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Category Archive: ‘Real Estate Investing’

Rents Pushing Higher

higher rents

Speaking of newcomers, it won’t just be outsiders who fuel the future demand.

Mortgage rates dipping into the threes make buyers giddy, but today’s low rates are just the sweetener.  Demand is being driven by the soaring rents.

Rich people can choose in or out – I heard the story yesterday about the doctor couple who have been renting a house in Santaluz for 13 years.  But for those with static incomes, the reality is grim.

More on rents here:

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Real Estate Investing, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling? | 5 comments

99 Homes

The foreclosure movie ’99 Homes’ is out – here is the review from Variety:

Here is what the had to say:

“99 Homes,” a gripping, intelligent thriller set amid the bursting of the nation’s housing bubble, zeroes in on the ruination of the American dream and the morally bankrupt characters who profited from the carnage. Like “The Grapes of Wrath,” it’s a classic example of how to take a social issue and turn it into riveting cinema.

The story opens in an Orlando, Fla., bathroom, where a family man has just killed himself to avoid the specter of being thrown out of his foreclosed home. Not long after the yellow police tape has been set up, real estate broker Rick Carver (the incomparable Michael Shannon) is prowling the premises, with an e-cigarette in his mouth, a cell phone in his ear and a gun attached to his ankle. Carver needs to make sure that the dead man’s grieving wife and kids are shooed off the grounds, so he can keep his banker clients happy.

Then it’s off to another residence, where Carver’s next victim awaits: down-on-his-luck construction worker Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield, back in top form after his “Spider-Man” foray), his mother (the always reliable Laura Dern) and his son. It’s the first of many evictions in this movie, and director Ramin Bahraini imbues all of them with a palpable sense of terror, anguish and heartbreak.

As it turns out, Carver sees a lot of leadership potential in the handyman Nash, who ends up striking a Faustian deal in which he helps the ruthless broker with evictions in exchange for financial help. Because of Garfield’s skill, and the strength of the script, we sympathize with the desperate Nash and his love for his home, even as he forecloses on his moral values.

Likewise, Shannon provides interesting shadings to Carver. On the surface, he’s Gordon Gekko with a “Miami Vice” outfit, but it’s clear that Carver doesn’t enjoy what he’s doing or view it simply as a way to get rich. Instead, he sees himself as a player trying to survive in a game that’s been rigged against 99 percent of the population. Shannon manages to convey an inner loneliness, a quiet desperation that he’s gone too far but can’t turn back.

The movie trailer:

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Foreclosures, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Real Estate Investing | 1 comment

Latest 1031 Attack


From Bloomberg – hat tip GM:


Billionaire Donald Trump, who built his fortune in real estate, told Bloomberg Politics this week that he wants to raise his own taxes. One way to do it is a bipartisan proposal that would blow up one of the real estate industry’s favorite tax breaks.

The break, known as the like-kind exchange or “1031” for the tax code section it comes from, lets real estate owners sell one piece of property and buy a new one soon afterward without paying any capital gains taxes on the profits from the sale. The result is an ever-increasing pile of deferred capital gains, taxed only whenever there is a final sale or, better yet, never taxed as income at all upon death.

Read full article here:


Posted by on Sep 4, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Real Estate Investing | 0 comments

Chinese Buying to Accelerate?


Excerpted from an article in BI:

Chang’s client is one of the group of wealthy Chinese caught in between a rock and a hard place: Leave their assets in China to potentially weather additional market volatility and yuan devaluations — or put it in real estate that is now more expensive than just a few weeks earlier.

“Lots of my clients have been hit heavily by the equity market,” Chang, who was once a vice president at HSBC’s private bank, told Business Insider through a series of interviews. “But that only makes them more determined to diversify out of China.”

The chaos of the past few weeks is likely to lead to an acceleration in the rate of real-estate purchases by wealthy Chinese buyers in the US and elsewhere.

Chinese individuals are also being actively encouraged to buy abroad by the government.

Thus far, Chinese individuals have been allowed to convert $50,000 into other currencies annually — though there are ways to skirt the regulation.

That is about to change, with the Chinese government readying the launch of the Qualified Domestic Individual Investor program.

The QDII2 is an overseas-investment scheme that would allow Chinese citizens to invest overseas directly. Those with at least $160,000 in financial assets qualify.

The program is likely to launch this year and will bolster overseas real-estate purchases on the part of the Chinese.

“With QDII2 in mind, within five years we might look back and think of the current levels of Chinese cross-border investment as quaint,” Andrew Taylor, co-CEO of, a website that helps Chinese to buy properties abroad.

Read full article here:


Posted by on Aug 30, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions, Real Estate Investing | 0 comments

1031 Exchange

Image result for 1031 exchange

I appreciate the analytical, business-like aspect of the 1031 exchange, and try to do a couple every year just to keep my chops up.  I’d love to do more exchanges because sellers of investment properties have to re-invest to avoid capital-gain taxes.  But it’s rare that you can find new properties locally that are a good enough buy to make it worth the trade.

But for those who can – here is a good article on the basics of the 1031 tax-deferred exchange, plus three extra points worth noting:

LINK to 1031 exchange article

The excerpt:

While you will always want professional guidance when doing this kind of swap, there are three things to have in mind from the start:

  • Be aware of “passive liability.” In other words, if you have a $1 million mortgage, do a swap and acquire a property with a mortgage of $900,000, you have “gained” $100,000 in the eyes of the taxman. If you are buying and selling large investment properties, these gains can add up quickly.
  • To “exchange” a vacation or second home, that home must be an investment property. If you are planning to swap a vacation home, you need to make the case that it is an active investment. Usually that means being able to show paying tenants for at least a year. To ensure that you do not swap an investment property for a primary residence, a 2008 IRS ruling created a “safe harbor” for dwellings in a 1031 exchange. To meet the safe harbor rule, in each of two years immediately following the exchange, the home must be rented to another person for 14 days or more, and you may not use the home for more than 14 days (or 10 percent of the total number of days the home is rented in a 12-month period).
  • An exchanged vacation home cannot become a primary residence for purposes of taking advantage of the principle residence exclusion. Property acquired in a 1031 exchange is subject to a five-year-period of exclusion from the principal residence capital gains tax benefit.

Link to full article

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Real Estate Investing, Realtor Training | 0 comments

Seniors Renting

old guy renting

From Bloomberg:

Mike Abelson calls it his “man cave.”

After his wife passed away, the 65-year-old sold his house and began renting a 1,400-square foot apartment eight miles away in Bethesda, Maryland. The trial attorney now uses his downtime to enjoy warm summer evenings on his terrace.

“I pay a pretty steep rent, but it’s worth it,” Abelson said. “I don’t pay property taxes, I don’t pay for maintenance, plumbing or electrical. I don’t have to pay for the grass cutting. It’s just easier than being a homeowner.”

The number of renters who are 65 or older will reach 12.2 million by 2030, more than double the level in 2010, according to research by the Urban Institute in Washington. While the millennial generation born after 1980 has driven demand for apartments in recent years, baby boomers — those born from 1946 to 1964 — will be the next wave, pushing up rents and spurring construction of more multifamily housing.

Real estate developers such as Bozzuto Group, Abelson’s management company, and Alliance Residential Company are building projects where multiple generations can coexist. Should the supply of rental properties fail to keep up, however, younger people will be competing for housing with the burgeoning population of older Americans.

“It’s a combination of their sheer size and that they’re entering the age range where they increasingly downsize,” Jordan Rappaport, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, who has also studied the subject, said in a telephone interview. As a result, “it will put upward pressure on rents for all types” of multifamily homes, he said.

Read full article here:

Posted by on Jul 24, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Real Estate Investing, The Future | 3 comments

Capital-Gains Tax on Real Estate


Last night we heard a proposal to raise the capital-gains tax.  Can we cut to the chase and dive into reforming the tax code instead?

I don’t want to get into the politics of it, let’s leave that for other bloggers.  Everyone can agree that some sort of tax reform is wanted and needed – and hopefully somebody will pull it off someday.

Realtors hear about it all the time, especially from the long-time owners of rental properties.  The thought of paying a huge tax bill makes them immediately dismiss the idea of selling, because they know if their leave it to their heirs, the stepped-up basis will apply.

We shouldn’t have a tax code that influences real estate decisions. Tax reform should include a neutral stance on when you sell real estate – it should be taxed the same, whether you are dead or alive.

What about the MID, the mortgage-interest deduction?  Let’s get rid of that too, and create a pure marketplace where people buy homes to live in, and raise a family, and not because they get a tax break.

If you have any other reason to buy a house – investment, etc. – then great, but tax benefits shouldn’t be one of those motivators, because they won’t apply to all citizens.

‘Oh Jim, now you’re asking for it. The NAR is going to punch your ticket and throw you out of the club for that kind of crazy talk.’

Yeah?  The National Association of Realtors needs to play a bigger game.  The millions they spend on lobbying could help champion tax reform, instead of sounding like a broken record on the MID.

Here are two articles discussing the topic:

1.  This guys says that something has to give:

2.  This guy points out how small the MID benefit really is:

Posted by on Jan 21, 2015 in Ideas/Solutions, Jim's Take on the Market, Real Estate Investing, This Is America | 8 comments