Vote! Save Money – Homestead Exemption

taxesHow often to you get to vote to save yourself some money? Well, put November 3, 2015, on your calendar.

The election that day will include a proposition to raise the homestead exemption in Texas from $15,000 to $25,000. The higher the homestead exemption, the lower your property taxes.

It’s a no-brainer, right? It gets even better.

The same proposition also will constitutionally ban real estate transfer taxes in Texas. Right now, most states slap a tax on the sale or transfer of real estate. Texas does not. Transfer taxes can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to a real estate transaction.

votingBoth of these measures were championed by Texas REALTORS® during the recent Texas legislative session. Texas REALTORS® are committed to keep the costs of purchasing and owning real estate low.

This is great news for homebuyers and homeowners. But you have to do your part. Take two easy steps to make sure these tax savings will be adopted in our state: First, make sure you’re registered to vote. Second, vote for this proposition. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.
For all your Montgomery County Real Estate Needs contact the Michelle Wheeler Team
Wayne Stroman, Broker
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com TREC Lic. 0416282
Call the Property Desk at 936-588-7004
Sales Office: 14500 HWY 105 W, Conroe, Texas 77304
Mail to: PO Box 2991, Conroe, Texas 77305
Sales: 936-588-4444
Fax: 936-588-4884

Listing and Sales Agent

Michelle Wheeler
Lake Conroe Area Team Leader

Real Estate Listing and Sales

Wayne Stroman
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com Broker

 

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Use Your Dining Room Lately?

diningroomNo? I didn’t think so.

Surveys have revealed that three out of four families report eating their meals someplace other than their dining room.

For most of us the dining room table has become a collecting place for several kinds of things. But not used much for eating.

Most families eat in the kitchen or in front of a television in the family room/living room.

The days of entire families sitting around the table at the same time and eating are fading fast. Busy schedules prevent us being able to be home at the same time and often that is the case in my home as well.

kitchenrangeSo what is to become of the formal dining room? You know, the room my grandmother warned me not to go into or sit on the chairs, or play under the table?

Home design experts say that there are many ways that space can be effectively used other than as a storage space for furniture and china. The home office for example. This space is about the right size and would make a great home office. Just make sure you have adequate electrical outlets, lighting, and ventilation.

Expand your kitchen! Everyone likes a big kitchen! This may be your chance to install that gas range or gourmet food prep table you’ve been dreaming of for years. If your formal dining room is adjacent to the kitchen you may be in luck. Before you start knocking out walls, make sure you have an architect check out your plans so that it will be structurally sound.

Open up your living room.  Everyone seems to be searching for a home with an “open feel”. Lots of space in the family or living area. Having the dining room’s closed off space opened up can meet that expectation. It can greatly enhance your living space and family time.
For all your Montgomery County Real Estate Needs contact the Michelle Wheeler Team
Wayne Stroman, Broker
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com TREC Lic. 0416282
Call the Property Desk at 936-588-7004
Sales Office: 14500 HWY 105 W, Conroe, Texas 77304
Mail to: PO Box 2991, Conroe, Texas 77305
Sales: 936-588-4444
Fax: 936-588-4884

Listing and Sales Agent

Michelle Wheeler
Lake Conroe Area Team Leader

Real Estate Listing and Sales

Wayne Stroman
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com Broker

 

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When Alligators Invade – Lake Conroe

alligator eyeTwo weeks ago a large alligator was reported to animal control in Conroe. Authorities arrived quickly and removed the alligator – relocating it to a safer place. The reporter said that ” a little boy told his mommy there was an alligator in the yard.”

 

Gator found in neighborhood near Conroe

 

 

http://abc13.com/news/gator-found-in-neighborhood-near-conroe/726571/

As parents we assume that our children are safe in our neighborhood yards and playgrounds. But by being so close to Lake Conroe we must keep an eye out for the animals and reptiles that live in the area. We normally do not expect to come across such a large and imposing beast as an alligator.

Fortunately, in this case, the young lad was not harmed and the alligator got a free ride to the closest swamp.

There’s a lesson to be learned here: Teach your children what to do when they encounter an alligator, a snake, a stray cat or dog, raccoon, opossum, squirrel, an injured bird, or any other critters they may come across. Or for that matter, do you know what to do if you come across an injured animal? Livestock on the highway? An injured game animal on the side of the road? A lost dog or cat?

For example, let’s say it is deer season. You have your hunting license in your pocket with tags left. You see a large buck get hit by a car and land dead on the shoulder of the road. This buck has a trophy rack. Can you stop and take it?

No.

Why?

The game animal was not killed by legal means.
For all your Montgomery County Real Estate Needs contact the Michelle Wheeler Team
Wayne Stroman, Broker
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com TREC Lic. 0416282
Call the Property Desk at 936-588-7004
Sales Office: 14500 HWY 105 W, Conroe, Texas 77304
Mail to: PO Box 2991, Conroe, Texas 77305
Sales: 936-588-4444
Fax: 936-588-4884

Listing and Sales Agent

Michelle Wheeler
Lake Conroe Area Team Leader

Real Estate Listing and Sales

Wayne Stroman
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com Broker

 

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Lake Conroe Churches

baptismWelcome to Montgomery County Texas! Wherever you live there will be a church of some sort nearby. The churches here are very involved in providing help and assistance in a myriad of different capacities. “Armies” of volunteers for Meals on Wheels distribute food, nourishment, and a warm smile to hundreds of ill and elderly residents each day.

During times of catastrophic loss, the churches pool their efforts to accomplish huge tasks. And they do so with a cheerful spirit!

So here is a list, not the entire list, but a representative list of churches in Montgomery County:

Conroe Bible Church

www.conroebiblechurch.org

Conroe Church of Christ

www.conroechurch.org

Calvary Baptist Church

www.calvaryconroe.org

candles

Christ Church

christchurchconroe.org

The Ark Church – Conroe, Texas

www.thearkchurch.org/

Cornerstone Church – Home Page

cornerstonechurchconroe.org/

Vineyard Church of Conroe

www.conroevineyard.org/

Conroe Church of Christ – Home

https://www.conroechurch.org/

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Conroe, TX

www.shconroe.org/

First Baptist Conroe

fbcconroe.org/
www.stjames-conroe.org/
For all your Montgomery County Real Estate Needs contact the Michelle Wheeler Team

Wayne Stroman, Broker
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com TREC Lic. 0416282
Call the Property Desk at 936-588-7004
Sales Office: 14500 HWY 105 W, Conroe, Texas 77304
Mail to: PO Box 2991, Conroe, Texas 77305
Sales: 936-588-4444
Fax: 936-588-4884

Listing and Sales Agent

Michelle Wheeler
Lake Conroe Area Team Leader

Real Estate Listing and Sales

Wayne Stroman
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com Broker

 

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“The Corn Maze” Family Fun at P-6 Farms

The Corn Maze“The Corn Maze” Family Fun at P-6 Farms

Located on Poole’s Road in Montgomery, Texas you’ll find an outstanding “You Pick It” blackberry and fresh produce farm – P-6 Farms. Their current fresh produce lineup includes cucumbers, banana peppers, squash, zucchini, and Fairfield peaches.

They also offer home produced honey!  Their honey is raw, unprocessed, and produced right there on sight. Don’t worry, the honey has already been taken from the bees!

blackberriesAnother service they provide is field trips for schools and groups. Their cost is very affordable and includes:

      • Blackberry pickin’ (8 oz cup provided)
      • Duck races
      • Double tube slide
      • Roller slides
      • Human spider web
      • Poole’s Peak (dirt mountain)
      • Tether-ball
      • Rat rollers
      • Tire mountain
      • Picnic tables in the courtyard

And about the corn maze: it is huge – 8 acres in all. They plant the whole field in corn, wait for it to germinate and start coming up, then they cut out their design for the maze.

They provide a map to help guide you, although it is a maze, and you are likely to get lost at some point. If you happen to have GPS you can navigate out that way as well. And if that fails you, there is a person to guide you in a tower overlooking the corn maze. All you have to do is get their attention!

For all your Montgomery County Real Estate Needs contact the Michelle Wheeler Team
Wayne Stroman, Broker
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com TREC Lic. 0416282
Call the Property Desk at 936-588-7004
Sales Office: 14500 HWY 105 W, Conroe, Texas 77304
Mail to: PO Box 2991, Conroe, Texas 77305
Sales: 936-588-4444
Fax: 936-588-4884

Listing and Sales Agent

Michelle Wheeler
Lake Conroe Area Team Leader

Real Estate Listing and Sales

Wayne Stroman
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com Broker

 

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Do I Need Flood Insurance?

floodingDo I Need Flood Insurance?

If you think there is a chance, no matter how remote, that your home could get even 1″ of flood water in it you need flood insurance.

The month of May this year saw record rainfall and massive flooding across the state. News interviews of residents revealed that some areas flooded that had “never” flooded before – at least that anyone can remember.

When that happens they call it a “100 year” or “500 year” flood. With my luck my home would flood, even if not in a flood plain and perched on a big hill.

flooded roadThe average flood insurance policy is not very expensive (depending on your location) and is well worth the cost – in my opinion. For to not carry flood insurance means that if a catastrophic flood should happen to your home, it would be a total loss.

Here are some valuable tips and information from flood.gov:

Since I don’t live in a flood zone, I don’t need flood insurance, right?
Wrong. Everyone is at risk for flooding. Floods can happen anywhere, at any time. Residents who live in and outside of a high-risk area (also known as a Special Flood Hazard Area) should know their risk and consider protection.
If you live outside of the high-risk area and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may start as low as $119 a year.
Why should I purchase a flood insurance policy since the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) makes disaster assistance available after a flood?
Federal disaster assistance is only available in a presidentially declared disaster. Flood insurance claims are paid even if a disaster is not declared by the President. A flood insurance claim is your money and you do not have to pay it back.
Why can’t I get flood insurance if I live in a Special Flood Hazard Area?
You can and should get flood insurance if you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). These areas are considered to be at high risk for flooding, and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) encourages every homeowner, business owner or renter who lives and works in an SFHA to invest in flood insurance protection. Flood coverage is available to anyone who lives in one of 21,000 NFIP participating communities across the country. To find out if you live in an NFIP participating  community, visit www.fema.gov/fema/csb.shtm. You can call your insurance agent for more information, or visit FloodSmart.gov to find an agent in your area.

For all your Montgomery County Real Estate Needs contact the Michelle Wheeler Team
Wayne Stroman, Broker
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com TREC Lic. 0416282
Call the Property Desk at 936-588-7004
Sales Office: 14500 HWY 105 W, Conroe, Texas 77304
Mail to: PO Box 2991, Conroe, Texas 77305
Sales: 936-588-4444
Fax: 936-588-4884

Listing and Sales Agent

Michelle Wheeler
Lake Conroe Area Team Leader

Real Estate Listing and Sales

Wayne Stroman
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com Broker

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What Will It Cost To Replace My Kitchen Cabinets?

oldkitchenWhen it comes to selling your home, there is a universal agreement about which room needs to be “up to date”. The Kitchen!

Everything else in the home can scream out 1970’s, but if your kitchen has been updated – counter tops, cabinets, fixtures, floor, and sink – home buyers will notice immediately and be impressed.

We can’t help it. We are all impressed, yes – guys too – with up to date kitchen cabinets, modern looking faucets and sink, granite counter tops, cool lighting, and clean floors. A professional looking cook top doesn’t hurt either!

kitchenHomeAdvisor.com published an interesting study that shows exactly how much Houston area home owners paid to replace their kitchen cabinets. This information can help you decide if or when to replace those cabinets in the kitchen with something more modern or functional.

Based on 90 cost profiles the average home owner spent $3,990 replacing the kitchen cabinets. The highest amount someone spent was $11,100 (seems a little low to me). Most home owners spent in a range between $1,500 and $6,750.

That’s just to replace the kitchen cabinets.

But what you get with new kitchen cabinets is a completely new look, better functionality, and a clean feel to your kitchen. Kitchen cabinets that are dirty, stained, and sticky to the touch are just plain old disgusting!

A prospective home buyer will open and close your kitchen cabinets. They all do. If they don’t work correctly, are slimy looking, or look outdated that lowers the chance they will buy your home.

So there’s the information on how much it costs.

Next I will talk about how to find the best home improvement contractor to make these kind of repairs or improvements.
For all your Montgomery County Real Estate Needs contact the Michelle Wheeler Team

Wayne Stroman, Broker
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com TREC Lic. 0416282
Call the Property Desk at 936-588-7004
Sales Office: 14500 HWY 105 W, Conroe, Texas 77304
Mail to: PO Box 2991, Conroe, Texas 77305
Sales: 936-588-4444
Fax: 936-588-4884

Listing and Sales Agent

Michelle Wheeler
Lake Conroe Area Team Leader

Real Estate Listing and Sales

Wayne Stroman
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com Broker

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Lake Conroe – Over 201 Ft

2001 Hurricane Allison Flooding Houston

2001 Hurricane Allison Flooding Houston

Residents around Lake Conroe are all too familiar with the significance of the number 201.

When the level of Lake Conroe is at 201 feet it is full. For many years the lake has been far below full. Just a few years ago most lakefront homes with piers had their boats stranded on dry land. Historic data shows that in December, 2011 the lake level was at 193 feet – 8 feet below full.

However, this spring has brought a large amount of rainfall and the lake has been full since May 11th. Most recently heavy rains that have caused catastrophic flooding across central and west Texas, have also brought a significant rise in Lake Conroe – to 202.4 ft on May 28th.

Kings Harbour San Jacinto River

Kings Harbour San Jacinto River

As a result, the San Jacinto River Authority increased the rate of water it has been releasing from the Lake Conroe Dam to 8,660 cubic feet per second, the highest rate in eight years. (sourceDrone Video over Lake Conroe Dam Water Release

As of this morning, Saturday May 30th, the release rate is back down to 6,387 cfps and Lake Conroe’s level stands at 201.4.

Areas along the West Fork of the San Jacinto River aren’t out of trouble yet. Significant rainfall is forecast for this afternoon and River Plantation and Mosswood subdivisions could see more flooding even if there isn’t more rain in the area.

The release of water from Lake Conroe has a huge impact on communities in Montgomery and Harris County. Forest Cove, near Kingwood, experienced significant flooding in 1994, and in 2001. All residents along the San Jacinto River should closely monitor emergency broadcasts and evacuate if called on to do so.

And when the weather clears and you decide to take your boat out on the lake, diligently watch the water in front of you. Heavy rains wash tons of debris into the lake that could be floating just below the surface. Hit a partially submerged oak tree with your boat and the results could be disastrous if not deadly.

Be safe out there!
For all your Montgomery County Real Estate Needs contact the Michelle Wheeler Team
Wayne Stroman, Broker
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com TREC Lic. 0416282
Call the Property Desk at 936-588-7004
Sales Office: 14500 HWY 105 W, Conroe, Texas 77304
Mail to: PO Box 2991, Conroe, Texas 77305
Sales: 936-588-4444
Fax: 936-588-4884

Listing and Sales Agent

Michelle Wheeler
Lake Conroe Area Team Leader

Real Estate Listing and Sales

Wayne Stroman
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com Broker

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Share the Road in Montgomery County

bike closeupOnce the monsoon season is over, more and more cycling enthusiasts will be on the roads of Montgomery county.  There are several locations along Highway 105 west of Conroe where cycling clubs gather to start their rides. Highway 105 is a wide highway for the most part and usually has a generous shoulder for cyclists to ride on.

However you should always use caution when you notice cyclists on the road. Keep an eye out for them – especially at intersections where you may not be able to see them simply because they are smaller than an automobile or truck!

Here are some area cycling clubs that sponsor rides in the area:

Peugeot electric assist racing bike

Peugeot electric assist racing bike

Woodlands Cycling Club – “Our goal is to promote bicycling as a social and healthy recreational sport. We do our best at each club ride to ensure every member and guest has someone to ride with. The Woodlands Wheelmen was organized in 1993 to specifically promote recreational cycling. The Woodlands Cycling Club was founded in the eighties as a USCF (United States Cycling Federation) racing club and at one time was a top ranked team in the Houston-Metro area.”

Houston Bicycle Club – “The Houston Bicycle Club is a non-profit, volunteer run recreational cycling club for riders of all ages and abilities. The Club was organized for the promotion of bicycling among men and women as a healthful outdoor sport, and to promote and encourage bicycle safety in Texas among adults as well as young people.   The Club was started in 1964.”

Bike Barn – Upcoming rides

Every Sunday 7:30 a.m. Join the Champions crew for a 75 mi ride from our Spring location into the rolling hills of Montgomery County. This is for advanced skill level riders with an average pace of 22+ mph. This ride is not recommended for beginners. Bike Barn Champions 281-320-0399 – See more here.
Every Saturday 7:30 a.m. Join the Champions crew for a scenic suburban to rural 44 mile ride, which goes north into Montgomery County. This ride is for the intermediate rider, where the pace is 18-22mph. There is one sprint zone at the turn around point, and a gas station/rest area on the return ride. Bike Barn Champions281-320-0399 – See more here.

 
For all your Montgomery County Real Estate Needs contact the Michelle Wheeler Team
Wayne Stroman, Broker
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com TREC Lic. 0416282
Call the Property Desk at 936-588-7004
Sales Office: 14500 HWY 105 W, Conroe, Texas 77304
Mail to: PO Box 2991, Conroe, Texas 77305
Sales: 936-588-4444
Fax: 936-588-4884

Listing and Sales Agent

Michelle Wheeler
Lake Conroe Area Team Leader

Real Estate Listing and Sales

Wayne Stroman
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com Broker

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Animal Rescue and Control in Montgomery County

Animal Control – “the Dog Catcher”

This phrase conjures up so many images for so many people. Not all those images are good ones.

Pasados Animal RescueYou know what I’m talking about: The commercial featuring quivering dogs and cats looking sad and cold. Some of those images are almost unbearable to watch.

But the reality is that we have furry animals all around us who need help. Some of them need to be rescued from abandonment, injury, disease, hunger, or abuse by their owners.

Television reality shows even feature such inhumane circumstances where animals have been left to starve, beaten and left to die, or just forgotten.

rescuecatThe first local organization I’d like to mention is Conroe Animal Adoption Center (407 Sgt. Ed Holcomb). The Animal Shelter Volunteers of Texas assist the Conroe facility in helping to find homes for their dogs, cats, and other critters. A 501 C 3 non profit organization, the ASVT provides a much needed service in getting the animals available for adoption out in front of the public.

The Montgomery County Animal Shelter, located at 8535 Hwy 242 near the Woodlands, Tx, describes their mission: “At MCAS, we work to re-home unwanted and stray dogs and cats, promote the humane treatment of animals, prevent cruelty to animals, and provide a facility to return pets to their rightful owners. ” MCAS takes in a staggering 20,000 homeless and unwanted pets each year.  In one day, May 12th, MCAS took in 105 animals and adopted out 42. That, I am told, is a typical day.

SPCA’s local organization is SPCA of Montgomery County. Their mission statement lays out key elements of their success: “Rescue and rehabilitate homeless animals providing a safe haven for the animals until a suitable adoptive home is found or until they are reunited with their owner through our “Save More Lives” program.

Through our “Humane Education and Public Awareness” program further the cause of responsible animal ownership, the great need to reduce the pet population by spaying or neutering their pets and encourage a stronger bond between people and their pets.

Provide a limited number of low-cost spay/neuter services for the people unable to afford to spay or neuter their pets otherwise through our “Last Litter” program.

Many more are involved in other organizations who diligently work to improve the habitat, homes, and lives of Montgomery County’s pets.  Thanks to all who strive to make this a better place for all to live!

***Crime Stoppers in Montgomery is offering $1,000 reward for animal cruelty and dog fighting convictions. ***

1-800-392-(STOP)7867

For all your Montgomery County Real Estate Needs contact the Michelle Wheeler Team
Wayne Stroman, Broker
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com TREC Lic. 0416282
Call the Property Desk at 936-588-7004
Sales Office: 14500 HWY 105 W, Conroe, Texas 77304
Mail to: PO Box 2991, Conroe, Texas 77305
Sales: 936-588-4444
Fax: 936-588-4884

Listing and Sales Agent

Michelle Wheeler
Lake Conroe Area Team Leader

Real Estate Listing and Sales

Wayne Stroman
Lake-Conroe-Realtors.com Broker

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