array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "98614" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26460" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "98614" ["subject"]=> string(37) "Prepaid Property Tax Debate Undecided" ["authors"]=> string(17) "By Liz Dominguez " ["data"]=> string(4068) "Just over a week shy from the 2018 tax deadline on April 17, and controversy surrounding the new tax law—the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—is leaving multitudes of homeowners uncertain about whether they should claim their prepaid property tax deductions. The new law imposes a $10,000 cap on state and local tax write-offs (previously unlimited) for both single filers and married couples, leaving tax consultants and taxpayers searching for ways to make the most of the decreased cap before it takes effect in next year's filing. 
 
Interpretation of the new law has been varied. The ruling clearly states that state and local income taxes are not eligible for prepayment. With no mention of property taxes, many homeowners rushed to prepay in December; however, on December 27, the IRS released a statement, clarifying that prepaid taxes are only deductible under certain circumstances—homeowners cannot deduct the prepayment for property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018.
 
The IRS provided the following examples
 
"Assume County A assesses property tax on July 1, 2017 for the period July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018. On July 31, 2017, County A sends notices to residents notifying them of the assessment and billing the property tax in two installments with the first installment due Sept. 30, 2017 and the second installment due Jan. 31, 2018. Assuming taxpayer has paid the first installment in 2017, the taxpayer may choose to pay the second installment on Dec. 31, 2017, and may claim a deduction for this prepayment on the taxpayer's 2017 return."
 
"County B also assesses and bills its residents for property taxes on July 1, 2017, for the period July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018. County B intends to make the usual assessment in July 2018 for the period July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019; however, because county residents wish to prepay their 2018-2019 property taxes in 2017, County B has revised its computer systems to accept prepayment of property taxes for the 2018-2019 property tax year. Taxpayers who prepay their 2018-2019 property taxes in 2017 will not be allowed to deduct the prepayment on their federal tax returns because the county will not assess the property tax for the 2018-2019 tax year until July 1, 2018."

 
Not all tax experts agree, and several members of the Ways & Means Committee are petitioning the IRS for higher deductions of reasonable estimates, according to the Wall Street Journal. The issue has not been resolved across the board, but with a low audit risk due to limitations on IRS resources, some taxpayers are urging their tax preparers to claim the deduction without disclosing the write-off on the required IRS form (8275).  
 
"There is no reason to believe that Congress made a mistake in omitting property tax prepayments, and there was certainly no basis for the IRS to substitute its own policy judgements that departs from the act of Congress, especially when the consequence of the IRS's determination may have cost taxpayers millions of dollars," states the Ways & Means Committee letter.
 
Stay tuned to RISMedia for more developments.
 
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia's associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.
" ["preview"]=> string(476) "Just over a week shy from the 2018 tax deadline on April 17, and controversy surrounding the new tax law—the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—is leaving multitudes of homeowners uncertain about whether they should claim their prepaid property tax deductions. The new law imposes a $10,000 cap on state and local tax" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "92565" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26460" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "92565" ["subject"]=> string(49) "10 Reasons Green Is the New Normal in Real Estate" ["authors"]=> string(0) "" ["data"]=> string(5942) "The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD).
 

In addition to the obvious benefits to the triple bottom line—people, planet, profit—below are 10 aspects of today's world intended to help real estate professionals understand that green real estate (also known as efficient, high-performance or sustainable) is the new normal, and has reached its tipping point for awareness, adoption and market penetration.
 
1. Today's daily life is replete with messages about environmental responsibility, from ubiquitous recycling containers to continuous advertising for "all-natural" products and media reports of high-profile environmental disasters.
 
2. The millennial generation is redefining what it means to live an environmentally conscious life. Surveys show the majority of millennials don't even think of themselves as environmentalists—the traditional definition is too narrow for them. Millennials incorporate green choices into their way of life. It's not what they do—it's who they are.
 
3. Walkability, car-optional transportation, affordability and placemaking have become key market drivers in real estate. Communities that already have good walkability and public transit can build on these assets to attract high-income, well-educated residents, and the businesses that serve them.
 
4. Nearly every municipality and state in the country has adopted minimum energy-efficiency standards, which gradually raise the bar for compliance. Furthermore, many building codes now may require replacement of old materials and systems with newer, more resource-efficient parts and materials.
 
5. Cash grants, rebates and tax deductions provide a strong incentive, as well as ease the cost of upgrades. The Database for State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency.
 
6. The market edge provided by certified homes is now a powerful incentive. Three major national certifications dominate in home certifications: Energy Star®, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) of the Home Research Innovation Labs.
 
7. High-performance homes sell at a premium and help reduce mortgage risk. In a two recent studies, the Institute for Market Transformation found that high-performance homes (HPHs) sold at a 3.46 percent premium and mortgage defaults were 32 percent lower.
 
8. The rapid convergence of technologies that has become part of everyday life includes mobile phones and tablets, downloadable apps, embedded sensors and Wi-Fi internet connectivity. Smart home technology is now widely available, affordable and usable by the majority of the population. These technologies yield valuable data which can be analyzed and used to improve home performance for cost savings and improved resource usage—and are evolving at warp speed.
 
9. According to 2017 predictions by market researchers at Frost & Sullivan, the global homes and buildings industry is undergoing an intense evolution. "Transformational technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), big data, data analytics and the cloud are propelling double-digit growth and market expansion." Data collection and process improvements from these efforts have a multitude of applications for improvements in water efficiency, heating and cooling, security, overall facilities management, and even healthcare.
 
10. In a move driven by the wishes of its members, in the fall of 2016, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) created a Sustainability Program designed to position NAR as a leader in the conversation about sustainability in real estate for REALTORS®, brokers, allied trade associations and consumers.
 
For more education about green homes and sustainability, check out this month's featured designation online course bundle at the Center for REALTOR® Development, NAR's Green Designation: Day 1 & 2 Online Bundle, which is on special for 25% off this entire month of April and is the educational requirement for NAR's Green Designation.
 
For more information, please visit RISMedia's online learning portal from NAR's Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD) and the Learning Library. Here, real estate professionals can sign up for online professional development courses, industry designations, certifications, CE credits, Code of Ethics programs and more. NAR's CRD also offers monthly specials and important education updates. New users will need to register for an account.
" ["preview"]=> string(308) "
In addition to the obvious benefits to the triple bottom line—people, planet, profit—below are 10 aspects of today's world intended to help real estate" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "98613" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26460" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "98613" ["subject"]=> string(46) "Getting Ready to Downsize? Factors to Consider" ["authors"]=> string(14) "By Nancy Kupka" ["data"]=> string(5333) "Editor's Note: This was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin' now at blog.rismedia.com: As you age, you may decide that less is more. When you downsize your home, there can be less to pay for, less to take care of and less to worry about. Although the decision sounds simple, there is a lot to consider before you put your current home on the market.
 
Finances
Depending on where you live and where you intend to live, it may not be financially possible to relocate. For instance, you may have a large house in the Midwest, but a desire to move to a smaller property with an ocean view. There's a chance you won't make enough money from the sale of your house to buy a new home without the help of a mortgage.
 
If you've lived in your home for some time and are looking for a newer house, you may not be able to afford the home of your dreams without financing. Even if an even swap is possible between your current and new homes, there may be association fees or higher property taxes that exceed your budget. Be sure that you know the financial details well in advance of the move.
 
Family Size
As you age and children leave the nest, you may think that you no longer need as much room. But what if the children come home again? The Pew Research Center found that in 2016, 15 percent of millennials were living in their parents' home. This is nearly double the number of people of the same age group living in their parents' home in 1964. The job market, college debt and the rising cost of living all contribute to this change. Keep in mind that it may not just be your children moving home—they may also bring their partners and their children.
 
Location
Location is important for more than just resale value. If you want to travel, or if you want to be easily accessible to friends and relatives, you probably want to live in a town near an airport. Also, give great consideration to the community that you're interested in moving into. Choose a community that has the resources that are important to you; these may include houses of worship, community centers or public transportation. Real estate agents can give you detailed information regarding these questions.
 
If you're considering a gated community, look into the services offered. You'll likely want to continue doing activities you enjoy and maybe even find new hobbies. If you love gardening, don't move to an association that won't let you plant outside. If you're a fan of woodworking, some associations have hobby rooms with tools available for you to use. If you're a card shark, it might be hard to find people to play cards with during the day if most people in your neighborhood are younger and at work.
 
Layout of the Home
There's a lot to be said for a two-level house, including privacy and the small dose of exercise one gets from going up and down a flight of stairs. But what seems a minor inconvenience when you're 55 years old might be a major difficulty when you turn 70. If you decide to get a home with more than one level, choose one with a bathroom on the same floor as your bedroom. Or, look into whether the home can be outfitted with assistive devices, like chair lifts.
 
Other things to consider include easy access to a washer and dryer, outdoor access and parking.
 
What You'll Take With You
If you're moving from the home where you raised a family, you'll likely have many things to contend with. You may need to decide what you can live without. Sure, you can take pictures and all of your children's middle school awards, but are you prepared to let go of other cherished belongings if you move to a smaller home? Give thought to whether you can truly downsize your life and still feel at home.
 
Finally, realize that if you haven't found exactly the right setup for your lifestyle, you can always move again. After all, if a home is a person's castle, shouldn't you be happy in yours?
 
Nancy Kupka PhD, RN is a former home care specialist with years of senior care experience. She is currently Manager of Clinical Programs and Quality for Walgreens. To make aging in place in a smaller home more comfortable, you can find assistive devices such as lift chairs at Walgreens.com
" ["preview"]=> string(281) "
As you age, you may decide that less is more. When you downsize your home, there can be less to pay for, less to take care of and less to worry about." ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "98511" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26460" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "98511" ["subject"]=> string(70) "Ask the Expert: Can a Home Inspection Help the Mortgage Process Along?" ["authors"]=> string(0) "" ["data"]=> string(2889) "Today's Ask the Expert column features Dan Steward, president of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors
 
Q: Should sellers get a home inspection to help the mortgage process along?
 

A: If you're a seller, it behooves you to get your own home inspection prior to putting your house on the market. But why spend money on one when the buyer will surely get their own?
 
Buyers that see a recent home inspection along with the listing sheet already realize that the asking price of the home is likely justified. They can rest assured that there are no scary surprises waiting for them upon closing. And you can hasten an offer by having that report right in front of serious buyers when they're considering putting in an offer.
 
This also establishes a sense of trust between the buyer and the seller from the start. It shows the buyer that you care enough to get details and minor problems with the house detected and fixed before they even put in an offer.
 
If your home inspector shows you minor items that may come up in the buyer's home inspection, you can have the issues looked at and repaired before the buyer even has their report done. You will have time for bids on a job instead of rushing to pay a higher price for the work, or, worse, having to deduct from the agreed upon price. In fact, you can show the report and a receipt proving the problem was already addressed by a licensed professional.
 
Having a good report readily available also shows the buyer that you've most likely been maintaining the property all along, which is another terrific plus when selling.
 
Mitigating risk is key when selling a home. Since laws regarding disclosures vary from state to state, for the most part, you as the seller are responsible even after a closing if something has been hidden or unreported to the buyer. Taking the time to have your own inspection will allow you to have repairs made for a cost that suits your budget, instead of having to deal with credits the buyer may ask for as the result of their home inspection. By getting a pre-inspection, you have proof that home maintenance issues, to the best of your knowledge, didn't exist at the time of sale. 
 
The only instance when it may not pay for a seller to proceed with a pre-inspection is when they're selling a fixer-upper. In this case, the buyer already knows what to expect, and they should have a thorough home inspection completed before signing on the dotted line.
 
For more information, please visit www.pillartopost.com" ["preview"]=> string(261) "
Buyers that see a recent home inspection along with the listing sheet already realize that the asking price of the home is" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "98510" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26460" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "98510" ["subject"]=> string(33) "Case-Shiller: Home Prices Step Up" ["authors"]=> string(17) "By RISMedia Staff" ["data"]=> string(4330) "Home prices stepped up 6.2 percent in January, according to the S&P CoreLogic/Case-Shiller Indices.
 
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index's 10-City Composite, which is an average of 10 metros (Boston, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.), rose 6 percent year-over-year, unchanged from December.
 
The 20-City Composite—which is an average of the 10 metros in the 10-City Composite, plus Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle and Tampa—rose 6.4 percent year-over-year, an increase from 6.3 percent in December. Month-over-month, both the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite rose, each 0.3 percent.
 
"The home price surge continues," says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee and managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Since the market bottom in December 2012, the S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller National Home Price index has climbed at a 4.7 percent real—inflation adjusted—annual rate. That is twice the rate of economic growth as measured by the GDP.
 
"While price gains vary from city to city, there are few, if any, really weak spots," Blitzer says. "Seattle, up 12.9 percent in the last year, continues to see the largest gains, followed by Las Vegas up 11.1 percent over the same period. Even Chicago and Washington, the cities with the smallest price gains, saw a 2.4 percent annual increase in home prices. Two factors supporting price increases are the low inventory of homes for sale and the low vacancy rate among owner-occupied housing. The current months-supply—how many months at the current sales rate would be needed to absorb homes currently for sale—is 3.4; the average since 2000 is 6.0 months, and the high in July 2010 was 11.9. Currently, the homeowner vacancy rate is 1.6 percent compared to an average of 2.1 percent since 2000; it peaked in 2010 at 2.7 percent.
 
"Despite limited supplies, rising prices, and higher mortgage rates, affordability is not a concern," says Blitzer. "Affordability measures published by the National Association of REALTORS® show that a family with a median income could comfortably afford a mortgage for a median-priced home."
 
The complete data for the 20 markets measured by S&P Dow Jones:
 
Atlanta, Ga.
Month-Over-Month (MoM): 0.7%
Year-Over-Year (YoY): 6.5%
 
Boston, Mass.
MoM: 0.2%
YoY: 5.3%
 
Charlotte, N.C.
MoM: 0.4%
YoY: 6%
 
Chicago, Ill.
MoM: 0%
YoY: 2.4%
 
Cleveland, Ohio
MoM: 0%
YoY: 3.5%
 
Dallas, Texas
MoM: 0.2%
YoY: 6.9%
 
Denver, Colo.
MoM: 0.7%
YoY: 7.6%
 
Detroit, Mich.
MoM: 0.1%
YoY: 7.6%
 
Las Vegas, Nev.
MoM: 0.6%
YoY: 11.1%
 
Los Angeles, Calif.
MoM: 0.6%
YoY: 7.6%
 
Miami, Fla.
MoM: 0.6%
YoY: 4%
 
Minneapolis, Minn.
MoM: 0.1%
YoY: 5.9%
 
New York, N.Y.
MoM: 0%
YoY: 5.2%
 
Phoenix, Ariz.
MoM: 0.3%
YoY: 5.9%
 
Portland, Ore.

MoM: 0.4%
YoY: 7.1%
 
San Diego, Calif.
MoM: 0.8%
YoY: 7.4%
 
San Francisco, Calif.
MoM: 0.4%
YoY: 10.2%
 
Seattle, Wash.
MoM: 0.7%
YoY: 12.9%
 
Tampa, Fla.
MoM: 0.4%
YoY: 6.7%
 
Washington, D.C.
MoM: -0.4%
YoY: 2.4%" ["preview"]=> string(295) "
Home prices stepped up 6.2 percent in January, according to the S&P CoreLogic/Case-Shiller Indices. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "98612" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26460" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "98612" ["subject"]=> string(46) "Top 10 Questions to Ask While Touring a Rental" ["authors"]=> string(16) "By Jameson Doris" ["data"]=> string(3822) "Editor's Note: This was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin' now at blog.rismedia.com: Don't forget to ask the important questions when touring a rental property!
 
While these things can sometimes slip your mind, the perfect time for potential tenants to ask questions is when they have the property manager's undivided attention during a tour.
 
For first-time renters, it can be easy to forget these sorts of inquiries. Worse, many folks don't even know the right questions to ask.
 
"Potential tenants forget to take in their surroundings," says Lynn Edmondson, regional manager of Wendover Management. "The most common thing they overlook is checking cellphone reception. No one wants to move into an apartment to only discover there is no cell service."
 
Other little things people should take in while on a tour include how clean the building is and how they're treated by the property manager. First impressions can tell you a lot about what living at a particular property will be like, Edmondson notes.
 
But most important are the responses you get out of the property manager. Some questions should be knee-jerk, like asking which utilities are included. This is an important piece of information you should get out of the property manager early in the tour as some or all utilities may not be included in the price.
 
"When utilities are not included in rent, potential tenants should ask about average utility cost, as this may significantly change how much they will pay each month," says Edmondson.
 
While there's no shortage of questions you should ask when touring a rental property, many of them may not be as obvious as others. Here are the top 10 questions you should be asking:
 
10. What is the guest policy?
9. What are the hours of the apartment's facilities (pool, fitness center, etc.)?
8. Can I sublet or list my apartment on Airbnb?
7. How old is the AC unit in the building?
6. Can I decorate the apartment without losing my deposit?
5. Does the apartment require renter's insurance?
4. What happens when there's a maintenance problem?
3. Does the apartment allow pets? If so, is there a pet deposit?
2. Is the apartment offering any discounts or special offers?
1. Is there parking? Is there a fee or permit required?
 
There are some questions, especially those pertaining to damages and how to recoup your deposit, that property managers may be vague on. For the most part, though, they'll be straightforward about the different policies and amenities they have.
 
Next time you're touring a rental property, don't get too caught up in your surroundings, and be sure to ask some of the important questions listed above.
 
Jameson Doris is RISMedia's blog and social media editor. Email him your real estate news ideas at jdoris@rismedia.com" ["preview"]=> string(482) "Don't forget to ask the important questions when touring a rental property! While these things can sometimes slip your mind, the perfect time for potential tenants to ask questions is when they have the property manager's undivided attention during a tour. For first-time renters, it can be easy to" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "12392" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26460" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_10" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(6) "Footer" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "12392" ["subject"]=> NULL ["authors"]=> string(0) "" ["data"]=> NULL ["preview"]=> string(327) "

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" ["link"]=> string(0) "" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } Today's Real Estate News - Thursday, April 05, 2018
Today's Top Stories
Prepaid Property Tax Debate Undecided
10 Reasons Green Is the New Normal in Real Estate
Getting Ready to Downsize? Factors to Consider
Ask the Expert: Can a Home Inspection Help the Mortgage Process Along?
Case-Shiller: Home Prices Step Up
Top 10 Questions to Ask While Touring a Rental
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