Looking for a new forever home for Wilson C Hawks…

I have a neighbor here in Renton who has been fostering her niece’s dog for several months. The niece had a stroke and now requires 24/7 assistance at home, of which my friend is helping supply multiple hours a day. Obviously a dog can no longer be a long term family member for her since short term memory is an issue and because care is needed for the former owner. I can completely relate after having watched the difference in my dad after his accident and my heart goes out to them. Hopefully someone will read this and be willing to consider taking him in for a forever home.
Here are some stats on the dog:

Name: Wilson C Hawks….. I’m serious, that’s his name. Yes, the owner is a HUGE Seahawks fan!
Age 3 – Corgi/Dachshund mix
Weight 28 lbs
Trained = yes (some) I assume this also includes trained to potty outside
Up to date shots = she thinks so.. but could have boosters again because of his age.
He shakes hands
Sits up
Will sit and stare at a treat until you say he can have it.
Loves to play tug of war.
Goes to get his toy if you tell him to.
Thinks he’s a lap dog and is VERY affectionate.
He is energetic and needs playtime and exercise – seems to do very well with children but not sure about additional animals.
Could use some help on training away outside barking but overall a sweetie.

Wilson 1 Wilson 2

If you think you could be his forever home buddy, please contact me via email: Reba (at) Team Reba (dot) com.

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You don’t want to get the “boot” now, do you? Tips on 1031 exchanges

Pro-Rated Rents & Deposits

From Kevin Hummel
McFerran Law, PS.

The Business vs. the Real Estate

My weekly updates regarding §1031 exchanges write themselves. Any week that I find I am addressing the same subject more than once, it becomes the next update topic. This week it was addressing handling the pro-rations of rents and deposits in escrow.

When you hear anything about a 1031 they always mention that it is a “Like-Kind Exchange”. That terminology causes much confusion, but essentially means that the sale and purchase has to be Investment Real Estate. In layman’s terms, that means that you are creating income on it (like a rental), operating a business on it (like commercial), or holding for appreciation (like raw land). It also means that you are not selling or purchasing the business that operates on that property. A Business Opportunity is not exchangeable.

The Business of Renting

When you stop and think about it, the process of renting of investment property is the business operating on the property. That is why we specifically instruct escrow closers to make certain that they are not including the pro-rations of rents and deposits on the Settlement Statement when closing a 1031 exchange. In our QI Escrow Instructions we always include this statement:

Matters Outside of the Exchange
For the property being conveyed in this transaction, matters regarding adjustments between the Exchangor and Buyer regarding prepaid rents, security deposits and other adjustments or pro-rations normally made at closing regarding matters of tenant income be made between the parties outside of escrow and not a part of the formal Settlement Statement.

If the Exchangor and Buyer authorize you to make these calculations, they must be accounted for separately and proceeds distributed at closing by separate check clearly identifying the nature of the proceeds. Such check cannot be drawn from Exchangor’s proceeds which will be distributed to us as the QI.

We suggest that you collect any prepaid rent and security deposits from the Exchangor directly with funds outside the closing and transfer that amount to the Buyer after recording by separate check. If the type of property being exchanged is not rental property, these instructions do not apply.

We do this to make certain that those funds being released out of the sale proceeds aren’t misconstrued as “boot” or taxable. Of course if you are only selling a single family residence, it might be a minimal tax. It is when you are selling an apartment building that it could be quite a substantial unintentional tax.

At that point, an Exchangor could decide that they are willing to pay tax on that as boot, and that is their prerogative to do so. We just do all that we can to avoid any surprises and always working to avoid any taxation, if we can.

Extra Precautions

We also recommend that these issues are address in the original Purchase and Sale Agreement to avoid any surprises for everyone involved. We are happy to provide you with an Addendum that can help address this issue. It can be used for any purchase or sale that might become part of an exchange. Let me know if you have an interest in that.

Never Too Early to Talk

In many cases, it just starts with a phone or email to me. We will call your client to make certain they understand and agree to the terms. I sincerely look forward to a call or email from you or your client.

Kevin Hummel
Regional Account Manager
McFerran Law, P.S.
3906 S. 74th St., Tacoma, WA 98409
Phone: (253) 882-9199

Offices in Tacoma, Kent, Seattle (Northgate), Everett and Silverdale.

You are welcome to share this email with your associates or clients via email or on your website or blog with credit given to Kevin Hummel at McFerran Law, P.S.

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Could your renter be making money off your rental on AirBnB?

Huntbnb Lets Landlords, Neighbors Find Airbnb Listings

Airbnb has found its way in to the mainstream as an easy, and usually cheaper, alternative to short hotel stays for travelers.

From the perspective of a rental housing owner, Airbnb provides an opportunity for tenants to sublet without the knowledge of the owner. Obviously, this presents some major safety risks for an owner

However, thanks to the introduction of a new site called Huntbnb rental owners are now on an even playing field when it comes to easily determining if your tenant is listing your property on Airbnb.

This article is republished from the Rental Housing Association: www.rha-ps.com

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Do’s and Don’ts of video taping in a seller’s home…

I’ve always been curious about the fines given to agents for “unauthorized use of keybox access” in our local MLS. I think this video sheds some light on some of those infractions. I’m posting this also because I do, on occasion, have a buyer who wants to take photos inside of a property they’re interested in. We always make sure to get permission if we need additional access and many don’t realize that you can’t just show up regularly, even if a house is vacant, because other than the original showing appointment, it is trespassing otherwise.

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Why the merger between Zillow and Trulia is BAD for consumers

The following are some of my own personal opinions along with some anecdotal data about #realestate, #zillow #trulia and #consumers, specific to #homebuyer and #homeseller consumers.

Big news was confirmed recently that Zillow is purchasing Trulia. The two brands will remain separate (for now) but reporting and revenues are about to be combined. Here is an article written by Paul Hagen of Inman News, which follows and reports on the real estate industry with its coverage of the buyout.

There are interesting points about revenues derived from each brand, including Realtor.com (run by Move), which oddly enough, actually is a site that is run for the benefit of Realtor(R) members. If you are part of a MLS that has technology run by realtor.com or if you are a member in your area (the Northwest MLS is not run by realtor.com but is independent) then your listings show on the realtor.com site.

I’ve been in large industry seminars that Zillow has put on where Spencer Rascoff (CEO) emphatically states, ” We (Zillow) are NOT a real estate company! We are a media company!” They happen to focus on real estate information. Here is where I have lost respect for Zillow… they tell the rest of the world that they ARE a real estate company and not that they’re a lead site – first and foremost, selling to an industry that actually doesn’t really need them. At this stage, the general consumer has already been duped so it’s a big uphill battle to change it, especially when stock options and huge dollars (for them) are at stake.

This past weekend, and a month earlier, I volunteered as a speaker for a Washington State Housing Finance Commission seminar that is geared for first time home buyers and those needing assistance in purchasing a home. When I asked all of the attendees where they were currently getting their information about homes they might be interested in, here were the top 3 sources given: Zillow, Trulia and Realty Trac. Each person using these services agreed that the information was outdated, incomplete, or hard to decipher.

Newsflash! NONE of these sites is an actual licensed real estate brokerage. They can put anything they want on their site (agents are bound by laws regarding factual data), their sites don’t have to be current with correct listing status or property information (our MLS does and so do others around the nation) and I could probably go on for a long time about comparisons. All of their data comes from the 3rd party sources and they (Zillow) aren’t required to verify any of it because they aren’t regulated by the real estate industry… because why?… they are a MEDIA company! How convenient… for them.

Unique visitor traffic to most popular real estate networks, June 2014

Network June mobile and desktop unique visitors % of total unique visitors to real estate sites in June
Zillow 53.8 million 56.1%
Trulia 31.6 million 33.0%
realtor.com 23.8 million 24.8%
Source: comScore Note: Traffic to firms’ network of sites included.

I find this information quite interesting… and compelling for real estate agents and the public. While the Realtor(R) organization if finally doing a slightly better job of promoting our industry and our membership, we’re having little effect on the runaway growth of these media companies that feed on the scarce resources of those in our industry. It’s the individual agent who pays their fees, not the big franchises, in general. Not all franchises buy into having their data feeds put into their portals and a lot of 3rd party vendors who collect data (but don’t verify) are adding junk into their site on a daily basis. In particular some of the worst are those that provide foreclosure data.

Zillow used to be a decent site and now it’s junk – but it’s junk that is as shiny as a big Hope Diamond now that the stock valuations are through the roof. I’ll get off my big soap box now and leave you with this parting thought. There’s a reason Zillow grew faster than Redfin (both Seattle based companies) and that’s because Redfin ACTUALLY helps people buy and sell real estate – and they came into the industry with the tech developer mindset of being high and mighty about how things “ought to be” only to find out that real estate is actually highly regulated and there are multitudes of governing bodies over our data and how we treat the public once engaged, and even in how we present data online to anonymous consumers. Redfin finally figured out that they need a strong technology suite WITH strong real estate sales and customer support. It’s a lot more hands on than people think when they look at it from the outside.

With that said, good luck to anyone out there who is considering jumping in and I hope you’ll do a little homework on where you’re going to be getting your information online.

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Nanny-cams and real estate issues for buyers and sellers

This is an issue that is starting to come up more often in real estate with some big potential consequences for buyers. With companies like Costco selling systems and firms like Comcast/Xfinity selling more surveillance equipment to homeowners. It can be a game changer if someone (seller) is listening in and buyers are saying things that perhaps would be considered “confidential” between the buyer and their broker prior to sending in an offer.

We regularly talk with our sellers about safety and security while their home is on the market, so it’s not unrealistic to want to have a nanny-cam on to make sure people aren’t stealing from your home, but it needs to be limited there.

Sellers need to be aware that audio taping someone without their permission is not legal (watch the video – I’m not an attorney and am not licensed in this area) per remarks in the video from the WA Assoc of REALTOR counsel, Annie Fitzsimmons. Heck, I’ll let her take it from her to explain…

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Good info to know about home inspectors BEFORE you buy a house!

Home inspections are very important elements of a home sale. Be sure to know for your state what the laws are regarding licensing, etc. Here in WA State, as of a few years ago (finally), home inspectors are required to take courses, have 40 hours of mentoring (training) and pass a test to receive a license. They are NO LONGER required to have a pest inspection license, the only thing that used to be needed prior to 2010. Make sure your inspector has both so they can provide the best inspection possible of your new home. Also, look to inspectors that have liability insurance, and who provide a well laid out, easy to read report that embeds digital photos of the problems found.

Here is an article from the REALTOR(R) website that lays out all the good things you should know:

Know Your Home Inspector

From understanding licensing to hiring specialized experts, prepare your clients for the home inspection process. These six tips can help.

In the typical home purchase, the buyer receives only one expert review of the residence prior to purchase — the home inspector report. While economical and useful, these reports have limits that must be acknowledged. Too often, the significance of this report is overstated, leaving the buyer and seller exposed to unreasonable expectations, which can lead to unhappy clients, disagreements, and even lawsuits. There are several important considerations that you can help your clients understand about their home inspector.

1. Some home inspectors are not licensed

Some states, such as California, have no licensing or state certification for home inspectors. Others, such as Arizona, certify but do not license home inspectors. Many states, including New York, New Jersey, Mississippi, Washington, and others, require home inspectors to be licensed. A license or credential is not a guarantee of competence, but an indication the inspector has completed a minimum level of education.

There are a number of credentialing organizations, including California Real Estate Inspection Association, American Society of Home Inspectors, and the National Association of Home Inspectors. These organizations each have their own qualifications, exams, and code of ethics. Your client should look for an inspector certification by one of these major organizations. Do not accept so-called “company certifications,” which are simply in-house programs and not subject to any industry oversight.

2. Insurance is important

Unfortunately, an inspector can occasionally miss important items that could point toward a significant repair issue. In the event this occurs, your client will be disappointed if the inspector is unable to pay for the repair of the neglected item. Your client should hire an inspector with current liability insurance.

3. Be prepared to recommend a specialized expert

An inspector will sometimes report on a significant item that requires particular expertise. For example, if a question is raised regarding soil stability, your client may need advice from a soil engineer. If a floor seems too bouncy or there are cracks in walls, a structural engineer may be needed. An architect or general contractor might be needed to determine how an unpermitted addition might be legitimized with the building department.

The home inspector is the first but not necessarily the last word on things. Recommend your client bring in further expertise if the report indicates a problem.

4. Home inspectors do not eliminate all risk

The home inspection is only visual. The inspector cannot see inside walls to confirm that the framing is solid or that the plumbing or wiring was properly installed. Exterior finishes typically cover a home’s most important elements, so inspectors look for clues. However, the absence of cracks does not mean a wall is strong, and the absence of stains on the ceiling does not guarantee the roof is watertight.

The typical home inspection contract alerts your client to these limitations. Be sure your client reads and understands this. This is critical to help remind them that the inspector will not tear open walls, expose the waterproofing of windows, or remove any part of the home. The risk of potential hidden problems remains, even after the best visual assessment of the property.

Your clients believe that your visual inspection (“AVID”) and the home inspection protects them from any problems with the home — but it does not. Help them understand, so their expectations are reasonable.

5. Pick the best, not the cheapest

Your client is hiring expertise and presumably wants the best. Home inspection prices vary and it can be tempting to hire the cheapest. There may be a reason a company’s price is low. Are they new? Do they take far less time on the inspection? Do they have a poor reputation and need a catchy low price to get business? Home inspections are a minuscule cost relative to the total price of a home. Encourage your client to not worry about the price and hire the best available.

6. Let your client analyze the report

Real estate agents are not construction experts. Your expertise is in finding properties for buyers and finding buyers for sellers. You may want to consider offering an opinion or suggestion about the content of an inspection report. That advice should come from a construction expert. Your client should talk to a contractor or other expert about the report if there are questions.

Home inspections are a valuable tool for the home buyer and should be a routine part of the homebuying process. Manage your client’s expectations to enhance a successful relationship. The risk in buying something built by someone else can be reduced, but not completely eliminated. With a qualified and competent home inspector, your client is doing what can reasonably be done.

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Help needed for Eastern Washington folks displaced by wildfires

From the Rental Housing Association:
Rental Options Urgently Needed for Residents Displaced by Washington Wildfires
Due to recent wildfires, Washington State residents are in significant need for short-term rental housing options in Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas and Kittitas counties.
Residents of fire-impacted counties are facing a shortfall of available rental properties. If you are a property owner or landlord, please consider listing your rental property for free atHousingSearchNW.org.
HousingSearchNW.org is Washington’s free, online property-search service that links people with available housing in our communities.
Please click the following link to learn about Benefits of this Service.
Or call the toll-free, bilingual call center available Monday-Friday, 6am-5pm at 1-877-428-8844.
Your assistance is greatly appreciated!
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August 2014 Team Reba Real Estate Newsletter

Here is a link to my “August Real Estate Update“:

This Newsletter is full of interesting and useful information that I think you will enjoy whether you are a buyer, seller, or homeowner.

This month’s issue includes topics such as:

“Five Great Reasons to Buy a Home Right Now”;
“Fact or Fiction: A Tax On Real Estate Sales”;
“Understanding Your Credit Scores”;
“Three Negotiating Mistakes Sellers Make”;
“How to Sell Your Home Without Dropping Your Price”;

Plus a roundup of July real estate activity as well as much more advice and information.

I hope you enjoy this monthly newsletter. If you have any comments, please e-mail them to me. Or, if you would like to see a certain topic covered in future months, let me know that too!

Team Reba

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Looking for the magic bullet to help you pack or unpack from a move?

I recently was introduced to this really wonderful and dynamic company, Seamless Moves. Here is a short video that tells, and shows, you what they do to help their clients have more productive lives even during a move.

Not only can they help with the moving process and all of the packing and unpacking, but they can also assist with the de-cluttering process before going on market to sell your home.  This is a great thing to do to spread out the moving stress and to help you get top dollar for your home.

Many thanks to our friend, Stacey Schmitten, at Ace Relocation for the introduction!

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