Category: First Time Home Buyer

Time to file your Homestead Exemption!

It’s that time of year to remind everyone who bought a home in 2018 to make sure you send in the information to get your homestead exemption filed. Please DO NOT pay to have this done; it’s free to file and can be done in just a few minutes. Check out the info below for details.


If you purchased a home that you occupy as your primary residence, you are entitled to the property tax exemption. I am sure you take as many IRS tax deductions as you are allowed; this is a similar concept. The exemption reduces a homeowner’s property tax bill by removing part of the home’s value from taxation.

For example, your home is appraised at $100,000, and you qualify for a $25,000 exemption (this is the amount mandated for school districts), you will pay school taxes on the home as if it was worth only $75,000. Taxing units have the option to offer a separate exemption of up to 20 percent of the total value.

Once you receive the exemption, you do not need to reapply unless the chief appraiser sends you a new application. In that case, you must file the new application. If you should move or your qualification ends, you must inform the appraisal district in writing before the next May 1st.


When the local Counties economy thrives, property values can increase by 20%, 25% and even 30% in a year. We have been experiencing this in the Austin area over the last several years. The Homestead Cap is an amazing feature in the fact that it restricts the amount that the assessed value of a residential property may increase from year-to-year! The appraised value can go up a maximum of 10% each year until it reaches the full market value.

Appraisal districts are required to appraise properties at their fair market value as of January 1 of each year. You qualify to have your appraised value capped if the property is your primary residence and you have had exemptions in place for two years. This means that the property will be appraised at full market value for the first year that you qualify and receive a homestead exemption.

When you qualify for a homestead cap, the second year you own the home, your market value and appraised value may not be the same. The market value may increase by any percentage over the previous year, but the “cap” makes sure that you are not taxed on an increase of more than 10%. Without the Homestead Cap it’s no-holds-barred!


You may file an Application for Homestead Exemption with your appraisal district for the $25,000 homestead exemption up to two years after the taxes on the homestead are due. You should go ahead and file in order to possibly get a refund for the last two years and also to get the assessed value cap in place!


If you recently bought a home a just read that you have two years to file, DO NOT WAIT. I cannot tell you how many people have forgotten to file and have lost thousands of dollars! Carve out a few minutes to get this done online.


• You must own your home on January 1st of the year for which you are applying.

• You must reside at the home as your principal residence on January 1st of that year, and not claim any other property as homestead.

• Only individual homeowners (not corporations or other entities) may receive a homestead exemption.

• A homestead can be a house, condominium or a manufactured home. It can include up to 20 acres, if the land is also owned by the homeowner and used as a yard, or for another purpose related to the residential use of the home.


I have provided links to a few of the counties in the Austin area. CLICK HERE for the downloadable version of the Homestead Exemption Form for the State of Texas which can be mailed in to the County along with the required additional documentation (see appropriate county website for details as they will deny your application if not submitted correctly).


Mailing Address:

P.O. BOX 149012

Austin, TX 78714

Travis Central Appraisal District Website:


Mailing Address:

625 FM 1460

Georgetown, TX 78626

Williamson Central Appraisal District Website:


Mailing Address:

21001 IH 35 North

Kyle, Texas 78640

Hays Central Appraisal District Website:

Home Buyer Education Certificate May Help You Qualify for a Loan Program that Offers Lower Rates, Lower Mortgage Insurance

If you are a first time homebuyer and are looking for a homebuyer education course to help you achieve your homeownership goals and possibly help you qualify for a special first time homebuyer program that offers a lower interest rate and/or lower mortgage insurance rate- try this free, interactive course at

For more information about qualification, please call Todd Kurio, Residential Mortgage Loan Originator, at 512 459 2405. NMLS #214411/216616, Capstar Lending, Equal Housing Lender.

This is not a commitment to lend or extend credit. Restrictions may apply. Information and/or data is subject to change without notice. All loans are subject to credit approval.

The 5 Types Of People Who Qualify For FHA Loans in Texas

Are you one of the lucky 5 types of people who will qualify for an FHA loan? Keep reading to see if you may qualify for an FHA Loan in Texas.

FHA stands for the “Federal Housing Administration” and is a part of HUD, the Federal Government’s “Housing and Urban Development” department. This branch of government insures loans so lenders can offer better rates on mortgage financing. It also comes with some great options for those who need some extra financial help like a low down payment, lower closing costs and easier credit qualifications.

1. First Time Home Buyers

First Time Home buyers love the FHA loan because it allows them to put down a smaller down payment, as little as 3.5% and the seller can pay your closing costs and prepaid fees. Let’s face it, most young people today are struggling with student loan debt and a sluggish economy. Any opportunity to part with less cash is one to be considered! If you already have a property in mind, you should check with your loan officer to see if your desired property would qualify under the program, but typically the maximum number of units the property can have is 4(fourplex).

2. The “Do It Yourself-er”

Do you like to work on home repairs and remodeling?Think you can handle a fixer-upper? If you want to completely customize a home, then an FHA Loan can help you by rolling the total cost of the remodel or repairs into one loan. You can also refinance the cost of the repairs or remodel into a new FHA loan. This type of loan is called a “203k.”

3. The Senior Citizen

There has been a lot of  talk about reverse mortgages lately. The FHA website has a great fact sheet for further reading on requirements here. The basic qualifications are that you must be at least 62 years old, own your home outright or have a very low balance. If this sounds like you, follow the link above to learn more about qualifying and turning your home equity into cash you can use to meet monthly expenses.

4. The Eco-Conscious

Are you worried about wasting energy and would like to make energy improvements?There’s an FHA mortgage for that! Check out the FHA Energy-Efficient Mortgage. This relatively recent (1995) program helps homeowners by enabling them to finance the cost of adding energy efficiency features to new or existing housing as part of their FHA insured home purchase or refinancing mortgage. For more information go to the energy efficient mortgage description on the HUD website.

5. The Mobile Home Owner

There are two types of loans for those who wish to purchase a mobile home or a factory built house. There is one type of loan for people who already own the land that the home is on and another for mobile homes that are or will be located in a mobile home park. You can read HUD’s most recent newsletter titled: The FACTs: HUD’s ManuFACTured Housing Newsletter here.


I hope this cleared up questions about qualifying for an FHA loan. If you feel like you may be one of the lucky types of people who will qualify for an FHA Loan in Texas. Don’t wait call or email today!

Capstar Lending does not currently offer all of the loan programs described above but please contact or call 512-459-2405 for more details. NMLS#216616 Residential Mortgage Loan Originator