Get Rid of Things You Don’t Need

16 Apr

Periodically, you need to rid yourself of things that are taking up you time and space to make room for more of what you like and want.

There’s a frequently quoted suggestion that if you haven’t used something for two years, maybe it isn’t essential in your life.

If you have books you’ll never read again, give them to someone who will. If you have a deviled egg plate that hasn’t been used since the year your Aunt Phoebe gave it to you, it’s out of there. Periodically, go through every closet, drawer, cabinet, room and storage area to get rid of the things that are just taking up space in your home and your life.

Every item receives the decision to keep or get rid of. Consider these questions as you judge each item:

  • When was the last time you used it?
  • Do you believe you’ll use it again?
  • Is there a sentimental reason to keep it?

You have four options for the things that you’re not going to keep.

  1. Give it to someone who needs it or will appreciate it
  2. Sell it in a garage sale or on Craig’s List.
  3. Donate it to a charity and receive a tax deduction
  4. Discard it to the trash.

Start with your closet. If you haven’t worn something in five years, get rid of it. Then, go through the things again and if you haven’t worn it in two years, ask yourself the real probability that you’ll wear it again.

Another way to do it is to move it from your active closet to another closet. If a year goes by in the other closet, the next time you go through this exercise, those clothes are on their way out.

If the items taking up space are financial records and receipts, the solution may be to scan them and store them in the cloud. There are plenty of sites that will offer you several gigabytes of free space and it may cost as little as $10 a month for 100 GB at Dropbox, to get the additional space you need. It will certainly be cheaper than the mini-storage building.



13 Apr

5009 Dunster Drive, McKinney

3 Bedroom / 2.5 Bath / 2 Car / Study

2610 sq ft / Built 2006 / McKinney ISD



FABULOUS 3 bedroom 3 Bath home with beautiful handscraped wood floors and light bright windows. Open floor plan perfect for entertaining. Beautiful kitchen with recently updated cabinets, island, granite, stainless steel appliances, and large eat-in area. Great butlers pantry perfect for coffee bar or serving area. Spacious master down with LARGE walk-in closet. Two large secondary bedrooms with lots of closet space. Large private office with French doors. Lots of storage space throughout home. Smart home features include Nest thermostat, motion sensing lights, more!!! New roof, gutters, gates in progress.


Please contact Elyse Guthrie at  (512) 217-1412 for more information or click HERE.

For more information and other homes for sale in this area, check out 


13 Apr

5561 Glenview Drive, The Colony

3 Bedroom / 3.5 Bath / 2 Car / Game

3505 sq ft / Built 2001 / Lewisville ISD


~GREAT Quality, TERRIFIC Living Design!~

Large backyard on a great oversized corner lot! Open floor plan, soaring ceilings, crown molding & oversized baseboards, large Home Office with French doors, Bonus Retreat, hard wood floors, carpet recently installed, freshly painted with light bright colors.

Great neighborhood located close to the schools, parks and neighborhood amenities near 121 and Dallas North Tollway with easy access to shopping, and more!

Please contact Elyse Guthrie at  (512) 217-1412 for more information or click HERE.

For more information and other homes for sale in this area, check out 


13 Apr

3210 White Spruce Drive, Frisco

5 Bedroom / 3.5 Bath / 2 Car / Media
4087 sq ft / Built 2000 / Frisco ISD


~Too many updates to count!~

Gorgeous Home in Frisco’s Heather Ridge Estates close to parks, walking distance to FISD schools, neighborhood amenities! Delightful drive-up to perfect landscaping,
beautiful brick & welcoming front porch! Terrific living design with handscraped hardwoods, bronze fixtures, crown molding, updated bath & upgrades galore! Kitchen with recently painted cabinets, added designer island, beautiful granite, backsplash with mosaic & stylish light fixtures. Split floorplan with 5 bedrooms, a huge game room and media for family fun and entertaining.

A Must See!

Please contact Elyse Guthrie at  (512) 217-1412 for more information or click HERE.

For more information and other homes for sale in this area, check out 


13 Apr

7403 Saint Armond Court, McKinney

3 Bedroom / 3 Bath / Study / Golf Course Lot


This beautifully upgraded one-story custom home built in 2014 has it all with rich quality, a rare & expansive floorplan and is in sought after-Ballantrae in Stonebridge Ranch nestled in a cul-de-sac. The upgraded elevation provides excellent curb appeal with stone accents, cedar garage doors, upgraded brick & mortar, stone landscaping borders and impressive iron & glass front door. Upon entry, your guests will be greeted by rich nail-down hardwoods, 6-inch baseboards, crown moldings, a private and executive study with coffered ceilings, built-ins, French doors with beveled glass, plantation shutters and also an elegant open formal dining area with a coffered ceiling and upgraded lighting.  The Texas-sized family room boasts 18-foot beamed ceilings, has a floor to ceiling stone fireplace with a cedar mantle,  plantation shutters and is open to the gourmet kitchen which would delight any chef with its level 4 granite, decorative tile, stainless steel Thermador appliances to include a 6-burner commercial-style free-standing range with pot filler, upgraded cabinetry, a large walk-in pantry and a spacious breakfast area with a beautiful golf course view.

The split and master retreat leads with true luxury with Plantation shutters, upgraded casement windows, course view, double crown & trayed ceiling & a spa bath with an oversized jetted Jacuzzi tub, travertine flooring, split granite ball & claw vanities, framed mirrors, an oversized shower with frameless glass & deco tile, skylight & spacious walk-in closet. The other two bedrooms are a generous size, are split for privacy and also offer custom cabinetry, upgraded granite vanities and framed mirrors.  Other outstanding features and upgrades are….Ballantrae maintenance of the front yard, solid core doors throughout, a large covered patio for relaxing & upgraded landscaping in the backyard, recently added Plantation shutters, radiant barrier, iron fence, elevation lighting, large utility room with granite & room for freezer & storage, rubbed-oil bronze hardware & more.  Quality abounds in this home and this is a rare opportunity to own a one-story custom backing to the course while enjoying all the amenities Stonebridge Ranch has to offer.  Priced to sell and move-in ready!

Please contact Jeff Jacobs at  (972) 978-6539 for more information or click HERE.

For more information and other homes for sale in this area, check out 

Qualified Charitable Contribution

9 Apr

If you’re at an age where you need to be taking Required Minimum Distributions (age 70.5) from your IRA, a qualified charitable contribution and some planning may allow you to lower your overall tax liability.

Let’s say that a couple’s 2019 itemized deductions include $8,000 in property taxes, $4,400 in interest and $20,000 in charitable contributions. That would total $32,400 which exceeds the 2019 $25,300 standard deduction for married couples, 65 years of age or older, filing jointly.

Their required minimum distribution from their IRA is $40,000 which will be taxed at ordinary income. If this couple is in the 24% tax bracket, the tax liability would be $9,600.

Alternatively, if they made the $20,000 in charitable contributions from their IRA as a Qualified Charitable Contribution, it would not be taxable in the withdrawal. The balance of the RMD of $20,000 would be taxable at 24% which would have a tax liability of $4,800.

Their $32,400 worth of itemized deductions would be reduced by the $20,000 because it was paid from the IRA which makes their itemized deductions $12,400. The $25,300 standard deduction would benefit them more by an amount of $12,900 increased deductions. At 24%, this would reduce their liability by $3,096.

In the first instance, they would owe $9,600 in taxes due to the $40,000 RMD from their IRA. In the second example, because of the increased amount by taking the standard deduction, the net tax liability would be $1,704 ($9,600 – $4,800 – $3,096 = $1,704).

This example shows how shifting contributions to a Qualified Charitable Contribution will get the same amount to the charity but lower the Required Minimum Distribution that must be recognized as ordinary income. The shifting also gives the taxpayers the advantage of a higher amount of the standard deduction than the itemized deduction.

As always, before taking action, you should get advice from your tax professional on how this strategy may impact you. There is information available on for IRS Required Minimum Distribution FAQs and Qualified Charitable Distributions.

Auto Pay Your Mortgage Payment

3 Apr

In the time that it takes to write one check, you can set it up with your bank and never have to do it again. You won’t have to write checks, envelopes or buy stamps anymore. You’ll save time, money and benefit in other ways too.

  1. Never be late … avoid late fees and protect your credit
  2. Schedule additional principal contributions monthly to save interest, build equity and shorten the mortgage term.
    An extra $200 a month applied to the principal on a $200,000 mortgage at 4.5% for 30 years will result in shortening the loan by 8.5 years. If the loan was paid to term, it would save $52,977 in interest. Use the Equity Accelerator to see how much you can save.
  3. It’s convenient … by doing it online with your bank, you’ll have a centralized history of the payments.
  4. Protect your credit … your payment history is the single biggest component of your credit score and accounts for over 1/3 of your credit score.

Establishing the practice of auto bill pay could run the risk of overdrawing an account and incurring overdraft charges. Monitor your bank account to be sure that you have enough cash to cover your automatic payments.

Schedule the Auto Pay to allow for processing and the time it takes to reach the lender so that you don’t incur late fees.

And even though, you set up the Auto Pay, it is still your responsibility to monitor your bank account to see that they are executing it properly. If you are making additional principal contributions, you must see that the extra amount was indeed applied to principal reduction and not somewhere else like in the escrow account.

Some banks offer email or text reminders to let you know when checks are about to be written or if your balance is low.

To-Do List for Better Homeowners

26 Mar

Checklists work because they contain the important things that need to be done. They provide a reminder about things we know and realize but may have slipped our minds as well as inform us about things we didn’t consider. Periodic attention to these areas can protect the investment in your home.

  1. Change HVAC filters regularly. Consider purchasing a supply of the correct sizes needed online and they’ll even remind you when it’s time to order them again.
  2. Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors annually.
  3. Create and regularly update a Home Inventory to keep track of personal belongings in case of burglary or casualty loss.
  4. Keep track of capital improvements, with a Homeowners Tax Guide, made to your home throughout the year that increases your basis and lowers gain.
  5. Order free credit reports from all three bureaus once a year at
  6. Challenge your property tax assessment when you receive that year’s assessment when you feel that the value is too high. We can supply the comparable sales and you can handle the rest.
  7. Establish a family emergency plan identifying the best escape routes and where family members should meet after leaving the home.
  8. If you have a mortgage, verify the unpaid balance and if additional principal payments were applied properly. Use a Equity Accelerator to estimate how long it will take to retire your mortgage.
  9. Keep trees pruned and shrubs trimmed away from house to enhance visual appeal, increase security and prevent damage.
  10. Have heating and cooling professionally serviced annually.
  11. Check toilets periodically to see if they’re leaking water and repair if necessary.
  12. Clean gutters twice a year to control rainwater away from your home to protect roof, siding and foundation.
  13. To identify indications of foundation issues, periodically, check around perimeter of home for cracks in walls or concrete. Do doors and windows open properly?
  14. Peeling or chipping paint can lead to wood and interior damage. Small areas can be touched-up but multiple areas may indicate that the whole exterior needs painting.
  15. If there is a chimney and fires are burned in the fireplace, it will need to be inspected and possibly cleaned.
  16. If the home has a sprinkler system, manually turn the sprinklers on, one station at a time to determine if they are working and aimed properly. Evaluate if the timers are set properly. Look for pooling water that could indicate a leak underground.
  17. Have your home inspected for termites.

Instead of remembering when you need to do these different things, use your calendar to create a system. As an example, make a new appointment with “change the HVAC filters” in the subject line. Select the recurring event button and decide the pattern. For instance, set this one for monthly, every two months with no end date. You can schedule a time or just an all-day event will show at the top of your calendar that day.

By scheduling as many of these items as you can, you won’t forget that they need to be done. If you don’t delete them from the calendar, you’ll continue to be “nagged” until you finally do them.

If you have questions or need a recommendation of a service provider, give us a call at (972) 978-6539. We deal with issues like this regularly and have experience with workers who are reputable and reasonable.

Updated Home on Large Lot With Pool!

25 Mar


1411 Red Tip Drive, Allen

4 Bedroom / 2.5 Bath / Game / Pool
2684 sqft / Built 1996 / Allen ISD


Relax in your new home with a POOL and SPA just in time for summer!

This beautiful 4 bedroom, 2.1 bath home sits on a huge cul-de-sac lot
adjacent to greenbelt for added privacy. The updated kitchen comes with granite counters, stainless appliances, gas cooktop and breakfast room with bay window overlooking the backyard oasis.

The large family room has two-story  vaulted ceilings and newly installed laminate wood flooring, along with a corner fireplace and gas logs.   Downstairs also includes a study, formal dining room and fourth bedroom.  The upstairs master suite has a fully remodeled master bath with barn door, his-and-her granite vanities and frame-less glass shower enclosure along with a custom master closet.  Two additional bedrooms, game room and updated secondary bath round out the second floor. 

The backyard boasts salt water pool and spa with a wrap around deck and gas line for grilling.

Great location and neighborhood close to 121 and 75!  Welcome home!

Please contact Shirl McKinney at  (214) 232-7174 for more information or click HERE.

For more information and other homes for sale in this area, check out 

Reasons Rental Homes Rank Highest

19 Mar

Single family homes offer the investor an opportunity to borrow large loan-to-value loans at fixed interest rates for long terms. Lenders will loan 75-80% of the purchase price at 5.5% to 6.5% interest rate for thirty years. Compare that with other popular investment alternatives like precious metals, commodities, stocks, and mutual funds and it will be hard to find financing available at all.

There may be some short term, one-year, loans at a floating rate tied to prime plus with no guarantee that it will be renewed. Some of those loans require you to have a 50% margin of equity and if the value goes down, you’ll have to put up additional cash or be forced to sell.

The advantage of having long-term mortgages is that an investor could find the optimal time to sell the property instead of needing to sell it because the term is due, and no other financing is available. Supply and demand cause the real estate market to be higher and lower and a long-term mortgage provides options to sell when the price is optimal.

Single family homes enjoy distinct tax advantages. If the rental or investment property is held for more than 12 months, the gain is taxed at lower, long-term capital gains rates rather than ordinary income rates.

Another advantage of rental homes is that the improvements can be depreciated over a 27.5-year life. This is a non-cash deduction that reduces income and shelters income. The accumulated depreciation taken over the life of the property is recaptured when the property is sold.

Since rental homes provide income that other investments may not, tax would have to be recognized on the annual income. IRS allows normal operating expenses like interest, property taxes, insurance, repairs, and management to be deducted including the annual depreciation.

Rental and investment property are eligible for tax-deferred exchanges to avoid paying tax at the time of disposition. Real estate also enjoys stepped-up basis which means that when an heir inherits a property, instead of having a potential gain from the value the decedent had purchased it for less depreciation taken, the heir’s basis becomes the fair market value at time of death. All potential gain may be permanently avoided.

Appreciation is a much-anticipated benefit of real estate because value tends to go up over time.

Another big benefit is the control that an investor has with rentals that is not available with other investments like stocks, bonds, or commercial real estate. It takes a relatively small amount of cash to control the entire investment in a home that wouldn’t be available in other investments without partners or publicly traded companies.

Single family homes are an investment that homeowners understand because they are essentially the same as the home they live in. They’re used for rental purposes but the maintenance is the same, the service providers are the same, and the neighborhood are the same. Most homeowners understand rentals far better than alternative investments.

Contact me at (972) 978-6539 if you’d like to know more about rental property.

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