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Red Relief—Helping Those Impacted by Harvey and Irma


The Red Relief program by Keller Williams is dedicated to providing disaster relief to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Irma. Find out how you can help today.

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Keller Williams is here to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

When it comes to Keller Williams, family is everything. 

Our Red Relief program is dedicated to providing disaster relief to every family impacted by these storms. 

Hundreds of Keller Williams agents have gone to Texas to help those in Corpus Christi, Houston, Beaumont, and more. More agents are on their way to help families in the path of Hurricane Irma in Florida. 

So far, we have seen a tremendous outpouring of love from our volunteers and donors. Rebuilding these areas is going to take more than a couple of weeks, so it’s important that we keep the energy going in the coming months as we help people get back to their normal lives. 

As we work to rebuild these areas, we could use your help.

Please consider donating to our Red Relief program. Your contributions will help us supply food, water, clothing, and building supplies to these communities. 

If you have any questions about KW Cares, the Red Relief program, and our ongoing disaster relief efforts, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We appreciate your support as we work to help others through this difficult time.

How Do Fannie Mae’s Recent Changes Affect Those With Student Debt?


If you have a student loan or are a cosigner on one, listen up. Fannie Mae just introduced three new rule changes that will affect those with student debt.

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If you have a student loan or you are a cosigner on one, I have some good news for you. 

Fannie Mae, the nation's largest underwriter of mortgages, recently introduced three new rules that will affect those with student debt.

These new rules can make it easier to get a mortgage, and they can make it easier to pay off your (or your kids’) student loans.

The first change is for those on income-based repayment plans, where having a high debt-to-income ratio is the No. 1 reason for not being approved for a mortgage. 

Fannie Mae previously used a very conservative 1% of the total loan instead of the actual monthly payment. This can drastically lower your debt-to-income ratio and give you a much better chance of qualifying for a mortgage.

Some folks are lucky enough to have their student debt paid by their parents or even by their employer. The thing is, Fannie Mae didn't take this into account when calculating the debt-to-income ratio. That's the second new change.

If your employer or your parents have been paying off your student debt and you can show evidence of this for the past 12 months, then this debt won’t be counted in your debt-to-income ratio. This makes it more likely you will qualify for a mortgage.

If you can qualify for a mortgage right now, you definitely should.

If you can qualify for a mortgage right now, you definitely should. Rates are still at a historical low, and lots of great houses have recently come on the Austin market.

Fannie Mae also makes it possible to refinance your mortgage for more than the value of your home. Normally, there is a 0.25% fee that applies to any cash you take out in this way.

The third big change is that Fannie Mae will now waive that fee when you use this cash to pay off a student loan. 

This applies whether the loan is yours, or you're a cosigner. If the mortgage rate is significantly lower than the student loan rate, it can make sense to refinance in this way, and the new rule makes it cheaper to do so. 

If you need help understanding these new guidelines to see whether they’re right for you, or you have questions about putting them into practice, get in touch with me at 512-532-5550 or jennifer@smartservicesold.com. I’ll be glad to help. 

I hope to hear from you soon!

Let Your Home Make Its Best 1st Impression With Professional Photos

Professional photography plays a key role in your home sale. I’ll explain why today.

Selling in the Austin area? Get a market analysis report
Purchasing in the Austin area? Get full MLS access


You only get one chance at a first impression, which is absolutely true when it comes to selling your home. Since over 95% of buyers begin their home search online, you need professional listing photographs to catch their eye. 

Listing photographs let buyers know what the home looks like and help them figure out what kind of amenities there are.

Over 95% of buyers begin their home search online.

There are many great homes on the market that have been sitting there for a long time. The seller may wonder, “Why am I not getting any offers or showings?” If that’s your experience, go back and check the quality of your listing photos. Are they dark, grainy, or too small for prospective buyers to see? 

If you’re not representing yourself well online with professional photography, buyers will pass you by and go on to the next home. 

When a professional photographer comes to your house, they will shoot high-definition, crisp, clean, well-lit photographs that give prospective buyers a great view of the home. Professional photographers know how to make your property shine and stand out from the competition. 

We’ve also been working with drone photography. Drone photography is not required for every house, but if you have a great view or an acreage, drone photography can be a great way to showcase your home. 

If you have any other questions about the role professional photography plays in your home sale, or if you would like to learn more about the selling process in general, give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!