Q: This has been a rough year, economically. Are things better for people outside of Texas?
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Q: 2011 has federal energy tax credits of up to $500 for various home improvements. What areas of home improvement are included in the creditrs?
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Texas' economy is not only outperforming the United States, but the state's nonfarm employment is growing twice as fast.
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Learn a simple way to determine if a crack in your home's floor could mean possible foundation problems.
Most homebuyers are careful to have a home inspector check for foundation problems before they sign purchase papers. But that shouldn't be the last check. Recognizing early warning signs of trouble can forestall damage that costs tens of thousands of dollars or even jeopardizes the full value of a house. Luckily, some of the warning signs are easy to spot. Here's what to look for.
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Here are a few surprising and simple ways to cut your energy bill this season.
Read all of 9 unexpected energy (and money) savers
Six reasons to lower your home price
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When buying or selling a home, never let negotiations die on "your side of the fence." For example, if you're selling a home, and someone makes an offer that is too low for you to consider, it is likely in your best interest to respond with a counteroffer that reflects even a tiny, modest concession in price.
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To select the right color for each room of your listing, design experts recommend applying the following strategies.
Read all of Four steps for selecting paint colors to get ready for a sale
You just received a purchase offer from someone who wants to buy your home. You're excited and relieved, until you realize the purchase offer is much lower than your asking price. How should you respond? Set aside your emotions, focus on the facts, and prepare a counteroffer that keeps the buyers involved in the deal.
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If you've decided to make the Texas spring and summer months cooler by investing in an under-cabinet ice maker for extra cubes in your summer drinks, don't forget to give it a good annual maintenance before the hot months enter full swing.
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As a buyer is moving toward a closing table, lenders will typically advise the buyer not to make any large purchases or changes to their financial picture that could jeopardize their ability to obtain final approval and funding for the completion of their mortgage and the purchase of their home. Many buyers who rush out to buy furniture or new cars in the days before closing find themselves unable to then close on the home, at all, as a result of the changes to their financial pictures.
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All Texas homeowners qualify for a homestead exemption on their principal residence. This exemption reduces the taxable value of a home—meaning a lower annual bill to local taxing entities.
You must apply for the exemption, but there is no fee associated with applying for a homestead exemption.
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As part of its plan to stimulate the US housing market and address the economic challenges facing our nation, Congress has passed new legislation that:
• Extends the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit of up to $8,000 to first-time home buyers until April 30, 2010.
• Expands the credit to grant up to $6,500 credit to current home owners purchasing a new or existing home between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010.
Details about the Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit are listed below. If you have specific questions or need additional information, please contact a tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service at 800-829-1040.
Read all of $6,500 Tax Credit If You Change Homes by April 30 (or $8K if First Time)
In recent weeks, the federal government moved to extend the deadline for the $8,000 credit to first-time homebuyers, and simultaneously introduced a new $6,500 credit for repeat homebuyers. Both credits have cash value and represent checks made payable to consumers from the IRS in the form of a tax return. Here are the details:
Read all of $6500 repeat buyer IRS credit added, $8000 first time buyer credit extended
New state legislation means new rules for Texas drivers, effective September 1. Be sure your friends and loved ones know about these important new rules to avoid tickets and fines:
Seat Belts: HB 537 requires all occupants of a vehicle, no matter their age, to be secured by a safety belt, no matter where they are seated in the vehicle (including the back seat); changes the definition of a passenger vehicle to include a passenger van designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers including the driver; removes the current exemption for third-party Medicaid transportation provisions regarding the use of child passenger safety seats; and prohibits a motorcycle operator from carrying a passenger under the age of 5 unless the child is seated in a sidecar attached to the motorcycle.
Read all of New Seat Belt Laws for Texas to start September 1 2009
Everyone knows that in most cases you'll need at least a small down payment to purchase a home -- but that's not all. You'll also need to come to the transaction with money for closing costs, which can be significant.
What you may not realize is that both Buyers and Sellers have closing costs. Typically - the Sellers cost are much higher because the Seller pays the realtor commissions.
Read all of Understanding Closing Costs - For Buyers
On the market? Keep your house pristine
Aside from the necessary intrusions, the most inconvenient aspect of having your house on the market may well be keeping the house in showing condition.
Making a good impression on buyers is very important. It's not a huge leap for a potential buyer to equate a cluttered or dirty house with poor maintenance of the overall structure, systems, and appliances. Whether accurate or not, this can or result in a lower offer than the home might otherwise bring … or worse, discourage an offer altogether.
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If the commission is the most important issue for you then perhaps you should consider a discount broker who will put your home in the MLS for a flat rate. If the going gets tough, however, (70% of the time it does) don't expect the discount broker to bail you out. A top professional can actually help you net more in your pocket than the incremental cost of service
Read all of Should your real estate professional lower his commission?
With news of slow-downs in the national market, some homeowners may be quick to assume that major improvements to their homes today will result in faster and more profitable sales of those homes in future.
Before you go adding that swimming pool, marble countertop or bathroom remodel, be sure to talk to your local real estate expert about your particular property, and which improvements might fall within the standard of your particular neighborhood's general expectations.
Read all of Avoid Over Improving Your Property