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Mortgage Lending

How Filing a Homestead Exemption Can Help Homeowners

How Filing a Homestead Exemption Can Help Homeowners Are you a recent homeowner? A Homestead Exemption can be an excellent option to reduce your tax burden. Homestead exemptions have the potential to lower your taxes by removing part of your home’s value from taxation. From the Texas Comptroller: “For example, your home is appraised at $100,000, and you qualify for a $25,000 exemption (this is the amount mandated for school districts), you will pay school taxes on the home as if it was worth only $75,000.” While this is a law that exists in most states, property owners might not understand how the exemption works and who can claim it. In this article, we explain what a homestead exemption is, its benefits, who qualifies and how to file What is a Homestead Exemption and How Does It Work? With a homestead exemption, homeowners can deduct part of the property value from their taxes, lowering their overall tax bill. Typically, there is a fixed discount, and then the rest of the value is taxed at the normal rate. This favors homes that have a lower value. Exactly how much protection the exemption provides and how it’s applied varies by state. In some locations, the benefit is automatic. In others, including Texas, a homeowner must first file a claim with their state to be able to receive it. This means that if you’re eligible for a homestead exemption in Texas, you can potentially reduce your tax burden just by filing a claim. Other homestead exemption benefits include protection of a homeowner’s primary residence from creditors in the event of bankruptcy or a deceased spouse. It also helps the surviving spouse with continual tax relief. In addition to financial protection, this exemption offers physical shelter, in that it prevents the forced sale of the property. Benefits of Filing for a Homestead Exemption The benefits of filing for a homestead exemption include: Relief from property taxes – Since property taxes are based on the property’s assessed value, being able to reduce the home’s value on your tax statement makes the property tax significantly lower.  Protection from a forced sale – Having a homestead exemption shields the property from a forced sale to pay off creditors. For example, if you had trouble paying bills, without the homestead exemption, creditors could try to seize your property to satisfy your debts. Exceptions are mortgage foreclosures and failing to pay property taxes.  Advantages for a surviving spouse – Though state laws vary, in most cases, if the homeowner dies, their surviving spouse is guaranteed the right to stay in the home for their lifetime. They must, of course, continue to make mortgage and other payments in a timely manner. In Texas…. An Important Note: The homestead exemption protection from creditors will not prevent a bank from foreclosing on the home and taking possession of the property if the homeowner defaults on their mortgage payments.   Who Qualifies for a Homestead Exemption? To qualify for a homestead exemption, you […]

Welcome Bo Rodman!

Bo Rodman has gained extensive knowledge during his eight years in the banking industry. Spending time as both a credit analysis and a lender Rodman is excited to be a part of the SouthStar Bank team. An Austin native, Rodman is eager to share his knowledge of the area. “I enjoy relationship banking and helping achieve what is in our client’s best interest,” he says. “When I am able to approve a client’s loan that had been turned down at other banks, it is always a good feeling.” Rodman particularly enjoys learning from his clients. “The opportunity to learn how people are putting money to work in new and creative investments or business models is the most interesting part of my job,” he says. Rodman, a Texas A&M graduate, specializes in commercial lending where he has handled a wide variety of loans including spec construction loans, small business lending, accounts receivable lending, and equipment loans. Since joining the SouthStar Bank team, Bo has added consumer mortgage lending to his list of services available to his clients.  Rodman is involved with multiple organizations including: Community Foundations Tax Prep, St. Luke’s UMC Board of Trustees, Bachelors of Austin, and Anthropos Arts. In his free time, he also enjoys spending time outdoors fishing, hunting, doing lawn work, and slalom skiing. NMLS #1909096

Welcome Allen Strickland!

Allen Strickland joins the team at SouthStar Bank in Harker Heights as Senior Vice President and Branch Executive. With two decades of industry experience, he worked his way up from a teller and quickly earned praise as a strategic banker and team leader. Runner Up for Best Loan Officer in Brown County two years running, Stickland is confident in building relationships and recognition in the Harker Heights community. In his new role he hopes to expand SouthStar Bank’s presence in the market through his team’s personal involvement. As a community lender, he will offer residential mortgage loans as well as commercial financing. Strickland enjoys uncovering the specifics of each individual borrower’s needs. “It is fulfilling to sit with a client, discuss their situation and uncover deeper goals than just the present loan request they may have,” he says. Allen and wife Amie have been married for 10 years and have four children ranging in age from 17 to 5. Amie is an RN at Seton Hospital in the Harker Heights area. In his spare time Allen and his family love watching, playing, and coaching all sports. They are currently coaching their 5-year-old daughter’s soccer team- brave parents! NMLS # 1619700

Welcome Jesica Garza!

Jesica Garza joins SouthStar Bank’s Georgetown Branch as Assistant Vice President of Lending. A Certified Mortgage Planner, Jesica brings three years of mortgage lending experience as well as her expertise from teaching mortgage and real estate investing to continuing education students. Garza is local to Georgetown, proudly graduating as a Georgetown Eagle in 2004 and continuing to Texas State University to pursue her degree in International Relations. A legacy to a family of builders, Garza especially enjoys working on construction and home improvement loans of all kinds. Active in the community, Garza previously served the Austin Board of the National Association of Professional Mortgage Women. In addition, she is heavily involved with her husband’s non-profit, Flatwater Foundation, and its mission to provide access to therapy for families coping with a cancer diagnosis. Jesica and her husband, Mark, have 2 kids; one smart-as-a-whip 6-year-old son and a beautiful 3-month-old daughter. NMLS # 1508061

Congratulations Greg Vesely! Top Austin Mortgage Producer

Greg Vesely, Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending & Branch Executive at SouthStar Bank, was recognized as a ‘Top Residential Mortgage Producer’ in the Austin area. Vesely closed 28 portfolio mortgage loans with a volume of $14.78 million in 2018, 26 within the Austin MSA. This does not include his investor and ranch loans where his clients hold the property in an LLC. With 25 years of industry experience, Greg Vesely has a keen eye for strategy and a commitment to customer service. “I enjoy being my clients’ trusted advisor,” he says. “By understanding their needs, I’m better equipped to help them achieve growth and success.” Vesely is a graduate of Texas State (Southwest Texas). He also holds a Series 6,63, Group 1 license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA). His vast expertise in lending makes him a go-to resource not only for residential mortgages, but also commercial financing. Greg is involved in the Steiner Ranch community, a place he’s called home for over 18 years. He contributes his time to March of Dimes, the Chamber of Commerce, Toys for Tots and United Way. “I love to volunteer and help support the community,” he says. When he isn’t working or volunteering, Greg and his wife Kay love to travel. Especially when that travel involves watching their daughter, Kaylee, play in golf tournaments See the full Top Residential Mortgage Producer list here. NMLS # 621784

A Quick Start Guide to Buying Land and Building Your Custom Dream Home

Buying a home is a significant financial step for many Americans. While new master-planned communities and existing homes offer trendy upgrades and many other benefits, they all lack one thing – complete customization. When buyers look to custom build their homes, the only limits are their imagination and project budget. They’re free to design a home that fits their personality and lifestyle. However, building a custom home instead of purchasing an existing home or buying from a community builder requires careful planning. Unsure of where to begin? Use this step-by-step quick start guide to build your custom dream home with confidence. Step 1: Secure a bank pre-qualification to uncover your loan options. If you’re hoping to finance the custom build of your next home, you won’t be able to use a traditional mortgage. Unlike conventional home mortgages where the home serves as collateral, custom-built homes are usually set for construction on unimproved property. Therefore, you must work with a financial institution that offers lot or construction loans. A lot loan, construction loan, or construction-to-permanent (C2P) loan allows you to pay for the land only, construction only, or both. Depending on the loan type, borrowers have the flexibility to fund the construction portion of the build at pre-determined completion checkpoints. The loan can then be converted into long-term permanent financing (mortgage) at closing.  These loans are unique and not offered by many traditional mortgage companies.   Step 2: Identify your perfect parcel of land. A real estate professional with experience in rural properties can help you quickly identify your purchase options. Their expertise can also alert you to special considerations such as: Septic systems; Agricultural exemptions; Homeowner/landowner association building timelines; Rainwater harvesting systems vs. water wells; and Deed restrictions. Before you start your search, note your ideal parcel location and include your preferences for such items as utility connections, trees, and ponds. As you narrow down your selection, make sure you’re comfortable with any applicable building restrictions or setback requirements for the lot.  Step 3: Find an architect to design your home.                         An experienced architect can create construction plans and define a project timeline. A full-service architect often works with home buyers from concept through completion. Costs can either be hourly or a fixed fee based on a percentage of the construction costs. It’s also possible to be charged fees based on the completion of each building phase. Step 4: Choose a builder for your custom dream home. To find a competitively priced builder that meets your needs, look for those that will bid on the architecture plans. Find qualified builders by seeking referrals from real estate professionals, architects, and mortgage loan professionals. Step 5: Select a community bank that offers construction lending. Borrowers can secure financing with the same community bank that provided the pre-qualification figures or with another lending institution.  In either case, building a relationship with the lender is vital. The stronger the relationship, the better the overall experience will likely be from project beginning to end. A […]

Welcome Harold Copher, Jr!

Harold Copher, Jr. brings over 20 years of finance experience with his new role as Senior Mortgage Loan Officer at SouthStar Bank’s Falconhead Branch. Harold served as a residential mortgage officer and branch manager in the DFW area. Fulfilling the dream of many Texas Exes, Harold and his wife Pat relocated to the Austin area in 2017. He believes education and communication are key to helping clients purchase a home with ease and success. Harold Copher, Jr. NMLS #239295

Meet the Yes Team

SouthStar Bank specializes in residential mortgage, real estate and construction financing, operating 15 full-service branches across the Central Texas Region. Established in 1920, the bank holds over $700 million in assets and focuses on community involvement and personal relationships. The SouthStar Bank loan team is led by Executive Vice President Brent Gibbs. A Dripping Springs resident for over 12 years, Brent understands the value of personal connections and local lenders. Assembling a qualified team, unique to the communities they serve. “I’m a people person first, and that’s a motto that resonates throughout our organization. We understand our clients and business partners are busy, and we want to do our part to get the deal done with a satisfied borrower.” The Bank has helped thousands of people realize their dream of home and real estate ownership. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, building your dream home, purchasing recreational property or simply need home equity cash for life’s expenses, SouthStar Bank is the partner you can count on. With 6 Austin-area locations, it’s all about serving the community. “Business comes from where we live, work and play,” says Gibbs. “There’s a good chance the borrower ends up being my son’s teacher or t-ball coach, which means I owe them in advance.” Their team of lenders takes this guidance to heart, providing superior customer service. Loan officers are ready to walk clients through the process and ensure they benefit from the best financing solution. Ever-changing regulations and unexpected life events can make it difficult for qualified borrowers to secure the loan they need. That’s why in addition to traditional home loans, SouthStar Bank offers what they call ‘flexible, common-sense mortgage solutions.’ Through in-house portfolio loans, the Bank is able to offer solutions based on a borrower’s full financial picture, not just credit score and your traditional secondary market check points. It also allows the Bank to offer a wider range of products including lot loans and construction financing with one-time close. Whether your client is selecting the perfect lot, building a new home, or both, SouthStar Bank can provide the financing they need to get started. While SouthStar Bank is continually striving to offer the very best in service, convenience and security, their founding commitment remains the same: To provide friendly, flexible, common-sense financial services where they live and work – Texas Style!

Welcome Tyler Lee

Tyler Lee will join the SouthStar Bank Georgetown Branch as Vice President of Lending. With over 20 years in the financial industry, Tyler’s experience allows him to help clients in many different aspects of their life, from consumer home loans to SBA and commercial real estate lending. Tyler Lee NMLS#614284

Wholesale Mortgage Program

SouthStar Bank expands product offering to include Wholesale Mortgage Program. Through unique bank-held portfolio loans, SouthStar Bank will add value to traditional mortgage companies and their clients throughout Central Texas. The strategic relationship provides lenders greater flexibility to offer solutions outside of the stringent underwriting requirements of the Secondary Market. This in turn opens the door to home ownership for borrowers who may not otherwise qualify, including individuals facing a major life-event, purchasing a unique property or who are self-employed.

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