Friday, December 29, 2017

My Word for 2018

Our office is big on setting goals, and we review them a couple of times a year as a group. Even though a few of our agents literally hide when these meetings come up, I actually enjoy them. Statistically, people are more likely to follow through and achieve their objectives when they write them down. I find it even more helpful to set smaller milestones on the way to the big goals. It can be motivating to achieve some successes along the way to what can sometimes be a daunting ambition.

Another part of this process that has become a custom is setting our "Word" for the new year. One Word That Will Change Your Life is the book we trade around the office, seeking inspiration. Even though I've read it a couple of times already, I find it helps focus me on what I really want for the upcoming year. This year I picked it up and my Word came to me after about 10 minutes of flipping through the pages.

It is "Courage."

Some of my Words in the past have been directly related to my job. When I received my GREEN designation I chose "Sustainability," vowing to improve my business practices and educate my clients on green choices. Others, like "Support," were intended to remind me of my commitment of service to others in both my professional and personal choices. The Words helped me re-center when I got so busy (or so NOT busy) that I lost sight of my purpose.

I resisted "Courage" when it first popped into my awareness. We've joked in the office about how, in hindsight, our Words really did shape our year and not always in the way we would've liked. Did I want to tempt the universe to test my fortitude? Still, I had to acknowledge that there were events coming up that were going to require me to pull up my big girl panties and get on with it. Some of them I have initiated and believe they will be beneficial, and yet there is a lot of anxiety associated with them. For example, members of my family and I are going to try to purchase our first investment property. While I am excited about this new project it's hard to forget about the risk involved, even though it's a venture within my area of expertise.

Other things are passing-of-time inevitabilities. My youngest daughter is finishing high school in the spring and her interest lies in international studies of some sort. My oldest daughter is talking about an internship on the east coast but also has aspirations to travel. Dennis and I will be empty nesters, and I'll be lucky if one of the kids stays in the country. While I am excited to see them experience the world, it will be quite an adjustment to only see them once or twice a year. People have reminded me that I will have great places to visit them, but I'm not ready to trade a 15-minute drive for a 15-hour flight just yet.

Heraclitus said that the only thing constant is change. Sometimes change is fun and sometimes it sucks, and sometimes you don't know which one it will be until you are knee-deep in it. In 2018, I will strive to remember that I have control over my response to the changes in my life, and that being afraid is an opportunity to be brave. 

Heraclitus also believed in the everlasting Word, that in some sense we are all one and can recognize a unity of experience. My wish for you in the New Year is that you feel that unity as life brings you change, that you realize all that you have come through already through strength and determination, and that you never forget your extraordinary capacity for courage.

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Effect on Real Estate

Questions about the new tax plan have been swirling for months. As of this writing, the bill has not been signed by the President but there seems to be no reason why it won't be shortly. If you're a homeowner, or have been thinking about becoming one, here are a few points that might be of interest to you:
  • The new bill limits the deduction for the total of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes to $10,000 for either individual or married couples filing jointly. It also precludes the deduction of 2018 state and local income taxes prepaid in 2017.
  • Up until now, homeowners were allowed to deduct the interest paid on their mortgage loans up to $1,000,000. Going forward, the new limit will be $750,000. This probably won't affect the majority of homeowners, though, since existing loans will be grandfathered in at the old levels. Additionally, the median sales price nationally is about one-third of the new limit so only those that purchase in more expensive zip codes will notice a difference. 
  • The standard deduction is being doubled to $12,000 for individual filers and $24,000 for joint filers. This is likely to reduce the amount of people who itemize, which could also reduce the impact of the lower mortgage interest deduction limit.
  • In the past, the IRS has allowed a deduction for uncompensated casualty and theft losses related to your home or vehicle. Now the deduction can be taken only if the loss is related to a presidentially-declared disaster.
  • A deduction was also allowed for moving expenses, should the relocation be job related. That deduction has been eliminated for everyone except for members of the military.
  • For developers, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit has been retained, which allows qualified agencies to issue tax credits for the development of affordable housing around the country. However, a lower corporate rate will devalue the credits in the future and likely contribute to a decrease in low-income housing being developed. 
  • The Historic Tax Credit, which provides for the rehabilitation and preservation of aging structures has been retained but modified. Gone is the 10% credit for buildings older than 1936; now the building must be a certified historic structure to receive a 20% credit.
  • The final bill increases the amount of eligible qualified property that commercial real estate owners can immediately expense from $500,000 to $1,000,000. While land and buildings do not qualify, improvements to non-residential property do, such as HVAC systems, roofs and security systems. 
  • The final bill retains the current law on the capital gains exclusion, Mortgage Credit Certificates, and carried interest compensation and 1031 Exchanges for investors. Homeowners may still deduct interest on their home equity loans as long as the funds are used to substantially improve their property.
I've seen a lot of difference scenarios run and tax liability calculated so far and I have to say that I'm having a hard time keeping the effects of the various changes in my head all at once. This might be a good year to talk to a financial professional to determine how buying a home or investment property will affect your specific situation. If you need a good resource, let me know - between myself and the cooperating agents in my office I've got a great team of experts that can advise you.

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Renovation Series - Canyon Cosmetic

"Welcome to our new home! Got any food?"
Anyone who is paying even a little bit of attention to the real estate market lately knows there is a dearth of inventory, forcing buyers to consider options that they may not have in the past. Obsessive HGTV watchers pride themselves on being able to see past wallpaper and tiny closets to a vision of what their dream home could look like. Still, some properties can be challenging to embrace.

Enter Erica and Rob, into this 1970 bilevel with a tiny master bath and dog pee soaked carpet. If ever there was a need for strategically placed eucalyptus air fresheners this was it. But these two potential buyers focused on the positive features of the property - hardwood floors, a great room that offered killer views, a few acres with deer roaming about, and a location that felt like a mountain getaway but was actually only minutes from amenities. Almost everything else could be changed with a little imagination and some creative financial strategies.

Happy Thanksgiving! Here's a hammer; you can have some pie after you take down that wall. 

Renovating an entire house can be daunting - you definitely need to be organized and connected to some real professionals. Contractors should be licensed and insured and know which permits need to be pulled for your area. There's even a new loan product that allows you to roll renovation costs into your conventional mortgage. Build yourself a good team - starting with a Realtor who has renovated four houses top to bottom, personally and professionally, and has a huge directory of tested service providers. I also have a knack for mentally removing walls to see the potential of a floor plan (and then ACTUALLY removing walls; your fault for buying me a reciprocating saw for Christmas, Honey). 

Check in periodically to see the progress on this promising home. In the meantime, give me a call to find your diamond in the rough - I'll even buy you a tool belt as a closing gift.

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or