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What’s the 2018 Tax Law Mean for Real Estate in Tehachapi?

What’s the 2018 Tax Law Mean for Real Estate in Tehachapi?

NAR (National Association of REALTORS®) is projecting a 1-3% growth in home values in 2018 but says that in areas with higher housing costs there could actually be a decline in value.  Why is that?

The new tax law limits the state (and local) income tax and property tax deductions to $10,000 total.  That will definitely have a big impact in higher property value areas.  For example, a property valued at about $800,000 could expect to pay about $10,000 in property taxes leaving no “room” for a state and local income tax deduction.

There are also changes in the amount of mortgage interest that can be deducted, but for loans originated before the end of 2017 and closed before April 1, 2018, they get a pass.  Again, these changes generally affect higher property values.

Want more info?  This article from Market Watch has more details and a nifty calculator at the end that can give you an idea of your 2017 tax hit.  Check it out.

Want to talk about the strategy that might be best for you when it comes to buying or selling a home?  Email me at or call/text me at 661-375-7325.

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Green Homes Are Different

Tehachapi Homeowners Go Green

Thinking about a green home in Tehachapi?  No, I’m not talking about the exterior color, although we do seem to have a number of green-colored homes in the area.  I wonder if that’s the result of subliminal advertising on the part of the homeowner?  Does a green-colored exterior indicate the interior is more energy efficient than a tan-colored exterior?  But, I digress.

How “green” does a home have to be to qualify for that description?  The house that uses a composting toilet, solar panels and/or wind turbine, Energy Star® appliances is not going to get an argument from anyone.  What about a larger home that uses low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, fabrics for drapes, and carpets to avoid the typical out-gassing?  Any of these options is definitely headed in the right direction.

Going green in the home covers a lot of territory.  The truth is that anything you do to make your home more green will probably benefit you and the environment.  In addition to the above examples, consider even more simple things like switching to CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) from incandescents, conserving water by running full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine, and turning off lights that aren’t being used.

When you are purchasing a home consider investigating a green loan.  Ask your lender about an FHA energy-efficient mortgage.  That can allow you to finance the cost of energy-efficient  improvements along with the purchase of your home.  Potentially a great way to reap long-term savings in energy costs as well as altering the house to suit your lifestyle.

Whether you are planning on energy upgrades as part of moving into a new home, or in your existing home, don’t forget that there are tax credits available for energy efficient improvements this year.  Consult your tax professional for more information.

What are some ways that you have employed to make your home more green?  Share your thoughts down below.  We’re always happy to hear from you!

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Real Estate News Roundup

What will the new consumer protection bureau do for home buyers? Part of the financial reform bill signed into law by President Obama includes the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which plans to write new rules and monitor problems and abuses in areas such as residential real estate settlements, credit scores, “truth in lending,” and equal credit opportunity.

Is setting up yet another bureaucratic agency really going to provide any significant benefit to consumers?  Well, it may be a way to finally get rid of the poorly thought out and implemented Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) rules imposed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2009.  HVCC is responsible for many of the late and undervalued appraisals we have been seeing since it’s implementation.

The new Bureau will include a hotline that will allow aggrieved mortgage borrowers and others to issue complaints and alert the Bureau to unfair and deceptive practices.  Does that make you feel more protected?

It will also include rules requiring mortgage loan officers to verify mortgage applicants possess the ability to repay the loans they’re seeking.   Is this different from making sure that a mortgage loan applicant is qualified to get the loan?  Isn’t this already part and parcel of the mortgage application?

Does this new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau really offer any benefit beyond getting rid of HVCC or is it just another bureaucratic agency that will slow down transactions while providing more government jobs to staff the Bureau?  Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment.  For more on this story check out this article.

California Home Buyers Tax Break funds are low or gone. Did you know that California had to build a new computer system to handle the faxed applications for the home buyers’ tax credit?  You may recall that the tax credit was available for first time home buyers or for new home buyers in two separate blocks of $100 million.  If you missed it the first time, you can get the scoop here.

The Franchise Tax Board is allowing people to submit applications for the first time home buyer tax credit even though they reported having allocated all the available funds by the end of June.  They claim they are continuing to accept applications  because they want to make sure that they really use all the funds available and don’t have leftover funds as a result of duplicated, incorrect or incomplete applications.

I wonder how much the new computer system cost on top of the $200 million in tax credits we are giving these first time home buyers?  You can read more about this here, but please share your thoughts below.

Home ownership rates are down. CNN reports that home ownership rates are lower in the second quarter of 2010 than they were a year ago.  In fact the rate is the lowest it’s been since 2009.  What do you think accounts for that?  could it be all the foreclosures?  Despite the fact that home ownership is down among individuals, it’s rising among investors.

What do you think is responsible for the decline?  Are foreclosures the result of bad underwriting for loans, loss of jobs, a combination of both?

Agents for buyers rate higher. Home buyers rate real estate agents higher than home sellers this year as compared to last year, according to a national consumer satisfaction study released last week by a leading marketing information company.  Moreover, home buyers were more satisfied with their real estate experience in 2010 than they were in 2009.  On a 1000 point scale, home buyers on average ranked their experience at 803 points in 2010.

It doesn’t seem much of a surprise that home sellers were less satisfied.  It is more difficult to be on the selling end lately when every buyer seems to be looking for a bargain.

To read the full story, please click here.

What are your thoughts?  Comment on this story and let us know what you think.

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Why Rent When You Can Buy?

I still believe that owning a home is among the best things one can do for themselves and their families.  There are many good reasons to buy a home rather than renting.

Tax deductions Lets start with the fact that you still get a whopping big tax deduction for owning a home.  You don’t get that for renting.

Customize to your heart’s content. How do you think the landlord will feel when you hang a 61″ television off the wall in that rental?  And by the way, the $100 wall bracket you bought for that purpose has become a “fixture” and now belongs to the landlord and not to you.

Always wanted a window seat in the bedroom?  Your landlord is not likely to take kindly to you reshaping the entire building.

What if you want to install some wood wainscoting in the room you use for a library?  Again, the landlord may not agree.  Then again, maybe he will since, like the TV wall bracket, that new wainscoting belongs to the landlord when you move out.

Neighborhood? What are the two most important criteria in choosing a place to live?  School ratings and crime statistics top the list.  The best schools and the lowest crime are usually found in neighborhoods that are primarily owner-occupied.  Doesn’t your family deserve to live in the best areas?

Monthly cost. Currently, there are many houses available for purchase that could cost you less than your monthly rent.  Doesn’t that sound appealing?

For more on these and other reasons to buy a house today, check out this article.

For more information on how a home purchase might fit into your plans and budget, contact me.

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