Saturday, February 18, 2012

Montgomery County, Texas Growing Strong

Good news for Spring, Texas and The Woodlands area.  Actually good news for all of Montgomery County as we continue to grow!  See the following article:$35-million-performing-arts-center

Friday, February 17, 2012

10 Whys to Garden

I'm itching to get outside and start my Spring Garden!  First things first though, I have started the pruning and turning the mulch that is already in my garden.  Good grief the number of weeds that have emerged even among the mulch is astounding.  Lots of work to the beds to prepare for my longed for flowers!  I picked up the Better Homes and Gardens Gardening Made Easy that will be on display until March 13th.  If you don't have one yet, I found mine at Krogers. One of the articles that catches my eye right away is 10 'Whys' to Garden As I read through this article I have so much input combining the gardening I have learned with home ownership and my Realtor training.  Especially the #1!  So here we go from the bottom up:

#10.  Cut your bills.  Refers to using herbs to add to your summer salads.  My take on cutting bills comes around the air conditioner.  Be sure to allow for allot of circulation, but consider the fact that our units work terrible hard during the hot summer months.  I have been taught numerous times to consider plants that will provide shade over the unit without becoming intrusive.  Let's extend the life of those AC units as long as possible!

#9.  Nurture the earth.  Well ok for the connection to nature... I'm thinking more about the wildlife.  What will the birds enjoy?  What will attract the hummingbirds and butterflies?  Even the bees are an important part to my garden.  Oh Yes let's bring in nurturing the wildlife!

#8.  Escape to your own retreat.  I totally agree!  Nothing is as peaceful as my garden areas.  I have a wall hanging that says, "No where on earth is as close to God as in my garden."  My garden is where the quiet moments happen and conversations with God spill from my heart.

#7.  Give yourself the gift of blooms.  Blooms are, "True spirit-lifters that can be had for free once you step into your garden."  If you are lucky you can catch pictures that won't ever fade away.  Some of my friends take professional pictures and turn them into works of art! "Spirit lifters" that last a lifetime.

#6.  Kick-start your calorie-burning.  Very encouraging!  But once I sit down and drink my tall glass of lemonade, I wonder if the hour of 250 calories that were burned matter?  I guess that solution can be handled with a reduced calorie drink.

#5.  Boost satisfaction.  "Have a wretched day at the office?"  Whether it's events with work ... whether it's business, family related, or simply reducing the craving of my sweet tooth while attempting to diet ... nothing relieves frustration more than to weed the garden!  It's my therapy that I actually look forward to and then enjoy the results of my labor.  Try it, You'll Like it!  Getting physical is better than meds!

#4.  Skip the stress.  Well, yes, I leave behind the desktop computer and television.  However, my clients do know that I answer my cell phone.  So while I monitor the email between flower beds from my Blackberry, my cell phone will be carefully placed on a table nearby.  I can always manage to sit on my handy dandy rolling garden buddy while I take a breather and answer phone calls.

#3.  Sow your artistic side.  My gardening style is not the "rigor of a formal garden" but instead my entire being is a bit "eclectic and whimsical."  I do love reds and purples with spots of yellows.  However, when something absolutely beautiful catches my eye, there is always room in my garden no matter what the color.

#2.  Eat - and relish - what you grow.  Hard as I might try, tomatoes turn out more expensive to grow than to pick them up at the farmer's market.  So I will punt growing the fresh vegetables and do the modern thing of shopping for summertime treats.   I have been very successful with fruit trees in my garden.  They are some of the first spring time fragrant blooms.  There is nothing better than a Christmas time orange straight off my own tree!

#1.  Boost your home's curb appeal.  Bingo!  If there is a For Sale sign in your front yard you must great those Buyers with curb appeal.  Truly, I have been in the car with my buyer and when we pull up to the front of a home (that caught their attention with great pictures on the Internet)  with no flowers and a yard that isn't maintained ... well those buyers don't even want to step out of the car.  Green it up people and add color with flowers.  It doesn't have to be fancy ... just well kept!

New growth is emerging on the plants here in plant zone 9.  New leaf buds are forming and some of the perennials already have flowers on them.  According to our last frost is from March 1 - 10.  I'm going to trust our cool weather blooms and go with Snapdragons, Petunias, and Alysum in my 'spirit lifting,' curb appeal garden right away.

Whether your dream is a lake home in Conroe, a home in The Woodlands, or in Spring with easy access to the city life of Houston;  If you are moving to Texas and looking for a spot of soil to call Home where you can plan, plant and take pleasure from a garden that produces year round color then contact me without delay!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Information to Disregard: Homestead Over 65 Exemption

My friend, Lisa Shaver, at Stewart Title in Conroe posted the following on Facebook:
"Subject:Homestead tax cap for 65 & older. Disregard the e-mail that keeps circulating (see below). This problem was fixed by the State Legislature back in 2007. The frozen school taxes were unfrozen so the elderly people would benefit from the school tax rate reduction and get a tax refund then the school taxes were re-frozen.

Please get this... info out to all your Texas contacts. Put these dates on your calendar. It may
not effect you now, but probably will effect someone you know sooner or later.
Very important for seniors and disabled. Remember to vote AND look for this on the ballot.
You must vote in May to keep the Homestead tax cap for 65 and over, even if you are not 65 yet. If you are a Texas homeowner then this is important to you. If not, it is important to your friends who are.
If you agree, please pass along to all on your email lists.
I am sending this email to everyone on my email address list who lives in Texas. I want to be sure you are aware of a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot at the May election. It is an amendment to correct an error made by the lawmakers when they voted for a reduction in school property taxes in 2005.
When the lawmakers voted for a one-third reduction in school property taxes beginning in 2006 and to be completed this year, they forgot about the homestead exemption for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
The state constitution caps school property taxes for homeowners 65 years and older and those who are disabled.
However, they DID NOT get the same reduction when the property tax cut for schools was voted on two years ago.
So an amendment is on the May ballot to correct this error.
The problem is that most voters who are younger than 65 or not disabled probably won't even notice the amendment or care.
PLEASE get out and vote for this amendment if not for yourself, then for your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. We would really appreciate your getting the word out to all your friends and families to vote for this amendment.
The fear is that with a low voter turnout, the amendment could very well not pass.
So, please, please pass the word and VOTE for the constitutional amendment. Early voting will take place April 30 - May 5 from 7 am to 7 pm; May 6 from noon to 6 pm and May 7 - May 8 from
7 am to 7 pm. Election day is May 12 from 7 am to 7 pm.

Remember this is information that is to be disregarded!

Monday, February 13, 2012

San Jacinto River Authority Brings More Good News

According to the latest article posted on the San Jacinto River Authority website we have optimism for Lake Conroe's water level.  February 13, 2012 Blake Kellum with SJRA published an article, Lake Conroe continues slow  but steady rebound in water level!
"Since the beginning of the new year, the lake has regained over two feet of water level.  With more rain in the forecast for the middle of the week and several more systems moving through over the next 10 days, the SJRA remains optimistic that the recovery from historic low lake levels will continue.  Wet soil conditions and regular precipitation is just what is needed for water level conditions to improve."
This is enough optimism for my mind to feel encouraged.  How about you?  Let's go shop for that Lake Conroe Dream home today.  Contact me!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Grand Parkway to break ground in county by 2013 - Your Houston News: News

Grand Parkway to break ground in county by 2013 - Your Houston News: News: The Texas Department of Transportation is accelerating its plans
to complete the next phase of the Grand Parkway in Harris and
Montgomery county.

This is great news for the Developing Economy of our County!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

January in Georgia

Even on Vacation in GA, this Realtor® from TX has to find time to venture through a green community!  I totally enjoyed my brief time in this 1,000 acre organic neighborhood.  There is more information at  It was a thrill to walk the grounds of the 2012 HGTV Green Home.  Now that I'm home I have an even greater appreciation for the green communities in my own area.  Contact me today if you are looking for a Green Home in the North Harris County or Montgomery County, Texas Areas.  Judy Reynolds 

Monday, February 6, 2012

How's the Real Estate Market?

I love the opening sentence in today's article on Investor's Business Daily, Real Estate A Buy or Bust This Spring Selling Season:

Predicting the housing market's fortunes in 2012 on the eve of the spring selling season is like guessing which direction an amoeba in a petri dish will move.
How often am I asked, "Judy how's the Real Estate Market?"  We are trained and scripts are written to give a ready made answer.  But really ... how can anyone honestly answer this question?  I want to roll my eyes, shrug my shoulders and answer, how the heck am I suppose to know!  Instead, let me share what I learned at the Houston Association of Realtors, Montgomery County breakfast last week.

From the Economic Development Partnership here are the statistics for South Montgomery County Population Growth:  in all of Montgomery County the estimated population for 2010 was 458,171 and the projected number for the year 2015 is 552,203!  Now if that isn't enough to get this Realtor® excited about the Real Estate Market in my area then I don't know what would get me excited! Could excitement come from  Anadarko-plans-new-tower-to-accommodate-growth- ?  Anadarko's additional tower is expected to be completed by 2014!  So that gives anticipated excitement to the Real Estate Market!
There were other companies named who are in the process of relocating to our area.  One of which is RPC Inc., which is bringing at least 150 jobs to our area this month.  Other known company names mentioned that will bring jobs to our area are McKesson Specialty Health Care, International Commodities Export Corporation , Talisman Energy.  When I mention our area, I must include the North Harris County expansion of The Exxon Construction which sits on the edge of our southern border of Montgomery County.  All of these companies and the trickle effect bring many hopes and lots of encouragement to our local economy, employment factors and foremost in my own world The Real Estate Market.

South Montgomery County offers amenities of numerous housing developments.  It is centrally located in the Houston Marketplace and well served by 2 large Airports.  The recreation on Lake Conroe is just a stone's throw away!  The impact of Exxon moving to our area means that The Grand Parkway is happening and will be a highly beneficial infrastructure to our transportation system.

So given what I learned last week, and what I am continuing to hear about the future of my home area ... I would say that, "The Real Estate Market is like an amoeba about ready to explode!"  That's a heart felt answer.  Nothing you are going to see written in a script. But given all the statistics that our leaders here in Montgomery County, Texas are giving us, I would say there is a very bright future for the Real Estate Market.  Wouldn't you?

I am standing by to help you find your dream home.  Contact me!
Judy Reynolds

Thursday, February 2, 2012

7 Steps - Application for Residence Homestead Exemption

To apply for your Residence Homestead Exemption use Property Tax Form 50-114. Montgomery County, Texas homeowners can find their forms at

Remember:  This must be owned by you and occupied as your principal residence.
File: With the appraisal district for the county where the property is located.
When:  January 1 and no later than April 30
Note:  You do not need to reapply annually once granted
The Chief Appraiser may request additional information ... you have 30 days from date of request.

Appraisal District's Name:  Montgomery County Central Appraisal District
Phone:  936-756-3354
Address:  109 Gladstell  Conroe, Tx  77301

Now that the formalities are covered let's move on to the 7 Steps of the application:

Step 1: 
State the year for which you are seeking exemption(s) ...
Most likely if you lived in your home by Jan 1st then the year will be 2012.  If you neglected to fill out your application a homeowner is allowed to go back 2 years.
State the date you began occupying the property as your principal residence ...
Do you own the property ... X the box Yes or No  (remember you must own the property)

Step 2:
Your Name, Mailing Address, City, State and Zip go on the next few lines.  Names of all owners need to be provided (attach additional sheets if needed)
Drivers license, Personal ID Certificate or Social Security # must be provided.  These will be kept confidential.
Don't forget to indicate the % ownership.

Step 3:
Now describe your Property.  The legal description and the District Account # can also be found at search using either your address or your Name.  the Account# will begin with the letter R...

Step 4:
Identify as many of  the exemptions that apply.  For sure the box General Residence Homestead Exemption will be checked.  Also notice that  there are other boxes; Disabled Person Exemption, Age 65 or Older Exemption, Surviving Spouse, 100% Disabled Veteran Exemption, or Surviving Spouse of Disabled Veteran who Received the 100% Disabled Veteran's Exemption.  Notice all restrictions that apply to each and the Affidavits that may be required.
If you are not sure whether to check the box seeking a school tax limitation from your last home there is information defining this term at

Step 5:  This Part Is New, Pay Attention to Addresses Matching
Send copies of Required Documents addresses must match property address!
1) Applicants driver's license or State-Issued Persona ID certificate.
2) a copy of the vehicle registration receipt or
an affidavit to the effect stating applicant does not own a vehicle and a copy of a utility bill in applicants name.

Step 6:
Is this unit cooperative housing?  check Yes or No

Step 7:
Read, Sign and Date!  Make No False Statements!

Judy Reynolds, your Realtor® has walked you through the form and You might be done now...

 Or, we might need to put sticky notes (to serve as reminders) on the form where you are waiting on documents with matching addresses.  Remember you have until April 30 to send to the Central Appraisal District.  I highly recommend that you utilize a Post Office Tracking Service to prove the district received your forms on time. 
Almost Done ...

Do you need a Notary for any of the Affidavits on the last page?  Many of the personal banks will have notaries on staff.  If I have helped you through the process of buying your dream home then I personally will see to it that we set up an appointment and have the Affidavits notarized at my office!

 Thank you Lynn for Notarizing the Affidavits for my Clients!

Call me!
Judy Reynolds, Realtor®, Standing by to help you through the home buying and ownership process!