One of the most in-demand Marketing and Customer ExperienceKeynote Speakers in the world today, David Avrin, CSP is known as The Visibility Coach. With a surprisingly irreverent and entertaining style, David delivers a profoundly insightful and hard-hitting message to business audience across North America and around the world.
His message and timely lessons on competitive advantage have been enthusiastically received by audiences in: Singapore, Bangkok, Antwerp, Buenos Aires, Sri Lanka, Brisbane, Johannesburg, Manila, Bangalore, Rotterdam, Glasgow, Toronto, Monte Carlo, Melbourne, London, Aukland, Barcelona and Dubai.
CHECK OUT Last weeks episode: Dr. Bridget Cooper – Stop living Small! “Improve your confidence by improving your thoughts”
As 2018 dawns, there’s no question the real estate market is, well, a little crazy. Home values are surging, money is relatively cheap, and inventory is tighter than tight.
That’s all downright welcome news for owners who’ve been considering remodeling.
“Remodeling remains a very attractive option to increase your home’s value,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com®. And that can be a smart move whether you’re prepping your place for sale, or giving it a refresh for the long haul.
“The big variable here is location,” says Vivas. “If you’re happy with your neighborhood and your place has some value, there’s an advantage over trying to move—because there may not be somewhere else for you to move to in your price range, or you may have to make a bigger cost jump than you would if you were simply remodeling.”
Still wondering whether to grab a sledgehammer and get swinging? Here’s the thing: The longer you wait, the more expensive renovating or remodeling gets. If you’ve been on the fence, this may be the year to get off it. Better yet, rebuild it! Here’s why you should get moving now.
1. You (likely) have more cash
Consumer confidence is high, unemployment is low, and incomes are growing—which means you likely have more money in your pocket. Plus, if you’re a homeowner, chances are good that your home equity has increased along with skyrocketing home prices over the past few years.
So when it comes to spending cash on all those get-to-it-later home projects, you’re probably in good standing.
In fact, the remodeling market is expected to grow 7% this year, says Robert Dietz, chief economist with the National Association of Home Builders.
“This market should be sustained by the fact that homeowners are remaining in their homes longer,” Dietz says.
2. Interest rates for building loans are low
Interest rates for home equity lines of credit—which offer a flexible way of obtaining funds to pay for things such as home improvements—are still historically low. And even though interest paid on HELOCs is no longer deductible under the new tax reform legislation, experts say the building loans remain a good deal.
“Interest rates are still quite friendly but will likely go up this year—and lenders are competing for loan business,” says Tom Miller, president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, who also owns a remodeling company in the Pacific Northwest.
Simply put: Take advantage of those low rates now before more increases hit.
3. It could be cheaper than buying a new home
If you live in a high-cost metro area and already have a foothold in the real estate market, remodeling your existing place could be cheaper than buying a new one. Maybe a lot cheaper (unless, of course, you were planning on downsizing).
There are a lot of factors to consider, however: How much equity you have in your place, what your current mortgage rate is, and whether major renovations are even feasible. But experts agree that, in many cases, the current seller’s market makes renovating a more palatable option than buying.
“We think remodeling will be a major trend in 2018, because we’ve seen prices grow so much that a lot of potential buyers are being priced out of their own markets,” Vivas says. “And that’s where you see a turn toward giving up on trading up and buying again and considering other options like renovating.”
This is especially true in expensive markets such as New York and California. Plus, these high-cost areas are expected to feel the heaviest burden of the tax reform provisions that limit mortgage interest deductions and eliminate the deduction for state and local property taxes.
“Some of the tax benefits linked with purchasing will be sidelined or diluted,” Dietz says.
4. Costs will go up the longer you wait
The construction industry is facing a major shortage of skilled laborers and rising materials costs, and there’s little indication this trend will reverse anytime in the future. This higher demand translates into higher pay scales for available, qualified workers—and those costs ultimately get passed along to you, the consumer. The situation is expected to get worse over time.
“Labor costs will continue to escalate as remodelers pay up to get and keep construction trades on the jobs,” says Fred Ulreich, chief executive officer of the NARI.
Furthermore, the multibillion-dollar cleanups of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma drove materials prices even higher—and the effects are expected to last into 2018. The NARI predicts materials costs will rise about 5% this year, especially for supplies such as lumber, drywall, and concrete.
What’s more? Labor shortages will not be resolved overnight, Miller says. For the would-be remodeler, that means your costs will likely go up the longer you wait.
“There are no signs that remodeling demand or costs will taper off over the next several years, but will continue to rise,” Miller says. “Holding off on a project—if you can find a reputable remodeler available now— will only cost you more next year.”
Based in San Diego, Holly Amaya is a writer, lawyer, and communications strategist. She writes about real estate, legal, lifestyle, motherhood, and career issues.
The tax code is changing for 2018, and it’s going to impact property owners across the country.
Compliments David Hill Keller Williams Realty
Like it or not, tax reform will soon officially be upon us. And while countless Americans will be impacted by the new laws, both for better and for worse, homeowners in particular will see a number of key changes take effect in the very near future. If you own property, here’s what you can expect.
1. The property tax deduction will be capped at $10,000
Homeowners in states with high taxes like New York, New Jersey, and California have, up until now, gotten a bit of a break in the form of the SALT (state and local tax) deduction. Under the current law, you’re allowed to write off the total amount you pay in state income and local property taxes, but under the new law, that deduction will be limited to $10,000 total. Given that more than 4 million Americans pay over $10,000 a year in property taxes alone, that’s a pretty harsh blow for those whose deductions will be slashed going forward.
IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.
There is, however, one thing you can do to ever so slightly ease the pain. If your town allows, you can look into prepaying your 2018 property taxes, or a portion thereof, before 2017 comes to a close. This will allow you to eke out some additional tax savings before the $10,000 SALT cap takes effect. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t apply the same strategy to your state income taxes — the new bill prohibits prepayments there.
2. The mortgage interest deduction will be limited to $750,000 loans
The mortgage interest deduction has long been a huge money-saver for homeowners, and it still will be, but to a lesser extent. While homeowners could, up until now, deduct interest on a home loan of up to $1 million, that cap will be lowered to $750,000 come 2018. Now if you have an existing mortgage, you don’t need to worry about this change, but if you’re applying for a new home loan in 2018, you should know about the impending cap.
One thing to note about this reduction, however, is that it’s not all that bad in the grand scheme of what could’ve been. Legislators have long been campaigning to eliminate or slash the mortgage interest deduction since it’s been said to grossly favor the rich. And to some extent, that’s true.
Remember, the value of a tax deduction lies in your effective tax rate. The higher your rate, the more valuable a deduction becomes. So in this regard, one can argue that the wealthy derive greater benefits from all deductions, not just the mortgage interest deduction. However, since those with more money are also the most likely to swing higher mortgages, it’s been said that this particular deduction is notably skewed. However, in some areas of the country, middle earners have no choice but to stretch their budgets to buy properties at inflated prices — so it’s not just the rich who could lose out with this cap.
3. Interest on home equity loans will no longer be deductible
Home equity loans have long served as a key source of financing for homeowners, and up until now, homeowners could deduct interest on loans worth up to $100,000. Under the new tax changes, however, this provision is going away and home equity loan interest will no longer be deductible at all. Furthermore, whereas homeowners with existing mortgages are grandfathered into the old laws, home equity loan holders don’t get that same leeway. This means that if you have a home equity loan and were counting on writing off its interest next year, you’d better think again.
While some homeowners won’t be impacted by the upcoming tax changes, countless Americans do stand to lose out on some key tax-saving opportunities. If you’re one of them, then it pays to be strategic about your 2018 taxes and look into other ways to save going forward. This could mean being smart about selling investments or capitalizing on other deductions that won’t get altered under the new rules. For better or worse, the tax system is going to change before our eyes, and the best thing you can do as a homeowner is learn to roll with the punches.
The $6,318 tax bonus millions of Americans completely overlook
Taxes can be confusing and downright miserable. But a handful of “tax tricks” could help millions of Americans save thousands of dollars. That’s free money you could be leaving on the table. For example: the IRS believes that a full 20% of eligible Americans miss out on a tax break worth up to $6,318… each year!
David Hill Keller Williams Realty Central Mass 774-314-1107
Worcester and Westborough 508-365-3576
Major Tax Reform 2018. What you need to know.
As you are likely already aware, major tax reform was just approved. With so many changes, particularly to portions of the code affecting real estate, we at HTA Homes at HergGroup wanted to help educate our friends and clients on what changes were made and how we expect these changes to impact the real estate market in 2018 and beyond. There were essentially three changes that will have some amount of impact on real estate costs:
1. SALT Deduction
Previously, taxpayers were able to deduct state and local property and income taxes from their Federal tax return. This still remains the case but is now limited to a cap of $10,000. It seems this will primarily impact high-income individuals or those with more expensive homes (and higher property taxes). However, this should be largely offset by the decreased tax rates considering that five of the seven tax brackets will have lower tax rates going forward.
2. Mortgage Interest Deduction
The mortgage interest deduction is now limited only to the interest on a loan of up to $750,000 (formerly $1M). This does not apply to existing mortgages, however. Considering the vast majority of homebuyers do not have a loan greater than $750,000, this change will have less impact. Note that home price has no bearing on this, so homebuyers purchasing a home with value greater than $750,000 will not be impacted by this change as long as their mortgage is less than $750,000. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that only 1.9% of mortgage originations from 2013 to 2015 exceeded $750,000 in value.
3. Increase in Standard Deduction
A potentially more significant impact on how homeowners file taxes is the increase in the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for joint filers.Therefore, some homeowners might find that their standard deduction provides more tax savings than itemizing their mortgage interest, state/local taxes, retirement savings, student loans and charitable contributions. However, according to the IRS, approximately 30% of taxpayers nationwide currently itemize their deductions. And of that 30%, a significant portion will still find that itemizing deductions is advantageous even under the new tax plan. As such, while the standard deduction increase will certainly eliminate the need for many people to itemize, the number of people directly impacted is just a fraction of the population.
Two more important things to note:
1. Capital Gains Exclusion for Homeowners
At one point, Congress was considering requiring homeowners to stay in their primary home for at least five out of eight years to claim the capital gains exemption. That was struck down and remains at just two out of five years. Although rarely mentioned, this can be a huge win for homeowners in our opinion as the tax reform will still allow a homeowner to sell their principal residence after just two years and exclude up to $500,000 in capital gains for joint filers (or $250,000 for single filers). Considering non-real estate investments such as stocks and mutual funds will still be subject to capital gains taxes (typically 15% for an investment held for more than a year), purchasing instead of renting still remains a solid long-term investment as the tax savings on the future home sale may be substantial.
2. Investment properties
Individuals looking to purchase investment properties have a lot to like with the new tax plan. The limitations on property tax and mortgage interest deductions do not apply to investment properties as investors can still use those expenses when calculating their net rental income or their basis for capital gains (thereby reducing the amount of tax they pay). Furthermore, the new plan provides some additional deductions for passthrough real-estate holding businesses.
In summary, there is no question that the tax plan will change how many homeowners file their taxes and change the math on the true costs of homeownership for some. But, it is our opinion, that the impact, if any, will be reduced and shorter term. Considering most of the region is still a strong seller’s market (i.e.. less than three or four months of supply), these tax changes may help swing some areas toward a more balanced market between buyers and sellers but it’s unlikely to have a dramatic impact. It’s also possible there will be no impact on the real estate market as most taxpayers will see a reduced tax burden and, therefore, more purchasing power which the GOP is hoping will compensate for the deduction changes. Regardless of how the tax math shakes out, we should keep in mind that there are many more benefits to purchasing a home than just tax savings, to include control and stability of ones own home, pride of homeownership, and long-term investment, to name a few.
Ask a Millennial: Are Podcasts the New Radio?
by Leslie Fowle – Communications/Digital Engagement Coordinator | Jan 02, 2018
I subscribe to a plethora of podcasts that range in topic and tone: From a makeup and skincare podcast, to one based out of Maine about hunting and fishing—I’ll pretty much subscribe to anything and anyone who can tell a good story, teach me something I didn’t know, and keep me interested.
Maintaining interest, of course, is often the bane of marketers who are trying to reach—and keep—millennials. In this oversaturated media market, podcasts can be a solution to marketers who want to reach those millennials who are curating their own news and entertainment and avoiding traditional advertising channels.
Obviously, podcasts aren’t just reaching millennials. According to a new study from Edison Research, 40 percent of Americans over the age of 12 have listened to a podcast. Another 24 percent reported that they had listened to a podcast in the last month, which is a number that has risen from 21 percent a year ago. The researchers suggest that the increasing popularity of “smart speakers” like the Amazon Echo and Google Home could bring even more audio content like podcasts into the homes of Americans.
But is starting a podcast a worthwhile endeavor for the average Realtor®?
“To be honest, it’s a ton of work,” said David Hill, Realtor® at Keller Williams Realty in Westborough and host of the Path to Mastery podcast. “In the beginning, I did everything myself—the artwork, everything. I spent 50 hours a week learning to use
the software to record and edit. I’m glad I did it to an extent, but once I realized I could pay other people to do it I was thankful. Recording a weekly podcast is a huge commitment.”
If you are ready for the commitment, Hill recommends skipping the learning curve it took
him to do everything himself and hire professionals to edit your recordings and upload them to a podcast hosting service like Libsyn. The hosting service can then feed your podcast to iTunes, Soundcloud, and other platforms where you want it to appear.
Nobu Hata, Director of Member Engagement at the National Association of Realtors®, recommends even taking a step backward and testing whether your potential podcast could attract an audience before making the investment.
“If I wanted to capitalize on podcasts [as a Realtor®], I would first research my client list to see if any of them are podcast wonks,” said Hata. “Then, I would start sharing my favorite podcasts with clients to stay top of mind—home improvement podcasts for example. If there was sufficient momentum—high click throughs—starting my own
podcast might be worth it. Using something like Zencastr.com is a simple way to record compelling content with people. Emailing the recording to the aforementioned clients and posting them on a personal site would be a great way to deploy them. Platforms like iTunes can come later.”
After recording nearly 100 episodes for Path to Mastery, Hill emphasized the importance of listening skills once your podcast is underway and you host your first guest.
“I always sit there with two notebooks and a sharpie during an interview, taking down notes of what the guest says,” said Hill. “That way, I can bring back the conversation to a point they made earlier, while allowing myself to listen to their entire statement. Listening goes a long way. And you’ll get better at it the more you practice.”
Starting a podcast does require a little bit of technical investment up front to get the proper equipment. Still, an experimental first-timer can get by with a bare bones approach without spending more than a few hundred dollars. Hill recommends at least investing in a good microphone, a Skype subscription, and a good internet connection.
Sidebar – David Hill’s Equipment Reccommendations for Starting a Podcast
TR 2100 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
Good internet connection – Ethernet
Guest needs a good microphone and internet connection
However, an eager podcaster could have all the fancy equipment in the world and still find there’s a missing ingredient.
“The average podcast ends after 10 episodes,” said Hill. “You need to have the passion. There are some weeks you won’t feel like it—you won’t feel like doing that interview. But if you have the passion, you will pull through.”
Podcast Recommendations for Realtors®
NAR’s Center for Realtor® Development
Growth on the Go – Presented by RACM
Wright Brothers Podcast
Unlisted with Brad Inman
Selling!! with Toby Salgado
Marketing Genius with Seth Price
Path to Mastery with David I. Hill
Link to Article https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/160be22a64ca3f88
Nobu Hata – Director of Member Engagement NAR
National Association of Realtors. Member Services and Engagement
“When everyone is doing the same thing, doing something different stands up!” Nobu
“The biggest challenge with Real Estate right now is that most consumers believe that they can hire any Real Estate agent and get the same experience.”
An industry veteran since 1996, Nobu is a student of marketing, communications trends, social media, and technology in the real estate industry having implemented and adapted various new school techniques to a successful brick and mortar business. Now the National Association of REALTORS’ Director of Member Engagement, Nobu brings insight and context of agent, brokerage and association issues up the national pipeline and delivers value-added information down, both in-person and online.
CHECK OUT A PAST EPISODE with Pat Hiban of Real Estate Rockstars Podcast discussing changes to the Real Estate Market.
There are many qualities and skills that go into being an excellent real estate professional – integrity, in-depth community and market knowledge, marketing savvy, effective negotiation skills and a high-quality professional network, all of which are hallmarks of how I work.
That said, in my experience as a South Easton real estate professional, I’ve also found that providing the very best service is essentially about putting my clients first. This means keeping myself accessible, being a good listener as well as a good communicator, and responding quickly to your needs.
Patrick Hiban, also known as Pat Hiban, is a top producing real estate agent and owner of the Pat Hiban Group with Keller Williams based out of the Baltimore MD area. Hiban was awarded #1 Keller Williams Realty Agent in units sold nationwide 2006. Wikipedia
CHECK OUT A PAST EPISODE – Abe Shreve – MAPS Mastery Coach on Mindset and setting yourself up for Success