On the August 20, 2022 episode of The Real Estate of Texas presented by Solid Realty Group, we are real estate experts, not mortgage experts. So we’re putting a special guest in the hot seat to answer our lending questions. Jessica and Cali sit down to chat about:

  • What’s the best loan for first time homebuyers right now?
  • Do I really need to put 20% down?
  • Or should I put less down and pay some credit card debt first?

Special Guest: Christina O’Conner of The O’Conner Team, Pilgrim Mortgage.

Have you decided that now is the right time to buy? Check these five steps before you settle on a lender and you’ll be ahead of the game!

1. Credit Report Check

When you apply for a mortgage, lenders will first check your credit score; you should, too. Prove your creditworthiness to a lender so you can get the best possible rates. Dispute inaccuracies with the 3 credit bureaus and ensure that no one else is getting access to your credit, possibly harming your scores.

2. Do Your Research

Applying for a home mortgage is a long-term financial commitment. You’ll want to first invest some time in your research before investing in a house. Get the best deal you can by researching loans, researching mortgage rates, and researching mortgage lenders brokers before you sign on the dotted line. Putting in the hard work now will pay off later with a better rate and terms.

3. Be Realistic About Affordability

Not to be a poo-poo about this, but if you’re going for a rate that requires a 20% down payment and you can only afford 5% down, find a lender who can get you the best deal for the down payment you can afford.

4. Inquire About Pre-payment Penalties

Will you be penalized for paying the mortgage off early? Check and make sure you won’t be dinged for paying off your mortgage sooner with double payments!

5. Too Many Lender Inquiries Can Hurt Your Credit Score

Whenever you apply for a loan, including a mortgage, lender inquiries show up on your credit report and temporarily lowers your score. Applying for several mortgages in a two week period only counts as one inquiry, but if they happen over a longer period of time … meaning, you drag it out, you’ll end up doing damage to your score. Lower score = lower rate. Bummer.


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Original Air Date: 8/20/22

Then, in the second half of our show in our #Boerne Business Spotlight, we are talking with Lillian Oler, owner and founder of Assemble Cocktail Workshop. Started right here in Boerne, this company is so cool, they teach you how to make all the fancy cocktails.

Catch up on all episodes of this weekly podcast here: https://bit.ly/SRGTRETX If you live in the #SanAntonio area, tune in every Saturday morning at 10:30am on Boerne Radio 103.9FM to hear The Real Estate of Texas presented by #SolidRealtyGroup


Episode #106 – Lender Prep, The Real Estate Of Texas

Christina [00:00:00] And truthfully, a lot of people choose to put 20% down because they’re really anxious to not pay private mortgage insurance. But if you have a high credit score, your PMI is super cheap. Potentially, you’re holding onto 10% that you would have put down, that you could use to do home improvements. You could put it in savings for an emergency. I can’t tell you how many people buy a house and literally want to wipe out their savings.

INTRO [00:00:28] Welcome to The Real Estate of Texas with the gals of the Hill Country brought to you by Solid Realty Group in Boerne, Texas at SolidRealtyGroup.com. And now your hosts, Jessica Johnson and Cali Redd.

Cali [00:00:42] Welcome to The Real Estate of Texas! I’m Cali Redd with Solid Realty Group here with Jessica Johnson, my lovely business partner. And a little later on in the show today, we’re going to meet Lilian Oler over at Assemble Cocktail Workshop. She’s going to tell us all about it. I’m really excited about that cute little shop. It’s down here on Main Street in Boerne. But anyways, today we have a special guest here. Usually it’s just Jess and I gabbin’ up here. But today we have Christina O’Connor of Pilgrim Mortgage, the O’Connor Group over there at Pilgrim Mortgage, and she’s joining us live up here high above the main street of Boerne. And we’re going to learn all about mortgages.

Christina [00:01:15] Good morning.

Jessica [00:01:16] Good morning, Christina.

Cali [00:01:17] Welcome! Thank you for being here.

Christina [00:01:18] Thanks for having me.

Jessica [00:01:19] We wanted to talk to you guys this morning about loans. And a couple shows ago, we had had a big discussion about what it was that you needed to prepare yourself for, to actually get to the closing table to buy a house. And we decided, as we discussed, that show that we really needed to bring in the expert lender. We’re the expert on the real estate side. We’re the expert on all of those things. But we really need is kind of a breakdown on what the mortgage world does, what the lenders need, how they they get our clients into the house. So we’re super happy to have you here today. We’ve had a couple of questions that that have come across, but tell us a little bit about yourself and how you get the buyers situated to get into the home without having, you know, some of the stresses that they don’t need to have.

Christina [00:02:01] I think what we really do differently is getting to know our clients because a mortgage really is a long term financial move, you know, and so many people go in thinking that they know what they want because they’ve done some research. But the truth is, there’s a thousand different ways to finance your house. And what we really do is get to know our clients, to strategize with them, because it’s not just about this purchase. It’s about what they plan to do three years from now, five years from now, ten years from now, they can alter the structuring of the loan to best suit their financial goals. And a lot of lenders don’t have the knowledge or the care to really dig deep. And I think that’s where people lose out and tens of thousands of dollars sometimes in interest being paid because of the structure of, of the loan not being specific to them.

Jessica [00:02:47] And so when you say that they’re not … they’re paying extra money because the loan’s not structured correctly for them. Give me an example of what that means.

Christina [00:02:55] So I had a client a few years ago that they were planning for retirement. They were in their sixties and they were selling a house and purchasing a new construction house. And they came to me and said, I want to put all of the proceeds down from the sale of our home on the new house. And that was about a 40% down payment, yet they had $87,000 in credit card debt. Right? So they had no long term plan for retirement and they were in their sixties. So I could not give them … the 40% down was because they wanted a conventional loan, you know, putting at least 20% down. They wouldn’t have to pay private mortgage insurance. And their thought process was, we take the proceeds and we put them towards the purchase. And I couldn’t qualify them for a conventional loan because their debt ratio is too high.

Jessica [00:03:38] Ah, debt ratio ok.

Christina [00:03:39] Because of all the credit card debt right? So instead, I would have to give them an FHA loan that would have an upfront mortgage … It’s not a bad loan, but it’s not right for them. Up front mortgage insurance premium, they pay a monthly mortgage insurance for at least ten years and it just wasn’t what was best for them. So instead, I suggested doing a 5% down conventional loan, wiping out $65,000 of credit card debt, reducing their monthly obligations by $2500, basically getting them fully out of credit card debt within a year of purchasing the home and saving them $3500 a month on minimum credit card payments that could then be applied to the mortgage to get them under the 20% and eliminate the PMI.

Jessica [00:04:17] Right. Gotcha.

Christina [00:04:18] And the husband, they talked about it that night and that has been called the next day and he cried. He said, “I’ve never, I never knew how I was going to retire until I talked to you. And my wife just didn’t understand why I don’t sleep at night. It’s because I can’t see the future and now I can.” And so this … absolutely … so just caring enough to go … you know, I play devil’s advocate every day. What is best for you? You, you know, you’ve got this situation, but based on over 20 years of mortgage experience, I, at least, want to give you my expert professional advice so that you can make an educated decision.

Jessica [00:04:52] Right? Right. So when you first talk to someone, what are your . . ? Do you have about 3 to 5 basic questions of what you ask and what you need them to have prepared.

Christina [00:05:01] So basically, to apply for a mortgage: I need your name, date of birth, social security number, where you’ve lived for the last two years and where you’ve worked for the last two years, and who you bank with and approximately how much money you have. That’s it. So it doesn’t have to be more complicated than what you think. And then from there, we discuss the goals. Maximum monthly payment, maximum cash to close and then I provide financing options based on their specific situation and their specific goals.

Jessica [00:05:25] So, do a lot of people come in to the loans where they tell you, “Hey, I want to pay X amount of dollars” and you have to build backwards from that? How do you talk to them about things that will increase that payment over that 30 year or 20 year loan that they take with the interest or not the interest rates? I’m sorry, the…

Christina [00:05:42] Taxes and the insurance?

Jessica [00:05:43] Taxes going up and the insurance going up and those things changing because people are so set and understanding that my payment is going to be this much for the entire 30 years, and then all of a sudden they get in a position where the appraisal district says, “Oh, your house is much more expensive now.” How does that happen? How do you protect your clients and have them understand that that’s going to come down the road?

Christina [00:06:02] Well, I think this year has been a prime example of that. You know, and as soon as we got 2022 values released on Kendall County or Bexar County Appraisal District, I started giving them payments based on 2022 values, even though I could qualify them on 2021 because the tax bills aren’t out, they need to be financially prepared for that. And especially on new construction, you know, you’ve heard the history of people going in and their payment tripling? Right? It’s because that lender didn’t care enough to go, “hey, the payment initially is going to be this, but you need to be setting aside X number of dollars every single month.” So next year, and depending on when they close, it could be a year and a half to two years later before the tax catch up.

Cali [00:06:41] And then they get slammed.

Christina [00:06:42] They’re killed.

Cali [00:06:42] Right.

Christina [00:06:43] So they can…

Cali [00:06:44] But that’s just, you know, the lenders really need to care more about that and less about how months they close in a month.

Christina [00:06:49] I tell them: set aside … set up a separate savings account that you can’t touch because that money will buy you options down the line.

Cali [00:06:55] Absolutely.

Jessica [00:06:56] Absolutely. And what else? Like what other things do people need to really be prepared for?

Christina [00:07:02] Well, you know, I, so many times people will go, “what’s the maximum I can qualify for?” And I tell them, that’s not the question to answer … to ask.

Cali [00:07:10] Not the question to ask.

Jessica [00:07:11] That’s not the question to ask.

Christina [00:07:11] We use gross income, not your net, which you live on. And we only look at the debts that report on your credit report. So the quality of my life is in the gray that I don’t take into account as a lender. Right? If you’ve got kids in sports that cost money. If you want to take a vacation every year, that costs money. Your wife ain’t so pretty when you can’t put gas in the car to take her anywhere and Top Ramen gets old. You know what I mean? So you’re …

Cali [00:07:34] Quality of life is a thing. You don’t want to be house-poor.

Christina [00:07:36] Exactly. Exactly. So, I tell people, I can make you feel warm and fuzzy and tell you qualify for $550,000. But when you tell me your maximum monthly payment based on your lifestyle is $1900, then you’ve got $20,000 to spend. It’s not going to be a $500,000 house. So let’s be realistic. And sometimes people, the house can dictate the way we end up doing the financing. So, they’ll come in going, “I’m going to live in the house forever.” So, you know, but then the house that they end up buying, they’re like, this is going to be a three year house for us. It’s not going to be a 20-year house. So, sometimes what we thought we were going to do at the beginning can change based on the house that they choose and having that flexibility is, is a blessing.

Jessica [00:08:17] And it’s…

Cali [00:08:18] And the house that’s available … Maybe it’s not what they wanted to choose.

Jessica [00:08:20] Yeah.

Cali [00:08:21] [laughs]. What they could find in the current market.

Christina [00:08:22] Hopefully that’s easing up a little bit, right?

Jessica [00:08:24] It is. We’re starting to see that come back. You know, the the time on the market’s happening a little longer. So, if people have questions and they want to get a loan, they want to get started. How do they how do they find you? How do they reach out to you?

Christina [00:08:33] By cell phone is the best way.

Jessica [00:08:35] Okay.

Christina [00:08:35] You can text me. You can call me at 210-414-7534 and my website is oconnormortgage.com.

Cali [00:08:45] And Christina, tell us what the best loan type for a new buyer is.

Christina [00:08:48] Well, first-time homebuyers have some some additional options available to them that, that you wouldn’t have if you’ve owned property in the last three years, for example. So, as a first-time homebuyer, you can actually do a 3% down conventional loan. A lot of people don’t know that, but they think that you have to put 5% down and you’re considered a first-time homebuyer.

Cali [00:09:08] I thought you had to put 20% down? Well, I didn’t think that. A lot of people think you had to put 20% down.

Christina [00:09:11] They do. And truthfully, a lot of people choose to put 20% down because they’re really anxious to not pay private mortgage insurance. Right? Insurance against your defaults and by you not putting 20% down. But if you have a high credit score? Your PMI is super cheap. I mean, some … $27 a month … and potentially, you’re holding onto 10% that you would have put down that you could use to do home improvements. You could put it in savings for an emergency. I can’t tell you how many people buy a house and literally want to wipe out their savings. Like, “I don’t I don’t need any money once I’m in the house.” And I go, “oh my gosh, that’s when everything starts.”

Cali [00:09:51] Right.

Christina [00:09:52] You know. Home warranty…

Cali [00:09:52] So you talk to every single person about this type of thing … or?

Christina [00:09:55] Absolutely. So many times, people call and go, “I’m going to put 20% down. I’m going to put 20% down.” And that’s where like I was just saying. And in the other scenario. What about your credit card debt? You know, sometimes selling a home is the only way to get out of credit card debt. Right? And using that money to your advantage and having … developing a savings plan, you know?

Cali [00:10:17] But you’re saying it’s not always the best thing either to just sell your home and then get out of credit card debt?

Christina [00:10:22] No, it depends. Well, sometimes … It depends on each situation. So, you know, sometimes we pay off some of the credit card debt and we put some of it in savings because people have never established a rainy-day fund.

Cali [00:10:34] Oh, right, right …

Christina [00:10:35] You know what I mean?

Cali [00:10:35] Yeah.

Christina [00:10:36] And money buys options.

Cali [00:10:37] It’s so interesting to think that no one says, “people have to establish a rainy-day fund,” but yes, you’re right, that probably occurs more than you think.

Christina [00:10:45] You would be surprised. [Cali: I would probably be surprised.] You really, really would be surprised, so…

Cali [00:10:48] So tell us about this 3% down if you haven’t owned a house.

Christina [00:10:51] 3% down conventional loan … um, your interest rate is a little bit higher. Your private mortgage insurance is a little bit higher unless you’re low, lower income. There are some special, special programs for first-time homebuyers where you can put 3% down, have a lower interest rate than a 5% or 10% down conventional loan. And the private mortgage insurance associated with a 10% down loan instead of a 3% down. But that’s income-based and geographically-based. So literally, once we start working with you, we’re seeing … do you qualify for all the special things … ?

Cali [00:11:22] So, is that sort of like a USDA loan?

Christina [00:11:25] Similar, but different.

Cali [00:11:27] Okay. Gotcha.

Christina [00:11:27] Right? So, USDA and similar income situations and geographical locations and all that kind of stuff. But that’s a great option for first time homebuyers. FHA financing; so, if they’re … um, if their debt-ratio is a little bit too high, FHA will let you go to a 57% debt-ratio using your gross income. Right? Conventional maxes you out at 50%.

Cali [00:11:51] Gotcha.

Christina [00:11:51] So, if they’re, you know, sometimes we’re using one spouse as … one spouse and not the other one because the other spouse’s credit score is too low when we can qualify with just one spouse’s income. So, they know that they can afford that 57% debt-ratio payment, you know what I mean? So, in those cases and sometimes FHA is a viable option for you … um. FHA is a government loan for people who didn’t serve in the military. So, it requires a 3.5% down payment, but it does have monthly mortgage, mortgage insurance for the life of the loan unless you put 10% down. So, you’re going to pay monthly mortgage insurance forever and ever until you pay it off or refinance it.

Jessica [00:12:31] Okay. Okay.

Christina [00:12:32] So, sometimes we start with FHA and then a few years later, assuming rates are good, then we convert them into a conventional well.

Cali [00:12:38] Right. So the thing is, don’t sit around for 30 years thinking you don’t have options.

Christina [00:12:41] You’re marrying the house, not the rate. Right? So, you know, as rates are going up or they’re higher … Statistically guys, were still lower than, you know, we’re not going to see rates in the twos. The government pushing and buying mortgage backed securities at the rate that they have over the last few years … that’s what the Fed is saying when they’re saying, “we’re raising rates,” is we’re not putting all this money into this anymore. Right? Because the economy, they believe, is stabilized enough to still maintain, but rates are up and they are all over the place from one day to the next. The jobs report that came out last week was traumatizing for a few hours. And then we settled in, you know, Tuesday. So timing all of it, right? Is critically important.

Cali [00:13:23] Okay. Good to know.

Jessica [00:13:25] So when people are looking at like a conventional rate, you said that there’s an option to do with 3% down.

Christina [00:13:31] If you haven’t owned in the last three years.

Jessica [00:13:33] If you haven’t owned in the last three years and so, when they hit 10% down, does that private mortgage insurance drop off for them or ..?

Christina [00:13:42] 20%.

Jessica [00:13:42] 20%. Okay.

Christina [00:13:44] And so how it’s structured, it’s … it’ll automatically fall out or fall off at 78%. Okay? Once you have 20.. 22%, but it’s based on the original purchase price and loan amount. So, no appreciation is taken into account. So, you’ll reach your 20% equity a lot sooner. I tell people, you know, once you think you’ve got your 20% equity, then you need to call your realtor and ask them to run comparable sales and tell you conservatively, if you were to sell your house right now what your realtor thinks that you would get for it … conservatively, right? Not top dollar. And if you have your 20%, maybe a little bit more than 20% equity. You’re going to contact the mortgage company, tell them that you want your PMI removed, and most likely they’re going to make you pay for a new appraisal. Right? The appraiser is going to use the same information that you guys provided to them on the comps. Right? So if you think conservatively they got the 20% equity, it may be worth the cost of the appraisal for them to get the PMI removed. Early.

Cali [00:14:43] Right.

Christina [00:14:43] But don’t wait for it just to fall off on its own. You’re going to pay a lot longer.

Cali [00:14:46] What do you guys charge for appraisals?

Christina [00:14:48] Well, that is the end investor at that time. So, I really can’t tell you.

Cali [00:14:54] It’s not a set rate.

Christina [00:14:55] Wells or Chase or, you know, PennyMac is going to charge at that point. Right now, traditional appraisals are running between $575 and $850, let’s say, depending on location and turn time. Right? So, if you need something turned around more quickly, then you’re going to pay more for it.

Jessica [00:15:15] Exactly.

Christina [00:15:16] You know, so …

Cali [00:15:16] The rush fee.

Jessica [00:15:17] The rush fee..

Christina [00:15:18] The rush fee. But giving people the option is important. Right?? So, when I disclose because the appraisal is, is something that the amount cannot increase once disclosed formally, right? So, when I disclosed to clients, I will always inflate the estimated appraisal value because if you guys get held up during the option period and don’t let me order the appraisal because you’re still negotiating repairs, for example, or closing costs in lieu of repairs, we may have to get a rush on that appraisal. Right? So, we don’t want to take that option away from the buyer. That’s where we’ve seen some credit unions literally just deny loans because they didn’t estimate the appraisal fee high enough and they won’t take the hit by paying the $400 differential.

Cali [00:16:03] Oh, I see what you’re saying.

Christina [00:16:03] Between what was disclosed and what is accurate. And that’s when I get the call, “will you please help me do my loan in two weeks? Because this guy told me there’s no appraiser on the planet that will go to my house.” And I’m like, “No, they just didn’t disclose a high enough appraisal fee because you live in the boonies. You’re right. There’s no appraiser that will drive out there for $275. You’re right.”

Jessica [00:16:23] But it also just doesn’t meet the market standards anymore so we have to be careful about that.

Christina [00:16:27] Yes.

Jessica [00:16:54] Talking about general loans, you know, one of the things that you had mentioned is you kind of required their W-2s and their, their driver’s license and all of that stuff. What do you think is the biggest hardship for people to kind of climb over that mountain? Like, what’s the worst thing that people tend to kind of get stuck in and they have this set belief that this is what they have to do to get their loan. And it causes people to not even apply because they’re so afraid that they can’t get qualified.

Christina [00:17:24] I total … it’s literally taking the first step. You know, so many people are just scared. They’re, they’re, they don’t … how many clients over the years have literally come to me and go, I know, I know, I won’t qualify now. I just know it. And I’m going, “You’re qualified for $275,000. Let’s go shopping.” You know what? You’ve got to surround yourself by experts in the field for which you need assistance.

Jessica [00:17:45] Mm hmm.

Christina [00:18:51] So, reaching out and getting, having the right people in your circle that actually care about you, I think is what’s most important to getting us there. So I encourage you, if you ever want to buy a house, you know, I would love to hear from you. If you don’t want to … Talk to somebody so that you can…

Cali [00:19:07] You can reach Christina on her cell phone at …

Christina [00:19:11] 210-414-7534.

Jessica [00:19:12] Yes, and Christina, one last question before we go … What do you suggest people do after they close on the loan? Like, is there any advice that you have for people to…

Cali [00:19:21] File for your homestead exemption.

Christina [00:19:22] Amen. Homestead extension. You don’t even have to wait until January any more. So exciting!

Jessica [00:19:27] Excellent.

Christina [00:19:28] There’s a form, typically, that the county will send you asking for information about your purchase. This is sent to the seller as well. So, it’s going to ask your sales price, what type of loan you did… It looks like a very formal form … um, that, but if you read in very fine print, thanks to ….

Cali [00:19:44] Throw it away.

Christina [00:19:44] Throw it away. It says very clearly because…

Jessica [00:19:48] Because Texas is a non-disclosure state.

Christina [00:19:49] We’re a non-disclosure state. So if you’re telling them what you paid for the house, you’re giving them all the opportunity in the world to increase your value and increase your property taxes. Sellers we see doing it more, right? You know what I mean? Giving them the information is just allowing them to use it against you. So I encourage that. Um, junk mail, you’re going to get a lot of junk mail, right? People are going to offer to file the homestead exemption for you for a fee when it’s free. People are going to offer to give you a copy of your deed, um, for a fee and you’re going to get a copy of your deed. You know, don’t be a victim. So … even documents saying … life insurance quotes that say Pilgrim Mortgage on them … It’s, it’s public record that you bought it and it’s public record that we financed it. So you’re going to get stuff in the mail that says Pilgrim, that did not come from me. So I always tell you, hold onto my number, text me your junk mail and I’ll tell you whether it’s legit or if you need to shred it.

Jessica [00:20:45] Yeah.

Christina [00:20:45] You know?

Cali [00:20:45] No, for sure.

Jessica [00:20:46] So what is your recommendation for overpaying on your monthly payment?

Christina [00:20:52] There is no prepayment penalty on any loan that you’re going to get in this … Well, I shouldn’t say that, on any traditional financing. If you’re doing some alternative financing or hard money lending, then absolutely you need to be very careful about that. But applying additional payments to the principal is just going to reduce the amount of interest that you pay over the life of the loan. But understand, you can never prepay. When I say prepay a mortgage, you can’t pay it in advance. So let’s say you put $50,000 into the principal of the loan and you want to dictate that that’s where the money’s going. If you’re doing that large principal reduction, you’re still going to have a payment due the next month. It’s not like a car where you can pay it ahead for five months and just go out of the country and not worry about it. You’re still going to have the mortgage payment, but you’re going to cut that, that term on the mortgage.

Jessica [00:21:38] Right. But your monthly payment will stay the same?

Christina [00:21:42] Absolutely.

Jessica [00:21:43] Okay. So that won’t differ … Unless you refinance or …

Christina [00:21:45] So, on conventional … you can recast your mortgage, typically once. So for a client or a buyer that has a house to sell, for example, and they go, okay, we want to put, you know, 5% down right now. But when we sell our house, we’re going to make $150,000 and we want to put $100,000 of that into this new mortgage. You can actually put the hundred thousand dollar principal reduction and have the remaining balance recast to the lower loan amount and have your payment drop one-time.

Cali [00:22:14] That’s good information.

Christina [00:22:14] So that was introduced a few years ago and it stopped people from having to go through the full refinance process, take a higher interest rate potentially based on what rates were doing and all that good stuff. FHA and VA government loans don’t allow for that, but Conventional does.

Jessica [00:22:30] Well, that’s interesting. What a fascinating amount of information!

Christina [00:22:32] There’s so much.

Jessica [00:22:33] So much.

Christina [00:22:34] Yes.

Jessica [00:22:34] Well, if you guys want to know more, just reach out to Christina O’Connor at O’Connor Group at the Pilgrim Mortgage and she can get you guys all answered. We really appreciate it, Christina.

Christina [00:22:42] I appreciate you having me!

Jessica [00:22:43] We are so very thankful that Christina O’Connor of Pilgrim Mortgage was able to join us this morning to give us a little bit more about lender options and what’s going on in the mortgage world. We are super excited to have Lilian Oler with Assemble Cocktail Workshop join us as soon as we come back and to let us know a little bit about some fun things to do in in Boerne for your evening out, you know … what did she say? Shake it, rock it, and roll it … tin cup it .. so uh …

Cali [00:23:12] Shake your tin can, I think that is what she said can.

Jessica [00:23:12] Shake your tin can. That is what she’s said. Yes, darling … so in just a minute, we’ll be right back. This is Jessica Johnson and Cali Redd with The Real Estate of Texas here in Boerne and we’re super excited to continue to share with you guys what we have here in our community.

COMMERCIAL [00:23:28] The real estate of Texas is always changing. Get a solid start to buying or selling a house with Solid Realty Group. Hey, y’all. I’m Jessica Johnson, co-owner of Solid Realty Group, Boerne’s Five-Star Realtors, where we have saved our clients over $3 million. Given today’s rising home values and interest rates, every penny counts. Call Solid Realty Group to buy or sell and we can help you save more and stress less. Call us at 210-827-3733, SolidRealtyGroup.com.

Cali [00:24:06] Welcome back to The Real Estate of Texas, I’m Cali Redd, Broker and Owner here at Solid Realty Group. I’m here with Jessica Johnson and today we are welcoming Lilian Oler from the Assemble Cocktail Workshop. Thank you so much for joining us. We can’t wait to hear all about this exciting business.

Lillian [00:24:22] Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me!

Jessica [00:24:24] This is great to have you. So I know that you guys have been here, what, a year now?

Lillian [00:24:29] Not even. We actually opened our doors in January of this year, so, yeah, pretty…

Cali [00:24:34] 8 months?!

Lillian [00:24:35] Yeah.

Cali [00:24:35] Wow.

Lillian [00:24:36] Uh huh. Eight months.

Cali [00:24:37] Fantastic.

Lillian [00:24:37] Eight months in Boerne.

Cali [00:24:38] So what do you do?

Lillian [00:24:39] I teach people how to handcraft fabulous cocktails so everybody gets their own bar mat, bar tools, premium ingredients, um, their own little station. They get to wear an apron and shake their tin can until they whip up something great. And then, of course, they get a drink up the fruits of their labor.

Cali [00:24:56] And I’ve heard your Instagram page is noteworthy with beautiful photos.

Lillian [00:24:59] Oh, well, thank you so much.

Jessica [00:25:01] Yes. How do people check that out?

Lillian [00:25:03] Well, it’s @AssembleCocktail on Instagram as well as Facebook.

Jessica [00:25:07] Fantastic. And so … what … do you guys do like, group parties or couples, or how do you guys take care of people here in Boerne?

Lillian [00:25:15] It’s actually all-of-the-above. A little bit of everything. So we have ongoing cocktail workshops Wednesday through Sunday, a date night or girls night out, and there’s no minimum amount of people. We also host private parties as well, so a little bit more planning goes into that. We can host up to like 18 people inside, up to 40 people outside when the weather’s great, of course.

Jessica Now, do you go to people’s houses and do it or you just do it at your, your workshop?

Lillian [00:25:44] Yeah, we can definitely take the show on the road for a private party anytime.

Jessica [00:25:48] Okay. So where are you guys located in Boerne?

Lillian [00:25:51] We’re located right in the middle of it all. It’s actually 322 South Main Street.

Jessica So what is your favorite cocktail to assemble?

Lillian [00:26:18] Oh, I’ve been on a spicy margarita kick.

Jessica [00:26:21] Ooh, Cali stayed …

Cali [00:26:23] What does that have in it?

Lillian [00:26:24] So we use a jalapeno tequila, agave syrup, fresh lime, of course, which everybody gets to use the juicers and really flex their muscles. It’s super legit. And then a float of ginger beer over the top just for some beautiful effervescence. And we put smoked sea salt over the top. And then last night we actually tried it with some pink peppercorns, and that was really great. A little salt and pepper garnish on a spicy margarita. It was beautiful on a hot day.

Jessica [00:27:29] Well, we are so happy to have you here today, Lillian, and one of the big questions we like to ask everybody before they leave is, what is your favorite thing about Boerne?

Lillian [00:27:37] Oh, my favorite thing about Boerne is the open arms that always welcome new people to the community. There’s just this really nice welcoming committee, I feel like, in every industry, every corner, and that’s just really what everybody around here takes pride on.

Jessica [00:27:54] Good. Well, we’re glad to welcome you to Boerne.

Lillian [00:27:56] Well, thank you.

Jessica [00:27:57] Go check out … Assemble Cocktail Workshop and get your drink on. You guys enjoy!

Lillian [00:28:03] Yes absolutely! Shake your tin can. Thanks everyone!

Cali [00:25:25] That’s all the time we have today for The Real Estate of Texas presented by Solid Realty Group. Remember us if you’re in the market for a new house or thinking about selling the one you’ve got, call us today at 210-827-3733 or go to SolidRealtyGroup.com. Have a beautiful day.

Jessica [00:25:43] Bye ya’ll!