March is Time for Self Care, Distancing, Termites, Homestead Exemptions, and Powering Through: Chuck Farr’s March 2020 “Talking Real Estate” eNewsletter

Posted by Chuck Farr on Friday, March 27th, 2020 at 2:05pm.

March is Time for Self Care, Distancing, Termites, Homestead Exemptions, and Powering Through: Chuck Farr’s March 2020 “Talking Real Estate” eNewsletter


Hello again, everyone. Life is quite different this month as we all find our own ways to get through the shutdowns and isolation of the Wuhan COVID-19 pandemic together. More difficult times are ahead, but we will get through this in the weeks and months ahead with vigilance and common sense and caring. In the meantime, life goes on for most of us. Go on we must, and we will do so with courage and understanding. This intro email is a little longer than usual (sorry!), but you can click into this month’s Talking Real Estate enewsletter now if you want to see that instead (give it a few moments to render on your screen).

Social Distancing and Remote Interaction: Even as we start getting back to more normal life, we will want to continue practicing safe measures of interaction, whether that be with loved ones or training, shopping or interactive business. We can use this opportunity to renew the comforts of telephone voice calls and live video chats. Many of us already use Google Duo or Hangouts, Facetime, Skype, and even Facebook Messenger chat now (and many others, I’m sure). Zoom is an emerging free cross-platform application I have also been tinkering with that works well with individuals and groups. You might consider this if you do not already have a good option (no, I will not get a kickback for this; it’s free!)…

A free Zoom account includes:

  • Unlimited number of meetings
  • 40 minutes each max. (3-100 people)
  • Unlimited time on One-on-One meetings.

To create an account:

  • Go to Zoom.US
  • Click on SIGN UP (it works on Mac, Windows, iPhone, and Android devices)
  • Enter your email address (Any email address will work)
  • Will send you an e-mail. Click on ACTIVATE ACCOUNT
  • Can invite people at this point or SKIP
  • Will receive a personal Meeting URL in your email that you can share
  • Click Start Meeting
  • You will be prompted to check your audio & video
  • Can invite more from here!

Visit the following URL for training resources & plans & pricing for larger groups or just for help on using free Zoom video chat for the first time:

Termites: I usually send out a reminder to folks in April about the termite season, but word is on the street that termites have already been seen swarming in the last two weeks. Termites are no reason to panic, but these tiny subterranean critters will not be changing their habits to fend off the flu; they will simply march onward until they hit wood.

Property Tax Exemptions: Here is another reminder that if you bought a home last year and started living there on January 1, 2020, don’t forget to file your homestead exemption at your local county tax office to save money on property taxes.

Spring Home Maintenance: Before you check the Talking Real Estate monthly enewsletter, Spring is here and has its own home maintenance checklist in Central Texas, especially for existing property owners. Here are a few items to consider during  March and April:

  •       As mentioned above, consider having your property inspected for termites if you have not done so in a year or two; perhaps set up an annual plan with a pest control pro. March and April are the annual termite swarming season.
  •       It’s almost property tax assessed-value protest time. During the current crisis, it is very likely that deadlines will be delayed.
  •       Get your HVAC serviced. Consider setting up a spring and fall annual contract to protect your investment in energy survival.
  •       Finally, have someone inspect your roof for cracked, loose, balding, or missing shingles—and clean gutters, if needed, and make sure downspouts drain away from your foundation.

If you have questions or need more details on these items, feel free to email, text, or call me.

Here is the Talking Real Estate enewsletter with always-on links to trends in national, regional, and Austin area real-estate market news. You will also see some handy articles about home buying & selling, home maintenance, taxes, and other topics.

In this issue:

  •       Austin-Area Real Estate is Open for Business (Kind Of)
  •       Should You Manage Your Own Rentals?
  •       Buying a Flipped Home
  •       The Best Homebuying Strategy
  •       Rehoming Your Pet Humanely

I often get asked about current market conditions, whether now is a good time to buy or sell, or “what are home prices like in my area?” These questions are best answered with statistics because the real estate market is constantly in a state of flux. If you need more detailed information about your own neighborhood or home, just let me know. I'm happy to give you a free comparative market analysis of your home and neighborhood—and I can give you some market data and tips for getting started protesting your property taxes for when that time comes.

View your current Talking Real Estate enewsletter to see what's happening in your local market now.

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