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.

June 18, 2018

5 Tips on How to Decorate Your Home When You Have Young Kids

If you’re interested in kid-friendly ideas when it comes to decorating your home, try to do a little “thought experiment” for a moment. Imagine that a very upset Hulk just got his little hands on the piece of décor you want to display. Does it survive? If losing that item would affect your emotional well-being and your pocketbook, perhaps consider something a little less sentimental or expensive.If you’re interested in kid-friendly ideas when it comes to decorating your home, try to do a little “thought experiment” for a moment. Imagine that a very upset Hulk just got his little hands on the piece of décor you want to display. Does it survive? If losing that item would affect your emotional well-being and your pocketbook, perhaps consider something a little less sentimental or expensive.

Here are some kid-friendly decorating ideas that have resulted in fewer headaches for homeowners:

1. Imagine the life of an item before you purchase it. Before you purchase any new home decor take a second to imagine how you would feel if it were to be broken or ruined. Would it break your heart a little? Would it hurt your wallet a lot? If you said yes to either of those two questions you should put the item back. You don’t want to have too many items if any at all that would really upset you if they were destroyed. Little ones somehow manage to break even the things that are said to be unbreakable. Don’t let your home decor be too precious or expensive that it’s irreplaceable.

2. Avoid any and all light colored rugs especially white! When you think of kids you probably imagine their cute little smiling faces and tiny hands. You probably also think of all the messes that kids create and that definitely includes spills. If you are thinking about getting a rug for your home you want to stay clear of any that are light colored and especially if they are white. The ideal rug colors to purchase are dark red and brown. Those colors will hid any spills and stains the best.

3. Pass on any expensive breakables. Kids are notorious for breaking things. They don’t always mean to break things but it’s just in their nature. You don’t want to have any breakable home decor items within a little ones reach. It’s best to put away all breakables until your little one is older but if you still want to keep some breakables out you should keep them up high and out of the sight of little ones.

4. Don’t buy anything that can’t be wiped clean. When you purchase a home decor item or even just rearrange your home decor only have items out that can easily be wiped clean. Little ones love to look at things with their hands instead of their eyes. They leave little finger prints on whatever they touch so if all of your home decor is able to be cleaned by just simply wiping it off it will make your life so much easier.

5. If something has a lot of nooks and crannies pass on it for now. Little ones are messy eaters especially when they are still learning how to feed themselves. It can even look like a food fight when on around them. When food goes flying you never really know where it may land so its best to have most of your home decor be made up of smooth surfaces. Smooth surfaces are easy to clean and also easy to sanitize. Little ones will eat off of any surface so being able to quickly and easily sanitize an area is almost crucial when little kids are around.

Posted in Home Maintenance
June 2, 2018

Drones are Assisting Hays County Officials with Home Appraisals

Every three years each home in Hays County must be appraised. There are around 95,000 home in Hays County right now and that number is only going to increase. With technology improving Hays County officials are using it to their advantage. Now that officials are able to use drones to appraise homes the process is quicker and more precise.

The drone system that Hays County uses are provided by Eagle View. Eagle View specializes in property measurements by using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. The drones are able to accurately measure a property and the square footage of the home that’s on it. Drones are even able to see what additions are added to a home such as, a inground pool, back patio, or extra room additions. These additions greatly affect the value of a home. The software does not reveal any private information and is strictly used to help appraise a property.

Home appraisals are typically completed around the middle of April. Homeowners then have 30 days to appeal or protest the appraisal of their home. It is important for homeowners to check their appraisals thoroughly to make sure that no mistakes were made. Home appraisal mistakes can possibly affect a homeowner’s home insurance.

David Valle, chief appraiser for the Hays County Appraisal District, says “the job is very important for the county. It’s a responsibility like no other. This county has grown exponentially and new technology helps make the process more smooth for us.”

Posted in News
May 15, 2018

How To Protest Your Property Tax Appraisal in Hays County

You may have received a notice about protesting your home appraisal in the mail from David Valle, Chief Appraiser for the Hays Central Appraisal District. If not, here is a copy of the letter that might help!


Hays Central Appraisal District offers residential property owners the opportunity to electronically file a Notice of Protest as required by Texas Property Tax Section 41.415.

If you disagree with your 2018 appraisal notice value, visit our website www.hayscad.com and click on the Property Search tab to locate your account. Click on the Protest icon to access the online appeal program. You will need your passcode (online Protest ID) located on your appraisal notice to begin your online appeal and then follow the prompts. You can send questions to info@hayscad.com.

Your protest may be scheduled for an Appraisal Review Board hearing before you receive a settlement offer. If a settlement offer is made prior to your scheduled hearing date, you can accept or reject the offer online. If you accept, the appeal will be closed and your name removed from the docket. If you reject the offer, you will need to attend the schedule hearing or submit a notarized affidavit prior to your hearing date.

If you file your protest using the online appeal program, do not file a written protest!

If you do not wish to file a protest online, you still have the option of filing a protest by completing the notice of protest form, located on the HaysCAD.com website and returning it to our office, or including it as an attachment in an email to protest@hayscad.com

Pay close attention to the protest deadline, May 31st.

ARB Hearings begin May 23rd.

The location of the ARB Hearings is 21001 IH 35, Kyle, TX 78640

 

Posted in Homeowner Tips
May 2, 2018

4 Tips For Staging A Home When You Have Pets

When you are staging your home it’s very important for your home to appeal to the largest number of potential home buyers. A big part of doing that means to hide any and all signs of house pets. Some prospective buyers will immediately turn around and walk right out of a house if there are any signs of house pets. When there are signs of house pets in homes that are for sale it can send a message to potential buyers that the house may have not been properly cared for. Even though pets are typically seen as a family member, that doesn’t mean all buyers want a home that a pet or pets have lived in. But don’t worry if you aren’t sure how to hide your pets, here are a few way to make your home appeal to all buyers including those who don’t like house pets.

  1. Remove Photos Of Your Pets: Most realtors advise to take down any personal pictures when staging a house, but that also includes any pictures of your pets. When you have potential buyers looking around at your house you don’t want them them distracted by your family pictures and especially not by photos of your pets. It may be hard to put away your beautiful sentimental pictures, but don’t worry it is only temporary. Once your house is sold and you are settling into your new home go ahead and hang up all those beautiful memories again.
  2. Hide Any Pet Items From View: The next thing that you should do when staging your home when you have a housepet goes hand in hand with putting away pet pictures and that is to hide all your pet’s items. This includes all bowls, bags of pet food, pet medication, toys, leashes, litter boxes, and anything else you may have for your pets. You don’t have to put them somewhere where they aren’t accessible, but just make sure they are out of sight.
  3. Keep Floors Free From Stains & Vacuum Daily: This next step may come as a no-brainer but you should keep you floors as clean as you possibly can. This means cleaning up any stains your pets may have made on your carpets or floors and also fixing any baseboards your pets may have chewed or scratched. It’s recommended that you vacuum your floors at least once a day if not more. Even if you have wooden or tile floors you should vacuum them instead of or in addition to sweeping them because vacuuming is much more efficient when cleaning up any and all pet hair and dander.
  4. Air Out The House & Neutralize Smells: The last things you should do when staging your house when you have pets is to clean out your air vents, replace your house’s air filter, and to air out your house daily. You have probably seen the commercials for products that eliminate household odors that you are nose blind to but you don’t want to over power your house with any perfume like smells. Instead it is best to open all doors and windows that have screens so that you can air out your home from any and all unpleasant smells including those of your pets. If you haven’t changed your house’s air filter regularly you may be in for a bit of a surprise when you go to take out the old one. It is likely that it is overfilled with pet hair and dirt. When you don’t change your air filters often enough your house’s air system will just be recycling all of that dirt and pet hair over and over until that dirty air filter is replaced with a new one. After you change your air filter you will want to clean all the air vents in your house to remove any and all dirt and pet hair from them. The most efficient way to do this is to use the hose on your vacuum with the attachment that has brush like hairs.
Posted in Home Selling Tips
April 17, 2018

What to Do When Buying and Selling at the Same Time

A lot of people in our market today would love to sell their home, but hesitate due to low inventory. The idea of buying a new home while listing another at the same time can be an intimidating prospect, but I’ve got some good news to share with you.

Interest rates are still low, which means it is absolutely possible to get a great deal when buying in our current market. So, juggling two transactions at once can be done. 

The first thing you need to do when buying and selling at the same time is to hire an agent who can help you navigate both sides of the process. If you do use two agents, make sure they’re clearly communicating about your needs. 

When it comes time to find your new home, a good agent will be able to locate listings that may not even be on the market. Given our current low level of supply, this strategy will be of great benefit to you.

After you’ve settled on a home you’d like to buy, the next step is to write a contract that is contingent upon the sale of your current home. Also, a quality agent will be able to negotiate a lease back agreement for you. Essentially, this would allow you to lease back your home from its buyer while you settle loose ends with your new home purchase. 

Of course, if things don’t work out as seamlessly as what I’ve described, you can also write in certain language to protect yourself in the contract. Your agent will be able to help you with this.

Alternatively, you could make purchase a new construction home and ask the builder to give you a flexible time frame. There is also another final option for you to explore, which is to risk selling your home before finding a new one to buy. If you choose this route, make sure you make the sale contingent upon your finding a new home. 

Ultimately, there are a number of ways to handle two transactions at once. The most important thing is that you reach out to an experienced agent who knows the market and will be able to help you transition smoothly.

April 2, 2018

Most Competitive Spring Home Buying Season Since the Great Recession

Spring is in the air and home buyers are starting to surface. But this spring housing market will be like no other! It has been said that this spring housing market will be even more competitive than that of the Great Recession. So grab your wallet, your realtor, and a preapproved mortgage loan and hit the ground running! Since there will be a record low number of houses on the market this spring you will need a competitive edge. Don’t worry, as long as you follow these highly advised steps you will more than likely be way ahead of the other home buyers, giving you the competitive edge that you will need.

First of all before you even start looking for a house it’s crucial that you have an emergency fund set aside for unexpected home expenses. Unfortunately when owning a home there is always a possibility of something breaking or malfunctioning and the responsibility falls upon you to fix it. It’s best to be prepared with an emergency fund in place before something actually happens so that “the emergency becomes only an inconvenience” as Dave Ramsey, a financial educator, says. An emergency fund will not only give you peace of mind but also help prepare you for home ownership.

The next important step is to figure out how much house you can actually afford. Dave Ramsey suggests to have a 10% but preferably 20% down payment on a home and then to have your monthly payments be 25% or less of monthly take home pay. One thing most home buyers don’t do is get a preapproved loan. It’s essential to have a preapproved loan when house shopping in this incredibly competitive market. Having a preapproved loan simply gives you the upper hand. It assures the seller that things won’t fall through due to you not being able to get a loan. But make sure to shop around when getting a home loan. Different banks will have different fees and rates. When a bank gives you the list of fees that go with your mortgage loan you can always try to negotiate them down to a lower price for things like home appraisal. Ask your Prosper Properties real estate agent for a referral to a good lender!

After you have your emergency fund in place and a preapproved loan in hand the next thing on your list should be to research the type of house that you want. It’s not only important to know what kind of house that you want but also what amenities you want within the house and even within the neighborhood. A big mistake that prospective homebuyers make is not knowing what type of home they want to buy. Buying a home is a very expensive purchase, which makes it crucial to find a house that you love. But if you aren’t sure what you want in a home that may make you hesitant to put in an offer which gives other prospective home buyers the chance to put in their offers and that may cost you the house.

Last but definitely not least you should have a Realtor. A lot of things are done online nowadays but having your own personal Realtor can really give you the upper hand. For instance Realtors often know of houses that are going to go on the market before they even hit the market. Realtors can also give you information about fees and taxes in the area along with homeowner association fees and rules. Their job is to help you with the home buying process.

If you have everything listed above set in place than you are ready to go toe to toe with the other competitive homebuyers this spring!

Posted in Home Buying Tips
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