem old and unattractive. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of color can do to improve a home’s appearance. You want potential buyers to see your home as updated yet comfortable. And don’t forget to touch up your white baseboards, trim and ceilings to make each room look its best. Stay grounded – Flooring has a drastic effect on a home’s selling power, and an outdated or poorly maintained floor can ruin a room’s appeal. Old, dingy carpets can overshadow any other improvements you make and give the home an unkempt feel. If your home has hardwood floors, remove old carpeting and refinish the wood beneath it. This is a great selling feature you should invest in highlighting. If you do not have hardwood floors, update your old carpeting with a neutral shade.

Replace any cracked or chipped ceramic tiles in kitchens and bathrooms, and thoroughly clean or replace the grout on all tiled surfaces as well. Shower power – You may have heard that bathroom updates have some of the biggest returns when it comes time to sell a home, and it’s true. Invest in a faucet, showerhead, cabinetry and a new light fixture to add to your “new” bathroom’s appeal. Curb appeal – First impressions can have a huge impact, so make sure your home is as attractive from the street as possible. If your cement sidewalk or patio areas have cracks, patch them. Make certain your garage doors and exterior are freshly painted. Consider repainting your front door a bold color, and don’t overlook replacing your doorknob.


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Featured Floorplan – Abbe Custom Homes; Mel Abbe, Builder

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4403 102nd Street – Lakeridge Estates This week’s Featured Home is exquisitely built by Mel Abbe Homes at 4403 102nd in prestigious Lakeridge Estates. It will be open for your viewing Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The Featured Home has it all for the most discriminate buyer – approximately 3,890 square feet with 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, and 3-car garage. In addition, there is a formal dining room, study, a large family room that flows into the breakfast and gourmet kitchen area, powder room, and theatre basement. Special ceiling features include a barrel ceiling in entry, groin-vault ceiling in formal dining and a cathedral ceiling with stained beams in living room. A floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace centers the family room. Another feature of this home is the “hidden pantry” in the kitchen which is a unique feature that Mel incorporates in many of his personally designed homes. A large mud bench is located as you walk in from the garage. You will be impressed with the large veranda and outdoor living area that includes a fireplace. With all Mel Abbe Homes, amenities and quality construction are second nature. This home includes an 8-foot steel entry door, high definition composite roof, low-E thermal double pane windows, 14 SEER H/AC, 8-foot interior doors, insulated garage and garage doors, pre-wired for a speaker system on first floor, alarm, basement ready for overhead projector with 122-inch screen, loop for a water softener, and a circulating a hot water system. You will love the special designer finishes along with the hardwood flooring and beautiful tile. Granite can be found in the kitchen with Kitchen Aid appliances, including a double convection oven, gas stove top, built-in refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave and commercial exhaust fan. All four bathrooms are complete with intricate tile work, granite and framed mirrors. This luxury home is priced at $489,000. The Featured Home by Abbe Custom Homes is sponsored by the West Texas Home Builders Association in cooperation with the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Please come by and see this incredible home Saturday and Sunday, between 1 and 5 p.m. For further information about the Featured Home or a custom home, you can contact Mel at 441-1708 or Linda at 577-5383. Please visit www.abbehomes.com.

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Lubbock AJ Real Estate Section 2012-01-07