Lubbock House Hunt Blog: We are Here to Help!

This blog is a helpful starting place when you embark on your Lubbock House Hunt. Whether you've bought and sold a home before, or this is your first time, we hope this blog will be a wealth of information for you. Discover helpful tips, tricks, and information right here on our website. 

See ya soon,

the Lubbock House Hunt team

May 24, 2018

Important Spring-To-Do’s

Can you believe it’s already the end of May?! The year is almost half over and summer is quickly approaching! The nice weather lately is providing a great opportunity to get outside and complete your spring cleaning and maintenance lists.  Here are few tasks you may want to add to your list before summer gets here!

Spray Pam Cooking Spray on Your Garage Door Tracks

This is a quick and easy task to start with! Considering you probably already have the product sitting in your kitchen, you are less than 5 minutes away from a smooth-moving, squeaky-free garage door!  Just spray the cooking spray:

  • Into the tracks where the wheels move
  • Along the chain attached to the pulley
  • On the door hinges
    • Be careful not to spray too much here, as it can seep out of the sections onto the exterior of your garage door. 

This simple quick to-do will get your door moving more efficiently and quietly again!

Clean up your Air Conditioner in Time for Summer

It’s getting hot out there and I am sure many of you are already trying to beat-the-heat. This simple list from ServiceChampions.net will help you get your air conditioner in tip-top shape just in time for THE DOG DAYS OF summer!

  • CLEAN YOUR FILTERS!  This is simple and easy and should be done once a month
  • Make sure there are no leaks in your air ducts
  • Clear and clean your AC’s condenser.  This short YouTube video will help you accomplish this task!
  • Spray down your entire unit with the water  hose
  • Set your AC to a comfortable cooling setting

Re-Paint Your Front Door

Another easy and decently quick, little project! This touch-up can really help give the face of your house a new look and freshen things up.  A good can of paint, brushes, rollers, masking tape, and a paint pan is all you need to accomplish this task.  Need some inspiration for a new paint color instead of boring black or white? Check out Sherwin William’s 2018 Front door Paint Colors for some help on what to choose!

Check the Wood Outside for Termites

Termites like to swarm during warm weather, especially after it rains! After the showers we have been receiving and the warm, humid weather following, it might be a good idea to take a look around your house just to check if you see any signs of the little guys! The most obvious signs of termite activity are swarms, which you might see around light sources, and piles of the wings they have molted.  If any of these signs pop out to you, you should definitely grab a flashlight, screwdriver, and some clothes that can get dirty (or coveralls) and get to looking! DoItYourselfPestControl.com gives detailed instructions on how to inspect for termites yourself, or of course, you can call a professional if you feel more comfortable with that! Here is some of the Top Rated in Lubbock:

  •          SWATT Pest Control
  •          Rusty’s Bug Stop

Sharpen Garden Tools

I am sure that your garden tools have been run through-the-mill this spring and now that all the heavy duty gardening is done, it may be a good time to sharpen them up. Gardener.com has a great little tool for only $10 that can get your shears, pruners, and other tools working like new again! Maintaining your garden throughout the summer will be easy-peasy with sharpened tools!

Test and Replace Batteries in Your Smoke Detector

An important and vital task that should be completed for the safety of you and your loved ones! Testing your smoke detector is as easy as holding down the test button for a few seconds and waiting for the beep.  Hear nothing? It’s time to replace the batteries then! Test the detector again after you have replaced the batteries and you should be good to go! Now, you have a peace of mind that all should be working properly with your smoke detectors!

Re-Caulk Outside

As the temperature is heating up, you will most likely be running your AC a little more.  Re-caulking windows and door frames may help keep you from losing some cold air.  Not to mention, the horrendous sand storms that accompany West Texas springs.  Re-Caulking will help to prevent dust from getting to the inside of your home.  It will also help with the appearance of the exterior of you home.  Overall pretty simple and easy! Depending on your needs, grab a tube of caulking or two and a caulking gun.

Patch Driveway Cracks

A good spring to-do in the evening when you won’t be running in and out of the house is to patch the cracks in your driveway! On a clear evening when the sprinklers aren’t scheduled to run would work perfectly.  This subtle repair will really help pull together the other small updates you have already completed from your spring checklist! Home Depot sells a variety of concrete crack repair products that will help get your driveway looking smooth again.  After your quick run to Home Depot, check out this YouTube video if you need extra instruction on how to complete this task!

Tune-Up Lawn Mower

Your garden tools are now all sharp and ready to keep your garden and yard looking good all summer, so you might as well do the same for the mower! Used and abused, our lawn mowers often go a long time without any TLC.  It’s about time to change that! In a couple quick steps, your lawn mower will be running smoothly!

  • Change the oil filter
  • Change the air filter
  • Replace the spark plugs

 

TheFamilyHandyman.com has the list and great instructions to help guide you through this final to-do.

 

After completing this list, you will be able to sit back behind your nicely painted front door under the cool air from your cleaned up air conditioner and know that your house it taken care of and set until next spring! And, it didn’t even take you until summer to complete the list!

Posted in For Homeowners
Feb. 2, 2018

Things to Do in Lubbock in 2018

Looking for some new things to do in Lubbock in 2018? Well, we have good news for you! Here you can find a short list of the new things Lubbock has to offer in eating and fun!

The Watering Well Eatery

This new restaurant, which has opened in the Grove on 82nd just before milwaukee, is all about clean eating. It’s also a lesson in sustainability for the food industry in Lubbock. In addition to gluten, vegan, vegetarian, dairy, and nut friendly menu options, this eatery uses plating and dining utensils that are made from recycled materials.

The atmosphere is laid back, and in some ways reminds us of our favorite coffee shops. It’s a place open for families and friends to enjoy each other’s company, all the while filling up on food that doesn’t make you regret it later.

Open from 7:00am to 9:00pm Sunday through Thursday, the lunch crowd keeps the restaurant busy, but I assure you it is worth it!

The Farmhouse

A family owned restaurant born out of family values, The Farmhouse is an excellent spot for breakfast and lunch. The owner, Steve Gonzalez, has worked at restaurants in Lubbock since he was in high school. After managing several, he went on to open The Farmhouse in order to spend more time with his family in the evenings.

Serving traditional foods for breakfast and lunch like pancakes or hamburgers, the difference maker is the service, quality, and atmosphere. One Facebook review even described the ambiance as though Chip and Joanna Gaines put their craftsmanship to the space.

Open from 6:30am to 2:00pm weekdays, and 7:00am to 2:00pm on the weekends you can find this delectable place on Milwaukee just north of 79th. The Farmhouse is a great place to get together with family and friends for a fantastic breakfast or lunch!

4ORE Golf

This is the latest and greatest in Lubbock’s lineup of premiere entertainment. Consider it the Main Event of golf. It’s a great place to take the family, or just meet up with some friends to play arcade style golf games. You can eat, drink, and enjoy doing something active with the people you care about.

Located off of Spur 327 and open until 10pm on weekdays, and 1am on the weekend, 4ORE is simply just great fun for anyone who wants to play!

Frios

We’ve talked about breakfast and lunch, but we can’t ever leave out desert. Opened in late 2017, Frios is a veteran-owned gourmet popsicle shop. All of their ingredients are wholesome and simple, and the pops are sweetened with organic sugar, agave, or locally produced honey. Let us tell you that this is a favorite for the Lubbock House Hunt team.

Located on Quaker, south of 98th, this place is sure to keep you and the kids satisfied with a delicious treat! Open from 12pm each day until 9pm weekdays and 10p weekends, it is a great after school treat or a post-dinner snack for everyone who has a sweet tooth.

Until there are more things to do!

All of the wonderful places are located in Lubbock’s fast growing South and South West neighborhoods. This area is only going to continue to grow, and we can’t wait to see what comes next by way of eating and fun! If you need any help with buying or selling a home in this area, don’t hesitate to call Deborah at Lubbock House Hunt!

Posted in New and Noteworthy
Jan. 24, 2018

How to Appeal Your Increased Property Taxes

by Deborah Scott-Riggs

 

It is that time of year again - tax season. In 2018, as you prepare for your filings, watch out for a raise in your property taxes. Property taxes are appraised annually by county appraisal districts. These appraisal districts are responsible for calculating the current market value of your property, and that value is then used to calculate your property taxes for the year. Property appraisals are a big deal in Texas, being that property taxes are typically on the higher end when compared to the remainder of the country.

If your property taxes are going to increase, you will receive notice from the county appraisal districts no later than May 1st, or as soon as possible. Keep in mind that notices are not typically sent out until all property has been appraised in the county appraisal district.

 The county appraisal district has to send you a notice if:

  • The value of your property is higher than it was last year
  • The value of your property is higher than the value you gave on a rendition
  • Your property was not on the district’s records last year
  • When an exemption is reduced or cancelled for the current year

 You might get this every year, and think nothing of it. However, there are thousands of people in counties all over Texas who protest and lower their appraisal value, thus lowering their annual property taxes by a significant amount. Even still, some people just don’t think there is anything you can do about it. Good news! You can do something about it!

There are several reasons you may want to protest your property’s appraisal:

  • Excessive value
  • Unequal appraisal
  • Failure to grant exemptions
  • Failure to provide notice

 If you see an increase in your home’s value and believe it to be incorrect, you can protest the increase with an Appraisal Review Board. The ARB is made up of private citizens of the county and may typically have three members on the board lead by a chairman. These people are typically your neighbors, and are completely independent and not subject to the appraisal district’s authority. Odds are, they own property as well and have a vested interest in keeping property valuations low, thus keeping taxes low too. 

 

How to protest your increased property taxes:

  •  File a Notice of Protest Form with the ARB by May 31st

  • Gather evidence pertaining to why your property appraisal is incorrect

  • Attend your appraisal district’s informal meeting process (70 to 90 percent of protests are settled this way)

  • If you’re still not satisfied, you can ask for a formal protest meeting with the ARB

  • At this meeting you will make an argument (with evidence such as sales or other appraisals in your neighborhood) as to why your property appraisal is incorrect

  • The ARB will then make a decision based on the arguments of the appraiser and you

  • When the determination is given by the ARB chairman, you will receive notice of that determination by certified mail

Protesting your property appraisal is a process, and could take some significant time and energy. However, people do it every year. If you think that your property appraisal is incorrect but you don’t have the time or energy to deal with the protest on your own, you can hire an agent to act on your behalf. In addition to that, if you feel a second opinion is needed you can hire an appraisal company, like the Ace of Texas.  

 This year, you can take steps to lower your property taxes by navigating the legal avenue that the government has put in place. It may be worth it! If you need more detailed information, you can find it on the Texas Comptroller website and by downloading the Homeowner’s Guide on the right-hand side of the page. For a free market analysis of your property, feel free to give us a call here at Lubbock House Hunt.

 

Posted in Market Updates
Dec. 30, 2017

The Difference Between FHA and Conventional Home Loans

What's the Difference Between FHA and Conventional Home Loans?

Not that it's this way everywhere, but the Lubbock real estate market is expanding and more people are buying homes than ever it seems. If you’re a first time homebuyer, or just not particularly savvy when it comes to buying a home it’s easy to become intimidated, so you need a good real estate team to shoot you straight. Well, we are here to shoot you straight, and we are only going to cover the basics. I’m going to talk about two categories of loan options that many people consider when buying a home: FHA vs Conventional. Let’s get started with our home loan introduction.

The FHA loan is authorized by the Federal Housing Administration, and has been in place since the 1930’s helping Americans eat a piece of the American Dream pie. The purpose of this loan is to stimulate growth in the housing market by making loans more accessible and affordable. Did you hear that? That word? Accessible. This is a great option for first time homebuyers wanting to get into a home sooner rather than later.

Unlike an FHA loan, conventional home loans are not backed by a government agency, and are not insured by the government. A conventional loan is essentially a broader category for different types of home loans, such as: conforming, non-conforming, jumbo, portfolio, and sub-prime. Each of these loans are all considered “conventional.” Here’s the difference between an FHA and conventional home loan (in a nutshell):

FHA loans

  • Easier to get approved
  • Require a 3.5% down-payment
  • Lower credit scores are acceptable (as low as 580)
  • Loans are government-insured
  • Allow for monetary gifts for down-payments
  • Requires mortgage insurance

Conventional loans

  • Stricter guidelines (set by the lender)
  • Can require 20% down-payment
  • Requires above average credit scores
  • Down-payments should be earned and saved by the borrower
  • No mortgage insurance is required

Whichever loan you choose is right for you, don't forget that if you're going to be buying a home to always get pre-qualified before you begin your search. It is extremely difficult to begin searching for homes if you do not know how much you can afford, nor if you can make an offer that will seal the deal with the seller.

Hopefully, with that short and basic home loan introduction, you have a general idea of what your needs are regarding home loans. If you have any questions regarding your Lubbock House Hunt don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can serve you in your Lubbock real estate needs.

 

Posted in For Buyers
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates