Popular Austin Swimming Holes to Cool Off In This Summer

June 20th, 2017

 

Summer has officially hit the Austin, TX, area. For those of you who don’t already know, the summer season in Austin is long and HOT! Can you think of any better way to survive the scorching heat than cooling off in some of Austin’s most popular swimming holes? If you want to spend your summer outside – there is no better way. As a longtime Austin resident, I’ve jotted down some of the best Austin has to offer. Here are some of the most popular Austin swimming holes, plus the best public pools in North Austin and its surrounding communities:

Austin swimming holes

Popular Austin Swimming Holes

Deep Eddy Pool

The Deep Eddy Pool is the oldest and most historic swimming pool in Texas featuring a bathhouse built during the Depression era by the Works Progress Administration. The site, located on the Colorado River, was originally used as a swimming hole, because of the cold springs that rose from the river banks, became a resort, featuring a bathhouse, in the 1920s, and is now a popular swimming pool owned by the City of Austin. The shallow end, cool water, and massive cottonwood trees make this spot a family favorite! A small fee is required for admittance to the pool. Click here for more information.

Location: 401 Deep Eddy Ave., Austin, TX 78703

Barton Springs Pool

Three acres in size, Barton Springs Pool is fed from underground water and is a refreshing 68 degrees year-round (on average). With the beautiful trees, cold and clear water, and diving board, this is certainly a favorite among Austinites! Bring a mask and snorkel to explore all the fish life.  Moss makes the bottom a bit slippery for young children and non-swimmers. Note nominal charge for admittance.

Location: Located in Zilker Park, 2201 Barton Springs, Austin, TX 78704

Hamilton Pool

Formed by thousands of years of water erosion, Hamilton Pool is one of the most unique swimming and hiking destinations in the Austin area. Hamilton Pool is located 23 miles west of Austin and features a 50-foot waterfall, picnic tables, hiking trails, and restrooms. Reservations are now required to enter Hamilton Pool from May 1, 2017, to September 30, 2017 – click here to reserve your entrance to the pool.

Location: 24300 Hamilton Pool Rd., Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Lady Bird Lake

Running directly through downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake is an outdoor haven for all walks of Austin residents. Austinites love to use the 10-mile trail around the lake to get their daily exercise. In the summer months, rent kayaks, canoes, or paddle boards to enjoy life on the lake with unbeatable views of the Austin skyline.

 

North Austin Neighborhood Pools and Splash Pads

  • Bailey Splash Pad
    • 1101 W. 33rd Street
  • Balcones Neighborhood Pool
    • 12017 Amherst Drive
  • Brentwood Neighborhood Pool
    • 6710 Arroyo Seco
  • Canyon Vista Neighborhood Pool
    • 8455 Spicewood Springs
  • Kennemer Neighborhood Pool
    • 1032 Payton Gin Road
  • Murchison Neighborhood Pool
    • 3700 North Hills Drive
  • Northwest (Beverley S. Sheffield) Municipal Pool
    • 7000 Ardath Street
  • Springwoods Municipal Pool
    • 13320 Lyndhurst Street
  • Walnut Creek Municipal Pool
    • 12138 N. Lamar Blvd.

Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown and Round Rock Public Pools

  • Block House Swimming Pool Apac
    • 3100 N Blockhouse Dr., Leander, TX 78641
  • Elizabeth Milburn Park and Pool
    • 1901 Sun Chase Blvd., Cedar Park, TX 78613
  • Sendero Springs Pool
    • 4203 Pasada Ln., Round Rock, TX 78681
  • Creekside Park & Pool
    • 4300 Brushy Creek Rd., Round Rock, TX 78681
  • River Ridge Pool
    • 414 S Ridge Circle, Georgetown, TX 78628
  • Lake Creek Pool
    • 800 Deerfoot Drive, Round Rock, TX 78664
  • Cat Hollow Pool
    • 8600 O’Connor Drive, Round Rock, TX 78681
  • Veteran’s Memorial Pool
    • 2525 W New Hope Drive, Cedar Park, TX 78613

For a crisp and refreshing summer, dive into any one of these Austin swimming holes. And, don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses, and refreshments! Happy summer to all!

Do you have any questions about the Austin area? Give me a call; I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about this great community!

How to Explore Neighborhoods with Social Media

May 25th, 2017

Exploring a city can be difficult when you don’t live there, or even when you do live there. If you’re looking for an easier way; you’re in luck! The following social media features, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the iPhone Maps app, are all available to help you learn more about the city you are moving to or the city in which you already live. Take a look at how to explore neighborhoods with social media:

  1. Facebook’s secret feature: City Guides

It turns out, Facebook’s City Guides feature, intended as a travel planning resource, can be used to learn more about the city you live in, or are looking to move to. Simply search for a city (currently only 20 cities in America), and then explore each category (restaurants, nightlife, cafes, parks, attractions, etc.). Lucky for us, Facebook has already created a City Guide for the Austin, TX, area. Go in and take a peek! You can explore where your friends in the area go, or you can go straight to the section called “Places the locals go” to get a good feel for the area and places you should try now, or when you move to the city.

How to find it: On your mobile app, click on the bottom right button and look for City Guides in the menu. This feature is extremely new, so make sure to install the latest version before looking.

explore neighborhoods with social media

  1. Instagram’s secret feature: Places tab

While the Facebook City Guides feature is used to explore the city as a whole, the Instagram Places tab can be used to search through particular neighborhoods. Simply search the neighborhood, city, or area you live in, or want to live in, and the Places tab (located to the far right, after a search) will collect all the recent snapshots from users geotagged by location. This tab will allow you to explore what is happening right now in that area – as well as where people who live in that area, or visit it, like to go to eat, drink, etc.

How to find it: The Places tab is located to the far right, once you have typed in your search. Simply search for the neighborhood and then click on the Places tab to begin exploring the area!

explore neighborhoods with social media

  1. Twitter’s secret feature: Advanced search

Twitter’s secret feature is the advanced search. How do you use it? Simply go on your computer, type in a location on the search tab, and then hit the advanced search option. This will allow you to customize your search. Once customized, hit search, and start exploring all the local blogs, news sources, and influencers in the area. These people, photos, or news are all located within 15 miles of your location, making them hyper-local.

How to find it: On the computer, simply search for an area, and once searched, click on the advanced search feature.

explore neighborhoods with social media

  1. iPhone Map App: Flyover feature

Do you want to get an overall feel for a city? There’s an app for that! The flyover feature, located on the iPhone map app, shows you an overall view of an entire city. However, this feature is not available for every area of the United States. How do you know if it is available? There are two ways: one, simply scroll over the city and see if there is a “3D” option, as shown below; or two, search for the city and see if there is a “flyover tour” button available, as shown below as well. Once clicked on, the flyover feature will take you on a flyover tour of the city. This tour points out the major attractions, while also giving you a good feel of what the city looks like.

How to find it: On your iPhone, go into the Maps app and look for either a “flyover tour” button or a “3D” button over the city.

explore neighborhoods with social media

 

Do you have any questions about the Austin area? Give me a call; I would be happy to help you get to know the city!

 

Resources:

https://www.trulia.com/blog/3-secrets-exploring-neighborhoods-social-media/

Memorial Day 2017 – Austin, TX

May 22nd, 2017

Every Memorial Day, we take the time to remember the men and women who died in America’s armed forces. Whether you choose to spend the day with family, at an event in the Austin area, at a cookout with friends or floating down the river, keep in mind that this day off, from work or school, is dedicated to remembering the brave men and women who died serving our country.

memorial day

 

What events are going on around the Austin area? Take a look:

  

Poolside Cookout at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa

May 27-28 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with Pool Cabana Menu

Pool Cabana Menu: cheeseburger, Coach Royal, hot dog, kid’s burger sliders, cookies, brownies, and chips.

Poolside Cookout includes the above grill items, plus miniature golf tournaments, dive-in movies, live music and more.

 

Red, White & Blues On The Falls – Ft. JP Harris, Luke Winslow King, Motel Radio & More

Cypress Falls Event Center

Sunday, May 28 at 1 p.m.

Tickets: $16 (Early Bird), $21 (At the Door), Children 8 and under are FREE

Float, swim, and relax on Cypress Creek while jamming out to live music! Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.

 

Memorial Day Splash & Bash

Zip Lost Pines

Monday, May 29 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

FREE Entry (pay for food and activities)

Enjoy a full day of food, face painting, games, arts n’ crafts, snow cones, water slides and other attractions. Active Duty and Veterans will receive special discounts for our FULL zip tour. The event is BYOB.

 

Memorial Day Brunch

Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden

May 28-29 at 11 a.m.

Brunch includes the following: bacon steak, freedom toast, Banger’s bennies and more!

 

The Hell Yes Project Olympics & Memorial Day Party

The ABGB

Monday, May 29 at 12 p.m.

Come on out for food, beer, music, and sports! The Olympics start at 3 p.m., with karaoke to follow, where you get to place your vote for the best performance!

 

Memorial Day Weekend Pig Roast

Duchman Family Winery, Driftwood

Sunday, May 28th from 5 to 8 p.m.

The event features live music and a roasted pig buffet. $35.00 per person, price includes pig roast buffet ticket and one wine glass ticket (advanced ticket purchase required).

 

Do you know of any Memorial Day events in Austin that didn’t make the list? Let me know – I would love to add it to my list in the future.

We wish you a happy and fun Memorial Day!

Do you have any questions about the Austin area? I love this great city and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Give me a call anytime.

 

7 Tips to Successfully Refinance Your Mortgage

May 16th, 2017

Refinancing your current mortgage can save you money. However, to save money, it is important to go into the process with all the facts. So, how do you successfully refinance your mortgage? Here are seven tips to help you:

Increase Your Credit Score

Before talking to lenders, be sure you have a good to great credit score. While there may be low mortgage interest rates out there, the chances of you locking them up with a subpar credit score are lower than if you work to increase your credit score. How do you go about increasing this score? Here are a couple of ways: correcting errors in your credit report, paying debt, paying bills on time, etc. For quick reference, below is a graph on the credit score categories:

refinance your mortgage

Compare APRs, not APYs

Have you started shopping around for different mortgage interest rates? If so, make sure to pay closer attention to the annual percentage rates (APRs) than the annual percentage yields (APYs). While both are important when choosing a mortgage, APRs more accurately tell you what you will be paying.

Get the Length Right

How long do you want your mortgage to last? While people know about the 30-year and 15-year loans, those aren’t the only options available. There are 20-year mortgages – which offer a middle point between the 15-and 30-year loans, 40-year mortgages, and other lengths. To be smart, figure out what monthly mortgage payment fits your budget and then select the loan that most closely fits that number.

Loan Prepayments

Consider a loan that won’t penalize you for making prepayments or higher payments each month, quarter, or year. Paying more on each monthly mortgage payment can save you money over the long run since you won’t be paying as much in interest over the term of the loan.

There is No Such Thing as “No Cost” Refinancing

Refinancing costs money. The cost of refinancing can either be paid upfront or over the term of the loan – which usually means higher interest rates. If you are planning on living in the home long term, pay the cost of refinancing upfront. However, if you’re expecting to live in the home short term, it may be better to pay these costs over the term of the loan (only because you won’t be paying the higher interest rate too long).

Should You Pay “Points”?

Typically, you can lower your interest rate by paying “points.” A point is one percentage of your loan value. Points can be a good option if you are planning to be in your home long enough to break even. How is this determined? First off, each point paid lowers your interest rate by 0.25%. Now, for the math…Say you have a mortgage of $300,000 – one point would be $3,000. If paying the point is saving you $50 per month, then it would take you 60 months, or 5 years, to break even. Remember, only pay a point if you plan to stay in the home long-term.

Don’t Refinance for Cash Out

What do we mean? Some people refinance their loan to cash out some of the equity in their home. This isn’t the best idea. While you do get cash fast, doing so usually sets you up with a larger mortgage and less home equity. Also, cash out options often come with higher interest rates. The bottom-line – consider this carefully before pulling the trigger.

 

Refinancing your mortgage can save you money. However, be sure to follow these 7 tips to successfully refinance.

Do you have any questions about refinancing in Austin’s current market? Give me a call; I would be honored to provide guidance.

 

Resources:

https://www.homeloansforall.com/10-tips-refinancing-mortgage/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/03/24/7-tricks-to-use-when-refinancing-a-mortgage/99154472/

Top Austin Easter Brunch Locations

April 7th, 2017

Spring has sprung in the Austin area – at least Texas’ version of spring! With spring comes bluebonnets, warmer weather, and Easter! Easter, which falls on April 16th this year, is a holiday filled with Easter egg hunts, egg coloring, honey ham, and last but certainly not least, Easter Brunch! Where can you find a spot to enjoy a scrumptious Easter Brunch in Austin? Here are some of our favorites Austin Easter Brunch locations:

 

Austin Easter Brunch

Austin Easter Brunch

Mattie’s at Green Pastures

  • 811 W Live Oak Street, Austin
  • Brunch: Sunday, April 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring live music performances throughout the day. Pricing is as follows: $72 for adults, $25 for children 12 and under.
  • Egg Hunt: 12:30 p.m.

Driskill Grill

  • 604 Brazos Street, Austin
  • Sunday, April 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Reservations are required)
  • The Driskill Grill goes all out with a three-course brunch featuring confit rabbit benedict or chorizo and cheddar pancakes with wild boar tenderloin, and a mimosa bar. Pricing is as follows: $110 a person, and $12 a person for the mimosa bar.

Eden East at Springdale Farm

  • 755 Springdale Road, Austin
  • Sunday, April 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Brunch features dishes like smoked redfish, whole roasted pig, crab cakes and more, at $90 per person. Reservations are required.

Carmelo’s Ristorante Italiano

  • 504 E 5th Street, Austin
  • Sunday, April 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • If you’re looking for an Italian-style Easter Brunch, this is the spot for you! The buffet features ham, pollo ossobucco, lobster bisque and more! Pricing is $44.95 per person and reservations are required.

in.gredients

  • 2610 Manor Rd., Austin
  • Sunday, April 16 from 11 to 2 p.m.
  • Enjoy all that Easter has to offer from 11 to 2 p.m. at in.gredients. The afternoon will include egg hunts, flower pot painting, music and brunch. Visit their website for more information. 

Second Bar + Kitchen

  • 3121 Palm Way, Austin – Domain Northside
  • Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Located at the Domain Northside, the Second Bar + Kitchen offers an all-you-can-eat Easter brunch for a great price of $38 for adults and $19 for children (4 and under can eat for free).

Click here for even more brunch options around the Austin area!

 

Have a favorite brunch location that didn’t make the list? Let me know!  I would love to add it to my list in the future.

Do you have any questions about the Austin area? I love this city and would be honored to answer any questions you may have.

 

Resources:

http://austin.eater.com/maps/easter-brunch-austin-restaurants

 

Top Home Renovation Projects to Increase Your Home’s Value

March 30th, 2017

While some home improvements can be pretty costly, there are several that offer a significant return on investment. If you are considering completing a renovation project on your home, here are five of top renovation projects that will increase your home’s value:

top renovation projects

Replace Your Front Door

First impressions do matter. Consider replacing your front door with a brand-new one that increases your home’s curb appeal.

National Median Cost: $2,000

Return on Investment: 75%

Upgrade Your Kitchen                                                                         

Renovating the kitchen, one of the most popular renovation projects, can get out of hand. However, it doesn’t have to. You don’t have to go all out on a kitchen remodel to increase your home’s value. A minor kitchen remodel – re-facing instead of replacing cabinets, and adding new flooring, countertops, and appliances – can drastically increase the value of your home, while keeping the renovation cost to the minimum (for a kitchen).

National Median Cost: $30,000

Return on Investment: 67%

Deck and/or Patio Addition

According to a 2014 Home Trends Survey, having an outdoor patio and/or deck is becoming increasingly more popular. Why is this? Because adding a deck and/or patio adds living space at an extremely low cost! Plus, who doesn’t like a little fresh air?

National Median Cost: $8 to $35 per square foot

Turning an Attic into a Bedroom

Do you want to add a new bedroom to your home, but worried a bedroom addition would cost too much? Turning your attic into a bedroom is the solution! Converting your attic space keeps your remodeling costs under control because you don’t have to add on to your home’s footprint – all you have to do is remodel the current space into a livable space. However, be sure to follow the code restrictions for converting an attic into a bedroom.

National Median Cost: $65,000

Return on Investment: 94%

New Garage Door

Replacing your home’s garage door adds value to your home while also increasing your home’s curb appeal. Completing this renovation is genius if you are thinking about selling your home soon.

National Median Cost (2-Car Garage): $2,300

Return on Investment: 87%

Now, keep in mind these numbers are the AVERAGE cost and ROI, they are not the exact value you will spend on the project. Some projects may cost more and others may cost less. It all depends on the materials and the contractor you choose for the job.

Are you looking for a contractor to help with your renovation project? I have an extensive database of contractors and home maintenance experts I trust in the greater Austin area. Give me a call; I would be happy to send you my recommendations.

Resources:

https://www.houselogic.com/save-money-add-value/add-value-to-your-home/home-remodeling-projects-with-long-term-ROI/

Unattractive Design Trends to Homebuyers

March 29th, 2017

As surprising as it might sound, the design style of your home can be a major turn-off to homebuyers. While you want your home to look its best, “its best” can mean different things to different people. While your home may be appealing to you, it could make a homebuyer think twice before purchasing your home. What design styles turn-off homebuyers? Here are several unattractive design trends to homebuyers:

unattractive design trends

Bold Walls

Boldly painted walls, while cheap to fix, can be a major turn-off to homebuyers. As a rule of thumb, consider sticking to neutral colors like beige, gray, or greige when preparing your home for the market. Simply incorporate accessories to the room to add pops of color.

Also, keep this in mind with wallpaper. While it may be appealing to you, it has the possibility to be too busy to potential homebuyers. Consider replacing wallpaper with neutral paint when placing your home on the market.

Converted Rooms

While your garage may have been the perfect location for your band to practice, it is in your best interest to convert it back to a garage when selling your home. Buyers like rooms in a home to be used for their intended purpose. So, if you’ve converted a bedroom to a workout room, consider staging it as a bedroom to appeal to homebuyers when your home is on the market.

Shiny Hardware

Be sure the metal hardware in your home is in line with the current design trends. While brass fixtures may have been in 20 years ago, they may not be now. Keep your home in line with the current trends to avoid turning off potential homebuyers.

Carpet

Buyers like to avoid carpet throughout a home to avoid having to steam clean the home, to remove potential germs and odors, before moving in. To appeal to homebuyers, consider hardwood floors throughout your home. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but they are also easy to clean!

High Maintenance Landscape

While outdoor living space is all the rage, try not to overdo it. High maintenance landscaping can turn-off buyers, as all they see is a lot of work for them. Dress up your backyard but in a low maintenance way.

Pets

Remove all traces of your pet from your home when selling – especially odors and stains…. these can be a major turn-off to homebuyers!

Do you need assistance getting your home ready to sell? I would love to help in any way I can. Give me a call anytime.

 

Resources

10 Interior Design Trends That Turn Off Home Buyers

 

10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Mortgage

February 27th, 2017

Deciding to purchase a home is one of the most important financial decisions in an individual’s lifetime. While searching for the perfect home is the fun part, there are several steps to complete before evening beginning that search. What should you do before searching for homes online or taking any home tours? First and foremost, you should create a budget to determine what mortgage rate your budget can afford each month. Start by interviewing several mortgage lenders in your area. Determine their reputability through past reviews, and explain your financial situation – you’ll know when you’ve found the right one! The right lender will respect your financial situation and work hard to ensure you get the best rate. Once you have chosen a lender, he or she will run your credit and present you with options for what you qualify to borrow, your interest rate, and more! However, consider asking yourself these 10 questions before choosing a mortgage:

  1. What is the interest rate?
    • Your interest rate is determined by loan and your credit score. If you do not like the interest rate, consider cleaning up your credit score. A lower credit score may mean a lower interest rate.
  2. What is the monthly mortgage payment?
    • Ensure the monthly mortgage payment associated with your new home fits into your monthly budget. If it doesn’t, consider taking a smaller loan and purchasing a smaller home. You don’t want to risk your long-term or short-term financial goals.
  3. Is the mortgage fixed rate or an ARM?
    • A fixed rate mortgage remains the same for the duration of your loan, while an ARM (adjustable-rate mortgage) is an interest rate that changes at intervals after an initial period. An ARM is a good option if you are not thinking about staying in the home long-term, as this loan tends to have a lower interest rate at the beginning. However, be sure to ask what your interest rate will increase to after the initial period.
  4. What fees do I have to pay?
    • At closing, there is a one-time fee called “points.” Typically, for every point you pay your lender will decrease your interest rate by one percent. You can ask to pay zero at closing in exchange for a higher interest rate – be sure to ask your lender about this option.
  5. Does the loan have any prepayment penalties?
    • In some cases, you may have to pay a fee for making some extra mortgage payments to try to pay off your mortgage principal sooner. Be sure to ask your lender if your loan will have this fee.
  6. When can I lock in the interest rate and points? And, how much does this cost?
    • You may have the option to ask your lender to lock in an interest rate for a fee. This locked in interest rate will last for a certain amount of time. However, keep in mind, this could ensure that you benefit from a lower mortgage interest rate.
  7. What are the qualifying guidelines for this loan?
    • Ensure your lender explains all the guidelines for the loan before committing. These guidelines include, but are not limited to, the following: income, reserve requirements, sufficient funds for a down payment, closing costs, proof of income, and six-month of mortgage payments saved.
  8. What is the minimum down payment required for this loan?
    • The minimum down payment differs from loan to loan. However, most require a 20 percent down payment. If you do put down less than 10 percent, you will likely be required to pay a PMI (private mortgage insurance). However, if you qualify for an FHA loan, you can put down as little as 3.5 percent. Discuss these options with your lender before committing to a mortgage.
  9. Do I have to pay for mortgage insurance, and how much will this cost?
    • If you put down less than 20 percent, you will be required to pay mortgage insurance until your loan-to-value ratio is below 80 percent. A PMI (private mortgage insurance) can be spendy, around $100/month for every $100,000 borrowed.
  10. Do you have other mortgage products with lower rates? Can I qualify for these?
    • Ask you lender if they have any mortgage products with lower interest rates and if you can qualify for them. Chances are, your lender has already presented you with all the options. But, it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Do you have any questions about the mortgage process? I know several lenders in the greater Austin area and would be happy to provide you with their information!

Resources:

https://www.trulia.com/blog/dont-leave-lenders-office-without-asking-10-questions/

Prepare Your Home for a Spring Sale

February 14th, 2017

Are you considering selling your home this spring? If so, did you know that preparing your home for the spring market can make a huge difference? It’s true; a little preparation goes a long way with homebuyers! Preparing your home may increase its value and reduce its time on the market. How should you get your home ready for a spring sale? Here are a couple of tips to prepare your home for a spring sale:

Prepare your home for a Spring Sale Checklist - Michelle Busby

Exterior

  • Keep your landscaping well-manicured and grass cut
  • Remove all yard clutter and unnecessary items
  • Apply fresh stain or paint to wooden fences and decks
  • Paint the front door and add pops of color using seasonal plants in pots
  • Sweep, power wash, and add a new mat to the front porch
  • Weed and add fresh mulch to garden beds
  • Add freshly-planted flowers to gardens
  • Power wash and/or paint the exterior
  • Wash all windows, interior and exterior
  • Clean gutters and downspouts; ensure all downspouts are securely attached
  • Ensure the key and lockset on all doors operate smoothly and properly

Interior

  • Remove excessive wall art, furniture, and personal items
  • Clean, touch-up, and/or paint walls and ceilings
  • Shampoo carpets and deep-clean hard surface flooring
  • Clean and organize cabinets and closets
  • Consider a temporary storage unit for unneeded items
  • Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps
  • Clean all light fixtures and ceiling fans
  • Consider purchasing fresh covers, pillow covers, and decorative pillows for beds
  • Buy fresh decorative towels for the kitchen and bathrooms
  • Buy fresh rugs for entryways, bathrooms, and kitchen
  • Place fragrant soaps in bathrooms

Click here for a printable checklist.

Would you like assistance preparing your home for the market? Give me a call; I would love to help in any way I can!

Or, if you just have questions, I’m here for you as well!

Filing Your 2016 Homestead Exemption

January 26th, 2017

It’s that time of year again…tax season. I know this is usually one of the most dreadful times of year – but, I’m here to help. By filing your homestead exemption, eligible Texas homeowners can save a percentage or dollar amount on their property taxes. How does it work? Here’s a roadmap to help you through the process:

homestead exemption

Who is Eligible for a Homestead Exemption?

Your home must meet the following requirements to qualify for a homestead exemption:

  • You must own you home on January 1.
  • The home must be your principal residence on January 1.

Also, it is vital that you update your address on your driver’s license and with the tax assessor/collector in your area. The address on your driver’s license or identification card MUST match the homestead exemption address.

The form and additional information must be filed by April 30th (of this year) to qualify.

Do ALL Homes Qualify?

No. Only a home used as your principal residence qualifies for the exemption. Your home must meet this definition of a residence homestead: The home’s owner must be an individual (i.e. not a corporation or other business entity) and use the home as his or her primary residential on January 1 of the tax year. If you are age 65 or older, the January 1 ownership and residency are not required.

How Does the Exemption Work?

A homestead exemption removes part of your home’s value from taxation, therefore lowering your property taxes. For example, if your home is appraised at $100,000, and you qualify for a $25,000 exemption, you will pay school taxes on the home as if it was worth only $75,000.

What Homestead Exemptions are Available?

The following homestead exemptions are available to you:

  • School taxes – All residence homestead owners may receive a $25,000 homestead exemption from their home’s value for school taxes
  • County taxes – If your county collects a special tax for roads or flood control, you may receive a residence exemption of $3,000 for county taxes.

Of course, check with your county for specifics.

How to Apply?

  • Complete Application
    • File an application with your county of residence. Married individuals should only list one person as the primary homeowner. If you are 65 years of age or older, or have a disability, make sure to follow your specific instructions.
  • Include Residency Proof Documents
    • Make sure you proof of residency documents match the information on your homestead exemption application (mainly the address).
  • Submit Application
    • You can mail, fax or hand deliver the application to your county’s appraisal office. Be sure to submit the form by April 30th to qualify for the exemption.

Homestead Exemption Forms (By County)

Travis County

Williamson County

Hays County 

Burnet County

Lampasas County 

When your homestead exemption is accepted, you do not have to apply again for the following tax year. Your homestead exemption will last as long as you live in that residence.

Do you have any questions about the homestead exemption process? I would be happy to provide guidance. Contact me anytime.