Author Archive

Reminder: Change Your Clock Change Your Battery

Written by jordan on . Posted in Blog

(NAPS)—Surprising to many  Americans is the fact that 25 million homes are at needless risk due to worn or missing smoke detectors, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Though 96 percent of American homes have smoke alarms, 19 percent do not have at least one smoke alarm that works, mostly due to dead or missing batteries. This is just one reason why the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Energizer remind families to keep safe this fall by changing the batteries in their smoke alarms when they change their clocks back from daylight saving time.

In 2008, the day to set your clocks back and change the batteries in your smoke detectors is November 2.

The Change Your Clock Change Your Battery® message also reminds families to change the batteries in their carbon monoxide detectors and their emergency flashlights so they are prepared in case a severe winter storm causes a power outage in their home.

California Tax Punishes Energy Savers

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by Fred Foldvary

Californians who seek to avoid paying $4 per gallon for gasoline by switching to grease or vegetable oil are being subjected to a rude shock. The state’s taxes and regulations on fuel apply just as much to the do-it-yourself guy as a global corporation. A news story in the May 8, 2008, Los Angeles Times told how a mechanic who uses fuel made of fryer grease was hit with fines, paperwork, and taxes.

The mechanic was told that he needs a diesel fuel supplier’s license and has to pay the state’s 18-cent road tax on each gallon of grease. This fuel entrepreneur also needs a license from the state’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Branch to take kitchen grease from restaurants. The state has also forced him to carry $1 million in liability insurance, and he needs a permit from the state Air Resources Board to burn fat.

The state also restricts the “grey market” for cars—vehicles that Californians buy in Europe and then must be registered in California. The state requires the cars to be tested at licensed labs, but there are very few such labs. Foreign cars that run on diesel and that could also use clean and cheap vegetable oil are thus discouraged.

Property Management: Retaining Residents by Building a Sense of Community

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Published: September 29, 2008

By Daniel Babka, president, Rental Marketing Success

The top amenity desired by residents (according to recent studies by the National Multi-Housing Council and the National Apartment Association) isn’t a granite counter-top, six-panel doors and crown molding.  It’s a sense of community: a feeling of belonging that cuts across luxury, A, B and C-grade properties.

Yet once they sign that lease and plunk their money on the desk, most of those residents will fade into the woodwork and become background music.  The smile they saw when you first greeted them, has been replaced with a blank stare or a glance in their direction that suggests you see them now as more of an interruption to the paperwork, than a valued client or resident.

Sand and water will forever run through your hands, just like residents will.  And attrition happens. Great businesses lose good customers through no fault of their own. That’s why all your employees need to understand that “marketing is your business.” Shrinkage happens when you don’t market. According to the latest surveys by SatisFacts Research, 65% to 70% or more of your existing residents will move from your property each year, while the cost of replacing them continues to grow more expensive (averaging close to $3,000 a turnover, including maintenance and lost rent).

Research tells us that the cost of attracting a new customer/resident is roughly seven times what you’ll spend retaining an existing one.  Much of what happens on your property, from a budget and expense point-of-view, is beyond your control with utility costs, taxes, supplies and most vendor costs rising right along with the price of oil. At $145 a barrel, that affects plastic, the costs of carpeting, service calls, labor —you name it.  You can’t control the local economy and job market or the direction and desirability of the neighborhood.  So what can you control?

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The Fine Points of New Housing Legislation

Written by jordan on . Posted in Blog

Source: Albuquerque Journal
Publication date: August 25, 2008
By Your Taxes JAMES HAMILL For the Journal

The recently signed housing legislation, designed primarily to help with the troubled mortgage markets, includes several other provisions that may affect a broad range of homeowners.

First, a new tax credit will apply to “first-time homebuyers.” The credit is the lesser of $7,500 or 10 percent of the purchase price of a principal residence. The credit applies only to homes purchased between April 8, 2008 and June 30, 2009.

“Purchase” means an actual closing, not just a contract to buy.

If the home is purchased in the first 6 months of 2009, you may elect to treat it as purchased by Dec. 31, 2008, so the credit is available on your 2008 tax return.

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Motivated Management

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by Brian Gordon

Let’s face it; Property Management is not enthralling to all.  It was obvious prior to getting into the profession, but I cannot remember a time where I naively glamorized property management as sitting back and collecting rents each month.  I know of no children who dream of one day growing up to be on call 24 hours a day, trying to desperately collect rent each month, and the desire to have the frustration of daily building maintenance and cleanliness.  It just doesn’t happen.  Thus it is a basic fundamental in property management to ensure you are always motivated about management.

As your time becomes less and the daylight hours dwindle, it is important to always keep your composure.  Tenants will always be insistent and as a professional manager you must realize how to effectively handle situations.

Crisis situations will prove the professional demeanor and effective organization of your property manager.  Handle all complaints or concerns with self-control; never get frustrated and irrational.

Housing Trust Fund Not Expected to Help Low-Income Housing Until 2010

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From Multi-Housing News

By Anuradha Kher, Online News Editor

Washington, D.C.–The national Housing Trust Fund is the first new federal rental housing production to specifically assist the lowest income households in the U.S. since 1974. Included in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 that was signed into law a few weeks earlier, the fund is not expected help in construction of new affordable housing units until 2010.

“The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has 12 months to promulgate and allocate the funds, after which they have 60 days to allocate the funds to states,” Linda Couch, deputy director of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), which led the National Housing Trust Fund campaign, tells MHN. “In the first year, which is 2009, 100 percent of the funds will go to the Hope for Homeownership program, which is the mortgage foreclosure prevention provision of the Recovery Act.

“The second year, 50 percent will go to Hope for Homeownership and in the third year, 25 percent will go to Hope for Homeownership. So we don’t expect to see any money flowing for low-income housing and rehabilitation until 2010,” says Couch.

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HELPING HAND: LEGAL QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

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By Victor Hairapetian, Attorney

Question to Victor: A 60 day notice that I served ends on the 15th of the month, I know I am only suppose to receive 15 days, but the tenant paid the whole month, what should I do?
Victor’s Advice: This is an area that most landlords easily confuse.

US foreclosure filings more than double in 2Q

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Taken from Forbes
By J.W. ELPHINSTONE
NEW YORK –

The number of households facing the foreclosure process more than doubled in the second quarter compared to a year ago, according to data released Friday.

Nationwide, 739,714 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice during the quarter, or one in every 171 U.S. households, Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac Inc. said. That’s up 121 percent from the second quarter of 2007.

The Latest on Vacation Homes and Section 1031

Written by jordan on . Posted in Blog

I have a vacation property at Lake Tahoe that I’ve owned for several years. My kids have grown and aren’t interested in going there for vacation. Also, I’ve been too busy with my business to get up there much over the past few years. So I think that it’s time to sell it, but I have not placed it on the market yet. I think it will sell for about $800,000. My tax basis is $100,000, so I’m looking at about $700,000 of gain, which means approximately $105,000 of federal taxes and another $65,000 of California state taxes. Can I exchange the home under Section 1031 to defer the $170,000 in taxes?

A property must be held “for investment or in a trade or business” to be eligible for gain deferral under Section 1031. “Investment” means primarily for appreciation and not for personal use. Therefore, the Lake Tahoe property will only qualify if you hold it primarily for appreciation.

Myths and Realities of Low Income Housing

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by Bryan Wittenmyer

Before I explain what I believe are myths about lower-income housing let me first clarify a few important points. First, low-income landlording, or even regular middle-income landlording is not for everyone. I’m not one of these guys who says everyone should be a professional landlord. A good portion of the population just isn’t cut out to be anybody’s landlord, or even in business for that matter. Landlording of any stripe or flavor is not easy. It just isn’t.

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