Long Road to Travel
The tax reform proposal is now in print. For a year we have been hearing about the concept of tax reform. But now that there is ink on paper — Can we still use that expression today? — the stark reality has hit. When talking about changing the tax system, it is not a zero-sum game. There will be winners and losers in the end. And if you look at the reaction of industry groups such as the National Associations of Realtors® and Home Builders, as well as the Mortgage Bankers Association, they certainly feel that the initial proposals will make real estate less attractive.
Certainly, further limiting the mortgage interest and state/local tax deductions, as well as increasing the standard deduction, are proposals in the package which have these industry associations concerned. And as always, we are not here to predict the future with regard to what final impact these proposals would have upon homeownership in the United States. Our purpose today is to say that the process still has a long distance to travel still. Adding the Senate alternatives to the mix is just one extra step.
Right now, these associations and thousands of additional lobbyists have descended upon Washington, and they will represent their special interests. The proposal is likely to undergo several reiterations before it is finished. The finished product may or may not resemble what is being proposed initially. And even after these changes are made, the final proposal may or may not pass. Thus, while we don’t like trying to predict the future, we are certain about one result — the lobbyists in Washington will be making a lot of money this holiday season.
More Americans are actively seeking to improve their credit scores to help achieve their financial goals including home ownership. Chase Slate’s 2017 Credit Outlook reveals that 72% of survey respondents have taken steps to improve their score in the last year with 88% having checked their score, including 52% doing so in the last 6 months. “Americans are more ambitious and action-oriented toward their credit health,” said Mical Jeanlys, General Manager of the Chase Slate card. “They are not only expressing a desire to improve their scores, but also are creating and carrying out specific strategies to achieve their goals.” A third of consumers say they check their credit score every month. More than half of respondents said they want to improve their credit score and 45% say they have a plan to do so. Data from FICO shows that the average US consumer has a credit score of 700, 14 points above the level at the end of the financial crisis in 2009. Meanwhile the share of those with scores below 600 has fallen to 20% of the population, down from 25% in 2009. “Credit plays a critical role in nearly all facets of one’s finances, but strong credit health isn’t achieved overnight,” says Farnoosh Torabi, a personal finance expert and Chase Slate Financial Education Ambassador. Source: Mortgage Professional America — Want help in determining what you can do in order increase your score? Contact usThere’s a growing quest among homebuyers to live in sustainable, greener homes according to data from the National Association of Realtors®. More than half of its members say that consumers are interested in sustainable real estate issues and practices. As a result of demand, more MLS listings are including data on features such as renewable energy. Efficient use of lighting, smart/connected homes and bike lines and green spaces in neighborhoods were the top 3 green features that Realtors® say clients consider most important. “As consumers’ interest in sustainability grows, Realtors® understand the necessity of promoting sustainability in their real estate practice, such as marketing energy efficiency in property listings to homebuyers,” said NAR President William E. Brown. “The goal of the NAR Sustainability Program is to provide leadership and strategies on topics of sustainability to benefit members, consumers and communities.” 80 per cent of Realtors® say that solar panels are available in their market and 42 per cent say that solar panels increase the perceived value of a home. However, the market for green properties is at a relatively early stage with 70 per cent of Realtors® reporting that they had not worked with any properties with green features. Source: NAR
A cul-de-sac offers plenty of appeal to buyers: It may be quieter and safer for kids to play because of less traffic. Some home buyers are willing to pay more for a house on a cul-de-sac—but is it really the best option for your buyer? Because cul-de-sacs are attractive areas for children to play, says Fiona Tustian, GRI, a sales associate with Roy Wheeler Realty Company in Ruckersville, Va., the frenzy of activity has made some buyers regret their purchase. “My clients were seniors looking for peace and quiet,” she says. Parking in a cul-de-sac can also be an issue if the neighbors are hosting an event that attracts a large crowd. However, neighborhoods tend to be tightly knit, says Meg Colford, who lives in a cul-de-sac on Long Island, N.Y. “Our neighbors are really close. Everyone is friendly, but you definitely have to plan on seeing someone at least every day. … So, if you’re not into helping your neighbors do things like snow-blow or shovel the driveway, a cul-de-sac probably isn’t a great choice.” Buyers also may want to watch for any potential insurance issues. Since there’s only one way in and out of a cul-de-sac, large vehicles such as a fire truck can get jammed up. That can make it more difficult to get insurance, insurance broker Diane Beatty told MarketWatch. Source: MarketWatch