San Antonio Ranch

San Antonio Ranch

San Antonio Ranch is a custom home neighborhood about 4.5 miles north of Loop 1604 off Bandera Road.  Most home sites have excellent Hill Country views.

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What the view could be like from a San Antonio Ranch home.

San Antonio Ranch has a fairly rural feel to it, but is located just minutes from just about anything anyone could want or need.  Big box retail, local businesses, restaurants, groceries, dental and medical care and much more are close by.  San Antonio Ranch has a community swimming pool.

As of the date of this post there are 12 homes listed for sale in San Antonio Ranch.  Most range in price from the upper $200,000s to the upper $300,000s.

San Antonio Ranch does have a homeowners association and it does enforce restrictions, but this is a good thing.  The community is very nice and most homes look great all the time.

If you are interested in Helotes homes or homes near Helotes, please give me a call at 210-589-1038.


Northwest San Antonio

Northwest San Antonio

Helotes, the city in which I live I work, is on the northwest side of San Antonio.  So what else is on the northwest side of the city?

How about the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) and Northwest Vista Community College?  UTSA was pretty small when I took a summer class there in 1981.  Now it boasts close to 30,000 students and it has a football team.

How about SeaWorld?  Prior to its being built in 1988 I don’t think anyone in the area expected to see a marine park here.  The SeaWorld in San Antonio, at 250 acres, is the largest of the SeaWorld parks.  It offers marine shows and amusement park rides and more.

How about Government Canyon State Natural Area?  Government Canyon offers more than 40 miles of hiking trails.  Much of the trail system goes through the rolling hills of the Central Texas Hill Country, but some meander through grassy fields.  Camping is allowed on Fridays and Saturdays and the area is great for bird watching.

The Medical Center District is in northwest San Antonio, but a bit closer to the downtown area.  It contains the main campus of University of Texas at San Antonio.  Southwest Research Institute is also on the northwest side of San Antonio.

USAA, Valero and NuStar are major corporations in northwest San Antonio.

Do you like to shop?  The Shops at La Cantera and The Rim offer loads of shopping, restaurants, theaters and more.

Want more fun?  How about Six Flags Fiesta Texas?  It has some pretty amazing roller coasters and other fun rides as well as live shows and more.

O.P. Schnabel Park offers 202 acres of outdoor relaxation. In addition to hiking there are several pavilions for rent, one with a full kitchen.  The Northside Suburban Little League also has facilities in the park.  So if someone hits a home run I suppose it could be called an inside-the-park home run!

And finally if you are into country music you have to know about John T. Floore Country Store, more commonly known as Floore’s.  Floore’s is in downtown (for what it is) Helotes.  Some of the acts that have performed there include Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Dwight Yoakam and Lyle Lovett.  Need I say more.  Click to see Floore’s calendar.

Up for some adventure?  Consider Helotes Hill Country Ziplines.  For $85 you will get 2 hours on 10 ziplines ranging from 100 to 1,000 feet.  You can be as high as a 5-story building and attain speeds of up to 35 mph.

Of course there are some wonderful neighborhoods in northwest San Antonio as well.  If you are interested in Helotes homes or homes near Helotes, please give me a call at 210-589-1038.


Day Trip From Helotes – Cave Without a Name

Cave Without a Name

Cave Without a Name is a very cool (literally – it is 66 degrees all year) place to visit.  I went there with my daughter and my brother’s family.  The cave is on private property outside of Boerne, TX.

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The cave has been around for thousands of years, but was only discovered by modern humans when a small farm animal fell into a sinkhole.  It was ignored until Prohibition when a moonshine operation began in the upper cavern.  For some time it went undisturbed until some kids found it and explored it in 1935.

OK, but what about the name?  After the cave was opened to the public there was a contest to give it a name.  A young boy stated that it was too beautiful to have a name and, hence – Cave Without a Name.

Visitors descend 126 steps down into the cave, which as was mentioned earlier, has an air temperature of 66 degrees all year.  Parts of the way down offer little head room so visitors need to take care not to get a bang on the head.

The main show cave has 6 rooms filled with some excellent formations.  This part of the cave consists of 6 large, well-lit rooms full of stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, columns, cave bacon and draperies.  The cave is longer than tourists get to see.  It is around 2.7 miles long and part is made up of the underground Guadalupe River.  The cave will flood from time to time so visitors should call ahead after heavy rain.

The following photos were taken by my brother.  He has given me permission to use here.

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Cave bacon.


See the thing that looks like a chicken foot?  This is a helictite.  A helictite is an odd cave formation that grows upward or sideways.

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Flowstone that looks like ice cream.

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An amazingly clear reflecting pool.


Soda straws.  These are actually hollow.

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This strange formation looks like a man of war jellyfish.

Click to visit the Cave Without a Name website.

By the way, if you are interested in Helotes homes or homes near Helotes, please give me a call at 210-589-1038.

Current San Antonio Real Estate Market Conditions

Current San Antonio Real Estate Market Conditions

San Antonio, like many Texas cities, home sales are hot.  According to the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center our area has had an inventory of under 4 months since last November.  Months of inventory is the amount of time it would take to sell all homes on the market if no homes were added.   Of course new homes are being added, but not at a fast enough pace.

A balanced market, one that favors neither buyers of sellers, is 6.5 months.  Since December of last year the greater San Antonio area has had 3.6 months of inventory.  That is a hot seller’s market.

This has proven to be trouble for people moving to our area.  Many home buyers find homes they like on the internet, but by the time they get to San Antonio the homes are under contract.  This has put a lot of families into hotels for extended periods of time.

Another challenge for San Antonio home buyers is the multiple offer situation.  A quality home in a good location in good condition can get multiple offers the first day or two on the market.  Buyers are asked to submit their best and final offer.  In some cases a buyer is at the high end of her price range and loses a house to an offer higher than she can qualify for.

Over 55% of the homes selling are priced at or below $200,000.  Homes in higher price ranges tend to stay on the market longer before selling.  The trouble spot for sellers is the $500,000 and up price range.  There just are not many people capable of buying in that priced range.

So what to do if you are a buyer, especially in the $200,000 and below market?  Be pre-qualified, get out and look with a qualified Buyer’s Agent and be ready to make an offer the minute you see a house that could become your home.

By the way, if you are interested in San Antonio homes give me a call at 210-589-1038.

Helotes Park Estates

Helotes Park Estates

Helotes Park Acres is a neighborhood in Helotes off Scenic Loop Road just east of Bandera Rd.  Houses sit on several acres and many have excellent Hill Country views.  Some have amazing view of downtown San Antonio.  Many homes in Helotes Park Estates back to Rancho Diana Park.  The neighborhood is within minutes of big box retail, professional services and medical care.

As of today there are 4 homes for sale in this neighborhood on the northwest side San Antonio. The least expensive is a 1,900 square foot home with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and the list price is $254,900.

The most expensive Helotes Park Estate home for sale right now is listed at $609,900.  This home features 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and has 2,320 square feet. It sits on 2.32 acres.

Helotes Park Estates is served by the Northside ISD schools Helotes Elementary, Gus Garcia Middle School and O’connor High School, which are some of the best schools in the area.

If you are interested in Helotes homes or homes near Helotes, please give me a call at 210-589-1038.

Day Trip From Helotes – Pedernales Falls State Park

Day Trip From Helotes – Pedernales Falls State Park

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This is upper Pedernales Falls from the observation area.

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A little closer view.

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Swimming/wading area below the falls.

Pedernales Falls State Park is a wonderful place to visit any time of the year.  It is a great place to cool off in the summer.  The falls are actually a series of small waterfalls, pools and chutes on the Pedernales River.  Park officials do not want people in the water at the falls, but below the falls is a swimming area.

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A serene pool above the falls.

The water can be swift in places so watch the small children if you take them.  Anyone falling into one of the chutes at the bottom of the falls would be in serious trouble as the water flows very quickly through them.

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One of the fast-moving chutes below the falls.

I took one of my brothers and two nieces to Pedernales Falls State Park in 2008 and took these photos.  There was not much water as we were in the middle of a significant drought, but readers will get an idea of what the place looks like.

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Blue-green water and a cave.

By the way check the weather before you go.  When we get flash floods the river can go from very calm to a 20 foot wall of water in no time at all.

To get to Pedernales Falls take 281 north from San Antonio.  Not far past Blanco you will take a right on Hwy 290.  Just before Henly take FM 3232 north.  That will get you to the park.  Pedernales Falls is about 90 minutes north of downtown San Antonio.

By the way, if you are interested in Helotes homes or homes near Helotes, please give me a call at 210-589-1038.

Flash Flooding in Central Texas

Flash Flooding in Central Texas

If you live in Central Texas you are well aware of flash flooding.  Most of our area, especially in the Hill Country, sits on rock.  There is very little topsoil in most places.  When we get heavy rain many low lying areas can flood very rapidly.

In rural areas you will see low water crossings with markets to the side to tell drivers how deep the water is.  The water can be deep, but also very fast.  Drivers can be swept away with just a foot or so of water.  These area can be especially dangerous at night when it is difficult to tell how deep the water is.

I took some photos at Pedernales Falls State Park that illustrate how deep a flash flooding river can get.  The Pedernales River at this point is usually between 3 and 5 feet deep.  The debris shown below will illustrate how high the water can get.


This appears to be a car or truck door up in a cypress tree.


The trees lean permanently because of pressure from fast-moving flood water.

look how high debris came from the last flood

This is debris high above the Pedernales River from a flash flood.

If you plan on taking a spring drive through the country, make sure to check the weather first.

AND – if you are interested in Helotes homes or homes near Helotes, please give me a call at 210-589-1038.