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4 Things You Absolutely Must Get Rid Of Before You Move

So you’re moving, and on your verrrrrry long moving-related “to-do” list is that old favorite: packing. Did you just let out a big sigh at the thought? Us, too. Face it, it’s no fun. Actually putting stuff in boxes isn’t the hard part for many people; It’s the dreaded sorting and decluttering and getting rid of stuff that sends many into a panic. Take a deep breath and we’ll get through these tips together.

First, use this advice from Rent.com as an overall rule of thumb: “For one, if it’s damaged, it should be thrown away, no exceptions. Also, if it’s spent more than six months unused, you likely won’t miss it if you get rid of it. For clothes, if you haven’t worn a garment in over a year, it should be donated– that way you don’t get rid of seasonal clothes you may need in a few months.”

Now, let’s break down the specifics.

Paperwork

If you’ve got boxes and boxes of old receipts and taxes and printed emails dating back to the turn of the century, it’s time to dive in. “Keep everything for seven years” is ingrained in many of our brains, but, according to financial expert Suze Orman, that’s not necessary. She says the only thing that needs to be kept for seven years are records of satisfied loans. Income tax returns only need to be kept for three years (can we get a Hallelujah?). But, there are some reasons to keep them longer, depending on your withholdings. You can see all her recommendations here.

Mementos and heirlooms

It can get sticky when it comes to things you’ve been willed or handed down. If you feel like you need to hold on to that old antique dresser that’s been in your family for two generations – and that’s sitting in the garage because it’s not your style – or your grandmother’s china that you’ll never use, we get it. If you know you’ll never use the item as is (China? Not even for Thanksgiving?), can’t find a way to repurpose the item (Can that old sideboard be painted?), and there isn’t another family member who will take it, maybe it’s time to think about selling it. You might be surprised at how valuable old antiques and collectibles can be. And, if you’re feeling bad about selling your heirlooms, you can always donate the money to a worthy cause; that will help you assuage your guilt.

Clothes

Getting rid of clothes can be overwhelming. No one is saying you have to pare down to a week’s worth of outfits and shoes, but if you’re moving to a smaller space or just want to be more organized when you move, the closet is a great place to start.

Most experts recommend getting rid of anything you haven’t worn in a year, but if the thought of purging that many items is giving you anxiety, start by asking yourself a few questions, said The Spruce:

  • Do I love it?
  • Do I wear it?
  • Does it project the image I want to project?
  • Does it itch or scratch?
  • Does it pinch my toes? Are the heels too high to walk in?
  • Is it moldy? Smelly? Stained?
  • Does it fit?”

When you get to No. 7, take a deep breath. Many people have clothes in a couple of sizes to accommodate things like post-pizza-pigout days, but if you’re holding on to 15 pairs of pants that haven’t fit you since 2002, maybe it’s time to ditch them.

Broken, scratched or tired furniture

Old, boring, broken, or otherwise undesirable pieces you’ve been living with in your current home may not be so tolerable once you move. Your shiny new place deserves some shiny new stuff, right? If you’re not in a position to shell out a bunch of money after buying your new home, wait a bit. You’ll undoubtedly be receiving credit card offers after you close escrow; sift through them and set aside those offering 0% interest from furniture stores like Rooms to Go.

These can make big purchases easier – if you are good at managing your credit. Miss a payment or fail to pay off your balance within the allotted time and you’ll have interest accrued going back to the date of purchase plus a whopping interest rate, which can put payments out of reach. You may also receive 0% interest offers from places like Lowes and Home Depot, which can be a great way to update appliances, flooring, or countertops, and Best Buy for your electronic needs.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-525

6 Surprising Benefits Of Buying Or Selling Your Home In The Fall

Seeing fewer for-sale signs now that summer is over? That can be great news for buyers who are looking to score a new home and buyers who want to get rid of their place and buy a new one. If you think you missed the boat on making your move this year, we’re here to tell you why buying and selling in the fall can work for you.

Less competition

Yes, there may be fewer homes on the market, but there are also fewer buyers out there competing for the same home you want. That gives buyers an important edge. “Families on a mission to move into a new home before school starts are out of the picture,” said Forbes. “Competition for houses drops off in the fall, a time many people consider to be off-season in real estate. But there are still homes for sale – and in some cases, there’s just as much inventory as there was during the spring and summer.”

The benefit to sellers is that those buyers who are out there tend to be more serious, which means your REALTOR® can key in on the real buyers without having to sift through the riffraff.

Tax breaks

If you’re a buyer who closes escrow before December 31, and you may get a nice write off on your taxes. “Property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can take for your whole year’s worth of income, even if you closed on your home in December,” David Hryck, a New York, NY tax adviser, lawyer, and personal finance expert told Realtor.com. “Any payments that are made prior to the closing of the loan are tax-deductible. This can make a serious difference in the amount you owe the government at the end of the year.”

There are also potential tax breaks for home sellers. “You can include all sorts of selling expenses in the cost basis of your house,” said The Balance. “Increasing your adjusted cost basis decreases your capital gain because this is what’s subtracted from the sales price to determine how much of a gain – or loss in some cases – you’ve realized. If you have less of a gain, you’re more likely to fall within the exclusion limit, and if you’re gain isn’t excluded, you’ll pay taxes on less.” And that’s just the beginning. Closing costs and home improvements may also be write offs for sellers. Check out the full list here.

Home for the holidays

Buy or sell early in the fall and you could be nicely situated in your new home in time for the holidays and before winter weather hits. Moving during a calmer time of year also means you may have better access to movers and other necessary resources than during the busier spring and summer seasons.

The right price

Did you list in the spring or summer with an exorbitant number that you thought you’d have no trouble getting because it was a hot market? That’s pretty common these days. Whether you’ve had a revelation about the price you should be asking or have made updates to your home to justify a higher price, you’re probably in better shape to get your (realistic) asking price in the fall. If you’re a seller and you establish a smart pricing strategy, you could find your home standing out in the crowd and selling while others sit on the market under a blanket of snow.

Buyers also may have a better time getting a home that’s within their budget because when there is less competition for homes, there is less chance of bidding wars and over-asking-price sales.

Fall may be safer for buyers and sellers

Here’s something you may not have thought of. “Did you know that burglars have peak seasons? They do, Sarah Brown, a home safety expert for SafeWise.com, told Forbes. “July and August are prime months for burglaries to take place. Waiting until the fall [to buy] gives you an advantage when learning about a home and the neighborhood. You’ll be settled in your home and can take precautions—like setting up that new alarm system—before the next burglary season rolls around.

For sellers, less competition for your home can be a good thing if it means your home is safer from theft.

Great deals on stuff to fix up your home

Coordinate the timing right, and those items you need to fix up your home for sale in the fall or update and upgrade after a purchase might be priced to your advantage. Check Consumer Reports for a full list of the best times of year to buy everything, and keep in mind holiday and Black Friday sales. You could score some great deals at this time of year.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Ideas for Saving Energy with Your Smart Home

You may feel safe inside on a hot, smoggy day, but hidden dangers could be damaging your health right in your own home. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 4.3 million people a year die from exposure to household air pollution. Poorly ventilated dwellings, smoking around the home and fine particles can all negatively impact your health.

Although you can try to improve your home’s health by regularly changing filters and opening the windows to let in some fresh air, you need some smart home technology to help save energy. That will ultimately help you go green by cutting down on your energy consumption. As an added benefit, saving energy can also trim your energy bills and save some money in the process. Get started with these five smart home ideas for saving energy.

Control Your Smart Home Automation

Before you start your smart home journey, look at how you can control the automation process from the start. For example, smart appliances can help reduce your energy consumption, but you need a way to control everything from turning your lights on and off to adjusting your thermostat.

Automation can be controlled right from your smartphone or tablet. It’s also best to get a smartphone that works in tandem with a reliable network for controlling your home remotely while you’re on the go. For example, a phone like a Samsung Galaxy Note8 or iPhone 7 Plus can leverage apps like Wiser EMS or Nest Mobile. Just about every smart home product on the market comes with an app to manage from your smartphone or tablet so you can improve your energy efficiency whether you’re at work or on vacation.

Use Smart Climate Control

You can go beyond controlling the temperature of your home and actually control its entire indoor climate. The Nest thermostat doesn’t need to be programmed, and instead learns your habits and adapts the climate of your home to your life. The Nest can automatically adjust itself based on your lifestyle, the time you come and go on a regular basis, and when the season changes. You can even control the individual temperatures of specific rooms so your energy efficiency remains high.

After using Nest for a week, it can program itself and significantly reduce your energy consumption so you’re saving more on your electric bill. You’ll also get an alert from Nest to your smartphone app if something is wrong like the temperature is dropping low enough to make your pipes burst or the furnace is acting up.

Switch to Purifying Floors

You may already know that your home contains pollutants based on poor air quality and ventilation. But the materials your home was built with, or even its furnishings, can continuously emit toxic contaminants including formaldehyde.

Pure Genius flooring is made without solvents, volatile organic compounds or formaldehyde. It also uses light-activated and air-purifying agents made of titanium dioxide in its Titanium floor finish line. You can ultimately help purify your air, and reduce the energy needed to run fans and ventilating systems to freshen up your home. Another option for floors with an eye on energy efficiency is radiant floors with embedded tubing inside concrete to improve more efficient heating and cooling.

Update Your Appliances

You may have heard of energy-efficient appliances already, but may not have heard about smart home appliances that can save both energy and time. Smart appliances allow you to remotely program your washer or dryer to operate in the middle of the night to reduce the strain on the electrical grid. Meanwhile, an energy-efficient smart fridge like LG’s smart fridge can tell you that you’re out of milk and save you energy at the same time.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Home Inspectors Are Held To Higher Standards

A California appellate court ruling contains both good news and bad news for home inspectors. The good news is that, in the eyes of the court, home inspectors are in the same category as doctors, attorneys, accountants, and other professionals. The bad news is that being in such a category restricts their ability to limit liability in certain ways.

Armando Moreno and Gloria Contreras purchased a 49-year-old Whittier home in August of 1998. On August 18, Deric Sanchez, doing business as Aaero Spec Quality Home Inspectors, conducted an inspection of the property on their behalf. Moreno accompanied Sanchez during the inspection.

Sanchez’s inspection noted that the heating ducts were “serviceable”, although he did recommend that the buyers contract with a licensed expert to clean out the entire system, including filters.

The preprinted contract used by Aaero Spec contained a clause providing that any lawsuit arising out of the inspection had to be filed within one year from the date of the inspection. The contract noted that, “This time period is shorter than otherwise provided by law.” (Business and Professions Code section 7199 provides a four-year statute of limitations for home inspections.) Moreno, an attorney and licensed real estate broker, signed the contract and initialed the clause shortening the statute of limitations.

Escrow closed on October 8, and the buyers moved in a few weeks thereafter. In December, both began feeling ill. Moreno was ill for one week in December and Contreras was sick for two weeks. Her illness became chronic. Near the end of summer in 1999, a culture revealed she had a bacterial infection.

Subsequent inspections by other companies revealed, “… among other things, an unsealed air return which permitted the unit to draw dust, dirt and rust into the system. It also discovered dirt, dust and debris in the main return which permitted dust and dust mites to be distributed through the system and into the house.”

The buyers, of course, sued the inspector for negligence. Their suit was filed October 19, 1999. The inspector argued that the buyer should not be allowed to sue, because the one-year statute of limitations had run. To this, the buyer responded that the ‘delayed discovery’ rule should apply, meaning that the time period during which a suit is allowed should not begin to run until the alleged negligence has been discovered.

The Orange County Superior Court (held there because the plaintiff is a Los Angeles Court Commissioner) agreed with the inspector. The court noted that the delayed discovery rule applies to a variety of professions, but “…building inspectors really don’t fall into the same public-policy circles as lawyers and doctors, possibly architects, particularly when they are sued for malpractice, and it would be something of an extension, as I see it, to put them there…”

The buyers appealed, and the Second Appellate District agreed with them, reversing the Superior Court. The appellate court noted “…judicial decisions have declared the discovery rule applicable in situations where the plaintiff is unable to see or appreciate a breach has occurred.” It went on to say, “… justification for the discovery rule has not been restricted to regulated and licensed professions. Courts have also employed the rule of delayed accrual in cases involving trades people who have held themselves out as having a special skill…”

The reasoning is simply this. In the case of trades or professions that have special skills, a consumer may lack the ability or opportunity to recognize that negligence has occurred, even if the consumer is as diligent in observation as he is capable of being. In such situations, a statute of limitations should not begin to run until the consumer has discovered that, apparently at least, negligence has occurred.

The court held that this is the situation with home inspections: “…most homeowners will not recognize a problem has been overlooked, or noticed but not reported, until something goes wrong and the damage becomes apparent.” Thus, it held that the delayed discovery rule should apply.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Phoenix Real Estate Market Report ~ August 2017

The current real time market profile shows there were approximately 9,849 new listings (up 901 listings from last month) on the market in August 2017 and 8,263 sold transactions (up 239 listings from last month). This is the first time in over a year the number of new listings exceeded the number of sold transactions. Overall, the inventory of homes on the market is still very low where in August 2017 there were 19,242 homes (down 632 listing from last month) on the market which is down -26.2% as compared to the number of home on the marker in August 2014. In August 2015 there were 21,487 homes, in August 2014 there were 26,076 homes and in August 2013 there were 20,571 homes for sale on the market. Due to the declining in average days on market since February 2017 this shows buyer’s demand is strong where inventories may continue to be low and drive up prices.

The average sold price increased from $296,650 in July to $299,435 in August which is a +0.9% increase. Historically, since 2014 the average sold price has declined from July to August and doesn’t start to increase until late September and early October. Overall, the average sales price since September 2016 (12 months ago) still has an appreciation rate approximately 6.1% (up from last month) or from $282,128 in September 2016 to $299,435 in August 2017. In 2014 real estate prices only appreciated 4.5%, in 2015 5.5% and in 2016 4.2% where according to the National Association of Realtor the average annual appreciation rate is 5.4%. Therefore, Phoenix is still above the national appreciation rate. Since September 2016 (12 months ago), the average days on market has decreased approximately -8.2% (up from last month) and the number of sold transactions has increased approximately +11.0% (up from last month).

The volume of foreclosure purchases since September 2016 (12 months ago) has decreased approximately -45.7% and the volume of short sales decreased of approximately -35.6%. The current percentage of foreclosure sales and short sales sold is only 1% of the market which indicates a healthy market. Unfortunately, there are still some homeowners who bought between 2005 and 2007 that are still up-side-down as shown in the yearly average sold price chart above.

Since September 2016 (12 months ago), the number of homes for sale on the market have decreased approximately -11.5% or 21,738 homes for sale on the market to a gradual decrease of 19,242 homes (Down 2,496 homes). The total number of listings is low as compared to 26,076 listings in August 2014. This decrease in the number of homes for sale indicates we are currently in a seller’s market (low supply and increased demand).

Real estate prices will continue to increase and interest rates are planned to increase in 2017 so if you are thinking about buyer a home this year will be the time to buy before you get priced out of the market. Give us a call to discuss your best buying or selling strategy, TODAY!!

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

New Advances In Technology Make Going Green A Breeze

Did you know that an automatic dishwasher uses less hot water than doing dishes by hand, which equals an average of six gallons less per cycle, or more than 2,000 gallons per year? Considering that an individual American uses about 2,000 gallons of water per month, that’s a pretty significant number.

The idea of “going green” has come a long way in recent decades. In the 1950s, some kinds of energy efficiency weren’t really a choice. From drying your clothes on a clothesline, to cutting your grass with a mechanical push mower, people often lived green without ever consciously considering their carbon footprint. These days, the story is a little different; you can’t turn a corner or pick something up without seeing some kind of “save the earth” signage or packaging.

Reasons to Go Green

There are a plethora of reasons to go green, most falling into either the money-saving or the earth-saving categories. On one hand, you could seriously put some green back into your wallet with things like energy-efficient appliances, and green building tax credits and rebates. Also, simple things like carpooling, limiting eating out, and starting your own vegetable garden are great ways to save money and help the environment.

On the other hand, eco-friendliness means making your community and the planet a better place to live not only for us, but also for future generations. Examples of things you can do in your home are unplugging unused electronics to prevent “phantom” energy consumption, switching to LED light bulbs, conserving water by taking shorter showers, and using reusable items like Tupperware and canvas shopping bags rather than plastic.

Home Automation Technology

New advances in technology are taking much of the guesswork out of going green. With home automation systems like the Wink Hub and free app, you can control the settings on many of your home devices with the push of a smartphone button or even just with your voice. The Wink ecosystem interconnects all of your smart home devices either first through the Hub, or directly to the app. Wink’s simplicity is one of its most attractive features: according to Home Depot technology professional and Wink test user, Ramesh Chaparala, “It’s very, very simple and self-explanatory,” continuing, “Installing the Hub is a no-brainer; in five steps you’re connected.”

What Can You Control?

With the Wink home automation ecosystem, you no longer have to “set it and forget it” when it comes to your home devices. You can control many of your smart devices from your couch, bed, work, or anywhere you are in the world. Here are just a handful of devices you can install in your home that will not only bring you into the 21st century, but also make your home a smoothly running, highly efficient machine.

Smart Thermostats

Thermostats are a great way to control your home’s energy consumption, and when you apply smart technology, you can control it from anywhere. One Wink App Ready device is the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, which not only adjusts to your schedule, uses automatic energy-saving settings, and Smart Response technology for precise temps, but also has a full-color, customizable screen to match your decorating scheme. You can be sure your home is aesthetically pleasing and at your exact desired temperature at all times.

Custom Window Shades

Motorized window shades allow for a clean, uncluttered look, are safer for pets and children with cordless technology, and help insulate your home with the setting of a timer or the push of a button. One quality option, Bali Custom Blinds and Shades with Somfy® automation & controls, utilizes a single control, wall switch, remote or programmable timer to operate single or multiple window coverings. Keep the shades drawn during summer to keep your home naturally cool, or leave them open in cooler months to let the sunshine warm your space.

Remote-Access LED Lights

Huge energy and money savings start by simply swapping out incandescent and even compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home for LED bulbs. LED solutions outlast incandescent and halogen bulbs up to 35 to 1, consume 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and emit less heat, which altogether drastically reduces replacing costs and landfill waste. Once you’ve decided to install LEDs, take it to the next level by installing smart light bulbs, like the TCP Connected Smart LED Light Bulb Kit with (2) A19 LED light bulbs. With this kit, you can remotely control lighting, dimming and smart lighting features from anywhere in the world with any computer, tablet, smart phone, or connected remote control. They have an estimated yearly cost of $1.32 and a life expectancy of 22.8 years (both figures based on three hours of use a day.)

Home Automation Technology is an Environmental No-Brainer

When it comes to eco-friendly new gadgets, it’s clear that home automation takes the cake. Having nearly complete control of your energy-consuming home devices right at your fingertips is certainly a big step forward for earth-conscious homeowners. In addition to these devices, several other smart green products are energy sensors, HVAC systems, irrigation systems, and outlet controls.

Which environmentally friendly automated devices will you install in your home?

Three Percent Or 20 Percent – Which Is The Smarter Down Payment Strategy?

The minimum down payment on an FHA loan is 3.5 percent, which makes it a popular choice among those who don’t have the funds for a large down payment (and also those who don’t meet the higher credit score requirements for other types of loans). And that’s not even the lowest you can go. Loans like this one require only three percent down, and if you’re a veteran or are buying a home in a rural area, you may be able to buy a home for nothing down. But should you go that low just because you can, or are you better off making a larger down payment? We’re breaking it down.

The case for 20 percent

There are several advantages to putting down 20 percent when buying a home, like:

  • Since the bank will generally consider you a lower risk because you have “more skin in the game,” you may be able to get a lower interest rate than you would with other types of loans—as long as you have the credit score to support it.
  • You’ll have built-in equity as soon as you move in.
    You can avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI).
  • It’s that last part that drives a number of people to strive for that 20 percent down payment since PMI can add several hundred dollars to a new homeowner’s monthly payment, and it can be hard to get rid of it. “If you can put 20% down and avoid PMI, that is ideal, said certified financial planner Sophia Bera on Business Insider.

The case for as little down as possible

The biggest roadblock to homeownership for many people is coming up with the down payment, so minimizing that expense sounds great, right? “The good news is a first-time buyer can purchase a home for a little as three percent down – and even no money down in some cases,” said U.S. News.

But is that a smart move?

“The less you put down, the higher the mortgage insurance is,” Casey Fleming, author of “The Loan Guide: How to Get the Best Possible Mortgage” and a mortgage professional in the San Francisco Bay Area, told them. “With five percent down, the mortgage insurance is quite high.”

Yep, there’s that pesky PMI again, which, for many first-time buyers, pushes their monthly payment to a level they’re not comfortable with. Another bummer about PMI: “If you need to pay PMI, the size loan you can get will be slightly smaller, to allow for the bigger payment,” they said.

You may also have trouble qualifying for a loan even if you have a high enough credit score because you don’t have enough cash reserves; if you are using all your savings for the down payment and the lender questions where the funds for your closing costs, taxes and insurance, and any needed repairs are coming from, you could have a problem.

But, on the flip side, a smaller down payment will up your rate of return, said The Mortgage Reports. “Consider a home which appreciates at the national average of near five percent. Today, your home is worth $400,000. In a year, it’s worth $420,000.

Irrespective of your down payment, the home is worth twenty-thousand dollars more. That down payment affected your rate of return. With 20 percent down on the home – $80,000 – your rate of return is 25 percent. With three percent down on the home – $12,000 – your rate of return is 167 percent.”

Even when you add in the PMI and a higher interest rate, the equation comes out in favor of the lower down payment. “With three percent down, and making adjustments for rate and PMI, the rate of return on a low-down-payment loan is still 106 percent – much higher than if you made a large down payment. The less you put down, then, the larger your potential return on investment.”

The case for somewhere in between

Finding that balance between down payment and savings is a challenge for many homebuyers, and the sweet spot will be different for everyone depending on their unique circumstances and financial situation. Most financial experts will say that saving and scrounging to get together 20 percent at the risk of depleted savings and zero emergency funds is a shaky strategy, at best.

“If putting 20 percent down means that you use all of your savings, then don’t do it! I would much rather see people put five percent down, wipe out all their other debt with cash, and still have three months of emergency savings versus putting 20 percent down on a house,” said Bera.

Especially when you consider all the added costs you may be facing once you buy: “yard work, home repairs, renovation costs, property taxes, insurance, etc. It’s important to consider all of the costs and not just compare the monthly mortgage payment to your current rent amount,” she said.

Another thing to consider when evaluating how much you should put down is what would happen if you had an emergency. It’s easy to lose sight of real-life issues that can arise when you are so driven to buy a home and focused on saving the money to get there.

“A financial event can leave you wishing you had access to the money without selling,” said The Mortgage Reports. “Say you lose a job for three months. An extra $20,000 would be a nice safety cushion. And, if you lose your source of income, you can’t take home equity out via a cash-out refinance or home equity line of credit (HELOC). Lenders won’t approve a new loan to someone between jobs. In short, the more you need to get at the money, the less access you have to it.”

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Tax Free Exchange: A Valuable Alternative To A Home Sale

Congress is currently talking tax reform. Two very important real estate benefits are on the so-called “chopping block”, either to be completely eliminated or significantly curtailed.

It is doubtful that the home owner exclusion of up to $500,000 (or $250,000 if you file a single tax return) of profit will be impacted; there are too many homeowner voters who will forcefully object. But investors do not have the same strong lobbyist who can make the case for preserving the “like kind” exchange. So if you have an investment property, now might be the time to consider doing an exchange.

Residential homeowners have a number of tax benefits, the most important of which is the exclusion of up to $500,000 (or $250,000 if you file a single tax return) profit made on the sale of your principal residence. But real estate investors — large and small — still have to pay capital gains tax when they sell their investments. And since most investors depreciated their properties over a number of years, the capital gains tax can be quite large.

There is a way of deferring payment of this tax, and it is known as a Like-Kind Exchange under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code. In my opinion, these exchange provisions are still an important tool for any real estate investor.

The exchange process is not a “tax free” device, although people refer to it as a “tax-free exchange.” It is also called a “Starker exchange” or a “deferred exchange.” It will not relieve you from the ultimate obligation to pay the capital gains tax. It will, however, allow you to defer paying that tax until you sell your last investment property — or you die.

The rules are complex, but here is a general overview of the process.

Section 1031 permits a delay (non-recognition) of gain only if the following conditions are met:

First, the property transferred (called by the IRS the “relinquished property”) and the exchange property (“replacement property”) must be “property held for productive use in trade, in business or for investment.” Neither property in this exchange can be your principal residence, unless you have abandoned it as your personal house.

Second, there must be an exchange; the IRS wants to ensure that a transaction called an exchange is not really a sale and a subsequent purchase.

Third, the replacement property must be of “like kind.” The courts have given a very broad definition to this concept. As a general rule, all real estate is considered “like kind” with all other real estate. Thus, a condominium unit can be swapped for an office building, a single family home for raw land, or a farm for commercial or industrial property.

Once you meet these tests, it is important that you determine the tax consequences. If you do a like-kind exchange, your profit will be deferred until you sell the replacement property. However, it must be noted that the cost basis of the new property in most cases will be the basis of the old property. Discuss this with your accountant to determine whether the savings by using the like-kind exchange will make up for the lower cost basis on your new property. And discuss also whether you might be better off selling the property, biting the bullet and paying the tax, but not have to be a landlord again.

The traditional, classic exchange (A and B swap properties) rarely works. Not everyone is able to find replacement property before they sell their own property. In a case involving a man named Mr. Starker, the court held that the exchange does not have to be simultaneous.

Congress did not like this open-ended interpretation, and in 1984, two major limitations were imposed on the Starker (non-simultaneous) exchange.

First, the replacement property must be identified before the 45th day after the day on which the original (relinquished) property is transferred.

Second, the replacement property must be purchased no later than 180 days after the taxpayer transfers his original property, or the due date (with any extension) of the taxpayer’s return of the tax imposed for the year in which the transfer is made. These are very important time limitations, which should be noted on your calendar when you first enter into a 1031 exchange.

In 1989, Congress added two additional technical restrictions. First, property in the United States cannot be exchanged for property outside the United States.

Second, if property received in a like-kind exchange between related persons is disposed of within two years after the date of the last transfer, the original exchange will not qualify for non-recognition of gain.

In May of 1991, the Internal Revenue Service adopted final regulations which clarified many of the issues.

This column cannot analyze all of these regulations. The following, however, will highlight some of the major issues:

1. Identification of the replacement property within 45 days. According to the IRS, the taxpayer may identify more than one property as replacement property. However, the maximum number of replacement properties that the taxpayer may identify is either three properties of any fair market value, or any larger number as long as their aggregate fair market value does not exceed 200% of the aggregate fair market value of all of the relinquished properties.

Furthermore, the replacement property or properties must be unambiguously described in a written document. According to the IRS, real property must be described by a legal description, street address or distinguishable name (e.g., The Camelot Apartment Building).”

2. Who is the neutral party? Conceptually, the relinquished property is sold, and the sales proceeds are held in escrow by a neutral party, until the replacement property is obtained. Generally, an intermediary or escrow agent is involved in the transaction. In order to make absolutely sure the taxpayer does not have control or access to these funds during this interim period, the IRS requires that this agent cannot be the taxpayer or a related party. The holder of the escrow account can be an attorney or a broker engaged primarily to facilitate the exchange.

3. Interest on the exchange proceeds. One of the underlying concepts of a successful 1031 exchange is the absolute requirement that not one penny of the sales proceeds be available to the seller of the relinquished property under any circumstances unless the transactions do not take place.

Generally, the sales proceeds are placed in escrow with a neutral third party. Since these proceeds may not be used for the purchase of the replacement property for up to 180 days, the amount of interest earned can be significant — or at least it used to be until banks starting paying pennies on our savings accounts.

Surprisingly, the Internal Revenue Service permitted the taxpayer to earn interest — referred to as “growth factor” — on these escrowed funds. Any such interest to the taxpayer has to be reported as earned income. Once the replacement property is obtained by the exchanger, the interest can either be used for the purchase of that property, or paid directly to the exchanger.

The rules are quite complex, and you must seek both legal and tax accounting advice before you enter into any like-kind exchange transaction. The professionals at Position Realty can refer you to an intermediary who can help you facility your 1031 exchange.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

7 Reasons To Stop Renting Today

Still renting? You must have a good reason. Although, we’re not really sure what it is. With rents continuing to rise across the country, interest rates staying around historic levels, and new loans lowering down payment requirements, it just makes sense to take the leap to homeownership. Maybe you’ve got terrible credit and don’t want to take the time to improve it (or don’t know about loans that accept lower scores)? Or, maybe you just like giving your money away. If you’re still not on board, these 7 reasons might change your mind.

Because owning a home is still less expensive than renting across the country

GOBankingRates’ annual survey of “the cost of renting versus owning a home in all 50 states and the District of Columbia” just came out, and, while they “found that the number of places where it’s more expensive to own than rent has increased,” the number went from 9 to 11. That means that, in 39 states, it still makes more financial sense to buy.

Rates are near historic lows

We’re spoiled. Seriously. Anyone who has been paying attention to the market over the last few years and has seen interest rates with a 3 or 4 before that decimal point may just think it’ll always be that way. But history has a way of repeating itself, and while we may not see rates in the teens again anytime soon, most industry experts have been predicting rates moving into the 5s sometime this year, with a pattern of rising rates beyond. Buying a home while money is cheap is a smart move.

“A difference of even 1 percent can have a major impact on your total payments over time,” said ZACKS. “For instance, a $200,000 mortgage for 30 years at an interest rate of 5 percent would require a monthly payment of $1,073.64. By comparison, the same mortgage at 4 percent interest would result in a payment of $954.83.” That might not seem like a big deal every month, but, consider the long-term potential: “Over 30 years, the total difference between the two would be $42,771.60.”

FHA loans and the like make it easier to qualify

Don’t have an 800 credit score? You don’t need to today. FHA requirements are lower than conventional loans, and you may already be where you need to be to qualify. “The average FICO score for buyers who finance FHA loans is 683, according to Ellie Mae. That’s considerably lower than the average score of 753 for conventional, non-FHA financing,” said Interest.com. “Most lenders have a…minimum of 600.”

A little thing called equity

Rising rents may or may not equate to rising property values in your area, but either way, you’re not going see any financial benefit from it. When you own your home and your equity rises, that equity is yours. And so is the choice of what to do with it. Whether you decide to let it sit and continue to grow or tap your equity for home improvement projects, the money is yours to decide how to use.

The days of the 20 percent down payment are all but gone

Does 20 percent down make it more likely that you’ll qualify for a loan? Sure. Does that mean you have to come up with that huge chunk of money? No. Nor do you have to come up with 10 percent down, which, for some reason, the majority of new buyers seem to believe. “87% of first-time buyers think they need 10% or more down to buy a home,” said The Mortgage Reports.

The FHA loan is one of the most popular loans available to first-time buyers because, not only can you qualify with a fair credit score, but the down payment is as low as 3.5 percent, and, “100 percent of the down payment can be a financial gift from a relative or approved non-profit,” they said. But, it’s not the only option for a low down payment. Fannie Mae’s Conventional 97 Mortgage and HomeReady Mortgage require just 3 percent down. The Mortgage Reports also has information on closing cost help and down payment assistance programs.

Rents keep rising

Unless you’re in a rent-controlled apartment (and, bless you if you are since there are so few left), your rent is just going to keep going up every year. Apartment List’s monthly National Apartment List Rent Report shows that, “Our national rent index is continuing to climb, with month-over-month growth of 0.5 percent for June. Rents grew at a rate of 0.5 percent between May and June, which is generally in line with the monthly growth that we’ve seen over the course of this year thus far. Year-over-year growth at the national level currently stands at 2.9 percent, surpassing the 2.6 percent rate from this time last year. In addition to the growth on the national level, rents are now increasing in nearly all of the nation’s biggest markets.”

When you own your home, your payment is your payment is your payment. Unless you take out a home equity loan or refinance to take cash out, your payment’s not going to go up.

Tax breaks

Here’s another bit of fun for renters: nothing you pay comes back to you. I mean, except for that security deposit, but that all depends on what effect your dog and those few parties you threw had on the condition of the home. As a homeowner, you get to write off all kinds of stuff, which lowers your overall costs. “Your biggest tax break is reflected in the house payment you make each month since, for most homeowners, the bulk of that check goes toward interest. And all that interest is deductible,” said Bankrate. “Did you pay points to get a better rate on any of your various home loans? They offer a tax break, too. The other major deduction in connection with your home is property taxes.”

And think about it this way: Even if your house payment is going to be a little bit higher than what you’re currently paying in rent, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. How do those numbers look when you calculate the tax savings?

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Phoenix Real Estate Market Report ~ July 2017

The current real time market profile shows there were approximately 8,948 new listings (down 1,231 listings from last month) on the market in July 2017 and 8,024 sold transactions (down 1,599 listings from last month). This is the first time in over a year the number of new listings exceeded the number of sold transactions. Overall, the inventory of homes on the market is still very low where in July 2017 there were 19,874 homes (down 1,365 listing from last month) on the market which is down -26.1% as compared to the number of home on the marker in July 2014. In July 2015 there were 22,129 homes, in July 2014 there were 26,906 homes and in July 2013 there were 19,724 homes for sale on the market. Due to the declining in average days on market since February 2017 this shows buyer’s demand is strong where inventories may continue to be low and drive up prices.

The average sold price dropped from $304,678 in June to $296,650 in July which is a -2.6% decrease. Historically since 2014 the average sold price has declined from July to August and doesn’t start to increase until late September and early October. Overall, the average sales price since August 2016 (12 months ago) still has an appreciation rate approximately 7.6% (down from last month) or from $275,642 in August 2016 to $296,650 in July 2017. In 2014 real estate prices only appreciated 4.5%, in 2015 5.5% and in 2016 4.2% where according to the National Association of Realtor the average annual appreciation rate is 5.4%. Therefore, Phoenix is still above the national appreciation rate. Since August 2016 (12 months ago), the average days on market has decreased approximately -14.5% (down from last month) and the number of sold transactions has increased approximately +0.8% (down from last month).

The volume of foreclosure purchases since August 2016 (12 months ago) has decreased approximately -42.2% and the volume of short sales decreased of approximately -57.8%. The current percentage of foreclosure sales and short sales sold is only 1% of the market which indicates a healthy market. Unfortunately, there are still some homeowners who bought between 2005 and 2007 that are still up-side-down as shown in the yearly average sold price chart above.

Since August 2016 (12 months ago), the number of homes for sale on the market have decreased approximately -9.1% or 21,873 homes for sale on the market to a gradual decrease of 19,874 homes (Down 1,365 homes from last month). The total number of listings is low as compared to 26,903 listings in July 2014. This decrease in the number of homes for sale indicates we are currently in a seller’s market (low supply and increased demand).

Real estate prices will continue to increase and interest rates are planned to increase in 2017 so if you are thinking about buyer a home this year will be the time to buy before you get priced out of the market. Give us a call to discuss your best buying or selling strategy, TODAY!!

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

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