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3 Ways the New Tax Law May Affect You

3 Ways the New Tax Law May Affect You
There are some pretty big changes coming for homeowners as a result of the tax reform legislation enacted last December. The available deductions and exemptions may change depending on whether you itemize your deductions in 2018 or take the standard deduction. The effect of the new tax legislation will vary depending on a variety of factors such as income level, whether or not you have a vacation home, and which state(s) your home is in. Below is a brief overview of some of the changes and the impact they may have on homeowners. Consult a tax expert to find out how the changes will affect you personally.

Mortgage Interest Deduction – This lowers the cost of homeownership by letting owners deduct the interest they pay on their home, second home, and vacation home (so long as they aren’t rented out for more than two weeks a year) from their taxable income. The new tax law also lowered the cap for mortgages eligible for interest deduction from a million dollars to $750,000.

Mortgage Insurance – The deductibles for mortgage insurance costs and the value you receive from a short sale were not renewed in the new tax law.

Property Taxes – In the past, property taxes at the state and local level were deductible. The new law limits deductible property taxes to $10,000 per year.

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Is Investing right for you

Should You Consider Investing in Real Estate?

Real estate is becoming an investment of choice, and many investors are either abandoning the more traditional vehicles such as stocks and bonds or using real estate to diversify their portfolios.

A recent RISMedia article pointed to a survey recently undertaken by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, which found that “(n)early all (96%) of U.S. investors surveyed who have invested in real estate believe their decision has helped them achieve some form of financial success.”

The interest in investing in real estate may be driven by our largest demographic-the millennials, who, according to the survey, show a greater interest in making a real estate investment than do boomers. Millennials in particular are more interested in personal real estate purchases (homes) than in buying commercial properties; the survey noted that “79% of investor respondents feel it is important to invest in a property that they could use for themselves or a family member at some point.”

There are various ways even a small investor can participate in real estate investments, such as a self-directed or real estate IRA. However, many fear they aren’t sufficiently knowledgeable about real estate investing. As the RISMedia article points out: “Unlike many other investments that can be made with the click of a button, real estate investments are often complex and require careful consideration.”

To ensure that your investment will be a good one, it’s important to consult with a financial professional who is familiar with real estate investing, as well as an investment-savvy real estate agent.

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Staging: More Money, Fewer Days on Market, Report Shows

Posted in Staging, by  on August 17, 2017

To many real estate pros, home staging has gone from a luxury to a necessity. The National Association of REALTORS® found in a recent survey that sixty-two percent of sellers’ agents believe staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market, and a third say it increases the selling price.

staging thumbnailThe survey also found that staging can help buyers envision themselves living in that home. NAR’s Home Staging Report found that another 77 percent say that staging makes it easier for the buyers to visualize the property as their home. Staging can help transform a home into the type of residence that is demanded and desired in the market.

Some staging services that can be useful include photoshoot styling services. This involves prepping and photographing staged living areas to be featured in an online listing. This staging service is attractive because many home buyers are beginning their home search online and a nicely designed home can draw a buyer to the open house. Independent of how the market is, a staged home has a move-in ready feel and buyers will pay for it.

Of course, these benefits don’t come free. Staging services can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on the home’s condition, desired outcomes, size, and where it is and whether it is occupied or vacant. But home staging doesn’t have to involve a complete makeover. As NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Staging shows, there are really three rooms one should consider staging: living room, kitchen, and the master bedroom.

Home buyers decide within eight seconds of seeing a home whether they like a home or not, according to the Real Estate Staging Association. That first impression can be long lasting. To help you learn more about the topic, we spoke with an NAR researcher and a Chicago-area stager and report on what they say. Access the video. 

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FSBOs Net ‘Significantly’ Lower Profits


For-sale-by-owners tend to sell their homes for lower prices than homes sold through traditional agents via the MLS, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate, according to a new study by Collateral Analytics.

The study examined the price differences between homes sold through traditional agents versus those sold by FSBOs from 2016 to the first half of 2017.

Some homeowners may be tempted to try to avoid commission costs to a broker and try to sell the home on their own. But that can backfire and turn into a much lower sales price, the study found.

Even successful FSBO sellers achieve prices “significantly below” those from similar properties sold more traditionally via REALTORS®, the study found.

The authors found that the differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales is “remarkably close to average commission rates.” A FSBO sale, on average, nets nearly a 6 percent lower price than an MLS sale for a similar property.

“Assuming that both buyers and sellers pay the commission, one might have expected something less than this average,” the researchers note. “It appears that many sellers are avoiding commissions while netting home prices less than they would with an agent-represented MLS sale. They are avoiding commissions at any price, even one that exceeds a commission rate.”

Source: “Saving Real Estate Commissions at Any Price,” Collateral Analytics Research (Aug. 16, 2017)

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84 Percent of Americans See Homeownership as Good Investment, Affordability a Growing Concern

WASHINGTON (July 12, 2017) — According to the National Association of Realtors®’ 2017 National Housing Pulse Survey, concerns over housing affordability show clear demographic divides especially among unmarried and non-white Americans. More than five out of 10 unmarried and non-white Americans view the lack of available affordable housing as a big problem, compared to only 40 percent of married and white Americans.

The survey,, measures consumers’ attitudes and concerns about housing issues in the nation’s 25 largest metropolitan statistical areas and found that 84 percent of Americans now believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision – the highest number since 2007. Yet six in 10 said that they are concerned about affordability and the rising cost of buying a home or renting in their area. Housing affordability was ranked fourth in the top-five issues Americans face in their area behind the lack of affordable health care; low wages and debt making it hard to save; and heroin and opioid drug abuse, and ahead of job layoffs and employment.

Nationally, 44 percent of respondents categorized the lack of available affordable housing as a very big or fairly big problem. In the top 25 densest markets, more than half see the lack of affordable housing as a big problem, an increase of 11 percentage points from the 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey. Low-income Americans, renters and young women most acutely feel the housing pinch. There is also greater concern about affordable housing among the working class (65 percent) than for public servants such as teachers, firefighters or police (55 percent).

“Despite the growing concern over affordable housing, this survey makes it clear that a strong majority still believe in homeownership and aspire to own a home of their own. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top reasons to own a home,” says NAR president William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties.

Eight out of 10 believe that the most important financial reason to own a home is that the money spent on housing goes towards building equity rather than to a property owner. Paying off a mortgage and owning a home by the time you retire is the next most important financial reason for buying a home followed by ownership being a good investment opportunity to build long-term wealth and increase net worth.

When asked about the amount of down payment needed for a mortgage, four in 10 respondents believe that a down payment of 15 percent or more is necessary. Seventy percent feel that a reasonable down payment should be 10 percent or less, according to the survey. Misperceptions about higher down payment requirements were most prevalent in bigger cities and by older adults.

Apparent confusion about down payment requirements most likely added to non-owners concerns about affordability. NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that the median down payment for first-time buyers has been 6 percent for three straight years and 14 percent for repeat buyers in three of the past four years.

Over 50 percent of respondents strongly agree that homeownership helps build safe and secure neighborhoods and provides a stable and safe environment for children and family members.

The survey also found that four in 10 Americans say paying their rent or mortgage is a strain on their budget. Those most likely to say their mortgage is a strain have incomes under $60,000, are residents of New York City or the Pacific coast, are under the age of 50 and non-white. Just over half, 51 percent, of respondents said they were willing to strain their budget for a better living environment and would pick a neighborhood with better schools and job opportunities even if housing prices are a bigger strain on their budget. Those most willing to strain their budget are disproportionately married, upper income and living in the suburbs. Overspending on homes is more prevalent in Northeastern cities (36 percent), the Mountain West (34 percent) and the Pacific coast (33 percent).

The 2017 National Housing Pulse Survey is conducted by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program, which aims to position, educate and help Realtors® promote housing opportunities in their community, in both the rental and homeownership sectors of the market. The telephone survey polled 1,500 adults nationwide and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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 See and share an infographic containing highlights from the 2017 Housing Pulse Survey.


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Single Women Have the Buying Power

Single Women Have the Buying Power

“Skip the spouse, buy the house” was a line from a recent Bloomberg news story about single women buying homes on their own. It’s catchy, but also true: as the article reported, single women currently account for approximately 17% of new homebuyers in the U.S., versus 7% of single men.

Why? Despite the wage gaps that remain between men and women in the workforce, many millennial women appear to value homeownership more than their male counterparts do, and are adjusting their lifestyles accordingly to make it happen.

In the Bloomberg article, Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of ATTOM Data Solutions, noted that single women typically buy at a lower price point ($173,000 compared with $190,600) and have a slightly higher foreclosure rate than men (73 per 10,000 vs. 70 per 10,000). This may be a result of the aforementioned gaps in wages, or possibly because more women raise children on their own than men do – a scenario with major financial implications.

Single women homeowners say there’s a sense of independence and a comfort level that comes with owning your space, and that despite the need for often-expensive home maintenance and other costs, homeownership can be personally fulfilling.

For both single men and women, buying one’s own home requires more financial independence than does buying with the support of a partner. It’s essential not only that prospective buyers have a down payment and months of mortgage payments saved, but also that they’re emotionally prepared for the stresses that come with homeownership – and are ready to take them on alone.
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Market Absorption Rate

JULY 2017

Well we are finally in a normal, borderline seller’s market. As the inventory tends to remain low, and interest rates creep up, it is the perfect storm for bidding wars again. The number this past month, July 2017, has shown absorption rates at 6 months and below in the Ocean County foot print, from Bayville to Little Egg. Absorption rates are a gauge for how much inventory can be sold in a period of time. To derive to this number it is really simple math. Total active homes divided by last sold in the past 30 days will give you the number of months it will take to sell off that inventory. This is what I have come up with recently:

Berkeley  AR 6.26 months

Lacey AR 5.8 months

Waretown AR 5.9

Barnegat AR 4.4

Manahawkin 4.9

Tuckerton 3.5

Little Egg Harbor 7.3

What does this mean for you the buyer or seller? 1-5 months is a sellers’ market. 5-6 months is a normal market and anything above 6 months is a buyers’ market.

Bidding wars are imminent. Buyer’s are going above asking price just to win the property. If they weren’t savvy enough to do so, the remaining inventory that they already hand picked is not as promising as that one home that got away from a higher bidder. Although we, the professional Realtors try to give some sound advice during the offer process, there is no guarantee that the advice is taken. This market hasn’t been here since 2005. Of course the pricing isn’t as insane as it was 12 years ago, but the notion of a quick selling market is here again. As rates start to rise slowly and inventory starts to wane, now would be a great time to get off the fence, stop your window shopping, and become a Proud American Home Owner. Make “American Homes Great Again”.

See you at the closing table!!

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Time for a Change

Now is the time to make a career change. Or are you looking to switch brokers? Not happy with your life? Do you still want to make money yet have the sense of freedom that we all long and desire for? Well you have come to the right place. Elite Team Realty gives you all the one on one training and tools that you need to get started in this intimate company. The broker works for you, the agent, not the other way around. There are no desk fees, yet we operate with the sense of freedom that is not typical of a larger, more corporate atmosphere. . We do not require floor time and there are one on one training meetings that accommodate your schedule. Your time is your time. We are not corporate. But when it comes to business and making money in real estate this is a no joke, serious, yet fun atmosphere. The broker will teach you all the ropes. She will remind you of all the laws and ethic requirements to keep you in check with the Real Estate Commission. They will teach you how to be a self starter, self motivating powerhouse Realtor. It’s up to you to obtain the business and grow from there. What you put into it is what you will receive. And the rewards can be as big as you want them to be. If you do not have a license Anamaria DelValle will set you up with the right school, local to your area. Guidance and assistance is always there whether it is a seasoned agent or someone just starting out. Don’t wait! There is money to be made…

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Beach Front Bargains

Word is out on the streets. It’s all about investing now. The flippers are feverishly looking for “The Deal”. And there are plenty out there. Builders are looking to build, investors are looking to purchase and flip. Whether it be a Sandy damaged tear down, an REO (Bank Owned), Estate property, and so on, deals are moving along and inventory is low. The market is turning rapidly in the Ocean County footprint. Bidding wars are starting to happen again. Prices are steadily climbing and the interest rates are still at historically low rates.  Take a look at a few waterfronts that are on the market now in Ocean County:

An interesting climb in the market are waterfronts. There are so many lagoon and bay front communities that allows affordability to the secondary home Real estate buyer. However without proper guidance it could be a major flop. Prices of house raising have gone through the roof. Anywhere from $60,000 plus. Depending on size of home and whether it is built on a slab or crawl can also have consequences to the price. Now that’s just the raising part. There are township permits to be dealt with, along with utility hook ups and disconnects. Plumbing, electric, gas, etc will need to be revamped and hooked back up by professionals after the house raising. That is just one area of it. House raising is something that must be dealt with if the home has a substantial damage letter from the township. This would mean that the owner spent more than 50% in repairs of the building assessed value from 2012, year of the storm.

If no letter of substantial damage is on file than house raising may not be an important issue. However, now we are getting involved in FEMA elevations and flood insurance.

Even though the investor may be purchasing with cash, once they go to flip the home chances are the next buyer will most likely be a loan purchaser. It could make or break the deal if the flood insurance runs in the thousands. Due diligence is necessary when purchasing a waterfront home. Whether you are on the investor side or purchaser side, it is important to learn the lingo and educate yourself. Your REALTOR should know and assist you in the process; Especially if he or she have sold waterfronts in the past.

Elevation certificates will provide all the documentation you would need when purchasing a flood zone home. A home can be in the flood zone area even if it is not a waterfront property. Most of the time anything East of Main st will have a much higher chance of it being in a flood zone. The certificate will provide elevation information that is needed for the flood insurance and for raising the home, if required.

On a lighter note, when a waterfront home is purchased for sheer delight and raising or knocking down is not the primary issue, that is when we can have some fun showing these homes and it gives our buyers so much to look forward to in their new home and surroundings, should it be a temporary vacation home or their permanent residence.

One of my prideful moments is when I filmed an HGTV segment with my clients in the Beach Haven West area. A young family, a brother and twin sisters, looking for a home they can relax in on the weekends and continue their leisure time close enough to Long Beach Island, to carry on their childhood memories and create new ones now that they are adults.

Take a look…..