Do You know the Tax Difference in Second Homes?

Many folks who live in the valley have 2nd homes in the mountains. Some are fishing cabins while others are condos for ski weekends, or you might find a true replacement residence. The truth is that some of the tax law changes form last year might affect those home owners. So read on…

A principal residence and a second home have some similar benefits, but they have some key tax differences. A principal residence is the primary home where you live and a second home is used mainly for personal enjoyment while limiting possible rental activity to a maximum of 14 days per year.

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Under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Mortgage Interest Deduction allows a taxpayer to deduct the qualified interest on a principal residence and a second home. The interest is reduced from a maximum of $1,000,000 combined acquisition debt to a maximum of $750,000 combined acquisition debt for both the first and second homes.

Property taxes on first and second homes are deductible but limited to a combined maximum of $10,000 together with other state and local taxes paid.

The gain on a principal residence retained the exclusion of $250,000/$500,000 for single/married taxpayers meeting the requirements. Unchanged by the new tax law, the gains on second homes must be recognized when sold or disposed.

Tax-deferred exchanges are not allowed for property used for personal purposes such as second homes. Gain on second homes owned for more than 12 months is taxed at the lower long-term capital gains rate.

This article is intended for informational purposes. Advice from a tax professional for your specific situation should be obtained prior to making a decision that can have tax implications.

I would love the opportunity to assist you in connecting with a tax professional!  Call or email me today 480.355.8645 OR Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com


When Neighbors Don’t Seem to Care

Many times I have addressed this issue when marketing a home for sale. In the old days neighbors would band together to water and mow the front yards of abandoned, or even properties that were in foreclosure. Some folks do run into financial issues. and my experience has been 2 fold: a. they appreciate the help or b. they bury their heads even further hoping things will fix themselves. Either way, a neighborly offer of help may be the most appropriate way of approaching the folks involved. You might even find they could use help from someone like myself (introductions appreciated).

A home that isn’t being maintained like others in the neighborhood can negatively affect your visual sense of appeal and in some extreme cases, even affect property values. It might be an overgrown yard, a fence in need of repair, excessive noise, unruly pets, paint peeling on the home or even a car or boat parked in front of the home that hasn’t moved in weeks.2676519-250.jpg

Most people want to be good neighbors and may be willing to correct an issue once it is brought to their attention. A practical, but possibly confrontational, solution is to contact the responsible person and describe your perception of the issue. However, they may not always agree with the same urgency and it might be necessary to seek other remedies.

An owner-occupant may be more sympathetic to the neighbors and willing to correct the issue. If you think the home might be a rental property, check with the county tax records to identify the owner. They may be unaware of the situation and welcome the notification to protect their investment.

Another alternative might be to notify the homeowner’s association, if there is one. One of the benefits of a HOA is to enforce community appearance standards as set in the covenants or bylaws that specify how properties must be maintained. This could be a less personal method of reaching a beneficial outcome.

If the source of the problem is a code or housing violation, the city may be the ultimate authority. Most cities have a separate code and neighborhood services division and some cities have 311 for non-emergency assistance.

Talk to your neighbor first! We friend that had a barking dog out back and she barked well into the early morning hours in our quiet  neighborhood. The past 5 years there was no history of this from the dog but their blood was boiling! When they had calmed down and called the neighbor explained his son had fallen off a roof, broken his neck, and they had been spending their days and nights at the hospital, never thinking about the dog. So before you turn them in to the authorities, or any other part of the world, be neighborly and talk to them first.

If you need any assistance with tax records or HOA information, feel free to contact us, we would love to help!

Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com  480.355.8645


Are you Second Guessing Price?

In the current Seller’s market I frequently have the conversation with the Sellers about what is the best sales price for their home.  At times the Seller has a price in mind but my experience sometimes indicates a different market value.  Obviously this is something we talk through to agree on the best sales price to get the home sold.  Here’s a scenario that looks at this situation.

Imagine a homeowner consulting with their agent about the price to place on their home. The agent suggests that the market data indicates that $200,000 to 210,000 would produce a quick sale by pricing it properly. The owner puts a $210,000 price on the home.

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The first person who looks at the home offers $205,000. When the seller receives the offer, he comments that he thinks he priced the home too low and counters for  full price. The counter-offer is rejected, the home stays on the market and at the end of the first month when based on market conditions, the home should be sold, no other offers have been made.

It may be human nature that when an offer is received so quickly, the first thought to come to mind is that it was priced too low. A more appropriate thought might be that it was priced correctly. In some cases, when a home comes on the market, there is increased competition (real or perceived) among the buyers waiting for the “right” home to come on the market. The home can sell for a higher price than if it sits on the market for several months.

There may be stories of sellers who turned down the first offer and ended up receiving a better offer that would net more money. However,  real estate professionals say the first scenario occurs frequently.

The wisdom of experience advises owners to find a real estate professional that they trust and have confidence. Allow that professional to become familiar with your home and compare it to similar homes in the market that have sold recently and ones currently on the market. Determine the demand for homes in the area compared to the inventory. Decide on a price that will allow the home to sell within a relatively short period of time. And lastly, be satisfied if your home sells quickly near the price you put on it.

Please give me a call, I would love the opportunity to help you sell your home!  480.355.8645 OR Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com

Do You Have A Home for Tomorrow?

Most people I talk to  seem to be afraid of a bubble bursting as it did in 2008. Statistically, that started in 2006, and some of us started to notice that early. I am asked about when prices will start to fall… that answer is when we see over 180 days on the market average for 2 straight months. Right now the average is 56 days on market. So it does not look like things will change anytime soon.

Prices continue to move up at a quick pace indicating that if there is a move planned in the next 2-3 years, you should do it now to take advantage of the prices on the new place. It will not be cheaper in 2 years. .

Now lets talk about retirement housing. For those who do not know I am a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) and can help most folks with the issues they are facing. But read on….

As people near or enter retirement, one of the decisions that typically comes up is whether to sell their “big” home and buy a smaller one. If you know anyone who has been faced with that situation, selling one home and buying a smaller one may not save enough money to make it worthwhile.79996505-250.jpg

There are sales expenses on the property being sold and acquisition costs on the replacement home. Generally speaking, homeowners may not mind a home with less square footage, but they usually don’t want to give up amenities or locations that they’ve become accustomed.

After a little number crunching, the move may not make enough difference in savings and they end up staying in their current home even if it doesn’t fit their needs anymore.

What if while this couple were still in their peak earning years, they acquired a home in an area where they would consider retiring and rent it during the interim. They could put it on a 15-year mortgage and possibly, even accelerate the principal payments to have it paid off by their anticipated move.

In the meantime, they could continue living in the “big” home until it is time to make the transition. Sell the “big” home that may be paid for by then and avoid up to $500,000 of capital gain. Take part of the proceeds and remodel the rental/transitional home and invest the proceeds for retirement income.

Ideally, the former rental would be mortgage free by this point, so the retirees would not have a house payment. Even if at this point, they changed their mind about retiring to this particular home, they still have a property that acted as a hedge against rising prices and have sufficient equity to purchase something else without using the proceeds from the “big” home.

It is difficult to know what the situation will be years from now when a person retires. It is clearly advantageous to have a plan that allows for options and choices.

To find out more about purchasing your retirement home today, give me a call at 480.355.8645, or Email me at Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com

Are you overlooking your Recordkeeping?

There is great opportunity for  Home owners! Especially with the appreciation we have experienced over the last 5 years. When the tax laws changed last year I know I was excited that this part of the law did not change and that means we can keep our equity, tax free. Then you must ask, what is the cost of waiting? So as we have had  appreciation for 3 years that means your property is worth more today, and that may be tax free for a principle residence.   But read on about the tax law…

Homeowners are familiar that they can deduct the interest and property taxes from their income tax returns. They also understand that there is a substantial capital gains exclusion for qualified sales of up to $250,000 if single and $500,000 for married filing jointly. However, ongoing record keeping tends to be overlooked.

New homeowners should get in the habit of keeping all receipts and paperwork for any improvements or repairs to the home. Existing homeowners need to be reminded as well, in case they have become lax in doing so.

These expenditures won’t necessarily benefit in the annual tax filing but may become valuable when it is time to sell the home because it raises the basis or cost of the home.

For instance, let’s say a single person buys a $350,000 home that appreciates at 6% a year. Twelve years from now, the home will be worth $700,000. $250,000 of the gain will be exempt with no taxes due but the other $100,000 will be taxed at long-term capital gains rate. At 15%, that would be $15,000 in taxes due.

Assume during the time the home was owned that a variety of improvements totaling $100,000 had been made. The adjusted basis in the home would be $450,000 and the gain would only be $250,000. No capital gains tax would be due.

Some repairs may not qualify as improvements but if the homeowner has receipts for all the money spent on the home, the tax preparer can decide at the time of sale. Small dollar items can really add up to substantial amounts over many years of home-ownership.

You can download a Homeowner’s Tax Worksheet (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p530.pdf)  that can help you with this record keeping. The important thing is to establish a habit of putting receipts for home expenditures in an envelope, so you’ll have it when you are ready to sell.

As always let me know if I can be of any assistance.  Feel free to call (480-355-8645) or email (Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com) with any questions.

 

Costs More…Takes Longer?

Certainly one of the tougher functions in a Real Estate transaction is negotiating the inspection items. Some believe the seller should do everything and yet in a highly focused seller’s market that is not likely the case. The replacement of a roof covering can often become a real issue especially when using the contractor that just knocked on your door. Why? Their workmen may or may not show up and the roof may not get installed on time! When you hire an experienced Realtor those items should be non issues….but it does happen to all of us. The contractors I work with know that and are committed to get the job done on time, and often will wait for their payment until closing. Now a remodeling project…read on…

The one experience that homeowners can agree upon after completing a remodeling project is that it costs more and takes longer than expected. It doesn’t really matter that you researched, planned, and received multiple bids, it will, invariably, cost more and take longer than you originally anticipated.

Replacing floorcovering or painting is a project that a homeowner can easily get bids and contract with the workmen directly. A new level of complexity occurs when the project involves more specialized contractors, like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, counters, and others.

Now, a homeowner is faced with dealing with one general contractor who will run roughshod over the sub-contractors or make the decision to do it themselves. Typically, you’ll pay more for a general contractor, but the trade-off is that they have the contacts and experience to make things go smoothly.

Subs are notorious for wanting to finish their “part” of the project and move onto to the next job. Sometimes, they’re not interested in the “big picture” enough to consider doing things in a way that are best for the overall outcome.

When you start tearing out some things, you find out that there may be unexpected expenses involved. Another common occurrence is that during the project, you get a new thought about changing something else “since it is already torn up anyway.” This will add time and money to the job.

There can be the situation that the homeowner doesn’t even know the right questions to ask or what to consider when trying to coordinate the different workers. The most detailed timetable can be thrown off track if one set of workers don’t show up or finish on time. At best, it delays the project for a few days. At worst, it can delay it for a few weeks because the individual workers may have committed to other jobs that don’t allow them to reschedule.

Once the work is done in a professional manner, you’re probably going to live with it for years. If it is something you’ve wanted to do and it will allow you to enjoy your home more, it is worth doing. Just be patient and enter this adventure with the understanding that it will cost more and take longer than you expect.

We have all experienced good and bad contractors.  If you are considering a home improvement project let me know and I can refer you to a reliable contractor for the project you are considering. 

Call 480-355-8645 Or Email Us Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com

Housing Decision During Retirement

Recently I took a  certification class for the designation of Senior Real Estate Specialist. I found there was  a wealth of information to assist my clients that are reaching retirement age or have parents with limited and/or fixed income.  All of that to say is there is a lot to think through when planning for retirement.  Certainly the below is a unique view of how some approach retirement. The Phoenix metropolitan area is wonderful place to retire with the mild climate and plentiful golf courses, so read on for more enlightening information…

A couple is planning to tour the United States in a travel trailer during their first few years of retirement. They are going to sell their current home now and purchase another home when they finish their travels.

An interesting exercise is to determine the optimum time of selling the home: now or when they’re ready to buy their replacement home.

If they intend on traveling for more than three years, then, it may be a good decision to sell prior to the sojourn to avoid paying taxes on the gain in their home. IRS allows for a temporary rental of a principal residence while still keeping the $250,000/$500,000 capital gains exclusion intact. A homeowner must own and use a home for two out of the previous five years which means that it could be rented for up to three years, but it would need to be sold and closed before that three-year window expires.

If the travel will be less than three years, there is an option of selling now or later. Using the example below, the homeowner sold the home, paid their expenses and invested the proceeds in a three-year certificate of deposit until the replacement home was purchased.

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As an alternative, if the homeowner rented the home, not only would they have income, the home would continue to appreciate and the unpaid balance would go down resulting in larger net proceeds. Based on a 5% appreciation and continued amortization of the mortgage, the net proceeds could easily be $40,000 more.

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Obviously, there are a lot of considerations that affect the decision to sell now or later but in an appreciating real estate environment, being without a home for several years could affect the financial position of the owner in the replacement property.

It is certainly reasonable to look at various alternatives before making a decision. Call me at 480.355.8645 or Email me Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com to help you look at the different possibilities and talk to your tax professional.


Welcome to 1581 E Shannon St., Chandler – Ashley Park

This home has been highly upgraded and remodeled lovingly by the owners. Upon entry you’ll notice the natural stone Travertine floors in the ample great room and the elegant French doors leading to the yard. The gourmet kitchen has been set up for the most discriminating cook with high end Kitchenaid stainless appliances, gas range, granite counters and stained cabinets. New dual pane vinyl frame windows throughout for energy efficiency. Split Master features a large Bay window overlooking the rear yard, luxurious master ensuite with granite and tiled shower plus a private water closet. The low maintenance yard features a sparkling play pool with oversized decking for relaxing by the pool or enjoy the shade under the covered patio outdoor living space. The home is a move in ready gem!

Contact Us at:  Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com   480-355-8645

Welcome to 1431 W Folley Street, Chandler!

Adorable home in a great Chandler location! This home is ideally located just north of the 202 and close to both Chandler Fashion Square and DT Chandler for all of your shopping, dining experiences, and easy commuting.  This home features a light and bright den upon entry with large bay window. The great room style living area features beautiful stone flooring and a cozy fireplace perfect for relaxing evenings.  Efficient galley style kitchen features a breakfast bar and eat-in area that overlooks the sparkling pool.  Split floorplan gives the master added privacy plus both the master bath and secondary bath feature granite counters.  Enjoy the lush back yard sitting under the covered patio or splashing around in your private play pool.

What the lack of Inventory means to You and Me!

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In the Phoenix market, our housing inventory fluctuates based on supply and demand.  It will also fluctuate differently based on each different city within the Phoenix Metro Area (i.e., Chandler has a different inventory than Scottsdale, Gilbert from Tempe, and so on) and by price range within that as well.

The National Association of REALTORS® considers a “balanced” market to be around a six-month inventory of homes.  If there is a larger supply, it is considered to be a buyer’s market, and if the supply is lower, it is considered a seller’s market.  Housing inventory is calculated as the number of homes currently on the market within the last month, divided by the number of homes that sold within the last month.

The inventory of existing homes in the overall Phoenix Metro area has been reduced to approximately 3.15 month supply of homes.  There were about 21,770 active homes for sale as of February 28, 2018, which is an increase of about 0.5% from January, but a drop of over 12% for the same time last year.

Housing inventory has a direct impact on price.  When the number of people who need homes is constant, but the supply is reduced, prices tend to go up.  This is because the same number of people are trying to buy a dwindling number of homes.

For the entire Phoenix Metro area, the average home sale price has increased over 7.9% since last year.  That does compare a small condo selling with multiple offers and a luxurious mansion selling for below list price after being on the market for a long time in the same year, so for a more accurate feel of what the market is doing it’s better to use the median home sale price instead of the average.  The median home sale price jumped 9.8% over that same period of time.  That’s nearly a 1:1 relationship of a decrease in housing inventory to an increase in the price of homes!  For someone looking to purchase a $275,000 home, that equates to an increase of $26,950 in one year of appreciation alone.  If that person put off looking for a home for a year, they would have to increase their budget to $300,000 in order to afford the same home.

While I don’t have a crystal ball, it’s important to be able to tell my clients which direction prices will be moving.  When not only prices, but mortgage rates are increasing, all buyers can be dramatically affected by either not being able to afford, or having to pay more for the same size of home they were looking at a few months ago.

If you’re considering selling and would like more specific local statistics on what the market is doing for your home, or if you need assistance navigating through these ever-changing markets, give me a call at 480-355-8645 or email me at Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com today!