2021 Homestead Exemptions

Taxes. Nobody likes them; everybody pays them. I’m sure when you considered buying a home you heard about the potential tax savings. Now you own a home and pay your own property taxes. You want to pay as little as you have to, because who would want to pay more? The good news is that you can reduce your property taxes by claiming a homestead exemption!

What is a homestead exemption?

A homestead exemption (HS) removes a slice of your home’s value from being taxed. A homestead is a separate structure, condominium or manufactured home on owned or leased land up to 20 acres. To qualify for a homestead exemption, you must:

  • Own the property
  • Use it as your primary residence as of January 1 of the year in which you are applying (2021 – so you had to close in 2020)
  • The address on your driver’s license must match the address you are claiming the HS exemption on.

When can I claim my homestead exemption?

You can file your regular homestead exemption application between January 1st and April 30th each year. You can first file for your homestead exemption on January 1st of the year following when you purchase your home. For example, if you purchased your home in 2020, you can now file in 2021. If you did not close until January of 2021, you must wait to file until 2022.

How much is my homestead exemption in Texas?

Texas law requires school districts provide a $25,000 exemption for property tax. So if your home is appraised at $100,000 and you qualify for a homestead exemption, you pay school taxes as if your home was worth $75,000. Taxing units also have the option to offer a separate exemption, which will vary based on where you live. For example, Williamson County offers a $3000 exemption for the special tax collected to farm-to-market roads. With your HS exemption, your county cannot raise the appraised value of your home by more than 10% each year, even if the actual value is greater. With the current rate of appreciation for many homeowners, this has saved many people a lot of money over the past few years!

What other exemptions are available in Texas?

The most common other exemptions claimed are the Senior Exemption (Over 65), Disabled Exemption and Veteran’s Exemption. Both the Senior Exemption and Disabled Exemption requires school districts to offer an additional $10,000 HS but one cannot qualify for both. When you turn 65, you may also qualify for a “tax ceiling” on your school taxes; that is, the school taxes on your home cannot increase as long as you own and live in that home. The Veteran’s Exemption is available to disable veterans and the surviving dependents and entitles a disabled vet an exemption equal to his service-connected disability, up to 100%. Here is a list of most of HS exemptions. Exemptions other than the homestead exemption do not have to be filed between January and April and can be filed as soon as you qualify for them.

How do I apply for my homestead exemption?

You can apply for FREE for your HS exemption by completing and turning in the correct form to your local county tax office. For Williamson County, you can also apply online. When you purchase a home, you will likely receive many official looking pieces in the mail offering services to file your HS exemption for you for a fee. THIS IS A SCAM. Please save yourself some money by filling out and mailing in the form yourself!

If you have questions about your homestead exemption, property taxes or any other real estate question, contact us and we’ll get back to you right away. I hope you have found all of this information helpful!

November 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report

Austin on pace to break housing records

Housing Inventory Drops to All-Time Low

AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) posted a record-breaking month of sales this November, according to the latest Central Texas Housing Market Report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR). MSA home sales jumped 23.8% year over year to 3,397 sales, indicating no sign of a typical season slowdown heading into the new year. 

Additionally, the median price across the MSA increased 19.7% to $365,000, and sales dollar volume spiked 49.3% to $1,576,178,429. At the same time, new listings increased 5.7% to 2,762 listings, active listings dropped 55.2% to 2,842 listings and pending sales increased 23.9% to 3,269 pending sales. For the first time ever, housing inventory dipped below one month across the five-county MSA, falling 1.2 months year over year to 0.9 months of inventory.   

“Despite the economic roadblocks and challenges the global pandemic has presented, Austin’s housing market activity is stronger than it’s been in several years,” Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president, said. “Housing demand has only increased over the past several months and Austin REALTORS® are working hard to ensure clients find a home that works for them. Our main challenge in this market is navigating the critically low levels of inventory. This near-zero level of housing inventory throughout the region is staggering, and it will put enormous pressure on home prices and the rental market.” 

November 2020 marks an all-time low for housing inventory throughout the region and the first time that inventory across the five-county MSA has dipped below one month. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University estimates 6.5 months of inventory as a balanced housing market.  

“With a steady influx of job creation in the pipeline, the housing market will continue to post strong numbers well into 2021,” Mark Sprague, state director of information capital at Independence Title, said. “But, because Austin’s housing market is not slowing down, we will continue to see demand outpace the inventory available. This growth is not sustainable. The one variable that will hold the market back is the lack of inventory.” 

“While we’re grateful that the housing market rapidly recovered, last month’s numbers should give us all pause,” Manzanilla concluded. “Central Texans who could not find a property within Austin’s city limits have historically been able to expand their searches outward to find a home. But, when the entire region has virtually zero inventory, its leaders must think about how such a broad lack of housing will ultimately impact Austin’s suitability as a destination for businesses and economic growth.” 

City of Austin  

The median sales price in the city of Austin rose 10.1% to $433,493 in November. Residential sales increased 28.2% to 1,105 sales, as sales dollar volume jumped 47.2% to $600,496,127. During the same period, new listings increased 9.9% to 897 listings, while active listings decreased 28.2% to 1,064 listings, and pending sales jumped 16.8% to 1,038 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.4 months year over year to 1.0 months of inventory.  

Travis County  

In Travis County, residential sales increased 25.2% to 1,720 sales, while sales dollar volume spiked 54.6% to $961,793,770. The median price for residential homes rose 19.7% year over year to $425,000. During the same period, new listings increased 8.2% to 1,388 listings, active listings decreased 47.2% to 1,523 listings, and pending sales jumped 22.4% to 1,642 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory fell 0.9 months year over year to 0.9 months of inventory.  

Williamson County  

In November in Williamson County, residential sales increased 19.8% to 1,127 sales, and sales dollar volume jumped 38.4% to $404,718,496. The median price increased 18% to $326,725. During the same period, new listings slightly increased 2.2% to 903 listings, while active listings tumbled 71.8% to 604 listings. Pending sales increased 12.2% to 1,046 pending sales. Housing inventory declined 1.6 months year over year to 0.5 months of inventory.  

Hays County  

In Hays County, November home sales increased 30.4% to 403 sales, and sales dollar volume spiked 54.6% to $170,600,406. The median price for homes increased 18.5% to $303,525. During the same period, new listings increased 6% to 338 listings, while active listings fell 50.7% to 439 listings. Compared to November 2019, pending sales soared 54.6% to 422 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased by 1.6 months to 1.1 months of inventory.

Bastrop County  

In November, Bastrop County home sales climbed 14% to 114 sales, and sales dollar volume increased 17.4% to $31,303,538. The median price for residential homes increased 6.4% to $260,950. During the same period, new listings slightly increased 2.8% to 109 listings, while active listings dropped 37.7% to 208 listings. Pending sales skyrocketed 81.4% to 127 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased by 1.7 months to 1.9 months of inventory.   

Caldwell County  

In Caldwell County, November home sales increased 65% to 33 sales, and sales dollar volume increased 70.4% to $6,961,699. The median home price increased 11.4% year over year to $204,750. During the same period, new listings rose 14.3% to 24 listings, while active listings dropped 32% to 68 listings. Pending sales jumped 52.4% to 32 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 1.5 months to 2.5 months of inventory.   

For more information or to download the November 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report, visit ABoR.com/MarketStatistics. All information taken from the Austin Board of Realtors November 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report.

Homestead Exemptions: What You Need to Know

Taxes. Nobody likes them; everybody pays them. I’m sure when you considered buying a home you heard about the potential tax savings. Now you own a home and pay your own property taxes. You want to pay as little as you have to, because who would want to pay more? The good news is that you can reduce your property taxes by claiming a homestead exemption!

What is a homestead exemption?

A homestead exemption (HS) removes a slice of your home’s value from being taxed. A homestead is a separate structure, condominium or manufactured home on owned or leased land up to 20 acres. To qualify for a homestead exemption, you must:
  • Own the property
  • Use it as your primary residence as of January 1 of the year in which you are applying
  • The address on your drivers license must match the address you are claiming the HS exemption on.

How much is my homestead exemption?

Texas law requires school districts provide a $25,000 exemption for property tax. So if your home is appraised at $100,000 and you qualify for a homestead exemption, you pay school taxes as if your home was worth $75,000. Taxing units also have the option to offer a separate exemption, which will vary based on where you live. Travis County offers a 20% exemption and Williamson County offers a $3000 exemption for the special tax collected to farm-to-market roads. With your HS exemption, your county cannot raise the appraised value of your home by more than 10% each year, even if the actual value is greater. With the current rate of appreciation for many homeowners, this has saved many people a lot of money over the past few years!

What other exemptions are available?

The most common other exemptions claimed are the Senior Exemption (Over 65), Disabled Exemption and Veteran’s Exemption. Both the Senior Exemption and Disabled Exemption requires school districts to offer an additional $10,000 HS but one cannot qualify for both. When you turn 65, you may also qualify for a “tax ceiling” on your school taxes; that is, the school taxes on your home cannot increase as long as you own and live in that home. The Veteran’s Exemption is available to disable veterans and the surviving dependents and entitles a disabled vet an exemption equal to his service-connected disability, up to 100%. Here is a list of most of HS exemptions.

How do I apply for my homestead exemption?

You can apply for FREE for your HS exemption by completing and turning in the correct form to your local county tax office. For Williamson County, you can also apply online. When you purchase a home, you will likely receive many official looking pieces in the mail offering services to file your HS exemption for you for a fee. THIS IS A SCAM. Please save yourself some money by filing out and mailing in the form yourself! You can apply for your HS exemption from January 1 – April 30 in the year after you purchased your home.

Anyways, I hope this REAL ANSWER has been helpful for you. Sign up in the right column to receive more REAL ANSWERS because someone you know needs accurate answers. You can also ask your own questions and see the REAL ANSWERS to other questions.

Homestead Exemption Form for Travis County (FORM)
Mailing Address: P.O. BOX 149012, Austin, TX 78714-9012
Homestead Exemption Form for Williamson County (FORM) or (Fill it out ONLINE)
Mailing Address: 625 FM 1460, Georgetown, TX 78626-8050
Homestead Exemption Form for Hayes County (FORM)
Mailing Address: 21001 IH 35 North, Kyle, Texas 78640
Homestead Exemption Form for Bastrop County (FORM)
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 578, Bastrop, TX 78602