Homes for Sale – Preparing Real Estate for Viewing

It’s no secret that buying and selling real estate can be a stressful process, but that doesn’t mean steps can’t be taken to help everyone involved to relax a little. The huge financial decisions will always be there, as will the logistics of moving everything in and out, but we are all still human. Not everything is decided with the head alone.

For those selling their real estate, it’s important to remember that potential buyers will take notice of homes they instantly feel comfortable in. Knowing how to ease the stress of viewing a home when they visit yours is one of the most effective ways to sell quickly, which in turn means fewer headaches for you too.

Although the town of does enjoy the advantages of being community-spirited and perfect for first-time buyers, employing these three tricks of the trade designed to help de-stress those viewing your real estate will go a long way to helping you sell more quickly.

Stimulate the senses

How often have you found yourself transported back to another time or place simply by picking up a scent? Whether perfume, food or the natural fragrance of flowers in spring, our sense of smell has the uncanny ability to bring memories flooding back.

When creating a familiar atmosphere for those viewing your home, appealing to their nostrils will go a long way. Eliminating bad smells is common sense, but adding pleasant and home fragrances is just as important. Consider brewing fresh coffee ready for their arrival, baking a batch of brownies, or discreetly placing potpourri on windowsills throughout the home.

For visual stimulation and to reinforce the feeling of homeliness, a simple bowl of fresh fruit in the kitchen or dining area can also be surprisingly effective.

Clean not clinical

While it goes without saying that cleanliness is paramount when presenting your home in a positive light, allowing viewers of your real estate to see how the property looks when lived in is advised.

This means that the property’s personality has to remain, rather than it being transformed into a soulless show home. Clothes and utensils should be put away into closets and cabinets, but any furniture, appliances or other belongings that are usually left out at all times should be allowed to remain.

People view real estate with their hearts as well as their heads, and allowing them to feel like they are buying a home rather than a house will go a long way towards completing the sale.

The right atmosphere

Creating the kind of atmosphere that will make potential buyers of your real estate keen to purchase is not a difficult task. Light and airy in the daytime and cosy in the evening is certainly a winner when it comes to making the right impression.

For daytime visits, make sure all the windows are clean to allow as much light in as possible and consider adding wall mirrors to help make rooms or hallways appear bigger and lighter. For evening visits, ensure all light bulbs are working, and consider placing lamps in any dark corners of rooms.

On colder evenings, lighting the fire is a great way to add coziness to the home, and adding pine cones is another way to bring an aroma for the benefit of those viewing your real estate.

Although nothing can guarantee a quick and easy sale of your real estate, employing these ideas can help those viewing it to feel at home straight away. This will in turn increase the chances of them purchasing, meaning much less stress for you too in the long run.

Tax Saving Strategies For Real Estate Investors

Business Entity

The 1st step in doing any real estate investments is to start a business. There are different types of business entities: sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Series LLC (only in certain states), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), LLLP, S-Corp, C-Corp. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages. The only true flow through taxation entity and the most beneficial in terms of holding real estate is Limited Liability Company. Limited Liability Company allows you to pay for business related expenses with pre-tax dollars. It is very important to understand that when you get paid and receive your paycheck, your taxes are already deducted and all your expenses whether they are real estate or business related are deducted on AFTER-TAX basis. When you have an LLC, you take all business expenses, deduct them, and pay income tax on what is left over. LLC is the only entity that is NOT subject to loss limitation! LLC does not require records and minutes of meetings. Filing paperwork is limited to articles of organization that lists LLC members. Tax Advantages: LLC is a pass through entity and if it is a single member the entity is considered disregarded by IRS. A corporation is subject to double taxation where not only the profits are taxes but also distribution in the form of dividends are taxed as well. The other advantage is flexibility in terms of LLC ownership transfer. LLC ownership is guided by Operating Agreement, which is an internal document. In order to change ownership all that needs to be done is the Operating Agreement and no filings are required besides updates with IRS for given tax ID number.It also has less filings than an S-Corp and very easy to maintain. If you have multiple properties, have them each in LLC and have one LLC to be your holding company that would own all the other LLCs. For tax purposes your main holding LLC will be a sole member LLC for the other ones and you will need to file only one tax return. In addition to the tax benefits LLC also allows you to have a basic level of asset protection.

If your business owns the assets, they are separated from your personal assets and in case of a law suit they can not be touched. Please, note that LLC is a BASIC level of asset protection and if the opposing party has a good attorney there are many ways how your personal assets can become a part of a law suit. It is called piercing corporate veil. For example, you are required to have a separate bank account for an LLC. If your LLC owns your property, then all property relates income and expenses have to come out of that particular bank account. If this is not done, the LLC status can be disqualified and your personal assets become part of the lawsuit. Your LLC must be in good standing with the state and your must have adequate information on your article of organization. The purpose of the business must be clearly stated with no exclusions and you must file amendments when necessary. If you buy real estate, you should say that you buy, hold, rent or lease residential real estate; if you sell, you must state that you buy for the purpose of resale for profit, etc. In some states it is necessary to publish LLC in a local newspaper, and it can get very expensive; in other states like Maryland you need to pay annual fee, which is currently $300 a year. You need to check on your state requirements and guidelines and always be in good standing with the state.

*RENT DEDUCTION* on your primary Residence. If you have an LLC, you might need an office and conveniently enough it could be in your personal residence. According to IRS Code 288G, you are allowed to deduct rent payments for your office space in your personal residence.

*Depreciation*. It is the most beneficial deduction in real estate! While your real estate is appreciating, you are allowed to depreciate it over the life of the building, which is 27.5 years and take the deduction against your income. However, depreciation is allowed only against the building, land can not be depreciated. For example, if you own a house that’s worth 100,000, the value of the building might be only $80,000 and the value of the land is $20,000. Thus, you are allowed to take depreciation expense against the value of the building only.

*Accelerated Depreciation*. You might have heard from your accountant that accelerated depreciation is not allowed against real estate, and it is true, but there is a way to make improvements deducted in prior years and it all depends on how they are classified. For example land improvements such as curbs, sidewalk, and landscaping are depreciated over 15 years; personal property is depreciated over 5 years. Items that are considered personal property according to IRS code 1.48-1(c) must have one of the following features 1. accessory 2. function 3. movability. Basically everything that is an accessory, functions or movable is real property. If you are doing a rehab and can install movable walls, you can deduct the cost of improvements over 5 years. If they are not movable, then you will have to take 5-6 times less deduction for improvements in the next 5 years. Make everything you can either function, be an accessory or make it movable! One commercial developer built his office building with light weight movable walls and was able to deduct $80,000 that same year.

*DEALER* status. When flipping properties it is important to avoid “DEALER” status. In some case it can be avoided by flipping properties through different entities, in some cases by doing a few transactions, but the easiest “investor friendly” way is to simply state your INVESTMENT INTENT. If you state that your investment intent is buy, hold, lease, and rent properties unless forced to sell under certain conditions like need for working capital, you can get away with not being considered a DEALER.

*IRS Red Flags*. There are also certain things you should not do that would raise red flags to IRS and you might get audited. First, do not report too much rental income loss, there are plenty of expenses you can find to reduce your pre-tax income. Second, do not over complicate your asset protection structure. Having too many business entities on top of each other, or having domicile headquarters in Las Vegas, NV, tax free state could be a red flag. Reporting losses for more than 2 years always raises red flags. The common sense behind it: “if you do not make money why are you still doing business?”. Reporting excessive donations, high expenses vs high income can also cause an audit.

*Property Taxes*. Real Estate Investors are subject to a number of taxes including property taxes. Assessed value and market value of the property always have a gap. In 2007 assessed value was normally lower and in 2010 it is 99% of the time higher than market value of real estate. The taxes are not always reassessed depending on the market cycle and it is your responsibility to dispute them. In state of Maryland it is allowed to dispute personal property taxes within 60 days off settlement date or file before the end of the year for the next year hearing. Even though taxes are a deduction against income, they are not a tax credit, and the more you can minimize your expenses the more profit you will end up with. In order to successfully dispute your tax bill you would need to show the comparables and recent sales prices of real estate in your area. You will also need to compare the real estate that was recently sold to your property in terms of structure, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, amenities, etc.

*Capital Gains Taxes*. This type of tax is imposed only when you sell the property. The difference between purchase price and sales price is subject to this tax. There are exemptions to homeowners who lived in the property for at least 2 years and the amount of profit. There is a way to defer capital gains taxes by doing a 1031 Exchange. Make sure that you contact an escrow company and do everything within IRS guidelines. According to this IRS rule you can sell your property, find another property, make an offer within 45 days and settle on a new property within 6 month and defer paying capital gains taxes. According to the IRS tax rules, the property you are buying must be “likewise” property, meaning it does not matter if it is bigger as long as it is “investment” just like the one you just sold. So you can buy a single family house and buy an apartment building as long as both were investment properties.

The information provided in this article is just a general overview and not a legal advice on general real estate tax laws. This information might be different or not applicable depending on your state, tax bracket, and/or other restrictions imposed by IRS. Please, consult with your accountant in your local area.

The Best Places to Buy Real Estate in Vancouver’s False Creek

Vancouver’s False Creek is by far one of the city’s most sought after places to buy real estate in. False Creek is a small inlet which flows through the heart of downtown Vancouver after entering from English Bay. It separates downtown Vancouver from the rest of the city. It is spanned by three bridges and borders downtown Vancouver.

False Creek is the crown jewel of Vancouver. It is a great success story of modern urban planning. Visitors to False Bay cannot help but be impressed by the beauty and charm of the location while strolling through the area, gazing up at the high rise residential buildings and walking around the sea wall.

Over the past decade, the False Bay area has become a hot bed for high rise residential buildings and also some commercial infrastructure. It has become one of the most sought after places to buy Vancouver real estate. False Creek Real Estate has always been in high demand due to its location on the water front and its prime location as the separator of False Creektown and downtown Vancouver from the rest of the city. It is on the water front and is close to Broadway. It is ideal for shopping as well as transit, and is close to the police headquarters, which gives added peace of mind.

Some of the best places to buy real estate in Vancouver’s False Creek are:

1. Mariners Walk – Right on the waterfront at the lagoons, this is a great spot to buy Vancouver real estate. You get marina, mountain, and prime water views.

2. Moberly Road – This location is in the heart of False Creek. With a short walk to the Seawall, you can stroll around the area and enjoy the fabulous restaurants and cafes.

3. Spyglass Place – Another dream location on the waterfront. This neighbourhood overlooks the water and the North Shore Mountains.

4. Island Park Walk – This locality offers tranquil views of the marinas. It also overlooks the mountains and offers city views.

5. Wheelhouse Square – This is a turnkey area on the waterfront and has spectacular views of the creek with the city skyline in the background. One of the best places to buy real estate, without a doubt.

6. Pennyfarthing Drive – This beautiful, peaceful and tranquil neighbourhood has some of the best residential buildings. A great place to live in and escape from the bustle of the city.

7. Scantlings – Another great residential location in the heart of the suburb, Scantlings is a stone’s throw away from the Seawall.

False Creek is very popular as a boating area. Many activities such as canoeing, pleasure boating, and dragon boating take place here, and there are charter ships and public ferries as well. It is home to several boat rental facilities, paddling clubs as well as ten marinas that have berths for more than a thousand water craft. Hundreds of canoeists, kayakers, dragon boaters and rowing enthusiasts converge upon the creek every day.

On calm days, False Creek is an ideal place to lay anchor, although boaters should be advised that the westerly wind can be quite nippy during the winter and can tear through the creek at speeds exceeding 40 knots. You should drop your anchor in relatively shallow spots near the Cambie Street Bridge docks. As it is not a thoroughfare, you will not find boat traffic going through it. Boats are only found mooring or docking in the creek. It is easy to manoeuvre boats in the creek at speeds of up to one knot per hour.

Boaters seeking to stay for long in the creek can do so by moving their boats to one of the aforementioned marinas, after their allotted anchoring time has elapsed. Boaters looking to do so should contact the False Creek Welcome Centre before their arrival in order to commence the permit application process. The well managed anchoring and boat management process is one of the many features and benefits of boating in the creek.

The Southeast False Creek is named after its position in reference to the main creek inlet. The False Creek lands were once part of inter tidal marshland flats, and were subsequently converted into lands for industrial use. One of the main features of the Southeast False Creek area is that this area has Vancouver’s first renewable heating system. This system provides heat as well as hot water to all the area’s buildings and residents, including those in the newly built Olympic Village. This is North America’s first instance of heat being recovered from waste water and being used as the principal energy source for an urban neighborhood. False Creek real estate is a direct beneficiary of this facility.

The newly built Olympic Village is located at the south east end of False Creek. The Village is destined to house several thousand athletes as well as officials from all over the world, when the 2010 Winter Olympics take place in Vancouver. The Vancouver real estate market has received a shot in the arm due to the forthcoming Winter Olympics. Walking along the water in False Creek is a great experience, and living there is a dream come true.