5 Things Real Estate Agents Don’t Want You to Know

Selling real estate is one of the most expensive financial decisions most people ever make. Due to the high monetary stakes, many people look for a real estate agent to guide them through the process, but before diving in and calling just any agent, there are some things you should be aware of. Here are 5 things real estate agents don’t want you to know. 

Agents don’t want you to know: The MLS has lost its power

One of the biggest advantages to selling a property with a real estate agent is their access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Before the days of the internet, the local MLS was the only location where all for sale properties were posted and the information was only available to licensed real estate agents. While the MLS system is still used today, it has been largely democratized by large listing portals like Zillow or Realtor.com. In fact, these portals tend to have direct relationships with MLS organizations meaning that the portals get property information almost as quickly as real estate agents can. If you list your property with a real estate agent, you can request that they add your property to these portals for you however if you choose to sell on your own, listing on these portals is free. 

Agents don’t want to you know: Many properties sell themselves

The real estate industry is HOT right now. Even with the financial and societal chaos caused by COVID-19, cities across the US are reporting a sellers market with a lot of competition among buyers. Many real estate agents are hardworking professionals who will do the necessary work to properly position your property for success. They take good photos, write compelling descriptions, and do additional marketing to get your property as many offers as possible, but in this market many properties will sell quickly without that professional touch. 

Agents don’t want you to know: Not every agent offers the same service

Agents don’t all offer the same service when listing a property. Some real estate agents offer professional photography and drone images as part of their basic service. Others offer staging or guidance on how to improve the curb appeal of a property. Yet others don’t offer any of these services or require additional payment or fees to cover these charges. When looking for a real estate agent to sell your property, make sure you ask exactly what services they will provide. 

Agents don’t want you to know: Beware of dual agency

No matter if you’re buying or selling real estate, you want to work with someone who has your best interests in mind. As a buyer it may seem obvious to call the phone number on the real estate listing or sign, but that’s not always the best idea. Listing agents have what’s called fiduciary duty to the sellers meaning that even if an agent is working with both the buyer and the seller in a real estate sale, all choices they make must be for the best interest of the seller. As a seller, this might seem like a good thing. You have the “in” with the agent on the other side of a deal, but this can also work against sellers. While an ethical agent wouldn’t do this, there are cases where an agent encourages a seller to accept an offer from that agent’s buyer client — even if it might not be the highest or best offer. 

Agents don’t want you to know: You can negotiate rates

Using an agent to purchase real estate costs nothing, but sellers can expect to pay an average of 6% of the sale price of the home in commission to their real estate agent. When a property is sold, a commission is paid to the listing agent (the agent who represents the property). The listing agent then pays the agent who represented the buyer as a “thank you” of sorts for bringing a buyer to the property. As a seller, you are able to negotiate the percentage of your sale price that you are willing to pay. 

Looking for an easier way to get a discount when selling real estate? While some agents and real estate brokerages offer discounted rates for discounted service, RealtyHive has created a program that negotiates with agents on your behalf to get you a discounted rate with full service. This program is available for any property almost anywhere in the US and helps sellers save thousands of dollars in real estate commissions with absolutely no cost to them. Interested in buying? Contact RealtyHive to connect with an agent who will save you money when buying your next property!

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5 Inexpensive Tools for Your Real Estate Business

Being a real estate agent has its perks. You’re a business owner, you make your own hours and set your own rules. You also wear a lot of hats — accountant, marketing, HR, and more. Fortunately it’s easier than ever to keep your business (and life) organized. Check out these 5 inexpensive tools for your real estate business.

Canva

Establishing a personal brand is a great way to stand out in a crowded market. Your business card, yard signs, and email signature all offer a way to convey information about yourself to potential clients or associates and Canva helps even the most unskilled to create beautiful designs. Canva offers many real estate-specific templates to get you started and there is a free plan available.

WordPress

If you want to take your business to the next level, consider your own website. You can further your brand, showcase your local market expertise, and collect prospect information all from a personal website. While there are a lot of options for inexpensive websites, WordPress (which powers somewhere around 30% of all pages on the internet) is a great option.

WordPress sites are endlessly customizable and offer many plugins making it easy to have a well-designed website without needing to know a programming language. WordPress itself is free and open source, but you will need to purchase website hosting and a domain name to get started.

BoxBrownie

Real estate pros know homes look best on sunny days, but unfortunately not every day has picture perfect weather. Thankfully there’s no need to wait around for sunny days with BoxBrownie. The service uses photo editing technology to improve and alter real estate photos. This can be anything from replacing the sky to virtually staging a room.

Interested in a more DIY approach to photo editing? Check out the mobile-only app Pixaloop. This very inexpensive app allows you to replace sky, animate water, or add other little touches and works great for your social media pages.

DocuSign

Real estate is notorious for the amount of paperwork required, but Docusign looks to change that. DocuSign has been a vital business tool for many REALTORS® throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as they offer a way to electronically send documents for signature. The program doesn’t require recipients to have any special software, making it easy to send, sign, and return contracts. Docusign offers monthly plans from just $10 and is available for computers or as a mobile app.

RealtyHive

There’s a lot in real estate that can feel like a gamble. You want to price a property high enough to get the most value for your client, but you don’t want to price it too steeply that you don’t receive competitive offers. RealtyHive time-limited events are a great way to make sure you get the absolute most money for your client in a risk-free way. Time-limited events are a soft auction approach that allows sellers to remain in full control of the final sales price while opening up the pool of buyers. RealtyHive offers programs that are 100% success-based — meaning you only pay if your property sells.

Buying or Selling a Home As-Is

We all know (or can easily figure out) the concept of buying or something “as-is.” I’m about to try selling my bike as-is for $25 — it works well, but needs some tuning up, the tires are flat and I don’t have a bike pump.

Maybe you’ve seen someone with a “For Sale” sign in the front windshield of their car, parked on the side of the road. There very well might be nothing wrong with it, but the seller thinks they can get a better deal than taking it to a used car dealership by taking matters into their own hands.

When we buy or sell something as-is, that “something” is to be sold and purchased in the state that it’s currently in. But for a massive investment and asset like a house, how does this process work?

Selling a House As-Is

The process of selling as-is is pretty simple. The only real differences from selling the traditional route are:

  • Your listing includes “as-is”
  • If you lived at this house, you have to disclose any/all known issues
    • If you inherited the house, it was a rental you hadn’t lived in, or if it was a bank-owned property, your disclosure requirements are waived.
  • The house doesn’t have to be empty when you move out

With all that in mind, here are some pros and cons to selling as-is:

Pros

You don’t have to clean your house. This is perhaps the biggest benefit to selling as-is. Homeowners with tons of stuff don’t have to clean through and sort everything — they can literally leave their house and its belongings for the next person. This is also beneficial for homeowners who are grieving the loss of a loved one — going through everything can be extremely painful.

You don’t have to fix things up. If that roof has needed replacing for several years but you’ve just never had the time or funds to do so, you don’t have to. Even minor cosmetic issues don’t have to be spruced up.

You might sell faster. Those who invest in real estate are often looking for motivated sellers. There’s a good chance you can get connected with a buyer who’s ready to close in 30 days, no inspection necessary (this is especially true if you sell with RealtyHive!).

Cons

Your house is almost certainly going to sell for less. All the as-is benefits come with a price. When passing the torch of a rundown house to the next buyer, they won’t go for the property if they can’t afford both the house and the necessary renovations.

Buying a House As-Is

The most important thing to note with buying a house as-is involves inspections and offers. You can still put a home inspection contingency in your offer, but know that the sellers are not obligated to fix anything. This contingency solely protects you from having to purchase the house if, after the inspection, you change your mind about buying. 

For example, you might find out in a house you’re interested in that there’s major foundational damage and termites. You realize the costs are way too high and fixing things would take longer than you’d like. You’ll lose a few hundred bucks on the house inspection, but it’s better than being locked into a home purchase that you later regret.

Pros

You can get a massive deal. Undoubtedly, this is why people buy homes as-is. You could save tens of thousands (and then some) by going this route.

You might love the appeal of a fixer upper. Looking for a major project or love the idea of a house with potential? Buying a house as-is provides that exact opportunity.

You could close faster. With traditional home sales, you might submit one of 20 offers. It could be a few months at least between submitting an offer and the closing date. Buying as-is can drastically speed up the process.

Cons

You will almost certainly have to deal with lots of issues. Hoarding houses, structural damage — the gamut of home issues runs from moderate to nightmarish when buying as-is. While you could stumble upon an incredible deal with very little to fix, the chances are pretty slim. 

For this reason, including home inspections in an offer letter is necessary, unless you’re completely confident in taking on anything that comes your way. At the very least, consider taking a friend who’s got an eye for home improvement with you to walk by or through the property. 

You might pay more than you bargain (or budget) for. A low price is rarely what you’ll end up paying to make a place liveable. Buying as-is might seem like a steal, but you definitely run the risk of unforeseen costs.

No matter if you’re looking to buy or sell as-is, RealtyHive is the place to go! We list properties from highly motivated sellers and connect them with highly interested buyers — think of us as an as-is online dating service. Fall in love with a new property or our selling process today.

Why we won’t back down

Seeing the opportunity in hard times

In times of uncertainty it can be easy to hunker down and hide. Seeing the trouble and panic of yesterday leads many to think that tomorrow will be filled with more of the same. It’s okay to be anxious with what we’re seeing, or not seeing,  in the market now. It’s uncertain and it’s human nature to react with hesitancy; if nothing feels the same as it was yesterday, it follows that we should not act as we did yesterday. But this pattern of panic and inaction is not conducive to growth or recovery. What is important now is to have a plan of action. 

RealtyHive began in another time of deep societal unease. Our Time-Limited Events were developed in response to the industry downturn during the Great Recession. We saw the plight of sellers and professionals who had properties they needed to sell, but no way to stand out and reach those who were still interested in buying. For these folks, giving up wasn’t an option and neither was holding on to the properties for longer. The industry was reeling, the market was in shambles, and it would have been easy to give up. We easily could’ve just said that no one was buying real estate and could’ve sat back and watched the industry fall into ever deeper trenches. Instead, we made a plan, executed that plan, and were able to help thousands of sellers and professionals create the property exposure needed to sell then, just as we intend to do now. 

At RealtyHive, we’re continuing to showcase properties to interested buyers in the safest and smartest ways possible. We understand that while many are worried about what the future may hold, now is the time to be prepared for whatever may come next.  We’re proud to be able to offer contactless digital marketing options to agents and sellers as well all work through this tough time together.   

The situation we’re faced with is different for everyone. Many people are facing economic hardships and that is not something to be taken lightly, however for those fortunate enough to have income security, this could be a great time to buy real estate. 

The historically low mortgage rates we’re seeing right now offer an incredible opportunity for buyers and the technology available means that buyers can see properties without ever having to leave their couch. From virtual tours and video walkthroughs to e-signing documents and online meetings, the tools we have mean that we can carry on with business in a way that is both safe and productive. 

Uncertainty is not limited to those buying properties. While RealtyHive always showcases the properties of motivated sellers, now more than ever we encourage you to take a look at the properties available through RealtyHive Time-Limited Events

Recently we’ve added a new tool to help buyers and sellers get the most value out of their real estate buying or selling experience. Cashifyd is a new program we’ve developed to connect consumers with agents who offer cashback credits at closing. This credit helps minimize the amount of money needed to close on a property, freeing that cash up for other uses. This program is completely free for buyers and sellers and allows you to connect with an agent and start your real estate process without having to leave your home. 

 As we weave through these unprecedented times together, it comes down to the way we respond to the challenges we face. We chose to confront these challenges and continue to build for the future and welcome you to reach out and let us know how we can assist in continuing your real estate goals.

Tax Information for Real Estate Investors

Studying tax codes might sound like a snoozefest, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. At least, not if you think of yourself as Indiana Jones.

As a real estate investor, you’re on a mission to maximize your revenue, to find the Holy Grail of properties, and to grow your financial portfolio. Understanding taxes that directly benefit your quest is like finding a map in a mysterious language: difficult to decipher, but a necessary part of the journey.

We’ve already covered tax incentives for homeowners. If you’re a property investor, it’s time to grab your bullwhip and fedora. We’re about to give you the Rosetta Stone for understanding property investing tax benefits.

Capital Gains Taxes (and How to Avoid Them)

Any time you profit from a real estate sale (such as a land sale or a rental property), you can be taxed on this income. A capital gains tax is the tax you pay on that profit.

However, one of the biggest draws to the real estate investing game is that there are ways to avoid paying capital gains taxes. It’s like selling a crystal skull that you found but not having to pay taxes on however much you made. Here are some tax things to know:

Opportunity Zones

If you invest in an area that is considered economically distressed, you could qualify for tax breaks. Opportunity zones (sometimes also called tax incremental districts) are places that are certified as economically distressed by the federal government. They have the potential for tax benefits for new investors.

One thing to note: many people worry that opportunity zones contribute to gentrification. In other words, as an economically-distressed neighborhood is reinvested into, the price of everything (especially rent) skyrockets, which hurts the people already living in the area.

All things considered, this is still a tax benefit. It could greatly benefit your personal financial portfolio, but it could also benefit some communities as well. Turning a place (such as a rural, middle-of-nowhere town) into a desirable area definitely still has some pros.

1031 Exchanges

We covered 1031 exchanges in detail in a previous blog, but it’s good to refresh. You can defer capital gains taxes in a 1031 exchange as long as you use the profits from one property sale to buy a similar property.

Picture Indiana Jones using his whip to get some precious item into his hands. You can segue your sold property (the precious item) to a 1031 exchange (the whip) into an opportunity zone  (Indy’s hands) for a commercial property.

Other Tax Benefits for Rental Property Investors

For rental property investors specifically, there are some other tax benefits you’ll want to know about:

  • Mortgage Interest Deduction: The first $1 million of your mortgage ($750k for properties bought after 12/15/17) qualifies for a tax deduction on its interest.
  • Depreciation Deduction: The second your rental property is in use, you can start tracking depreciation (and subsequent costs), which can be deducted on your taxes.
  • Travel Costs: Any time you buy gas or even a plane ticket to get to your rental property (this includes international properties), write this down! Travel expenses are business expenses, and they’re tax deductible.
  • Maintenance & Repairs: These may also qualify as business expenses and can be deducted.

You’ve got your map, you’ve got the keys to the hidden cave chamber. You’ll still cross paths with some snake pits in your property investing journey, but the proper resources will swing you out of them. 

One of those resources is RealtyHive — we connect you with motivated sellers! Whether for residential or commercial properties, these sellers want to see your offer, whether for residential or commercial properties. Look through our listings and join the bidding in one of our time-limited events!

Is Buying an Older Home a Good Idea?

There’s a certain feeling to older homes, and it’s one that can’t be replicated. The sense of history, the character, the craftsmanship — stepping into old homes is like stepping into another time. 

While we relish in that sense of wonder, there’s a lot to consider from a homeowner perspective. As great as it is to visit a Victorian manor or beautiful house built 100+ years ago, is buying really worth it?

Buying an Older Home: Pros

Unparalleled Character

Like we said, it’s pretty spectacular to walk through an older home. For Victorian-style houses that are at least a century old, there’s something awe-inspiring in walking through a home that’s survived so much history. 

People feel a deeper connection to the past and, to some degree, probably feel hopeful for the future. If this house can stand for so long, so can we. It’s hard to put this exact feeling into words, but anyone who has felt it understands why people love old homes. Their magic is absolutely a draw.

Incredible Craftsmanship

“They don’t make homes like they used to” isn’t just a saying, it’s kind of true. Victorian homes often have details that blow newer houses out of the water. And as we’ve said in past blogs, the devil is always in the details when it comes to how valuable a house is.

Old homes also have features that keep on pace with modern trends. Hardwood floors, unique tile, huge clawfoot tubs (if you’re lucky) — people are renovating their new homes to match these vintage styles!

Potential Value

From the character and craftsmanship to the historic value, old homes could be worth more than newer homes in the area (such as this Victorian home in Wisconsin). This is also due to size — Victorian houses are typically bigger — and the need to preserve the property. Older houses in historic districts tend to fetch higher prices — great news for you when you’re looking to sell.

Buying an Older Home: Cons

Higher Price = Less Buyers?

When the price matches the condition, older, run-down homes are quick to sell. Houses in great condition (even if modernized) can sometimes struggle to find a buyer since their price is inevitably higher.

However, that’s not to say you’ll never sell if your old house is in tip-top shape. Some people even buy older houses to renovate them into commercial spaces. All the same, it’s good to note that an old house (especially a bigger one) may struggle to find the right buyer.

More Upkeep & Renovation

Lead pipes, asbestos, a crumbling foundation — these are the not-so-great parts of owning an old house. There’s a solid chance you’ll need to update the home with everything from light fixtures and wall sockets to adding air conditioning. 

These renovations are both time-consuming and expensive. It’s worth noting that some cities actually provide grant money to restore a historic home. But if you want a no-muss, no-fuss home, an older property is not for you.

Have an older home that’s in great shape, but not selling? Feeling like your Queen Anne house has lost too much of its regality? Searching for a Victorian house with lots of potential? You can have it all with RealtyHive. 

We’ll happily list your home through a time-limited event, and we also have tons of properties for you to sift through. Look through our listings or get started on selling with RH!

Real Estate Investing & Non-Conforming Properties: What to Know

A rundown, seemingly vacant house doesn’t excite most people. Unless they’re real estate investors, in which case it feels like finding buried treasure. 

Property investors are always on the lookout for a great deal that they can flip or rent out. While this strategy can increase their ROI, it can backfire. Like anything else in life, there’s no such thing as a perfect system. In this instance, troubles ensue when a good deal turns out to be a non-conforming property.

What is a non-conforming property?

A non-conforming property is a property that followed zoning laws at the time it was built, but not currently. This often happens if a property is not used for what it was built for over an extended period of time (anywhere from 6 months to a year). Here’s an example:

Elenita finds an incredible building that used to be a store. She wants to rent out this commercial property and knows a lot of people in her area are trying to start a business but need the space. It needs a ton of repair after sitting vacant for just over a year. 

Elenita gets a great deal on the property, but as soon as she turns on the utilities, she hears from code enforcement: this property can only be used as a single-family home now.

This is a massive setback for Elenita, who now either needs to pay even more to turn it into a residential rental property or find another buyer. This is also why as a property investor, you have to be on the lookout for non-conforming properties.

What are some signs that a property is non-conforming?

The biggest thing to look out for is the amount of time a property has sat empty, or how long it has gone without fulfilling its original, intended use.

As another example, say Joe finds an incredible four-plex that’s a bank foreclosure. It has sat vacant for a year. Joe’s expecting some amazing cash flow, thinking of how he can rent it out to multiple renters, and instead experiences the same thing as Elenita: it’s a non-conforming property.

This four-plex can now only exist as a single family home. At best, Joe is only going to make one-fourth of his predicted revenue stream. At worst, this property could prove difficult to rent out and he might not make anything.

Why do these rules exist?

Most cities have real estate zoning rules that place limits on what can be built, and where it can be built. These rules are all around us — in newer subdivisions, it’s why you don’t see any commercial buildings (such as grocery stores) being built near houses.

But as we know, there are plenty of times when this isn’t the case — one walk around a downtown area or older city and you’ll see countless apartments and houses coexisting right next to each other. 

Cities don’t want to close businesses just because their rules have changed. They’ll allow building owners to have what’s called legal non-conforming use, allowing business to continue as usual — even when those buildings are not up to current code.

This all changes if:

  • The building isn’t used for its original purpose for a period of time OR
  • The building was completely or partially destroyed (such as from a fire)

If you think this is unfair or strange, look through some photos of Houston, a city without real estate zoning. Not to hate on Houston, but zoning laws do offer a sense of organization and provide some method to what would otherwise be madness.

How can you safely avoid buying a non-conforming property?

Pay attention to the time a property has sat unused (whether in general or for its original purpose). But what if you’re new to an area and don’t know? Or what if you want to branch outside of where you’re living?

That’s where RealtyHive comes in. We have an expansive database of residential and commercial properties for sale, and can provide you the details so that you don’t end up in a trap. Look through our listings to help grow your portfolio!

Tax Incentives for Homeowners

We all know buying and owning a house is expensive. But many first-time homeowners (or soon-to-be homeowners) don’t realize all the ways they can save. Even if it’s not tax season, it’s great to keep in mind all the tax incentives for homeowners that exist.

Property Tax Deductions

Property taxes can cost homeowners an arm and a leg. Fortunately, you can deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes on your return or, if you’re married but filing separately, up to $5,000. This includes the potential to deduct on multiple properties, such as vacation homes, land, and in some instances, even RVs!

One thing to keep in mind: you can only deduct on property taxes you’ve already paid.

Working From Home

There are a number of ways you can save if you work from home. In-home daycare providers, self-employed freelancers or independent contractors, and even those who rent out a room for others can all benefit from this tax deduction! 

Here are some important things to note:

  • For home offices, you can only deduct if you use this part of your house exclusively, regularly, and as a primary place of business.
  • You’ll need to record any expenses that went towards maintaining the office space throughout the year.
  • If you’re working from home for another company, this tax incentive for homeowners does not apply to you.

Read up on Publication 587 for all the details.

Home Equity Loan Interest

Took out a home equity loan this year? You can deduct the interest as long as the loan was used appropriately. In other words, as long as it was used to improve your home. If the loan wasn’t used for those exact purposes, that interest can’t be deducted.

Mortgage Interest

Depending on when you bought your home (only works for homes bought after 12/15/2017) and how much you borrowed, there’s a good chance the you can write off some of your mortgage interest. Use NerdWallet’s mortgage interest deduction calculator to see how much you can save.

Renewable Energy

Have you made the switch to solar panels this year? Good for you. The other great news is that renewable energy earns you a huge tax deduction. You can deduct 26% of your installation costs for solar panels.

Do some research into other tax breaks as well — there are even tax incentives for homeowners with solar water heaters and geothermal heating. 

Don’t let the expense of buying a home hold you back

If you’ve held off on buying a house because of the expenses, remember that there are plenty of ways you can save. It’s not just tax incentives that can help, either. You can find some incredible listings through RealtyHive, and since they’re time-limited events, you might save more than you thought. Check out our homes for sale today!

Home Ownership & Taxes: What You Need to Know

Just like marriage, word on the street is that there are tax benefits to owning a home. But how do real estate incentives work? How does this vary in different states? When it comes to taxes and home ownership, what do you need to know?

A Few Tax Breaks for Homeowners

We’re kicking off this blog to cover the basics: As a homeowner, you’re eligible for several tax benefits. We’ll dive deeper into this in a later blog, but here are some initial things to keep in mind:

Tax IncentiveDescription
Mortgage interest reductionDeducts interest paid (if this number is at least $600) on a mortgage.
Property tax reductionIf filing jointly, you can claim up to $10,000 in property taxes.
Home equity debtDeducts interest paid on a home equity loan.

There are a ton more real estate tax incentives — so many that we’re saving them for a separate blog — but it’s good to think about now! Why wait until tax season to know how you as a homeowner can save?

Home Ownership And Taxes: FAQ

Buying a house is such an extensive process, full of information and details that take awhile to understand. Many first-time homeowners get so caught up in the house-buying process that they don’t realize how tax codes affect them. 

If this sounds familiar, don’t panic — finding answers to common tax questions is truly a “better late than never” scenario. In fact, much (if not all) of this info can save you thousands.

How does owning a home change your tax filings?

Homeowners fill out Form 1098 using information sent to them by their lender. If you paid at least $600 in interest on your mortgage, your lender will send you the proper documents to file for a tax break.

How do homeowner taxes change from state to state?

The biggest difference between states is property taxes. There is no state that doesn’t have property taxes, but there are huge differences across the map. Homeowners pay a percentage of their home’s value for property taxes (collected by their lender), and these taxes go towards schools, roads, and other state/city needs.

However, we should take this time to mention that state taxes vary drastically. Use this info as a starting point, but always talk to a tax consultant and do your research to know what’s what.

Which states have the highest and lowest property taxes?

States With the HIGHEST TaxesTax Rate
New Jersey1.89%
New Hampshire1.86%
Texas1.81%
States With the LOWEST TaxesTax Rate
Louisiana.18%
Hawaii.26%
Alabama.33%

*As of 2019.

It’s good to know what your state’s taxes are before you buy a home. If you’re as open to living in Texas as you are to living in Alabama, you could save thousands a year.

How are international properties affected?

International properties and taxes from country to country are an extremely murky area. It’s best to consult with a tax expert who’s familiar with the country where you own (or hope to own) property.

However, there is the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) to content with. As Forbes reports, “FIRPTA is unusual in that it places a withholding requirement on buyers, as opposed to sellers, who purchase U.S. real property interests worth more than $300,000 from non-U.S. owners.”

As of 2016, this withholding requirement of the total purchase price is now 15% — up from 10% in years prior. This is good to keep in mind as you peruse any international listings.

How does tax filing work for rental property owners?

There are tons of deductions that landlords can take into account. Interest on loans, depreciation of property, repairs, and travel expenses are some of the biggest deductibles. If you’re a rental property owner, make sure you keep track of every mile traveled between properties as well as a record of all repairs.

What should all homeowners do to prepare for tax season?

Our best advice is to keep records and do your research. If you’re not yet a homeowner but see this on the horizon, continue to do your research while you’re looking for the perfect home. A perfect home is a little less perfect if you haven’t properly taken taxes into account.

The amount to know about taxes is almost infinite — it’s likely well worth your while to consult a tax expert who can help you get the best real estate tax incentives. Just make sure you book an appointment before March or April!

What Makes a House “Sellable?”

We know when a person is fashionable and we know when a topic is debatable. But what makes a property sellable? If you’re worried about why your house isn’t selling, read on to see if it checks all the sellable property boxes.

Is your property listed at the right price?

Here’s the thing: every property is sellable if it’s at the right price. By “right price,” we don’t necessarily mean the exact value of your home but more so the price that buyers are willing to pay for.

Here’s an example: a beautiful mansion located in an area where there’s no demand for that kind of luxury will likely sell below its worth. You can sit and wait for the right buyer but you might end up waiting forever. Otherwise, you can keep lowering the price until someone bites. This isn’t ideal, but we have some other solutions we’ll mention towards the end of the blog.

Is your property in a good location?

This is a tough one, because you obviously can’t just up and move your house to a more desirable location. But we all know how powerful location is — people will pay a premium price for even the most rundown of homes as long as it’s in a good spot.

Do whatever you can to sell up the location you’re in. In a super remote location? Hype up the peace and quiet. Near an industrial site or an airport? Talk about being close to a lot of jobs (or consider if you’re located in a place that might one day be up and coming — it’s a trend we see with many industrial locales). 

If none of that seems to work, find a platform (such as RealtyHive) that targets a larger audience. Expanding the location of the people who see your property creates more potential to find a buyer and, ultimately, a sale.

Do you have good curb appeal?

Around the corner from where I (the writer) live is a house that used to be a Pizza Hut. The once-parking lot is now a lawn but nothing has changed the fact that when you look at it, it’s clearly a Pizza Hut. I’ve heard the interior is really modern, but I’m still not convinced that it doesn’t smell like greasy, cheesy pizza inside.

That tells you pretty much all you need to know about curb appeal. While the Pizza Hut house isn’t a lost cause, it’s undoubtedly lacking in sellability. Countless buyers looking for homes will feel the exact same way that I do, which limits maximum potential.

If the Pizza Hut house had some beautiful trees, shrubs, and other landscaping, you truly couldn’t even tell it was once a restaurant. First impressions are important, which is why it’s essential you examine your home’s exterior when trying to sell.

Does your house make foundational sense?

A house on stilts makes sense in Florida or the Caribbean — not so much in the frozen tundra that is Wisconsin. Houses without basements aren’t uncommon in warmer, drier states. In tornado country, a house lacking a basement is kind of scary.

If your house is structurally sensible for the region, you have an asset(s) that you should absolutely highlight. For all you know, a buyer coming from Arizona might be shocked at your green lawn or unfinished basement — what’s common for you could very well be a novelty for others.

In the event your house is lacking in its structure, curb appeal, location, or any other sellable factor, don’t despair. Don’t let it sit for months on end without an offer in sight — sell with RealtyHive instead! We’ve got the exclusive marketing you need to help your home go to the right buyer. Find out today how a time-limited event can help your house for sale.