Strategically Buying Your DREAM Retirement Home

With a 1031 Exchange

Did your summer travels expose you to places you can envision retiring to? With the proper structure you may be able to use a 1031 Exchange to purchase your future retirement dream property.

After selling your investment property and using the proceeds to purchase that fabulous dream property (your replacement property in your 1031 Exchange), you will need to temporarily rent it out to comply with Revenue Procedure 2008-16. Rent the property at fair market rental for at least 14 days during each of the first two years after the exchange. Make sure your personal use is no more than 14 days in each year. When you are ready to retire, sell your existing principal residence and exclude your primary residence capital gains tax (up to the $250K / $500K limits under IRC Section 121). Then make your dream home your new principal residence with no additional tax consequence. Taxes have been deferred/excluded under Sections 1031 and 121.

Although your replacement dream home property cannot immediately be used as your retirement home, with a little time and patience you can retire into it and avoid capital gains tax. Cheers to retirement.

For more information read:
Revenue Procedure 2008-16
Do Vacation and Second Homes Qualify for 1031 Exchanges?
Using 1031s to Exchange into your Vacation Dream Home

DISCLAIMER: The information above is based on the current tax code, which is subject to change. The above information should not be considered to be tax advice. With all investments and wealth maintaining strategies, we advise you to seek the advice of your qualified legal and tax advisors for your specific situation.

Patricia A. Flowers
Vice President
Certified Exchange Specialist
New England Region
(877) 781-1031 Toll Free
email

IPX1031 – Choose the Experts


IPX1031 is the largest national qualified intermediary providing a full suite of services. As the nationwide leader in tax deferred exchanges, IPX1031 is here to offer you the best in service, experience and security. When you choose IPX1031 as your Qualified Intermediary, you can be confident that your exchange will be handled expertly and that your funds will be safe, secure, and available when needed. Contact IPX1031 to discuss your 1031 Exchange solution.

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Got Conflict? Here’s How To Resolve It!

Here are 5 Tips and Techniques to Decrease Discord and Increase Peace and Productivity in your Real Estate Practice.

Conflict in the real estate profession can take many forms: combative clients, antagonistic agents, a contentious closing, hostile homeowners, sassy sellers, a beef with your boss, or a problematic partner. Many realtors are faced with an argumentative associate, frequent fighting of foes, a contentious colleague, or a tug-of- war with their own team. So how do you fix it? Conflict resolution is the solution! Agents that learn and use core mediation principles and specific conflict resolution skills can turn stress into success. When you know how to tame toxic behavior and de-escalate, de-fuse, and de-compress conflict-filled situations, you can help decrease discord and increase productivity, profitability and peace in your practice.

Conflict cannot be completely avoided, but it can be mitigated. It is how we handle the
conflict that matters. Negotiations between buyers, sellers, and agents can lead to fertile ground for conflict. Realtors know that conflict, whether in your personal or professional life, is costly- in terms of time, money, energy and stress. Knowing how to prevent, manage, and resolve disputes makes for a resourceful realtor and a more peaceful, prosperous practice. An agent with sharp, conflict resolution skills can press the re-set button before heated encounters escalate. Knowing when to call a professional mediator to resolve conflict, can also help end a real estate row before it begins.

No one wants strife in their life. Every astute agent knows that you gain more from
agreement than disagreement. The most dynamic, successful, and effective realtors learn and actively use dispute resolution processes. You can make a deal and win-win without giving in. You can win someone over without winning over them. In the real estate business, unity, not division, is the measuring stick of a healthy, successful organization. When you know how to deal with the difficult, you can make a deal. Conflict resolution is the solution! There are many, many effective ways to resolve conflict. Here are 5 Conflict Resolution Tips & Techniques for Real Estate Professionals:

Here are 5 Conflict Resolution Tips & Techniques for Real Estate Professionals:

1. People are not against you, they are just for themselves. Once you realize this and do not take the conflict personally, you can separate the person from the problem. That way, you can be hard on the problem, not the person. Sometimes people can act their worst when they feel powerless.

2. 90% of Ending Conflict is in the Approach: There are two (2) ways to put down a plane– a crash landing or a smooth landing. Real estate professionals that take time to “respond” and not “react” to a dispute, are more likely to come up with smooth approaches to conflict with new insights, new clarity and new ideas. Your approach and
delivery can mean the difference between rejection versus consideration of your position. You don’t have to flex your muscles to impose strength. The way a dispute is approached can have a huge impact on its outcome.

3. Change the frame, Change the game: You can refocus the fight, and understand that the other person is not your adversary, but rather, your partner in resolving the problem. When you reframe conversations to working together as problem solvers, you dramatically increase your chances of resolution. After all, you gain more from agreement than disagreement and preserving personal and professional relationships is paramount.

4. Focus on the Fix, NOT the Fight: Re-hashing the past, can often make conflict worse. Studies show that future orientation dramatically increases your rate of resolution. When you engage the other person and focus on problem-solving with future orientation, not only are you more likely to resolve your dispute, but you increase the rate of compliance with a sustainable solution that you do agree upon.

5. Keep Calm, and Call the Mediator! A skilled, professional mediator can help resolve disputes quickly, inexpensively, efficiently, effectively, confidentially, and with mutually satisfactory results. Calling in a skilled mediator early in the process can help stop sparks
before they turn into flames. With the right training, education, and resources, real estate professionals can reduce the high cost of conflict, by changing the way it is managed. Conflict prevention, management, and resolution training can make your practice more prosperous and benefit you, your colleagues and your clients. You can be the hero to the clients you serve, by knowing how to resolve their disputes quickly and efficiently. Decreasing discord and resolving problems can help to avoid litigation, resulting in increased client satisfaction, client retention, and attracting new clients.

With the right training, education, and resources, real estate professionals can reduce the high cost of conflict, by changing the way it is managed. Conflict prevention, management, and resolution training can make your practice more prosperous and benefit you, your colleagues and your clients. You can be the hero to the clients you serve, by knowing how to resolve their disputes quickly and efficiently. Decreasing discord and resolving problems can help to avoid litigation, resulting in increased client satisfaction, client retention, and attracting new clients. Every adept agent should have core mediation and dispute resolution tools in their toolbox. Stop letting constant conflict disrupt your life and your real estate practice. Learn how to resolve

Stop letting constant conflict disrupt your life and your real estate practice. Learn how to resolve conflicts like a professional. You can turn stress into success with conflict resolution and core mediation skills training. You can put rivals on a course towards mutual gain. You can make your practice more prosperous. Re-define resolution and transform conflict with the right education, training, and resources. When you know better, you do better. Learn and use core mediation and conflict resolution principles. Conflict Resolution is the solution. It’s a winning strategy!

SHORT BIO:
Kathleen (Kat) Marquis, Esq. is the principal of Bedford-based Marquis Mediation (MarquisMediation.com). She is an Attorney and Court-Certified Mediator specializing in business, corporate, and commercial law in New England. Her conflict resolution training classes for realtors, attorneys, executives, managers and other professionals are: CEU-credit approved by the New Hampshire Real Estate Commission, CAMICB, and qualify for continuing legal education credits with the New Hampshire Bar Association. Marquis can be reached at (740) 815-8687 on Facebook at Marquis Mediation, Twitter @MarquisMediate or by email at Kat@MarquisMediation.com.

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Is This a Duck?

I don’t know! It depends!

unnamedSome years ago I suffered at the hand of an aggressive (abusive!) insurance salesperson. Part of his creative pitch was that he really wasn’t selling insurance. He ultimately became so obnoxious I called the state licensing department (this was not in Maine), described the situation and wondered if this individual might be violating the state licensing requirement. I was prepared for bureaucracy and a run-around so I’ll never forget the investigator’s response. “Well, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.”

The recent controversy regarding Zillow’s “instant offer” program reminded me of that experience. Among the issues being raised is “Does this instant offer program constitute brokerage and is it, therefore a licensable activity?” Of course, the debate doesn’t stop there. As more organizations and individuals have joined the fray, the questions now range from “Is this good for consumer?” to speculation that Zillow is trying to “disintermediate” (I had to look it up too) brokers and agents. Personally, I’m reminded of a high school debating class and learning that an often-used technique is “begging the issue.” Whether or not the “Instant Offer” program is good for the consumer doesn’t really determine whether or not it’s brokerage. What determines whether or not it’s brokerage requires looking at the law–not whether or not people (brokers, agents, or consumers) like it.

Somewhere between “if it looks like a duck” and an in-depth analysis of statutes and case law, we might find the answer. However, as I often say in class, “Sorry, I left my judge’s robe home so I’m not qualified to offer a ruling.” I do have a personal opinion. But here’s the thing: that personal opinion is based on the Maine Statute that defines brokerage. (Title 32, Chapter 114, §13001 2.)

But here’s the really interesting thing–in case you haven’t noticed. My opinion is based on a MAINE statute. Would it be the same if I were in any other state? As is often the case, there just might be more than one answer to this question–one reason I teach that there are always two correct answers to any question:

  1. “I don’t know.”
  2. “It depends.”

If you ask me whether or not Zillow’s program is brokerage I’ll give you both answers. “I don’t know. It depends.” I don’t know because I’m not that familiar with the program and it depends because the answer might be different depending on where I am when I answer the question.

And that leads us to something to think about.

While we can still say with some accuracy, “all real estate is local” another reality is that the business of real estate is becoming increasingly global. Anyone licensed in two different states will likely honestly admit it becomes important to remember the differences in laws and rules between those two states. Yes, there are many commonalities–but those differences can be significant. “The devil is in the details.”

It would be a keen grasp of the obvious to observe that the world is changing. Twenty years ago the technology didn’t exist for a nation-wide company to offer an “Instant Offer” program. A localized version might have been feasible, but the concern would have been (for example) “Can I legally do this in Maine?” It’s not that simple anymore.

Without creating a political discussion, I think issues like the Zillow question can make us wonder if we will come to see more federal regulation that will facilitate one answer to questions. We can, of course, debate whether or not this would be a good thing… and wonder what the motivation might be for increased federal oversight of real estate brokerage, but that somewhat begs the questions of “Where are we headed?” and “Are we sure we want to go there?”

Oh, by the way. Within 24 hours of talking to the investigator at the insurance division, I stopped hearing from the duck who was “not selling insurance.” His statement actually became true. He was not selling insurance. In fact, he was barred from selling anything resembling it in that state.  Sometimes things are pretty simple and a duck is just a duck.

A recent article posted at RIS Media raises even more questions and reports some opinions on this question.

Article written by Walter Boomsma, a real estate educator in Bangor, ME. 
Check out his blog at boomsmaonline.com for more topics and discussions!

 

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Please CAN the SPAM

“There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” is often attributed to P.T. Barnum although there’s no hard evidence he said it. There’s no doubt, however, that he was a self-promoter extraordinaire. An interesting discussion is available for those engaged in the practice of real estate brokerage–how much self-promotion of ourselves should we be doing versus promoting properties?

During one of those discussions with a student, he was quite adamant that whether we are promoting properties or ourselves, we should be using every available means at our disposal–it’s a fiduciary duty to our clients! His twist was “There’s no such thing as bad advertising.” My tongue was only slightly in my cheek when I told him that I hoped he was taping his business card on the wall of every public bathroom he used since business cards are cheap and a lot of people would see them.

Seth Godin, in a recent blog post, notes that marketing used to be done with care and caution, but now that getting attention (publicity) is easy and cheap, we are “like a troop of gorillas arguing over the last banana.” For those unfamiliar, the gorilla reference relates to a series of books by Jay Levinson on “GuerillaMarketing.” The premise behind the popular book series was that small businesses could compete by adopting unconventional methods of promotion. For an effective program, you didn’t need a huge budget, you just needed to have imagination, energy and time.

But you also needed to think because guerilla marketing works best when it’s targeted. Just because you can tape your business card on the walls of public bathrooms doesn’t mean you should.

Guerilla marketing is creative and fun, but it is still about building your image in a strategic manner–not just doing the quick and easy. Let me give you one example that is a personal annoyance.

Technology now makes it very easy to email information to diverse audiences and lots of people. All you need is a mailing list, right? And best of all, email is free! (That’s actually not true, but it’s a different discussion.) So a lot of folks started playing the numbers game. Some guy in Nigeria figured out that if he sent out enough emails suggesting he needed help getting his family fortune moved to the United States, some small number of people would perhaps be willing to help him.

So, yes, it does work. It works really well for the short term. But for every willing victim, there are thousands–perhaps hundreds of thousands–of people who are simply annoyed by his constant badgering and desire to take advantage of people. (Robo-calls fall into the same category when you think about it.)

For those who are using technology–email and social media–as a vehicle for promotion, it might be wise to consider the full impact of what you’re doing. I don’t maintain counts, but every week I receive at least a dozen or so “ads” from real estate licensees. These range from announcements of open houses to brochures that tie up my server because they are megabytes in size.  Some are for properties over 100 miles away. But that’s not what really bothers me.

What really bothers me is how many of these emails are in direct violation of federal law. You might find it mildly interesting that the term “CAN SPAM” is an acronym for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing.” So sending unsolicited email is considered an assault–I can relate to the term while I delete them from my inbox.  What might be more interesting is that if your marketing and advertising program includes assaulting people with email, you’re risking a $16,000 fine by the FTC for each email you send that violates the act.

We can debate the effectiveness of the act, but it is law and many people are at least mildly aware of it. So consider that sending email that does not comply is also advertising your willingness to violate the law. It’s actually not a hard law to comply with, so do a little research:

  • National Association of REALTORS® offers a number of articles and resources
  • HubSpot offers a short list of do’s and don’ts along with some FAQs
  • FTC (Federal Trade Commission) offers a compliance guide for small businesses
  • Comm100 provides some detail and unintentional entertainment by using the word “complaint” repeatedly when they mean “compliant” — an interesting error for a company specializing in communication!

What are you telling your prospects unintentionally? This really isn’t just about the law. If you find receiving SPAM annoying, you might not want to send it! And if you don’t find it annoying, remember that a lot of people do! That’s one reason the law was passed. You might just distinguish yourself by doing it right.

 

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1031 Exchanges for Vacation Homes

From Maine down the Atlantic coast, across to the lakes and ski mountains of the Northeast, many people own some type of vacation or second home.  Large or small, used year-round or only seasonally, it’s their personal getaway.  They may even consider it an investment, building upon the original structure or simply letting the value and equity grow.  Unfortunately when it comes time to sell, owners do not benefit from the same tax exclusions as that of a primary residence sale.  

 

Many have no idea the federal and state capital gains tax will be due, and possibly even the 3.8% Affordable Healthcare Tax depending on their adjusted gross income.  The IRS maintains holding property solely for “personal use & enjoyment” does not qualify it for a 1031 Exchange. With no proven business use (i.e. rentals), the IRS reasons that “holding this property with the hope of future gain” is simply not enough to qualify property as “held for investment” under the §1031 Tax Code.

Investors inevitably ask: “How long do I have to rent out the property? How much can I use it?”  In 2008 the IRS answered: for a “dwelling unit” to qualify as property held for investment purposes and be eligible for the Section 1031 tax deferral, the Taxpayer must have:

  1. owned it for 24 months immediately before the sale/exchange, and
  2. rented it at fair market rental for 14 days or more within each of the past two 12-month periods the Exchanger, and
  3. restricted personal use to not exceed the greater of 14 days or 10% of the total days rented within each of those 12-month periods.

Going forward, purchasing a vacation/second home as replacement property must meet the same criteria as above for the following 2 years, and the Exchange itself must meet all other §1031 requirements.  

Many property owners hoping to keep their investment properties “safe from damage” during those first few years will rent to those found through a rental agency, or rent to friends and acquaintances for fair market value. This will help ensure it remain in good condition for future years when the taxpayer may eventually decide to sell, or convert the investment to a personal vacation home or even their primary residence.

 

Patricia A. Flowers is Vice President for Investment Property Exchange Services, Inc. (IPX1031®), Boston, MA. www.ipx1031.com

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THE LONGER VIEW CONCERNING LEAD

Residents in Flint, Michigan recently learned that they have been drinking water highly contaminated with lead and the problem has persisted now for some time. This is due, in part, to a failure to act, but also because lead is a persistent element… it doesn’t break down. Those who pay attention to issues of public concern also know that Flint is not all that unusual. Many places have inadequate protections against lead. Lead is in paint, water and soil but there are ways to prevent and reduce exposures, some of which cost very little or nothing at all. Proper disclosure raises awareness. It can start with the EPA pamphlet Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home. This brochure is a mandatory requirement before a buyer or lessee is obligated.

Experts who work with lead know that the benefits of preventing lead exposure far outweigh the costs of taking action and that there is an overwhelming case for paying attention and investing in lead hazard reduction.

The current Administration is proposing many changes in federal enforcement, policy, and regulations, and it may be tempting at this point to think that it is no longer necessary to really pay much attention to the issue of lead, or consider investing in exposure reduction, because the risk of getting into trouble is reduced. This is a mistake.

A certain kind of risk may be reduced in the short-term, but other types of risks persist. Lead persists. The risks are severe and probable enough that no professional should feel intelligent in veering from the path of responsibility due to a perceived drop in potential liability. Not only has the potential for private civil liability increased (not least because of the advances in our understanding of how lead harm occurs and how it can be prevented) but also because plaintiffs are more likely to go to court out of conviction. They want to right a wrong and are compelled to seek justice. Once lead enters the body, it can cause long-term harm and prevention is critically important to the health and wealth of a community. Failure to exercise proper care risks various liabilities. Failure to responsibly manage the problem of lead is a business, legal and moral issue. In addition, administrations change and a new administration can look back and enforce violations quite easily. The lead laws work by placing the requirement to document compliance on the regulated party.

Real estate agents are well advised to know and be faithful to the full requirements of the lead disclosure law. All real estate professionals should either observe or insist on full compliance with the Renovation Rule, even though this rule has been targeted by the Administration. These rules represent only one facet of the law, not the whole law, and compliance is just the beginning of awareness. By fully appreciating the purpose of these laws, and understanding the value in investments in lead hazard reduction, real estate professionals can attract business, improve their reputation, preserve the value of their properties and reduce the possibility of lawsuits.

In addition, investments in lead hazard reduction can be combined with improvements in energy efficiency and aesthetics. Properly planned, they minimize budget constraints.

 

 

Rick Reibstein has taught lead compliance to real estate professionals since 2004, after serving as an enforcement attorney at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He currently teaches environmental law and policy at Boston University and the Harvard Extension School and is a frequent Instructor for the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate.

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§1031 EXCHANGES KEEP REAL ESTATE MOVING

Have you been feeling it?  We sure have!  Real estate transactions have been up considerably in the last few years and a large percentage of those have been 1031 Exchanges.  When speaking with our clients, the high volume of exchanges can be attributed to a number of reasons.  

Real estate remains strong and investors are starting to look for ways to change or build upon their portfolios.  Properties that held as stable investments through the downturn are now showing significant appreciation and equity.  Since multiple properties can be acquired through a single Tax Deferred Exchange, investors can diversify their real estate portfolio, thereby hedging the investment risk inherent in a single property.  These replacement properties can offer greater income and long-term appreciation potential.

For some, it’s all about the taxes: In 2013 the Affordable Healthcare Act began imposing a 3.8% tax on certain investment income, including capital gains, for those with an Adjusted Gross Income exceeding $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly. Additionally, the American Taxpayer Relief Act raised the top long-term capital gains rate from 15% to 20% for those with a taxable income of $400,000 for single individuals and $450,000 for married couples filing jointly.  Both of these taxes, combined with the 25% Depreciation Recapture Tax and the state capital gains tax, cause a substantially greater amount of equity to be due to the Federal Government at tax time.  With upwards of 1/3 the gain due in taxes, Investors utilize 1031 Exchanges to preserve their equity and grow their portfolio!

For others, Exchanging is an estate planning tool:  Investors want the income and benefits of ownership while they are alive, but want the property and hard-earned equity to pass on to their heirs upon death.  When a taxpayer dies, the estate receives a stepped up basis in the inherited property.  As a result, all of the built in gain disappears upon the taxpayer’s death.  This taxpayer could have exchanged multiple times during their lifetime, leaving their heirs with a sizable benefit that would have otherwise been greatly reduced if the taxpayer had sold the property outright, paid the taxes and just given the remaining cash to the future heirs.   

These strategies are excellent tax saving opportunities for a 1031 Exchange, and for all those involved in the real estate transaction.  We pride ourselves on not only being the industry leader in service and security, but we also strive to help our clients and their advisors keep current on tax issues pertaining to §1031 exchanges and applications for them. IPX1031® is your complete information resource. For more information about us, IRC Section 1031, or our complimentary monthly webinars, visit our website at http://www.ipx1031.com.

Patricia A. Flowers is Vice President with Investment Property Exchange Services, Inc.(IPX1031), the largest and most secure Qualified Intermediary in the country.  In 2004, Patricia received one of the first industry-awarded Certified Exchange Specialist® (CES®) Designations. In her role she strategically guides investors and advisors through the process, structuring transactions to help investors preserve equity and save thousands in taxes.

Patricia’s involvement spans the legal, financial, brokerage, tax and real estate industries, where she has participated in thousands of Exchanges. She is a member of various associations, including CREW-Boston (Women in Commercial Real Estate) and the Federation of Exchange Accommodators (FEA). Patricia is a frequent lecturer on IRC §1031 Exchanges, an instructor for CLE, CPE and CE credit, and author of numerous articles including an ongoing column the New England Real Estate Journal.

She can be contacted at 617-423-1031 or patricia.flowers@ipx1031.com

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