Prosper Properties Blog

We are located in the heart of Hays County, right in downtown Buda, Texas. This blog offers tips, facts & solutions for homeowners as well as potential buyers and sellers.

March 18, 2018

Where Is Your Generation Living?

Have you ever thought that you may desire to live in a certain area because of the generation you are a part of. It sounds a little crazy but it’s true. Realtor.com did a study that pinpointed that most desired locations for Millennials, Generation X’ers, and Baby Boomers. The stereotypes that go hand-in-hand with each generation display why they are flocking to areas that are filled with the people of their generation.

Millennials Are Flocking To Big Cities Despite The Cost

Each generations has unique and specific wants and needs when it comes to their desired location to call home. Millennials are often seen as a technology obsessed and self obsessed generation. Not to mention that most of them are trying to keep their head above water in the huge pool of debt that they got themselves into. It’s no surprise that Millennials want to live in a tech hub that has a great nightlife and cafes that are social media worthy. In Realtor.com’s study the number one destination for Millennials is San Francisco, California. The fact that the average home price in San Francisco is $846,400 (according to Realtor.com) is astonishing but Millennials think it’s well worth the steep expense. Millennials tend to think that the price of more debt is well worth the lavish lifestyles they typically live. There are typically great high paying jobs within tech hubs which is one of the reasons why Millennials are okay will taking on more debt in order to support their fun lifestyles.

Gen Xers Want Big Paychecks And Big Homes

The generation that isn’t mentioned nearly as much as Millennials and Baby Boomers is Generation X. While the stereotypes for Generation X are cynical and disengaged, the locations they choose to live say otherwise. People who fall into the category of Generation X typically have children in school and want to get the most bang for their buck while living in a location with good school districts. Realtor.com’s study stated that five out of the top ten locations for the individuals of Generation X are in Texas with Houston being number one. Generation Xers are usually looking for a four bedroom suburban homes that are located in a nice community with plenty of amenities for their whole family to enjoy. The study shows that Generation Xers like to live in places with warmer temperature which is another reason why Texas holds five out of the ten most popular destinations for the Generation Xers. The home buyers of Generation X typically go for a home with a price around $260,000, according to Realtor.com’s findings. Even though Hurricane Harvey left billions of dollars worth of damage to Houston, Generation Xers are taking advantage of the lower prices. Hurricane Harvey destroyed everything in its path when it reached Houston but the messy aftermath gave thousands of people employment to help build Houston back up to what it was before. So for many people, especially those of Generation X, now is the best time to buy a home in the Houston area because they are also able to find a new employment within a short commute from their new home.

Baby Boomers Are Still Moving To Florida – But It’s Not Number 1

Last but not least is the Baby Boomer generation. The Baby Boomers’ stereotypes say that they are rebellious, yet set in their ways. Realtor.com’s study doesn’t quite give the same information about Baby Boomers when it comes to where they want to live and why. When you think of Baby Boomers what comes to mind might be sunshine states and them enjoying activities at their local senior center. According to Realtor.com’s findings Baby Boomers prefer states with lots of sunshine to states with mild summers and cold winters. The study reveals that six out of the top ten locations for Baby Boomers are in Florida, but the number one location is in fact Phoenix, Arizona. Realtor.com states that on average Baby Boomers spend $329,000 on their home. It’s no shock that Florida holds more than half of the top ten desired locations for Baby Boomers. Florida not only has beautiful sunshine but also the added benefit that retired individuals don’t have to pay income tax on the withdrawals from their retirement accounts. When Baby Boomers relocate to their new homes in the sunshine states they also tend to also downsize in the process. Most of their children are now adults that are out on their own and are even raising families of their own. Baby Boomers don’t need large homes to accommodate a growing family anymore, instead they need just enough space for themselves and their belongings and possibly an extra room for when they have visitors.

Posted in News
March 1, 2018

Where Do Texans Pay The Highest Property Taxes?

Government data published by Smart Asset shows the total cost of local governments across the United States. After taking into account the home values, the median Texas homeowner pays the 4th highest effective property taxes nationwide. Locally though, the families in Fort Bend, Collin and Travis counties pay the most within Texas.

The calculation for this data is pretty straightforward. It looks at the median home value inside each county, and multiplies it against the average total property tax rate given by all taxing authorities (cities, counties, schools, etc.)

The result is a county by county ranking in each state that identifies where the total cost of all local governments is the highest for homeowners.

Below are the Top 25 Texas counties (out of 254) where taxpayers pay the highest total property tax payments, from highest to lowest.

Here are two notable facts about the data.

  1. Individual homeowners inside each county will pay a different tax bill because they are taxed by different localities, each with their own separate tax rate. And every homeowner has a different property value on which those rates are based.
  2. These figures are based only on median home values. Since commercial properties are excluded, the figures do not reflect the total tax revenue local governments collect from their entire tax base. Actually, in some cities, commercial property can account for 50% or more of the tax base!

In short, the above rankings show where the total cost of all local governments is the highest for homeowners, AFTER adjusting for home values. In doing so, they illustrate how tax rates are NOT the big picture of the tax burdens imposed on homeowners, because property values can vary considerably.

So let’s explore what is driving these higher tax bills? I can tell you it’s NOT appraisal increases. Generally speaking, higher burdens ultimately results from local officials refusing to lower their tax rates enough to offset high appraisal values.

The best example of this is shown under Kendall County, where homeowners pay the 4th highest tax payments due to extremely high property values, despite facing a total property tax rate LOWER than the next 19 most burdened counties.

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Feb. 10, 2018

Best Places For A Date Night in Buda/Kyle

When you think of February you probably think of pinks, reds, flowers, hearts, chocolates, and restaurants and rightfully so since Valentine’s Day is the day of love. And Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! If you haven’t made any plans for Valentine’s Day yet, don’t worry because here are some of the best restaurants that Buda and Kyle have to offer! So whether it’s ending a romantic Valentine’s Day evening with your loved one or spending quality time together on a date night you are sure to love any of these fantastic restaurants.

Nate’s

If you are looking for a casual, come as you are, type of restaurant in Buda then Nate’s is the place. Nate’s is the perfect place for a morning coffee date, afternoon lunch date, and of course an evening dinner date. No matter the time of day Nate’s always has a unique atmosphere with the perfect food and drinks to fit your mood. In the evening Nate’s entertains guests with unique live music that you can enjoy on their expansive deck under the “Big Oak”.

Brooklyn’s Down South

Another wonderful and unique restaurant in Buda is Brooklyn’s Down South. They serve an array of Mexican, Cajun/Southern, and traditional American food. Their unique food and tasty beverages would be the perfect way to treat your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s brunch, lunch, dinner, or just drinks you won’t be disappointed with the flavors you are served at Brooklyn’s Down South.

Buck’s Backyard

Buck’s Backyard in Buda is known for its cold beer, good eats, and live music. If you looking for something a little different than the traditional candle lit dinner with a server in a tie, then you need to check out Buck’s Backyard. At Buck’s you can enjoy delicious food, good music, and a refreshing cold one. You can choose to sit at the bar or find a spot on the huge open deck to enjoy the live music as you sip on your beer and wait for your food to arrive. No matter where you choose to sit and unwind at Buck’s it will be an experience you’ll always treasure.

EVO Entertainment

If you are looking for a fun packed date then you need to visit EVO Entertainment in Kyle. EVO Entertainment offers its guests a complete and well rounded experience from bowling, to movies, an arcade, and of course delicious mouth watering food. It is the perfect place to let loose and have some fun with the one you love. If you have children and don’t want to get a babysitter on Valentine’s Day then EVO Entertainment is the perfect place to enjoy Valentine’s Day with your family. There is something for everyone to enjoy, not to mention the great food and drinks.

Ilario’s Italian Restaurant

Ilario’s Italian Restaurant brings authentic Italian and delicious New York style pizza to Kyle. Ilario’s would be the perfect place to enjoy pizza and wine with your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Ilario’s makes its food daily from scratch with only the freshest ingredients. Ilario’s prides itself on its delicious food and friendly atmosphere. You can’t go wrong when choosing to indulge on the food and atmosphere at Ilario’s Italian Restaurant.

The Restaurant at Sage Hill

One of the most impeccable restaurants Kyle has to offer is located at Sage Hill Inn & Spa. The Restaurant at Sage Hill’s master chefs prepare all meals with fresh and local farm to table ingredients. The guests who have a reservation to stay at Sage Hill Inn & Spa receive a hot breakfast and 3 course dinner daily which are included in their stay, so availability at The Restaurant at Sage Hill is limited to reservations only. If you want the whole Sage Hill Inn & Spa experience for Valentine’s Day then it is ideal to make a reservation to stay at the inn for the evening. If you only want to indulge in the exquisite foods that The Restaurant at Sage Hill has to offer than call to make a reservation as soon as you can due to the limited space available.

Posted in News
Feb. 2, 2018

Tempted to flee high property taxes? You might miss out on what they pay for.

Are you thinking about moving due to the tax rates in your area? Before you pack up your bags and sell your house read this to know if the big move would really be worth it.

Some states and cities have higher tax rates than others and its possible that you are taking them for granted. Did you know that property and state taxes are what fund the public school systems in your area. They also fund things such as; city parks, bike paths, and public transportation.

It may seem like a good decision to move to a city with lower tax rates when you look at how much you pay in property taxes each year. Something to remember is that tax rates are only a small fraction of the overall picture of a city. You should take into account the things you are quite possibly taking for granted that are funded by your property taxes.

The public schools in your school district are funded by your property tax along with all your neighbors’ property taxes. Areas with higher property taxes tend to have the best public schools with the best teachers. Is moving to a new town with lower property taxes worth taking your children out of the best public schools available? If you don’t have any children or if they are out of school than having the best school available to you probably isn’t high on your priority list. But if you enjoy taking walks at you local park or using the bike trails you should know that those are all funded and maintained with money from local property taxes.

Another important thing to know before you consider moving is that public transportation is funded by taxes. Many people rely on public transportation to get to and from work or to simply run their errands. Living in an area with low property taxes typically means there isn’t very good public transportation, if there is any at all. If there is poor public transportation that will make for a lot more cars on the road which leads to more traffic and possible accidents. It also means that there will be more wear and tear on the roads. Local property taxes are what fund the maintenance on city roads. If there is little to no property taxes being paid by residents that gives the city little to no money for schools, parks, public transportation, and road maintenance.

Have you ever noticed that large successful companies are typically located in nice areas with good school districts? It is not a coincidence it is a strategic plan. Successful companies want to be located in an area that is appealing to its employees. A lot of a big company’s employees have families with children. Parents will always want their children to attend the best schools available, so when a company is relocating it will actually have employees go look at a possible new location’s school district. Successful companies will go so far as to look at the high school and college graduation rates and take them into consideration.

If you are still set on moving to an area with lower property taxes you should really consider visiting the area before making the big move. Go visit the town and look at the school systems that your children would be attending, the local parks your children and yourself would be enjoying, and how well the town is maintained. Make sure to look into the current tax rates there at the time of your visit. Double check your tax rate sources and do your research on the town to make sure it’s exactly what you want. You wouldn’t want to make a huge move to a city with lower tax rates to find out that they weren’t actually lower it was just that some residents were grandfathered in at a lower tax rate. Then once you have all your facts gathered you will be able to make an educated decision on whether picking up your whole life and moving to a city with lower tax rates is worth it or not.

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Jan. 16, 2018

10 Things to Toss From Your Attic or Garage ASAP

How long has it been since you really took a look at what is sitting in your attic? A year? Two years? Five years? What about your garage? Do you even know what could possibly be sitting in either of those spaces? If reading this and thinking about what could possibly be aging in your garage or attic makes you curious or even a little nervous then it’s time to hold your nose and jump in. Put some music on and grab some trash bags because it is time for you to cleanse your attic and garage!

Think of all the possibilities you could do with this new found space. You could turn your attic into another bedroom or even an office. You could actually park your car in your garage so that when it’s raining you don’t have to unload your groceries in the pouring rain. Plus the freeing feeling that you will get from this will be worth it in it of itself but you get the added bonus of free space.

Clear the clutter out of your attic and garage so that you can use that space instead of having things you didn’t even realize you had taking it away from you. It may be hard in the beginning but once you start to see those areas of the floor that you haven’t seen it years you will find yourself tossing and donating things left and right just to get a few more inches of your home back! 

Here are 10+ things that you should either toss or donate!

1. Furniture

Let’s start with furniture. It is probably some of the largest items you have to get rid of which means it is taking up a lot of your valuable space. I know there may be some pieces that you want to keep or that are family heirlooms but it has been sitting in your attic or garage for how long now? It is time to either find it a forever spot somewhere in your house or it needs to go to a new home where it will be loved and valued instead of just sitting unappreciated in a cold dark room. If are going to sell an item that is an antique or could possibly be an antique, contact an antique professional before selling the item to make sure you are giving a fair price when selling it.

2. Holiday Decorations

Holiday decorations are wonderful during the holiday season but during the off season all they are doing is collecting dust. How much of your holiday decoration stash did you actually use this last holiday season? Was it even a fraction of the amount you have? If the answer is no or you don’t know because you’re not sure how many holiday decorations you own, then it’s time to get rid of some or even most of your holiday decoration stash. Set aside the decorations you just recently enjoyed but as for the rest of them, if you don’t have a specific place in mind that you will put the decoration this next holiday season then you should either toss it or donate it.

3. Baby Supplies

Are you planning on having another baby? If so then congratulations! If not then you should donate or give away the baby items you have that are just collecting dust. There are plenty of people who need baby supplies and are willing to pay you for your baby supply stash. The longer you keep baby items the more outdated they become, and it can even become a safety hazard for a future baby. There are new baby items coming out all the time and they are becoming cheaper and even safer for new babies. So it’s time to part with your baby supplies that are stealing precious room in your new found space. You will be giving the baby items a new family that will love, appreciate, and use them with their new little bundle of joy! You would be doing yourself and that family a favor.

4. Boxes

Do you have a just-in-case box collection? Well I hate to break it to you, but those boxes very possibly have some friends living in them, if you know what I mean. You know the kind that make you scream when they run across the floor? It is time to let the boxes go. If you ever need boxes for a move, or anything really, there are a lot of ways to get them for free. All you have to do is “Google it” and lists upon lists will come up of different companies who give their boxes away for free to people who ask for them. So, get rid of the boxes that are taking up your precious space and inviting unwanted friends to stay awhile, and take your space back.

5. Outdated Technology

Technology is improving so much and so fast that you are bound to have a bit of old technology lying around somewhere. You probably haven’t touched that old technology in months or even years. It is time to toss it or donate it if it’s still in working condition. You don’t need piles of outdated DVD players, gaming systems, and VHS players especially. Everything is becoming digital and smaller with the new technology that is constantly coming out so give yourself that space back in your garage and attic and get rid of that outdated equipment. 

6. Clothes

Do you have bags or boxes of clothes in your attic? Do you know every item of clothing that you own? It is time to donate those bags of outdated clothes if they are still in good condition. Give those items a chance to be worn, loved, and used again. Is your off season clothing sitting right there in front of you on the floor of your garage? How long has it been since you actually opened up that box to swap out your seasonal clothes? If the answer is that you can’t remember or that it has been years, then it is time to go through that box, take out what you want to keep, and donate the rest. Rodents love to make homes in bags of clothes so do yourself a favor and donate your unwanted items before you have unwanted house guests. 

7. Paperwork

Keeping important documents is a good habit to have, but keeping them for longer than necessary is not. Once you have made sure your bank statement and receipts match up then toss the receipts. Tax specialists say that you only need to keep you tax documents for 7 years so each year when you put away your new set of tax documents discard the 7-year-old documents so that you only keep as many as you need to. If you have a number of paper documents that you want to keep there are scanners that can scan documents to create a digital copy of them for you. Then you don’t have to keep the hard copy which means more freed up space in your house for you!

8. Outdated Music Devices

Just like there is no good reason to keep a stack of outdated DVD and VHS players and gaming systems there is no need to keep outdated music devices like cassette players. You don’t need to keep any music playing device that you haven’t touched in 6 months or longer. There are plenty of ways to listen to your favorite music without having to store all those big outdated music players in your garage. If you aren’t sure what type of music platforms will play your favorite kind of music Google will have the answer for you.

9. Childhood Memories

This one might be a little tricky if you are a sentimental person, but don’t worry you can do this. Every time you pick up and item from that box ask yourself, “Would I show this to the next person that comes over to my house?” While going through that box you can reminisce on when you or your child made that specific item. But if you ask yourself and the answer is no, then it is time to part with it. It is just a physical item, you have the memory stored in your brain forever. Clear that space in your garage or attic so that you can give it a new purpose instead of having it store all those items that you would never look at again if it weren’t for this exercise. 

10. Photos

This may be the most difficult type of item to get rid of and that is why it is last on the list. You have the momentum from tossing and donating hundreds of items already, so you can do this. You don’t need to get rid of all your photos, but there is probably a large sum of photos that you can discard. If you can’t seem to discard any of them then it would really benefit you to scan them into your computer so that you then have a digital copy of them. Once you have a digital copy you can decide whether or not you need to keep the actual photographs. If you choose to keep the photos that is okay, just make sure to find a better place to store them so they don’t get possible heat and water damage.

 

Posted in Home Improvement
Jan. 3, 2018

Let’s talk about Negley Elementary

Today we are going to focus on one of the many fantastic Elementary Schools within the Hays Consolidated Independent School District: Laura B. Negley Elementary School.

Laura B. Negley Elementary School opened its doors in 2006 in the Plum Creek Master planned community and has been flourishing ever since! The school is named after Laura B. Negley, who was a political activist born in Austin, Texas in 1890 to Albert Burleson. Mr. Burleson was a U.S. Congressman and appointed Postmaster General by President Woodrow Wilson. Laura attended the University of Texas and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1911. She went on to become very active in politics and in women’s suffrage work.

Negley Elementary is a K-5 campus. Other neighborhoods (in addition to Plum Creek) that feed into Negley are Mountain City, Arroyo Ranch and Cypress Forest.

The School’s Mission and Vision is for students, teachers and parents to work together to build a foundation of respectful leaders, lifelong learners and problem solvers. They daily practice the acronym of S.A.I.L. with their students.

Here is what S.A.I.L. represents:
S: Show respect
A: Always be safe.
I: I will make good choices.
L: Live honestly.

According to GreatSchools.org, the school currently has 751 students enrolled. Here are a few other statistics:

  • Student/Teacher ratio is 16:1 (State average is 15:1).
  • 94% of the teachers have 3 or more years of teaching experience.
  • Academically, the school has achieved a 7/10 rating from GreatSchools.org. Reading scores are at a 52% proficiency (State average is 44%), Math scores are at 47% proficiency (State average is 47%) and Science scores are at 56% proficiency (State average is 41%).
  • Only 3% of students are English learners.
  • In rating student progress, they have achieved a 7/10 from GreatSchools.org

Student progress is measured by how much students at this school are improving year to year; in comparison to the academic progress of all schools in the State of Texas. Negley Elementary is doing a wonderful job at providing a well-rounded education, teaching students to apply practical life skills and to show kindness and respect for all.

Posted in News
Dec. 15, 2017

How to Apply for a Homestead Exemption in Texas

What better way to start off the new year than by finding ways to possibly save yourself thousands of dollars? You can do this by filing a homestead exemption.

Now you may ask, what is a homestead? A homestead can be a “condominium or a manufactured home located on owned or leased land, as long as the individual living in the home owns it.” It can include up to 20 acres if you also own that land and use it for residential purposes.

By filing a homestead exemption in Texas on your principal residence, you can remove part of your home’s value from taxation, which in turn lowers your taxes. For example, if your home is appraised at $200,000 and you qualify for a $25,000 exemption (this happens to be the amount mandated for school districts), you will pay school taxes on your home as if it was only worth $175,000. Taxing units have the option to provide other exemptions of up to 20% of the total value.

Not all home qualify for homestead exemptions. You must meet the definition of a “residence homestead”: You must be an individual (not a corporation or business entity) and use your home as your primary residence on January 1st of the tax year. The only exception to this is if you are 65+ years old or disabled. Then the January 1st ownership and residency are not required.

The timeline to file for a homestead exemption is between January 1st and April 30th of the tax year. You may also file for late Homestead Exemption for up to one year after the date which the taxes become delinquent.

Homestead Exemption Required Documents

Your Homestead Exemption will not be approved unless all of the required documents show the address of the home you’re filing for. See the list below for ways to file a homestead exemption:

Hays County

Download PDF Application HERE and mail to:

  • Hays Central Appraisal District
    Lex Word Building
    21001 IH 35 North, Kyle, TX 78640

OR

  • Email completed PDF application and copy of drivers license with new address on it to info@hayscad.com

Travis County

Download PDF Application HERE and mail to:

  • Travis Central Appraisal District
    PO Box 149012, Austin, TX 78714-9012

OR

  • File online by requesting an Owner ID and PIN by calling 512-834-9317. Select option 4 for general questions.
Posted in News
Dec. 1, 2017

Why Should You Use Professional Photography When Selling Your Home?

We had a chance to sit down and chat with Bryan Parker of Bryan Parker Photography. Bryan has been in the professional photography business for many years and is a wealth of knowledge in the industry! 

Prosper Properties: Thank you Bryan for taking the time to explain why using a professional photographer, such as yourself, makes such a difference when listing your home. Can you give us your specific reasons why?

Bryan Parker: Your listings will get more showings online than you will ever see in-person. The quality of your photos will do more to attract, and hold, the attention of prospective buyers, and their agents, than most anything else you can offer when listing a home.

PP: Can you provide us with some statistics to back this up?

BP: Buyers spend 60% of their time looking at listing photos, and only 20% each on the listing description and agent description. (The Wall Street Journal.

  • Homes with high-quality photos receive 47% higher asking price per square foot. (cbsnews.com)
  • Homes with professional photos get 61% more views. (REDFIN)
  • Listings with professional photos receive 118% more online views.
  • Homes with professionally photographed pictures can sell for up to $19,000 more. (marketleader.com)

PP: Wow those are some solid facts! So how long have you been in the photography business? What inspired you to become a photographer?

BP: I have been shooting real estate photography for almost 10 years.  I have been in multimedia for 20 years and when we sold our last home the "professional" photos the agent used were not very good. The agent agreed that the photos I took were better and I started shooting their listings. We started offering real estate photography and home staging after that.  

PP: What an interesting way to get started in the business. What are some of the methods you use to make a home look the best it possibly can?

BP: I try to make every home look as bright and big as possible. Turning on all the lights and opening all the blinds helps as well as a lot of shots from the corners of rooms that show the entire room instead of just one wall. I also try to capture anything that makes a home unique. The camera and lens used also make a big difference in capturing the whole room.

PP: These are good methods and really people can do the same thing on their own if for some reason they can't work with a professional. You mentioned that you have been in multimedia. What is some of the other photography you do?

BP: Coming from a multimedia background, I am able to offer many different services to agents. In addition to photography I also shoot video, create interactive floor plans, property websites, property videos and aerial photography.  I have shot everything from an 800 sq. foot home up to a 24,000 sq foot home and also an 8,000 sq. ft lot up to a 125 acre property.

PP: Great! That's a wide variety of services! Could you tell us what the average prices are?

BP: Most houses fall under the $125 price range. That includes unlimited photos and virtual tour.

PP: Well that's affordable compared to what people would make back on the sale of their homes! It truly is an investment. Do you have a website?

BP: Yes, it is www.studio12austin.com and you can contact me there, or give me a call at 512-947-2792.

PP: Wonderful! Well thank you for sitting down with us today Bryan. It was a pleasure speaking with you!

BP: Likewise! Thank you!

Below are some samples of Bryan's work

Posted in Home Selling Tips
Nov. 15, 2017

Buda's Newest Art Gallery - Assemblage Contemporary Craftsman Gallery

Did you know that Buda has an art gallery? We do! You absolutely MUST go see Assemblage in downtown Buda at the beautifully renovated Buda Mill & Grain development. See our interview here with the owners Jacquie Hollis Martinez and Theresa Jones.

Posted in News
Nov. 1, 2017

Senior Resource Directory

We wanted to present to you today the latest Senior Resource Directory provided by the Silver Sneakers for Seniors at the Buda YMCA and Meals on Wheels of Buda and Kyle. Feel free to download and distribute to anyone you feel would benefit from the directory. Although there is a temptation to print the directory, you should encourage people to use the electronic PDF download version since there are website links present that are active and available to be clicked on. This truly is a great resource for Seniors and we hope you enjoy!

CLICK HERE to download or click the picture below.

Posted in News