With the real estate market, there is definitely no one-size-fits-all. The strategies that could work in one may not work in another. That is why you need to be apt about what goes on in the market that you choose to be in; otherwise, you’ll find yourself treading in troubled waters. In this episode, we zone in on the San Antonio real estate market in Texas. Scott Carson talks with San Antonio, Texas real estate investor and realtor, Josh Boggs of eXposed Homes, to expose the San Antonio real estate market. Where do the opportunities lie? What trends are coming up? How can San Antonio be a great investment for investors? Josh answers all of these questions and more while providing some great tips that can help you rise against the tide of this hot market, most especially in this current COVID-19 pandemic environment.
Listen to the podcast here:
Exposing Trends And Opportunities In The San Antonio Real Estate Market With Josh Boggs
On this episode, we’re honored to have a buddy of mine that I’ve known going back several years in the real estate space. I’m talking about my buddy, Josh Boggs with Exposed Homes of the Keller Williams branch out of San Antonio, Texas. Josh has built notoriety for himself for being the go-to short sale agent in San Antonio. Even with the market rebound, they’re still seeing a few here and there, but he expects to be a whole lot busier as things shake out from the pandemic. I’m honored to have him on the show. We’ll talk about the San Antonio market, where he sees the opportunities, what trends he’s seeing and how San Antonio can be a great investment city for you as well.
We have a real special guest down here. As you know, we’ve been featuring different markets across the country. Some of them are hot markets. Some of them we love to invest with. Other markets that are doing well and trying to keep you guys abreast of what’s going on situational wise with that market. Who knows what’s going to happen in six months? Who knows what’s going to happen in twelve months? We’ll talk a little about that. I have known this guy for several years now. I met him originally back as he was just a realtor who needs some help with some short sales when I was doing short sales myself with our team here in Austin. We were doing it in 30 different states. This guy picked up the pieces and ran with it and became the best well-known short sale guy in all of San Antonio. We’re excited to talk about the Alamo City with our buddy, Josh Boggs, from Exposed Homes. What’s going on, Josh?
It has been several years. Isn’t that crazy? It’s funny when I talk to everybody about you, you come up a lot because of the note buying and all your history. I said, “My buddy and I were on the same track of doing the same thing and he got wiser and I got dumber. I beat myself up and he went into much better market. We’ve enjoyed it.” I like making a name for myself helping homeowners avoid foreclosure and stopping these banks from piling people’s financial lives in the ruins.
You started off as a realtor. You come from a credit repair background too, back in Indianapolis. You got into real estate. You saw a niche that people needed help with. You start targeting that aspect of things. You became the best-known guy in San Antonio. There might be a few other people here and there, but you were the realtor everybody turned to for help when they had a short sale.
It’s because of crazy marketing. I leaned up on a little chair and Photoshopped myself into a mini house and said the tall, short sale guy. I’m 6’4”. I’m not a giant, but it worked. I got into it thinking that in 2006, when I first got licensed, the market was booming and I saw stay-at-home moms that would take phone duty and close $700,000 deal over two deals. I was like, “This is easy.” I need to make a niche for myself. It was something that no other realtor wants to do. I decided to hit the painful side of short sales and hit it on strong. That’s what we did.
Let’s dive into it because the San Antonio market has been a hot market for a while. Austin is the most overpriced market in Texas. There’s a lot of opportunity in Dallas and Houston, but also a lot of investors in Austin when they couldn’t buy anything here because they were overpriced. They went south to San Antonio because the price is a little more affordable. San Antonio is economically set up a whole lot better than Austin traffic-wise and then infill with the inner and the outer loops. A lot of the industries come there. Let’s talk about the San Antonio market. Why is it booming? Why has it been going strong in the last several years?
We’ve been blessed to have some good leadership along the way to do as much as they could to drive in a lot of the bigger companies. The tech companies, we had Microsoft come in. I know we’re fighting for Amazon for a while. There was a lot of good solid leadership within the city to make sure that our infrastructure is solid. Shelly, our city manager for a long time, came from Phoenix. Despite everybody’s issues with her, she did a good job trying to layout traffic patterns and make sure that San Antonio is spread out as much as possible. What we needed that Austin had and we didn’t was that our center core was not getting developed. All of a sudden, you start seeing more money getting pumped there. You have the Dignowity, the Pearl. You had all this complete mass renovation. That sparked a lot of people’s interest because not only does San Antonio have that rural spread outfield, but they’ve got that urban downtown feel that we wanted. That’s why we compete so well with Austin now.
You’ve always had the river walk and The Alamo has been a tour site for the most part and hotels down there, but driving around, you used to see a lot of empty buildings, a lot of empty older hotels. Now it’s been nice, especially the last few years. There’s a lot of gentrification going on. You talked about the Pearl, that’s the Pearl brewery. If you’re not from Texas, you may not know Pearl Beer. They modeled it. They took the brewery infrastructure remodeled. Turned it into a similar facet of what we’ve seen with the domain here in Austin, Texas in some fashion.
Our affordability has been able to go up. I know Austin had maybe a higher paying job market for the white-collar workers. San Antonio has been struggling with that a little bit, but it had Medtronic. It had all the medical field. You had a lot of that going up. Now with all the COVID stuff, there are a lot of essentials here in San Antonio that I don’t think are in other cities because of the military, because of medical. That’s driving our climate right now because our market’s on fire. We’re still kicking butt.
There are several big call centers there in San Antonio employing a lot of people. You’ve got the military base, Air Force Base, Goodfellow and a few other offshoots around that neck of the woods. I like having you on because you’re not just a realtor. You’re also an active real estate investor in rentals and understand that mindset. You work with investors as well too. Where do you see the biggest bang for the buck for investors in San Antonio and maybe the areas that you’re seeing people pick up stuff? Is it the Downtown? Is it on the south side, north side, Alamo Heights, out west towards Helotes?
I got very lucky at buying around military bases. Lackland for me was a good area. That area still is underdeveloped and it’s going to still be something that I see as a hot market. I know that activity-wise when we had a couple of rentals in there. We couldn’t keep them. We have rentals turn around quick. They wanted to get in. With downtown, we call it SoFlo or South Flores and Southtown, all that’s blowing up. You’ve got King William area. Prices are going crazy there. Right now, from my own personal investing, I pulled back a lot of my buying because I saw wholesalers putting stuff out there. I don’t know anybody who would jump on that and it would jump overnight. I was like, “Somebody has deeper pockets than me.” You still see some of the South areas for seller finance purposes.
I have a seller finance home now. Anything on the south side of San Antonio is great. You would not imagine that somebody is buying a $60,000 house has $6,000 to $10,000 to put down, but they do. They have horrible credit or they had no credit. They saw finances as a good option for a lot of the south areas right around Nogalitos, I-10, 90, close to the downtown, but not in that inner loop yet. That’s what we’ve noticed. We were hoping for a little bit of a correction in the market. We would start seeing prices drop and sellers get a little bit more desperate because we do watch the pre-foreclosure. We watched the notice of default and they haven’t spiked the way we thought we would. Our economy is still kicking butt down here. We’re still grinding out.
I don’t think we’re seeing quite the spike yet as we’re early still through what the banks, the government are going to do for bailouts with the Corona. I don’t think San Antonio and Austin are decks as the market’s going to take too big of a hit. We did pretty well through the previous recession. You saw some dips and you saw some neighborhoods get hit harder, but that affordability of that first time home buyer area. You mentioned South San Antonio and Goodfellow, which is in St. Angelo versus San Antonio or at Lackland. You’re always going to have military coming in and out. The South side of town you hit is primarily Hispanic families. There are a lot of people coming in there and they are pulling money together to buy a house and having 2 or 3 families live in the house.
You see that a lot and that’s still the culture. That’s what I love. You can go down some of the streets and it’s like going to Mexico for a little bit. You see the culture, the people so friendly and with the opportunity zones that it’s putting out there, San Antonio has eleven of them, which is huge. That should be bringing a lot more development of the infrastructure down there as well. I do see some spikes go in there as well, especially the Brooks City Air Force base with all the manufacturing. There’s a company from Japan and another from Thailand. We brought a lot of manufacturing back here in that area of town. I’m excited to see what that’s going to do as well.
Are you seeing a lot of the influx of buyers from outside of Texas coming in whether it’s international buyers coming up from Mexico or California or coming from the West Coast and everywhere in between?
Those Californians, they love Texas. We did see the spike in Californians. They’re probably prevalent more. I would almost say 6 out of 10 are at least Californians, if not higher. You do have the Mexican influx where you’ve got a lot of cash buyers from Mexico that are still doing well with their manufacturing or their family businesses and they come up and buy. That’s what’s driving our luxury market. I know that I don’t sell a ton of luxury, but I know that we’ve got a couple of right now that are millionaires. We still see a lot of Hispanic buyers that are still looking for cash and they’ve got it. As far as any other state, I don’t know. I’d be guessing if I said that because I don’t know any other influx from there.
You talked high-end homes and low-income homes. What do you see the median home price being on average in San Antonio? We’re talking across the board for the most part before we break it down to neighborhoods.
I’m not the huge statistician that has everything, but I do know that our average medium price right now in San Antonio, the whole market is about $278,000, almost $280,000. We are seeing sales prices go up still. Sales volume has dropped a little bit but not a lot. You would expect because of COVID, we saw a huge drop. I tell everybody, especially military because we have a lot of military PCS, “If we buy right with the interest rates low right now, we can buy and still be set because even if the market changed or dropped, the rental market is still going to be there because our rental supply is still low.” The rental rates are going to be higher than their mortgage rates because of how low our interest rates are as well.
Are you seeing price reductions drop across the MLS, the $500,000 or higher home, like some of the people in Dallas and Houston talked about where they see huge price reductions?
I had a couple of listings in Alamo Heights and I’ve got one right now. We saw Alamo Heights get hit hard. I got some pressure reduction, some price corrections in there. It was because they were going on the hype. It’s the well-known area. The value kept jumping up. We saw the biggest spikes too when the market was going crazy. That’s dropped a lot. I know that I’ve got a couple of listings in the Alamo Ranch area neighborhood, which is off the northwest of San Antonio, 1604 and Hausman and Culebra and 151 area. That’s because the supply jumped up because you have a lot of military. It seemed like a lot of military PCS entitlements, so we saw supply jump out on those two months. There are a lot of price corrections there. Your micro-markets still have some price corrections as well, but others don’t have to.
What would you say the average day on market is or how many months of inventory you have less than three months, less than two months on average?
We’re still within a seller’s market. We’re definitely less than three months on average. Some areas have gone up to almost five, which is obviously that’s pushing close to the buyer’s market made neutral. We’re still hot right now. There are a couple of areas like Stone Oak, almost less than 60 days. If the price is right, you’re going to get it.
Texas is a fast foreclosure state. We all know that, 21 days, it’s the fastest in the country. For those that are reading this that are in different markets and you’ve done a lot of short sales, it’s changed. A lot of it’s streamlined compared to how it used to be. Are there any tips for any maybe distressed borrowers that are without a job? They’re worried about not being able to go back to work because their job is not there. They worried about the bank. They’re not paying their mortgage in six months. Any tips for them to talk with a realtor or to help their situation out in any way, Josh?
I used to have to preach to homeowners like, “You’re going to have to either trust me or the bank. You can’t trust both.” I will admit that I have seen the big banks, obviously the big players, change a lot of their processes. They’re caught on a lot. A lot of it is open communication. If you have those issues, you need to talk to your bank, your servicer. Call them immediately. Reach out to them, but you still probably need somebody like me. There are a couple of other good guys doing shorts as well. They could at least give you better advice. Sometimes what you hear from the bank may still not be true. I do know they are working very hard on their lender workouts, the forbearance program that Trump has put out there. They’ve got that going. They are working with you.
Because interest rates are so low, it’s easier for them to do this as well right now. If they are having those problems, I would reach out to somebody like me or anybody that is not only a short sale expert but also knows lending. Someone who understands from the investor aspect what banks are looking at and what you’re looking at. We have a bankruptcy attorney on file. We’ve got two in-house attorneys. We do have a lot of good assets that we’re here to help and we’ll do it for free. We’ll consult them for free. If it doesn’t work for them or we’ve been able to help them in a loan modification or anything like that, then great. Tell your neighbor about us. Maybe we can help them and that’s the way we see that.
Talk to an expert, especially if you’re dealing with issues. We know the bank’s not going to tell them all the true story and all their different options. At the peak, San Antonio was seeing roughly 900 to 1,000 foreclosures a month. You ran some numbers for me and we talked about it and I said, “How many short sales are listed on the MLS right now?” You said, “Five or six. Less than ten,” or something like that.
I reran them again. The number has jumped and they’re now at 25. It’s funny because I had my hands on the pulse of the short sale market so hard that normally if any realtor’s door knocking or getting a call and say, “I’m upside down. I’m delinquent,” I get the call because they’re like, “Josh knows what he’s doing.”
Going back to the investment side and rental side. Because you’ve got strong rental market there, what are you roughly seeing in rent for a normal 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house, 1,200 square feet?
It’s anywhere from $1,200 to $1,600 a month depending on range, neighborhoods and age.
Any insight onto neighborhoods you want to stay out of? I’ll give you an example in a couple of the bigger markets. I have some investors tell me, “I hate the rents of $500 or less.” It’s like a two-gun neighborhood, so stay the heck out of it.
I’ve probably been in most of the rougher neighborhoods. You still have pockets on the East Side that you probably want to stay away from. Right now, it would have been on the West Side. It depends. It’s not that bad. Your lifestyle is going to be changing. You and I both will know when we buy properties, we’re going to buy them as if we’re going to stay in them ourselves. If you can’t imagine yourself sleeping there, we’re not buying it. That keeps us away from some of the slum lord properties. I have a new couple because they were given to me and I bought them. I got rid of them pretty quick once I find the tenants were going to be heading out. Right now, if you are seeing a rental market or a rental property, you’re saying rents are $500 or less, have fun. You’re not going to get a property manager because nobody wants to manage that thing. You’re on your own on that one and be ready to have issues with them doing money orders or cash. They don’t have the online ability and all that stuff.
A few years ago, Josh and I drove down to San Antonio. Remember that sixteen-unit apartment complex we went and looked at?
We went and knocked on what we thought was the property manager’s door. There was this guy smoking weed. We didn’t find the proper manager, but we found a distributor.
We found other connections in case we needed it.
We went by there one time. We went by a few months later and there were two people out of the whole place. It’s deteriorated and trashed out, unfortunately. It was a Wells Fargo multifamily building. They got to me later on and I was like, “No. You can’t pay me to take it now. It’s too bad a situation.”
That’s rough. I appreciate that. You’re a big linebacker. I played football. I was the skinny dude that was all by myself upstairs. I had to yell for Uncle Scott to come up and help me. That was quite an interesting journey. Thanks a lot for bringing that out.
You didn’t have the big guys say like, “What did I get myself into?” I’m like, “That’s all right.”
It’s back when I was showing houses in a suit. I try to look all professional. Those days are behind me now.
It was nothing but fun. You’ve done a great job, built a name for yourself and doing the right things. If you had a crystal ball, and I know ‘if’ is a big word there, where do you think the market’s going to go? You said a good thing where you pulled back and waiting for some things to hit or things to shake loose, but where do you see the market going? Do you think San Antonio is going to hit that 20%, 25% unemployment rate that they’re talking about in the country or do you think it’s going to do better?
Scott, I’m not a negative thinker. I’m more of a positive thinker. I always see it that way. Me and realists don’t align. I honestly don’t see San Antonio going anywhere bad like that at all. We’ve got so much resolve from the community. It’s such a small-town community. You can feel it when you drive around. People are very friendly. Even with the influx of the Californians and everyone else coming in, we still are welcoming people with open arms and that we’re an opportunity-driven city. We are, for the most part, going to sit back and say, “Woe is us. The economy sucks. We’re going to sit back.” I haven’t seen that, even with COVID.
You know how it is. You know the bigger marks and you see entrepreneurs step up. You see them take advantage of that market. I’ve seen a lot of that from basic people, other realtors that branched out and started power washing for a while. I was building furniture. I had furniture orders. I was doing that as a hobby. We literally aren’t going to have that big of a dip. San Antonio should be a good, stable market for anybody that’s looking for a good, solid cashflow investment. That’s going to steadily grow in value and then ride that 3 to 5-year average appreciation out.
That’s the one thing I noticed when I lived down in San Antonio is that the real estate community is totally closer and more friendly than any other community that I’ve ever been, any other real estate community in the country. It’s a lot different than Austin. Austin is cutthroat up here. San Antonio is completely friendly. The people get along, hang out, share leads and resources all day long. It’s still that way now, which is great.
Scott, I’ll throw a plugin Platinum Top 50 and Amber Thomas because that’s one thing she started a long time ago. It’s awesome to see how much that city pushes behind it. I’ve been blessed to be a winner of the Platinum Top 50 for two years in a row and finals for almost seven years in a row. That core group of realtors out of 500,000 realtors that are doing most of the work. We work together. We truly share the secrets because there are no secrets in real estate and we help each other. That’s what I do love about San Antonio. San Antonio has one of the best real estate markets as far as agents go, bar none.
You are also very passionate about riding your bike. You’re also nicknamed as The Realtor That Rides, but you’re also a president of an organization that is very close to your heart that does a lot of good in the community. Can you share a little about the Guardians of the Children?
I’m a former president. I stepped down in December 2020, but I was the president for 3.5 years at the mother chapter. San Antonio is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) motorcycle organization that was started in 2006 to help abused and neglected children because they have to face their abusers in court. They were doing this all by themselves. Guardians of the Children was founded based upon the principles of the original biker club called BACA, Bikers Against Child Abuse. They took it a little step further. Instead of going to court with these kids, they created events for these kids throughout the year so they could get to know these kids, help turn their lives around and give them some a sense of safety and family. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten, the perpetrators are somebody they know and typically family.
They can’t trust that family anymore and they don’t know what to do. A lot of times, it divides the families up. GOC or Guardians of the Children decided to do that and where we’d have five events a year. We get to ride. We get to look badass on the weekends and help these kids. When you see these little kids that have gone through hell and back and you see them open up and they smile. These kids that don’t want to touch you. They’ll do the peace sign because they don’t want physical contact. Within a month of hanging with us, they’re giving us hugs. We’re crying, they’re crying. We’re passionate about it. I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve been with the organization now for a few years. It’s been a long ride. It’s been a good ride.
It goes to show how big of a heart you’ve got and how awesome the community is. It comes together. You had the Elf Louise Project at Christmas time. I’m honored to be a part of that and be a Santa. Most cities have a lot of programs, but San Antonio goes above and beyond in a lot of different ways.
What I’ll also add to that is the motorcycle community. A lot of people get bad rap here for other patches they may wear that aren’t GOC, but that’s absolutely not true. These guys have true hearts of gold and I’ve seen them pour out their hearts to donate for kids with cancer and veterans. There’s one club that raises over $120,000 for Marine Combat Outdoors to help these veterans that are going through PTSD. Our community is strong here motorcycle-wise and real estate-wise combined.
Do you still have the blue Bud Light motorcycle?
You stabbed me in the heart bringing out that. I miss baby blue. I got convinced to get rid of her and get it brand new one up in Dallas when I was up there for a chapter event. She’s fast. She’s orange and white. She’s Harley colors, but she’s not my baby blue. I do miss her, but I love my new one now.
We’ve got an audience all across the country. Do you mind if Note Nation reaches out to you, if they’ve got some deals or looking to move to San Antonio neck of the woods to work with you?
I tell everybody I am who I am. I’m very genuine. Right now, I’m the only licensed agent on the team. I’m blessed that my wife, Norma, basically does all of our admin and short sale stuff. I’ve had amazing women in the past, Julie, Clarissa, Tracy, Sarah, all of those amazing women that have worked with me. Now it’s me and Norma again. We’re trying to go through that. Reach out to me. I promise I’ll jump on that and I’ll give you my full, undivided attention as soon as I get to it. I appreciate that.
What’s the best way for people to reach out to you, Josh?
Cell phone, website, Facebook, if they can find me on Facebook. You know how Facebook works, they keep getting that 5,000-fan limit and all that.
You’re famous. I remember when you hit a couple of hundred people on Facebook back then. Your website is ExposedHomes.com, correct?
Correct, or on Facebook at Exposed Homes San Antonio.
You’ve been busy running around showing homes and getting things closed. Like you said, you’ve got fourteen listings right now to move.
Our listings are popping up pretty quick. We’ve been very blessed to have buyers come back out. We’re starting to see the buyer pickup. As you know, Scott, the life of a realtor is rough. You’ve got the ups and downs. You’ve got a lot of things that you’ll be working hard on and then they fall through and then others pick up. It balances itself out. Right now, Norma and I are slammed but blessed. That’s why every good man needs a good woman on his team. I’m blessed to have her as my wife too.
Norma is great. You’ve got three kids that are growing up faster than weeds as well too, right?
Yes. They’re beautiful boys. Thank you for that, Scott.
Thanks so much for taking the time. We’ll let you get back to exposing the San Antonio market to all those great people.
Thank you for having me. It’s always been a pleasure. It’s good to talk to you. I appreciate the opportunity.
You can check out Josh Boggs at ExposedHomes.com. Don’t be surprised if you see him in black leather on most of his photos versus a suit these days because he is the realtor that rides, kicks some butt in the San Antonio market and definitely has his pulse on everything going on in the Alamo City. Go out, take some action, and we’ll see you all at the top.
- Guardians of the Children
- Elf Louise Project
- Exposed Homes in San Antonio – Facebook
About Josh Boggs
Stamping his mark all over the San Antonio Market for the last 13 years, Josh has consistently been placing within the ranking of the top 100 Realtors in San Antonio for the last 8 years! Josh has a huge passion for life and staying active traveling with his beautiful family that consists of being married to his wife Norma for 16 years and his three sons Jacob, Brandon and Aiden. He also made his mark in the motorcycle community as a “Realtor that rides” by being the former President of the Motorcycle Organization Guardians of the Children that work with and help heal the abused children within the community.
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