Texas Homeowner? Don’t Miss the Opportunity for Savings

by Steve Smith

It’s the beginning of another new year, and we want to remind you that Texas law includes the Homestead Exemption, which allows a partial exemption from local property taxes for your primary residence.

Applications for property tax exemptions are filed with your local appraisal district. The general deadline for filing an application is April 30.

The Application for Residential Homestead Exemption is available here. A list of appraisal district addresses and phone numbers is available here.

If you have any questions regarding residential real estate, Ebby Halliday Realtors and our respected 

Associates are ready to serve you. To find just the right professional for your real estate needs, visit the award-winning, mobile-friendly kjonesgroup.com.

Pricing Your Property

Our President and CEO Mary Francis Burleson shared insightful information in this short article a few days ago. Take a look and see how you can benefit from working with a Realtor from Ebby Halliday Realtors when deciding to sell your home!

“Strategic pricing is the key to selling your home at an attractive price in an acceptable amount of time.

Many brokers can list your home for sale, but if it is not properly priced, your home may sit on the market month after month and actually help sell competing properties. You deserve a knowledgeable real estate agent who can advise you on properly pricing your home to sell in today’s dynamic market.

An Ebby Halliday Companies’ Associate can provide you with a professionally prepared Comparative Market Analysis – an analysis and evaluation of the market factors that help determine current value:

Successfully sold homes – examines the selling price of recently purchased homes comparable to yours

Competing properties for sale – since they are not yet sold, the market value is undetermined, but they are important, as buyers most likely will view and compare these properties with yours

Pending sales – Though they have not yet closed, homes under contract are a good indicator of value in the current market

Failed to sell – the listed prices of these homes suggest what potential buyers will not pay

If you’re curious about what your home is worth in today’s rapidly changing market, contact your favorite Ebby Halliday Companies’ real estate professional, or visit ebby.com for up-to-the-minute information on the Dallas-Fort Worth and North Texas real estate market.

Mary Frances”

If you would like to discuss buying or selling a home, please fill out the form below and we will contact you promptly!

Top 5 Steps for Poison Safety

PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES

Being prepared for an emergency is the most important part of poison safety. If accidents do occur be sure to know what to do. Save the Poison Help number, 1 (800) 222-1222, on your phone and display it visibly in a common room in your home and at work. Always feel free to call with questions or concerns. All calls are free, confidential, and handled by experts, 24/7/365.

STORE ITEMS SAFELY

Any of the following potential poisonous materials should be stored out of reach and sight from children. Also, store them in their original containers so everyone that contacts the substance knows exactly what it is. If it is not possible to take this precaution, then secure cabinets where substances are stored with child-safe locks. Furthermore, remember that no lock or container is 100% child proof.

  • All medications, pharmaceuticals, vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter medications.
  • E-cigarette products including liquid nicotine, Tobacco
  • All alcoholic beverages and products
  • Laundry supplies and cleaning supplies
  • All insect repellents and pesticides
  • Key fobs, button batteries (like those found in watches and musical greeting cards)
  • All oils and lubricants, fragrance oils, engine oils, including tiki torch oils
  • Hand sanitizers, contact lens cleaners, and all other personal care products
  • All chemical substances

PAY ATTENTION TO LABELS AND DIRECTIONS

Always read labels for potential hazardous substances before using. Before administering medication make a habit of reading the directions for use and follow the correct dosage. Furthermore, be sure to follow the storage safety instructions on the containers. If you have any questions about medications call poison center at 1(800) 222-1222.

PROTECT FROM INVISIBLE DANGERS

Carbon monoxide is a odorless gas that can kill. To protect yourself and your family against this silent killer keep functional carbon monoxide detectors in your home at all times. Along the same lines, be air aware and protect your family from asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fireproof material found in construction materials in homes, schools and other buildings. Asbestos exposure can cause a type of cancer called mesothelioma. Mesothelioma effects between 2,000 and 3,000 new patients every year. Also, check out the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance’s website at https://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/.

PREPARE FOOD SAFELY

We often do not think about safe food preparation until we hear about someone getting food poisoning or we get it ourselves. Each year approximately 3,000 people die from foodborne illnesses. In order to prepare food safely follow four simple steps.

First, clean your hands and food preparation surfaces consistently. Germs can live in many places around your kitchen.

Second, keep foods separate. Germs can spread from eggs, poultry, seafood, and raw meet to ready to eat foods after long periods of time.

Third, cook foods thoroughly, using a food thermometer to check internal temperatures. Whole beef, lamb, veal, fresh pork, ham, and fin fish should be cooked to 145 Degrees Fahrenheit. Ground beef, veal, pork and lam, and egg dishes should cook to 160 Degrees Fahrenheit. All poultry, leftovers and casseroles should cook to 165 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Finally, chill your food while storing. Keeping your refrigerator below 40 Degrees Fahrenheit will help reduce germ growth and keep food at a safe temperature. It only takes 2 hours for germs to grow on foods, as little as 1 hour in the summer heat.

9 Biggest Fire Hazards for Homes in Allen, Tx. 75002

It goes without saying that it is dangerous to leave candles out unattended. Additionally, most people understand leaving cigarettes burning in another room can cause a fire. Along with common causes of house fires, however many lesser publicized hazards can ignite a fire and cause serious damage to a home. With this in mind, we have gathered this list of the ‘9 Biggest Fire Hazards for Homes in Allen, Tx. 75002.’

1. Smoking

Following unintentional carelessness, smoking is the second leading cause of residential fire related deaths. More than 300 people die per year from smoking related fires in residential buildings.

2. Laptop Computers

Electrical fires are the third most common causes of residential fire related deaths, also causing more than 300 deaths. Laptops get hot quickly. When left on a soft surface, airflow can be hindered from the cooling vents in a laptop. This can easily produce enough heat to ignite a house fire.

3. Dryer Lint

I know what you are thinking: Dryer lint? Seriously? Although is may sound harmless, enough of this fluff can pack together and catch fire when exposed to enough heat. Dryer cycles during the hot summer months can easily cause this to happen.

4. Newspaper Stacks

If you are a clutter bug or like to collect newspapers, you might want to take heed to this potential fire danger. If you store newspapers close to a heat source or stacked too high they can easily catch and spread a fire.

5. Heating Pads and Electric Blankets

Many people use heating pads to find relief from muscle pains and strains. Electric blankets can bring comforting warmth in winter.. Unfortunately though, both of these can build up incredible amounts of heat when left on too long, which can start a fire.

6. Older Appliances

Some older appliance components deteriorate over time. Electrical fires can start due to deteriorated insulation or bad wiring. This can lead to disasters in the home.

7. Charcoal Storage

Although the research is all over the map on this one, know for certain how you store and care for charcoal is important. When coal is damp and does not have enough space for heat to escape it can ignite on fire.

8. Oil Soaked Rags

This one may seem obvious, however be aware that piled up oil rags in unventilated spaces can ignite, causing serious fires. Be careful how you clean up after you lubricate a bicycle or use oil to clean equipment.

9. Lighters and Matches

Fire starting equipment should be properly stored and cared for as well. If matches rub against each other or a rough surface they can easily ignite a fire. Additionally, if the wheel of a lighter turns the right way it can ignite.

No one wants their home to catch on fire, much less experience injury or death due to unintentional fires. With this in mind, make sure to observe how you handle flammable

and combustible materials.

Home Preparation

You want to sell your home, and you want to get the most for it you can. There are some simple tips that will help you attract a bid and ease the bidding process. You first need to place yourself in the position of the person who will be viewing your home. Remember you probably won’t be there for the showing. Things that are important or have sentimental value to you will not necessarily be of value to the viewer of your home and frankly your presence may hurt your home’s attractiveness to the viewer. You wouldn’t want to be in a home with the owners hovering over your shoulder talking about how they picked out the carpet, or fixed a light, or how their daughter just loves to climb the tree out back. Viewers of a home need to be conscious of the tangible benefits of that home. Because a great deal of emotion is tied to a home, it is impossible for the owner to be objective. If you plan on being there for the showing and have an agent, reconsider whether you should participate in the home staging process.

Assuming you aren’t going to be there in the home at the time of showing, try to imagine viewing your home as a stranger. Is it neat and tidy? Does it have a pleasant smell? Is it open and inviting? Is it brightly lit? Are there obvious small repairs that could be done? Is the yard neat and tidy? Are the garage, basement and attic neat and tidy? Maybe you’ve noticed the words neat and tidy several times. A perception of uncleanliness is an immediate turnoff to viewers of your home.

If you give your home a thorough cleaning, paint it with a fresh coat and do yard work, you will make a good impression. Choose neutral colors with paint. Shampoo any carpets and wax hardwood floors. You want your home to be perceived as ready to move in. Cut and edge your lawn and trim any hedges. It’s also time to clear out your storage areas and unnecessary clutter. Home viewers are going to see every part of your home so there are no hiding places for clutter (closet, basement, attic). You may also want to consider moving your car out of the garage to give it a larger appearance.

Lighting is important. You should consider purchasing a few inexpensive halogen lights for darker areas of your house. Remember a home should look clean, bright and uncluttered. Although it may be a lot of work, these things will help tremendously in the sale of your home.

INTERIOR

  • Does the house look clean and smell fresh and clean?
  • What needs to be done to make it more appealing?
  • Does the entryway or foyer need paint?
  • Is the floor covering in the entryway in need of repair?
  • Does the carpeting need cleaning?
  • Are drapes cleaned and pressed?
  • Have the fireplace and hearth been cleaned?
  • Are there scuff marks or fingerprints on walls?
  • Does kitchen floor covering require repair?
  • Does bathroom floor covering require repair?
  • Do closet doors open and close easily?
  • Are kitchen appliances clean and shiny?
  • Are kitchen counters free of clutter?
  • Are windows clean?
  • Are blinds dusted?
  • Are plumbing fixtures polished?
  • Are fingerprints removed from halls and stairways?
  • Have stains been removed from sinks?
  • Have the oven and range been thoroughly cleaned?
  • Is tile scrubbed and re-grouted if necessary?
  • Are closets neat, organized, clutter-free?
  • Has clutter been removed from halls and stairways?
  • Has the garage been cleared of junk and debris?
  • Do lights and switches require repair?
  • Are leaky faucets repaired?
  • Are the attic and basement free of clutter?
  • Are doorknobs tight and working?
  • Is the entire house free of unpleasant odors?

EXTERIOR

  • Does the house have curb appeal?
  • What needs to be done to give it more appeal?
  • Does the exterior require a new coat of paint?
  • Do doors, windows, shutter and trim require paint?
  • Are gutters and downspouts unclogged?
  • Is the lawn neatly trimmed and edged?
  • Are the garden and flower beds weeded?
  • Are bushes, trees and shrubs trimmed?
  • Do lawn ornaments require repair?
  • Are light fixtures operating properly?
  • Are windows clean and unbroken (not cracked)?
  • Are screens clean and free of holes?
  • Is there trash or debris that requires pickup?
  • Are the roof, porch and deck in good condition?
  • Have grass and weeds been removed from walks?
  • Have oil stains been removed from the driveway?
  • Do doors and windows open and close easily?
  • Is the entryway clear of toys, tools and clutter?
  • Are doorbells in good operating condition?
  • Are trash barrels neat and orderly?
  • Are railings secure and painted?
  • Are pet areas clean and odor free?
  • How do swings and lawn gyms look?
  • Do garage doors open easily?
  • Are yard tools put away neatly?

Check out our quick tips for some additional points on selling your home.

*If you would like to discuss buying or selling a home simply fill out the form below and we will contact you promptly!

Top 5 House Hunting Tips!

In today’s Real Estate landscape it is easy for home buyers in our area to get overwhelmed. With low inventories, fast markets, multiple offer situations, and many other struggles it can be tempting to give up searching. Because she understands these struggles all too well our CEO, Mary Francis Burleson, wrote some insightful tips for buyers to remember as they embark on their journey toward home ownership!

Top Five House-Hunting Tips

“List your priorities – Decide what’s most important in your desired home. Zero-in on what you want, what you really need, and what you may prefer not to have.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage – How much you pay for a home depends on your income, creditworthiness, interest rates, the type of loan you want, how much down payment you can make, and how much cash you have for closing costs. Rather than guessing how much you can afford, ask a Home Team Mortgage loan officer to give you an assessment and a pre-approval letter.

Use a checklist – Touring multiple properties can become confusing. Make notes about the homes you visit, and turn your priorities into a personalized shopping list.

Relax – Buying a home can be a major, life-changing event. Today’s home buyers have access to a wealth of information but may not have a way to tailor it to their personal needs – that’s where an Ebby Halliday Real Estate professional can be a trusted guide and represent your best interest in the successful negotiation of your home purchase.

Finally, location matters, a lot – Location is a key consideration when choosing a home, and there are multiple factors that can influence your decision. An Ebby Halliday professional can assist you with this as well.

Mary Frances”

We hope this is helpful!

If you are interested in buying a home in the near future please fill out the form below and we will contact you shortly!

Should I Buy or Rent?

Owning your own home is a classic American dream and part of American culture. Right now, more Americans own homes than ever before. Purchasing a home is a considerable financial investment, and does not guarantee that you will save money in the short or long run. The main considerations when deciding between renting or buying a home include your lifestyle, your ability to secure a mortgage and your financial situation.

As part of a lifestyle, rentals fit some people’s time restraints. Renting an apartment or home requires fewer maintenance or upkeep requirements compared to owning a home. Renting apartments give people the opportunity to live in trendy, fashionable neighborhoods that may not be affordable when purchasing a home. Renting also allows people flexibility when a job or lifestyle dictates a move.

Not everyone can secure a mortgage. Despite the many types of mortgages and federal programs, some people simply do not have the needed credit rating, or they have too much monthly debt to qualify for a mortgage or to obtain the loan necessary to afford the home they want.

Other considerations are how much you want to invest in a home and how willing you are to let that affect your lifestyle. Dallas real estate, like other great cities in Texas, can be expensive and like all property, may risk unseen expenses such as major repairs, property tax reassessments, or disasters.

Buying a home does not guarantee equity or profit on the sale. Like all investments, a home carries a level of risk. Because there are fees and costs with securing a mortgage, you will pay thousands of dollars upfront for your home. Depending on your mortgage and payments it may take years to build enough equity to compensate that expense. If you need to sell in a few years, you may never recover those initial costs. If you move around frequently or anticipate needing to in the near future, you will want to seriously consider the expense of short-term ownership of a home.

Many factors affect the property value of homes, communities and cities. Take the following questions into consideration:

  • Does the community you live in have one primary company as an employer?
  • Does your community have one major industry creating most of your community’s jobs?
  • Can a downturn in that company or industry shift the demand for housing where you live?
  • Are the demographics in your community changing?
  • Are fewer people moving into your community?
  • Is the average income in your community declining?
  • What is the likelihood of crime rising or of there being a lack of appropriate funding for schools or city services?

These factors among others affect the property values of entire communities or cities.

You should also consider what will happen to the entire housing market over time. If the economy is doing well homes tend to appreciate in value but in an economic downturn home values tend to stagnate. When you rent, you have more flexibility in reacting to major trends in the economy. When you own, you gain tax benefits by deducting certain home costs from your personal taxes.

Whether it is best to buy or to rent depends on each situation. If you weigh the lifestyle and personal changes and risks you can make an educated choice and make the decision that is best for you.

If you would like to discuss either renting or buying a home, please fill out the form below and we will contact you!