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Chiriboga Realty LLC Blog

Thursday, March 1, 2012   /   by George Chiriboga

Can You Tell Me About All The Texas Home Exemptions?

Do I, as a homeowner, get a tax break from property taxes?


You may apply for homestead exemptions on your principal residence. Homestead exemptions remove part of your home's value from taxation, so they lower your taxes.


For example, your home is appraised at $100,000, and you qualify for a $15,000 exemption (this is the amount mandated for school districts), you will pay school taxes on the home as if it was worth only $85,000. Taxing units have the option to offer a separate exemption of up to 20 percent of the total value.


If the tax rate for your home is 3%, then you will pay $85,000 x 3% = $2,550 annually.


Do all homes qualify for homestead exemptions?


No, only a homeowner's principal residence qualifies. To qualify, a home must meet the definition of a residence homestead: The home's owner must be an individual (for example: not a corporation or other business entity) and use the home as his or her principal residence on January 1 of the tax year. If you ...

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011   /   by George Chiriboga

The Truth About Short Sales

A short sale is defined as an approved discount by a bank or mortgage lender of the balance owed by the homeowner as a result of two fundamental conditions:


The first one is when a homeowner is experiencing financial hardship such as loss of employment, an illness in the family, divorce, lack of savings, or any other situation that makes it impossible for the homeowner to keep current in his mortgage payments.


The second important condition is that the property can not be sold in the free market for what is owed on the property. Basically, the homeowner is upside-down in his mortgage. This situation is even more aggravated if the homeowner was not paying his mortgage for several months, and late fees, attorney's fees, and HOA dues have been added to the debt.


If these two conditions exist simultaneously, then the homeowner can hire a Houston REALTOR® to list the property and request the lender to approve a short sale.


The benefits for a homeowner to use a short ...

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Friday, November 18, 2011   /   by George Chiriboga

"Our First House Is Special In A Million Different Ways"

This is what Miss Kat and Darren Orta shared with us last week for both my wife Suzanna (REALTOR), and their lender:

"We are spending this Thanksgiving moving into our new house. Our first house is special in a million different ways and I wanted to extend my special thanks to the both of you. I could not have done this without you, and I appreciate every single email, call, and thought that you both have had for my family in the past few months.


It was a stressful road, as "they" always say it will be. There were a lot of moments when Darren and I thought that this just might not happen, that we would have to wait and keep on renting and keep on looking. When the sellers started to act up it really made me appreciate all the hard work that you both do every day.  I'm sure there are now a couple of good tales to share with your friends. Carpet Repo? Wow!


You guys both already know how special it is to have a home and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart ...

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011   /   by George Chiriboga

Can We Trust Zillow or Trulia for Home Values?

By living on the information age there is so much information at our fingertips. Whenever we need to know anything, we just google it, and there it is. It makes us feel good when we become an expert on any subject in Real Estate.


As a professional Houston REALTOR, I am always marveled about the topic of home values as mentioned by my friends and clients. The number one website mentioned is Zillow, and I have to admit it is a wonderful website, and I like it a lot but when it comes to Houston Real Estate values, we need to be cautious about those values.

For instance, if you or friend have recently sold a house in Houston in the last three months and you compare the sales price with the value calculated by Zillow, you will see how accurate or innacurate it was.


Just give your Houston REALTOR a call and ask him or her at what price your friend's house "closed," and you will have a better idea of the accuracy of that information.


Finally, there is absolutely no way that ...

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011   /   by George Chiriboga

Can I trust the home values at the County Appraisal District value?

Here is another question I have to address constantly with my friends and clients from Houston, Texas: The short answer is no, but I will explain why below.


First of all, you should know that these values are there for taxation purposes only, and they are only done once a year.


Second, in Houston, there is a difference between market values and tax appraisal values. In theory, they should be the same but it is absolutely impossible for the county to visit every neighborhood in the county, go inside each home to check its condition, and generate at least "three" comparable solds for each property.


Third, the counties around Houston base their appraised values on budgetary reasons for the year. That means, the counties establish a budget for the year, decide the increase in taxation needed to meet the budget, and then generate the increase in tax rate applicable to all the properties in the area. Then if the increase was too much for a homeowner the burden of proof is in t ...

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