Tax Information For New Homeowners

Click here for a printable version of our Homestead Exemption flyer.
For more information, view a video covering Homestead Exemptions on our YouTube channel here.

The tax offices watch deed filings and update their tax records but as a new purchaser, you may need to notify the taxing authorities of your ownership in the chance that the deed filing is missed. You may do this by contacting the appropriate tax appraisal district in your county from the following list:

Collin County Appraisal District – 469-742-9200 – www.collincad.org

Dallas County Appraisal District – 214-631-0520 – www.dallascad.org

Denton County Appraisal District – 940-349-3800 – www.dentoncad.com

Ellis County Appraisal District – 972-937-3552 – www.elliscad.org

Grayson County Appraisal District – 903-893-9673 – www.graysonappraisal.org

Hunt County Appraisal District – 903-454-3510 – www.hunt-cad.org

Johnson County Appraisal District – 817-648-3000 – www.johnsoncad.com

Kaufman County Appraisal District – 972-932-6081 – www.kaufman-cad.org

Parker County Appraisal District – 817-596-0077 – www.parkercad.org

Rockwall County Appraisal District – 972-771-2034 – www.rockwallcad.com

Tarrant County Appraisal District – 817-284-0024 – www.tad.org

Your property is assigned a single appraised value, which is sent to all taxing jurisdictions. The jurisdiction then applies the tax rate, as set by its governing body, to the appraised value.

In order to qualify for a residential homestead exemption you must provide the following to the Central Appraisal District when submitting your application:

  1. A copy of the applicant’s Texas drivers license or Texas identification certificate.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The property address on the exemption application must match the address listed on the applicant’s Texas driver’s /Texas identification certificate; otherwise the Chief Appraiser is prohibited from approving the exemption.

**TAX EXEMPTIONS
On January 1, value, ownership, legal description of the property and exemption status of the taxpayer is determined. Several forms of tax relief are available which may reduce the taxable value of your property. Applying for exemptions is the taxpayer’s responsibility. Some exemptions require a new application each year.  Contact your appraisal district to learn more about the following exemptions and how to file for them:

• General Homestead Exemption
• Over 65 Exemption
• Disabled Individual Exemption
• Disabled Veteran Exemption
• Agriculture Land Exemption

TO RECEIVE YOUR EXEMPTION(S), YOU MUST OWN THE PROPERTY AND BE LIVING IN THE PROPERTY AS OF JANUARY 1ST. YOUR APPLICATION MUST BE APPLIED FOR ON OR BEFORE APRIL 30TH TO RECEIVE THE TAX BENEFITS FOR THIS YEAR, THIS IS A FREE SERVICE.

Remember, tax statements are generally mailed in October of each year. The taxes are payable on or after October 31st, however, you may elect to pay them as late as January 31st without penalty. Taxes become delinquent February 1st and on this date penalties and interest do accrue. If you receive
a Tax Statement and your mortgage company is escrowing funds for taxes from your monthly payments, forward the statement to your mortgage company so that they can pay the taxes.

If the Central Appraisal District sends correspondence regarding your exemption, make sure to respond.

Republic Title of Texas, Inc. makes no express or implied warranty respecting the information presented and assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions.

 

Best Places To Work

We are thrilled to announce that we have been named the #2 𝗕𝗘𝗦𝗧 𝗣𝗟𝗔𝗖𝗘 𝗧𝗢 𝗪𝗢𝗥𝗞 for large size companies in 2020 by the Dallas Business Journal and the #7 Top Workplace for mid-size companies by the Dallas Morning News!
This is the seventh year in a row that Republic Title has been named to both top workplace lists.

To read more about the Dallas Business Journal Best Places to Work program, click here (link to: https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2020/11/15/best-places-to-work-dallas-business-journal.html)

To read more about the Dallas Morning News Top Workplace program, click here (link to: https://www.dallasnews.com/business/top-100/ )

How Title Insurance Protects All Homebuyers

Whether you’re purchasing a new or existing home, or refinancing, title insurance protects you against any problems affecting the title to your home.

The Basics

There are two types of title insurance: the owner’s policy and the lender’s policy. The owner’s policy protects your property rights as the homebuyer, whereas the lender’s policy insures the financial investment of the bank or lender. If someone else claims ownership of your property or a lien on your property, title insurance typically defends you legally and financially.

Common Risks

Here are some examples of things that may affect title:

  • Liens against the property that serve as security for the payment of an obligation, such as mortgage liens, judgment liens for unpaid court judgments, federal tax liens, state and local liens for failure to pay real estate taxes or assessments, mechanic’s liens to secure payment for property improvements, liens for recovery of child support payments and so on.
  • Easements which are rights granted to a third party to use a part of your property for a specific purpose. An example is an easement to a utility company to have power lines running along the back of your property.
  • Building or use restrictions contained in recorded plats, agreements or deeds.
  • Claims arising out of bankruptcy or decedent’s estates.

These are just some of the many reasons why getting owner’s title insurance is crucial when buying or refinancing a home.

Refinancing?

When you refinance, you are obtaining a new loan even if you stay with your original lender. Lenders will usually require a new title search and lender’s policy to protect their investment in the property. A new owner’s policy is not necessary at this time as the one you received when you purchased the property is good for as long as you or your family own the property.

Enduring Value

Owner’s title insurance is a one-time fee based on the value of your home. In Texas, rates are based on the sales price of the property and set by the Texas Department of Insurance. You can calculate title insurance premium rates using the insurance calculator found on our website. With a home being one of the largest investments you’ll ever make, it’s clear why getting owner’s title insurance is a smart option.

November Stats Are In!

The November 2020 DFW area real estate statistics are in and we’ve got the numbers! Take a look at our stats infographics, separated by county, with MLS area stats on each county report as well! These infographics and video are perfect for social sharing so feel free to post them!

To see past month’s reports, please visit our resources section here.

For the full report from the Texas A&M Real Estate Research Center, click here. For NTREIS County reports click here.

Texas Housing Insight – October 2020

Here is the October 2020 Summary from Texas A&M Real Estate Center.

Total Texas housing sales increased for the second consecutive month, rising 5.1 percent to exceed 38,600 seasonally adjusted transactions. Historically low mortgage interest rates contributed to robust demand, pulling the state’s average days on market to a record low of 48 days. Building permits and housing starts suggested construction activity will pick up in the coming months, but current inventory is extremely depleted, and bank loan data indicated residential investment slowed during the third quarter. With homes flying off the shelf at the present rate, the housing supply would last just 2.1 months if no additional listings entered the market. Constrained inventory contributed to double-digit growth in the median home price as the composition of sales shifted toward higher-priced houses. The Real Estate Center’s Repeat Sales Home Price Index also accelerated, albeit at a more moderate pace, threatening recent improvements in affordability. The pandemic and the associated economic uncertainty remain the greatest headwinds to the Texas housing market, and survey data indicated the proportion of Texas mortgagees at risk of foreclosure in the coming months increased relative to the prior month. Moreover, the Real Estate Center projects a step back in single-family sales during November.

Supply1

The Texas Residential Construction Cycle (Coincident) Index, which measures current construction levels, flattened as industry wages and construction values moderated, offsetting a modest uptick in employment. The Residential Construction Leading Index rose for the sixth straight month amid increased housing starts and a decrease in the real ten-year Treasury bill, although multifamily building permits stumbled. At the metropolitan level, the leading indexes also trended upward.

Recently released third-quarter private bank loan data revealed a slowdown from last year’s rapid clip as lending standards continued to tighten during the pandemic and an uncertain economic outlook. Loan values for multifamily properties flattened in 3Q2020 while one- to-four-unit investment declined for the second straight quarter, sinking 6 percent quarter over quarter.

On the bright side, single-family construction permits accelerated 6 percent in October, marking the sixth straight monthly increase after the previous month’s reading was revised upward. Houston topped the list, issuing 4,492 nonseasonally adjusted permits, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth with 4,243 permits. The metric in Central Texas reached 2,019 and 1,064 in Austin and San Antonio, respectively, pushing monthly growth to nearly 10 percent after adjusting for seasonality. On the other hand, Texas’ multifamily permits fell 6.3 percent year-to-date (YTD) compared with the same period last year due to a considerable step back in the volatile apartment sector. Issuance for two-to-four-unit buildings, however, posted an all-time high of 1,083 nonseasonally permits, largely due to new duplex developments in North Texas.

Total Texas housing starts extended an upward trajectory, although the rate of increase slowed to 2.3 percent as lumber prices were one-and-a-half times greater than year-ago levels. The Department of Commerce recently lowered lumber tariffs from 20 to 9 percent, however, which should help reduce homebuilder costs in the new year. Meanwhile, single-family private construction values continued to normalize from record-breaking activity in August, but the trend also remained positive. More than half of the monthly decrease was attributed to DFW, where values sank 14.1 percent following three consecutive improvements. The other major metros posted more moderate declines, falling about 4 percent in both Austin and Houston and 2.9 percent in San Antonio.

Record sales chipped away at the state’s supply of active listings, pulling Texas’ months of inventory (MOI) down to an all-time low of 2.1 months. A total MOI around six months is considered a balanced housing market. Inventory for homes priced less than $300,000 was even more constrained, sliding below 1.6 months. The MOI for luxury homes (homes priced more than $500,000), although elevated at 5.2 months, decreased for the fifth straight month as the influx of new listings slowed.

Inventory dropped to unprecedented levels in the major metros as well, with the metric in San Antonio matching the statewide average. The MOI dipped to 1.7 and 1.5 months in Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively, and sank to one month in Austin. Houston’s MOI fell below 2.5 months, although inventory increased for homes priced between $400,000 and $500,000, the only segment in the state’s major metropolitan areas where supply expanded.

Demand

Total housing sales rose 5.1 percent, pushing activity to an all-time high of more than 38,600 transactions during this period of historically low mortgage interest rates. The increase was concentrated in homes priced more than $200,000, which comprised nearly four-fifths of the market, the greatest share yet. Cumulative sales this year exceeded last year’s ten-month sum by 7.5 percent compared with 4.9 percent nationwide. The current rate of sales, however, is likely unsustainable given Texas’ depleted inventory.

Sales volumes in the major metros also expanded, led by Houston, where the metric surged 6.5 percent with growth across the price spectrum. Austin sales climbed 5.8 percent as YTD activity in the luxury home market accounted for 23 percent of total transactions compared with just over 18 percent last year. In North Texas, the metric improved 4.5 and 4.2 percent in Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively. San Antonio’s sales ticked up by a more modest 2.9 percent as the $400,000-$500,000 price cohort stumbled on the month.

Texas’ average days on market (DOM) slid to an all-time low of 48 days, corroborating robust demand despite the pandemic. Houston and San Antonio also posted unprecedented readings, with the metric dropping to 45 and 51 days, respectively. Austin’s DOM reached a post-Great Recession low of 35 days, while the average home sold after 36 days in Fort Worth and 39 days in Dallas.

Expansionary monetary measures by the Federal Reserve and better-than-expected economic data instilled confidence in the bond market, however modest. The ten-year U.S. Treasury bond yield inched up for the third straight month to 0.8 percent2. On the other hand, persistent uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, due to a dubious timeline for a second round of fiscal stimulus and a resurgence in positive COVID-19 cases, kept interest rates hovering at historically low levels. The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s 30-year fixed-rate fell to an unprecedented reading below 2.8 percent (series starting in 1971). Mortgage rates also slid to decades-low levels within Texas during September, sinking to 2.92 and 2.86 percent for non-GSE and GSE loans3, respectively. The drop in rates pushed home-purchase applications up 17.5 percent YTD in October, while refinance activity advanced 73 percent. (For more information, see Finding a Representative Interest Rate for the Typical Texas Mortgagee.)

In September, the median loan-to-value ratio (LTV) and debt-to-income ratio (DTI) for the “typical” Texas conventional-loan mortgage decreased from 87.4 to 86.9 and 36.8 to 36.4, respectively. Meanwhile, the median credit score stabilized at 743 after reaching a three-decade high of 751 in June when average consumer credit scores rose during the pandemic due to early relief actions taken by the federal government and lenders, which helped some households pay off debt and save money. The median LTV of the typical Texas borrower who obtained a loan from a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) declined from 84.8 to 83.7. The overall trend of improved credit profiles may reflect tightening lending standards as economic uncertainty prevails.

Prices

The Texas median home price accelerated 12 percent year over year (YOY) in October to a record-breaking $273,300. A shift in the composition of sales toward higher-priced homes due to constrained inventories at the lower end of the price spectrum contributed to the increase in prices. Annual price growth tipped into the double-digits at the metropolitan level as well. The median price in Austin and Dallas rose almost 13 percent each to $366,600 and $330,500, respectively. San Antonio’s metric ($259,500) jumped 10.7 percent, while Houston’s median price ($269,300) elevated 10.3 percent. Fort Worth had the smallest home price appreciation, growing  9.1 percent to $272,600. 

The Texas Repeat Sales Home Price Index accounts for compositional price effects and provides a better measure of changes in single-family home values. The index suggested more moderate home-price appreciation than the change in the median price, although it still shot up 6.9 percent annually. Out of the major metros, Austin’s metric rose at a pace closest to its home-price growth, soaring 11.6 percent YOY. The index in San Antonio and Fort Worth climbed 7.4 and 7.0 percent, respectively. The Dallas and Houston indexes grew at a more moderate but still impressive clip, increasing 6.6 percent in the former and 4.8 percent in the latter.

Single-Family Forecast

The Real Estate Center projected single-family housing sales using monthly pending listings from the preceding period (Table 1). Only one month in advance was projected due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the availability of reliable and timely data. Texas sales are expected to decline 2.3 percent in November from October, but the YOY comparisons for the first ten months of the year are significantly positive. On a monthly basis, the metric in DFW may decrease 4 percent, while possibly falling 2.1 and 1.6 percent in Houston and Austin, respectively. San Antonio sales are predicted to post a monthly increase of 2.5 percent.

Household Pulse Survey

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, 8 percent of Texas homeowners were behind on their mortgage payments during October, greater than the national rate of 6 percent (Table 2). Although the proportion of homes owned free and clear in DFW and Houston was greater than the state average, the percentage of households delinquent was also higher than the statewide rate. Twenty-nine percent of the respondents in Texas who were not current expected foreclosure to be either very likely or somewhat likely in the next two months compared with just 19 percent nationwide (Table 3). That same metric was also higher in the state’s largest metro areas, a reversal from the prior month. Currently, the Center for Disease Control’s federal foreclosure moratoriums are in place until Dec. 31, 2020. However, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has extended the foreclosure moratorium for properties owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) until Jan. 31, 2021. Continued stability in the housing market is essential to Texas’ economic recovery.

________________

 

All measurements are calculated using seasonally adjusted data, and percentage changes are calculated month over month, unless stated otherwise.

2 Bond and mortgage interest rates are nonseasonally adjusted. Loan-to-value ratios, debt-to-income ratios, and the credit score component are also nonseasonally adjusted. Texas data typically lags the Texas Housing Insight by one month.

3 GSE loans originated during September 2020 are unrestricted based on debt-to-income ratio.

Source – James P. Gaines, Luis B. Torres, Wesley Miller, Paige Silva, and Griffin Carter (December 14, 2020)

https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/articles/technical-report/Texas-Housing-Insight

T-47 Affidavit Best Practices

The T-47 affidavit is a document used in Texas residential real estate transactions that accompanies an existing survey. This video with Republic Title’s Janet Allen and Scott Rooker covers the following key points when a T-47 affidavit is provided:

i.  Date of survey in paragraph 4

ii.  Construction projects on adjoining properties predating title

iii.  When to obtain a new survey

Winterizing Your Home

CHECK THE EXTERIOR, DOORS AND WINDOWS

  • Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
  • Use weather stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
  • Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the window, prime and paint exposed wood.

HVAC SYSTEMS

  • Get your HVAC system serviced, and have your duct work checked to be sure the air flow is uninterrupted and free of holes from pests.
  • Reverse all ceiling fans in the house. This will help push warm air downward and force it to recirculate.
  • Change the air filters in your home.
  • Check the cold air return vents and make sure they are not blocked by furniture. Your furnace needs these to operate at high efficiency.

SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/or water heater.
  • Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • After replacing batteries, test all detectors to make sure they work.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher or replace your existing one if it is older than 10 years.

CHECK FOUNDATIONS

  • Rake away all debris and vegetation from the foundation.
  • Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
  • Tuck-point or seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a dime.
  • Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.
  • Secure crawlspace entrances.

PREVENT PLUMBING FREEZES

  • Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
  • Shut off the water to your hose bibs inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and drain the lines. Then insulate the spigot itself.
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes that pass through unheated areas of your home, like the garage for instance.
  • Flush your water heater to remove built-up sediment.
  • If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.

GET THE FIREPLACE READY

  • Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
  • If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
  • Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
  • Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
  • Check the mortar between bricks and tuck-point, if necessary.

PREPARE LANDSCAPING & OUTDOOR SURFACES

  • Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
  • Turn off your sprinkler system.
  • Clear the gutters of fallen leaves and debris.
  • Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury.
  • Plant spring flower bulbs and left bulbs that cannot winter over such as dahlias in areas where the ground freezes.
  • Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
  • Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.

Republic Title Announces Donations to North Texas Nonprofit Organizations

Republic Title is proud to announce that it has made donations totaling $100,000 to five North Texas nonprofits who are addressing the needs of our community during these difficult times. The five non-profits receiving donations are: Bonton Farms, Children’s Health, Genesis Women’s Shelter, Presbyterian Night Shelter, and North Texas Food Bank.

“I know I speak for all of our employees when I say that Republic Title felt a deep responsibility to do our part in giving back to our communities that we live and work in,” said Bo Feagin, President, Republic Title. “We are glad to support these outstanding organizations who are doing so much to address the needs of those in North Texas.”

For more information on these organizations and to donate directly to them, please read below.

About Bonton Farms
Bonton Farms is an agricultural intervention driven by the mission to restore lives, create jobs and ignite hope in a once forgotten and neglected neighborhood with some of the most marginalized people. Much more than a farm, Bonton Farms focuses on nutrition, housing stability, career mentorship and education. For more information, visit: www.bontonfarms.org

About Children’s Health
For more than 100 years, it has been Children’s Health mission to make life better for children. Serving as one of the largest and most prestigious pediatric health care providers in the county and as leading pediatric health system in North Texas. Rather than caring for kids’ mental  health needs at the breaking point, Children’s Health and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) have come together to develop  a unique approach that will empower primary care physicians across the community to provide behavioral health care to patients, allowing for earlier identification and treatment of pediatric mental health conditions. For more information, visit: www.childrens.com

About Presbyterian Night Shelter
Presbyterian Night Shelter is Tarrant County, Texas’ largest provider of services to residents who are experiencing homelessness, with a “housing first” approach designed to address root causes from a place of strength and stability. For more information, visit: www.journeyhome.org  

About Genesis Women’s Shelter
At Genesis Women’s Shelter it is their mission to provide safety, shelter and support for women who have experienced domestic violence, and to raise awareness regarding its cause, prevalence and impact. The Genesis Capital Campaign will expand non-residential services for women and children escaping domestic violence. This new center will transform the future of Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support. For more information, visit: www.genesisshelter.org

About North Texas Food Bank
Founded in 1982, the North Texas Food Bank is a nonprofit hunger relief fund organization that distributes donated and purchased foods through a network of more than 200 Partner Agencies in 13 counties. For more information visit: www.ntfb.org

About Republic Title of Texas
Republic Title of Texas, Inc., is a full-service title insurance company that handles the transfer of title for our customers’ real estate transactions and protects the title to their largest financial investments. Founded in 1991 and locally operated, Republic Title is the authority in real estate transactions and is distinguished by its proven experience, dedicated service and lasting relationships.

New TREC Contract Changes

New TREC contract changes were recently announced that will go into effect on APRIL 1st 2021*.  This video with Republic Title’s Janet Allen and Scott Rooker covers changes including:

  • Changes to receipting of option fee
  • Additional definitions in contract including terms around smart home technology
  • New addendums including new addendum for fixtures

*Please note: changes were made to the effective date by TREC after the filming of this video.*

October Stats Are In!

The October 2020 DFW area real estate statistics are in and we’ve got the numbers! Take a look at our stats infographics, separated by county, with MLS area stats on each county report as well! These infographics and video are perfect for social sharing so feel free to post them!

To see past month’s reports, please visit our resources section here.

For the full report from the Texas A&M Real Estate Research Center, click here. For NTREIS County reports click here.