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RPT Blog

Wednesday, January 19, 2022   /   by Landry Mariano

Homestead Exemption In Texas: Everything You Need To Know For 2022

It's that time of year to start thinking about taxes once more. Tax season may not be your favorite time of year, but for homeowners who purchased a home in Texas the previous year, it might provide some pretty sweet benefits.

Every homeowner has the chance to apply for the Residential Homestead Exemption from January 1st to April 30th of the tax year. To help you get started, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions about filing an exemption, as well as all the tools you'll need to get started right away!

What Is a Homestead Exemption?

The Homestead Exemption is essentially a property tax exemption that homeowners can claim on their primary dwelling. It lowers your taxes by exempting a portion of your home's worth from taxation. If your home is valued at $300,000 and you qualify for a $25,000 exemption, for example, you will pay taxes on it as if it were only worth $275,000.

The only property that qualifies for the Homestead Exemption is your primary residence ...

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Thursday, January 13, 2022   /   by Landry Mariano

A Note From Russ On Today's Inflation, Interests Rates, Home Prices & More

Today’s headline is a kickstart if you are thinking about real estate.  Why?
Well if you were not around for the 1970’s and 80’s, you may not be familiar with the fact that federal policy to slow inflation impacts interest rates.  For the last 25-30 years we have seen declining rates and I think we have taken it for granted. 
When I bought a home in 1999, I danced a happy dance to lock my interest rate in at 7.75%…with a credit score of 800.  Today that would be a loan shark/hard money rate. 
In my 20 year career, I have been hesitant to play “chicken little” with interest rates and bark to the world “the sky is about to fall.”  I’ve never wanted to be “that guy.”  So why am I saying this now?
Because the analysts, the talking heads, and people who deal with this sort of thing are talking like it’s unavoidable, and pondering how much rates wi ...

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Thursday, October 14, 2021   /   by Russ Phillips

Why it's hard to find starter homes & the EVER IMPORTANT need to have an agent that pays attention

In our local market, it's become challenging to buy your first home.  Even though we've seen interest rates below 3% in the last year, and even though we enjoy a thriving job market here locally...the inventory remains scarce in the price point.   
It used to be we'd consider a starter home as something below $200-225k.  Now, if you see a listing in that price point, you'd better run to it, and be prepared for an auction.  For example, earlier this year the Russ Phillips Team listed a home at $275k and we received 22 offers the first weekend, driving the price up to $350k.  
In addition to very strong economic growth, the Austin area is being targeted by institutional money.  The article states that only 15% of the market share is being eaten up by institutional money, but when you combine that with people moving from all over to enjoy our local job market, lifestyle, and business-friendly economics...it's a huge part of the equation. 
He; ...

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Wednesday, September 29, 2021   /   by Russ Phillips

A word from Russ on the economy, this moment in the market, and stuff...

It's October.  Fall is upon us, and what's happening out there?  A lot.  And a little. 
Let's start with some good news and optimism: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the economy appears poised to pick up speed after the recovery has been hampered by a rise in Covid cases and the Delta-variant.  
In the local market, we've had the strongest year in history in overall sales and price appreciation, but the last 2-3 months have shown us a normalizing or stabilizing market. In fact, prices for August fell by 2% from July numbers.  We think the Delta variant likely played a role in that, along with the usual seasonal slowdown as school starts back up. 
You see the seasonal phenomenon in the # of sales per month chart below.  Given the slower pace we are seeing right now....if you are a buyer, NOW IS THE TIME TO ENTER THE MARKET AND TRY AGAIN!  There's less competition for you!  

The local talking heads I listen to ar ...

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Monday, August 16, 2021   /   by Russ Phillips

Realtors Are Saying the Market is Slowing - But I thought it was HOT? What's going on?

GroupThink.  What is it?  
According to VeryWellMind.com, here's a definitiion: 
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group. In many cases, people will set aside their own personal beliefs or adopt the opinion of the rest of the group. The term was first used in 1972 by social psychologist Irving L. Janis.
People who are opposed to the decisions or overriding opinion of the group as a whole frequently remain quiet, preferring to keep the peace rather than disrupt the uniformity of the crowd. The phenomenon can be problematic, but even well-intentioned people are prone to making irrational decisions in the face of overwhelming pressure from the group.
Q: So how does this apply to Real Estate?   
A: Markets move in a "herd mentality." 
So, I'll bet that instinctively you know this, but think about the big stock market crash of 1929...or stories of a run on banks.   What happens ...

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