New Year, New Homestead Exemption

To some people a homestead exemption sounds like something used for farming, which likely doesn’t apply to you. In Texas, however, a Homestead Exemption means money in your pocket. With the new year finally upon us I want to break down the importance of this property tax exemption to Texas homeowners. And even if you don’t own a home, this might be great info to pass on to your friend, or family member.

What is a Homestead Exemption?
For starters, each state has varying degrees of homestead exemption. If you are located outside of Texas you will need to check with your states’ individual statutes.
In Texas, a homestead exemption protects your property from tax increases (by capping at a 10% increase per year), it protects against creditors (from filing 100% value liens on the property), and it reduces the property tax paid on the property (by reducing the taxable value by 20%).

Who qualifies for a Homestead Exemption?
All Texas homeowners whose primary residence is owned and occupied by the owner for that calendar year. For example, for a 2019 exemption you would need to occupy the home by January 1st, 2019.
In the other instance, if you purchased a home mid year 2018 and the home currently had a homestead exemption then the exemption will carry through the rest of 2018, independent of ownership change. But you will need to apply for a new homestead exemption starting the following year.

How am I saving money?
If you purchased a home for $100,000 and it is appraised at the value you paid, then your homestead exemption would decrease your taxes by the following:
(Appraised value – 20%) x tax rate in county = yearly taxes
20% of $100,000 value = $80,000 (taxable value) x 0.025 (tax rate in Harris county) = $2,000
In this example, the homestead exemption saves the homeowner $500 per year in taxes (taxes without the homestead exemption = $100,000 x 0.025 = $2500/year).

How can I apply?
In most Texas counties, the appraisal district in which the home is in will have a website with a homestead exemption form (usually under popular forms) available. You will need to submit the form along with a valid Driver’s License by April 30th of the tax year. Note, the address on the Driver’s License MUST match the home address.
As a bonus, Harris County Appraisal District in Houston, TX has an app to make the homestead application even easier! Talk with your local real estate professional to see what tools your local appraisal district has available!
And as always, if you have any questions or real estate needs reach out to me via my website or contact info. I am happy to help! Happy New Year!

Harris County Appraisal District Website:

Posted on January 4, 2019 at 9:24 pm
Michelle Miller | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Here's How You'll Know You've Found the Right Agent

Hey ya’ll! It’s been a little while, but my 2019 goal is to post blogs monthly! 🤞 I didn’t write this post, but felt it was super informative for those who are new to the home buying process. Who you pick as your realtor is SO important, not only during the contract period but also after. I constantly find myself helping past clients with tax issues, renovation projects, and even dinner ideas! Take a read through this article, you won’t be disappointed!! Happy Holidays!

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Getting Your Home Spring Ready

Well, the first day of Spring is officially here, and just like most people I am getting my house de-winterized and ready for the warmer weather. Most likely after all the winter months your home needs a little “sprucing,” and while the to-do list is long, most people ask what will actually help my home the most? Or what Spring improvements will improve the value/curb appeal of my home?

Here are some small home updates that make BIG improvements to your home:

Clean up the curb appeal! People notice when the exterior of a home isn’t well-kept, and that creates first impressions to home buyers. Most times all that needs to be done is a fresh grass cut, trimming the bushes, and some fresh flowers. I also suggest power washing the driveway and/or sidewalk (you can rent power washers at your local home improvement store!) if needed.

Freshen up the interior! I don’t know about you, but my house starts to smell stale after being closed up all winter. Often the easiest way to fix that is to change the scent plug-ins and cleaners you are already using (I like Spring/floral scents!). Take a look at this link for some awesome recipes for make-at-home cleaners:

Floral arrangements like the one below are perfect ways to vary the look of your home (and you can use faux flowers with scented oils spritzed on them!)

Give your outdoor area/backyard a face lift! Outdoor living areas are all the rage currently, and no one likes a dirty place to hangout. It can be as easy as power washing your outdoor furniture (with the equipment you already rented from Home Depot!), adding some fresh plants, and re-painting those cracked and dirty decor items. I absolutely love metallic spray paint (like the one on this awesome blog: for a quick touch up!

Looking for more inspiration but can’t do it yourself? Check out this little known gem of a site called Havenly that will do the work for you! They are a web based interior decorating company that lets you pay per room to get interior decor tips (and they will even tell you where to buy the items!).

Happy Spring Y’all!!

Posted on March 21, 2018 at 8:11 pm
Michelle Miller | Posted in Uncategorized |