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!

8 Pool Dangers in Allen, Tx. 75002

Every Summer residents of Allen, Tx. prepare for fun in the sun at pools and splash parks alike. Pools are a places friends and families expect to splash, play, and relax together. In preparation for this joy-filled time with their loved ones however, parents often forget to plan for potential dangers inherent in pool recreation.

 

No one wants to experience a tragedy in the home or HOA pool. Thankfully, hundreds of families navigate swimming season safely each year. Unfortunately, dozens of families fall victim to drownings and other water related accidents each summer. With this in mind, it is important to know what hidden dangers pools present to your families. The following are the Top 7 Pool Dangers in Allen, Tx. 75002. Please read them and remember to watch out for potential risks as you enter a time of summer fun in the sun!

 

  1. Drowning

Drowning is the most familiar pool danger but it is also the most preventable. Individuals can drown in very short periods of time, and even near-drowning accidents can result in permanent debilitating injuries. Every day, around ten people die from unintentional drowning. In 2016 alone, Texas experienced at least 35 drownings of children younger than 6!

 

  1. Diseases

Many types of bacteria can survive quite happily in swimming pools, circulating among different swimmers to spread illness.

 

  1. Chemical Exposure

The chemicals used to keep pools clean and safe can be dangerously toxic in high amounts. Chlorine, for example, can dry and irritate skin as well as aggravate asthma. These chemicals can also kill the body’s naturally beneficial bacteria if water is swallowed, potentially causing digestive problems and lowered immunity.

 

  1. Electrical Shock

Both water and chlorine are excellent conductors of electricity, making swimming pools very hazardous in unsafe electrical conditions.

 

  1. Food and Beverage

Eating together at the pool can be as much fun as playing in the water. Unfortunately, careless handling of food and drinks can pose dangers as well.

Food falling into a pool can overtax the filtration system. Also, broken glass containers in or out of the pool can seriously injure swimmers. Furthermore, drinking alcohol can impair a person’s ability to swim.

 

  1. Sunburns

Golden tans are wonderful. Unfortunately, many people spend hours overexposing their skin to the sun’s radiation in order to achieve this sought after look. The sunburns that result, including painful sores and blisters, are just one of the concerns. Too much sun exposure also increases risks of skin cancer.

 

  1. Seizure Disorders

For people with seizure disorders, drowning is the most common cause of unintentional injury death.

 

  1. Toys & Inflatable Pools

Water guns, inflatable rafts, basketball hoops, and countless other pool toys bring hours of fun entertainment for swimmers. There are also risks associated with pool toys, especially when they are misused.

Inflatable pools bring their own set of potential problems parents beware of. These pools can become lopsided and unbalanced. Also, because many inflatable pools are filled using household water hoses they do not have treated water like other swimming pools do.

 

Closing thoughts

No family imagines they will ever experience injury or death due to the these dangers. Although most never suffer through such a tragedy, one victim is too many. Hopefully, all who plan for summer fun experience just that! Let’s respect the potential dangers of the neighborhood or family pool this year and finish the summer with smiles on our faces and our loved ones in our arms!

 

If you are interested in buying or selling a home please email us at kjonesgroup@ebby.com.

If you would like to receive ‘6 Steps to Safeguard Your Swimming Pool Fun!’ please fill out the form below!

 

 

Sources:

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts

 

Love to Know – Swimming Pool Dangers by Melissa Mayntz,

 

Pool Safely – Texas Experiences Deadly Summer, September 28, 2016

10 Home Seller Tips You May Have Forgotten!

HOME SELLER TIPS

FOLLOWING ARE A FEW TIPS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU’RE SELLING A HOME:

START FROM THE OUTSIDE, AND WORK YOUR WAY IN

Don’t underestimate the importance of drive-up appeal. A well-manicured lawn, neatly trimmed shrubs and a clean walkway all help make a good first impression. Also, repair or replace damaged screens, glass panes, door hardware and other outdoor fixtures.

INVEST IN PAINT

Paint livens up a dingy room and makes it fresh and more appealing. Use soothing colors like white or other neutral tones.

INVITE SUNSHINE

Open your curtains, shades or drapes to let in the sun and brighten the room. Washing windows inside and out will add a sparkle to your room. Also, turn on lamps or accent lighting and replace missing lightbulbs. This helps to make the room more inviting.

MEND MINOR FLAWS

Check squeaky and hard-to-open windows, doors, door knobs, drawers and sliding-glass doors for ease of operation and provide adjustments or lubrication as necessary. Make sure all your plumbing is in working order, too. And always clean rust and soiled spots, empty trash baskets and deodorize pet and smoking areas.

DECORATIVE KITCHENS SELL A HOME

Create a comfortable atmosphere in the kitchen with colorful curtains, cup towels and place mats. Clear countertops of appliances and add green plants or bowls of fruit. Remember, prospective buyers will look inside cabinets, so make space in cabinets and clean inside and out.

BLEND COLOR AND CONVENIENCE IN BATHROOMS

Remove clutter from bathroom vanities and cabinets. Be sure to scrub the sinks, tub, shower, and polish mirrors and chrome. Always clean the floors and walls, and deodorize the area. Put out nice towels, and add some scented soaps or candle.

LIVING AND DINING AREAS REVEAL INTERESTS

Arrange your living- and dining-room furniture to create an open, friendly effect. Straighten cluttered bookshelves and discard excess papers. Clean all the carpets, and polish the furniture and hardwood floors. By adding a few logs in the fireplace, and magazines, books and flowers to the coffee table, you’ll portray an inviting and well-maintained home.

FAMILY ROOMS ARE FOR RELAXATION

In family rooms, you should store games and sports equipment or arrange them in attractive containers. Your goal is to eliminate the clutter. Turn off all entertainment units and play soft, relaxing music. Place furniture in conversational groups, and showcase books and magazines on tables or shelves.

BEDROOMS MUST INVITE REST AND PEACE

Avoid a crowded look in the bedroom by removing excess furniture and unnecessary items — keeping the room light and bright. Attractive, clean and crisp bed linens, with decorative pillows and shams, are important to help add peace and tranquility to the room. Arrange nightstands to display books, plants and family photos.

VALUE GOES FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

Permit visitors to see the value of your property from the front entrance to the back and through the garage. Remove unnecessary artifacts, and neatly arrange stored boxes and cartons. Darker spaces may be lightened with new paint or additional lights in room and for stairs.

If you have any questions about selling your house or would like more valuable information about the local Real Estate Market fill, please out the form below! We would love to visit with you about how we can help you maximize your home selling experience!

Fun Food Friday!

‘The Jack Wagon’ at TwoRows Classic Grill!

In 1995, Baine and Julie Brooks had a vision to offer a unique family dining experience in Allen, Tx. They combined the best made-from-scratch ingredients with a casual dining environment. The combination hit the mark and TwoRows was off and running!

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Two Rows offers a large selection of creative plates including grilled steaks, sandwiches, salads, pastas, Tex-Mex, and wood fired brick-oven pizzas.  TwoRows modern and traditional plates include Hickory Smoked Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs, Honey Blonde Beer Muffins, Dallas’ Favorite Chicken Fried Steak, Cajun Seafood Fondue, and their world-famous Honey Peppered Bacon! TwoRows also brews their own Trademarked Root Beer! (http://www.tworows.com/tworows-story/)

On top of these TwoRows offers a heart-healthy and gluten free menu for special dietary needs.

TwoRows strives to provide a unique dining experience with quality food an exceptional service!

My wife, Karis, and I typically eat the Spinnaker Salad when we eat at TwoRows. The Spinnaker is a wonderfully tasty salad. The Spinnaker includes chopped spinach and romaine lettuce, tossed with walnuts, tomatoes, feta cheese, craisins, artichoke hearts, fresh pineapples, chopped bacon, and blackberry habanero vinaigrette. You can add grilled chicken if you like. (http://www.tworows.com/the-spinnaker/)

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Karis decided to stick with the Spinnaker this Friday and is happy she did. It never lets you down!

I decided to go rogue! I found a man’s dream come true in a new sandwich called ‘The Jack Wagon’. The Jack Wagon has everything but the kitchen sink thrown in. It starts with Texas Toast and includes mac & cheese, grilled chicken, jalapenos, Honey Pepper Bacon, and a cajun dusted runny fried egg! Amazing!

I was shocked at how well the ingredients combined for a welcomed flavor explosion! Thank You Baine and the TwoRows family! You blessed my life!(http://www.tworows.com/the-jack-wagon/)

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I topped off the meal with a huge glass of Ugly Mug Root Beer.

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Needless to say, I highly recommend checking out TwoRows if you have not already. Whether you go healthy or full ‘Jack Wagon’ I am certain you will be glad you did!

TwoRows is located on the Northbound service road of Hwy 75 just north of Bethany!