SAN ANTONIO (San Antonio Express-News) -- Homeowner's, developers, landlords and anyone else wishing to buy energy efficient appliances will be able to purchase them tax-free Memorial Day weekend across Texas.
May 23 through 25, taxes will be deducted from Energy Star--qualified appliances. This will include air conditioners under $6,000, washing machines, ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, light bulbs, programmable thermostats and refrigerators priced under $2,000.
The Energy Star label, developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, appears on appliances that use less energy or water than the industry standard to operate.
There is no limit on the number of Energy Star appliances that can be purchased tax-free.
Additionally, San Antonio Water System customers who purchase the highest efficiency washing machines, known as Tier 3, can also qualify for a $100 rebate on their water bill.
One of our preferred vendors, Royse Cockrell (home inspector) sent me this great little home tip. –Jean
Sparking Switch or Electrical Outlet - Is the Short in the Wiring or Something You Turn on?
A fuse has blown or a breaker has popped several times. How do you determine if the short circuit is in your wiring or in something that's turned on or plugged in on the circuit? According to About.com, here's how to find out:
* Turn off all the lights on the circuit.
* Unplug everything from the outlets.
* Reset the breaker in the electrical service panel.
* If the short is in the house wiring (i.e., outlets or switches), the breaker will trip again immediately.
* If the breaker does not trip, proceed back to the area and turn on each light fixture not plugged into the wall (i.e., fixed lighting).
* If the breaker still has not tripped, the short circuit lies in something you are plugging into the outlet.
* Systematically plug each item into the outlet until you find the faulty appliance or lamp and then have it repaired.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – March pending home sales increased from February numbers and from March 2008, indicating that buyers think now is a good time to buy a house.
The Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed a 3.2 percent gain to 84.6 from February, when it was 82. The index stands 1.6 percent higher than a year ago.
The index is understood to be a forward indicator of home sales trends as it measures contracts signed, not completed sales.
"If inventory goes down — it's at just under ten months now — to below eight months, that would mean we're on the way to a sustainable recovery," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist.
Anecdotal evidence indicates that trend may be happening. Realtors and other industry insiders are seeing rising open house attendance and multiple bids on some particularly desirable properties.
An April Gallup Poll reported that 71 percent of Americans thought it was a good time to buy a house.
The South saw the largest gain of any region, with pending home sales jumping 8.5 percent from February to March. Pending sales were 7.7 percent higher in March compared with the same month a year ago.
If you would like to welcome our great Soldiers home from war, the 1st Cavalry Division has an up to date website that details all of the incoming flights: www.hood.ramy.mil/1stcavdiv/redeployment or, you can call one of the following numbers for more information: 254-618-7598 / 254-286-5331. Let’s get out there and WELCOME OUR TROOPS HOME!
This is great news for our Soldiers and our community! - Jean
A&M, Army agree to land deal
By Rebecca LaFlure
Killeen Daily Herald
Representatives from the Texas A&M University System and the U.S. Army signed an agreement to transfer 672 acres from Fort Hood to the Texas A&M System during a special ceremony Thursday morning at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
The land will house the future Texas A&M University-Central Texas campus in Killeen. The transfer marked a major step in Tarleton State University-Central Texas' transition to an independent A&M System campus, and gives both the university and community license to start developing a campus master plan, said John Crutchfield, president of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce.
Crutchfield dubbed the future campus as the second-largest economic development to occur in the region, behind only the establishment of Fort Hood.
"Whether or not the university is going to be built is kind of resolved now because the land has changed hands. That's a very symbolic and substantial thing to have happened," Crutchfield said Thursday.
U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, representing the Fort Hood area, and U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, representing the Texas A&M campus area, joined Secretary of the Army Pete Geren and Texas A&M Chancellor Mike McKinney for the official land transfer.
"This Army-A&M partnership will mean Fort Hood soldiers, their families and students throughout Central Texas will have access to a first-class, affordable university education," Edwards said in a statement Thursday. "That is good news for Fort Hood soldiers, for economic development in Central Texas and for Texas A&M. With the new GI bill, the demand for higher education among troops will be tremendous."
Since 2005, multiple discussions have taken place between the Army and Texas A&M System officials about what A&M will provide in exchange for the Fort Hood land – cash, services or both.
Located at the intersection of state highways 195 and 201 in Killeen, the land was valued at $1.74 million.
Based on the agreement, the Texas A&M System will allow the Army to use between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet of class space over a 17-year period.
No money will be exchanged.
"We are very pleased that the Army has completed the transfer of its land to the A&M System. This is a plan that the community has been working on for many years and is another step in helping us function as an independent campus," Tarleton-Central Texas executive director Garry Ross said Thursday.
Also on Thursday, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board certified Tarleton's enrollment at 1,204 full-time students.
The university was required to exceed an enrollment of 1,000 full-time students in order to reach independent status. An official name change is expected to occur at the A&M System board of regents meeting scheduled for May 21 and 22.
If all goes as planned, construction of a Texas A&M-Central Texas campus will begin in 2010, and a general-purpose building will be available for student use the following year, Ross said.
"Eventually, we plan to have adequate facilities to serve 25,000 students," Ross said. "As we can get money from the Legislature and establish need, we'll just keep adding until we reach the capacity we need to serve that many students."
Based on a 2006 economic impact study conducted by the GKCC, enrollment of 2,500 full-time students at Texas A&M-Central Texas would have an annual economic impact of $37 million in the area.
It would create an estimated 677 new jobs, both directly and indirectly. With an enrollment of 6,500 full-time students, the economic impact would increase to $106 million a year, and an estimated 2,000 jobs would be created.
Texas home prices remain stable and a home is a good investment.
FHA loan limits have been raised temporarily.
Receive up to $8000.00 tax credit on homes purchased before December 1, 2009
Interest Rates are LOW!
1. Texas Home prices remain stable. Nationally, home prices dropped 4.5 percent last year for the overall index (which includes financing and re-financings) and 8.2 percent based on purchases-only data. But latest home appreciation rates released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) indicated Texas fared well in 2008, especially compared with the rest of the country- in fact Texas home prices increased an average 2.1 percent last year! What does this mean for you...a homeowner or a new
homebuyer? The Killeen-Temple-Ft. Hood area home appreciation rates were up by 2.5%, this means that owning or buying a home in the Central Texas area is still a good investment!
2. FHA Loan limits have been raised temporarily. If you qualify for a FHA loan, FHA Loan limits for the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood Area increased from $200,160.00 to
$271,050.00 for a one-unit property. This temporary new increase is established for 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and allows homebuyers more flexibility in choosing the right home.
3. Receive up to a $8000.00 tax credit on homes purchased before December 1, 2009. As mentioned in our last month’s newsletter…. First-time Homebuyers can claim a tax credit worth $8000.00 - or 10% of the home’s value, whichever is less on their 2008 or 2009 tax returns. To qualify for the credit the home purchase must be made between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 200, the buyers must be First-time homebuyers (may not have owned a home for the past three years), and they must live in the home for at least three years or they will be obligated to pay back the credit. For more information visit www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com.
4. Interest Rates are low. Interest rates are the lowest they have been in the past five years. Lower interest rates mean lower payments and puts money back into your
pocket for other expenses. Owning a home is a good investment.