Tag Archives: save money

Live Smarter with SmartHauz!

Courtesy of SmartHauz

Courtesy of SmartHauz

We are thrilled to now showcase the first Apple HomeKit “smart” model home in Texas! We recently partnered with Austin-based company, SmartHauz.me, to install smart features, something more and more of our customers are requesting. In fact, we are now offering core smart features for our clients with options to upgrade, depending on how smart you really want to be.

We interviewed Founder and CEO, Sunny Sneckner, to get some more insight into what he does. Sunny worked for Apple on the Austin campus for 6 years, which is where he first saw the opportunity to provide service for people who wanted the convenience of on-site support. SmartHauz was formed in January of 2017.

“I wanted to work with builders to integrate the cost of smart technology installation into their new homes. People can roll the cost into their mortgages, so that they’re paying just a few extra dollars a month,” explained Sunny. “This is the true state of luxury. There’s nothing luxurious about walking around your house and turning off all the lights.”

Our Stone Creek Custom Homes’ model home, located at 1225 Vintage Way in New Braunfels, is equipped with the basic necessities, including lights, locks, environmental controls and doorbell.

“The majority of the house is now controlled with smart switches and smart dimmers on the lights, two smart thermostats, which can save you about 20% on cooling/heating costs and a smart lock equipped with a video doorbell that allows you to use your phone instead of a key to let people in and out, say to drop off packages or for maintenance.

If anyone comes up to the doorstep, you’re alerted before they even press the button, and you can communicate with them over video remotely,” he said. “These features are what make a smart home really functional. They save time and energy and offer you peace of mind. If you’re laying in bed at night watching TV, you don’t have to get out of bed to lock the door and turn off the lights.”

Sunny also loves to use his smart technology to automatically turn the ceiling fan on and off while he’s sleeping, to help control the temperature in the room, and keep him cool. Customers also dig the smart garage door, leaving you never to wonder again if you remembered to close it. Now you can use your phone to find out and close it from wherever you are in the world. They also offer smart sprinklers, which can reduce water consumption by a whopping 50 percent. Smart technology isn’t just about convenience, it’s about sustainability and cost efficiency in the long run.

New home buyers can rejoice that we are now offering a variety of smart home packages, as part of your build. There’s also the option to have a design consultation with Sunny and his team to custom tailor your smart features. “Just like picking out marble for your counter or wood for the floors,” said Sunny.

It’s all surprisingly easy to use, and Sunny makes sure he or a team member personally walks you through set-up on your iPhone, iPad, or whichever technology you prefer to use. For more information on Smart Hauz, visit https://smarthauz.me/.

If you’d like more information or to set up a consultation or tour, give us a call at 210-494-5400.


Financial Planning Tips for the Future

16 HDR

We know that planning for big purchases like a house, a car, maybe even a boat or other sizable item you’ve got your eye on is a big deal and can dramatically affect your bank account. Even if none of these are on your immediate horizon, it’s never a bad time to get your finances in order. We’ve scoured the internet to find the most useful tips from financial experts, and discovered some savvy recommendations. Since this is the time of year that many of us like to set new goals, we thought you might appreciate some ideas for getting started.

Ask Why

A Forbes financial planner suggested asking yourself why money is important to you. At first this seemed like a silly idea until we realized that understanding our motivations is a key component to success. Once you understand the why then you can align your financial goals much more easily with your personal values. It makes sense!

Don’t Procrastinate

We heard this one time and time again. There’s no better time to start planning for your future than right now. The longer you wait the riskier the investments you’re likely to consider. Saving now allows you to be more practical.

Emergency Fund

If you don’t already have one, set up an emergency fund that consists of three to six months of your average income in a separate savings account. This reserve is a life-saver if, for example, your A/C goes out or your roof caves in. Something you won’t have to worry about with a Stone Creek Custom Homes-built house!

Live a Little

This one can be a hard one, but many financial advisors recommend living on less than you earn. They suggest saving up to 10% of your monthly salary and as little as 3%. If you automatically deposit it into a separate account you might not even miss it.

No More Debt

Eliminate your credit card debt. This recommendation can seem daunting, but almost every financial planner will tell you it’s a necessity. Just take a look at the interest you spend every year. When you do the math and see how much you could be saving instead of giving away, it can be eye-opening. Start paying an extra 10 – 20% on your credit card bills to help whittle them down faster and then commit to cutting the cards (and the cords).

Do Your Research

When considering investment opportunities, make sure not to rely solely on instincts and personal recommendations. Taking the time to research from legitimate sources can help you identify solid investments and potential lemons.

If you’re ready to plan your future in a beautiful new home, give us a call at 210-494-5400. To be added to our private email list to receive the newsletter, please sign up here.


The Power of Solar for your Home

solar house

We’ve explored various roofing options before in a past blog, but we wanted to go a little bit deeper into the amazing benefits of solar roofing, particularly if you live (or want to live) in San Antonio or the surrounding area. The market for alternative, renewable energy sources is growing rapidly and will likely only continue to gain momentum.

Not only is solar roofing a wonderfully green and eco-conscious option where you end up generating money instead of burning it, but locally, many electricity companies are offering consumers rebates when they make energy-saving improvements to their homes.


CPS Energy, which services San Antonio, offers a rebate on solar photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight to electricity. Currently, the power company that services Schertz is also providing solar rebates to consumers.

In fact, these company offer a wide variety of rebates on things from pool pumps to air conditioners and new construction. While these rebates aren’t indefinite, it’s worth noting that rebates on solar roofs have been consistent. CPS even offers one for solar water heaters, up to $2,000. Energy Star estimates that you can reduce your electric bill by 50% when you switch to solar water heaters. For specific information on rebates, it’s best to contact the companies directly for details.


Solar panels have been around a lot longer than solar shingles, which first came into use in 2011. Shingles are installed similarly to asphalt shingles and, in fact, replace the asphalt shingles where they are installed, which can result in modest savings.

Solar shingles can be installed on various types of roofs and most people find them much more aesthetically pleasing than the somewhat bulky appearance of panels. However, panels are considered to be a touch more efficient than shingles, but not by much. Currently, the conversion efficiency of shingles is 19.9% while panels are 20.3%.


-          The financial rewards are by far the best reason to install a solar roof. In case it wasn’t clear, not only do you save money using solar, but if the conditions are right and let’s face it they are in South Texas, you may even start receiving a check from your energy company after a while.

-          Over the long run, a homeowner might save $20,000 over a 20 year time period with a solar roof, at least that’s the national average. In Texas, it will be more like $30,000.

-          Using solar power is a reliable, secure and independent resource that cannot be controlled by a company or agency, which is why even the military is working to install solar power systems.

-          Interestingly, solar power creates jobs. As an energy source, solar power creates almost three times more jobs than money invested in coal or natural gas.

Besides the cost of initial installation, the disadvantages of having a solar roof are virtually non-existent. If this is something you’d like to consider for your new custom home, give us a call at 210-494-5400.

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How to Save Money on Your Mortgage


The process of obtaining a mortgage to build a new home can be confusing and stressful for anyone (and often is), but first-time home owners can be at a major disadvantage if they haven’t done their homework. Here are some things to consider before stepping into the potential quagmire of a home loan.

Find a Good Mortgage Lender

Don’t go with the first mortgage lender than comes your way. It’s a common misconception that all mortgage lenders are alike. We wouldn’t exactly compare them to snowflakes, but truth is each one is different in a variety of ways. Taking the time to find a lender that listens, is transparent and conscientious, and takes the time to explain details can establish a foundation for either a good or bad experience. A bad lender can cost you thousands of dollars by not responding in a timely fashion in order to lock in your mortgage rate. Also be aware that closing fees do vary from lender to lender.

While we don’t want to dissuade you from working with a bank that you trust, you might want to consider working with a local mortgage lender over a corporate giant where you’re little more than a number. You should also avoid finding a lender over the internet. Being able to sit down in front of your lender and talk face-to-face makes it easier to hold them accountable.

Do’s and Don’ts

Any good lender will tell you that when you’re considering making a big purchase such as property, you do not want to make any other significant purchases, such as buying a car. Hold off any big expenses until everything is signed, sealed and delivered!

Even if you’ve got the best credit score on the planet, it never hurts to prepare yourself by eliminating any debt that you owe. You can start now, before you’re even seriously considering, by paying off small credit cards. Whether you go through with your new home or not, this will help you save on interest and may even help you resist buying those new tires or pair of shoes!

If you do need help repairing your credit, check out a program through nfcc.org, who not only helps repair credit, but can also provide low interest mortgage payments.

Saving Money in the Long Run

It’s not in your lenders best interest to let you know that you can save literally thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your mortgage by making extra payments each year. It’s easier for most people to pay an extra $100 or $200 bucks a month, but you can pretty much do what works best for you. You might consider putting any return back on your taxes into the mortgage, that way it might not sting as much. You’ll be surprised to find that by doing this you can shave 7 to 10 years off the life of your mortgage.

We’re here when you’re ready! Please call us at 210-494-5400.