Winter Meeting: A Day in the Life…

Winter Meeting: A Day in the Life…

Tracy and Ashley promote attending TREC and Texas REALTOR events throughout the year for agents to understand the market, tools available and to network with industry partners across the state. In February, they attended the Texas REALTOR Winter Meeting. At this meeting, REALTORS discuss business affecting the association, address local trends, and network with other Texas REALTORS.

Before this event, Ashley was stressed about the first day because she was to present a 20-minute mock Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI) class. Many people in the industry consider the GRI designation “Masters Degree of Real Estate”. During the presentation, Tracy watched her impress the room full of professionals and instructors with her teaching. The evaluators told Ashley, “They loved you so much! You are approved.” She was the only candidate at the Winter Meeting authorized to teach GRI, becoming one of only 28 approved GRI instructors in the State of Texas! This opened up opportunities to teach for their local association and several others. In conclusion, Ashley explained, “It wasn’t as scary as I made myself think for weeks. It was enjoyable. I was just myself and that worked. If you consider doing something you feel is out of reach or out of your comfort zone, Do it and don’t hesitate. If it is not meant to be, it will not work, but you will not know until you try!”

Looking back over the event, Tracy & Ashley were disappointed they could not participate in more activities. The event offered so many valuable classes and meetings scheduled so closely together that they were leaving events early or entering classes late. Another surprising thing, according to Ashley, was that one percent of the agent body attended this event. She explained that there are 170,000 agents in Texa, but only 1,700 agents attended. However, that is a record attendance for the Winter Meeting, about 500 more agents than they have ever had. Ashley said that our association is the second largest in the state with 27,000 agents in MetroTex, and only 30 of those agents attended this event.  

There were many great takeaways from this meeting, Tracy and Ashley were pleasantly surprised with their interactions with the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), a government agency that is a safeguard for consumers in matters of real estate transactions and valuations. They realized that some of the TREC commissioners are brokers and genuinely want feedback for proposed rules. The process is there are rule ideas and deliberation at this meeting. Next, the rules are proposed and put out for public comment. Then there is a waiting period for several months before changes are made. Tracy and Ashley saw some of the rules changed and adopted as revised based on comments made at the Winter Meeting. The biggest takeaway is that TREC wants feedback and cares about opinions. In addition to asking for opinions, TREC is improving its customer service from a five-week response for new applications to a four-day turnaround.

In the end, there was a lot of information to bring back to the agents here in Hunt County. Tracy and Ashley will continue attending these events, learning, networking, and letting others in the industry know where Greenville,Texas is on the map!

A Treasured Story: A Day in the Life

A Treasured Story: A Day in the Life

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we want to share a treasured story with you.Not so long ago, Ashley received a call from a family inquiring about a house next door to them that had been foreclosed on. In rural Hunt and Hopkins Counties, next door can be a half mile away as many acres tend to separate homes in this part of Texas. The family was interested in purchasing the property for a son and daughter-in-law, whom Tracy went to school with in Cumby. Ashley did some research and confirmed that the property had been foreclosed on and was being managed by an asset management company. Since the house was not currently for sale, all she could do was call the foreclosing bank and inquire.

Several months passed and the family stayed in contact with Ashley, calling her each time they saw a vehicle at the property. Ashley, in return, kept an eye out for the property and any change in the records. Out of the blue, Ashley received an email from an REO residential management platform she subscribes to explaining that she had been assigned the listing of this very property! If that isn’t divine intervention, what is? After all, we do believe everything happens for a reason.

Upon inspecting the home, it was immediately apparent this property would be a hard sale on the open market. It had been on fire in the past and not fully repaired, an add-on was literally falling off the house, and rain was leaking in many places from the roof. Many businesses at the time were still working from home due to an illness we will not name, so it took almost six months for Ashley and Tracy to negotiate and close the deal for the family.During negotiations, Tracy waved his commission to get the deal done for the family. After the closing, the family was so happy they delivered a very emotional thank-you letter inside a small treasure chest filled with silver pieces! Yes, Tracy received a REAL treasure chest! If you know Tracy, you know he enjoyed telling his kids about helping pirates buy real estate and paying him with treasure!

Tags: Home, Homes, Hopkins County, Hunt County, Listing, Northeast Texas, Rains County, Real Estate, Real Estate Market, Rockwall County

Property Tax Statements Have Arrived

Property tax statements have arrived!

Notices of appraised property value have been pouring into local mailboxes from County Appraisal Districts across the State of Texas. Folks have taken to social media to vent their outrage at large year-over-year increases in property values assumed by local officials! People are upset at the prospect of their property taxes soaring to unreachable heights! Is this just fear and misunderstanding or is it truly a well-rooted concern and outcry? Let’s dig in.

First, let’s talk a little legal lingo. Tax Code Section 23.01 requires taxable property to be appraised at market value as of January 1st and Tax Code Section 23.23 limits increases of the total assessed value to 10% from year to year if the property is under homestead exemption (note there are a couple of exceptions to this rule). This creates a little havoc when people who are not tax or real estate professionals start trying to decipher their notice. The homestead rules set up instances where there are two different values for the same property on the same tax notice! Appraised Value – Full market value of the property, or in other words the amount the county appraisal district assumes the property will sell for on the open market. Assessed Value – the value at which taxes will be assed. Your homestead exemptions also let you reduce the Assessed Value amount by $25,000 ($40,000 next year) when calculating the school district’s portion of the total tax rate. The difference between the appraised value and the assessed value is referred to as the Homestead Cap Loss. To make things even worse some appraisal districts, such as our local authority here in Hunt County, use Assessed Value on their CAD website, yet they use “Homestead Cap Value excluding Non-Homesite Value (i.e. Ag, Commercial)” on the Notice of Appraised Value.

With the fact that homestead values are capped at a 10% increase per year and many homeowners are seeing an increase in appraised values in excess of 50% (avg 20% in Hunt County), this sets up a unique scenario where a property could actually lose value in years to come yet the county could still increase their property tax revenue because the homestead cap value has lagged so far behind appraised values. For me, that is a pretty hard realization to swallow. I personally do not believe that property values will decrease anytime soon, but I do not have a crystal ball. It just makes me wonder if this was even considered a possibility when legislators took up the homestead cap to a vote?

So here is where we are. Property Tax isn’t going away, or down, anytime in the near future. Property Tax Notices are hard to navigate for most people. Our office has taken countless calls and messages through various platforms with questions about them since the first notices hit mailboxes in Northeast Texas. We have talked mainly about owner-occupied homes and homestead exemptions, but there are many other considerations. From Ag/Timber exemptions, Personal Property and Minerals, to Commercial Real Estate as well as exemptions like Over 65 and Veteran exemptions. The list is extensive and will not get any easier as legislators continue to shape and mold tax law. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Understanding your appraised value and how it influences your tax responsibility will also help you make informed decisions when matters that affect property tax rates are on the ballot.

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not you are going to protest your property taxes, just one being the inside condition of your home or office. Did you just realize that the county appraiser has never been in your home yet still gave you a market value that matches the neighbor’s fully remodeled and modernized home sales price? Yep. That’s what they do. We can help you understand your appraisal notice, help you decide if you should protest your appraised value, help you prepare to protest, and even protest on your behalf.

Is this just fear and misunderstanding or is it truly a well-rooted concern and outcry? Maybe it is both. I will let you decide!