As popular as vacation homes are, you might think the tax rules would be simply but they are fairly complex. Your tax strategies will depend on how you use the property; and you will need to carefully count and track days of personal use and rental use. Below are several must-know vacation home tax rules for the smart real estate investor.If you rent a vacation home for 14 days or less in a year, the income can be tax-free but you cannot deduct any rental expenses. If you rent a vacation home for more than 14 days, you must divide your expenses between rental use and personal use.If you use your vacation home during the year for “personal use” more than the greater of 14 days or 10% of the total days it is rented to others at a fair rental price, then it will be considered a “home”. You must prorate your deductions based on how many days the property was rented at a fair rental price during the year. Also, your losses cannot offset more than the gross rental income from the property. You can, however, carry the losses forward as suspended losses to use in later years.If you used the property for personal use but did not use it enough to be considered a home, you still must divide the expenses between personal use and rental use but you can potentially offset income from other sources with losses from the property in excess of gross rental income, subject to the at-risk rules and passive activity loss rules.Personal use days do not include days substantially spent maintaining and repairing your vacation property- even if your kids are with you.Deeded fractional interest time shares are subject to the same rules as other vacation properties but it is highly unlikely you could claim tax-free income based on the 14 days or less rental rule. This is because IRS counts the number of rental days for the entire property not just one owner.It is possible to convert your vacation home into a primary residence and qualify for the $250,000/$500,000 primary residence exclusion. However, such a conversion can take up to five years and is subject to several other requirements. Consult your CPA or attorney for details.Finding the right vacation property investment can be difficult, do your homework and clearly identify your personal and investment goals before you purchase. Once you have completed your preliminary research find a qualified Realtor who can provide the knowledge and services you need. Go to www.AgentWorld.com to review real estate agent profiles.
Standing around at a cocktail party or the water cooler you first hear about the dynamic with the personalities of a real estate transaction than the home that was just purchased or sold. The sellers who took every light-bulb, the low-ball offer, the realty agent who took negotiations on a needless tangent that derailed the transaction, the home inspector that killed the deal and the sellers attorney whose specialty is litigation not real estate contracts.Home buyers and sellers don’t go through the home sale or purchase process very often and either want to forget the troubles or figure that the occasional reactive roller coaster ride of buying or selling a home is the norm. Often the buyer and seller don’t realize that they can contribute to the roller coaster ride out of naivety or a lack of information. To take back the transaction process and become more proactive Mark Nash author of 1001Tips for Buying and Selling a Home offers some examples of personalities you might run into and how to manage them.-Sellers. They have what you want, the house, but they need buyers to move on. Everything should be in writing, the contract, counteroffers and acceptance. Timelines for responses should be clear. Personal property included with the sale must be listed in detail. Possession should be clearly defined down to the minute. Keep terms and demands reasonable. Don’t create unnecessary hurdles for buyers; they can contribute to buyer’s remorse. You don’t have to like or meet the buyers. Perform the purchase contract in good faith.-Buyers. They have what the sellers need, the money to cash out and move on. Review real estate contracts long before you write one. Understand the home purchase process before you enter into it. Don’t think you’ll get everything you want; this is not an adversarial business transaction. Plan your strategy beforehand and during negotiations what you really want for price, closing date and contingencies; once you’ve agreed to terms in writing, it becomes difficult to change them. Don’t waive rights that are boilerplate in a contract such as an attorney approval period, home inspection or the sale of your current home, without speaking to an attorney. Keep emotions in check.-Real estate agents. Take the time to find a good one before you start the process to buy or sell a home. Ask friends, family and business associates for agent referrals. Listen carefully to what you hear about their agent experiences. The agent you retain should be a full-time, experienced (at least 3 years in the business) and produces a minimum sales volume for the market in the mid-range. Stay away from friends or family as your agent, I have seen too many agents who manipulate familiar relationships. Ask to see lists of closed buyer and sellers from the last 2 years.-Attorneys. You need one to purchase or sell a home despite the contrary. Search for an experienced legal advisor who specializes in residential real estate law. Your uncle or a friend of a friend who is a lawyer that has a focus in corporate law, might derail a transaction because they have a propensity to litigate and not negotiate.-Home Inspectors. Most states now require home inspectors to be certified or licensed which is good for consumers. Utilize a professional inspector that has been recommended to you by someone who has used them in the last six months. Avoid hiring an inspector your real estate agent uses, they might be a bit too cozy for your unbiased needs. Look for an inspector who looks at the big picture, every home, new or old, has some minor repair issues. You want to investigate the structural integrity and discover any material defects in a home. The best inspectors don’t give advice on negotiating the purchase price based on inspector results or solicit buyers for the work to repair inspection deficiencies.-Mortgage Loan Consultants. Don’t be lured by low teaser rates on mortgages, often their are hefty fees later to close the loan. Look for a major mortgage company that has competitive rates, responsive and organized loan consultants and require your consultant to attend the closing, I’ve seen more mortgage melt-downs at closing than I care to remember.
Real estate investors spend countless hours searching for “hot” properties. Typically, hot real estate properties are those with oceanfront or mountain views, or properties which can be bought and sold quickly.In addition to prime location properties, homes and condominiums located in gated and golf communities are quickly becoming hot real estate markets. As more Baby Boomers reach the age of retirement, they are seeking second homes either for retirement or vacation purposes. Many of them are opting to purchase these homes in activity-based communities geared toward retirees.Perhaps, one of the least known hot real markets is that of sustainable living communities. Homes and condos are manufactured using recycled materials and powered by alternative energy sources including solar panels and windmills. Oftentimes, sustainable living communities are self-contained compounds. Shopping centers, grocery stores, recreational facilities, post offices and even schools are located within the community. Many “green” living communities have their own local government and establish their own laws.Investing in sustainable living real estate offers the potential for a tidy profit later on. Not only is sustainable real estate expected to appreciate, there are many tax credits available to those who purchase energy-efficient homes. These properties make excellent rental properties and attract tenants who are financially stable.If you currently own property in a hot real estate market all you have to do is put your home on the market and watch the offers roll in. Well-maintained homes easily obtain multiple offers, allowing sellers to accept the highest bid. This type of activity creates market conditions that result in rising home prices throughout the area.Although the real estate market is currently cool, there are plenty of deals to be found in hot markets. However, you need to frequently research and review real estate market trends if you want to stay on top of the game. The more you know about how the real estate market works, the better off you will be when it comes time to buy or sell.
Understanding Real Estate WholesalingThe approach of wholesaling houses is one of the most clear-cut and straightforward investing methods out there. It is simply locating a bargain property and passing it on to a bargain hunters. The period it takes from locating a motivated seller to closing is also one of the shortest periods out of all the other niches in real estate investing. Your profit as a wholesaler should be between $5000 and $15,000 on each deal. In some cases it will be more than $15,000 and on some deals your profit may be a less than $5,000.Real Estate investing is an outstanding way to make a living, but before you start wholesaling houses for a living you should take a little time to be trained what it’s all about.Wholesaling has been around for a while, but in recent years it has become more well-known and acceptable – and contrary to what some folks believe, it is completely lawful. And with the right information, insight and contacts it can be a profitable challenge.Don’t be greedy:Probably the most valuable matter that you need to remember as you decide to wholesale is your bargain hunter should get the bulk of the deal! This is crucial since your buyer will be the one to pay for and fix up the property. There has to be enough opportunity in the transaction for your buyer to do this and still hold on to a good amount of cash for cash out and/or equity.This does not mean that you find houses and give them away for $1,000. If you did that, you would be a bird dog, not a wholesaler. Your profit will vary depending on the dwelling, but the better you are at finding deals and putting together offers, the greater your profit will be – while still maintaining an tremendous profit for your buyer.Why don’t buyers find their own deals?On the exterior it could appear as if real estate wholesaling is a little unnecessary. It seems like the buyer could with no trouble locate low-cost deals on his or her own with no need for a middleman. These bargain hunters do seek out deals on their own, but they are not able to uncover all of the terrific deals. The kind of buyers that seek out wholesale deals is usually always on the lookout for more deals, rehabbing them and selling them on the traditional home market.Plus, who wouldn’t leap at a property that’s still presented to them at way under the market value?In Review, real estate wholesaling can be a very straightforward venture for that individual merely starting in real estate. You develop a process for bringing in wholesale leads, develop a buyers list and begin assigning contracts to your buyers. It really is easy once you get the process started.This is your opportunity to sign up for FREE Real Estate Investing Webinar Series. We will uncover the wholesaling business and many other investment strategies. To create real wealth in this crazy real estate market, visit http://www.WholesalePropertyGroup.com
When people think of real estate income, they usually think of the two most popular ways of gaining this: buying/selling and renting. These are very successful methods of gaining income through real estate, but there are other ways that you can get some cash using real estate as your focus:1. Invest in home improvement loansBasically, the premise is that you invest in loans that other people want and are willing to pay a high rate of return on. Sites like Prosper.com, Zopa.com and Lendingclub.com facilitate these loans for relatively small fees.Pros: High rate of return on your investment. Ability to invest smaller amounts of money over a wide range of loans.Cons: Some people might default on the loan. Many lending sites don’t guarantee the money you loan to people and, if they do collect it, charge high fees for the agencies they use.2. Blog about real estateYou can sell ads, review real estate-related products, or use your blog to promote e-books or other online sources of revenue.Pros: It’s just you and your computer – no boss, no co-workers, no cubicles. And you get to write.Cons: You have to write. Not only that, you have to be passionate and original about your blog content. There is also no guarantee that you will get a steady income from blogging – like writing novels, only a few make it to the top.3. Write E-books and sell them on the internetIf you have useful information, E-books are all the rage. With a little research, you can package your knowledge up into a .pdf or other user-friendly format and sell it online.Pros: Relatively easy to produce and package. Sales are automatic and can generate a lot of income if there’s a demand for what you’re selling.Cons: You need to learn about producing and selling E-books and set up your website to reflect this. You need to figure out how to price your E-book so it doesn’t lose you money, but also isn’t too high. You might never make any significant money off of your E-book.4. Start a real estate-related website and sell adsLike the E-book, quality content is what will bring people to your site and keep them coming back. If you’re passionate about real estate and have a lot of good, constantly updated information, you could possibly make money with a good website. It doesn’t have to be about real estate; people looking for homes are also looking for sites about the area they’re considering. If you have special knowledge of the sights, amenities and trends of your city/town, you might have a money making scheme on your hands.Pros: Cheap to start, relatively easy to learn how to make simple web pages.Cons: Takes a long time to get pages co-ordinated. Periodically you’ll need to check links, write new content, etc.5. REITsReal estate investment trusts (REITs) are companies that are held in shares and available for public purchase. A REIT releases dividends to its shareholders through the profits of owning income-producing properties. Check with your financial adviser or stockbroker for more information.Pros: Allows you to invest in stocks that have a steady, proven rate of return.Cons: Can dip like other stocks and end up losing you money if you’ve paid a lot per share.
Business coaches and real estate gurus everywhere have steps, tips, strategies and my personal favorite, pillars to success. All I have is experience and knowledge learned from being at all ends of the success spectrum. I can promise you that not all advice is worth following, and in fact, some is worth forgetting.I am laying out some of the worst advice I have received and the best ways to avoid falling into the pitfalls that I have had to dig out of.1. Money is cheap – so buy, buy, buy!First let me warn you that this is not a strategy for building a truly profitable real estate portfolio. The people giving this advice usually fall in to one of three categories. They have either never bought property, are hopelessly in debt and headed for disaster or they have a financial interest in the properties that you are buying. Today money is extremely cheap and looks to remain that way for the next several quarters. And when the price of money (the rate you are charged to borrow for a mortgage) begins to rise, it will take a monumental rise not seen in 30 years for money to be priced too high for the average investment to be profitable. Mortgage rates continue to be at historic lows, but that is no reason to forget all the fundamentals of real estate investing.If you have properly set a plan to build your real estate portfolio, then follow the plan precisely. Do not deviate from your plan because the cost of money is so cheap. Interest rates or the cost of money should never figure into your final determination of whether to purchase an investment property. Follow the plan as it is written and only buy properties when your portfolio is ready to grow and then only when the property meets all of your criteria such as beds, baths, location and price to value.2. We are in the middle of the worst housing crisis in history – run from real estate – fast!I was at a financial planning conference meeting with several planners about referring their clients to our company and I could not get over the hostile reception I was receiving from those who had never met me. Apparently, my message and input did not quite mesh with that of some of the attendees at the conference. Even though we are in an incredibly difficult housing period, this same crisis has created an unbelievable opportunity for real estate investors who are positioned with a well prepared plan for investing right now. The crisis has created pricing unparalleled in history. Unfortunately, not all financial advisors have heard the news!With the string of financial events that continue to conspire to hold pricing low, many investors are realizing that now is the time to buy and to buy wisely. Many investors are getting education on their local markets and others are becoming more educated on investing from afar. When education is combined with a well thought out plan of action, the results can be an investors dream!3. Homes are selling for half price, Get in Now!!Just as a little exercise, I want you to write down this phrase, “Price does not equal value”! Post that piece of paper wherever you review real estate deals and refer back to it often. It can save you a lot of money as a real estate investor. So often new and experienced investors alike are seduced by great tag lines promoting real estate at rock bottom prices. It is easy to do and I understand the attraction to what appears to be a great deal. But here is what investors have to look at to debunk this myth.First, price is a function of the marketplace and the current conditions. It rarely has anything to do with actual value which is what investors really have to watch when investing. Value is determined in several ways, such as conditions of the neighborhood, outlook for the neighborhood, size & condition of the investment property versus the average property in the neighborhood just to name a few. It is extremely important that an investor does ALL due diligence on a property and its surroundings before purchasing.In real estate investing, as in any business, there are myths that can develop from people who are in the business for all of the wrong reasons. These three myths were all perpetuated by people without the knowledge or long-term plan to help investors succeed and in fact many investors fall into serious trouble when they do not take their time and practice following a defined plan. If you stick with the basics of sound real estate investing, then these myths will not effect your business or your success.
In our line of work, doing consulting for different high net worth real estate investors, we come across all types all types of commercial real estate acquisition strategies.Some commercial real estate investors want to invest in only apartment buildings. Some investors wouldn’t touch apartment building if their life depended upon it because they think, as a whole, apartment buildings are over priced at this point in time.Some commercial real estate investors want to invest in low-income housing. Others wouldn’t touch low income housing with a ten-foot pole, because they don’t want the headaches of collecting the rent and the abuse the property receives.Some commercial real estate investors want to invest only in real estate where there’s an existing tenant to create cashflow. Others would prefer not have an existing tenant because they don’t want to pay the premium for the property.As you can imagine, we could go on and on.What’s fascinating is the seeming contradiction between the different strategies.One investor’s ceiling is another investor’s floor.But after reviewing the detailed business plans of literally hundreds of commercial real estate investors, there IS a common denominator to the strategy for their real estate ambitions.Here it is in a nutshell:First, they have a long-term plan. They are NOT opportunistic, looking at every single deal that crosses their path. They know their exact acquisition strategy. Whatever acquisition strategy they have, it fits into their overall wealth building strategy.Yes, that may be common sense on paper, but in reality most commercial real estate investors, especially new ones, tend to shoe horn in whatever deal they are contemplating into their long-term plans.They first key is that the strategy must drive the acquisitions, not the other way around.That’s why you see some people sell off their entire portfolios of hodge podge properties. It’s a pain in the neck to corral them and so they try to get an unsuspecting person to take the winners and with the losers.The second key strategy is they do their market research. Stated differently, they know the market or area they want to make an acquisition in.It’s common knowledge for instance, that the major retailers know where the best locations are in the country. They just don’t put a store where think it will do well.They put it up where they KNOW it will do well.How do they know? They do their own research. They understand what PRIME retail space is to them based upon their needs down to the traffic patterns, congestion, local merchants and the specific growth areas within a community.Now, some people think market research is ONLY for big companies; that it doesn’t apply to them.If market research is one of the things you have a challenge doing, then you should look at it this way:· Do you want to get the best deal on a piece of real estate?· Do you want to be able to charge the highest amounts for rent or get the best price when it comes time to sell?· Do you want to eliminate the risk of making an inappropriate acquisition?Well, then you should become an expert at doing your research.The third key strategy we’ve noticed is that commercial real estate investors rarely make an outright offer, unless it is a sweetheart deal. They prefer to submit to the seller a document called a Letter of Intent. It’s an informal offer. It’s an offer, which usually carries no penalty to either party if the deal doesn’t go through.The purpose of the letter of intent is to allow the seller time to do specific due diligence on the property in regards to zoning, entitlement, infrastructure, etc. Unlike residential real estate, the commercial real estate market is “buyer beware”.The due diligence process is performed so that the acquisition will allow the buyer to submit a formal offer with full knowledge of what he or she is buying.The fourth key strategy is that they want to understand the math of a deal. Does the deal make sense? Is it doable?You can execute the other three strategies flawlessly, but if the math won’t work, you’ll make a huge blunder.There are dozens of different strategies for commercial real estate. Obviously, one size does not fit all. But hopefully, implementing these four acquisition strategies can make a profound difference in your commercial real estate wealth building success.
If you’re preparing to sell your real estate property – especially residential property – it’s important to make sure that the space is ready to be viewed by potential buyers. The look of the home on the exterior is important because potential buyers will immediately judge the curb-appeal of the property. An ugly home on the outside has little chance of surviving the scrutiny of a picky home buyer.The judgment of course doesn’t stop at the foyer. The interior of your home carries as much burden with a purchase as the exterior and if you don’t prep the inside of your real estate properly you could be sabotaging yourself. If you’re not certain what to do to prepare your home for sale there are a few different things you can do – with the most obvious being a consult with a real estate agent; they can typically give you tips on how to prep your home for sale.Likewise, you can put yourself in the position of the buyer and walk around your home with a pen and paper. Look at things that might stand out; your home needs to appeal to a range of buyers so you need to be actively “marketing” your home, and the idea of living in it. To prep for a real estate walkthrough you need to stop thinking of your home like a home and start thinking of it like a house.Reset the Real EstateYou’ve likely make your home comfortable and “yours” while living there. This means people go for personalized colors, faux finishes, custom hardware and drapes, etc. The things you’ve done to your home that are luxuries in order to make them more comfortable may not appeal to buyers. Reset your home to something more basic – paint over faux finishes, put fresh coats of white and turn the home into a blank canvas.De-personalize your Real EstateWhen a buyer enters your home to review the real estate and see if it’s a good fit, they are mentally sizing up each room to see if it fits their needs. They are mentally imprinting their family and their possessions into your home. If the home is cluttered with tiger print furniture, strange curtains, knickknacks everywhere and photos covering the walls then they’ll have a hard time picturing the space as home. If it’s not essential, take it down and put it away.While you want to show buyers that your real estate and your home are easy to personalize, you need to make it warm and inviting, giving them the opportunity to picture themselves in the living space. Distractions such as excessive furniture, personal items and custom paint or wall finishes can turn away buyers extremely fast. If you’re overwhelmed by the items in your home and can’t seem to make a focused checklist then talk to a real estate agent – they’ve dealt with situations like yours many a time over and can give you direction on where to start to prep your home for sale.
The easiest way to make money in real estate is with emerging market real estate investing. With this type of investing you buy in a market that is about to start appreciating and you hold the property until it comes time to sell. It’s very simple, you make your money off the appreciation of the home (and hopefully some cash flow as well).Let me go into a little more detail. To begin with you need to identify the proper market for emerging market real estate investing. You do this with real estate timing. You analyze real estate markets to see which ones are going up and which ones are going down. That’s no easy trick. The best way to do that is with a service that provides you the tools you need to do it. You want to analyze different markets and choose the ones that have the criteria you are looking for. Good criteria are things like solid population growth, strong employment or a desirable location. Maybe a new industry is coming to the area that is going to fuel a population boom. Maybe it’s a “newly found” resort destination.Once you identify the general area, with the proper real estate timing, you need to find where in the location you want to buy your real estate investments. Every city, town, large metropolis, etc. has more desirable locations and less desirable locations. Obviously the more desirable locations will cost more to buy than the less desirable locations. If you buy in the best area you are going to pay the highest price and will have a whole lot harder time making it cash flow. If you buy in the less desirable areas it’s easier to cash flow but the homes won’t appreciate as well when the market takes off.I’ve found it’s better to invest in the up and coming neighborhoods, they aren’t as expensive yet but are starting to become more desirable. Up and coming neighborhoods have good amenities but may not be as well established as the most desirable areas. What types of amenities are we talking about? It depends on who is going to live in the area. If it’s young professionals you’ll want close proximity to restaurants, nightclubs and other entertainment. These people like to get out and do stuff. If it’s a family-oriented area you want good schools, playgrounds, parks and low crime.Let’s review the steps so far:1. We want to choose our emerging market for our real estate investing – we do this with real estate timing
2. Through real estate market analysis we choose the real estate market we want to invest in
3. We decide where in the market we want to invest – it’s best to focus on up and coming neighborhoodsThe next step is to select a property to buy. Most people think that emerging market real estate investing means you have to pay full price for a property in a rapidly appreciating market and carry massive negative cash flow. NOT TRUE! True emerging market investing means you buy BEFORE the market takes off. You are buying when most people are selling and the market is down but about to turn. This means that there are LOTS of deals out there. You don’t want to pay full price – you want a deal. Make multiple offers on multiple properties and negotiate strongly. It’s a buyer’s market. Not only that but you also want to look for value options. Value options are things like the only home in the neighborhood without a garage, but you can build one. The kitchen and baths haven’t been updated in 30 years – so it’s time to remodel. The house is ugly and has no curb appeal – nothing that a landscaper can’t fix. In a down market most people won’t put money in home improvements because the return isn’t there. But if you buy at the end of a down market and put money in improvements you are going to see a return when the market shifts. Remember in emerging market real estate investing you want to focus on buying deals.
The use of Halloween décor to help a retail store present a new and compelling message to customers is a new trend in retail management. A real estate attorney can help in the legal aspects of this arrangement to help retailers in specific retail management programs. These kinds of Halloween décor stores need special kinds of lease contracts, which only an experienced real estate attorney can devise.Pop-up stores are one important innovation in retail management that takes advantage of vacancies in store space that is haunting department store owners. These pop-up stores are temporary in nature and can fill gaps in retail vacancies so common in department store owners. They are used to test new markets or new concepts in product promotion and also to increase the customer loyalty for certain brands. An example of this is the Toys “R”Us, which was used extensively in last year’s holidays.Pop-up stores are temporary stores. These stores are allowed by department store owners for as long as they fulfill certain requirements. The nature of these stores greatly simplifies the negotiation between the department store owners and the store lessees. The landlord and real estate attorney like this because it is based on performance rather than on time. If there is a breach of the agreement, the landlord may easily evict the pop-up store.One example of this is the Halloween Store, which was opened as a carefully planned pop-up store in the holiday season. In designing this pop-up store, careful steps were made to ensure that the signage for the store did not end up as an issue in the store management. The use of branding was often done by retailers in their establishment of pop-up stores. Through these pop-up stores, they want customers to develop store loyalty by continuous patronage. The retailers of these pop-up stores want to continue operating these stores even after the holidays and therefore they are aiming for long term renting of the place. This will call for a review of the signage clause embedded in retail lease contracts.Pop-up stores are located in vacant places, therefore, the store owner should find out how long the space has been vacant. Many pop-up stores are leased in the property on a “as is” basis. Therefore, care should be taken that this will jibe with the licenses and permits to operate within the premises. Unless this is ensured, the store owner may find out, after substantial investment in merchandise and employee training, that the premises cannot be used as intended. This is because of numerous clauses in the contract that limits the use of the premises to certain areas only. These clauses should be carefully reviewed that it does not conflict with what the leaser intends to use the premises for and that it does not conflict with all local ordinances.Planning ahead is the key to the successful management of a pop-up store. Planning ahead makes it possible for the tenant and a real estate attorney to prepare the lease for the property for a longer term if that is what he wishes. He should make arrangements to stay in the space while a longer term lease is being negotiated. It is not economically feasible for a tenant to keep a long term possession of a store under a license agreement. It is always best to negotiate for a formal lease agreement if the tenant wishes to stay beyond the short term lease of a pop-up store establishment.Always consult a real estate attorney who has an extensive experience in the structuring of a license agreement and the leasing of store space both for the landlords and the tenants. Find out their recommendations as they write these in their blogs and investigate whether these recommendations are suitable to your situation.