Share Hollywood Park Homes: November 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Can't Sell My Home During the Holidays, Can I?

Every year we meet with folks who want to sell their home, but feel they need to wait until January to put it on the market.  "I can't sell my home during the holidays, can I?"  The answer is YES!  While there are fewer buyers during the holiday season, the ones who are out there looking are more serious buyers, otherwise they'd be shopping, decorating, etc.  So we tell sellers that you can expect fewer showings, but showings that really count!

So, tips for selling your Hollywood Park home during this time of year?
  • Go ahead and put up your seasonal decorations.  It makes the house prettier!  Just do it in moderation so the buyers can see the home and not just the decorations.
  • It's a great time to have freshly baked cookies out for the buyers who do come into your home.  The aroma of baked cookies takes us back to pleasant childhood memories of home.
  • Keep the home warm so it is inviting to stay longer before going back out into the cold air.
  • Remember curb appeal and front door appeal!  Keep the walkway and porch swept, and a pretty wreath on the front door.
  • Yards are usually not very attractive this time of year, so don't forget some color, perhaps Christmas poinsettias in a pot near the front door.
  • Keep the curtains and blinds open, and turn on lots of lights prior to a showing since our December days are shorter, and sometimes grayer, and you want to make the house as bright as possible.
After all, what better present for a buyer than a new home, perhaps yours!  Don't wait, come January there will be a crowd of new listings!

New this year in Hollywood Park...
A new Christmas tradition sponsored by the Youth Club of the Alamo Arabian Horse Association, will be held from 2 - 4 pm on Saturday, Dec. 19th.  There will be a trail ride starting at City Hall and ending at our newly renovated Triangle Park.  Featured will be 12 to 15 horses, a trail wagon, caroling and a visit from Santa Claus.  Our city councilman, Tim McCallum said it was "something very 'Saturday Evening Post' about this for our little city."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Time

It's the end of a beautiful Thanksgiving Day in my neighborhood.  At our house we had great times with three generations of family and enjoyed a wonderful meal together and an afternoon of watching football together.

Now thoughts turn to the upcoming Christmas season.  Folks are beginning to turn on their outdoor light displays.  The weather is slowly but surely turning cooler.  And the hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping gifts, parties, is about to begin. 

I hope you and your family had a great day! 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Buyers, Why Should you Choose Hollywood Park?

So you're hunting for your next home, and there's a lot of homes on the market to choose from, so why should you choose a home in Hollywood Park?  Having lived in Hollywood Park for almost 15 years, I can tell you first hand why I'm glad I chose to buy a home here.
  • Safety  -  I feel very safe in my home, and very confident that our Hollywood Park police keep a close eye on neighborhood homes and streets.  Our crime rate is very low, and when we do need the police or the fire department, the response time is very quick.
  • Small town feel  -  From the 4th of July parade, to the Hollywood Park Woman's Club and Garden Clubs, Homeowner's Association, the Hammerhead Swim Team for the kids in the summer, it is easy in Hollywood Park to get to know your neighbors.  You can be as involved in neighborhood activities as you want to be.
  • Great Schools  -  Our local elementary school, Hidden Forest elementary, is tops!  Our neighborhood kids then move on to award winning Bradley Middle School and Winston Churchill High School.  All three are well established as schools that challenge our kids and prepare them for a successful future.
  • Location, Location, Location  -  Close to shopping, close to medical facilities, close to expressways,  and still inside Loop 1604 where traffic is bearable.
So, if you're thinking of buying a home in the near future, come give Hollywood Park a look.  We've got room in our town for more great folks like you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Getting the House Updated? What About the Paneling?

Many of our neighborhood homes were built in the 1950's, 60's and 70's when dark wood paneling was "in." 
 Now in this century, buyers find that look "out," so what can you do if you are getting ready to sell your Hollywood Park home?  The least expensive option is to paint the paneling.  It's not a costly procedure, and painting paneling is something the average homeowner can do himself.  The most important thing is to use the right materials.  According to local handyman Johnnie Chuoke, you need to:
  1. Clean the old paneling with Tri Sodium Phosphate (TSP) to remove dirt and wax.  Let it dry thoroughly.
  2. Apply Coronado Seal to help seal the surface and keep the paneling stain from bleeding through.
  3. After it is dry, paint over it with your favorite color of Coronado Crylicover, a good washable paint.  
You'll want to go with a light, neutral color to lighten and brighten the home, and please the buyers!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eatin' is Good in Hollywood Park

In Hollywood Park, if you're looking for a quick drive-through meal, or a casual sit-down restaurant for the family this evening, you don't even have to leave the Park.  We're fortunate to several old stand-bys close by:

Chester's Old Fashioned Hamburgers at 16609 N US Highway 281
Lots of Beer:  What truly distinguishes Chester's from most other burger joints is its selection of over 180 kinds of imported and domestic beers from Warthog Ale to Elephant Malt.
No Kiddie Meals:  None of the burgers are shrunk for kids' sake but the menu does contain a hotdog, BLT and a grilled-cheese sandwich to satisfy smaller appetites.

Jim's Restaurant at 16101 San Pedro Ave.
Loyal customers have watched Jim's grow over it's 60 year history from a small bicycle and hamburger stand in Brackenridge Park to a family of restaurants across San Antonio and Central Texas.  They feature a popular home-style food menu with everything from breakfasts to soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, meat loaf, steaks and chicken.  Their daily specials are very popular at $6.99!

Paul's Pizza Roma at 16111 San Pedro Ave
Great pizza, whether delivered or eaten at the restaurant!   They make our own sauces, toppings, desserts, and bread right there in the store daily to ensure freshness.  There's salads, appetizers, subs, and pasta on the menu if you're not in the mood for pizza.

Sun Sun also at 16111 San Pedro Ave  (right next door!)
Haven't eaten here in a while, but it's a pretty decent chinese food place.  I know at one time it was featured in Texas Monthly or one of those type magazines.  I did hear there's new ownership / management recently, so I need to go back soon and give it a try!

Taco Cabana at 15925 San Pedro
Beginning as a taco stand in San Antonio in 1978, growing to over 153 restaurants, Taco Cabana is an alternative to traditional Mexican restaurants.  Infused with a festive Mexican theme, the interior and patio dining areas are a great place to enjoy  fresh Mexican food and real tequila margaritas, or you can use the convenient drive-thru and enjoy your meal at home.  Each day, Taco Cabana kitchens prepare homemade tortillas, a variety of salsas, grilled fajitas and other Mexican favorites. Oh, and, did I say, inexpensive?

So what's it gonna be tonight??? Tacos?  Chinese?  Home-Style Cooking?  Pizza?  or Burgers?  You CAN have it all in Hollywood Park!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Soon it will be Christmas Day" (with a little help from the HP Fire Department)

One of the perks from living in Hollywood Park is the wonderful Hollywood Park Fire Department.  Year round they are there for us, not only putting out fires, but helping aid the sick and injured residents.  But during the month of December, the fire department has a higher calling... that of helping Santa make his rounds! 

On Thursday, Dec. 10th from 6-8 pm, Santa will be at the Voigt Center to meet the kids, and listen to their Christmas wishes. Neighborhood volunteers will provide baked goods for the kids, and the firemen will be bringing Santa on the big red fire truck!

Also, between Dec. 14th and Dec. 18th this year, the firemen will drive Santa through the neighborhood. complete with flashing lights and sirens blaring.  Residents can schedule a stop for their children or grandchildren, and even arrange for Santa to give the child a special gift that has been dropped off at the fire station.
So, before we know it, we will again hear the fire truck sirens, and briefly worry about a nearby fire, until we remember that it's really Santa making his rounds!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Coyotes in Hollywood Park? (Nine Common Sense Precautions Around Coyotes)

Yes, there are urban coyotes in Hollywood Park!  With our rural setting, and large deer population, it was probably only a matter of time before the coyotes discovered Hollywood Park.  Resident sitings of coyotes have been on the rise, and reports of missing pets have folks more concerned than ever in Hollywood Park.  According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, there are some common sense precautions residents can take to manage the coyote population:
  • "Do not feed coyotes!  Keep pet food and water inside.  Keep garbage securely stored, especially if it has to be put on the curb for collection; use tight locking or bungee-cord-wrapped trashcans that are not easily opened."
  • "Keep compost piles securely covered; correct composting never includes animal matter like bones or fat, which can draw coyotes even more quickly than decomposing vegetable matter."
  • "Keep pets inside, confined securely in a kennel or covered exercise yard, or within the close presence of an adult."
  • "Walk pets on a leash and accompany them outside, especially at night."
  • "Do not feed wildlife on the ground; keep wild bird seed in feeders designed for birds elevted or hanging above ground, and clean up spilled seed from the ground; coyotes can either be drawn directly to the seed, or to the rodents drawn to the seed."
  • "Keep fruit trees fenced or pick up fruit that falls to the ground."
  • "Do not feed feral cats (domestics gone wild); this can encourage coyotes to prey on cats, as well as feed on cat food left out for them."
  • "Minimize clusters of shrubs, trees and other cover and food plants near buildings and children's play areas to avoid attracting rodents and small mammals that will in turn attract coyotes."
  • "Use noise making and other scaring devices when coyotes are seen.  Check with local authorities regarding noise and firearms ordinances.  Portable air horns, motor vehicle horns, propane cannons, starter pistols, low-powered pellet guns, slingshots, and thrown rocks can be effective."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tired of the Deer Eating your Plants?

Tired of the neighborhood deer eating your plants?  There are some plants that are "deer resistant" you can try, which means they may still eat them, just not first!  But, don't give up on your green thumb, why not try gardening INDOORS!  From HGTV comes a list of tried and true indoor plants that are easy to maintain, and a great way to get that outdoors feel inside your home.

Low-maintenance plants are just the answer for indoor gardeners who travel or are away from home often. If you fall into the category of people who don't have a lot of time to devote to plant care, use this list of nearly foolproof suggestions the next time you go plant shopping. Many of these plants can go up to three weeks without water.

Here, the jade plant is a succulent that stores water in its fleshy leaves. Plus, it's easily propagated by placing leaves in the soil.

Aloe (Aloe vera) is best known for its plump leaves that can provide a soothing gel for cuts and burns. Allow the plant's soil to dry completely in between waterings; depending on the humidity of your home, that may mean watering as little as every two to three weeks.

The snake plant, also known as mother-in-law's tongue or ribbon plant (Sansevieria), is a succulent with thick, waxy leaves. It loves being potbound and thrives on being ignored — the perfect plant for two-week vacationers.

Rubber plant (Ficus elastica robusta) features leaves that darken to deep burgundy with more light exposure and revert to green in low-light conditions. Rubber plants like to dry out between waterings.

Golden pothos is a member of the philodendron family; it is fast-growing and has striking variegated leaves.

Want to learn more about indoor houseplants or gardening?  Try your local garden club!  In Hollywood Park the Rock 'n Oaks Garden Club meets once monthly from September through May with gardening topics related to our particular environment - lots of rock, lots of oaks, and lots of deer!  Contact me for more information!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thanks to Neighborhood Volunteers, the Halloween Party was Awesome!

Saturday night, Oct. 31, the township of Hollywood Park enjoyed the annual Halloween Party at the Voigt Center, the community pool, playground, tennis and clubhouse area.  Many, many, many residents turned out to help set up the games, cook the food, give out candy, bake goodies for the cake walk, to make sure the neighborhood kids had a great Halloween.  Thanks to the HOA board for organizing the event... GREAT JOB!

Obstacle course for the little ones!

Fun bouncy house

Yummy food prepared by the local boy scout troop

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Are Houses Selling in Hollywood Park?

Everywhere I go in Hollywood Park, I'm asked about the current real estate market.  "Are houses selling? " "Why are there so many homes on the market?"  "Are prices dropping?"  Residents in Hollywood Park, like the rest of the nation, have heard a lot of "doom and gloom" where the real estate market is concerned.  But unlike some other parts of the US, San Antonio in general, and Hollywood Park in particular, has fared pretty well during the economic downturn.

In 2009 thus far, there have been 39 homes closed, or about 4 per month. But most importantly, over half of those sales have closed in July, August, September, October and early November. So we are seeing an average of close to 6 sales per month in the latter part of 2009.  This is compared to the 37 closed sales in all of 2008, and the 46 closed sales in 2007, and the 60 closed sales in 2006.  So all in all, it's not a bad year for sales of homes in Hollywood Park. 

Prices of the sold homes so far this year has ranged from $158,000 to $500,000.  The wide range is due to the neighborhood construction... some older homes, some newer homes; homes as small as 1600 square feet to homes as large as 5000 square feet; some well maintained homes, some not so maintained; some on small garden home sized lots, most on 1/2 acre (or larger) lots.... So many variables since Hollywood Park has been developing over the last 55 years or so.  In a township of over 1300 homes, there's a little bit of everything.  No wonder the $ per square foot range from just under $65 per sf to $155 per sf.!

So, in Hollywood Park, there's no such thing as an "average" when talking about homes for sale.  There's a home here for everyone, no matter what's on their wish list.  Perhaps that's one of the reasons Hollywood Park was chosen as one of the "Top 100 Best Places to Raise Your Family" in the US!