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Mary Beth Harrison's Blog

By Mary Beth Harrison | Agent in Dallas, TX
  • I Want to Buy a New House But Have to Sell Mine First

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Dallas, Home Selling in Dallas, Property Q&A in Dallas  |  May 11, 2011 10:40 AM  |  2,542 views  |  No comments

    Once you have made the decision to buy a home it is hard not to put the cart before the horse. Many buyers have a home to sell before they can buy. It is only human nature to want to start your home search but first things first…get your home on the market, hopefully priced well and see what your activity is before starting your search.

    You can certainly start looking at houses early and if you are in question about what part of the city you want to live in then absolutely use the time to establish your search parameters. The problem you run into when you start your home search too early is the possibility of being frustrated and disappointed when you find thenperfect house and cannot move forward to buy it.

    Mary Beth Harrison, www.dallastexasrealestateblog.com

  • Investors beware…

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Dallas, Home Selling in Dallas, Property Q&A in Dallas  |  April 6, 2011 11:05 AM  |  620 views  |  No comments

    Many real estate investors have tried to "beat the system" while getting a loan to purchase an investment property. Interest rates for a non-owner occupied home are higher than an end-user or a person who intends to live in the home.


    Up until now there has been no checks and balances to verify that the person obtaining the loan actually lives in the home. That is changing. Fannie Mae is requiring verification of occupancy after closing. This may include a third party to investigate occupancy information, reviewing the insurance policy or utility bills.


    As a home buyer, you must disclose your true intent with regards to your home purchase. After all that this country has been through, in regards to the mortgage crisis, It seems like a small price to pay to ask loan holders to be honest about their intent.


    Mary Beth Harrison, www.dallastexasrealestateblog.com

  • But I wasn’t going to put her/him on the loan…

    Posted Under: General Area in Dallas, Home Buying in Dallas, Property Q&A in Dallas  |  March 30, 2011 1:02 PM  |  624 views  |  No comments

    Home LoanWhen a couple decides to buy a home and applies for a loan the first step is to have a mortgage company run your credit. Maybe the husband works and the wife does not, or both of you work but his credit is not great. You want to try to get the loan only in one name.


    While the lender will allow a couple to purchase a home in one name but they will have to use both parties credit report. The point being that if one of you has a lot of debt it becomes the responsibility of the other party.


    Any good lender can help you determine what it would take to get a loan. What bills need to be paid down, how far down, etc. Once you have a plan in plan in place it won't be long before you can move forward with your home purchase.


    Mary Beth Harrison, www.dallastexasrealestateblog.com

  • What is a short sale and why would I want one…

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Dallas, Foreclosure in Dallas, Property Q&A in Dallas  |  March 25, 2011 9:46 AM  |  650 views  |  No comments

    What is A Short SaleThe current economic climate has given us some new words and short sales is one of them. A short sale is a precursor to foreclosure and occurs when a homeowner can no longer afford to pay their mortgage. Before the lender forecloses, or takes the house back they will often allow the homeowner to try to sell the home. If the owner cannot sell the house for the amount that they owe then a short sale may occur.

    Real estates' value is established two ways; by what a buyer will pay and from an independent evaluation by an appraiser. The bank then decides if they are willing to sell the property for less than the original homeowner owes.

    This type of  transaction takes time, sometimes months. If you are needing to move into a home on a specific date then this is not a good transaction for you, banks move at their own speed.

    Mary Beth Harrison, www.dallastexasrealestateblog.com

  • How to Protest Your Property Tax Evaluation

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Dallas, Home Buying in Dallas, Property Q&A in Dallas  |  March 23, 2011 10:31 AM  |  621 views  |  No comments


    It's tax time and because I am not from the government, I am here to help if you need to protest your property's appraised value and suggest HOW to file a protest should you decide to do so.  Some guidelines to consider would be:  is the proposed value too high, is the value comparable with the other properties in the area, or have you been denied an exemption?  The right to protest is one of the most important rights you have as a taxpayer.

    Let's first look at specific deadlines you will want to be aware of. Appraised value notices will be mailed out around May 1st.  If your property is located in Dallas, Collin, or Denton County, the protest deadline is May 31st or 30 days after notice has been delivered. 

    Whether you live in Dallas , Collin or Denton counties the protest process will be the same.  The protest must be in writting, and must identify the property owner, the subject property and the specific dissatisfaction with the appraisal.  Your protest can be mailed or delivered, but must be filed on time.  Once the written protest is received, a hearing will be scheduled.  The appraisal districts require specific documentation to be brought to the protest hearing by the property owner.

    One of the following must be submitted

    · Signed and dated closing statement showing sales price lower than evaluation

        (if the sale of the home occurred in 2010 or 2011) or

    · Proof of physical or economic obsolescence would require estimates for repairs from contractors, signed and attested, along with photographs or

    · Sales of comparable properties with dates, sales prices and photographs (I can provide this data for you)

    Most of the time your protest can be resolved with a staff member of the appraisal district in an informal manner.  But if your protest cannot be resolved informally, then it will be heard in a formal setting by the ARB (appraisal review board).  The ARB is a group of citizens who are authorized to resolve disputes between appraisal districts and taxpayers.  The decision reached by the ARB is binding for the current tax year unless you appeal to District Court. 

    Each county has their own web site:

    Dallas County Appraisal District 214-631-0910     www.dallascad.org

    Collin County Appraisal District  972-578-5200     www.collincad.org

    Denton County Appraisal District 972-434-2602   www.dentoncad.org

    Don't hesitate to call me if I can assist you in any way.  If you know of someone who would also appreciate my services, please call me with their name and number.  It would be my pleasure to help them too!

  • Homestead Information…You Should Know About

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Dallas, Property Q&A in Dallas  |  March 21, 2011 2:33 PM  |  418 views  |  No comments


    You have already made the most meaningful and largest purchase of your lives. Now we want to make sure that you understand and utilize the advantages...

    HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION DEFINED- A residential EXEMPTION removes partial value of your property from taxation.    

    RESULT - Lower taxes.

    WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE MET? The property must be owned as a primary residence on January 1 and you must not be claiming a homestead exemption on any other property.

    As a property owner, you are required to pay taxes on personally owned real estate. The property is taxed yearly by different jurisdictions including county, city and school district. One of the first steps as a home buyer in 2010 is to verify that ownership has changed, so that the tax rolls will reflect new ownership. This can be done simply by contacting the appropriate tax appraisal district in your county or going to the website listed below.

    If you failed to file for this exemption in a prior year, it is never too late, you should do so now. Applying for exemptions is the taxpayer's responsibility. In addition to the Homestead Exemption, there are also the following exemptions available: OVER 65 EXEMPTION / DISABLED INDIVIDUAL EXCEMPTION / DISABLED VETERAN EXEMPTION / AGRICULTURE LAND EXEMPTION.

    The city should send you a form to fill out, sign, notarize and return (It only needs to be done one time). If you have not received this form by the end of the February, you can either go to the website specific to your county tax district or call to have the form sent. Do Not Be Fooled by companies asking for payment for this service, it is a FREE service. Also, I provide FREE notary service for my clients convenience.

    To find out if you meet the qualifications to receive your exemption(s), here is a list of County office numbers and Web sites for you to contact. REMEMBER, YOUR APPLICATION MUST BE FILED ON OR BEFORE APRIL 30, 2011. See list below...

    Appraisal District

    Collin County   972.578.5200     www.collincad.org

    Dallas County   214.631.0910     www.dallascad.org

    Denton County    940.349.3800     www.dentoncad.com

    Ellis County 972.937.3552     www.elliscad.org

    Rockwall County 972.771.2034     www.txcountydata.com

    Tarrant County     817.284.0024     www.tad.org

    Please do not hesitate to call if you have any question or concern. As always, we are here to assist you in all your Real Estate needs.

    Mary Beth Harrison, www.dallastexasrealestateblog.com

  • The American Dream

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Dallas, Home Buying in Dallas, Property Q&A in Dallas  |  March 9, 2011 12:11 PM  |  497 views  |  1 comment

    The American DreamOne of the greatest freedoms in our country is the right to buy, sell and own private property. Often referred to as "The American Dream," a home is usually the largest financial investment you will make in your lifetime. Because of its importance, let's begin by taking a look at the benefits of home ownership.

    Pride of Ownership

    The free enterprise system is one that rewards success. Traditionally, a home is one of the most significant signs of success. The obvious pride that one feels owning a home is one of the great emotional and psychological rewards for attaining some degree of success in our society. This feeling of pride is continually nurtured as home owners upgrade the quality of homes they own.


    In the last decade, our country has experienced a steady growth rate in real estate values. There may be periodic ups and downs in any given market area; yet, over the long term, prices have continued to grow steadily and are forecasted to do much the same for many years to come. Real estate also provides the owner(s) with control over value potential. This allows the homeowners to benefit by having control over a high value asset with a low initial down payment. Unlike other investments, where you realize a return only on the amount of money invested, home ownership allows you the  opportunity to obtain a return on both invested and borrowed money. This technique, known as leverage, provides a unique method for every homeowner to enhance his or her net worth.

    Tax Advantages

    Despite many changes in the Internal Revenue Service tax laws, home ownership continues to provide unique tax advantages for ownership of a primary residence. Mortgage interest and property taxes are deductable from regular income before tax computations on a primary residence.   Some closing costs are also deductible.  The tax advantages also continue when purchasers move on to a second home. Consult an accountant for further education on all tax advantages you may obtain through this investment or ask us for other appropriate sources that can assist you in such further education.

    Mary Beth Harrison, www.dallastexasrealestateblog.com

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