Sun rises in West Central Texas at a construction site where concrete truck is about to pump concrete onto a slab.

The news on buying it new

If you’ve considered a newly-built home, you are struck by several things.

First, they seem a bit pricey. But they do bring good value. These are probably the best-built homes Americans have ever had the opportunity to buy. Architects, designers, builders and buyers are on the same page on materials, style, flow, design and technology.

There are still some “dumb” features from the past: Why are we still building homes with bathroom doorways that do not allow a wheelchair or walker to easily access? While we’re at it, how about one bathroom with roll-in access to a shower? And a subtle ramp from the driveway to the front door? These are low-cost improvements, especially if designed into every new home.

On the positive news front: Lumber prices are still falling.
Just in time for ready-mix concrete prices to rise. 🙂
Here’s more from the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB:
Ready-mix concrete (RMC) prices continued their historic pace as the index increased 0.8% in February after gaining 0.7% in January (revised). RMC prices have increased in all but two months since January 2021. The monthly increase in the national data was broad-based geographically but was primarily driven by a 4.2% increase in the Northeast. Prices rose 0.8% in the West and 0.5% in the South, and were unchanged in the Midwest.

The months-long concrete price increases are partially due to the closure of a large limestone quarry in Mexico. And the concrete shortage isn’t limited to the United States — it’s a global shortage being driven by the dearth of one of concrete’s main ingredients: cement mix. This has resulted in price increases across the board, and there does not appear to be any relief on the horizon.

Prices for gypsum building materials and steel mill products also rose 0.5% and 2.6%, respectively, following price declines the previous month. Gypsum products prices are 12.5% higher than they were a year ago but began stabilizing in August 2022. This was the first monthly price increase for steel mill products since May 2022, but prices have dropped 26% since then and are down 21.2% over the past 12 months.

Softwood lumber prices fell 0.8% in February — the seventh consecutive monthly decline. Since peaking in March 2022, the index has fallen by 47.1% but is still nearly 20% above the January 2020 level.
If all these stats have you wishing you had a house – new, or “experienced” – I can help you find your next home. I am Bruce Partain, real estate professional with NextHome Centurion Realty in San Angelo, Texas. Contact me at

Photo: The sun rises in West Central Texas at a Spider Homes construction site, where a concrete truck is about to pump concrete onto a slab. (Photo: Bruce R. Partain)

winter in san angelo by bruce partain 12-31-2020

Uncovering 2023’s housing crystal ball

Economics – like all sciences – is better at looking backward than forward. 

“Here’s what happened and why.”

The pressure to predict the future, however, comes from many directions.

Take the housing market.


The media, the financial sector, home buyers and home sellers would like some solid crystal ball information, right now. 

“Just tell us if it is going to get better, or if it will get worse, and when,” they might say.

We now know that the historically-low interest rates of 2020-22 were just that – historic and low. A 3 percent interest rate was almost unprecedented, and likely to not return for a long time – if ever.

“Money was cheap,” one local Realtor said recently. “Now it is the asset that’s on sale.”

That’s partly true – but the asset (the home) rose in value rather quickly within a five-year period. And so far, home prices may not be rising, but they are not universally falling.

Real estate fundamentals are still in play.

A good, solid home priced competitively will sell.

One that is “aspirationally” priced and not competitive will sit longer. Much longer.

First-time homebuyers appear to be the ones taking the brunt of this “correction.”

They might have qualified for a $200,000 home in 2021, but now the interest rates have boosted the expected monthly payment, and they might have to readjust their budget or sit out a while.

Also feeling the pain are mortgage professionals and real estate agents, to be honest.

Slowdowns are spread across the market, but not evenly. 

A buyer with equity in their current house may not have to borrow nearly as much as a first-time home buyer. If they also have a better credit rating, they’ll get a lower interest rate – perhaps a full percentage point. They can borrow less, and pay less interest.

So those buyers could “win” in this market.

Sellers are making concessions in several ways.

Seller buy-downs of the buyer’s interest rates are gaining popularity.

Covering at least some of the buyer’s closing costs is an effective way to market a home.

For discussions about your own particular situation, feel free to call me at 325-757-1303.

The market may not be predictable, but you can still be successful in a challenging environment.

I am Bruce R. Partain, real estate professional with NextHome Centurion Realty in San Angelo, Texas.

Among the intangibles of an individual home: The condition of the yard.

In real estate, is the best intelligence artificial?

Artificial intelligence has changed our lives.
Could you drive to Memphis or even across town without tapping into Siri or Google maps?
AI has certainly changed real estate – and much of it for the better. But human interaction and onsite investigation still has a place.
I listened recently to North Texas lawyer and title company owner John M. Holland explain what Zillow, Redfin and Realtor-dot-com may be missing.
These companies certainly have contributed to democratizing information about houses. If you are searching for a home, having the basic info at your fingertips, on your phone, is incredibly empowering. The tech companies rely on algorithms – computations based on data. Certainly this plays a part, as the price per square foot of one home does affect the price of a similar home in the same market. It creates a yardstick to compare one property to another. A Zestimate is somewhere between a guesstimate and an estimate. But at least you’re in the ballpark.
But as homebuyers, we’re not computers.
We are just as focused on value as on price.
Now we are dealing in intangibles. We’re on a heuristic search – learning, discovering and problem-solving by experimental and trial-and-error methods.
As NextHome’s co-founder Imran Poladi once said, “Sure I want to see your house. But I really want to smell your house.”
When mobile phone technology evolved into the iPhone in 2007, it empowered consumers in all marketplaces.
Holland said at that time about 70 percent of real estate transactions involved real estate agents.
Interestingly, last year, about 90 percent of transactions involved agents. Why? Because people are buying and selling homes based on value, not just doing a price-based housing transaction.
A successful real estate agent is someone people know, like and trust. Really successful agents have clients who know, LOVE and trust them.
Technology will likely only get better. Interest rates will rise and (maybe) fall. People will do business with those who understand that the relationship is most important. A trusted agent knows the technology, but more importantly knows you and what you want and need.
If you are planning to sell or to buy a home in San Angelo, Texas, I would like to earn your trust by helping you reach your goal.
I’ll put a link below to recommendations made by my past clients, to whom I owe so much.
They trusted me to guide them through one of the most important, valuable transactions in their lives.
I am Bruce Partain, real estate professional with NextHome Legends Realty.

Learn what people are saying about Bruce Partain…

A visually-stunning home office in a ready-to-sell home.

How to sell your home – faster

When you decide to sell your house, you’ll soon discover your most valuable resource: Time.

It is a precious commodity, so plan ahead, knowing that house preparation and cleanup goes slower than one might expect. 

Working on a move inevitably leads to fatigue – mental and physical. Planning ahead and executing on a reasonable schedule minimizes that stress and strain. Asking for help is one sure way to stave off the inevitable feelings of “This is too much to deal with!” and “I can’t go through one more closet!” 

When friends or family ask if they can help, always say yes. Even if they are just watching the kids or going through the keep-or-toss pile, they can buoy your spirits and help you press on. 

There are still a few homeowners who think they can sell a house, then deal with the trauma of packing and moving later. Smart home sellers know it is best to combine the effort. A clean and cleared house sells faster. And it makes the actual move much easier, too. There’ll be less to handle, and much of it is already packed and organized. 

If there are safety or functional issues with your house, such as loose shingles, water leaks, water damage, electrical problems, broken appliances – now is the time to get those repaired. Inspections can cost $400, so if that’s not in the budget, have a trusted handyperson at least walk through the house and help you identify issues. Later on, if you get an offer from a buyer whose lender is suggesting a government-backed loan, such as VA and FHA, their appraiser will call-out such repairs. Better to fix now and move quickly when that offer comes in.

Clutter is the opposite of clean. Eliminate half of your belongings. Rent a storage unit or portable pod for extraneous pieces of furniture or knickknacks. Or ask a friend for temporary space in their garage. Or better – use this move to brutally toss stuff out.

Let’s say you have four weeks to prepare.

Here’s a timeline:

Week One: Three Decisions

Get three boxes or plastic bins. One is keep, one is toss, one is give-away / sell.

Pick a room. Go through a closet, the garage, or the kitchen, filling those boxes. Keep adding boxes (or dumping the toss box) as needed. On the keep items, start lists and number the boxes or plastic bins. You’ll thank yourself later. You can even code them by room, so when they turn up 1,000 miles away in a new home, the movers know where to place them.  You’ll want to narrow down your working wardrobe now, so your closets have as few items as possible. If you haven’t worn it in a year or two, now is the time to eject it. Don’t just start stacking boxes. 

This is a good time to also call a Realtor and discuss listing your home.

Week Two: Out it Goes
Hold a garage sale, or take the give-aways to a thrift store. Remove as many of the keep boxes from the premises as possible. Arrange for offsite storage – either a friend’s garage, or a storage unit. Sell a few big-ticket items to generate extra money you can use for your move.

Week Three: Clean up, spruce up
Use the daylight to work on the outside of your home. Use a “home wash” hose attachment (be careful with an actual pressure washer) to knock the dirt and grime off the exterior. Clean rain gutters, windows and screens. If you find chipped paint or torn screens, add those to the to-do list at the end of the week. This is a great job to outsource. There are contractors with portable spray units who can do this for you.

Time to enhance the curb appeal. Make sure the front door is inviting. Paint it if needed. Also, replace any outdated or broken exterior lighting fixtures. Add mulch to flower beds and plant bright flowers. Place potted plants near the door. Buy a new welcome mat. Buy new house numbers if the old ones are dated or faded.

Backyards are more important than ever. Don’t own a patio set? Ask a neighbor if you can borrow theirs to stage your outdoor space to look more inviting. Keep the yard mowed and watered.

Week Four: Deep Clean and Stage

If possible, hire professionals to clean carpets, windows, appliances, and floors, toilets and showers. If not, grab a mop and a bucket. Get rid of the quarter-filled bottles, old brushes etc. People will look in cabinets, so don’t just stuff them.

Remove large furniture when possible. Rearrange rooms to appear as large as possible. Identify the  purpose of each room. If the spare bedroom is a catch-all, convert it to look only like a bedroom or only like a home office.

If time and budget allow, a few refreshes update your home’s appearance. Painting even a few rooms gives a fresh vibe. When choosing colors, stick to neutrals. In the kitchen, paint the cabinets if they are outdated. Replace out-of-style countertops. Replace old hardware and lighting fixtures to modernize the space. In bathrooms, replace mirrors, towels, rugs, and shower curtains. In bedrooms, new bedding helps your home show better.

Once you’ve invested all the time and energy, sit back for a moment and enjoy your sparkly home Then commit to keeping your home clean and fresh, right up through offer and closing.

I’m Bruce R. Partain, real estate professional. When it is time to list your San Angelo home, I am here to help you sell it – faster.




How to make an offer to buy a house

While there are many steps on the path to home ownership, the first ones are actually quite simple.

Step One: Market research – and strategy
Cruise the real estate websites. Go to open houses. Better yet, contact a local Realtor so you have professional advice and insights from the beginning. While cruising can be fun, it is important to move to the next step as soon as possible. By working with your own buyer’s agent, you have a wing-person who can access background info on each prospective home. Your agent is loyal to you and your interests, not the house or the seller’s interests. Your agent can scour the market for best-fit properties, make you aware of won’t-last-long listings and advise you during the many steps to follow an offer. Your agent can schedule showings of multiple properties in a short time period, saving you time and energy.

Step Two: Financial awareness and ability
How much can you afford? Before you can make an offer you should be pre-qualified or, even better, pre-approved by a lender, unless you are paying cash. This “let’s get real” step helps in many ways. You’ll know if you are financially ready to be a homeowner. You might even learn you can afford a bigger home or one with more features. The result of contacting a lender will be a pre-approval letter showing a definite price level. This letter moves you ahead of tire-kickers and casual shoppers. It shows the seller that you are financially able and committed to purchasing a home. I can send you a list of local lenders who can quickly help you in this step.

Step Three: Site visit of the home
Ideally, you’ll view the home (or several homes) in person and decide if you want to make an offer. Your agent can also do live or recorded video showings for you, if geography or time prevents you from being there in person.
Before you make an offer, your agent will prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) of the property to help you decide the price you will offer.

Step Four: Making the offer
Your agent writes an offer in the form of a contract. You’ll sign it – usually digitally. The agent then sends it to the seller’s agent. The seller’s side will respond in one of three ways:

  • One: The seller accepts the offer
    When the seller signs your offer, you are “under contract.” You will have the opportunity to have the home inspected, and your lender will likely order an appraisal. These are protections that allow you to terminate the contract if the home has problems you don’t want. The clock is running, however.
  • Two: The seller makes a counteroffer
    You and your agent will discuss this, and you can either accept the counteroffer, reply with a counter offer of your own, or move on to other prospective homes.
  • Three: The seller declines the offer
    You could make a more acceptable offer, or move on to a better financial fit for you.

Regardless of the outcome of your first offer, you are becoming a seasoned home buyer, gaining experience and better able to win in a challenging marketplace.

Are you ready to start the home-buying journey? Contact me today through this website, or call or text me at 325-757-1303. My email is

I am Bruce R. Partain, Realtor with NextHome Legends Realty in San Angelo, Texas, and I am here to serve you.


An artist weaves natural fibers.

Building the beautiful legacy of San Angelo


Writers Linda Thorsen Bond and Barbara Rollo introduced the artists and patrons of EnPleinair Texas to San Angelo as they crafted this story in late 2020. Photos were provided to Western Art and Architecture magazine by talented members of the Concho Valley Photo Club. The story highlights the special individuals who brought their creativity and vision to San Angelo, including Oscar Ruffini, a talented architect who chose San Angelo to improve his health. It worked, as Ruffini lived into his 90s, designing many of the iconic structures in this West Central Texas community.  Read the entire story here.


The state of real estate in 2022 – a return to normal?


Last year was one for the real estate history books. The pandemic helped usher in a buying frenzy that caused home prices to soar nationwide by a record 19.9% between August 2020 and August 2021.1

However, there were signs in the fourth quarter that the red-hot housing market was beginning to simmer down. In the month of October, only 60.3% of sales involved a bidding war—down from a high of 74.5% in April.2 While this trend could be attributed to seasonality, it could also be a signal that the real estate run-up may have passed its peak.

So what’s ahead for the U.S. housing market in 2022? What about San Angelo? Here’s where industry experts predict the market is headed in the coming year.


Most economists expect to see mortgage rates gradually rise this year after hitting record lows in late 2020 and early 2021.3

Freddie Mac forecasts the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will average 3.5% in 2022, up from around 3% in 2021.4

The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts that rates will tick up to 4% by the end of the year. “Mortgage lenders and borrowers should expect rising mortgage rates over the next year, as stronger economic growth pushes Treasury yields higher,” said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association at their 2001 Annual Convention & Expo in October.5

However, it’s important to keep in mind that even a 4% mortgage rate is low when compared to historical standards. According to industry trade blog The Mortgage Reports, “Between 1971 and December 2020, 30-year mortgage rates averaged 7.89%.”6

What does it mean for you? Low mortgage rates can reduce your monthly payment and make homeownership more affordable. Fortunately, there’s still time to lock in a historically-low rate. Whether you’re hoping to purchase a new home or refinance an existing mortgage, act soon before rates go up any further. I would be happy to connect you with a trusted lending professional in our network.


In 2021, we experienced one of the most competitive real estate markets ever. Fears about the virus and a shift to remote work triggered a huge uptick in demand. At the same time, many existing homeowners delayed their plans to sell, and supply and labor shortages hindered new construction.

This led to an extreme market imbalance that benefitted sellers and frustrated buyers. According to George Ratiu, director of economic research at, “Prices and sellers reached for the moon [last] year. It looks like we are now about to move back to earth.”7

Data from released in November showed that listing price reductions had more than doubled since February 2021. And the average days on market (an indicator of how long it takes a home to sell) has been slowly creeping up since June.7

What’s causing this change in market dynamics? The real estate market typically slows down in the fall and winter. But economists also suspect a fundamental shift in supply and demand.

At the National Association of Realtors’ annual conference last November, the group’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, told attendees that he expects increased supply to come from an uptick in new construction—which is already underway—and an end to the mortgage forbearance program. “With more housing inventory to hit the market, the intense multiple offers will start to ease,” he said.8

Demand is also predicted to wane slightly in the coming year. Rising mortgage rates and record-high prices have made homeownership unaffordable for a growing number of Americans. And in a recent Reuters poll, nearly 80% of property analysts said they expect housing affordability to worsen over the next several years.9

What does it mean for you? If you struggled to buy a home last year, there may be some relief on the horizon. Increased supply and softening demand could make it easier to finally secure the home of your dreams. If you’re a seller, it’s still a great time to cash out your big equity gains! And with more inventory on the market, you’ll have an easier time finding your next home. Reach out for a free consultation so we can discuss your specific needs and goals.


Nationally, home prices rose an estimated 16.8% in 2021.8 But the average rate of appreciation is expected to slow down in 2022.

Danielle Hale, chief economist at, told Yahoo! News, “Home asking prices have decelerated in the second half of 2021, with median listing price growth slipping from a peak of 17.2% in April to just 8.6% in October.”10

But experts disagree about how much more property values can continue to climb this year. Goldman Sachs predicts that home prices will rise by 13.5%, while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are forecasting a 7.9% and 7% rate of appreciation, respectively.2

However, not all analysts are as bullish. The National Association of Realtors predicts a 2.8% rate of appreciation for existing homes and 4.4% for new homes, while the Mortgage Bankers Association expects the average home price to decrease by 2.5% by the end of the year.10,2

According to Hale, “With prices near all-time highs and mortgage rates expected to rise, we expect this slowdown in prices to continue.”10

What does it mean for you? If you’re a buyer who has been waiting on the sidelines for home prices to drop, you may be out of luck. Even if home prices dip slightly (and most economists expect them to rise) any savings are likely to be offset by higher mortgage rates. The good news is that decreased competition means more choice and less likelihood of a bidding war. I can help you get the most for your money in today’s market.


Along with home, gasoline, and used vehicle prices, rent prices rose dramatically last year. According to CoreLogic, in September, rents for single-family homes were up 10.2% nationally year over year.11 And economists at expect them to climb another 7.1% in 2022.12

“Homes are expensive now…but for most people, the comparison that is most important is how that cost of homeownership is going to compare to the cost of renting,” Zillow Senior Economist Jeff Tucker told CNBC in November.13

Tucker also pointed out that rent is less predictable than a mortgage—and more likely to go up along with inflation.13

Real assets, like real estate, are often used as a hedge against inflation. That’s because property values typically rise with inflation.14 And when a homeowner takes out a mortgage, they lock in a set housing payment for the next 30 years.

In contrast, renters are at the mercy of the market—and they don’t gain any of the benefits of homeownership, like tax deductions, equity, or appreciation.

George Ratiu of told CNBC that he advises buyers to consider their budget and time frame. If they plan to stay in the home for at least three to five years, he believes it often makes sense to buy.13

Fortunately, it’s shaping up to be a better year for buyers. “I think 2022 has the promise of providing less competition, a lot more homes to choose from, and, as a result, a lot more approachable prices,” Ratiu said.13

What does it mean for you? Both property and rent prices are expected to continue rising. But when you purchase a home with a fixed-rate mortgage, you can rest assured knowing that your monthly mortgage payment will never go up. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a real estate investor, I can help you make the most of today’s real estate market.


While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighborhood, here in San Angelo and across the Concho Valley.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2022, contact me now to schedule a free consultation. I’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year. I am Bruce R. Partain, real estate professional with NextHome Legends Realty in San Angelo, Texas. Call me at 325-757-1303 or email


  1. Fortune –
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  4. Freddie Mac –
  5. Mortgage Bankers Association –
  6. The Mortgage Reports –
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Seven safety strategies to shut down home intruders

October 2021 - MVP - Blog Post Image

According to the FBI, more than one million burglaries are committed in the United States each year, with victims suffering an estimated $3 billion in combined property losses.1 Fortunately, there are some proven tactics you can use to decrease your likelihood of a home invasion.

Most burglars won’t go to extreme lengths to enter a residence. They are looking for easy access with minimal risk. A monitored security system can be an effective deterrent—homes without one are 300% more likely to be burglarized—but it isn’t the only way to protect your property.  The strategies below can help to maximize your home’s security and minimize your chances of being targeted by intruders.

Thinking about listing your home? We have some additional recommendations for you. Contact us to find out the procedures we use to keep our clients and their property safe and secure during the buying and selling process.

Check Your Doors and Windows

According to home security company ADT, the most common entry point for a burglar is an unlocked front door (34%) followed by a first-floor window (23%) or back door (22%).3 So securing these points of entry is essential.

Evaluate the condition of your doors and locks.

A steel door is generally considered the strongest, but many homeowners prefer the look of wood. Whatever material you choose, make sure it has a solid core and pair it with a Grade 1 or 2 deadbolt lock with a reinforced strike plate.

Add window locks and security film.

Aftermarket window locks are an easy and inexpensive upgrade that can provide an additional layer of protection for your home. Choose a lock that is compatible with your window frame material and a style that is appropriate for the window type. And consider using a specialty film on windows that are adjacent to a door. Security film holds shattered glass in place, making the windows more difficult to penetrate.

Landscape for Security

When it comes to outdoor landscaping, many of us think about maintenance and curb appeal. But the choices we make can impact our home’s security, as well. Thieves target homes that they can enter and exit without being detected. Here are a few tweaks that can make your property less appealing to potential intruders.

Increase visibility from the street.

A privacy hedge may keep out nosy neighbors, but it can also welcome thieves—so trim overgrown trees and shrubs that obstruct the view of your property. According to police officers, they offer an ideal environment for criminals to hide.

Place thorny bushes and noisy gravel below windows.

Don’t eliminate shrubbery altogether, though. Certain hedges can actually offer a deterrent to robbers. Plant thorny rose bushes or sharp-leaved holly beneath your first-story windows for both beauty and protection. Add some loose gravel that crunches when disturbed.

Light Your Exterior

When it’s dark outside, criminals don’t need to rely on overgrown shrubbery to hide. Luckily, a well-designed outdoor lighting system can make your home both safer and more attractive.

Install landscape lighting.

Eliminate pockets of darkness around your yard and home’s perimeter with strategically placed outdoor lights. Use a combination of flood, spot, well, and pathway lights to add interest and highlight natural and architectural details.

Use motion-activated security lights to startle intruders.

The soft glow of landscape lighting isn’t always enough to dissuade a determined intruder. But a motion-activated security light may stop him in his tracks. And if you choose a Wi-Fi connected smart version, you can receive notifications on your phone when there’s movement on your property.

Make It Look Like You’re Home

Motion-activated lights aren’t the only way to make an intruder think you’re at home. New technology has made it increasingly possible to monitor your home while you’re away. This is especially important since most burglaries take place on weekdays between 10 am and 3 pm, when many of us are at work or school.

Turn on your TV and leave a car in the driveway.

A survey of convicted burglars revealed that the majority avoid breaking into homes if they can hear a television or if there’s a vehicle parked in the driveway.7 If you’re away from home, try connecting your TV to a timer or smart plug. And when you travel, leave your car out or ask a neighbor to park theirs in your driveway.

Install a video doorbell.

In that same survey, every respondent said they would knock or ring the doorbell before breaking into a home. A video doorbell not only alerts you to the presence of a visitor, it also enables you to see, hear, and talk with them remotely from your smartphone—so they’ll never know you’re gone.

Keep Valuables Out of Sight

Few home invasions are conducted by criminal masterminds. In fact, a survey of convicted offenders found that only 12% planned their robberies in advance, while the majority acted spontaneously.8 That’s one of the reasons security experts caution against placing valuables where they are visible from the outside.

Check sightlines from your doors and windows.

Don’t tempt robbers with a clear view of the most commonly stolen items, which are cash (think purses and wallets), jewelry, electronics, firearms, and drugs (both illegal and prescription).6 Take a walk around your property to make sure none of these items are easily visible.

Secure valuables in a safe.

Consider the possessions that are on display inside your home, as well. It’s always a good idea to lock up firearms, sensitive documents, and expensive or irreplaceable items when you have housekeepers or other service providers on your property.

Highlight Your Security Measures

While it’s prudent to hide your valuables, it’s equally important to advertise your home’s security features. In surveys, convicted burglars admit to avoiding homes with obvious protective measures in place.

Install outdoor cameras.

Security cameras are the most common home protection device and for good reason.

10 Not only do they help prevent crime (burglars are known to avoid them), they can offer peace of mind for homeowners who want to sneak a peek at their property while away.11 And if you do experience a break-in, security camera footage can help police identify your intruder.

Post warning signs.

Security system placards and beware-of-dog signs are also shown to be effective deterrents.8 Of course, you should back up your threats with a noisy alarm and loud barking dog for maximum impact.

Limit What You Share on Social Media

Social media platforms can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but it’s easy to reveal more than you’ve intended. Be thoughtful about what you’re posting—and who has access.

Delay posting photos or travel updates.

It can be tempting to upload a concert selfie or pictures from your beach vacation. But these types of photos scream: “My house is unoccupied!” Try to wait until you’ve returned home to share the photos on social media.

Set privacy restrictions on your accounts.

Think twice about connecting with strangers or casual acquaintances on social media. If you enjoy sharing family updates and personal photos, it’s safer to limit your followers to those you truly know and trust.


I’m Bruce Partain, real estate professional with NextHome Legends Realty. At NextHome, we take home security seriously. That’s why we have screening procedures in place to keep our clients and their homes safe when they are for sale. We also remind our buyers to change the locks before they move into their new homes and provide referrals to locksmiths and home security companies that can help. To learn more about our procedures and how you can stay safe during the buying and selling process, contact us to schedule a free consultation!


Federal Bureau of Investigation –

Bankrate –

How to Bridge the Appraisal Gap in Today’s Real Estate Market

construction2 San Angelo

If you’re searching for drama, don’t limit yourself to Netflix. Instead, tune in to the real estate market, where the competition among buyers has never been fiercer. And with homes selling for record highs,1 the appraisal process—historically a standard part of a home purchase—is receiving more attention than ever.

That’s because some sellers are finding out the hard way that a strong offer can fizzle quickly when an appraisal comes in below the contract price. Traditionally, the sale of a home is contingent on a satisfactory valuation. But in a rapidly appreciating market, it can be difficult for appraisals to keep pace with rising prices.

Thus, many sellers in today’s market favor buyers who are willing to guarantee their full offer price—even if the property appraises for less. For the buyer, that could require a financial leap of faith that the home is a solid investment. It also means they may need to come up with additional cash at closing to cover the gap.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it’s never been more important to understand the appraisal process and how it can be impacted by a quickly appreciating and highly competitive housing market. It’s also crucial to work with a skilled real estate agent who can guide you to a successful closing without overpaying (if you’re a buyer) or overcompensating (if you’re a seller). Find out how appraisals work—and in some cases, don’t work—in today’s unique real estate environment.

An appraisal is an objective assessment of a property’s market value performed by an independent authorized appraiser. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to lower their risk of loss in the event a buyer defaults on their loan. It provides assurance that the home’s value meets or exceeds the amount being lent for its purchase.

In most cases, a licensed appraiser will analyze the property’s condition and review the value of comparable properties that have recently sold. Mortgage borrowers are usually expected to pay the cost of an appraisal. These fees are often due upfront and non-refundable.2

Appraisal requirements can vary by lender and loan type, and in today’s market in-person appraisal waivers have become much more common. Analysis of the property, the local market, and the buyer’s qualifications will determine whether the appraisal will be waived. Not all properties or buyers will qualify, and not all mortgage lenders will utilize this system.3 If you’re applying for a mortgage, be sure to ask your lender about their specific terms.

If you’re a cash buyer, you may choose—but are not obligated—to order an appraisal.

An appraisal contingency is a standard inclusion in a home purchase offer. It enables the buyer to make the closing of the transaction dependent on a satisfactory appraisal wherein the value of the property is at or near the purchase price. This helps to reassure the buyer (and their lender) that they are paying fair market value for the home and allows them to cancel the contract if the appraisal is lower than expected.

Low appraisals are not common, but they are more likely to happen in a rapidly appreciating market, like the one we’re experiencing now.4 That’s because appraisers must use comparable sales (commonly referred to as comps) to determine a property’s value. These could include homes that went under contract weeks or even months ago. With home prices rising so quickly,5 today’s comps may be lagging behind the market’s current reality. Thus, the appraiser could be basing their assessment on stale data, resulting in a low valuation.


When a property appraises for less than the contract price, you end up with an appraisal gap. In a more balanced market, that could be cause for a renegotiation. In today’s market, however, sellers often hold the upper hand.

That’s why some buyers are using the potential for an appraisal gap as a way to strengthen their bids. They’re proposing to take on some or all of the risk of a low appraisal by adding gap coverage or a contingency waiver to their offer.

Appraisal Gap Coverage

Buyers with some extra cash on hand may opt to add an appraisal gap coverage clause to their offer. It provides an added level of reassurance to the sellers that, in the event of a low appraisal, the buyer is willing and able to cover the gap up to a certain amount.6

For example, let’s say a home is listed for $200,000 and the buyers offer $220,000 with $10,000 in appraisal gap coverage. Now, let’s say the property appraises for $205,000. The new purchase price would be $215,000. The buyers would be responsible for paying $10,000 of that in cash directly to the seller because, in most cases, mortgage companies won’t include appraisal gap coverage in a home loan.6

Waiving The Appraisal Contingency

Some buyers with a higher risk tolerance—and the financial means—may be willing to waive the appraisal contingency altogether. However, this strategy isn’t for everyone and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

It’s important to remember that waiving an appraisal contingency can leave a buyer vulnerable if the appraisal comes back much lower than the contract price. Without an appraisal contingency, a buyer will be obligated to cover the difference or be forced to walk away from the transaction and relinquish their earnest money deposit to the sellers.7

It’s vital that both buyers and sellers understand the benefits and risks involved with these and other competitive tactics that are becoming more commonplace in today’s market. We can help you chart the best course of action given your individual circumstances.

There’s never been a market quite like this one before. That’s why you need a master negotiator on your side who has the skills, instincts, and experience to get the deal done…no matter what surprises may pop up along the way. If you’re a buyer, we can help you compete in this unprecedented market—without getting steamrolled. And if you’re a seller, we know how to get top dollar for your home while minimizing hassle and stress. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.


Wall Street Journal –
US News & World Report –
Rocket Mortgage –
Money –
S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price NSA Index –
Bigger Pockets –
Washington Post –

Land, lots of land

created by dji camera

2762CountryClubRd-36a-SHOWER Evening photo porch 1 IMG_8343

Earlybird Open House    

2762 Country Club Rd, 76904           MLS 104332

Wednesday, July 7, 2021
7:30 to 9:30 a.m.


— Enjoy pan dulce, coffee, fruit and jarritos – plus savory taquitos.

Agents, brokers and builders: Explore this remodeled 3500-square foot luxury home and see the beautiful staging by Blue Door.

We’ll also provide a cool-of-the-morning ride through the 30-acre-tract alongside the Concho River.

Could this be the next big development in San Angelo? Or will it be someone’s quiet retreat?

Bring your buyers. The public is welcome.

30-acre tract for $1,040,400, or as an 18.7 acre tract for $950,000.

Either option includes the 3,500 square-foot luxury home, remodeled in 2018.

Co-hosted by NextHome Legends Realty (Bruce Partain), Blue Door Staging & Redesign and the Home Builders Association of San Angelo.

Large luxury office with built-ins. Enclosed sunroom. Updates (2018) include granite counters, fresh paint, roof, plumbing, septic and electrical. Indoor and outdoor fireplaces.

Mega carport for big trucks or four cars, Livestock, wildlife conservation and orchard potential. No HOA.

Go BIG and go home, in Tom Green County, West Central Texas.



— Tom Green County Appraisal District Information

House & 2 acre lot:  R000073373

Additional acreage – 27+acres:   R0000105288
— This is not in Country Club Estates. It is west of that development.

— Directions: From 277, go west on Country Club Road. Look for NextHome signs, plus Luke, the orange dog (sign).

— Questions? Contact Bruce Partain: 936-679-5533 or