Monthly Archives: August 2015


Our friends at Fidelity National Title shares some new July Market Updates. These updates show where the price is right with Condos, Town-homes, Single Family Homes, and even Luxury homes.. You might see something that stands out to you in these charts. Take a look below!!


Jul-Activity – Condo Revised

Jul-Activity – Luxury Revised

Jul-Activity – SFR Revised

Jul-Activity – Townhome Revised

Jul-Luxury Appreciation Revised

Jul-NOD Daily Report Jul-NOS Daily Report


Jul-SFR Appreciation Revised





Our friend shares the lowdown of Commission Rates..

Dear Expert:

“I’m looking to sell my home and have informally spoken to several agents on the phone. Every agent except for one said they charge a 6 percent commission fee and cannot go down from that. However, the other one actually wanted 7 percent! How can this be? I thought 6 percent split between buyer’s agent and listing agent was the standard rate. At least, that’s what I always paid in the past. I’m confused now.”

On a Commission Mission


Dear Mission:

There is not a standard commission!

Beginning in 2010, the Internet drastically changed the game for real estate. Zillow, and Redfin empowered the consumers, who now have virtually the same access to MLS data as agents. Owners are now asking the question: Why would I pay the same commission today as I did before the Internet?

In the past, agents needed to advertise in several newspapers in several cities. Then we needed to advertise in many real estate books. The time and cost involved was nearly cost prohibitive. We could only use a picture of the front of the property and then fax the information. Today, time and cost have been reduced by 90 percent, and we reach an exponential amount of more people. Over 90 percent of home shoppers start doing research on the Internet before calling an agent.

The agents that have adapted to the new era have passed this savings on to the sellers while others are still clinging to the old model for as long as possible. However, early this year, the largest brokerage in the country, NRC, created to compete with Zillow and others. Its average commission will be 5 percent, 2.5 percent for each side.

Just a few years ago, if a buyer were interested in 30 homes, we would have to drive them to see those 30 homes. Not anymore. The abundance of online pictures with a given listing allows buyers to narrow down their selections quickly and drastically, so agents are making fewer trips to homes. Many agents have to pay franchise fees or split commissions with their brokers, and this expense is passed on to consumers in the form of higher commissions and fees.

Research has shown that sellers who negotiate to cut their real estate commission can do so with little risk of getting less service or less money. Real estate agents will have a difficult time in the future charging 6 percent commissions while at the same time giving away valuable information gotten for free via, Zillow, RedFin, etc.

This is a huge advantage for empowered sellers. Just like with the travel agent, stock broker and mortgage broker, the Internet is changing the role of the real estate agent, and many consumers are putting money in their own pockets.

Steve Hawks,

Platinum Real Estate Professionals

Don’t know how to upgrade your bathrooms? Read this interesting article that tells some options of new high-tech choices for bathrooms!

It is the dawning of the age of the high-tech head.

According to Digital Trends magazine, increasing numbers of homeowners are incorporating the latest technology into their bathrooms.

It’s not happening in huge numbers just yet, the magazine reports, but some people want their lavatories as tricked out as the rest of the house. Five percent of those surveyed have master baths with a TV or bidet.

“People are putting in LED showerheads,” Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz, told Digital Trends. “Five percent are putting that in their masters and also that 1 percent is putting touch-operated showers in general in their master bathrooms.”

If you think the idea of an LED showerhead cool, it might be because of your age.

“There’s some of indication that millennials may be at the edge of this integration of the high-tech,” Sitchinava said. “For example, we’re finding that there’s a difference between some features that the millennials are putting in. Eleven percent of millennials are putting in romantic lighting. So it tends to be dimmer-operated lights, as opposed to 5 percent of boomers and gen-Xers.”

American West Homes in Las Vegas has a well-earned reputation for delivering master bedrooms and baths that function as a retreat as well as a place to sleep. Deluxe spa showers are already part of the homebuilder’s offerings.

“The design objectives in our master baths are to create a soothing retreat for our homeowners that provides sanctuary at the end of a long day,” said Daniel Welsh, vice president of marketing for American West Homes. “The architectural design in these baths is impactful and includes many features usually only found in custom homes. Features that include 8-foot-long vanities with double sinks, an abundance of storage, deluxe spa showers and elegant stone surfaces throughout.”

As more homeowners make a beeline for the bathroom to get away from it all, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll want to get away from all the technology that can create an in-house spa retreat.

Here’s a look at some of the coolest must-haves for emerging high-tech bathrooms, courtesy of Huff Post Homes:

Moxie showerhead with Bluetooth

The wireless speaker system allows you to listen to up to seven hours of music, news or podcasts while showering. Instead of cranking your radio up so you can hear it over the water, you can now listen through your H2O. This thing pretty much guarantees pruney fingers are in your future.

Hue personal wireless lighting system

Using the Philips Hue app for iPhone or iPad, wirelessly controlled bulbs allow you to choose the exact color, temperature and brightness you desire. Used in the bathroom, the possibilities are endless. Create relaxing “light recipes” for bath time and energizing schemes for your morning routine. This lighting system is designed not just to enhance your mood, but your overall health, as well.

Seura’s waterproof Hydra television

Experience the ultimate extravagance: soaking in a hot bubble bath while watching your favorite shows. You can also save time in the morning when you shower and get your news at the same time.

Moen’s Destiny hands-free faucet

Moen’s Destiny — a gorgeously sculpted, chrome, hands-free faucet is the Mercedes-Benz of water transportation. With just one tap, you and your guests will enjoy the most sanitary hand sanitation ever invented.

Moen’s ioDIGITAL shower

This system lets you save your ideal shower settings — temperature, water pressure, etc. It also lets you completely spoil yourself by turning your ideal shower on by remote control from the comfort of your cozy bed.

Programmable water pebble

Palm-sized pebble takes the guesswork out of water conservation by tracking how much water you use in your shower. Once you’ve programmed this pebble, it signals a yellow light at your half-shower mark and flashes red when it’s time to turn off the faucet. But here’s the real genius: This pebble incrementally shortens its suggested stop time, training you over weeks to use water wisely.

Read this article about signs you should know as a Realtor showing houses… agent shares his interesting experience that could have turned out bad!


Man to Man: You’re Just as at Risk

Male practitioners should be as concerned with safety as females. Even standing 6-foot-3, I almost became a victim myself.

I don’t personally know Sidney Cranston Jr., the Arizona real estate agent who has beenmissing for more than two months. But I could have been him.

Male practitioners everywhere should take note of the case. Cranston, a typical 40-year-old man at 5-foot-9 and 162 pounds, disappeared June 16 after allegedly meeting a prospective buyer at a vacant home in Kingman, Ariz. Neighbors say they saw him earlier in the day talking to someone in a white SUV, calling the driver’s behavior “suspicious.” Friends and family told police that Cranston had a recent disagreement with a former client — who happens to own a white SUV. Police haven’t identified any suspects, and Cranston’s brother says he’s “worried that he’s not with us anymore.”

Cranston’s incident seems like an anomaly because most high-profile cases of crime against real estate professionals that we hear about involve women. Particularly since the death of Arkansas agent Beverly Carter last September, we think of women as more vulnerable in our business. Many men think their size and strength preclude them from being attacked. But trust me: Safety risks are not limited to females. I stand 6-foot-3 — taller than most men and women — and I once came close to being a victim.

In late 1995, when I was in my early 40s and fairly new to the real estate business, I took a floor call from a man inquiring about “high-end” listings in our local area of Menlo Park–Palo Alto, Calif. This was and remains a very hot area, where the average sales price is obscenely high and the number of days on market is obscenely low. Multimillion-dollar listings are the rule, not the exception. So I assumed a caller interested in such properties was legit.


I agreed to meet the caller at a home he wanted to view the next day. (In case you’re keeping track, that’s safety no-no No. 1.) But I wasn’t expecting the person who showed up. He arrived in a beat-up, 15-year-old imported car and with a pregnant “fiancé” who wanted to drop him off so she could make a doctor’s appointment. He asked if I could give him a ride home after the showing. What am I supposed to say, “no”? It wasn’t out of my way and still in a decent part of town, so I agreed. (Still keeping track? That’s no-no No. 2.)

During the showing, the “buyer” kept likening his financial situation to the lady who had just won a judgment against McDonald’s after spilling hot coffee on herself. He basically admitted that he didn’t have the money to buy the house now, but he would soon. (That’s at least no-no No. 3 — or is it No. 4?) My optimistic pursuit of a big commission was, by now, starting to fade. Then, he said he wanted to see the basement.

I finally listened to the alarms going off in my head, and I somehow knew that if I went into that basement with him, I would be put in a bad situation. I decided that was not the day that was going to happen. I said I “needed to get something from the car,” so I pointed him to the staircase and told him to go check it out. I was ready to get out of there.

After the showing, I dropped him off at his address, and we made arrangements to check in with each other the next week as his financial situation “improved.” I tried to follow up with him and made several phone calls, but I never heard back. A couple of weeks later, as I recall, an elderly man was mugged in a nearby neighborhood and beaten to death. Then another older man in an adjacent community suffered a similar fate. Not long after, police announced a person of interest they were looking for. You got it: It was my client, the description fitting him right down to his residential address where I had dropped him off. Police started to tail him, thinking he was about to take off. They made their move and arrested him as he and his young daughter were walking out onto the Golden Gate Bridge.

I thought about all the times I could have made better decisions in my career, even though we didn’t know any better in the mid-90s. Maybe I was lucky to be 6-foot-3 — significantly taller than my prospect — and perhaps he decided to find someone easier to pick on. I am sure he was expecting someone older — maybe I sounded older when we spoke on the phone. I do know that none of the obvious reasons led this man to automatically rule me out as a target: It wasn’t enough that I was bigger than him, younger than he expected, or that the holes in his story finally woke me up.

I didn’t talk about this experience to anyone immediately, and I’m not really sure why. Was I embarrassed about it for some reason? I don’t know. I don’t think so, but nothing else makes any sense. I did nothing wrong, did I? I should have spoken more about this in the intervening years, and I should not have waited to spread the word. We can’t all be 6-foot-3, 40-somethings, but, we can be more proactive about our safety.

The news about Sidney Cranston makes this article tough to write, but I realize it makes it even more important. Others have not been as lucky as I was. Whether you’re a man or a woman, be smart, do not put yourselves in vulnerable situations, have a plan, take a buddy with you, and have potential clients meet you at the office first. All these measures were uncommon, and some even considered borderline rude, back in the ‘90s. But they need to be common and accepted practice in today’s world.



Are you a Rental Property Owner? Read this article that shares 10 easy things to write off on your Taxes!!

Rental property tax deductions reduce the amount of income tax you pay on your rental income.

They’re a good thing.

And because they can save you money, you shouldn’t ignore them. In fact, documenting your rental expenses and deductions should be a regular and habitual part of your rental business. If you don’t keep current records of your expenses, starting tracking them today so you’re not scrambling at tax time to recreate 365 days worth of deductions.

Here are some of the most important deductions you could benefit from:

1. Interest on Your Rental-Related Loans.

It’s important to make the distinction between principal and interest. You cannot deduct the amount of the loan (the principal); you can, however, deduct the interest on the loan that you pay in any given year.

Typically, as a rental owner, you’ll have some of these deductible interest expenses:

  • Interest on loans to buy your rental property (look for the Form 1098 from your lender each year).
  • Interest on loans to refinance your rental property (ditto: Form 1098).
  • Credit card interest for goods and services bought for the rental property.
  • And don’t forget about personal loans for things related to the rental property.

2. Travel Expenses.

If you have any travel expenses related to your rental property, such as transportation, lodging, and meals, they’re fully deductible. Also, if you use your personal vehicle in your rental property business, you can use one of two methods to deduct your related expenses: use the standard mileage rate or actual expenses. The IRS provides more information in Publication 463.

3. Repairs & Maintenance.

A repair is any work that puts the property back in its original condition. Reasonable and necessary repair costs for your rental property are tax deductible. Maintenance doesn’t always involve fixing something that’s broken, but it gets to the idea of keeping the property in its original condition, and in the long run a regular maintenance program could save you on emergency repair costs. Maintenance expenses that are deductible include:

  • Landscaping
  • Light bulbs, smoke detector batteries, HVAC filters, etc.
  • Pest control
  • Cleaning supplies

4. Depreciation.

Depreciation is a process through which you deduct long-term assets (assets you hold for more than one year) over many years. Long-term assets include rental buildings. Land is not included. Tangible personal property that lasts for more than one year, such as carpeting and kitchen appliances, can also be depreciated. Because depreciation can be very complicated, it’s best to discuss it with your accountant. And if you want more information, does a pretty good job describing depreciation for landlords in more detail.

5. Insurance.

Insurance premiums, including those for landlord liability, theft, fire, and flood, are tax deductible.

6. Taxes.

Real estate taxes, property taxes, and state, county and local sales taxes are deductible.

7. Home Office & Office Supplies.

Many landlords don’t take advantage of the home office deduction, because quite frankly, it’s a bit of a pain AND the IRS tends to closely scrutinize this one. However, if you use an area of your home exclusively for your rental business, it might be exploring with your accountant. In addition to deducting for your home office, you can also deduct for office supplies used in carrying out your rental business. Deductible office supplies include writing implements, paper, notepads, printer ink, envelopes, and stamps.

8. Utilities.

If you pay any utilities for your rental property, you can deduct them. These include:

  • TV/Cable/Internet
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Garbage/Recycling
  • Water & Sewer

9. Professional Services.

If you need to hire a lawyer, accountant, or other professional, that cost is deductible and considered part of your operating expenses. Often, DIY landlords hire lawyers to handle tenant evictions (link to evictions article), or they’ll decide not to landlord themselves anymore and hire a property management company instead, for a number of reasons.

10. Advertising.

Any money you spend on advertising your property for rent is deductible, whether it’s online, print, or radio.

Here’s some related information you might find useful:

  1. There is a limit to how much you can deduct: most landlords can deduct up to $25,000 against their rental property income.
  2. Security deposits from your tenants are not taxable (as rental income) when you receive them if you intend to return them to your tenants at the end of the lease.
  3. If you require first and last month’s rent when a tenant moves in, the total amount you receive (two months rent) is taxable the year you receive it, even thought that last month’s rent may not be used by the tenant until later years.
  4. Generally deductions must be made in the same year that the expense was paid. In much the same way, income must be logged in the year the payment was received.
  5. If you use any part of your rental property for personal use, check out this publication from the IRS, and consult your accountant or tax adviser.
  6. Keep receipts and records of payments, in case the IRS has some questions. Some landlords keep an envelope for each year’s receipts; others file receipts based on type of expense. Choose a system that will work for you. This article has some useful tips, if you’re looking for ideas.

As always, the information provided here is just that–it is for informational purposes only and under no circumstances whatsoever should it be considered legal advice. If you have any particular questions or issues, please consult an attorney.

– See more at:



Read Below how Realtors participate to create jobs!!


WASHINGTON (July 9, 2015) — Real estate like-kind exchanges are an important vehicle for disposing of and acquiring properties and support the nation’s financial growth, job creation and economy, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors®.

The Like-Kind Exchanges: Real Estate Market Perspectives 2015 survey of NAR’s commercial and residential members found that real estate investors and commercial property owners place a very high priority on current like-kind exchange tax rules; 40 percent indicated that transactions would not have occurred in the absence of the tax provision, and 56 percent said even if the project would have occurred it likely would have been smaller in scale.

Realtors® are active participants in like-kind exchanges; 63 percent of Realtors® participated in a like-kind exchange transaction between 2011 and 2015. The survey found that like-kind exchanges in which Realtors® participated created between 10 and 35 new jobs, mostly resulting from spending on building improvements following acquisition.

“Like-kind exchanges that allow investors and businesses to defer capital gains taxes on the exchange of similar properties bring great advantages to investors, real estate markets and the economy,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Realtors® and their clients often look for better economic use of existing properties that are underutilized, which helps promote local economic development and increase the nation’s gross domestic product.”

Internal Revenue Code Section 1031, a provision that has been in the tax code since 1924, provides individuals and businesses with critically needed tax deferment on gains after the disposition of a property as long as the proceeds are reinvested in a similar property through a like-kind exchange. Replacement properties must be identified in 45 days and the transaction completed within 180 days.

Survey respondents said the primary reason that they or their clients participated in a like-kind property exchange, aside from the deferral of capital gains taxes, was for equity to acquire additional properties. Other reasons were for estate planning, portfolio diversification and completion of a development project.

The tax savings resulting from like-kind exchanges are also helping bring more capital into local markets. Eighty-six percent of respondents said the savings from tax deferment allowed them or their clients to invest additional capital and make improvement in their acquired properties; these investments are generally responsible for the creation of new jobs, such as in construction and property management.

According to the survey, in 68 percent of like-kind transactions, Realtors® acted as a broker or agent, and 24 percent participated as an owner or investor in the transaction. A larger percentage of commercial members (76 percent) reported engaging in a like-kind exchange transaction compared to residential members (45 percent). Of the total, 40 percent participated in between 1 and 3 transactions, and 23 percent participated in 4 or more transactions.

Residential properties comprised the largest portion of recent deals, accounting for 27 percent of disposed properties and 24 percent of acquired properties, followed by apartments (17 percent of dispositions and 22 percent of acquisitions). Land assets accounted for 19 percent of dispositions and 17 percent of acquisitions; retail properties accounted for 8 percent of dispositions and 13 percent of acquisitions; and office buildings comprised 11 percent of dispositions and 10 percent of acquisitions.

Investors tend to hold on to their properties for several years; 47 percent of respondents reported their holding period was between 5 and 9 years, and 27 percent indicated a holding period of 10 to 14 years.

NAR believes like-kind exchange transactions are fundamental to the real estate investment sector, and repealing the tax provision would have negative effects across real estate markets and the industry.

“Like-kind exchanges help investors more efficiently allocate capital and resources with less borrowed money into new investments that drive economic activity in communities across the nation,” said NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark. “Any tax reform plan repealing like-kind exchanges would hurt investors and small businesses, increase financial leverage, weaken growth and the economy, and result in the loss of jobs.”

Survey respondents indicated that repealing like-kind exchange tax provisions would reduce equity in real estate; 67 percent indicated repeal would lead to a large increase in financial leverage. Realtors® said the negative result would be reduced purchase money and new construction loans, and increased property holding periods. Ninety-six percent of Realtors® also said real estate values would decrease if like-kind exchange provisions were repealed.

The National Association of Realtors® Like-Kind Exchanges: Real Estate Market Perspectives 2015 report is based on a survey of 49,593 commercial practitioners and 55,160 residential practitioners (total sample size of 104,753) in January 2015, which generated 3,450 responses from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey had a response rate of 3.3 percent. The report is available at

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Click the here for the article