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Sun City Lincoln Hills Real Estate News

Latest Realty News from NAR

Charity Deduction Faces Same Tax Reform Risk as MID

Of all the itemized deductions, the one for charitable contributions might seem to come out the best under tax reform. That’s because it’s the only deduction under both the House and the Senate versions of the bill that is largely undiminished. And yet charities complain donations will dry up under tax reform. What gives?

b“Provisions in the tax bill the House and Senate are considering would make the situation worse” for charities, Ray Madoff, director of the Boston College Law School Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good, says in a Nov. 27 New York Times opinion piece.

The problem, Madoff says, is the near doubling of the standard deduction. With all of the other itemized deductions either going away or constrained by new caps, most households will opt for the standard deduction rather than continue to itemize. That renders the tax deduction for charitable giving nearly meaningless. As Madoff puts it, “A vast majority of American taxpayers would no longer itemize and therefore would receive no benefits for their charitable giving.”

That argument might sound familiar. It’s the same one NAR is making about homeownership. Under the Senate bill, the mortgage interest deduction would be left intact, but the deduction for state and local taxes would go away. In the House, MID would be limited to mortgages of $500,000 and the deductions for property taxes would be capped at $10,000, while the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes would be entirely repealed. So, while MID is preserved, either entirely or in part, very few households that itemize today would continue to do so. As a result, MID would continue to be a benefit only for the wealthiest households.

Given the structural changes to the tax code lawmakers have before them, preserving the deduction for charitable contributions is mostly meaningless. This is exactly the same thing REALTORS® are saying about tax incentives for homeownership. They’re meaningless for most households if tax reform passes in its current form in both the House and the Senate.

More on tax reform’s impact on homeowners in The Voice for Real Estate.

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Don’t Just Sell a Home; Market a Lifestyle

Kevin Tengan told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to remember that home buyers are looking for "a place for their life to happen."

Kevin Tengan told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to remember that home buyers are looking for “a place for their life to happen.”

To help your listing stand out from the competition, focus on the lifestyle the property will help buyers achieve, in addition to common details such as square footage and number of bedrooms.

That’s the advice of visual effects specialist Kevin Tengan, who has turned his experience working on Hollywood productions into the foundation for a real estate business that reflects his love for imagery and storytelling. A buyer might say they want a four-bedroom, three-bath house with a sunny kitchen and a backyard, but what they’re really looking for is “a place for their life to happen,” he said during a session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago earlier this month.

“A lot of what we communicate is ‘what’ and ‘how,’ but few talk about ‘why,’” said Tengan, CRS, chief operating officer of RE/MAX Prestige in Honolulu. “Start with the why.”

As you develop marketing campaigns, remember that saying a home is in a great neighborhood isn’t as powerful as showing why that is the case, said Tengan. For example, if you produce a video property tour, include footage of nearby attractions such as beaches, museums, shopping districts, and other aspects of a community that can inspire a buyer to want to live in the area—not just in the home. Anything you can do to tie your listing to the lifestyle buyers want will attract more traffic, Tengan said.

One of the keys to developing marketing materials that will resonate with buyers looking for a certain lifestyle is understanding the trends that characterize the people you are trying to reach, said Emily Line, vice president of commercial services for Realtors Property Resource®. As a real estate professional, you have access to an enormous amount of data about what consumers are looking for. There are services that can sift through the information and create reports to help you develop an effective pitch, Line said.

The data can help you tune in to trends that reflect the kind of buyers you want to reach. You can identify people in certain kinds of occupations, where they like to shop, and what they like to do for entertainment, Line said. This information can help you connect with buyers in your area, as well as investors who want to purchase commercial or residential properties that will attract certain types of tenants, she said.

Turn the information you collect into a marketing tool by incorporating it into a story that connects the property to the goals and lifestyle of those who would buy it, Tengan said. “At the end of the day, the story is all that matters. A great story evokes a reaction.”

‘This is Our Moment. Own it.’

“Are you ready to own it with me?”  asked Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation REALTOR® and the sixth woman to become president of the National Association of REALTORS® in the past 110 years. “We absolutely have the power to make a difference.”

Mendenhall was sworn into office by her father Richard Mendenhall, who was 2001 NAR president. “There is nothing more powerful in this journey than sharing it with others,” she said addressing thousands of REALTORS® at the Inaugural gala during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago.

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Mendenhall ended her inaugural festivities with a group rendition of “REALTORS® Own It”—the vibrant tune that she co-wrote for her presidency. The song evokes the pride and power embodied in dedicated real estate pros who strive each day to meet the complex needs of their clients and keep the industry strong.

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The Realty Experts Testimonials

After interviewing several Realtors, I chose Michelle and it was the best decision I could have made. The sale of my mother’s home turned out to be unexpectedly complicated and it was her attention to detail that helped us to discover and rectify an issue with the trust which we had no idea existed until Michelle started her thorough pre-sale paperwork. She guided my brother and I through every step of the process and worked closely with us, going above and beyond expectations, from start to finish. I would, without hesitation, highly recommend Michelle and think you should look no further if you are seeking the best realtor for the job. Thank you Michelle! Tamara
Thank you so much for everything you've done for us! Your attention to detail, knowledge, customer service and willingness to go beyond the expected and into the realm of "superb all-around agent" has made our new retirement residence possible. We hope we can continue to be personal friends now that our business is complete. Doug and Joan
Michelle Cowles is the best realtor we have ever worked with...friendly, efficient, thorough and detailed (almost to a fault!) and, most importantly, hangs in there with you until all matters are resolved and completed. Gerry & Marianne
You are amazing, Michelle. Thank you for your support through this whole transaction. Elaine
Thank you endlessly for all you have done!! Laura Ann G.
Thank you once again for doing an outstanding job selling our lovely home. You are a true professional always having our best interest in mind. We miss talking to you but wish you much success! Al and Linda
My husband Allan and I wanted to move to SCLH from Lake Wildwood and we were given Michelle's name from Allan's cousin.....boy, am I glad we called her! It took several months for us to finalize the sale of our home in LWW and quite a few more months to find a home in Lincoln that we really enjoyed. Throughout the entire process, Michelle was patient, professional and encouraging. Her knowledge of the area is encyclopedic, and she has lists of recommended painters, electricians, general contractors, etc., etc. Every question was answered promptly and courteously, and she carefully laid out every step that needed to be followed to "seal the deal". I can not recommend her highly enough! Allan & Merilee
I’ve been in Real Estate for over 35 years in many states and have never worked with a more professional Realtor than Michelle. She went the extra mile at every turn. I would highly recommend her”. Jim O.
“You are more organized than any other Realtor we’ve ever worked with in the past (8 homes bought and sold), seriously you are amazing!” Jim and Liz S.
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