Tax Reform Heads to the President



Lawmakers in the House and Senate passed tax reformlegislation today, paving the way for the bill to go to President Donald Trump for his signature. The President has said he intends to sign the bill by Christmas.

NAR worked with members of the House-Senate conference committee to help educate them on how to improve the final bill. After the vote, President Elizabeth Mendenhall issued the following statement:

“The results are mixed. We saved the exclusion for capital gains on the sale of a home and protected the mortgage interest deduction for second homes. Many agents and brokers who earn income from personal services will also see some significant new benefits in their business.

Despite these successes, we still have some hard work ahead of us. Significant legislative initiatives often require fixes to address unintended consequences, and this bill is no exception. The new tax regime will fundamentally alter the benefits of homeownership by nullifying incentives for individuals and families while keeping those incentives in place for large institutional investors.

That should concern any middle-class family looking to claim their piece of the American Dream.”

Although the final tax reform bill is far from perfect, it is significantly better for homeowners than previous versions. That’s thanks to the efforts you made. REALTORS® generated over 300,000 emails and telephone calls to members of Congress over two Calls for Action and held countless in-person meetings with legislators, all of which helped shape the final product.

Last-minute changes to the bill include the following improvements:

• Capital gains exclusion. In a huge win for current and prospective homeowners, current law is left in place on the capital gains exclusion of $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for married couples on the sale of a home. Both the House and the Senate had sought to make it much harder to qualify for the exclusion.

• Mortgage interest deduction. The maximum mortgage amount for households deducting their mortgage interest has been decreased to $750,000 from the current $1 million limit. The House bill sought a reduction to $500,000.

• State and local tax deductions. Both property taxes and state and local income taxes remain deductible, although with a combined limit of $10,000. Both the House and Senate bills sought to eliminate the state and local income taxdeduction altogether.

• Pass-through entities. The bill significantly reduces the effective rate of tax on business income earned by independent contractors and income received from pass-through entities. This change will lower the taxes of many real estate professionals.

Next steps

Enactment of the bill does not end NAR’s effort to reduce the negative impact on homeowners. “REALTORS®’ work on tax issues will continue,” says Mendenhall, “and we look forward to joining members of Congress from both sides of the rotunda on that endeavor.”

Access details of the bill.


Moving Checklist: RealtorKJ

The whirlwind of moving can quickly take on the effects of a hurricane when you add in kids, pets, or special circumstances. As is the case with most things in life, planning is key!

Whether you have six months, or six days to get it all done, just take a deep breath, prepare and let’s get planning!

Once you have decided to move, and established a loose timeline, its time to prep, prioritize and pack. Knowing what you touch and use daily as opposed to items in closets, storage and in the very back of cupboards makes it easier to start packing early on. If you are able to spread the work out, you, your family, and your pets will all feel at ease.

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Where is the real estate market going in 2016?

Real Estate Changes in 2016Central California will march to its own drum.

California is not like the rest of the country, so it’s hard to compare California on a national level like CNN, CBS, and NBC tend to group together.  Even the real estate market in the Peninsula – San Francisco, San Mateo, Palo Alto down to the Bay Area in San Jose is even more unique and hard to compare on a California level.  The local housing market varies from mile to mile and location, location, location still stands strong.

The housing inventory on the MLS is relatively low, but that has been the new normal for South San Jose like Morgan Hill, Gilroy, and Hollister.   The real estate market has been tough for some buyers looking to invest or purchase their first home in a lower price range.  Using a local full-time agent will help point out some “pocket” listings and new constructions that are not on the MLS.

Since Intero Real Estate Services holds the market share in Hollister, our community oriented agents tend to hear about listings before they are active.  Sometimes we can make successful transactions without having to go public.  Seems to keep everyone happy and stress free.

New construction is booming in Morgan Hill, which is leading the trends followed by Gilroy and Hollister.  While the teezer base prices of new construction are appealing, home buyers spend well over $30,000 in upgrades for some standard features.  Buyers pay the price for the brand new tag, but communities went for years without new construction they greatly oblige to the prices.

Interest rates may rise in 2016, but not on a large scale originally anticipated.  Leslie Appelton Young shared that it really depends on the economy at that time before we see major increases.  With the Presidential Election 2016, America will just have to wait and see what is promised by the candidates. National Association of Realtors did a fantastic job stopping a “transportation” tax that would have impacted home buyers, so REALTORS had a win in 2015.

With home prices on the rise and flattening, investors are looking to buy properties to rent versus flipping.  Foreclosures and short sales are few and far between, so capitalizing on distressed properties are starting to become a thing of the past.

Home values have been neutral in San Benito County but Santa Clara County still remains a seller’s market.  If you have to buy a home in 2016, then it will be a great time for you to enter the real estate market.  Prices are not going down anytime soon, thanks to global powerhouses like Apple, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, etc.

If you would like a home value analysis or buyer location analysis, please contact Kristen Jurevich at (831) 635-6719 or (650) 503-4110 or



The hottest 20 housing markets to watch this spring

Buyers should expect substantial competition

sold sign

The early look analysis of March housing data from suggests a surge in demand to Jonathan Smoke, chief economist.

Despite a 2% growth in inventory month over month, the median age of inventory continues to be down, with a 13% drop month over month.

Additionally, Smoke notes, median list prices are rising faster, now at $220,000 nationally up 3% month over month and 11% year over year.

“It’s still a seller’s market,” Smoke said. “ data shows that supply is not keeping pace with surging demand.  We expect rising prices to persuade those who may be on the fence about listing their homes to do so in the coming months, leading to closer parity between supply and demand.”

Looking at March data and website traffic, Smoke determined the 20 hottest markets in the country, based on the number of listing views relative to the number of listings.

“We are now firmly in the time of the year when peak demand and peak inventory levels typically occur, through spring and early summer,” Smoke said. “Buyers should expect substantial competition, especially in the hottest markets, and for affordably priced homes within most markets.”

He says that these markets should see particularly healthy activity in the coming months as home buying season kicks into gear.

  1. Waco, TX
  2. New Orleans-Metairie, LA
  3. Ann Arbor, MI
  4. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
  5. Santa Rosa, CA
  6. Fort Wayne, IN
  7. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
  8. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
  9. Columbus, OH
  10. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
  11. Manchester-Nashua, NH
  12. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
  13. Austin-Round Rock, TX
  14. Boulder, CO
  15. Springfield, IL
  16. Charleston, WV
  17. Pittsburgh, PA
  18. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
  19. College Station-Bryan, TX
  20. Lansing-East Lansing, MI

7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home

By: G. M. Filisko

By doing your homework before you buy, you’ll feel more content about your new home.

Most potential homebuyers are a smidge daunted by the fact that they’re about to agree to a hefty mortgage that they’ll be paying for the next few decades. The best way to relieve that anxiety is to be confident you’re purchasing the best home at a price you can afford with the most favorable financing. These seven steps will help you make smart decisions about your biggest purchase.

1.  Decide how much home you can afford.

Generally, you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Remember to consider costs every homeowner must cover: property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable, as well as costs specific to your family, such as day care if you plan to have children.

2.  Develop your home wish list.

Be honest about which features you must have and which you’d like to have. Handicap accessibility for an aging parent or special needs child is a must. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are in the bonus category. Come up with your top five must-haves and top five wants to help you focus your search and make a logical, rather than emotional, choice when home shopping.

3.  Select where you want to live.

Make a list of your top five community priorities, such as commute time, schools, and recreational facilities. Ask your REALTOR® to help you identify three to four target neighborhoods based on your priorities.

4.  Start saving.

Have you saved enough money to qualify for a mortgage and cover your downpayment? Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price set aside for a downpayment, but some lenders allow as little as 5% down. A small downpayment preserves your savings for emergencies.

However, the lower your downpayment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for, and if you still qualify, the higher your monthly payment. Your downpayment size can also influence your interest rate and the type of loan you can get.

Finally, if your downpayment is less than 20%, you’ll be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Depending on the size of your loan, PMI can add hundreds to your monthly payment. Check with your state and local government for mortgage and downpayment assistance programs for first-time buyers.

5.  Ask about all the costs before you sign.

A downpayment is just one homebuying cost. Your REALTOR® can tell you what other costs buyers commonly pay in your area — including home inspections, attorneys’ fees, and transfer fees of 2% to 7% of the home price. Tally up the extras you’ll also want to buy after you move-in, such as window coverings and patio furniture for your new yard.

6.  Get your credit in order.

A credit report details your borrowing history, including any late payments and bad debts, and typically includes a credit score. Lenders lean heavily on your credit report and credit score in determining whether, how much, and at what interest rate to lend for a home. The minimum credit score you can have to qualify for a loan depends on many factors, including the size of your downpayment. Talk to a REALTOR® or lender about your particular circumstance.

You’re entitled to free copies of your credit reports annually from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Order and then pore over them to ensure the information is accurate, and try to correct any errors before you buy. If your credit score isn’t up to snuff, the easiest ways to improve it are to pay every bill on time and pay down high credit card debt.

7.  Get prequalified.

Meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter that says how much house you’re qualified to buy. Start gathering the paperwork your lender says it needs. Most want to see W-2 forms verifying your employment and income, copies of pay stubs, and two to four months of banking statements.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll need your current profit and loss statement, a current balance sheet, and personal and business income tax returns for the previous two years.

Consider your financing options. The longer the loan, the smaller your monthly payment. Fixed-rate mortgages offer payment certainty; an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) offers a lower monthly payment. However, an adjustable-rate mortgage may adjust dramatically. Be sure to calculate your affordability at both the lowest and highest possible ARM rate.

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Contact real estate agent Kristen Jurevich with INTERO Real Estate Services a Berkshire Hathaway for Bay Area real estate informations such as list of homes for sale, automatic email system set-up, open home lists, and more exclusive reports for serious home buyers.

Why Americans Love Real Estate

By Gino Blefari
President & CEO
Intero Real Estate Services, Inc.

Results from a new Gallup poll out this past month show that Americans still view owning a home as the best place to park their hard-earned cash for the long term. And of course, opinion writers jumped on the chance to point out holes in the thinking.

Results from an April 3-6 Gallup poll on the Economy and Personal Finances showed that 30% of Americans saw real estate as the top long-term investment, up from 25% a year ago. This follows a February survey from Fannie Mae that showed Americans’ positive views on housing.

One Washington Post writer was quick to point out the pitfalls of real estate as a long-term investment, quoting research from Robert Shiller that shows housing’s return paling in comparison to stocks and other forms of investment.

“Over the past century, housing prices have grown at a compound annual rate of just 0.3 percent once one adjusts for inflation, according to my calculations using Shiller’s historical housing data. Over the same period, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has had comparable annual returns of about 6.5 percent.”

We’ve heard this argument before. And while you can’t argue with arithmetic, there are two very large considerations missing: one, real estate is local. We cannot stress this enough. While the national median price may have shown only incremental increases, individual markets often tell very different stories. For instance, if you had bought a house in Sunnyvale, California, in the 1960s, as my parents did, you probably would’ve paid less than $20,000. Today, that house would be worth approximately $1.5 million. Just think, if they had continued to rent, how much money would have gone down the drain over the last 54 years.

The other consideration that is constantly missed in the “housing is a bad long-term investment” argument is lifestyle – something you can’t quantify with numbers, charts and graphs. By succumbing to a lifetime of renting in order to keep your money tied up in the stock market, you’re also signing up your family for a lifetime of uncertainty. You have no control over your monthly housing costs. And you have no control over surprise letters in the mail stating it’s time to move because the landlord decided to sell.

This is why housing will always be top of mind for Americans when they think about where they want to invest their money. Because at the end of the day, it’s about more than money. It’s about security, controlling your own destiny, and rooting your family in a certain lifestyle. For these reasons, and though it may defy logic when put to long-term graphs, housing is and will be the best investment for the majority of Americans.