Real Estate Housing Feed

These pups probably would be cooler inside under the A/C instead of atop the condenser. As a general rule, your cooling system works better when you keep the outside air conditioning unit clear of everything, including pets! Summer's been official for just a week, but folks in many areas have been dealing with hot temperatures for a while. Some, including my neighbors who've had air conditioning repair trucks parked in front of their houses for what seems like weeks, already are feeling the often costly effects of warmer weather. That's why it's a good time to think about tuning up... Read more →


Mother Nature gives her colorful imprimatur to the beauty of Hawaii. (Rainbow over Harold L. Lyon Arboretum, a research and community resource of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa) It's vacation season and lots of folks plan to spend their days off in other folks' homes. I'm not talking bunking on a friend's couch or in a relative's guest room. I'm looking at private residences leased to a series of strangers in cities across the country (and world). The popularity of private accommodations for vacationers has prompted many state and local jurisdictions to enact regulations and tax collection policies on... Read more →


When it comes to expired tax laws, Congress is in much the same situation as the builders of this unfinished bridge. The basics are there, but there's still work to be done. (Photo by Paul Mannix via Flickr CC) UPDATE, June 21, 2019: After almost more than 11 hours of discussion, the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday, June 20, passed along a 25-to-17 party-line vote a measure to extend through 2020 a variety of tax breaks that expired in 2017 and 2018 or will expire at the end of this year, some of which are highlighted in this... Read more →


The Alchemist, an 80-foot motor yacht photographed by D Ramey Logan, would qualify for a substantial sales tax break under a new Texas law awaiting the governor's signature. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0) Texas lawmakers say the property tax reform bill they've sent to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk will slow the increases homeowners have complained about for years. The Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act, which if enacted will require cities, counties and other taxing units to get voters' OK before levying new taxes. We shall see if what's been worked out on paper in Austin's... Read more →


Happy Earth Day 2019 Earth Day was created in 1969 by environmental activists in response to an oil spill in waters near Santa Barbara, California. Since then, it has expanded each year as a day to emphasize environmental issues and inspire an appreciation of our planet. With this year's celebration falling on a weekday, many folks are looking for ways to incorporate their pro-Mother Earth efforts into their daily lives. Well, nothing is as incorporated into our day-to-day existences as our taxes. So on Earth Day 2019 and every day this year, here are 4 tax-saving environmental options. 1. Electric... Read more →


Close-up of National Geographic United States wall map. Click image to see all 50 states. Most states tend to operate on fiscal years, with July 1 being an effective date for a lot of law change State leaders, however, realize that their residents follow the Gregorian calendar, so they still make Jan. 1 the effective date for major revisions of law. I was surfing the Web on New Year's Day — doesn't everybody?!? — and ran across some interesting state tax law changes that took effective with the arrival of 2019. Below is a look at what I found. New... Read more →


Voters across the United States will vote for Congressional and state candidates that will have a profound effect on their lives for the next several years. But just as important are the fates of 155 statewide ballot measures that voters in 37 states will be asked to decide on Nov. 6. And many of those initiatives are about taxes. With a week to go before the midterm elections, here's a bit of background on ballot measures and a look at some of the notable tax-related issues that many of us will decide. Sin taxes not a sure thing: Since we're... Read more →


Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House's tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, and his Republican colleagues in June celebrated the six-month anniversary of their major tax reform bill. Back then, they thought the new tax laws would give them a political edge in the coming November elections. They thought wrong. (Photo courtesy U.S. Speaker of the House) When the Republican controlled House and Senate passed a major tax reform bill last December, it was supposed to be a twofer. First, enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) fulfilled long-standing GOP fiscal and political goals of reducing taxes... Read more →


UPDATE, April 24, 2019: J.B. Pritzker was elected governor of Illinois last fall. Now, WBEZ radio in Chicago has reported that the Democratic head of state and some family members are under federal criminal investigation for the residential property tax appeal discussed in this pre-election post. Politics often is a dirty business. Mudslinging is ubiquitous nowadays. In one governor's race, an even messier substance is involved. A common complaint about politics is all the associated mudslinging. Such is the case in Illinois' gubernatorial race. But it's even messier, less desirable stuff that's come into political play. J.B. Pritzker, the Democrat... Read more →


Americans have always been mobile, as evidenced by this vintage photo from Flatbush Moving in Linden, New Jersey. Now some folks say they're relocating because of new tax law limits on deductions. Now that the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service have made it clear that they will restrict state efforts to work around the new $10,000 cap on the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), some folks are looking at other options. Among them, according to a New York Times story, is to move. (Unfortunately for them, the new law also, for the most part, ended the tax... Read more →


Sunsets like this one at Zuma Beach in Malibu, California, make many Golden State coastal properties prime rental investments. But Golden State limits on property taxes on inherited homes cost cities and other jurisdictions billions of dollars. (Photo by Alex Beattie via Flickr CC) Californians love Proposition 13, the grandfather of tax-limiting ballot initiatives. Since its passage in 1978, it has kept a tight cap on property tax increases. But an expansion of the original Prop 13, enacted eight years later, and its unforeseen consequences have cost Golden State school districts, cities and counties of billions of dollars in revenue,... Read more →


Summer is winding down, but someone needs to tell the thermometers. Across much of country, it feels like the mercury is about to burst and everyone is doing everything they can to stay cool. Sorry, I can't help you beat the heat. But I do have eight tax moves you can make in this eighth month of 2018 — which, with all those 8s, makes that this week's By the Numbers figure — that might be able to help lower the heat you're feeling when it comes to taxes. 1. Adjust your withholding. I know. I nag remind y'all of... Read more →


As expected, states whose residents will take a major federal tax hit under the new $10,000 limit on deductions of state and local tax (SALT) payments have headed to court. Connecticut, Maryland, New York and New Jersey on Tuesday (July 17) afternoon filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York seeking to invalidate the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's (TCJA) changes to a long-standing federal tax deduction. In this latest semi-reform of the tax code, Congress essentially gutted the value of this itemized tax deduction for, in most cases, the millions in state income and local real property payments... Read more →


School's out. Summer is here, at least unofficially judging by the temperatures. And thousands of Americans are planning vacations. There also are a sizable number of homeowners hoping to make some extra bucks off all those seasonal travelers. Home rental popularity: Alternative accommodation, as the segment is known in the industry, appeals to those looking to immerse themselves in a new place culturally. Other opt for such lodging for the privacy (no paper-thin hotel walls), convenience (cooking meals instead of always eating out; use of the owner's Wi-Fi or streaming services) or amenities (a private pool) of a personal home... Read more →


Lots of my neighbors are looking to sell, even though for most of us there's no longer a tax break for moving. However, many homeowners still will pocket tax-free sales cash that should help cover relocation expenses. No, this is not my neighborhood, although where we live is, except on lawn service days, pretty quiet, too. Summer always kind of freaks me out, and not just because here in Central Texas it tends to get too damn hot too damn soon. I'm talking about all my neighbors who want to leave. Every summer there's a plethora of "For Sale" signs... Read more →


Expensive real estate no longer provides owners unlimited federal property tax deductions. The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it will make an announcement about states efforts to provide taxpayers workarounds to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's $10,000 limit on state and local tax (SALT) federal deductions. The issue has arisen as a handful of states have enacted or are considering law changes to allow their residents to make contributions to state accounts, from which their state taxes then are paid. State "charity" workarounds: Essentially, the states' general approaches have been to effectively turn the tax payments into charitable... Read more →


The beach view of the newest Trump South Florida property. (Photo via Zillow) While many homeowners are in the process of protesting their residential property appraisals in the hopes of lowering their tax bills, Donald J. Trump is adding to his potential property taxes. The Trump Organization recently closed on a waterfront mansion just across the street in Palm Beach, Florida, from Mar-a-Lago. The property at 1125 South Ocean Boulevard was on the market for $23.9 million, but the Trumps got it for $18.5 million. Friendly transaction: The price break probably didn't take a lot of haggling. The 8,270-square-feet property,... Read more →


Jacksonville, Florida, officials might have trouble keeping their lights on if some of the city's residents don't pay their delinquent tax bills. (Photo courtesy Visit Jacksonville) Jacksonville, home to around 880,000 residents, is the largest city in the Sunshine State. It takes a lot of money to run a municipality of that size. Some of its residents, however, have decided not to pay. Their free ride, though, won't last for much longer. $58 million unpaid: More than 35,000 people owe a combined total of $58 million in unpaid taxes to the city of Jacksonville, according to WJXT News4Jax. That's almost... Read more →


We got our notice of appraisal for our house last week. It was, as has been the case for the last few years, higher. If we were selling our house right now, we'd be thrilled. But we're not moving (yet). This week, we got our monthly neighborhood newsletter. It included a local Realtor's ad touting local listings. One was for a house down the block. The asking price was $300,000 more than our appraisal notice. Yes, that home is a bit larger than our house. And it has a pool. But is it worth $300,000 more than our home? The... Read more →


Are you still waiting to file your taxes because you want additional guidance from the Internal Revenue Service about the 2018 property taxes you prepaid last year? You are not alone. A group of Democratic lawmakers, some of who met with the acting head of the IRS last month on this topic, are continuing to press the agency for a final rule about this deduction that was reduced under the newly enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The latest demand for deduction clarification came earlier this week when some Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee sent Acting IRS... Read more →