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April 22nd, 2012 12:29 PM

Spring has Sprung! And along with bluebonnets and other wildflowers spring also brings in Texas an “Appraised Value Notice” from your appraisal district. Watch your mail for a notice form. The appraised value is the amount multiplied by a certain percentage to find out how much money you will be charged in property taxes for 2012. If you can get the appraised value lowered then you property taxes are lower. Money in your pocket!

Here are the steps to take:

Look for the appraised value and if you feel the value they have given your home is too high then you have a right to contest it. In Dallas County, at the bottom of the page is a “Notice of Protest”, fill that out and send it back before May 31, 2012.

Then find an agent or broker, like me, who practices in your county and ask for a “Comparative Market Analysis” (CMA). This can be done over the phone or by e-mail. If the CMA is lower than what the district has appraised your property then you have a good chance of lowering your property taxes.

For a small fee the broker or agent will give you that CMA and a “BOV”( Brokers Opinion of Value) and you can present it as evidence to lower your value on the tax rolls and possibly much more than that small fee. For a percentage of the savings some may even represent you at the hearing.

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Posted by Carmen Chapa on April 22nd, 2012 12:29 PMLeave a Comment

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If you’re having trouble selling your home and you absolutely have to move, one option would be to lease your home when you move out. To prepare yourself for that you need to ask yourself these questions:

1.) How much rental income do I need to cover my expenses on the house such as mortgage, HOA dues (if any), etc.?
2.) How much can I realistically expect for rent on my place?
3.) How long can I go without rental income while it is on the market for lease?
4.) Should I market the property, and if so, how will I do it, or should I use a real estate agent?
5.) Can I manage it or should I hire someone to manage it?
6.) Can I handle repairs or should I develop a network of those that can take care of any repair items.

Speaking with a REALTOR about these items can help you assess how prepared you are to become a “landlord”. It can be scary but knowledge will relieve some of the fear and help you make the right decision. Call me and I’ll be happy to advise. No charge!

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Posted by Carmen Chapa on July 28th, 2011 1:07 PMLeave a Comment

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July 27th, 2011 1:21 PM
Once you’ve got your financing lined up to buy a home, or you’ve decided it’s time to sell the one you’re in now the next step is to find an agent you feel comfortable with. That used to be a daunting task. Thanks to the Internet that job is now much easier.

Family and friends are a good place to start getting names and references of potential agents to work with. One caveat is if that agent is a family member or friend. You may be comfortable with them in a social setting but you may not share the same feelings if it’s business related, which is what finding a home is. Make sure if you do go with a friend or relative that you won’t feel obligated to continue on if things don’t go well. It’s much easier to “fire”, or quit working with someone when there is not that connection or it’s just not working out well.

Another method is to do some searching on the Internet through the myriad of real estate search sites. (We’ll cover that in another blog). Look at these listings and see what realtors show up as the listing agent. Most have their own website. Go to those websites and just by looking around it you can get an initial feel for what that agent is like. Good agents will treat their website like a resume, giving their background, education and experience. See, by looking at those sites, if they are connected to the area you are considering. An agent who lives in that area usually knows more about the day-to-day life of the neighborhood, especially if they belong to some local community and neighborhood organizations or groups. The can tell you about shopping, schools, churches, restaurants, roads, entertainment, etc. better than an agent who is not living in the area being considered.

After you’ve picked a few this way then make a phone call to those who’ve made the initial cut or send an e-mail. Get a little personal interaction to see if there is a comfort level. Ask about the area you’re considering in general and how they view the home buying process. If they make it clear to you and it seems sensible, then that agent may be just the one.

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Posted by Carmen Chapa on July 27th, 2011 1:21 PMLeave a Comment

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July 26th, 2011 8:13 PM

Right now, in the year 2011, may be the perfect storm for buying a home. Prices are low, interest rates are low, and when a market is at the bottom then there is only one way to go. I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you what that direction is. If taking advantage of this unique and maybe once in a lifetime opportunity is what you are considering then here is your first step. Get thee to a mortgage loan officer.

Why a mortgage loan officer before funding a house? A mortgage loan officer can tell you about all the different financial options and possibilities based on what your specific circumstances and needs are. Mainly, what is the most amount of money to purchase a house can qualify for and that you feel comfortable in paying each month for a home.

After your interview and application with a mortgage officer is complete ask for a pre-qualification letter. With this in hand you can go to a good agent you feel comfortable with and show them this letter. When an agent sees this he or she will know they will be making good use of their valuable time showing houses to someone who is serious about buying and can close on a home. When a house is decided on then the letter should be submitted with the offer. That shows the seller they are dealing with a serious buyer who can close. It also gives you a little more bargaining power.

The first place to go for mortgage officer is your bank or credit union. Friends and relatives who have recently bought a home are good sources. Many mortgage companies advertise on TV and radio. Of course, all this can be done on-line. Search the net with words like mortgage officer along with the city you live in or near such as “mortgage loan officer Dallas”.

If you prefer a referral, I have heard that Summer Garrett at Nationstar Mortgage is quite helpful.  She can be reached at (972) 880-9332. 

And, of course, I am available to help. Call me at 214-536-2410 or e-mail me at

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Posted by Carmen Chapa on July 26th, 2011 8:13 PMLeave a Comment

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