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Real Estate Industry News: Tax Reform Plan Affects Housing

Housing experts point out the irrelevancy of mortgage deduction risks due to a tax reform plan that encourages homeowners to take a standard deduction instead of itemizing. At the same time, landlords and investment property owners continue to receive a property tax and mortgage interest deduction.

If predictions come true that more people will rent instead of buying a home, it’s a better time than ever to buy an investment property. The latest real estate industry news points out the mortgage interest deduction has often spurred home buying, particularly with people who reduce their tax liability by itemizing deductions. According to an article by therealdeal.com, homes throughout the United States are selling at the fastest clip in the last three decades.

However, the latest tax reform measures would likely shake up the housing market.

Reducing the inventory of homes

The inventory of homes is already at a low, but tax reform will likely cause an even greater inventory crisis. Experts point out the new tax rules would say people don’t have to pay capital gains on home sales if they’ve resided in a home for 5 of the last 8 years. A person may only sell once every five years in order to reap the capital gains exclusion.

Currently, homeowners simply need to live in a home 2 years in the past 5 year period immediately preceding the sale. Home flippers who waited the full 2 years will have to come up with a new plan for overcoming the capital gains taxes.

Catering to the rental market

While wealthy people grabbed a lot of the inexpensive homes for sale during the housing decline, a number of everyday investors got into the landlord business in recent years. People who own rental properties continue to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes as part of their expenses. Landlords that provide their tenants with utilities also deduct electric, water, and other utilities.

With tax reform protecting landlords, it’s a great time to hunt for an investment property. Some of the most lucrative rentals are starter homes with three or four bedrooms, at least two bathrooms, and between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet of living space. When buying a rental, look for fenced backyards and laundry rooms.

While tax reform will likely impact the housing market, experts point out that it’s still better to own than to rent. Homeowners continue to build equity which creates greater wealth. Although most middle-class people will take the standard deduction instead of itemizing, tax reform is not likely to derail the American dream of home-ownership.

At Sunbelt Real Estate, we show aspiring homeowners the steps on the “housing ladder” so they can build wealth. For more of the latest real estate industry news, please contact us.

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Real Estate Investing: Things to Consider with an Airbnb Investment

When it comes to real estate investing, it’s no longer just about fix-and-flip homes or rental properties. A growing number of real estate investors buy homes to turn into profitable Airbnb investments. According to a recent Forbes.com article, many investors realize they can often make more money with short-term rentals compared to 1-year or traditional leases. With most Airbnb arrangements, it’s a guest and host relationship vs. a tenant and landlord scenario. For investors who don’t want to worry about hiring a property manager or collecting rent themselves, the Airbnb model provides some advantages. But before house hunting for an investment property, consider whether it’s the right decision for you.

Checking out the obstacles

Before buying a rental home or an Airbnb property, check the subdivision’s HOA (homeowner association) rules as well as any county regulations. Many counties throughout the U.S. actually collect local taxes on behalf of the host. Some HOA policies require a one-year lease rather than shorter leases but could make exceptions considering guests do not sign traditional leases.

Figuring out the added expenses

When you invest in a rental property, you typically provide the basics such as washer and dryer, a running A/C unit and clean carpet. With an Airbnb, guests expect a furnished place with towels, bedding, pillows, rugs, books, décor and dishes. When figuring out your expenses, also consider tax implications such as whether to file a Schedule C or E.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses

If you don’t have time to clean in between guests and don’t want to coordinate a cleaning service and don’t like interacting with the public, Airbnb is not likely to suit your personality. Hiring a property manager to oversee a rental property could work. On the other hand, if you have a gift for staging and entertaining, Airbnb could bring out your strong points.

To get started with real estate investing, talk to an experienced real estate agent about homes for sale that would appeal to renters or guests. If you decide to use your investment as an Airbnb, think of a decorating theme or draw. Homes with great views, access to hiking trails or with easy access to grocery stores and entertainment often generate more income. At Sunbelt Real Estate, we help new real estate investors and experienced ones find the right properties for their real estate investing goals. Talk to us about how to profit from the booming sharing economy. For more tips, contact us today.

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Keywords to Make a Listing Pop When Selling A Home

A few keywords grab a potential buyer’s attention when viewing a home listing. When selling a home, consider several marketing tips to bring the right buyers to your open house and home viewings. Experts point out that when you focus on the keywords such as “subway tiles,” you give buyers a more accurate idea of your home’s features. According to a recent article by nbcdfw.com, a recent report by Zillow Digs looked at which keywords in listings help the home sell for a better price in less time. Researchers conducted a similar analysis last year. Some of the keywords are open to interpretation such as “luxurious,” and “captivating.” But if a potential buyer looks for “subway tiles,” it’s inexpensive and easy to make such small home improvements. If you want your real estate in the Connecticut area to sell quickly, take some time to consider what inspires home buyers.

Adding a few quirky features

The Zillow Digs study found homes featuring barn doors increase the home value by 13 percent. Homes with barn doors sell 57 days faster than other homes. If you love elegant French Doors, don’t remove them just to appeal to some buyers. At the same time, if you have a place in your home where a barn door would nicely fit such as between a dining room and hallway, consider adding the feature.

Focusing on comfort factors

Buyers like keywords that make them feel good such as heated floors. Your real estate agent will likely use flattering adjectives that also create good feelings. Also, longer listings with a lot of words attract higher bids.

Some other keywords that interest home buyers include shaker cabinets, which help homes sell 45 days faster at 9 percent above the average selling price. At Sunbelt Real Estate, we use flattering and accurate keywords to describe your home for sale in the Connecticut area. For more tips on selling a home, please contact us today.

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General Improvements Better Than Too Personalized Decor When Selling

 

Before spending thousands of dollars on home improvements to sell your Stamford-area home, consider whether you will get the best bang for your buck. Unfortunately, too many personalized “improvements” backfire. According to an article by rismedia.com, one of the main reasons homes don’t sell is because the improvements are too personalized. For example, comic book murals painted on the wall of a custom office with built-in shelving specifically for your hobbies will scare off buyers. Focus on general home improvements that have the most impact on potential buyers.

Home Improvement #1 – Adding fresh coats of paint

Painting your home can either increase the value or lower the value, depending on the colors you choose. Last year, yellow was a big color for kitchens. This year, buyers are spending more for homes with different blue shades. Talk to your real estate agent about which paint colors appeal to the buyers this season. Only use daring colors such as red in small spaces such as bathrooms.

Home Improvement #2 – Sprucing up the kitchen

Instead of spending $10,000 or more on a kitchen remodel, simply add a backsplash. One study found homes with subway tile in the kitchens sold for 6.9 percent more money. If you aren’t handy, hire a professional since anything other than peel-and-stick products are difficult to install. A Zillow Digs study found homes that had Shaker cabinets sold for 9.6 percent more than expected, while granite kitchen counters brought in 4.1 percent higher bids.

Other areas of the home that matter include bathrooms. Instead of a major overhaul, simply change out old toilet bowls, add backsplashes and paint. Make sure the fireplace functions, as buyers love to cozy up by the fireplace when it’s cold outside. Also, invest in a smart thermostat, trendy barn doors, and landscaping. Spend money wisely on home improvements for the best ROI (return on investment). Although they don’t seem as sexy, new roofs and A/C systems also matter to cost-conscious buyers. At Sunbelt Real Estate, we walk through our client’s home to figure out the best improvements and strategies for a quick sale. For general home selling tips and advice on staging and marketing your home in Greenwich, Stamford and nearby areas, please contact us today.

 

 

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Buying A Home: Why You Should Be House Hunting NOW

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you will make in your lifetime. Many buyers jump headfirst into house hunting without any real guidance or understanding of how the housing market works. At Sunbelt Real Estate our dedicated agents are eagerly anticipating your call, armed with knowledge and insight into the real world of home-buying. If you’re considering buying your first home, a vacation home, or just exploring your options for the future, we strongly urge you to do it with the help of our qualified professionals who wants only the very best for our clients.

Reasons to Buy in Today’s Economy

  • Appreciation: House values are higher than ever in today’s economy. Historically speaking, values have risen at a rate of 5.2% yearly but in most recent years, values are rising at an astronomical 7%, which in turn will create a higher demand for housing in the very near future, thus raising the equity in your home.
  • Low-Interest Rates: Due to the economic crash, home loan rates are at an all-time low, making it easier than ever for you to get into a new home.
  • Zero Down Options: Tying into low-interest rates for mortgages are zero down options that many financial institutes now offer. If a zero down option is not available, many places are still offering lowered down payments, such as 1% or 3%, contrary to the popular belief that 20% down is required.
  • Bad Rental Market: With prices of rentals soaring, what better time to buy your own home? Paying on your mortgage instead of paying someone else’s mortgage just makes more sense logically and financially. Rental prices are expected to go up even more in the next few years, depending on your area, whereas with a fixed-rate mortgage, you pay the same amount every month!

Tips and Tricks on Buying

  • Hire An Agent: Agents can effectively choose houses that suit your individual needs without wasting your time; short sale properties and the like can be a headache to home buyers and skilled agents will know what properties to look at to avoid wasting your time.
  • Get Loan Pre-approval: Having financing in places makes it possible for you to put in an offer on a home you love immediately without the worry of having someone else put in an offer first. This is not always necessary but it can alleviate stress on you, the homebuyer, and many sellers who often times won’t entertain offers from individuals without assurance that the buyer can get a loan.
  • Negotiate Offers: Negotiating is a big part of buying a home and with the help of a real estate agent, the process can go smoother than ever. You may need to negotiate up if there are many offers on a property or negotiate down if the seller’s asking price is too high for the area or if the home had issues that would need to be tended to upon purchase.

Why Sunbelt?

Sunbelt Real Estate has been helping home buyers find their perfect home for the past 20 years. Sunbelt serves the Connecticut area into New York’s Metro area, as well as Florida and international areas. With a vast knowledge of many different areas and properties, Sunbelt is sure to satisfy your needs and provide you with a purchase you can be happy and confident in. Contact us today so we can help you move into the home of your dreams!

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Getting the Best Price For Your Stamford Luxury Home

When it comes to selling your luxury home, the stakes are a bit higher than the average house. Making a small mistake can end up costing thousands of dollars. On the other hand, understanding the intricacies of this market can result in thousands of extra dollars in your pocket. Here are a few tips for getting the best price possible for your home.

Proper Timing

One of the selling points of luxury homes is often their proximity to local, natural attractions. For example, if you’re selling a home that is close to several local ski resorts, seeing the home blanketed in fluffy, white snow may be the best way for the buyer to understand the true value of the home. A home near a lake may be best seen by buyers during the summer when the sun is shining. Make your local geography work for you; don’t let it obscure the benefits of your home.

Price It Correctly

Pricing a luxury home is more difficult than a regular home, as they often have unique features that only certain buyers will value. Using a simplistic measure like price per square foot can lead to prices that are way off, and an inaccurate price can have drastic consequences.

Price a home too high, and it will sit on the market. Luxury homes that sit on the market for too long can develop a stigma—there must be something wrong with it if no one is buying it. This is especially true in the luxury home market, which has a small pool of buyers. These buyers will eventually forget about a home that has sat on the market too long. Conversely, pricing the home too low can lead to a lot of money being left on the table.

Hire the Right Agent

All of the tips in this article boil down to one thing—partnering with the right agent. A local agent experienced in selling luxury homes will know exactly when to place the home on the market, and at exactly what price. It is crucial to have someone with this kind of experience on your side as you undertake the process of selling your home.

Contact Sunbelt Real Estate for all of your luxury real estate questions.