Watch out for potential pitfalls when buying a home!

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Are you a home buyer looking for a home? There are many pitfalls that you need to avoid while searching. A good Realtor (like myself!) can help you avoid these red flag items during your home search. For instance, a heavy, overpowering scent in a home could mean that the seller is trying to hide something, such as a mold problem, pet damage, or even a sewer problem! To learn about more things to look out for, check out this article/video:

Warning Signs to Watch For When Buying a Home

Call me at (214) 909-8008 to help you find a home!


Frisco, Texas Residents: Going out of town for the holidays?

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Frisco, Texas residents! Do you have holiday travel plans? Take advantage of the Frisco Police Department’s House Watch Program. You can apply for FREE by clicking here:
 
 
Please share this with others in Frisco who may benefit from this FREE service, and a huge thanks to our Frisco Police Department for keeping our homes and families safe!
 
 

10 Anti-Burglary Tips That You Must Know

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10-Steps to Burglar-Proof Your Home

  1. Maintain your property. Keep snow shoveled off of your walkway and driveway, as well as removing holiday decorations and fallen tree branches in a timely manner. This shows would-be burglars that your home is occupied.

    2. Know your neighbors. Introduce yourself and speak regularly. This way you know who lives at the house and likewise. If there is an intruder, all parties will know who belongs and who doesn’t.

    3. Assess your home’s vulnerability. Walk to the curb and face your house. Ask yourself, “How would I get in if I were locked out?” The first thing you think of, whether it’s the window with a broken lock or the door that won’t shut all the way, is exactly how a thief will get in. Think like a burglar, and then address the issues that come to mind.

    4. Respect the power of lighting. Criminals are cowards, and they don’t want to be seen. A well-lit house is a deterrent because thieves don’t want the increased witness potential Easy tools include dusk-to-dawn adapters that go into existing light fixtures and motion detectors. But beware of leaving your exterior lights on at all times, which signifies the occupant is gone for an extended period of time.

    5. Use technology to make your home look occupied. Smart home technology makes it easier to make it appear as if someone is home even when they’re not. If you have purchased different brands of devices throughout the years, a device like Wink Hub- (http://www.wink.com/products/) allows them to all communicate with each other and you to control them all on your smart phone. There are also simple light/lamp timing devices available at hardware stores.

    6. Lock your doors. No matter where you live, you should always lock your doors and keep your garage door closed. Some facts sellers should know: In 30 percent of burglaries, the criminals access the home through an unlocked door or window; 34 percent of burglars use the front door to get inside; and 22 percent use the back door.

    7. Reinforce your locks. A good door lock is nothing without a solid frame. Invest in a solid door jam and strike plate first. Know the difference between a single-cylinder and a double-cylinder deadbolt. Double cylinder deadbolts are recommended because they require a key to get in and out. For safety and emergency escape purposes, you must leave the key in when you are home. But they are against regulations in some places, so check with your local police department’s crime prevention office.

    8. Blare the sirens. Burglars are usually in and out in less than five minutes, and they know police can’t respond to an alarm that quickly. Their bigger concern is witnesses to their crime. For that reason, an external siren is invaluable, whether as part of a monitored security system or a DIY alarm. Even if you don’t have an alarm, it’s not a bad idea to invest in fake security signs and post them near doors. Even fake security system yards signs give burglars pause.

    9. Consider surveillance cameras. Video doorbells such as Ring (https://ring.com) allow homeowners to view streaming video of what’s and who is outside their door on their smart phone. The device has a motion detector feature, as well. The HD video assures that you can see a clear image and the two-way voice feature allows you to talk to them no matter where you are. Most state and local regulations require warning people that they are being recorded, which can be accomplished by printing simple paper signs and posting them near doors and windows. This can be effective even if you don’t have actually have the cameras installed!

    10. Mark your valuables and record details. Use invisible ink pens or engravers to mark identifying information (driver’s license or State ID numbers) on items. Log serial numbers and take photos of your belongings. Check to see if your police department participates in the Operation Identification program. They will have stickers for you to place on doors or windows warning would-be thieves that your items are marked. These steps may prevent them from pawning or selling stolen items and can help you reclaim recovered belongings.

    As your local Real Estate specialist, I am always thinking of you and your family’s safety. For more safety tips, drop me an email at Jlyne@kw.com .

    Happy 2017!

5 Helpful Tips for House Hunters - What You Need to Know!

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FIVE TIPS FOR HOUSE HUNTERS

The following tips can help homebuyers define their priorities and streamline the process of shopping for a home.

1 - Location matters. Location is a key consideration when choosing a home. Many factors can affect the desirability of a location including commute times to work, proximity to schools, and access to shopping, restaurants and other neighborhood attractions.

2 - List what you want in a home. You'll save hours of time if you decide early what features are most important. Your goal should be to find the right home without falling in love with one that may not suit your needs.

3 - Obtain a pre-qualification letter from a mortgage lender rather than guessing how much you are qualified to borrow. A buyer pre-qualified for a loan is often in a stronger negotiating position.

4 - Take good notes about the homes you visit. Turn your priorities into a personal checklist and use it to track the features of each property.

5 - A real estate professional can save a great deal of time and effort. Today's homebuyers have access to a wealth of information, but may not have a way to tailor it to their needs. That's where a real estate professional can be of great assistance.

If you need a Realtor to assist you, don't hesitate to contact me today! I will help you find your dream home, and have your best interests at heart.

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Frisco Moves to Outdoor Watering Restrictions Every Two Weeks

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The Frisco City Council has modified the city’s Stage 3 water requirements after carefully considering the long-term needs of the community. The decision to limit outdoor watering using automatic sprinkler systems to once every two weeks on designated trash days came at the urging of the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD). The failure of typical spring rains to make up for low lake levels has intensified the concern and need for additional measures to avoid Stage 4. The new requirement goes into effect June 29. The city is allowing residents to water turf grass and landscaping by hand up to two hours per day except between the hours of 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. City leaders recognize that the new limits will pose a challenge for residents, but they appreciate the willingness of Frisco citizens to step up and continue demonstrating their strong commitment to conserving the region’s water resources. You can read more here:

New Watering Restrictions in Place for Frisco, Texas


Know Exactly What You're Buying!

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When you buy a North Texas home, you need to know exactly what you’re buying. Imagine how frustrated you’d be to find out that the hot water heater wasn’t working—in the middle of a shower! This is why you should have a home inspection before you buy your home. A home inspection is an important part of buying your home. Before you hire a home inspector, ask candidates a few questions to make sure you hire a trustworthy inspector.

  • 1. What does your inspection cover? Not all inspections are the same. Ask for copies of previous home inspections so you can see exactly what they will check inside the home. If you are concerned about something specific, like a leaky faucet in the bathroom, mention that to the inspector so they can check it out.

  • 2. Are you licensed or certified? If you live in a state that licenses home inspectors, ask to see their license. At the very least, choose a home inspector who belongs to American Society of Home Inspectors. This shows a level of professionalism and education that you can trust.

  • 3. What kind of report will you give me? You should expect a written report detailing what the inspector found. Most inspectors will give you a typed report within a week of the inspection. Make sure the inspector will be available to explain anything on the report that doesn’t make sense to you.

  • 4. Will I be able to attend the inspection? If the inspector refuses to let you be present during the home inspection, find someone else. This is your chance to know exactly what you are buying and what potential repairs you or the seller will have to make.

As your real estate agent, I will guide you through the home buying process. Let me help you find your new North Texas home. Call me today at 214-909-8008 or email me at jlyne@ebby.com .

North Texas home LINKS:

1. Home inspection - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_inspection

2. American Society of Home Inspectors. - http://www.ashi.org/

3. Easy household repairs. - http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/repair/5-home-repairs-you-should-do-yourself.htm

 


Year End Tax Tips for Homeowners

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YEAR END TAX TIPS

Year-end tax tips for your house 
 
Here are some year-end tax tips. Invest in your IRA, open that Roth account, or buy
business or computer equipment to get that last-ditch deduction. But what about your
house? Luckily, there’s a lot that’s deductible when it comes to buying and selling a
home. If either scenario is on your wish list, these tips ensure that you and Uncle Sam are on good terms when April 15 rolls around.
 
 
When buying a home, what’s deductible?
 
Realtors are quick to point out that homeownership allows a lot of tax advantages not
available to someone who merely pays rent. A homeowner can deduct points used to
obtain a mortgage when buying a home, mortgage interest paid during the year and
property taxes.

Those are the nuts and bolts but, as with all taxes, there are these pesky rules and
guidelines for deductions. Your Realtor is a great source of information on the lay of the
land when it comes to taxes, but it’s wise to hire an accountant to help you wade
through the fine print.
 

Points

Most people get a mortgage when they buy a home. Mortgages have all kinds of costs,
including a loan origination fee. This fee is usually a percentage of the loan amount,
generally expressed as points. For example, one point on a $150,000 loan would be
$1,500. One and a half points on the same loan amount would be $2,250, and so on.
With VA and FHA loans, points are generally broken down into two categories: loan
origination fee (usually one point) and discount points (also a percentage of the loan
balance). Both of these fees are also deductible. One caveat: The loan origination fee
must be expressed as points for it to be tax deductible.

When you buy a home, points are deductible in the year they’re paid, providing they
meet certain conditions. The two main ones are that the mortgage is secured by the home you live in most of the time, and that you used this mortgage to either purchase or build your home.

Read the fine print and be sure your lender isn’t inflating the points to include other
items you would normally be charged. These would include such costs as appraisal fees, title insurance fees, property taxes, settlement fees and so on. If you’re not charged these fees but your "points" are higher than normal, it’s time to get out the magnifying glass.
 
Also, the cash you put into the sale must also exceed the amount charged in points. If
your points tallied $3,000, but you only had to put in $2,000 to close, that’s a red flag for
the fine folks at the IRS.

One more major condition is that the points must be clearly stated on your HUD-1
Settlement Statement. That’s the long document both you and the seller get after closing that clearly lays out all the costs involved in buying your home.
 

Deducting seller-paid points

When purchasing a home, sometimes the buyer negotiates for the seller to pay some
closing costs, including the points. Since the seller pays them and not the buyer, you
might assume they wouldn’t be deductible, but that would be a mistake.

Believe it or not, if the seller pays the buyer’s points, the IRS allows the buyer to deduct
them as an expense on federal tax returns. The catch is that the seller can’t also deduct
them. Paying the buyer’s closing costs, including points, merely reduces the net gain on
the home for purposes in calculating capital gains taxes (which are usually deferred).
 

Second homes and points

Points paid to finance the purchase of a second home must be deducted over the life of
the loan, not in the year in which they are paid. Also, if you make too much money,
there are limits to your deductions, so be sure to check with your accountant.
 

Other deductible closing costs

With two exceptions, other closing costs are not deductible. Those exceptions are prepaid interest and pro-rated property taxes. Since interest is a deductible expense, prepaid interest is deductible. With property taxes, the seller’s last property tax payment may have covered part of the time where you’re the owner of the home. The settlement agent will calculate how much of that last bill you should pay and charge it to you as a closing cost (usually listed as pro-rated property taxes), and that’s also deductible.

The amount you’ll pay in property taxes is based on an assessment of the value of your
house. Generally, tax assessments are adjusted on an annual basis and any changes are mailed to you. It’s a good idea to keep a close watch on the assessment value, since the amount of money that comes out of your pocket is directly tied to it. A large jump in your assessment could be a reflection of a rise in market values in your neighborhood, but it might very well be an error. Keep tabs on what houses are selling for in your area and compare your assessment to the average sold price (using houses similar to yours in size and condition).

All it takes is a little advance planning, and you’ll be relaxed by the time April 15 arrives.

Hope these tips are helpful!
 
Jlyne Hanback, Realtor®
Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®
Talk or text - (214) 909-8008
http://www.WelcometoFrisco.com
   

Helpful Abbreviations and Their Meanings When Looking for a Home

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There are lots of abbreviations that you may come across when looking for a home or reading an ad about a specific house, but here is a list of some that you may not know:


4B/2B -- four bedrooms and two bathrooms. "Bedroom" usually means a sleeping area with a window and a closet, but the definition varies in different places. A "full bathroom" is a room with a toilet, a sink and a bathtub. A "three-quarter bathroom" has a toilet, a sink and a shower. A "half bathroom" or powder room has only a toilet and a sink.


assum. fin. -- assumable financing


closing costs -- the entire package of miscellaneous expenses paid by the buyer and the seller when the real estate deal closes. These costs include the brokerage commission, mortgage-related fees, escrow or attorney's settlement charges, transfer taxes, recording fees, title insurance and so on. Closing costs are generally paid through escrow.


CMA -- comparative market analysis or competitive market analysis. A CMA is a report that shows prices of homes that are comparable to a subject home and that were recently sold, are currently on the market or were on the market, but not sold within the listing period.


contingency -- a provision of an agreement that keeps the agreement from being fully legally binding until a certain condition is met. One example is a buyer's contractual right to obtain a professional home inspection before purchasing the home.


dk – deck

expansion pot'l -- expansion potential mean that there's extra space on the lot or the possibility of adding a room or even an upper level, subject to local zoning restrictions.


fab pentrm -- fabulous pentroom, a room on top (but under the roof) that has great views


FDR -- formal dining room


fixture -- anything of value that is permanently attached to or a part of real property. (Real estate is legally called "real property," while movables are called "personal property.") Examples of fixtures include installed wall-to-wall carpeting, light fixtures, window coverings, landscaping and so on. Fixtures are a frequent subject of buyer and seller disputes. When in doubt, get it in writing.


frplc, fplc, FP -- fireplace


gar -- garage (garden is usually abbreviated as "gard.")


grmet kit -- gourmet kitchen


HDW, HWF, Hdwd -- hardwood floors


hi ceils -- high ceilings


in-law potential
-- potential for a separate apartment, subject to local zoning restrictions

large E-2 plan -- this is one of several floor plans available in a specific building


listing -- an agreement between a real estate broker and a home owner that allows the broker to market and arrange for the sale of the owner's home. The word "listing" is also used to refer to the for-sale home itself. A home being sold by the owner without a real estate agent isn't a "listing."


lo dues -- low homeowner's association dues. Be sure to find out how "low" the dues are compared to other dues in the area.


lock box -- locked key-holding device affixed to a for-sale home so real estate professionals can gain entry into the home after obtaining permission from the listing agent


lsd pkg. -- leased parking area. May come with additional cost.


MLS -- Multiple Listing Service. An MLS is an organization that collects, compiles and distributes information about homes listed for sale by its members, who are real estate brokers. Membership isn't open to the general public, although selected MLS data may be sold to real estate listings Web sites. MLS's are local or regional. There is no MLS covering the whole country.


pot'l – potential

pvt -- private


pwdr rm -- half bathroom or powder room


REALTOR® -- a real estate broker or sales associate who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. Like me!  :) *NOTE: Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. 


title insurance -- an insurance policy that protects a lender's or owner's interest in real property from assorted types of unexpected or fraudulent claims of ownership. It's customary for the buyer to pay for the lender's title insurance policy.


upr -- upper floor


vw, vu, vws, vus -- view(s)


I hope these are helpful to you! If there are any others that you would like to ask about, please contact me at jlyne@ebby.com !

 


Mortgage help is free from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

First thing’s first: There is free foreclosure help. If anyone tries to charge you in advance for help or guarantees that they can stop your foreclosure, they’re not legitimate.

If you’re behind on your mortgage, or having a hard time making payments, we want to get you in touch with a HUD-approved housing counselor — they’ve been sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Your counselor can develop a tailored plan of action for your situation and help you work with your mortgage company. They’re experienced in all of the available programs and a variety of financial situations. They can help you organize your finances, understand your mortgage options, and find a solution that works for you.

via www.consumerfinance.gov