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Homestead Exemptions

In Texas homeowners may qualify to receive a General Residence Homestead Exemption of $25,000 on the value of their property for school taxes.

To qualify for this exemption:

  1. You must own and occupy your residence on January 1st of the year for which you are applying.
  2. You can not claim any other property as a homestead.
  3. Only individual homeowners (not corporations or other entities) may receive a homestead exemption.
  4. A homestead can be a home, condominium or a manufactured home. It can include up to 20 acres of the land if also owned by the homeowner and used as yard or another purpose related to the residential use of the home.
  5. You must apply between January 1st and April 30th of the year for which you want the exemption.

To apply:

  1. Complete the application for Residential Homestead Exemption.
  2. Include a copy of your drivers license or identification card from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The address must match the homestead address.

For more information contact your local county appraisal district office or visit

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How Owning a Home Benefits You and Your Family

Many people know that buying a home can be an excellent financial decision. But owning a home hasmany social benefits, too.


Homeowners generally have fewer health problems and report greater happiness than renters—even when the homeowners
and renters have the same incomes and education levels.


Homeownership may help parents engage in positive parenting behavior with more opportunities for school involvement or
participation in neighborhood activities. And residential stability has a positive effect on reading and math performance of children
between the ages of three and 12.


Homeowners get more engaged in organizations that serve their community— like schools—regardless of whether they
live in high-value or low-value homes. Home owners also form more relationships with neighbors they can count on for support
and friendship. And homeowners are more politically and civically active.


Neighborhoods with more homeowners have less property and personal crimes than neighborhoods with more renters,
even when comparing areas with similar socioeconomic characteristics.


Your REALTOR® can help you take the steps toward buying a home and enjoying all the benefits of a place to call your own.

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Real Estate and the Economy

On the national level:

The United States is in one of the longest economic expansions ever; right behind the 60s and the 90s.  Consumer confidence is higher than the year 2000, and Americans’ home equity is higher than ever before.  Mortgage rates remain low with some expectation that rates might rise a little in 2018.

In Texas:

Four metropolitan areas are among the highest domestic in migration areas in the 21st century:

  • Dallas Fort Worth – Arlington
  • Houston – The Woodlands
  • Austin – Round Rock
  • San Antonio – New Braunfels

In San Antonio:

The inventory of unsold homes is at a record low – under 4 months, and new construction remains at half those levels of 2005, 2006, and 2007.

All of these factors indicate that real estate in San Antonio and throughout Texas will remain active during 2018.  The inventory will probably remain low and appreciation will continue to increase.

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Checklist for Moving

The busiest moving season is upon us.  If you have a move in you near future, here are a few things you might not have thought of:

Two Months Prior

  • Get estimates from movers; check their references
  • Decide what you will move; what you want to get rid of

One Month Prior

  • Plan on moving you bank accounts; talk to local representatives about their services
  • Get records from you doctors, dentists, etc.
  • Get school records for your children.  Contact new schools to see about their requirements (including immunizations)
  • Arrange for pets moving/boarding and get their records from your veterinarian
  • Close local accounts that you will not be using
  • Get change of address info to businesses, friends and magazines
  • Cancel utilities effective the day of your departure (electric, gas, water, cable, trash collection, local internet service)

Two Weeks Prior

  • Personally pack sentimental and valuable items and decide how they are to be transported
  • Take a local directory with you
  • Make hotel reservations if traveling
  • Have cars serviced for the trip
  • Arrange for a babysitter for packing and loading days

Final Days

  • Put together a survival package-paper plates and plastic utensils, towels, soap, toilet paper, bedding, and snacks
  • Arrange for cash/checks you will need for the move
  • Defrost freezer and dry out freezer, washer and refrigerator
  • Pack for the trip
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Planning to Sell

Planning to Sell?

If a home sale is in your near future, now is the time to start getting your property ready for the market.

Start with your front door/entry area.  Paint or polish your door and hardware, clean off all of the old cob webs or mud-dobbers nests and prune your entry landscaping.  Check around outside to see if painting is in order.

For the inside, clean out all of your closets, pantries, storage rooms and garage.  Call one of the charitable organizations to pick up the “stuff” or rent a storage facility if you just can’t part with your “stuff”.

Have your windows cleaned; replace any that have condensation/milky look.  Have your carpets shampooed.  If they won’t come clean, consider replacement.

Eliminate any sources of odor – cigarette smoke, pet smells, or any musty/mildew smell.  If it’s a problem, consider having your air conditioner ducts cleaned, replace old dog beds or move cat litter boxes.

Set out fresh flowers both in pots and in beds.  Make sure all of the dead/frozen foliage is trimmed away.

Make sure all light bulbs are burning and change out your air conditioner filters.

A buyer wants a home that looks well maintained – the last thing they want is a home that looks like it needs maintenance or one that looks neglected.  If you make the effort to spruce things up you will most likely be rewarded for your efforts.
Download the publication document here.

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Real Estate Roundup!

May new home sales gain 2.2% from April

Sales of new single-family houses in May 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000, which is up 2.2% from April, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. — From Housing Wire

3 ways to tame student loan debt and afford a mortgage

It’s no secret that student loans can make buying a home a challenge. But what exactly is the problem, and how can buyers overcome it? The problem is that student loans can be included in the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio, or DTI. — From Bankrate

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We’re ready for the TRID rules!

At 5 p.m. EST June 17, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a statement that the effective date for the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rules would be pushed back to Oct. 1, 2015.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a prepared statement: “The CFPB will be issuing a proposed amendment to delay the effective date of the Know Before You Owe rule until Oct. 1, 2015. We made this decision to correct an administrative error that we just discovered in meeting the requirements under federal law, which would have delayed the effective date of the rule by two weeks. We further believe that the additional time included in the proposed effective date would better accommodate the interests of the many consumers and providers whose families will be busy with the transition to the new school year at that time.”

Rainier Title has been working towards the TRID implementation for over a year and felt prepared for August 1st. However, with the proposed delay we will be taking this opportunity to continue our education and training of TRID. While we believe that we have been proactive and ready for this change, there are still so many unknowns that will have to be addressed at the time of implementation. The industry should still prepare for 45-60 days for transaction to close due to the new timing parameters of the forms.

We’re working hard to be ready for all changes!


Real Estate Roundup

Active Home-Building Industry Will Lead to More Demand for Warehouse Space

Strong consumer spending and the rise in housing construction activity are currently the prime factors for the incredible rebound of the U.S. industrial real estate sector, and experts say as home buying continues to increase, so will demand for warehouse space. — From NRE Online

To Buy or Not to Buy: That Is the Developer’s Question

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