Monthly Archives: January 2014

Organizing Your Home To Sell


We’ve all known the kind of people who everyone would like to buy things from. The kind that save all their records for repairs and keep great logs of service, get regular maintenance done and are just generally detailed and organized about caring for their things. We call it obsessive compulsive or sometimes pride of ownership. Bottom line is that this type of person can get more money and sell their items quicker than others.

When selling a home, if you are not a person who naturally does this, you certainly can benefit from at least appearing like you do.

Here are a few ideas to help you do just that.

1.  Keep your yard mowed and precisely edged. Mulch all beds, trim trees so windows show, pull weeds, and before a showing, water your grass so it sparkles. Make sure shrubs and trees aren’t touching the house or roof. Freshly paint your mailbox and front door and have large easy to read house numbers displayed. Clean your windows and remove the screens.

2.  Neatly organize in trays, boxes, or baskets your drawers, cabinets, and closets. Pack up everything you won’t use in the next 3 months and label boxes and store neatly in the garage or storage building.

3.  Clean and shine up all lights and ac/heat vents and ceiling fans. Make sure all light bulbs work. Don’t use the slow to brighten ones as your home will appear dark during showings.

4.  Freshen all caulk in baths and along molding

5.  Freshen up paint on trim, doors, window sills, and walls where needed

6. Clean and organize fridges and pantries

7.  Make sure your house is clean, dust free, and scrubbed, vacuumed and has a pleasant smell. Green apple or apple cinnamon are best for plug in scents.

Certainly this takes a lot of work, but will reward you greatly with how much you can sell your home for – and without it having to sit on the market for months.   


It’s Home Repair Time

I have always wondered why one of my favorite stores, The Container Store has their Annual Elfa (shelving organization) sale in January each year.  I think it’s because when we put all the Christmas decorations back in the attic and our homes seem a little less sparkly, the “Get Organized, Get Tidy” bug sets in.  For a home owner, that often means it’s time to start working on the home maintenance and repair list.

As you begin to prioritize your home maintenance and repair items, keep in mind that we have a long list of amazing contractors and service companies that we can recommend to you.  Our contractors have been tested over and over by our clients in the homes they buy and sell and by ourselves in our personal homes.  This year I have personally tested out three different paint companies, two carpet cleaning companies, two plumbers, and two electricians.  Only the good ones make the cut and we are happy to recommend them to you as well.

If you are prioritizing your repairs as you get your home ready to sell, that’s easy.  You will want the “high dollar” functional repair items completed first.  That includes plumbing, electrical, HVAC (air/heat), roof, water heaters, and of course foundation.  If you have cracks in your foundation, we have two wonderful structural engineers that we use regularly to assess if repairs are needed.  An evaluation and report costs about $400 and is well worth the cost if you are planning to sell your home.

We work with many buyers who are very willing to buy a home that needs some cosmetic repairs, but they won’t bother with a home that needs functional/basic system repairs.   Also, some functional repairs will prevent a buyer from being able to get an FHA loan on the home they are buying, which decreases your “buyer pool” (the number of people that may be interested in your home) if you are selling.  So, let us know if you need some good recommendations for contractors.  Homeowners, start your to do lists!  Happy fixing!

Have You Filed Your Homestead Exemption For 2014?

Ever wondered about how the Texas Homestead Exemption works?

If you own a new home by January 1st,  you will want to add a homestead exemption to your property.  You are allowed to have one property identified as your homestead.  There is no fee to declare a homestead for tax purposes. 

Upon purchasing a new home, you will likely receive a number of mailouts and phone calls from companies requesting to do this service for you but it is a simple process that you can do yourself with no fee.  If you live in Tarrant County, go to and click on the “New Homestead Application” form.  You can print off the form, fill it out and mail it in.  You will need your closing date and legal address of the property as well as a copy of your updated drivers license that shows the new address. If you are in another county, simply go to that county’s appraisal district website and request the same form.   


How much does this help you with taxes?  (Show me the money)

School districts grant 15k off the value of your home to be assessed school taxes.  Any taxing unit can grant up to a 20% decrease in taxed value, but not less than 5k in decreased taxed value. 

For example, a home appraised at 100k, would be allowed a 20,000 decrease in tax value – so you would be taxed on an 80k amount.  The school taxes would be 100k minus 15k which equals an 85k taxed value.  It is definitely worth your time and energy to file for a homestead exemption.  If you purchased a home in 2013 with our Real Estate team you will receive a reminder this month to file your homestead exemption.  The deadline for filing is April 30th.  Happy Tax Savings!