Time might be running out on low rates

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 7:00pm
Long-term rates are hanging on by fingertips to a key level, the stock market has the sillies (again), and all incoming economic reports are hot. It’s going to take a negative event (geopolitical or economic) to hold rates down where they have been for most of this year. ...
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Hurricanes dampen Houzz’s Q3 renovation barometer results

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 4:00pm
Houzz released its Q3 Renovation Barometer, a report that tracks confidence in the home renovation market among a range of industry professionals, such as interior designers, architects and professional landscapers ...
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How to bump up your cash flow

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 4:00pm
Watch founder, president and designated broker of Tru Realty Sarah Richardson talk about how to "obtain high margins and manage like a tightwad" on the Inman Connect stage ...
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Sellers desperately want to be free of home stalked by ‘The Watcher’

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 3:16pm
You just bought a million-dollar, six-bedroom dream house where your family including three small children will live for years to come. Days after the purchase, you start receiving disturbing letters ...
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America’s hottest ZIP codes are cool under-the-radar suburbs

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 2:25pm has announced its 2017 hottest ZIP codes, and 10 Texas, Colorado, Michigan and California towns dominated the list. analyzed 32,000 ZIP codes based on the time it takes properties to sell and how frequently homes are viewed in each ZIP code. Homes in each of the markets in this year's top 10 list sold in an average of 21 days -- 29 days faster than the national average ...
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Harvey Weinstein’s Hamptons estate vanishes from the market

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 2:22pm
As shamed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein faces a barrage of sexual assault and rape allegations -- from more than 40 women -- his 9,000 square foot Hamptons mansion has been yanked from the market ...
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Property lost to California wildfires exceeds $1B

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 12:04pm
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today released preliminary data reflecting $1.045 billion in property losses as a result of the Northern California wildfires ...
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Rising sea levels could submerge 1.9M homes by 2100

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 11:58am
Zillow has tapped its rich database of properties to underscore the economic catastrophe in store if U.S. policymakers fail to address rising sea levels. As an effect of climate change, rising sea levels are already impacting coastal communities ...
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Existing-home sales make surprise September rebound

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 8:42am
After a summer full of setbacks, existing-home sales made forward progress in September, indicating that the temporary effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are starting to pass. However, the long-term lack of housing supply means that the increase in sales activity remains modest and fragile for the time being.  ...
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The one app you need to help you sell to Chinese buyers

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 8:07am
It's called WeChat, and it's available for free. Here's why agents hoping to sell to Chinese buyers should consider putting it on their business cards ...
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Tax Benefits That Landlords Receive

American Apartment Owners Association - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 5:58am

Posted on Oct 20, 2017

While being a landlord is often a difficult job, the tax benefits that come with owning investment properties help sweeten the deal. Whether you are already a landlord or thinking of investing in property, learn about the investment property tax benefits available to landlords.


Mortgage Interest Deduction

Your mortgage loan accrues interest, just as other types of loans do. When you run a property for investment (rather than as your primary residence), you are able to deduct the mortgage interest on your taxes.

Landlords can also deduct interest from home equity loans, which are loans taken out with the intention of improving a property.

Homes must be less than $1 million to qualify for the mortgage interest deduction. Thus, if you own a building assessed for more than $1 million, you can’t take this deduction.

Real Estate Tax Deduction

Landlords also get to deduct real estate taxes paid to the town or city. These taxes may be part of your mortgage payment if you have an escrow account, or you may make quarterly payments to your city. Deducting the real estate taxes allows you to offset rental income.

Home Improvement and Travel Deductions

Whenever you visit your rental property, you can deduct your travel expenses. From gas mileage and rental car costs to airfare or hotel rooms, it’s all deductible — including your meals during your visit.

You’re also able to deduct home improvement expenses, including repairs made for your renters. Whether you repaint in between tenants or hire an electrician to install more outlets, you get to deduct what you paid.

If you pay a contractor over $600 in the course of a year, the IRS requires that you provide a 1099-MISC form. No matter how much you pay the contractor, you get to deduct it on your taxes.

Regarding any money you pay for homeowners association dues, condo fees are deductible on your taxes.

Depreciation Deduction

One of the biggest landlord tax benefits is the depreciation deduction landlords can take for their properties. The depreciation deduction reflects the natural breakdown of your property over time. For residential properties, the depreciation period is 27.5 years. Depreciation affects the home only, not the land on which it sits.

To figure out how much you’ll earn in depreciation each year, divide your home’s assessed value by 27.5. If your home’s assessed value is $300,000, you can claim $10,909 per year in depreciation. This offsets rental income, effectively lowering your tax liability.

Utility Deductions

If you pay any utilities for the rental property, you can deduct what you pay. While your tenants probably pay the utilities, you may be liable for expenses incurred while the unit is vacant, municipal water or garbage bills, or other costs. It’s all deductible, and offsets rental income.

Good record keeping is key when it comes to claiming your rental property tax deductions and providing evidence, should you receive an audit request. Always maintain copies of receipts, bills, travel expenses, mileage logs and other records that show what you spent on maintaining your rental properties

For more tips on becoming a landlord, including ways to maximize your real estate income, become an American Apartment Owners Association member today.

Disclaimer: All content provided here-in is subject to AAOA’s Terms of Use.

The post Tax Benefits That Landlords Receive appeared first on AAOA.

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Voiceter Pro debuts new Alexa home valuation skill

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 3:00am
Voiceter Pro CEO Miguel Berger announced this week that his Amazon Echo-powered real estate software has learned a new way to help potential home sellers: owners of the talkative smart appliance can now inquire about the current value of their home ...
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How to turn the social media spotlight on you

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 2:55am
Rick Guerrero talks with Albert Leao, of, to discuss four strategies on gaining stronger exposure through social media ...
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20 tips for marketing your brand on Instagram

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 2:30am
Beyonce’s infamous pregnancy announcements, Taylor Swift’s make-up flowers from Kanye West, sultry stares from Selena Gomez and enough selfies from Kim Kardashian to make a book -- what do all of these images have in common? They live on Instagram ...
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3 things luxury agents should know about Russian real estate

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 2:15am
Russia takes the 16 spot on the list of countries with the most millionaires at 152,000. Its wealth is extremely concentrated, which means that those who are rich are very rich ...
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Selling a haunted house? Have no fear

Inmannews - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 2:00am
A few years ago, my friends and I went on an after-dark tour of the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia during its Halloween scarefest, Terror Behind the Walls ...
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Want to be a landlord? These are the top markets this fall for investing in rental homes

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:07pm

High prices and a tight supply of houses for sale are not exactly the best mix for homebuyers, but they’re even worse for investors looking to become landlords. Sure, both tenant demand and rental returns are also high, but if the cost to get in is too high, the math doesn’t work.

The good news is, as always, all real estate is local, so while the national picture may look bleak, certain local markets still offer lucrative options.

Texas, which continues to see strong growth in both employment and home construction, appears to be a landlord’s dream state.

Three of the top five markets for investors, according to a new ranking by real estate sales and auction company TenX, are in the Lone Star State. San Antonio tops the list, followed by Fort Worth and Dallas.

While home prices are rising fast in Texas, they remain low compared with other hot markets, like most of California. In addition, while Hurricane Harvey did not hit these top cities, the storm exacerbated the state’s labor shortage by creating massive reconstruction needs in Houston. Tight labor will reduce new construction in the rest of the state, squeezing inventory and not only pushing home prices higher but also propping up rental demand.

“If you look at our report probably eight or nine of the top 20 markets in terms of housing performance are in either Texas or Florida,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president at TenX. “The Florida markets will be more directly impacted because Irma hit everything, but even in Texas, a lot of the construction and labor and materials and so forth that’s been going to build new properties in Dallas and Fort Worth and San Antonio might get diverted to rebuild Houston, and that could have a noticeable impact on home sales and home starts over the next six to nine months.”

San Antonio has clocked strong population growth for six years straight, and its payrolls stand at an all-time high. Fort Worth’s population has also been rising far faster than the national average. Dallas’ economy cooled slightly this year but continues to expand after a recent tech and financial services boom. Home prices there, hovering at more than 50 percent above their pre-recession peak, are still considered affordable with room to grow.

Rounding out the top five are Columbus, Ohio, and Tampa, Florida.

Both offer comparatively low entry costs and high returns. Columbus may seem surprising, given weaker job growth in the Midwest overall, but the city has outperformed its region with both employment and population growth. There’s something of a rebirth happening in Columbus, with additional urban developments springing up outside its downtown, luring new companies and workers.

Tampa’s downtown is also enjoying a resurgence, with massive new development in both residential and commercial real estate. Home prices there continue to climb, but because the foreclosure crisis hit Tampa hard, prices there still undercut those of other popular Florida cities, like Miami and Orlando.

Rounding out the top 10 markets for investors, TenX lists Orlando, Florida; Indianapolis; Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Some markets that might be harder for investors to swallow: Memphis, Tennessee; Miami; and suburban Washington, D.C. Memphis’ economy has been struggling, and price points there remain high amid an oversupply of housing — especially in luxury condominiums and rental towers.

The more expensive towns of Boston and Philadelphia still offer good returns, and but they struggle with poor demographics and subpar economic growth. As for the West, California presents increasingly difficult challenges for investors, given its high price points for even the smallest homes, especially in the more metropolitan areas renters favor. Likewise, Denver’s prices are rising so fast and inventory remains so tight that investors would have to buy and hold for a long time to see significant returns.

In general, the model for investors has shifted. There is no longer a steady stream of low-priced, foreclosed homes, so they have had to change their plans dramatically.

“What they’re really looking to do now is make money on the month-to-month rent, so, in a lot of cases they’re buying properties at full value,” Sharga said. “In some cases they may even be slightly overpaying for properties, but they’re making it up in the rental income over the period of time.”

Of course, that only works if appetite among potential tenants for single-family homes to rent remains strong and the homes stay affordable.



The post Want to be a landlord? These are the top markets this fall for investing in rental homes appeared first on AAOA.

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Capture all the Facebook seller leads you can before it’s too late

Inmannews - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 4:47pm
Every agent is trying to generate seller leads on Facebook, but they're missing some of the most important pieces to the puzzle. Quality online lead capture requires a sophisticated ad campaign and creative, and most importantly an engaging experience for the homeowner — not just a shallow landing page ...
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Rising Rents Are Stressing Out Tenants And Heightening America’s Housing Crisis

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 3:33pm

The home-buying struggles of Americans, particularly millennials, have been well documented. Yet a recent study by found that the often-proposed “solution” of renting is not much of a panacea. Rents as a percentage of income, according to Zillow, are now at a historic high of 29.1%, compared with the 25.8% rate that prevailed from 1985 to 2000.

No surprise, then, that 58% of the 1,300 renters in the Hunt survey said they felt “stressed” about their rent, or that many respondents said they couldn’t save for future purchases like homes. Rather than the sunny freedom promised by those who promote a “rentership society,” most of those surveyed said that finding a convenient place with the amenities they required – for example, fitness rooms, places for pets and adequate space – was very difficult. Some renters have been forced to euthanize their pets, spend upwards of 50 days looking for a place or move farther from family and friends.

All of this is taking place at a time when the national vacancy rate has fallen to 7.3% (in the second quarter of 2017), from 11.1% in the third quarter of 2009. That trend has continued even with apartment construction in many areas, notably core cities, because the new buildings tend to be too expensive for most renters.

Fuel For A Housing Crisis

There is a strong relationship between high rents and high house prices. Although rents have not risen as much as house prices generally, they tend to attract people who in the past might have become homeowners but instead have been crowded out by the high prices. This essentially brings into the rental market more affluent tenants who directly compete with those with lower incomes.

The result in many places, such as Southern California, is overcrowding. Two-thirds of the places in the United States (municipalities and census-designated places) with more than 5,000 residences and with more than 10% of housing units being overcrowded are in California, according to the American Community Survey.

The rent-related stress also points to a bigger crisis: the decline in the purchase of homes. One of the most prominent reasons for not buying a house directly relates to higher rents: It becomes all but impossible to save enough for a down payment. This also reflects changes in the labor market; service and blue-collar workers, whose incomes have been down in relation to rents, are the most burdened by rising rents. In San Francisco, even a teacherhas been driven into the ranks of the homeless.

The situation is worst in the most expensive markets. In New York City, incomes for millennials (ages 18–29) have dropped in real terms compared with the same age cohort in 2000, despite considerably higher education levels, while rents have increased 75%. New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco have three of the nation’s four lowest homeownership rates for young people and among the lowest birthrates.

According to Zillow, for workers ages 22-34, rent costs claim up to 45% of income in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Miami metropolitan areas, compared with closer to 30% of income in metros like Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. Home prices provide an even starker contrast. Dallas-Fort Worth, the nation’s fastest-growing housing market, as well as Houston, San Antonio and Charlotte have prices that are more like one-third those of the superstars.

That helps explain why, according to the Hunt survey, the highest percentage of people who cannot save for future purchases (almost 60%) live on the pricey West Coast. The West Coast also had the largest percentage of people stressed about their rent, followed, not surprisingly, by the East Coast.

High rents may also help explain recent shifts in migration to lower-rent areas. A recent survey by found that the best prospects for renters becoming homeowners are in metropolitan areas like Pittsburgh, Provo, Madison, San Antonio, Columbus, Oklahoma City and Houston; the worst are, not surprisingly, in California, New York, Boston and Miami.

Profound Implications

What emerges from the Hunt study, and other research, is a renting population that may never achieve homeownership. This represents a sort of social evolution from the culture of self-assertion and independence that once so clearly characterized America after World War II and was so important to the unprecedented spread of middle-income affluence. Rather than striking out on their own, many millennials are simply failing to launch, with record numbers living with their parents or forced to shell out much of their income rent.

The implications of high rent, and declining home ownership, could be profound over time. In survey after survey, a clear majority of millennials — roughly 80%, including the vast majority of renters — express interest in acquiring a home of their own. A Fannie Mae survey of people under 40 found that nearly 80% of renters thought that owning made more financial sense, a sentiment shared by an even larger number of owners. They cited such things as asset appreciation, control over the living environment and a hedge against rent increases.

But it won’t just be renters impacted by rising rents. Jason Furman, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama, calculated that a single-family home contributed two and a half times as much to the national GDP as an apartment unit.

The decline in investment in residential properties has dropped to levels not seen since World War II. By some estimates, if we had that kind of housing investment again, we would return to 4% growth, as opposed to our all-too-familiar 2% and below.

America’s housing crisis, long tied to ownership, is now extending into rising rents. But the stress that renters are feeling impacts all of us.



The post Rising Rents Are Stressing Out Tenants And Heightening America’s Housing Crisis appeared first on AAOA.

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What Sets Seattle’s Apartment Market Apart from the Rest of the Country?

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 3:29pm

Thanks to affordability and strong job growth—including in the city’s core—few new apartments are sitting vacant and rents continue to rise.

Multifamily developers have been very busy in Seattle, especially in the core sub-markets around downtown. But thanks to affordability and strong job growth—including in the city’s core—few new apartments are sitting vacant and rents continue to rise.

“Performance remains terrific, despite all the new product that has been added to the stock,” says Greg Willett, chief economist with RealPage, which provides property management software and solutions for commercial and multifamily properties. “Lots of places register very solid expansion of downtown jobs, but Seattle’s urban core growth rate is in a whole different category.”

Vacancies shrink in Seattle

Despite all the new construction, the percentage of vacant apartments has fallen on average. Currently, vacancy is at 4.6 percent, down from 4.9 percent at the end of 2016, according to New York City-based research firm Reis Inc.

“Seattle has seen a lot of construction, but demand has stayed even with construction, so Seattle has not seen any vacancy rate increase,” says Barbara Byrne Denham, senior economist with Reis.

Seattle’s economy is strong—but not strong enough to account for how well the apartment sector is doing there. The number of jobs in the Seattle area has grown steadily, increasing by 2.5 percent since last year. That puts Seattle at number 20 out of the 82 metro areas tracked by Reis. Seattle is doing better than the U.S. overall, where the number of jobs is now just 1.6 percent higher than it was the year before.

Seattle is also attracting new residents because it’s not quite as painfully expensive to live there as in other large cities in Western United States. “What is different about Seattle is that its rent levels ($1,654 per unit) are considerably lower than San Francisco ($2,990 per unit) and San Jose ($2,530), so it’s more affordable for millennials,” says Denham.

Seattle’s urban core leads the market

Seattle’s urban core sub-markets fit within the general theme of the metro area. Developers have opened a large number of new apartments, but employers in the area have also hired a large number of new employees.

Since 2010, developers have opened 21,707 new apartments in Seattle’s three urban core markets: Downtown, South Lake Union/Queen Anne and Capitol Hill. That’s a third (33 percent) of the new apartments that opened in the metro area overall. Another 9,378 new apartments are under construction. “That’s 46 percent of everything under construction across the metro,” says Willett.

New jobs are helping to fill all these new units, led by the expansion of tech giant Amazon. The apartments in the urban core markets are 96.7 percent occupied, and apartment rents are growing at a rate of 6.6 percent a year, according to research firm MPF.

In the South Lake Union/Queen Anne sub-market, where Amazon has its headquarters, rents are growing even more quickly, at a rate of 11.8 percent a year.

With so many more new apartments on the way, occupancy is likely to fall below 96 percent over the next few years, according to MPF. Rent growth should slow as well, with the expected annual increase coming in at around 4.5 percent.

“Even with that moderation, however, Seattle’s urban core forecast is among the strongest in any downtown across the country,” says Willett.



The post What Sets Seattle’s Apartment Market Apart from the Rest of the Country? appeared first on AAOA.

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