Monthly Archives: June 2013


Texas homeowners using the Real Estate Center’s 2012 MARKET REPORTS for home appraisal appeals to their local taxing authority for their new tax value should proceed with caution.  The 1st page under housing is the Home Price Index (HPI).  Put out by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), those charts include data from a specific moment in time.  They are not usable now.  Real Estate Center Economist Dr. Jim Gaines said the data is NOT designed for any property or transaction-specific purpose, including tax appeals.  Dr. Gaines said “our general price indication data, like the FHFA Home Price Index data, are not really suited to specific property applications or appraisals”.   Gaines further said “individual property owners should rely on specific, local date, including recent comparable sales, rather our higher-level, aggregate information”.


2 U. S. representatives delayed removal of “grandfathered” flood insurance rates for one year.   The grandfathered and other subsidized flood insurance rates are being phased out under the Biggert-Waters Act that extended the National Flood Insurance Program for 5 years.   The House amendment would delay the phase-out for properties “grandfathered” under older rates in areas remapped into a higher-priced flood zone before 9/30/2014.  The law’s other phase-outs – for older 2nd homes & business properties and for homes purchased after  July 2012 – will continue to take effect 10/1/2013.  Two senators + National Association of Realtors are working on a longer delay and to extend some coverage.  In July, the Senate Banking Committee has agreed to hold a hearing on the affordability of the Biggert-Waters rate  provisions.  The flood insurance is call the National Flood Insurance Program or NFIP.  Some congressmen want the flood programs to pay for themselves and not take money out of the U. S. Treasury.




(1)  Bare windows are better than dated curtains, but wash IN & OUT.   (2)  Use slip covers on outdated upholstered furniture.  Available in many home catalogues.   (3)  Buy new throw pillows or cover existing ones.   (4)   Eliminate anything that epitomized the 1980s or 90s.  Some wallpaper fits in this category, although some is back now.   (5)  Select the RETRO pieces carefully, which can be found at various home stores all over town.   (6)  Fewer, but larger accessories are preferred and put away most family photos, as buyers want to look at photos and NOT the house.   FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE FORMED OUTSIDE, so tackle curb appeal, then declutter and clean.  Actually we all should do this anyhow, but particularly to put your home on the market!!


Many retirees who have been struggling to qualify for a mortgage, find that post-retirement incomes aren’t sufficient enough to get a loan under today’s tough underwriting standards.  The problem is more pronounced for retirees making payments on a car loan, credit cards or home equity lines of credit.  They are under qualified with today’s low “DEBT-TO-INCOME” standards.  Mortgage giant Freddie Mac is now allowing retirees – and others – to use income from their 401(k), IRA and other retirement assets to qualify for a loan.  That, in turn,” might open the door to a money-saving refinancing to a lower rate loan or a downsizing purchase of a new house or condo,” reports the Washington Post of May 23, 2013.  The retirement account balances can be used to supplement their incomes for underwriting purposes, but the borrower does not actually have to draw from those balances in order to get a mortgage.  With home prices beginning to rise, this is good news for RETIREES.