Jerry Strom | Sarasota Real Estate, Venice Real Estate, Osprey Real Estate, Nokomis Real Estate

Working from home is a job benefit many dream of. However, despite what some may think working from home is not all fun and games. While it may make for an easier commute it also can make for more distractions that keep you from your work. Learn how you can create an office in your home that is a productivity oasis. Function before form. It may be tempting to run out and buy all the beautiful office supplies and knick knacks, but before you do plan out the function of your office first. Create a list of must-have items. Will you need a printer, file cabinet or shelves for your reference binders? Perhaps a fax machine, large whiteboard or a sprawling desk with plenty of elbow room. Knowing what you need on hand to create the most efficient work environment will give you the ability to sit down and productively work without running out to get supplies or inventing workarounds. You will also want to invest in a good ergonomic chair since you will be spending so much of your time sitting in it. Your back will thank you. Location. The location of your home office in your house may be more important than you think. Choosing a quiet secluded room with lots of light will create an ideal working environment. If you have children or a partner that will be home during the day you will want the room in a place where they will not have to tiptoe around like if you, for example, set up shop in the dining room. Creating some “do not disturb” signs may be a good idea to further set boundaries with your family. Organize. Set yourself up for success off the bat by developing an organization system that works best for your home office. Since home offices tend to be set up in smaller rooms of a house make the most of your space by organizing vertically as well horizontally. Neatly manage and label cords when you set up any electrical equipment. Keep the items you use daily within easy reach so you don’t need to jump up and down all day to dig through your cabinets. Inspire. This is your home office, after all, and not a cubicle so don’t be afraid to add personality to work your space. Pick up posters with uplifting quotes or imagery or a cork board to pin inspiration and goals. Paint your office a color that uplifts and inspires you. A calm blue paired with a vibrant yellow can help boost your focus and alertness. Setting up a home office is an exciting house project, especially when you will have the opportunity to work from home. While it’s tempting to make your new office one that is visually appealing don’t forget to keep function at the forefront of your planning process. In the end, you’ll have the best of both worlds and may even be more productive for it!

2017 Tax Reform

Thanks to KCM
1.  Mortgage Interest Deduction
There was concern that the mortgage interest deduction (MID) would be eliminated. That didn't happen.
However, the bill has made the following changes:
  •          Reduces limit on deductible mortgage debt to $750,000 for new loans taken out after 12/14/17 (from the existing $1,000,000). Current loans up to $1 million are grandfathered.
  •          Homeowners may refinance mortgage debts existing on 12/14/17 up to $1 million and still deduct the interest, so long as the new loan does not exceed the amount refinanced.
  •          Repeals deduction for interest paid on home equity debt through 12/31/25.
  •          Interest is still deductible on home equity loans if proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.
  •          Interest remains deductible on second homes, but subject to the limits.
2.  State and Local Taxes (SALT)
There was concern that the state and local tax deduction (which includes property taxes) would be eliminated. That didn't happen. The final bill allows an itemized deduction of up to $10,000 for the total of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes. 
3.  Exclusion of gain on sale of a principal residence
There was concern that owners would now need to live in their house for at least 5 out of the last 8 years to claim this exemption. Under the former tax framework, a typical owner, who has lived in their house for at least 2 years out of the last 5 years, would pay nothing in capital gain taxes if they sell the house.
No change. The new code will remain the same as the old.
The most thorough analysis of how tax reform will affect the housing market has come from Capital Economics. Here are some highlights:
  •          The tax bill could raise the net costs of buying. But, given most households will see an overall tax cut, and potential buyers are likely to put that saving towards their home, we doubt it will have a significant detrimental impact on the housing market.
  •          Most households stretch themselves when buying a home, and to the extent that the new code will cut taxes for most households, the overall change could be positive for the housing market.
  •          The impact on expensive homes could be more detrimental, with a limit on the mortgage interest deduction raising taxes for those that itemize.
Calculated Risk's Bill McBride weighed in on the subject. Here are some highlights:
  •          The impact of reducing the MID from a maximum of $1 million in mortgage debt to $750 thousand in mortgage debt will have very little impact on the housing market.
  •          State and local taxes (SALT) will have an impact on housing in some areas. Some people might choose to live in one state over another (if they have a choice), based on taxation. This could impact demand in certain states - especially for the middle and upper-middle class homeowners.
  •          The corporate tax cuts (and other tax cuts) will mostly benefit the wealthy, and this will be a positive for high end real estate.
  •          There will be some negative impact based on SALT, but overall the impact of these policy changes on housing will be minimal.
Here is his full analysis: A few comments: Housing and Policy
Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics had a more negative opinion. Here are the highlights:
  •          House prices suffer under the tax plan. The tax law changes significantly reduce the value of the mortgage interest deduction, or MID, and property tax deductions, which are capitalized in current house prices.
  •          Higher mortgage rates that result from the higher budget deficits and debt under the plans will weaken housing demand.
  •          The hit to national house prices is estimated to be near 4% at the peak of their impact in summer 2019. That is, national house prices will be approximately 4% lower than they would have been if there were no tax legislation.
  •          The impact on house prices is much greater for higher-priced homes, especially in parts of the country where incomes are higher and there are thus a disproportionate number of itemizers, and where homeowners have big mortgages and property tax bills.
  •          The impact on the broader national economy of the higher stock prices and lower house prices is largely a wash.
How Tax Reform Impacts Homeowners in Each State
This site, run by NAR, hopefully will be updated now that the tax reform bill has become law. It gives you state-by-state data on tax deductions, capital gains exemptions, and the potential impact on housing prices from the 2017 tax reform framework. You can download information for your state by clicking their map.
Which Places Pay the Most in Property Taxes?
This site gives you an interactive map where you can find the median property taxes by county.
Reforming the mortgage interest deduction: A chance for fairness for American taxpayers?
This article gives the argument for why the changes made sense. We are not saying we agree so please don't attack us for the content. We just want you to better understand the other side, so you are prepared for those conversations.
And remember...
Some people will overreact to any change. In the current political environment, reactions from both sides may be even more passionate.
In the end, Jason Furman, a Harvard Kennedy School economist, may be proven correct:
"Nothing in my experience suggests that the views people have about the tax cuts - whether justified or not - will change after they start actually being affected by them."
It is our job to remain objective and report the facts. As we say at KCM:
"It's not good news. It's not bad news. I'm just reporting THE news."

Forbes Tax Reform Report

The Florida luxury home selling process may be long and complicated if you're not careful. Lucky for you, we're here to simplify the process of selling a luxury residence in Fort Lauderdale, St. Augustine or any other Sunshine State city or town.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you plan ahead for the Florida luxury house selling journey.

1. Conduct a Home Inspection

You might believe that your Florida luxury house is list-ready. Yet oftentimes, there may be room for improvement. Fortunately, if you conduct a house inspection, you can identify underlying property problems and address these issues prior to listing your residence.

Hire a home inspector who possesses comprehensive industry experience – you'll be glad you did. With this inspector at your side, you can gain extensive insights into your Florida luxury residence's condition.

Also, review all home inspection results closely. If you allocate time and resources to assess a home inspection report, you may learn exactly what you need to do to differentiate your Sunshine State luxury house from the competition.

2. Perform Home Upgrades

When it comes to selling a Florida luxury house, you may want to perform both interior and exterior repairs. That way, you can transform an ordinary Sunshine State luxury home into an exceptional one.

For instance, if you own a luxury home in Orlando that features an above-ground pool in need of repair, you may want to complete pool upgrades as soon as possible. Or, if you intend to list a Lake Worth luxury home that has lots of cracked or chipped siding, you may want to employ a contractor who can fix this problem.

You should consider your Florida luxury home's curb appeal relative to the competition too. Because if your Sunshine State luxury residence boasts a dazzling front lawn and other outstanding exterior features, it may be more likely than other houses to make a positive first impression on buyers.

3. Reach Out to a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to navigate the Florida luxury home selling journey on your own. Thankfully, expert real estate agents are available who can remove the guesswork from the Sunshine State luxury house selling journey.

A real estate agent can help you sell a luxury home in Gainesville, Tallahassee or elsewhere in Florida. He or she first will craft a personalized luxury home selling strategy designed to help you achieve the best-possible results. Then, a real estate agent will promote your luxury residence to the right groups of prospective buyers. And if you a buyer submits an offer to purchase your luxury house, a real estate agent will help you review this proposal and determine whether to approve, reject or counter it.

For those who want to enjoy a profitable and seamless Florida luxury home selling experience, it helps to hire a real estate agent. Contact a real estate agent today, and you can get the assistance you need to streamline the Sunshine State luxury house selling journey.