8 Dirty Secrets in Your Home

8 Dirty Secrets in Your Home

Home Care Tips
Steel yourself: We help you expose — and purge — your home’s dirtiest little secrets. In denial about the crud that’s festering in the nooks and crannies of your home? The maintenance and cleaning pros we talked to say these eight jobs are among the grossest — and among the most important. One job could even save your life. Deep breath … Cruddy Undersides of Rugs Look under your area rugs for a nasty surprise — a sea of grit and dust — despite regular vacuuming. What to do: Move furniture, fold over the rug, and vacuum dirt and dust from its underside. Sweep and mop the floor, too. While you’re under the hood, check the rug’s condition. If there’s no staining or discoloration, a good floor cleaning and vacuuming of the rug’s…
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Give me Some (Tax) Credit

Give me Some (Tax) Credit

Real Estate News
The Texas Historic Preservation Tax Credit (THPTC) is a little known incentive program established through Texas House Bill 500 during the 83rd Texas Legislative Session. With the goal of making historic preservation projects more economically viable and feasible in the state, the THPTC offers a 25 percent franchise tax credit for eligible rehabilitation costs for buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as well as in the Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks and Texas State Antiquities Landmarks. The THPTC went into effect on January 1, 2015 and mirrors the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program (which offers a 20 percent income tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic buildings) with its three-part application process: (1) Part A: Evaluation of Significance (2) Part B: Description of Rehabilitation (3) Part C:…
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Texas Real Estate Market Sizzles

Real Estate News
Reprinted from CultureMap Austin The housing market in Texas is as hot as this summer heat. The latest quarterly housing report from Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) shows home sales have continued to increase across the Lone Star State for the hottest season to date. Looking at the second quarter of 2016, the median home price in Texas grew to $215,000, a 7.5 percent increase from Q2 2015, and an all-time high for the state. In addition, active listings rose by 4.1 percent, while the number of closed sales hit 91,418 (up 4.4 percent) — the highest volume of Texas home sales ever. “The last few months have been one of the strongest starts to the summer selling season in the history of Texas real estate,” says Leslie Rouda Smith, chairman of the…
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New Music Festival Coming to Texas

Uncategorized
The daily CultureMap email arrived this morning with an interesting announcement: there's a new music festival coming to town. And by 'town' I mean '35 miles east of Austin'. Many new festivals have popped up in our area over the past several years, but I thought I'd check this one out. Let me just say this: we might be camping out in 'Sherwood Forest' during the first weekend of November! BEACH HOUSE • EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY • PHANTOGRAM • RUN THE JEWELS • BIG BOI • PURITY RING • DESCENDENTS • COURTNEY BARNETT • DEATH GRIPS • YOUNG THUG • THURSDAY • MAC DEMARCO WALE • GUIDED BY VOICES • FLAG • BOYS NOIZE • A-TRAK • CHARLES BRADLEY & HIS EXTRAORDINAIRES • FIDLAR • THE DEAD MILKMEN • YOUTH OF TODAY • STRFKR • JAGWAR MA •…
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What Do Real Estate Pros Look for When It’s Their Turn to Buy?

Buying
What you really need to know about buying — from the people who house hunt for a living. One house you’re looking at has the wraparound porch you’ve fantasized about, but it’s on a high-traffic street. The condo you like has a doorman in the lobby (finally you can become an Amazon Prime member!), but it has no dedicated parking. What to choose? It’s not every day that you buy a home and make decisions about the next three, five, or 10 years of your life. Since you can’t exactly take a home on a test drive, how do you decide? That got us to thinking about real estate pros. When they’ve seen practically everything on the market, how do they choose? Four pros who’ve seen it all share their…
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Dealing with Financing

Dealing with Financing

Buying
As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing with the dollar signs so that you can take down that “for sale” sign on your new home. Get pre-approved. Sub-primes may be history, but you’ll probably still be shown homes you can’t actually afford. By getting pre-approved as a buyer, you can save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can't afford. You can also put yourself in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Unlike pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your…
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5 Tips for Buying a Home

5 Tips for Buying a Home

Buying
Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible. Get your finances in order. Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Find a house you can afford. As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses…
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Preparing to Sell

Preparing to Sell

Selling
Selling your home is more than hiring a realtor to stick a sign out front. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time. Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside. Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in…
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5 Ways You Didn’t Know You Could Save for a Down Payment

Buying
One of the biggest misconceptions of homebuying? The 20% down payment. Here’s how to buy a home with a lot less down. Buying your first home conjures up all kinds of warm and fuzzy emotions: pride, joy, contentment. But before you get to the good stuff, you’ve got to cobble together a down payment, a daunting sum if you follow the textbook advice to squirrel away 20% of a home’s cost. Here are five creative ways to build your down payment nest egg faster than you may have ever imagined. 1. Crowdsource Your Dream Home You may have heard of people using sites like Kickstarter to fund creative projects like short films and concert tours. Well, who says you can’t crowdsource your first home? Forget the traditional registry, the fine…
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