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Trim your tax burden by deducting phone, Internet bills - USA TODAY

Sun, 2017-02-19 16:02


Trim your tax burden by deducting phone, Internet bills
Anyone from real estate agents and journalists to day-care providers and jewelry makers could deduct part or all of their annual cell phone or Internet bill. The same is true for independent contractors like Uber drivers, TaskRabbit taskers and ...

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The Best Opportunities the Trump Administration Brings to Housing

Sun, 2017-02-19 13:07

For the first time in history, the United States elected a president without any political or military experience. For some, this means a promising departure from the status quo and the rapidly increasing feelings of disenfranchisement from our political system. For others, a Trump presidency encourages apprehension, as his directives are considerably less predictable than those of a seasoned politician. The actuality of a Trump Administration still prompts more questions than clear policy directives; however, the new president’s lifelong career as a builder and real estate investor could provide some fresh prospects for a growing, but fragile, housing industry. While fumbling GSE reform or following through on his promise for mass deportations would cause major setbacks to the housing market, below are where some of the best opportunities might exist.

Housing Supply
Trump likes to build things, and if you ask 100 real estate agents from around the country what is the one thing that would help them sell more homes, the most common answer would be increasing available housing inventory, especially in the affordable price ranges. The home-building industry was nearly decimated during the housing crisis. New-home construction was almost non-existent between 2008 and 2013. During that same period of time, the country added nearly five million new households. The net result of this shortage of housing supply has been a sharp increase in home prices and an equally sharp decrease in affordability, leaving millions of would-be homeowners on the sidelines.

This has proven to be a difficult problem to solve, as rising construction costs and an increasingly complicated regulatory environment have made the business prospect for the construction of affordable homes unviable in many markets. The Trump Administration could, by providing supply-side solutions to our housing inventory challenges, inject a powerful boost to the industry and go a long way toward reversing the trend of decreasing homeownership rates across the country.

Financial Regulations
Members of the new administration have promised, and have already begun, an overhaul of our financial regulations. Many leaders in the housing finance industry, regardless of their political leanings, believe the market would benefit by some selective regulatory relief. While nobody wants a return to the irresponsible lending that proliferated in the last decade, pulling back on a few regulatory levers would stimulate demand, especially in a number of markets where an increase in qualified buyers is most needed.

Consumer Confidence
In the years following the Great Recession, many would-be homebuyers have been understandably cautious to leap back into the housing market. This has been especially true for our minority and millennial populations, whose introductions to the housing market were likely during the worst market conditions in a century. While the shortage of housing inventory has made this issue less noticeable, as the market continues to normalize, a shortage of buyers will become more problematic.

The new president could help improve this perspective by using his formidable promotional talents to advise the country that it is safe to get back into the housing market, and that purchasing a home is still one of the best ways to build wealth and improve your quality of life. Because purchasing a home is as much about emotion as anything else, one of the best things our new commander-in-chief can do for the housing industry is to also be the “cheerleader-in-chief” for buying a home. Given that housing represents about 16 percent of our overall economy, President Trump should have the appropriate motivation to do exactly that.

Gary Acosta is co-founder and CEO of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) and co-founder of The Mortgage Collaborative.

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Deadline for RISMedia Power Broker Survey Extended to February 24

Sun, 2017-02-19 13:06

The deadline to complete RISMedia’s 29th Annual Power Broker Survey has been extended to this Friday, Feb. 24.  RISMedia’s Power Broker Survey, the industry’s longest-running listing of America’s top brokerage firms, ranks firms by closed residential transactions and residential sales volume for 2016.

Brokers who completed RISMedia’s Power Broker Survey last year received an invitation email containing a unique link to complete this year’s survey. If you have not received this invitation, please contact James Jones at

If you are new to RISMedia’s Power Broker Survey, please click here to take the survey.

Results of RISMedia’s Power Broker Survey will be widely distributed through RISMedia’s Power Broker Report. The Top 500 brokerage firms according to sales volume will appear in the April issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine, both in print and online, along with the findings of the Power Broker Survey’s research questions polling brokers on business operations, market conditions, and consumer trends.

Brokers who make the Top 500 ranking in RISMedia’s Power Broker Report will be invited to gather at RISMedia’s annual gala, The Power Broker Reception & Dinner, taking place on Friday, Nov. 3, in conjunction with the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago, Ill.

Taking the Power Broker Survey: What You Need to Know

  • The survey should be completed by an individual, shareholder or entity with a minimum of 50.1 percent ownership interest inclusive of subsidiaries.
  • If you completed the survey in 2016, you should receive an email from RISMedia with your own unique link to complete the survey. Your survey link is pre-populated with the information you submitted last year. All you’ll need to do is respond to new questions and update information from last year where necessary.
  • If you are part of a franchise brand, your corporate office may have already submitted data on your behalf. We would also appreciate you completing the remaining survey questions for our research purposes.
  • For your survey to be accepted, please be sure to check the boxes on the verification page and make sure it is signed by: 1.Your broker, and; 2. Your CFO, accountant, or other party who can validate that the data submitted is correct.
  • Upon completion/submission of the online survey, you will be brought to a page that confirms your submission. You will also receive a confirmation email with a summary of your survey responses.
  • There is no cost or any obligation to participate in this report.
  • The deadline for RISMedia’s receipt of your completed survey has been extended to February 24, 2017.

For questions regarding RISMedia’s 29th Annual Power Broker Report & Survey, please contact Executive Editor Maria Patterson ( or IT Manager James Jones (

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Housing Affordability Measure Affirms Imbalance between Housing Costs and Wages

Sun, 2017-02-19 13:04

A new housing affordability measure, the REALTORS® Affordability Distribution Curve and Score from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and®, affirms the imbalance between housing costs and wages—and indicates inventory will continue to be constrained this spring.

The Affordability Distribution Curve, which examines how many listings are affordable to those in a particular income percentile, came in under the equality line in January, with the gap generally wider at lower incomes. A household in the 35th percentile could afford 28 percent of all listings; a household in the 50th percentile (median income) could afford 46 percent of listings; and a household in the 75th percentile could afford 74 percent of listings. The Affordability Score, which is a calculation varying between zero and two equal to twice the area below the Affordability Distribution Curve on a graph, was 0.92 in January. A score of one or higher suggests a market where homes for sales are more affordable in proportion to income; only 19 states had a score higher than one.

“Home prices have ascended far past wage growth in much of the country in recent years because not enough homeowners are selling and home builders have not boosted production enough to meet rising demand,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “NAR and’s new affordability measure confirms that buyers aren’t exaggerating about the imbalance. Amid higher home prices and now mortgage rates, households with lower incomes have been able to afford less of all homes on the market last year and so far in 2017.”

“Consistently strong job gains and a growing share of millennials entering their prime buying years is laying the foundation for robust buyer demand in 2017,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at “However, buyers with a lower maximum affordable price are seeing heavy competition for the fewer listings they can afford. At a time of higher borrowing costs, this situation could affect affordability even more, as buyers battle for a smaller pool of homes and bid prices upward.”

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Niagara County Real Estate Transactions - Buffalo News

Sun, 2017-02-19 10:39

Buffalo News

Niagara County Real Estate Transactions
Buffalo News
Following are real estate transactions over $5,000 as listed in records of the Niagara County clerk's office for the week ending Oct. 28, 2016. ... 1037 98th St., Andrew J. Cetola; Carol Cetola; Carol J. Cetola to HSBC Bank USA NA, $55,300. • 82nd St ...

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'Last Night in Sweden'? Trump's Remark Baffles a Nation - New York Times

Sun, 2017-02-19 08:22

New York Times

'Last Night in Sweden'? Trump's Remark Baffles a Nation
New York Times
At a campaign-style rally in Florida on Saturday, President Trump issued a sharp critique of Europe's refugee policies, ticking off a list of places that have been struck by terrorists. But he also mentioned Sweden, which has not been a target of ...

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China Defies US With New Europe Trade Ties - Financial Tribune

Sat, 2017-02-18 19:54

China Defies US With New Europe Trade Ties
Financial Tribune
Since 2000, the United States has accounted for an average of 19% of total Chinese exports–easily the largest country-specific market for Chinese exports, albeit slightly below the multi-country pan-European share beginning in 2006. Needless to say ...

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Categories: Europe

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Opinion: Trump Lie Exposed With Proof He Is Indebted To Russian Mobsters - PoliticusUSA

Sat, 2017-02-18 15:30


Opinion: Trump Lie Exposed With Proof He Is Indebted To Russian Mobsters
During a real estate conference in 2008 Don Jr. boasted that the “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” As it turns out, Trump the younger likely made the ...

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Trump sons open Dubai golf club, meet with Emirati elites - USA TODAY

Sat, 2017-02-18 13:16


Trump sons open Dubai golf club, meet with Emirati elites
... comes after Donald Trump tried for years to enter the Arab market as a real estate mogul who later earned millions licensing his name to projects. The course's opening now, as well as long-standing plans to open a second Trump-branded course in ...

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The week in real estate industry deals: February 13-17

Sat, 2017-02-18 08:00

While real estate agents chase leads and close deals on houses, there's another level of deal-making that takes place within the real estate industry: mergers, acquisitions, integrations and partnerships. We'll be recapping every week's noteworthy deals that didn't make it into print (and some that did) for your perusal. Here are this week's ...

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The week in industry hires and promotions: February 13-17, 2017

Sat, 2017-02-18 07:00

Who got hired or promoted this week? Here's our weekly rundown, in chronological order ...

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7 Tax Breaks Every First-Time Homebuyer Must Know - Go Banking Rates

Sat, 2017-02-18 05:21

Go Banking Rates

7 Tax Breaks Every First-Time Homebuyer Must Know
Go Banking Rates
Taxpayers who itemize deductions on Schedule A are also eligible to deduct real estate taxes paid on a primary residence, said Laurie Samay, a New York-based certified financial planner with Palisades Hudson Financial Group. You can deduct property ...

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Real estate market recap, February 13-17, 2017

Sat, 2017-02-18 05:00

Here's what happened this week in the real estate market ...

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In Europe, Pence says US will hold Russia accountable - NBC2 News

Sat, 2017-02-18 04:39

NBC2 News

In Europe, Pence says US will hold Russia accountable
NBC2 News
One of Robert Durst's closest friends testified that the real estate heir admitted killing their mutual best friend.More >>. One of Robert Durst's closest friends testified that the real estate heir admitted killing .... In his first overseas trip as ...
In Europe, Pence to reassure allies at start of Trump era - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, SportsWAOW

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Annual ‘Magnet States’ Report: Texas Dethroned

Sat, 2017-02-18 00:02

For the first time in a dozen years, Texas is not claiming the top spot in the annual Allied Van Lines Magnet States Report. Instead, Florida and Arizona beat the Longhorn State with higher net relocation gains.

The annual report uses internal data to track U.S. and cross-border migration patterns with Canada, and found that Florida’s net relocation gain of 1,316 propelled it to the top of the 2016 list from the second spot last year. This net gain is calculated by the difference between inbound moves and outbound moves performed by Allied Van Lines, one of the world’s largest moving companies.

“Texas has been a powerhouse magnet state for more than a decade, but traditional retirement states like Florida and Arizona are always strong contenders for the list,” says Lesli Bertoli, general manager and vice president of Allied Van Lines. “For the first time in recent history, both Florida and Arizona were able to unseat Texas from its top spot position.”

Arizona was the second most magnetic state, with 1,137 net inbound moves in 2016, and Texas came in third, with 891 net inbound moves.

Rounding out the top five magnet states in 2016 were North Carolina (9th in 2015) and Utah (8th in 2015).

Biggest Movers in 2016
California continues to dominate as the most mobile state, with 10,590 moves conducted by Allied Van Lines that featured California as its departure or destination state.

Increasing Attraction
Some of the biggest movers on the list are Virginia (up 16 spots from the least magnetic state in 2015 to the 17th least magnetic), Iowa (up 15 spots from No. 42 to 27) and Connecticut (up 10 spots from 37th place to 26th place).

Other states with big changes on the list included Delaware, which tumbled to 9th least magnetic state, dropping 17 spots, and Colorado, which went from 6th most magnetic in 2015 to 21st in 2016.

Outbound States
Illinois returned to the bottom of the list after a brief respite in 2015. Allied’s 2016 Magnet States data show Illinois as the state with the greatest net outbound moves, with 1,284 moves out of state. California took its place as the 2nd most outbound state (1,060 outbound moves), followed by Pennsylvania (716 net outbound moves) and New York (714 net outbound moves). Rounding out the bottom five was New Jersey (542 net outbound moves).

Canadians on the Move
Similar to 2015, more Americans crossed the border in a move to British Columbia than left, making it the most attractive province for U.S. relocation. Ontario chalked up the largest net loss to cross-border moves.

Source: Allied Van Lines

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On the House: A Crowdfunded Alternative to House-Flip Financing

Sat, 2017-02-18 00:00

(TNS)—Back when house-flipping was the major fad of the mid-2000s, Matt and Elizabeth Faircloth were not like most. As tens of thousands of people across the nation were securing mortgages they never should have received to fund flips, the New Jersey couple were tapping into money for projects in any way they could find: personal savings, money from friends and their inner circle.

They were the outliers: Only 30 percent of flippers were paying with cash, the majority instead borrowing from banks and other lenders to get a lot of money fast.

For years, the system worked. Until it didn’t.

At the peak of the flipping boom in second-quarter 2005, when 95,000 people across the country flipped single-family homes or condos, many flippers were holding two, three or four mortgages, experts say—partially driven by investors who lied on their applications, saying the homes would be their primary residences so they could get cheaper interest rates. Lenders who severely loosened their borrowing standards were also part of the problem.

When the housing bubble burst and values plummeted, flippers with multiple mortgages suddenly couldn’t sell their properties and couldn’t pay their loans. The rest is history.

Now, flipping—buying second-rate homes, rehabbing them quickly, and selling them for a profit—is back. In 2016’s second quarter, more than 51,000 U.S. homes were flipped, the most since 2010.

Can we ensure what happened in the mid-2000s doesn’t happen again? Industry experts say there’s something that can help: the internet and the crowd.

Thanks to websites such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe, we live in an era in which the public can fund almost anything. (Years ago, a man made headlines for receiving more than $55,000 on a project to make potato salad.)

It was only a matter of time before flippers got money the same way. But crowdfunding a flip is a bit more complicated.

The concept in theory is still the same: Potential flippers who can’t get mortgages from banks and lending institutions solicit internet and crowdfunding sources for loans.

At some of these, loans are created using funds from individual investors—some of whom pay as little as $5,000 to get in on the deal. The smaller loans are packaged together. In return, the investors receive 10 percent to 15 percent interest back on the loan they provided. Terms may differ by lender.

Founded in 2012, Fund That Flip, based in New York, is one such company, created to fill what founder Matt Rodak saw as a void in the industry.

“I was doing some house-flipping on the side…and found the (funding) process to be very frustrating, filling out lots of applications and dealing with a sometimes opaque process,” Rodak says.

He touts a more simplistic process: Borrowers have less paperwork and fewer hidden fees. And in most cases, he promised, interest rates are not as high as with loans from hard-money lenders, in which the loans are secured by the properties.

In return, investors make safer bets, Rodak says. Instead of writing large checks for one borrower, Fund That Flip investors can “take that same $200,000 and spread it over 20 or 40 deals and diversify their risk.”

It’s something the Faircloths have explored, and with the right opportunity they would try to team with Fund That Flip, Matt Faircloth says.

“People are getting sick and tired of Wall Street as the only place they can go to invest hard-earned money and to build long-term wealth,” Faircloth says. “Crowdfunding allows you to invest in something that’s down the street from your house.

“I’d like to be a part of that space as it becomes more popular— we need another choice for building wealth.”

©2017 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Facebook formally launches new jobs functionality

Fri, 2017-02-17 17:00

Over the past year, Facebook has been rolling out update after update, which included features such as Facebook Live and Facebook Marketplace, a Craigslist-esque function that allows users to sell items. Now, the social media giant has officially launched its newest feature -- job listings ...

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Inman launches image contributor program

Fri, 2017-02-17 16:52

The phrase “Inman is its readers” isn’t just a marketing slogan; it’s something we live every day. But one of the areas where we knew we could do better living this mantra is with the images we use on and elsewhere ...

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The best real estate digital marketing plan you’ve ever seen

Fri, 2017-02-17 16:45

Some of the top brokers and executives in the industry talk about digital marketing -- what it is, what its impact can be and how to create a plan that will work for your business ...

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