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iPhones & Rattlesnakes

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The rains we were blessed with earlier this year in South Texas made a tremendous difference to our landscape, rivers, lakes and wildlife. Time after time on the news you heard about encounters with snakes because of it being so wet. The moisture has pushed a lot of snakes out of their holes and into areas where they are normally not as prevalent. Remember to be careful and watch where you step. Oh, and never mix the great outdoors and iPhone music. I know firsthand.

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How to Choose a Realtor

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Thinking about selling your home, ranch, or commercial property? Maybe you’re new to an area and need to buy a new home.  Do you love to hunt and are interested in buying a ranch?  How do you choose the right realtor to help you?  I will address the selling part of the equation first and will do so from a residential perspective.  The parameters are very similar with other products but more people can relate to a home sale than a ranch sale so we will start from there.

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Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

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b2ap3_thumbnail_house-cleaning.jpg"7 Ways to Make Your Home Move-In Ready" is a great article that anyone thinking about selling should read and consider following.  I got this from Trulia, a popular real estate site that we do a lot of advertising with and use as a great avenue to promote properties.  Erika Napoletano makes great suggestions that I thought worth sharing.  I hope you enjoy this one.

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Fish Tank or Duck Tank

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_duckpond.jpgI have been doing a series on ducks and this is the last leg of a 3 part series. 

When you dig a stock tank on your ranch or lease does it have to be just for ducks or fish or can it be for both?  Dedicated duck hunters will argue that the perfect duck tank or pond if your from up north, needs to be shallow with a large surface area.  Fisherman want a deep pit and something that will support catfish and bass and be sustainable through some of the many long droughts we suffer in South Texas.

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How to Cook a Duck

b2ap3_thumbnail_seared-duck-breast.jpgI am currently doing a series on Ducks since it is duck season and this is blog #2 of a 3-parter.

When I was growing up we didn't do much duck hunting and therefore we never ate it either.  It wasn't until I was in college that my Dad and I did some goose and duck hunting the day before pheasant season opened in the Texas Panhandle.  When we got home we tried the duck and the goose and it was horrible.  Everyone always says "you didn't cook it correctly" or "that's not the way I do it and it is great when I cook it".  From then on whenever I tried it at different times I still hated it.  It tasted real gamey and a lot like liver and was usually tough.  It didn't really matter to me because I didn't do much duck hunting at the time so it was no big loss.

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Duck Hunting in South Texas?

b2ap3_thumbnail_ducks-in-marsh-valley.jpgMost people think to duck hunt you have to either go to the Texas Coast or the Eagle Lake area or Louisiana.  South Texas is famous for trophy deer, quail in wet years, and dove hunting. What about great duck hunting?  I bet you can count the number of people you know who duck hunt in South Texas on one hand and you may not even use a finger.  What most people don't realize is there are fantastic hunting opportunities for ducks all over the South Texas Trophy Deer country.

My good friend and neighbor Jim Lowe and I have been hunting ducks with great success for years.  It has been a learning process with some trial and error involved but we have a pretty good system now.  In the beginning we would sneak over the top of the tank dam (or at least I would) and we would position people strategically around a lake or tank (or pond if you’re not from here).  I would scare the birds up and we would begin shooting and then go to another tank.  Very seldom would we get our limit but we always would get a few birds.  While looking for some downed birds we noticed that some were trying to come back and land and that is when we changed strategies.

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Are You Really Ready to Buy?

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Summer is over and school has started as well as fall sports and hunting season.  Things are really picking up and everyone is getting busy with activities, and so is the real estate market.  Maybe you're getting the itch and thinking about upgrading or moving, but are you really ready to buy something?  How prepared are you and have you done the work it takes to be ready to buy?  Do you know what you can afford?  I continually have buyers come to me and want to just go look.  Often people like to look because it’s fun to look and dream. But why go look at something you may not be able to afford?  Why waste your time and others time?  Be considerate.  And the truth is there are some consequences for you.  If you go and look at a place and fall in love with it just to find out you can' t buy it, you will always compare anything else you see to the one that you couldn’t have.  Below are a few tips to help you get ready and consider when you are ready. 

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Show Me the Money

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Ok, we are going to go Johnny Manziel on Real Estate and talk about “show me the money”.  Of course this is the most uncomfortable conversation you can have with anyone whether you are at church, in a marriage or buying property.  People love to go out and look for a ranch or house when they have no idea really and truly what they can afford or buy.  Getting qualified and understanding the type of loan that is required to purchase, whatever it is you are looking for, is the first step and the most important step.  Why go out and look at a piece of property and fall in love with it just to find out you can't afford it?  Plus in today’s market, if you do not have a pre-qualification letter attached to your contract offer, most sellers will not even consider your offer.  Why let someone tie up your property and take it off the market when your not even sure they can get a loan?  As a buyer, you have to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the seller because if you get the house or property bought, you more than likely will be one some day.  Lets talk about getting qualified and the different types of loans that are available for the different types of properties.

Lets start with the types of loans that are available to purchase a home, whether it is a house in town or a rural home on some land.  There are four main products out there and a buyer’s circumstances will determine which one they may be able to use. 

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Fall Is The Greatest Time of Year

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b2ap3_thumbnail_dove_zone_map_20130830-211432_1.gifFall is truly the greatest time of year if you live in South Texas and love to hunt and are also a sports fan.  Football is starting with college and pro games, the baseball playoffs are about to start, the NBA season is starting and of course finally, its hunting season.   This year is even more exciting for those of us who live and hunt south of HWY 90 and east of IH 35.  Several years ago a special white wing season was created for an area in the South Zone that was West of IH 37 and south of Hwy 90.  Also, the line that created the south and north zones was expanded around Loop 1604.  This meant the line followed Hwy 
90 from Del Rio to San Antonio, and instead of a straight line through the city and out IH 10 to Houston, it was expanded around the southern end of San Antonio along Loop 1604.  Of course our ranch and where we hunt is in the south zone, but even though we could see IH 35 from the porch of our house perched on a hill, we couldn’t hunt because we are east of IH 35.  Year after year the birds would come to the black jacks to eat Coma Tree berries that are usually ripe about the 1st of September.  About the last week of August the trees and skies would be covered with birds and all white wings.  White wing doves are a classy and more sophisticated bird than the morning dove.  White  wings live in the city and drink from people’s birdbaths and roost in their trees.  Then every morning they get up and fly out to the country to eat and then fly back in the evening before dark.  So for the last 5 to 6 years all these birds were coming to my house to eat but I could not hunt them, and people who had nothing to do with the birds being here could.  Talk about the ultimate hunting frustration!  By the time the south zone opened about the third week of September all the berries were eaten up and the birds were gone.

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1031 Tax Free Exchanges for Farms, Ranches and Investments

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Real Estate that qualifies for a 1031 tax free exchange is property that was purchased as an investment.  Very specific rules must be followed to sell or exchange a property and avoid any capital gains tax .  I am not a CPA or tax professional, nor do I play one on TV, but I am a real estate professional that has handled many of these exchanges and want to offer what I know.  If you plan on a 1031 exchange in the future I would suggest you also talk with a tax professional about your particular tax situation.

The 1031 option has always been a very popular way of selling one ranch to buy up and defer any taxes.  While the capital gains tax rate was 15%, most people would just pay the tax because they knew it would probably never be that low again.  Now that the rate is at a minimum of 20% + depending on your income level, an additional 3.8% medicare tax can be added + whatever the Obamacare tax is taking the rate to as high as 28.5%.  The 1031 is becoming very popular again and a great way to put paying that tax down the road to a later date. 

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