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Welcome to our website where you will find information and homes for every lifestyle in and around the D/FW Metroplex!
Whether you are looking for golf course communities, master planned communities, luxury homes, farms or ranches, we have it all, right here in North Texas!
North Texas is growing and is an exciting place to live with a variety of communities to choose from. We are Top Realtors who specialize in each of these areas and can give you expert advice.
If you prefer the suburbs of Dallas like Plano, Frisco, Allen, Mckinney or Prosper, to name just a few, you have come to the right place.Some of the finest schools, parks and neighborhoods are found in these cities, as well as in Tarrant County close to the D/FW International Airport.There you will find popular cities like Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville, Keller, Coppell and Las Colinas.
In the northern corridor you will enjoy larger lots, acreage, even farms, ranches and country estates in such cities as Flower Mound, Lewisville, Lantana, Highland Shores, Celina and Highland Village. East of Dallas you can find the same type of properties in Rowlett, Rockwall, Forney, Mesquite and Garland...just to name a few.
If you prefer to live close to downtown or the Arts District you have everything from luxury estates with acreage to high-rises or condo…and everything in between. Some of these areas include Up-Town, Lake Highlands, Preston Hollow, University Park or Highland Park (Park Cities).We have Experts that specialize in these areas as well.
If you are an investor looking for investment properties to build your wealth, we have Foreclosure and Short Sale Specialist to assist you with rental properties, apartment complexes or commercial venues? We can send you a list of REO/bank, VA and HUD foreclosures and short sales.You can search everything in MLS and what the internet has to offer, right here on our website! Don't miss our Featured Homes or speaking with our Top Realtors...check out our Team under the "About Us" button!
IMPORTANT CHANGES IN TEXAS PROPERTY TAX LAWS AFFECTING RESIDENTIAL HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS
Effective September 2, 2011, in order to qualify for this exemption you must provide the following to the Central Appraisal District when submitting your application:
1. A copy of the applicant’s Texas driver’s license or Texas identification; AND
2. A copy of the applicant’s vehicle receipt; OR a) If the applicant does not own a vehicle, an affidavit to that effect signed by the applicant; AND
b) A copy of a utility bill in the applicant’s name for the property for which exemption is sought.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The property address on the exemption application must match the address listed on the applicant’s Texas driver’s license/Texas identification certificate and vehicle receipt or utility bill; otherwise the Chief Appraiser is prohibited from approving the exemption.
RISMEDIA, March 14, 2011—(MCT)—Bank of America Corp. recently announced a mortgage modification program for military customers, including principal forgiveness for some struggling borrowers. The Charlotte bank said the program assists military members who are leaving active duty and having trouble making their mortgage payments.
The announcement comes as big banks are in settlement discussions with banking regulators and state attorneys general over their handling of foreclosures and modifications. The banks may face a requirement that they reduce principal for borrowers, a measure they’re resisting.
At a recent investor conference, Terry Laughlin, the Bank of America executive in charge of distressed loans, said principal reduction was no “panacea” because borrowers without sufficient income still can’t make payments. Chief Executive Brian Moynihan also painted it as a fairness issue, saying “when you start helping certain people and don’t help other people, it’s going to be very hard to explain the difference.”
Wells Fargo & Co. CEO John Stumpf recently stated that principal reduction is “not always the answer.” He expressed concern that such a mandate could encourage customers who are current on their loans to stop paying. Of Wells customers whose mortgages are “underwater,” there are more making their payments than not, he said. “It would make no sense to create an environment where people could be incented not to pay their debts where they could pay,” Stumpf said.
Stumpf said principal reduction isn’t priced into the $40 a month Wells makes servicing the average home loan for investors. He also said it would have a “huge impact” on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the government-controlled mortgage giants that own half of the loans serviced by the San Francisco-based bank.
Principal reduction is a tool in the bank’s tool box, he said, but only for specific situations involving loans owned by the bank. So far, Wells has reduced customers’ balances by nearly $4 billion. Principal reduction has been an option for customers with Pick-A-Payment adjustable rate mortgages inherited in the bank’s purchase of Charlotte’s Wachovia Corp.
To make payments affordable, Bank of America’s new program will first reduce the amount owed on a borrower’s mortgage to as low as 100% of the home’s current market value. After that, the bank can also reduce the interest rate on the loan, as needed.
Starting April 1, Bank of America said, it also will offer a 4% interest rate on mortgages for active duty military members while they are under the protection of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, lower than the 6% that is required.
The bank said the modification program and the lower interest rates will initially be offered to customers with loans owned and serviced by the bank. It said it’s in discussions with investors in other mortgages that it services.
“Military men and women face extraordinary circumstances, and they make unique sacrifices for all of us,” said Laughlin in a statement. “For these reasons, we want this combination of tools to address their needs and help them when they need it most.”
For more information on this information call any of our Top Realtors!
Tax Deductions For Homeowners...Don't Forget To Take ALL of Them!
Ask a roomful of homeowners what's so great about owning versus renting, and you'll hear them holler in unison: "the tax deductions!" And it's true – homeowners who itemize their taxes are able to deduct 100% of their mortgage interest and property taxes from their income tax returns.
That means that if you're in a 28% tax bracket, Uncle Sam effectively subsidizes about a third of your borrowing costs or more, making your home more affordable or allowing you to buy a larger home than you could have otherwise. Also, big chunks of your closing costs are tax deductible, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of any profit (or capital gains) that you realize when you sell your home are exempt from income taxes.
At tax time, it's critical to know what you're entitled to, so you can claim it. So, here are five essential need-to-knows about home-related income tax tips to help you get the most tax-reducing bang out of your home-owning buck – and to avoid hefty home ownership-related tax traps.
1. You Have to Itemize Your Return to Claim Your Deductions
During the recent debate on Capitol Hill about whether the mortgage interest deduction should be eliminated (it won't be, not anytime soon), it came out that nearly 40% of homeowners lose out on their major tax advantages every year when they fail to itemize their income taxes. If you own a home and otherwise have a fairly simple return, it might be tempting just to take the standard deduction – and if your mortgage, property taxes and income are low enough, the standard deduction might outweigh your homeowners' deductions. But you'll never know if you're losing out on the tax advantages of itemizing unless you try; before you grab a pen and start filling in that 1040-EZ grab those forms from your mortgage company and answer the questions on tax software like TurboTax, which will automatically do the math on whether itemizing or taking the standard deduction will result in the lowest tax bill – or the highest tax refund – for you.
2. Plan Ahead and Be Strategic When Taking a Home Office Deduction
According to the Small Business Administration, the average home office deduction is $3,686 – multiply that by your tax bracket – 15%, 20%, 30% or whatever it is, and that's what you'll save on your taxes by writing off your home office. Know, though, that the space you designate as your home office cannot be exempted from capital gains tax when you sell your home later. The $250,000 (single)/ $500,000 (married filing jointly) income tax exemption for capital gains is only good on your personal residence, after all – not including any space in your home you've claimed as your tax-advantaged office. If you foresee selling your home for much more than you bought it in the future, near or far, discuss this with your tax preparer to see if the few hundred bucks you save is worth the capital gains complication later.
3. Tax Relief for Loan Modifications, Short Sales and Foreclosures Is Only Around Through 2012
While the long-term housing outlook is beginning to look up, 2011 is projected to be the peak year for foreclosures during this market cycle. Distressed homeowners who are on the brink of a short sale, loan modification or foreclosure should be aware that normally, any mortgage balance that is wiped out by one of these outcomes is taxed as what the IRS calls Cancellation of Debt Income, or CODI.
Under the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act of 2007, the IRS is currently not charging income taxes on CODI incurred through a loan mod, short sale or foreclosure on most primary residences through 2012. But right now, banks are taking many months, or even years, to work out mortgages in all of these ways; the average foreclosure in New York state right now occurs only after 22 months of missed mortgage payments. If you foresee any of these outcomes in your future, don't put things off. Do what you can to get to closure on your distressed home and loan, ASAP, while you won't have income taxes to add as the insult on top of your significant housing injury.
4. Project the Income Tax Consequences of a Refinance or Property Tax Appeal
Homeowners everywhere are working on applying for a lower property tax bill on the basis of the last few years' decline in their home's value. Those who have equity have flocked en masse to refinance their 7% home loans into the 4% to 5% rates of the last few months. These strategies offer some of the heftiest household savings out there for the corresponding investment in time and money they take. But here's a caveat for savvy homeowners who slash these costs: remember that property taxes and mortgage interest, the very costs you're minimizing, are also the basis for the major tax benefits of being a homeowner. So plan ahead for your income tax deductions to go down along with your taxes and interest.
5. Don't Forget Those Closing Costs If you bought or refinanced your home in 2010, you may be so focused on your mortgage interest and property tax deductions that you forget all about your closing costs. Any origination fees or discount points that were paid to your mortgage lender at closing are tax deductible on your 2010 return, get this – even if the seller paid your closing costs. If you can't figure out exactly what you paid, look for your HUD-1 settlement statement, that legal sized paper full of line item credits and debits that you should have received from your escrow provider or title attorney at, or just after, closing. Can't find it? Drop your real estate agent or mortgage broker an email; they can usually get a copy to you quickly.
Our Top Realtors will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Call 1-800-741-2483.
NEW REAL ESTATE SALES TAX GOES INTO EFFECT 2013 (Part of HC Bill)
The new 3.8% real estate tax does not apply to the sales price on a house when it sells, it only applies to the portion of the sales price that is a capital gain, where the capital gain is not rolled over into a new residence or, if a new residence is not purchased, is in excess of $250,000 for people who are married and file jointly ($125k capital gain exclusion if married filing separately and $200k capital gain exclusion for everyone else).
Changing Short Sale Rules
The HAFA program has been a mixed bag, but last week the Treasury Dept. changed the rules to make short sales easier.
Here are the primary changes to HAFA:
- Those seeking a Short Sale must get an answer within 30 days - Servicers are no longer required to verify a borrower's financial information - Servicers are no longer required to determine if the debt-to-income exceeds 31% - Second lien holders no longer must accept 6% of the unpaid balance - hopefully this will eliminate this fraudwe exposed last year
Overall, these changes should help expedite short sales, which is good news for home owners, realtors, investors and ultimately the banks.
If you are looking for a way to buy a Short Sale or you are a homeowner needing to sell, Geni Manning is a Certified Short Sale Specialist and would love to help you.
Call our Top Realtors today at 1-800-741-2483.
PMI Tax Deduction Extended Through 2011
The law provides for an itemized deduction on federal tax returns for the cost of private mortgage insurance paid by eligible borrowers. Prior to 2007, borrowers could not deduct the cost of their mortgage insurance payments. Now the law has been extended through 2011.
The federal law allows qualified borrowers with adjusted gross incomes up to $100,000 to deduct 100% of their 2007-2011 MI premiums on their federal tax returns. Here’s how it works:
Borrowers with adjusted gross incomes up to $100,000 may be able to deduct 100% of their 2011 premiums.
Deductions are phased out in 10% increments for borrowers with adjusted gross incomes between $100,000 and $109,000.
For more information on this subject call 1-800-741-2483 ext. 8000.
ATTENTION: FIRST TIME HOMESELLERS!!
IF YOU ARE A FIRST TIME HOMESELLER AND WOULD LIKE TO BE ON HTVT "MY FIRST SELL" PLEASE CONTACT ME AT 1-800-741-2483 ext. 8000.
Deadly Mistake #1... Not hiring a buyer's agent to represent you.
Buying property is a complex and stressful task. In fact, it is usually the biggest single investment you will make in your lifetime. At the same time, real estate transactions have become increasingly complicated. New technology, laws, procedures and competition from other buyers require Realtors to perform at an ever-increasing level of professionalism. For many homebuyers, the process turns into a terrible, stressful ordeal. In addition, making the wrong decisions can end up costing you thousands of dollars. It doesn't have to be this way.
Work with a Realtor who has a keen understanding of the real estate business and who is on your side. Realtors have a fiduciary duty to you. That means they are loyal to only you and are obligated to look out for your best interests. Realtors can help you find the best home, the best lender and the best inspectors. Best of all, your Realtor is paid by the seller even thought he or she works for you.
Trying to buy a home without your own Realtor at all is, well... unthinkable.
Best of all, when Geni assist you with your real estate needs you are giving back to the community and around the world in many ways. See 'About Us' to discover how.
Guarantee Buy-Out Program and Builder Move-Up Program!
If you have a home to sale before you buy another one, don't let that stop you from getting the home of your dreams. We can get you out of the one you have now with several options.
Call Geni today at 1-800-741-2483 and find out the details of our Guarantee Buy-Out Program ext. 8011 and our Builder Move-Up Program ext. 8031.
Lease Buy-Out Program!
If you are tied to a lease and can't buy a home now, take advantage of our Lease Buy-Out Program!
Here is how it works:
You are interested in buying another home, but your lease is not up for another 4 months. Contact us and we will take care of the remainder payments.
Here are the Advantages:
Stop throwing away money and start building EQUITY!
Buy at Today’s Prices and Interest Rates!
Take Advantage of Builder’s Close-Out Deals!
Get the Tax Advantages of Owning a Home!
Get a New House with a Yard in a New Community!
Call NOW to find out how this applies to your situation 1-800-741-2483 ext. 800.
Bridge Loans Offer A Cash Infusion?
Definition of a Bridge Loan: An equity loan secured to solve short-term financing problems.
If you've never heard of a bridge loan, it's probably because the housing market has been so hot for so long that most people haven't needed them.
In the last five years many homes sold within days of being listed, meaning few homeowners had to worry about paying for their new homes before they'd sold the old ones. But a slowdown in a number of major housing markets in the U.S. suggests that more consumers may need a helping hand to bridge the gap between buying and selling a home.
If you're one of the unfortunate home sellers caught between two closings, a bridge loan -- also known as a swing loan or gap financing -- can provide you with the cash infusion you need. There are two types of bridge loans.
If you would like to discuss this option for your situation, call Geni at 1-800-741-2483 ext. 8000. But wait…Here is another option!
If You Think You Need a Bridge Loan…
Same scenario…You're thinking of buying a house so you go out with a Realtor and find the perfect "move-up" home. You fall in love with it. If you're a married man, your wife falls in love with it. Same difference. So you present an offer. The only problem is that you need to sell your house in order to buy that house. But you haven't even put your house on the market yet.
So you make a "contingent" offer. Your offer to buy is contingent upon your ability to sell your house in time to close. You haven't even listed your house yet. That's a little bit "too" contingent for most sellers nowadays. They are likely to turn you down. Bummer.
In hindsight, you realize you should have listed your house first, got an offer (and accepted it), then gone out looking for a new home. But it's too late and you really want that home.
You remember reading about the "bridge loan.” It's cheaper to borrow from your 401K (if you have enough money in it). Lenders allow that as a source of funds for down payment. Any secured loan is an acceptable source of funds for a down payment. If you have stocks or bonds or an insurance policy, you can borrow against that, too. Even a car. Any loan "secured" by a physical or financial asset.
Or you can get a "gift" from a family member to make up whatever shortfall you need.
Or...if you have enough equity and can qualify for a bridge loan, you can qualify for a home equity line. It only costs about $350 at your local bank.
Just get the loan before you list your property for sale.
Lease Option and Owner Financing!
We have several homes that can be purchased under an Owner Finance and a Lease Purchase...No need to wait to buy a home.
For More details on these options call Geni at 1-800-741-2483 ext. 800.
Incorporating Design Trends into Your Home
Trends in decorating come and go, and some of us are way more eager to jump on the latest bandwagon than others. Even the word “trend” scares some people because they feel like they have to try it or else they will be left in the dark. Don’t feel pressured to change things constantly simply because it’s been labeled a “trend.” Luckily in design, most trends are usually around for a short period of time. Not every trend is meant to last a lifetime; most of the time new trends come and go in the blink of an eye.
To stay “trendy” but not redecorate every six months is pretty basic. Make sure you design your home to work with your lifestyle, and then make small, gradual changes with new design trends…
You don’t need to buy new furniture or repaint every time a new trend rolls into town. Keep your large “investment pieces,” i.e. couch, loveseat, coffee table and armoire for the long term, and small accessories for the short term. Add in trendy colors and styles in small doses every once in a while. Think about changing small things like pillows, accessories, blankets, lampshades, artwork or even new rugs every so often.
If a new color is what you’re looking for, start with a pillow or a vase – something small you can easily change back or swap out before you make a major change like paint. You don’t want to be the person that runs out and paints every room in all latest trendy colors, and then you decide you actually can’t stand any of those colors after six months!
If you really do love a trendy color or style, try to live with it for awhile before you commit. To help, try cutting out an inspiration picture from a magazine or a catalog of a room in the color or style you love, and if you still believe it’s right for you after a few weeks then go for it!
Something else to consider: With fashion, not every trend looks good on you, so try to think of your house in the same way. Not every new trend will suit your home! Take the pressure off and don’t worry about trends, but more about what really works for you and your home!
Stay tuned for more design trends and other tips! Happy decorating!
If you need to stage your home to put it on the market to sale, call Geni to help you. She is a Certified Staging Professional with 28 years experience in real estate...Geni knows what it takes to sell a home! Call 1-800-741-2483 ext. 8000
Proud To Call Dallas Our Home
According to Forbes.com, Dallas ranked seventh in a study that found the top 10 most affordable places to live well. Dallas was chosen because it is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Dallas also has better air quality and access to public transportation than other major cities such as Houston.
Not only is Dallas affordable, it also has a very stable market! Another study, according to Forbes.com, ranked Dallas as the fourth most stable housing market in the country. The study predicts that in 2008 there will be a 5.45% price increase (currently, the Median home price in Dallas is $156,500). In the past, this increase might not have seemed like a number worth talking about. But, in today’s market it is an extremely positive change!
Why is Dallas such a stable market? Here in “Big D,” we have a strong, rapid job and population growth as well as an abundance of affordable housing. Because of this, Dallas’ market is very “price-inelastic” which will help shield the city from the nationwide decline in real estate values.
John Maxwell recommends Keller Williams Realty...his CHOICE in personal real estate professionals!
Selling Your Home >When to Take a Walk
Your agent calls to say he is bringing prospective buyers to see your home at 2:00 p.m. You quickly straighten up the house and run the dishwasher. What should you do then? If you have to let them into the house--then take a drive or walk the dog!
Many owners think they should linger close by while their home is being shown. They are afraid that the real estate agent might miss the storage shelves in the basement or forget to point out the beautiful new floor in the kitchen. It is better for the agent to miss something than for you to be ushering the buyers around, so resist the temptation to stay while your house is being shown.
Buyers usually base their decision to buy on an attraction that often has more to do with emotions than pure logic, and a lot goes on between buyer and agent during a showing. The buyer needs to evaluate the home's pluses and minuses, and the agent needs the opportunity to work with the buyer's objections. This process cannot take place comfortably if the seller is on the scene.
Called to serve! Geni Manning CRS, ABR, GRI, CNHS, ASP, SFR Keller Williams 5 Local Offices Direct: 1-800-741-2483 ext. 800 Fax: 214-540-6625 Email: RealEstate@GeniManning.com
Geni Manning, Realtor, CRS, SFR, ASP, TAHS, GRI, ABR, CNHS, Relocation Specialist— An accomplished Realtor with a proven track record since 1982, Geni has been recognized as a leader in the real estate industry. Years as Company Top Producer and award winner, she consistently displays her service-oriented attitude! Due to her vast experience as a Realtor, former builder and interior decorator, Geni is a trustworthy source of information for both buyers and sellers.
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