Tag: Wholesaling (16 articles found)

Strive for Gold

by  Jason Roberts  on  Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Hi Everyone!!!

Tonight is the night where you finally take home gold with a team full of world class players!

At this tonight's Lifeonaire REIA meeting we are going to helping you fill your world class team! We will be talking about:
  • Where to find quality people
  • What to look for
  • What questions to ask
  • And much more!

Already Have A Team Champion Players? 

Bring them! We are all about abundance and sharing and we need your help in doing that! Bring every person you rely to get you from point A to profit check in hand!!! 

As a bonus we are going to be entering everyone who brings one of their key team members to the meeting into a drawing to win some awesome prizes! I want to win one myself!

So if you are ready to go for the gold then join us for our next Lifeonaire REIA meeting tonight, Wednesday, February 21st (PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A WEEK LATER THAN USUAL!) for a meeting you cannot afford to miss! Meeting starts at 6pm for networking and 7 pm for the meeting at Spazio's in Westport, 12031 Lackland Road, St. Louis, MO 63146.

For more information visit our websitefacebook page and RSVP on Meetup 

See you there!

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Legislative Update

by  Charles Tassell  on  Thursday, February 15, 2018

 

Seller Finance: The Seller Finance Coalition has moved its focus to the US Senate with an advocacy campaign requesting Senators to incorporate HR 1360 language into S 2155. Please be sure to send your email advocacy through National REIA's Action Center (on NREIA's website, under the legislative tab). There is a pre-drafted letter is for your convenience.
HUD Lead law update: On August 10, 2017 HUD issued a notice updating its Lead Safe Housing Rule (LSHR). This rule impacts all Public Housing Authorities, Project Based Properties, AND Housing Choice Vouchers, i.e. Section 8 vouchers. The rule increases the responsibilities of property owners who accept vouchers. Be sure to reach out to the Housing Authority to make sure that if you accept a voucher holder, you are working under the most up to date rules for notification and maintenance.
Tax Reform: Tax reform has started! The initial wave of tax reform has been passed, and as National REIA has pointed out there are positives and concerns. I won't say negatives yet, because we have to wait for the regulatory onslaught that is already underway by the IRS in "clarifying" what the House and Senate meant. One of the key areas we are focused on is the definition of full time job versus part time efforts. The designation or distinction could result in the awarding or loss of a 20% tax break for Pass-through entities like LLCs.
Housing Reform: the next wave of welfare reform is percolating in Washington DC and the focus is on limits to generational housing and unlimited housing for the able-bodied. With the economy moving and jobs-aplenty, the Republicans in Congress are ready for another bite at the apple of reform. Needless to say this will be neither quiet nor quick. As yet, only a few key principles such as 5-year limits to subsidized housing have been leaked out. There will be a lot more on this issue once the budget is actually passed and IF the GOP believes it will help them in the mid-term election.
Energy Benchmarking: LEEDs programs have taken on a new life of their own - not just as incentives for developers, but as a standard of efficiency by local elected officials appealing to their green constituents. Energy efficiency is a good thing, but there is a cost/benefit factor that needs to be considered, and that has been over-ridden by the folks claiming the earth is growing hotter, oops, no colder, oops climate change. Well the weather is changing, but in the Midwest where common sense still resides, we call it the Seasons. Needless to say, many of these efforts are on the coasts. There are alternatives to LEED and many are much more pragmatic. Consider Green Globes and Energy Star as examples. In fact, Chicago IL is considering an energy rating system which would require all buildings to have an energy benchmarking - with an Energy Star© system that is under re-evaluation and may be changing its own system. Benchmarking has its set of problems, and while adherents support the process as transparent, the unintended consequences may be decreased property values over and above the cost of the utilities involved.
Rent Control: California may be facing a rent control-style program to its ballot process by a group evolved from ACORN. Several Cities are also considering implementing similar plans. Ironically, even Bloomberg News is reporting on the ineffectiveness of Rent Control! (see article on Real Estate Investing Today.com) Additionally, California property owners are working through the impossible task of "proving the negative" by showing that they no longer have bed bugs if a unit was found to have them by a prior resident.
Inclusionary Zoning Requirements: numerous cities like Philadelphia, have been working on approving new zoning mandates for mixed income housing.
Evictions: Are the hottest issue to "address" by municipalities. The book "Eviction," has set the stage for an argument for making it more difficult to evict a resident. Yes, even if they have wasted their income, or spent their money on drugs - as repeatedly documented in the book, and lied to their landlord, repeatedly... somehow the accountability aspect of paying a bill, i.e. rent, should now be more difficult to enforce. Read the book. Be aware. Be ready for it to come to a community near you! One argument to make is to ask that rental contracts be handled similar to other installment payment agreements, like auto and home loans. If those are worthy of being broken, then the rent payment can as well...
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Back on the Horse

by  Randy King  on  Sunday, January 28, 2018

You’ve no doubt heard the expression that if you “fall off the horse”, the best thing to do is to “get back on the horse again.”  OK, that’s cute, we get it’s “insider meaning”, which refers to anything that you’ve done before that you’ve failed at for any reason, the best thing to do is to try again.

It’s a little subtler than that, too, of course.  It also refers to things that you may have been doing and were interrupted from doing for events outside of your control.  In other words, no so much that you failed at anything, but perhaps you were just stopped, for whatever reason.

So, this is my one-year celebration of pulling myself back on the horse – the horse of life.  You see, one year ago, a team of surgeons, acting as a team of rehab experts that included a framer, a plumber, and an electrician, rehabbed me.  They took my heart out, re-plumbed the feed lines, and put it back.

How I got to that point is anyone’s guess, and the team of cardiologists who looked at my heart muscle and say that it’s a strong as a horse’s, just the feed tubes got clogged.  They believe that there is a large amount of heredity in that equation.  Who knows, really.

I never actually fell off the horse, either.  I stopped the horse, I said “something’s not quite right”, got off the horse, and sought assistance from my health-care coaches.  No one forced me to “do” anything, but what they did do was make strong recommendations for that rehab I described above.

Once that was done, they told me to go home and let the automatic processes of the body rebuild the damage and the trauma caused by the surgery.  Then I got handed off to another set of coaches that guided me back to re-building physically.

They were called the cardiac rehab team, and they did a lot of stuff that I was already familiar with from my exercise and training background.  But this time it was different.  This time I wasn’t just showing up at the gym to get buff and look good – I was rebuilding my systems just to stay on the planet.

That’s a big “why”, don’t you think?  Because my “why” was so huge, I heard every ounce of instruction in a new way – I was completely and entirely coachable, and I took on the instruction with vigor and big intent.  And as a result, I got better faster.  My recovery was fast, and my coaches remarked on that.

One year ago, I discovered the issue that had me “get off the horse” when, after a pretty intense cycling training session, I had heartburn that would not go away.  Today, one year later, I am back on that horse with my bike, getting my proverbial butt handed to me in training sessions.  No more heartburn.

My cycling coach knows all of my health details.  Now she knows what to look for, and exactly how to coach me for the fastest and safest recovery and restoration of my power.  We measure this stuff on a computer, and I have a ways to go to recover the muscle and breathing, but it’s coming.

Because I can’t see it in the heat of the training session, she will come up to me and ask if I am feeling this or that, check my power, my heart rate, cadence – all of it, and make training corrections for me.

All of this had me realize that my swift recovery, my returning excellent health, and my happiness in life has all been at the hands of people I entrusted – my coaches – to lead me down this path of recovery.  And it’s also made me realize that there are a lot of areas in my life that could use a coach.

I am on a quest to fill those gaps.  While I already knew the value, I see it more clearly now from my distinct vantage point back on the horse.

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If we had a dollar for every time a REIA member came to us asking how to find a decent contractor, or, worse yet, asking how to fix a situation where a contract stole money or didn't finish a job or just flat disappeared, you wouldn't have to pay dues because of all the dollar we'd be rolling in.

As with every other skill in real estate, the right way to do this is to find out what successful people are doing, and just do that.

One of the most successful people in the whole rehab business is Robyn Thompson, who's the guest speaker at our February 1st REIA meeting. She's going to talk about how to find, finance, fix, and flip houses in the inventory-tight (but incredibly profitable) market of 2018.

Get the details and RSVP at www.CentralOhioREIA.com 

She was also nice enough to create this guide for us about how to avoid contractor rip-offs and find the right grownup people to fix your houses for you.

The Fine Art of Finding the Right Contractor             By Robyn Thompson, “The Queen of Rehab”

Many real estate investors shy away from houses that need rehabbed because they fear hiring contractors. We have all heard the horror stories of rehabbers who’ve lost their shirts due to crooked contractors

I am here to tell you that contractors can be your worst enemy or your best friend, depending if you hire a good one or a bad one. So how can the beginning novice real estate investor get the job done on time, on budget, and at a high standard of quality?   The answer is by following all eight of the critical prescreening steps below.

  1. Ask the contractor you are interviewing, how long have they been in the business? I prefer at least five years of experience in the trades. I want a contractor who has seen and repaired every strange, odd, and crazy thing that could be wrong with a house. Experienced contractors know how to estimate all tough projects, and experienced professionals can give an accurate price to fix any problem.

Inexperienced contractors, on the other hand, underestimate repairs to get the business, and then they try to push their mistake onto you by upping the price halfway through construction.  The investor needs to say NO. NO is the most powerful word in the dictionary, and you need to use this tool.  If a contractor did not have the knowledge to make a good estimate, it is their problem, not yours. They need to do the job for the price they gave you.

  1. Ask for three references from the last three major projects that the contractor has recently completed. And make sure you call to verify the references and the quality of the workmanship performed. The quality of work should be satisfactory to the homeowner and should have been completed in a timely manner.

If any of the references don’t check out, do not hire this contractor.  If they gave you false information up front, you know they cannot be trusted.  Move on to the NEXT quote.

  1. Ask for a copy of the contractor’s license (if required in your state), and for a copy of their Worker’s Comp insurance. Once you receive a copy of their license, make sure to check that they are not suspended. Also check to see if any complaints have been filed against the contractor with the Better Business Bureau.

It is absolutely mandatory that a contractor prove that he, or she, has Worker’s Comp for all the employees that will be working on the job site, before they start renovations. If one of the workers has an accident, you do not want to be sued as a potential employer.

 Make the contractor pull all necessary permits required by your local building department. The homeowner should NEVER pull the permits. The contractor should also be responsible to pass all necessary inspections required throughout the construction process.

 Make it mandatory for all contractors to buy all necessary materials to do the renovations. It’s a waste of your valuable time to buy materials, and it’s possible that if you do, the IRS might reclassify your contractor as an employee. If your potential contractor can’t buy materials, himself, move on.

 Always demand a six month to one year warranty of all parts, labor, workmanship, and materials provided by the contractor. This warranty should be in writing. WARNING: If a contractor will not provide a warranty and stand behind the quality of his or her workmanship- DO NOT hire them!

  1. Never agree to pay any contractor by the hour. You pay a fixed price for the complete job. Never pay the final payment in your independent contractor agreement until the project is 100% complete.
  2. Ask for financial references (ex: where the contractor purchases materials). I will contact the supply houses to make sure the contractor is not behind on paying for materials because I do not want to give the contractor a check to payoff an old bill and they have no money for the materials they need to buy for my job.

 The last words of advice that I can give to anyone beginning a renovation project is to make sure every agreement with a contractor is detailed in writing with an independent contractor agreement. A detailed list of materials required should be listed in the comprehensive scope of work.  The documents should have work completion time frames, penalty clauses for finishing late, require all permits be pulled, and inspections completed before final payments are released.

 

 

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First, Do What You Love

by  Randy King  on  Friday, January 19, 2018

I’ve had many a conversation with people who believe that they want to step into real estate investing, and the topic of “why” ranges widely.  Many people have seen the shows on HGTV, read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kyosaki, or otherwise have been exposed to this real estate thing and got interested.

There’s a real problem with finding what you want to do in your life on T.V.  Realize that the very first priority with a television show is to generate viewership and, hence, advertising dollars.  When that show happens to be one about rehabbing or, as they call it, “flipping”, things can really go sideways.

Real life often does not make for the best television viewing.  For example, talk to health care professionals and ask how much of the T.V. show “Grey’s Anatomy” reflects the real world.  Often, eyeballs will be rolling upwards.  Staff at Grey Sloan Memorial goes through more of their own trauma than they are servicing.  And it makes for great television – I am an admitted addict myself.

So, what’s “off” about the HGTV rehabbing shows?  Well, they only show the three most exciting things about a rehab:  1) an awful distressed property, 2) construction that goes smoothly, usually done by one star of the show (Chip Gaines comes to mind), finished on time (yeah, right), and 3) a completed project that blows your mind.  Throughout, they find points to add extreme drama, like when the mold is detected, or they need to add a $5,000 furnace -  the music gets ominous and we break for commercial.

Oh, and they always seem to net about $70,000.  “On to the next one”, the star barks.  It’s no wonder half the country thinks they can do this stuff and be a millionaire in under a year.  What you don’t see is the dozens of regular craftsmen and trades that descend on the property off-camera and do the work in a day that would take Chip over 6 months to do alone.  And have you ever seen one property that is not shown gloriously decorated and staged?  No, you have not.

As for cost, most of it is underwritten by HGTV sponsors like The Home Depot and other big-box stores and suppliers.  If Chip utters “go to Home Depot and pick that up”, it’s worth tens of thousands to them.  And most of these shows are not HGTV productions – they are massive advertisements PAID FOR by the stars’ production companies, because at some point, they will send their minions out to the Sheraton in Madison to sign you up for coaching to do this rehabbing yourself, “as seen on TV”.

Reality in this industry is far more boring.  Acquiring properties at the right price can be difficult, rehabbing can be challenging (don’t get me started on dealing with all the trades), and the finished product, while usually pretty great in comparison to the start, doesn’t blow your mind and cause potential buyers to wet their pants.  And, no, Joanna Gaines is not coming to decorate.

All in all, it’s still a rewarding business to be in, if you enjoy aspects of this stuff.  You can generally hire out those things that are not enjoyable, and tailor your own personal involvement to fit your needs.  If you are crazy enough, every so often you can strap on the tool belt and do some of the work yourself.  I do this every so often when the memory of the last project I worked on has faded.

You can also make a good living from it, and the nature of the work gives you a lot of flexibility in your schedule.  It takes someone who is self-disciplined and will get up every day and do what needs to be done.  Sitting on the couch eating Bonbons and watching Oprah is not the best use of your flexible time.

So if you’re someone kicking the tires about this, hang out at the REIA more, ask questions and maybe even come to our first property tour to get a live taste of things.  We’ll help you figure out if this is a good match for you.

 

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Beware of False Service Animals

by  Kevin Coughlin  on  Friday, January 19, 2018

One of the most effective public policy campaigns of the last few decades has been the one that taught us not to park in spaces reserved for the disabled.

A combination of robust public education and stiff penalties has helped make it universally understood that able-bodied persons should avoid parking cars there.

A newer push is underway to curb the growing practice of people passing their pets off as service animals. While most people associate the conflicts this practice presents with access to business - particularly restaurants - landlords are also increasingly impacted.

It’s not hard to see why so many people find it easy to commit this kind of self-serving fraud. The federal regulations governing the rights of individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by animals are murky. Three different federal laws govern this space and the result is an array of confusing and conflicting regulations. 

One thing all the federal laws have in common: no certificates or proof of training is required, only the word of the potential tenant.

Many states have stepped into this void by enacting stricter rules. To date, twenty states have passed anti-fraud measures. Of those, sixteen make misrepresenting a service animal a misdemeanor or petty offense punishable by fines, jail time, and/or community service.

The states that have passed laws are California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

The growing trend in service animal fraud can make it more difficult for people with true disabilities to gain access to places they need to go. 

Property investors may see an increase in renters trying to claim service animal status for their pet. With state legislatures and courts actively settling issues regarding the rights of those with emotional, therapy, or comfort animals, many people may seek to call their pets service animals. 

REIAs in states that have not enacted service animal fraud laws have an opportunity to build new partnerships with disability groups to form a coalition in support of such laws. 

Seek out your state and local disability rights organizations, as well as any organizations representing service dog trainers. Look for training businesses or groups accredited by Assistance Dogs International, a service dog standards group. These groups have an interest in protecting the integrity of service animal status and can be valuable allies in getting laws passed in your state.

If you do plan to propose a law in your state and want to know the different ways you can craft it, a review of the various state laws on this subject can be found here:  https://www.animallaw.info/topic/table-state-assistance-animal-laws

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Beware of False Service Animals

by  Kevin Coughlin  on  Friday, January 19, 2018

 One of the most effective public policy campaigns of the last few decades has been the one that taught us not to park in spaces reserved for the disabled.

 

A combination of robust public education and stiff penalties has helped make it universally understood that able-bodied persons should avoid parking cars there.

 

A newer push is underway to curb the growing practice of people passing their pets off as service animals. While most people associate the conflicts this practice presents with access to business - particularly restaurants - landlords are also increasingly impacted.

 

It’s not hard to see why so many people find it easy to commit this kind of self-serving fraud. The federal regulations governing the rights of individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by animals are murky. Three different federal laws govern this space and the result is an array of confusing and conflicting regulations. 

 

One thing all the federal laws have in common: no certificates or proof of training is required, only the word of the potential tenant.

 

Many states have stepped into this void by enacting stricter rules. To date, twenty states have passed anti-fraud measures. Of those, sixteen make misrepresenting a service animal a misdemeanor or petty offense punishable by fines, jail time, and/or community service.

 

The states that have passed laws are California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

 

The growing trend in service animal fraud can make it more difficult for people with true disabilities to gain access to places they need to go. 

 

Property investors may see an increase in renters trying to claim service animal status for their pet. With state legislatures and courts actively settling issues regarding the rights of those with emotional, therapy, or comfort animals, many people may seek to call their pets service animals. 

 

REIAs in states that have not enacted service animal fraud laws have an opportunity to build new partnerships with disability groups to form a coalition in support of such laws. 

 

Seek out your state and local disability rights organizations, as well as any organizations representing service dog trainers. Look for training businesses or groups accredited by Assistance Dogs International, a service dog standards group. These groups have an interest in protecting the integrity of service animal status and can be valuable allies in getting laws passed in your state.

 

If you do plan to propose a law in your state and want to know the different ways you can craft it, a review of the various state laws on this subject can be found here:  https://www.animallaw.info/topic/table-state-assistance-animal-laws

 

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Help! :) Student Housing Needed

by  Rebecca Dearing  on  Friday, January 12, 2018
Each Spring/Summer the Home Depot invites students from other countries to work at the stores located in Sandy, Brickyard, and West Valley.

On March 27th the Sandy store will have 11 students arriving from the Philippines. At this time, they have no housing. Students will stay through June with a few staying until August 10th.

If you have a vacant house (preferably with utilities connected), this would be a perfect opportunity to get it rented for a short term. Each student plans to pay $300 per month and they would prefer to stay together, if possible.

Here are other requested guidelines from the Home Depot:
  • Close (walking, bike, or bus) to the Home Depot South Sandy (135 East 11400 South)
  • One bed per student (they can purchase their own air mattress if beds are not available)
  • Can sleep several to a room (last year 8 slept in one room with bunk beds)
  • Access to a bathroom and kitchen (can share with the rest of the household)
  • Owner is required to pick up students from the airport upon their arrival

If you are interested, please contact Danielle Lueck at (801) 523-0069 x 077 or send an e-mail to danielle_r_lueck@homedepot.com.
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What’s Next for You?

by  Randy King  on  Thursday, January 11, 2018

Used to be that when you found what you did in life, that was that.  The cobbler was a cobbler until he died.  The blacksmith was a blacksmith, the engineer was an engineer, the doctor was a doctor – all until they retired or died.  Well, it’s just not that way anymore.

Some years ago, I knew somebody who was a great electrical engineer.  He was a whiz at circuit design and worked for a company around Chicago that designed and built small controllers.  One day I met up with him and he told me he was back in school.  I assumed he was going for his masters in EE.

Quite the contrary, he was in pre-med and had already arranged for an internship at a hospital across the country.  Wait, what?  No, seriously – what are you up to, I asked.  That was it – he was serious, and he actually did it.  Years later I heard from him and he was a surgeon somewhere out west.

You see, something called to him and he acted on it.  He didn’t allow himself to be pigeon-holed into being an engineer forever, even though he excelled at it.  As a surgeon, the hours were long, the disappointments huge, but the successes were massive – for him.  And if you think about it, those two worlds are not that far apart.  He spent a lot of time diagnosing and fixing circuit problems before.

What really struck me was the conversation he had around money.  It figured somewhere near the bottom of the list for him; his happiness was up at the top, and he was fully prepared to take a position at a rural hospital in a poor area of the country or even practice in a far-away land where money was no object because there really wasn’t much.  And still he would survive – probably thrive – on his joy.

What about you?  Do you feel stuck where you are?  Think that you’ve invested too much educational or life capital in what you’re doing to make a change?  Reconsider that position.  Open your mind to the wild possibilities that exist that you might like to do.  I did it, and I’m having fun.

I started out as an electrical engineer myself, with a specialty in software development.  I did some hardware work, even some power systems work, but gravitated toward software.  This eventually led me to starting a software company with 2 other guys and we thrived during the internet boom time.

While at that company, I went to a local fitness center to stay healthy, and became fascinated with this new indoor cycling craze called “Spinning”.  Somehow, I found myself becoming an instructor in this national program, then really got into outdoor cycling.  Loved it, had no idea where it would take me.

I loved the notion of cycling and teaching others to do it safely and well, so I kept learning and growing in the practice until eventually becoming a USA Cycling Coach, a division of USOC, the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs.  While coaching with the U.S. Youth Triathlon Team, I met lots of new people, and the owner of that team and I became good friends.  He was a real estate investor.

Oh, yes – I still had my day job at the company I started, it just didn’t involve the technical heads-down work anymore, so I had lots of time to pursue this new passion.  Flying all over the country with the kids’ team and helping to grow a group that eventually because the U.S. National Champions. Eventually a few went on to be world champions, and one competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics.  I helped do that.

What I found is that I absolutely love coaching.  So, as I grew in this new real estate investor practice, getting educated, doing deals, and still working the tech side, I saw that I loved showing others how to do that and, for some, how to ride a bike efficiently.  It’s a long ride from circuit analysis.

What about you?  What do you love?  What could you do, WOULD you do if you didn’t worry about the money?  Consider it, because there’s an old saying: “Do what you love, and the money will follow.”  I can tell you that this is true.  You just have to step off the curb.

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Tax Reform Was Passed, Signed & Delivered

by  Charles Tassell  on  Tuesday, January 09, 2018

As there has been a great deal of hype on all sides of tax reform, let’s see if we can dig into the issues with more light and less heat.  Hopefully you find this helpful and instructive on items that will no doubt have lasting ramifications and unintentional consequences for many years.  The summary: The reforms should be good for real estate, with tax advantages for pass-through entities improving.  Before making decisions based on tax reform, please be sure to speak with a tax accountant up to date on the all real estate rules, as those will be coming fast and furiously from the IRS!  To start, let’s get a quick understanding about “the process” and how we got here:

The rules in the Senate, specifically those about budget reconciliation drove the GOP Tax Reform process; or more perhaps accurately, hemmed it in.  The Senate rules would not allow not budgetary items to be included in the bill, though somehow the opening of the ANWR for oil drilling was deemed appropriate.  I say that not to be tongue in cheek or sarcastic, but to highlight that the rules of the Senate can be rather extensive and somewhat archaic.  Nothing illustrates that more the Byrd Bath, or Byrd Rule, named after Sen. Byrd of WV, who was prolific in his ability to ear mark projects (and have them named for him throughout the state).  This provision limits a budgetary item from being either “extraneous” to the budget or would significantly increase the federal deficit beyond a ten-year term.  Those definitions, and the reference to the 10-year life span of legislation for the Senate, are key.

Second Amendment advocates may remember that the “Assault Weapon Ban” approved by the Senate had a 10-year life, as do many bills passed they pass.  This is especially true of bills that would expand the deficit beyond the 10-year time frame.  So…a budget item must have sufficient financial offsets, per the Senate’s staff accountants, The Congressional Budget Office.  Which then leads to a trade-off of budget items.

Think of it this way, your budget includes travel, car payments, shelter, clothing, school fees, etc.  In December you decide to set your car payments & mortgage/rent for 12 monthly payments, but you’re only going to spend on travel for the first 3 months, clothing once a quarter, and lastly school fees only twice a year.  If you increased any of those, your budget goes out of whack – ignoring that the US is already deficit spending 30%+ of its budget.  So you may make the trade-off (gamble?) that spending for travel will drop to the first two months and you will increase the mortgage/rent – permanently.  That works for this year, budget-wise, but next year (or the next ten-year Senate cycle) you still have to live with that “new” base-line expense.

With that understanding, it is important to note that the deficit restriction, self-imposed by the GOP, was $1.5 Trillion.  Each tax cut has its own “expense” or cost to the budget.  As the dust settled, some were set to start immediately, others like the quarterly clothing expenses in our example above, start at different dates.  Additionally, some of the items, like the travel allowance, are set to expire or sunset on specific dates.  Is your head spinning yet?

Now that we know those details…let’s dig into the specific details of the bill.

The flagship piece of the puzzle is the reduction in corporate tax rate.  This rate was reduced from 35% to 21% – and it is permanent.  This reduction moves the US from one of the highest rates in the world to among the lowest.  The Trump Administration’s goal, in sync with Congressional GOP leaders, is to make the US a haven for Corporations world-wide.  (click here for more details charts – prefer table #1.)

The next key item is that of the Individual tax rates lowered for 80% of tax payers.  There are 7 tax brackets (listed below)

2018 Income Tax Brackets

The goal was to simplify the system so that with standard deductions, which were nearly doubled: Singles from $6,500 to $12,000 and for Couples from $13,000 to $24,000.  Part of the reason for the increase was to remove the personal exemption line item and consolidate the process.  Ideally, most taxpayers will be able to use a post card format to submit their taxes…needless to say, we are still always away from that goal.

The child tax credit was doubled to $2k and a non-child dependent was added for elderly parents, but then only at $500.  Additionally, these tax reforms are to sunset in 2025.  The goal of the current Administration and Congress is to make these permanent and even improve on them, but alas that will need to wait for the next bill.

SALT anyone?

The State and Local Tax deduction (SALT) was one of the most hotly contested and philosophically charged issues.  The argument is that if those deductions are allowed, then low tax areas are subsidizing high tax areas, because people in high tax areas don’t pay as much to the federal government due to local and state taxes creating such a large deduction.  Most of the Republicans come from low-tax areas and Democrats from high-tax urban areas, so the political divide was substantial.  However, there were some Republicans from high tax states, and a concern for low-income workers who would be harmed by the elimination of the deduction.  So, a $10K cap on deductions was implemented.  For comparison, the average New York City tax payer deduction exceeds $50K.  The cap helps low income workers, but doesn’t soften the blow very much for those in areas that have decided to tax, tax and tax again!  Corporations are still allowed to deduct SALT, while individuals with pass through entities are capped at $10K.

Pass through entities – Where Real Estate Investors Live!

The vast majority of real estate investors utilize pass through entities like Limited Liability Companies.  There was a lot of hype on these entities, the rates and various proposed modifications. In general, Pass Through Entities received a tax cut as well.  The details are a bit more complicated.  Bloomberg News, stated it this way,

“The bill sets several restrictions for the type of pass-throughs eligible for the deduction and how much they’re allowed to claim, based on the wages the entity pays, the amount of equipment the entity purchases, and how much the owner earns. It excludes many service businesses from the tax break.”

During the tax reform debate, there was significant concern that if the separation between corporate rates/benefits and pass through entities became too great there would be a mass conversion from pass through entities to corporations.  Experts (economists) do not believe that is the case presently, though as numerous wealth, finance and business outlets have noted, this will be a conversation to have with your CPA, as there are still significant benefits to the flexibility of pass through entities, especially with the capturing of depreciation, expanded expensing provisions and the lack of corporate tax layering.

While there is a 20% tax reduction in the reform for pass through entities, there are provisions to limit active owners who receive a salary from re-characterizing their income so as to avoid taxes.  Passive investors are treated a bit more friendly – and in this area more than any other, they will need to have a specific conversation about their situation with an up to date tax consultant.  Click here for more information from Alistair Nevius and The Journal of Accountancy.

Pass-through income deduction

For tax years after 2017 and before 2026, individuals will be allowed to deduct 20% of “qualified business income” from a partnership, S corporation, or sole proprietorship, as well as 20% of qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends, qualified cooperative dividends, and qualified publicly traded partnership income. (Special rules would apply to specified agricultural or horticultural cooperatives.)

A limitation on the deduction is phased in based on W-2 wages above a threshold amount of taxable income. The deduction is disallowed for specified service trades or businesses with income above a threshold.

For these purposes, “qualified business income” means the net amount of qualified items of income, gain, deduction, and loss with respect to the qualified trade or business of the taxpayer. These items must be effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the United States. They do not include specified investment-related income, deductions, or losses.

“Qualified business income” does not include an S corporation shareholder’s reasonable compensation, guaranteed payments, or — to the extent provided in regulations — payments to a partner who is acting in a capacity other than his or her capacity as a partner.

“Specified service trades or businesses” include any trade or business in the fields of accounting, health, law, consulting, athletics, financial services, brokerage services, or any business where the principal asset of the business is the reputation or skill of one or more of its employees.

The exclusion from the definition of a qualified business for specified service trades or businesses phases out for a taxpayer with taxable income in excess of $157,500, or $315,000 in the case of a joint return.

For each qualified trade or business, the taxpayer is allowed to deduct 20% of the qualified business income for that trade or business. Generally, the deduction is limited to 50% of the W-2 wages paid with respect to the business. Alternatively, capital-intensive businesses may get a higher benefit under a rule that takes into consideration 25% of wages paid plus a portion of the business’s basis in its tangible assets. However, if the taxpayer’s income is below the threshold amount, the deductible amount for each qualified trade or business is equal to 20% of the qualified business income for each respective trade or business.

An article on CNN-Money also points out that, “The 20% deduction would be prohibited for anyone in a service business — unless their taxable income is less than $315,000 if married ($157,500 if single).”  So, if you separate the service, maintenance, or management company responsibilities, a global review may be in order.

Live-in Home remodeling?  If you and your spouse take on the task as a daily effort, or they put up with your ongoing renovations, please know that this tax reform still has a carve out to protect up to $250K for Singles and $500K for Couples in capital gains from selling a house, as long as it was a primary residence for two of the last five years.

Landlords were thrown a bone in that moving expenses are no longer tax deductible, except for certain military exemptions.  One less incentive for renters to move about and cause turn-over costs.  Why moving expenses were ever deductible in the first place is the real question!

A couple of final items worth noting for investors, if your lofty goals of becoming a wealthy land baron come true, know the new estate tax exemption has been raised to approximately $10M for singles and $20M for couples.  Additionally, if you are on your own for insurance you will no longer be penalized for not purchasing a federally approved plan – the ACA mandate (aka Obamacare) was removed.

There will be plenty more written about this as the accountants breakdown each phrase, the IRS issues regulations and “clarifications” and of course the occasional tax precedent via the courts.  In the meantime, enjoy a rousing conversation with your partners and adapt to the new tax scheme.

 

Charles Tassell is the Chief Operating Officer of National REIA.

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