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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Madam C.J. Walker Doll Newest In the Collection
Madama C.J Walker joins the likes of Ida B. Wells, Maya Angelou, and Rosa Parks. The Barbie® Inspiring Women™ Series which pays tribute to incredible heroines of their time; courageous women who took risks, changed rules and paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before adds the Madam C.J. Walker doll to its collection
Madam C. J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 on a Delta, Louisiana cotton plantation. The daughter of parents who were formerly enslaved and became sharecroppers, Walker would become a successful entrepreneur and the nation’s first documented self-made female millionaire. Barbie® honors her unflinching determination with a collectible doll, sculpted to her likeness. Complete with a “Madam C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower” accessory, Madam C.J. Walker Barbie® doll makes a stunning addition to any collection. A doll stand and Certificate of Authenticity are included.
HEB Hiring: On-site Interviews August 23rd
On-site interviews will be available at career fairs held at all H-E-B, Central Market, and Mi Tienda stores in Texas.
H-E-B, the state’s largest private employer, will host a one-day hiring event geared to help fill full- and
part-time positions at the store level. For this effort, which is the retailer’s largest ever one-day hiring event, H-E-B will provide on-site interviews at career fairs held at every H-E-B, Central Market and Mi Tienda store in Texas.
*Candidates who attend will receive on-site interviews only for open positions at the store they visit.
Stores will hold a career fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Candidates who attend will receive on-site interviews only for open positions at the store they visit. An online application must be submitted before interviews are conducted. To expedite their experience, candidates are encouraged to complete an application before attending. Applications and details about open positions can be found at careers.heb.com/careerfair. For interviews, translators and disability accommodations will be available upon request.
These in-store career fairs will focus on hiring for all store hourly roles such as Curbside, checkers, produce and deli representatives, artisan bakers, kitchen production, cooks, meat cutters, overnight stockers, store sanitation, True Texas BBQ restaurants, and more. While roles, such as checker and in-store shoppers, will start at $15 per hour, starting pay for specific roles are listed in their respective job descriptions, which can be found on the H-E-B Careers site. You must be 16 years or older to apply for customer service associate, checker, Curbie, and Curbside in-store shopper opportunities. Other store positions have a minimum age requirement of 18 years old.
H-E-B continues to grow its business across all areas of the company, maintaining its push as an economic driver for Texas. Across the state, H-E-B continues to open new stores, expand its omnichannel offerings, and grow within existing locations, furthering the need to add talented Partners dedicated to take care of Texas and provide customers with the best shopping experience. Currently, the company employs more than 145,000 Partners.
Regularly recognized as a top employer in the nation, H-E-B will provide training, competitive pay, and a robust benefits package that includes 10 percent off H-E-B brand products, and career and leadership development. Once eligible, Partners can become a company owner through the H-E-B Partner Stock Plan, can participate in 401k with company match, and sign up for medical, dental and vision plans, among other benefits.
“At H-E-B, our success starts with our amazing Partners, who work hard every day to serve Texans across the state,” said Mayerland Harris, H-E-B Group Vice President of Talent. “As we grow, we’re committed to hiring more people who are excited to provide our customers and communities the best H-E-B has to offer, in our stores, online, and through passionate community service.”
Soon-to-open H-E-B locations such as Plano, Frisco, Willis, and Magnolia will not participate in this one-day career fair. People seeking opportunities at soon-to-open stores can find openings and apply for those jobs via the H-E-B Careers site.
As H-E-B continues to expand its network across the state, additional opportunities also are available in manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, e-commerce fulfillment centers, corporate, and H-E-B Digital. Details about additional job opportunities in all areas of H-E-B’s business are available at heb.com/careers.
Black Chamber of Commerce Uplifting Businesses
August is #National Black Business Month and this is an opportunity for Black businesses to be celebrated, supported, and promoted for the milestones Black-owned firms have accomplished.
Being a business owner is hard work and luckily entrepreneurs have national and local chambers of commerce looking out for their best interests.
Recently the United States Black Chamber of Commerce (USBC) came out with its 2022 BlackPrint publication that lists some of its main priorities. The annual publication is provided to give the U.S. Congress and corporate decision-makers a blueprint to support Black-owned businesses.
Some of these priorities include reforming the federal 8(a) program, which was created to give opportunities to minority businesses. However, the program has been dominated by female-owned firms. USBC said if Alaska Native Corporations in the 8(a) program are given an advantage in Alaska over other underserved business owners then this model can be used for Black-owned businesses in other states. USBC would also like to see the expansion of opportunities for Black-owned cannabis businesses. Although cannabis dispensaries (medical and recreational) are fully legal and operational in over 33 states, an overwhelming majority of cannabis businesses are white-owned.
. . . Texas has the largest Black population among the 50 states and the third most Black-owned businesses.
Another priority includes increasing Black-owned companies in radio and TV. According to the Federal Communications Commission in 2019, 77% of AM radio stations were owned by white operators, while only 3% were owned by Black operators, 7% were Hispanic-owned, and 3% were Asian-owned. Only 2% of commercial FM broadcasters are Black compared to 77% of stations owned by white broadcasters. The figures for television ownership are no different. USBC says without Black representation in the media, Black voices and stories cannot be elevated to the extent of those that white-owned stations receive.
USBC adds the Federal government should institute a nationally-recognized Black-owned business certification which they believe would help federal and local governments increase their business with Black companies, contractors, and suppliers. USBC also wants the Black business community to lead global trading initiatives throughout Africa to capitalize on burgeoning economic opportunities in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
At the state and local levels, Black businesses also can turn to the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce (TAAACC) and two San Antonio Black chambers of commerce.
TAAACC is a 32-year-old organization formed by 24 Black chambers of commerce operating in Texas to advocate on their and their member’s behalf. TAAACC says Texas has the largest Black population among the 50 states and the third most Black-owned businesses. Despite this presence and the huge sums of money expended to deliver government services to Texans, Black-owned businesses come in virtually last in contract awards from state agencies. TAAACC said that’s why it’s important to have a network of Black business organizations to combat these glaring disparities.
In San Antonio, it’s estimated that only 5% or a total of 9,985 firms in the San Antonio-New Braunfels metro area are African American-owned. The overwhelming majority (95% or 9,500) of Black-owned firms are non-employer firms without paid employees. Only 485 Black-owned firms or 1.5% have employees – which is much lower than the 7% share of the population that is African American. Thankfully the city has two chambers of commerce encouraging Black entrepreneurship.
The Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1938 as the Negro Chamber of Commerce when 12 men and one woman, Miss Euretta K. Fairchild, decided to form an organization to address the business needs of the Black community in San Antonio. The San Antonio Negro Chamber of Commerce was formed as an outgrowth of a program by the local chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity’s “Bigger and Better Business” week.”
The African American Chamber of Commerce of San Antonio (AACCSA) was founded in 1993 by a group of African American business owners and consumers seeking to improve the economic status of Black business owners and the African American community. The vision was to form an organization that would advocate on behalf of emerging and established businesses, help to create new market opportunities, provide access to capital, and revitalize African American communities.
Both these organizations, along with the national and state Black chambers of commerce, play a pivotal role in uplifting Black business. Alamo City and African American chambers host many events and learning workshops for San Antonio businesses to compete at higher levels.
To learn more about the Alamo City Chamber visit (AlamoCityChamber.org) and to learn about the African American Chamber, go to (AfricanAmericanChamberSA.org).
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