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Ready to Build or Buy a House?

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By Lisa Harrison Rivas

So, you have a pre-approval letter from your lender and you’re ready to go house hunting.

Now, you must decide if you want to buy an existing home or have a house built.  If you choose to build, will it be a tract home from one of the well-known builders or will you choose a custom home?

A custom home is built to the specifications of the buyer, while tract homes feature similar styles and floor plans. Tract homes are what you see in most subdivisions.

As a Realtor, I can help guide you through the process for buying any of these types of homes.

But if you are considering a custom home, you’ll need land and design plans. Your lender can provide information about home construction loans.

The San Antonio area has numerous custom home builders including Abraham Solis, chief of operations for Future Tech Custom Homes. Solis says his firm can offer construction loans at 4 percent interest and provide help with design plans.

“We have three designers that you can work with each with different price ranges from low to high,” he said. Future Tech Custom Homes start at $250,000.

Solis now runs the business that began with his father’s framing business 30 years ago. He and I recently talked about some basics of custom home building.

Q: What surprises people most about the process?

A: I think for us it was the timing. People were surprised at how fast we were.  And surprised with how we work with them and how everybody treated them.

Q: How long does it take?

A: For a big home, a million-dollar home, it generally takes about eight months.

Q: How does the process work?

A: I have a little system before we even start. When we get the initial commitment contract signed, they put down a deposit and from there, I give them a checklist. They have to go and get all the materials for the flooring, everything, you name it. So, before we even begin anything, they already start doing that checklist. So right before I break ground, on day one, I’m already ordering floors, countertops things like that.

Q: Do you help clients order the materials?

A: We have vendors that we have been working with, so we can send them to our vendors. If they have vendors, that’s fine too.

Q: Where do you build?

A: We mainly build in the north area. We’ll go as far as Austin.

Q: How would you describe Future Tech Custom Homes’ style?

A: It’s Hill Country meets modern contemporary. You still have your metal roofs, the colors outside are the light beiges and on the inside, it has a Spanish feel.

Q:  Why is Tech part of the name?

A: The smart homes. There’s a crew that we work with, they fully automated one of our homes. Apple watches can be used to turn on lights and appliances.  People really like that.

Q:  How much would that technology cost?

A: A good setup would cost about $10,000 or $15,000 for a fully-automated home.

Q: Do most people want one or two stories?

A: One story. People just don’t like to go up the stairs. Another thing that I also heard is that they like to do away with dining rooms as well. They want a nook, that’s it.  An open floor plan and a little nook on the side.

Q: Any unusual requests?

A: One couple had a foyer with a dome ceiling and the woman wanted gold flakes up there. They ended up going with this copper type paint.  It shined, it looked beautiful.

Q: Why would someone have a custom home built?

A:  I’ll say it the way my dad would say it. In a custom home, you get what you want. Everything is pretty much beefed up on a custom home. You’ll get your bang for your buck.


Lisa Harrison Rivas is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Don Johnson Realtors. 
If you are planning to buy or sell, feel free to contact her at 210-380-9006 or lhrivas@realsa.com

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Providing Shelter

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City, partner agencies prepared to provide shelter to homeless during cold night

SAN ANTONIO (February 10, 2021) – The City of San Antonio and its partner agencies are prepared to provide access to shelter and services to those experiencing unsheltered homelessness as the National Weather Service expects much colder conditions across the region beginning tonight and into the upcoming weekend, as an arctic airmass moves south into Texas.

There are chances for showers and even thunderstorms on Thursday as an upper-level disturbance moves over the region. Best chances for wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow is likely to be late Sunday into Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

“The City’s Department of Human Services and its partner agencies in homeless services assist individuals facing homelessness by providing outreach, developing a relationship, and offering services daily,” City Manager Erik Walsh said. “In critical situations like severe weather, the City and our partners work even harder to reach those who are unsheltered and direct them to a safe and warm shelter.”

Haven for Hope is open for all individuals experiencing homelessness. All clients sleep indoors and are given cold-weather clothing, including warm jackets.  

New clients should present to Haven for Hope’s Intake (currently operating out of the Donation Center at 1 Haven for Hope Way) between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Households with children are welcome at Haven for Hope any time of the day or evening, 24/7.

After hours and on weekends, individualized services are available, to include cold-weather sleeping accommodations and cold-weather kits (sleeping bags, hand warmers, snacks and hygiene products). With the imminent cold weather, after hours sleeping will be expanded.

In addition, the Salvation Army Dave Coy Men’s Shelter provides overnight shelter at 226 Nolan St. Nightly enrollment begins at 3 p.m. daily through 8 p.m. Individuals will have access to restroom and shower facilities, hygiene products, a bed with clean linens and meals. Individuals must be 18 years or older and provide a picture ID at the time of enrollment.

The South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH), in partnership with the City of San Antonio Department of Human Services, organized a collection drive for cold weather materials, including jackets, blankets, socks, and more. These items are available for street outreach workers and those in need at the San Fernando Homeless Resource Hub located at 319 W. Travis St. Community members wishing to donate new cold weather gear can drop off donations at the San Fernando Homeless Resource Hub from Monday to Friday between 1 and 4 p.m. 

The City of San Antonio Department of Human Services’ Homeless Division, Haven for Hope’s Outreach staff, and other street outreach providers, offer assistance that includes encouraging clients to access shelter services, coordinating transportation to shelter intake, and distributing cold-weather gear such as warm jackets and sleeping bags. 

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Blazing Trails & Breaking Glass Ceilings

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Another HBCU Grad & Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated member advances up the ranks.

Rosalind (Roz) Brewer, Board of Directors at Amazon and the current Chief Operating Officer for Starbucks will be leaving her position at the end of February to become the new CEO for Walgreens (Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.). Brewer is set to begin her new role in March. She will be the only Black woman leading a Fortune 500 company at this time.

Before becoming COO at Starbucks in 2017, Brewer’s accomplishments include her 22-year career at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, being the first Black and first woman to lead a Walmart business unit, she was president and CEO of Sam’s Club, and she previously served on the boards of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Molson Coors Beverages Co. Brewer’s work has focused on increasing minority representation in the workforce especially in leadership, expanding diversity, and growing companies and making them more competitive. In 2013, Brewer was named one the World’s Most Powerful Women by Forbes

Brewer is a 1984 graduate of Spelman College and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

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Michele Ghee New CEO of Ebony / Jet Magazine

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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Bridgeman Sports & Media has installed Michele Ghee as CEO of iconic brands EBONY & JET.  This historically rooted brand celebrates 75 years of chronicling Black life in America. With that, it now embarks on its future with Ghee boldly holding the reigns.  A brand known for unapologetically documenting the courageous contribution of Blackness to the American landscape, its new CEO states,  “Everything we say will come through the lens of Black journalists. We will ensure there is a safe space for Black journalism to thrive. I’m a little Black girl from Oakland, CA. I’m not apologizing for any of it. Our voices matter. We are History in the making!” 

Michele Ghee, Photo Credit: Maya Darasaw

I’m a little Black girl from Oakland, CA. I’m not apologizing for any of it. Our voices matter. We are History in the making!Tweet this

This titan of industry understands the privilege and responsibility of stepping into a leadership role within the culturally embedded Ebony and Jet brands. “Mr. Johnson was a visionary who operated with courage. He made a commitment to the Black American journey and in the process, he left an unforgettable legacy,” says Ghee. 

According to the new CEO, Ebony and Jet will hold true to those simple fundamental principles of documenting stories of Black Culture as it raises the brands’ profile to reach a global community. “Our brands’ main responsibility will be to focus completely on what our beloved audience wants and needs with bold informed editorial, brilliant content, and the opportunity to connect with like minded people. Paying homage to Mr. Johnson’s legacy means that my team will carve-out and create our own path. We will NOT succumb to the status quo.”

Of this appointment new owner Eden Bridgeman states, “We are honored to have Michele Ghee at the helm to steward these iconic brands. With a proven track record over a storied career thus far and a passion to bring her life experiences to Ebony and Jet we are excited at the future she will create. The next chapter of Ebony and Jet’s history will be told for generations to come and having her continue to authentically document, innovate, and uplift the culture will be keys to our success.”   

(PRNewsfoto/EBONY & JET MAGAZINE)

Michele Thornton Ghee is proud and honored to serve as the CEO of 1145 Holdings LLC. The company includes all assets related to Ebony and Jet. She is charged with creating the vision and activating the strategy for these iconic brands as she steers them into the 21st century. The Brand value proposition will be embedded in Information|Inspiration|Inclusion. Ghee has worked in the media and entertainment space for over a quarter of a century. She has generated billions of dollars in revenue while working for some of the most powerful companies in the world including WME, CNN, A&E, The History Channel and BET Networks. While at BET, Michele created and ran the first and only network for black women: BETHer. This award-winning titan of industry is an expert in many areas including; leadership, culture, strategy, customer service, revenue generation, diversity, equity and inclusion and relationship building.  She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband Tony and two kids Taylor and Jordan.

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