Live where you want to live and invest where the numbers make sense. KW and I can help you, your family and friends move to every Borough in New York, all 50 States in the US and every continent of the globe. Contact me +1 (347) 842 8880 with any questions you might have.
Both, nutrition and exercise are necessary for maintaining physical, mental and emotional health and well-being. One without the other is not enough .
80% of today’s auto-immune conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, rheumatoid conditions, etc could be healed with a good diet and regular exercise. America is the richest country in the world and has an undernourished population equal to many a third-world country. This need not be!
Since the new Tax Law came into effect and the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates, uncertainty has increased among buyers. We realtors hear more and more Buyers saying: We’ll just wait and see, interest rates are too high, properties prices may drop in price, we will save more for the down payment. These assumptions are really based more on fear of uncertainty and making the wrong decision than on real numbers crunched by mortgage experts with access to historical data.
It is worth keeping in mind that by paying a constant mortgage premium for the next 30 years instead of paying (an ever increasing) rent, homeowners are building equity and are adding another leg to their retirement nest egg.
Call/text (347) 842 8880 for a free consultation to discuss your options with an experienced and creative Mortgage specialist and myself. Take the first step here
You are watching your favorite TV and YouTube Channels and all over the ether you hear nothing but how well the economy is doing, how unemployment is at an all-time low, the stock market at an all-time high, the tax cuts have put real money into the middle class’ pockets, and so on…..Hallelujah, time to celebrate.
At the same time, you are hearing conflicting news about Bitcoin, a possible stock market bubble and trade war, a falling housing index, rising consumer and credit card debt, interest rates, oil prices, inflation, and so on…. You can attest to the latter because you are feeling it at the pump and the supermarket.
Is This Conflicting News Haunting You?
Unfortunately, we are living in an era of fake news. For the ordinary person it is almost impossible to discern hard facts from implied truths and/or outright misinformation/lies. We are being fed to believe and trust what the media, politicians and financial experts from Wallstreet and the Federal Reserve want us to perceive and believe: that the economy is strong, the labor and stock markets are booming and there is nothing to fear.
You might also be of the opinion that political and legal issues like immigration, voting rights, affirmative action, gun regulation, trade wars, climate control and environmental protection are distant problems and do not affect your live or your investments.
I do not pretend to have crystal ball that can predict the future! However, I know one thing for sure which worries me a great deal for my children, their families, their children, and my grandchildren. And this is the sheer size of global debt and the new historically high U.S debt-to-GDP ratio of 105%. This increase in global debt is illustrated in the chart below.
Copyright Agora Financial*
Global debt climbed by 42% in the fourth quarter from a decade earlier, and neither banks nor the government have made any efforts to curb debt creation since 2008, instead it has grown exponentially.
Due to the new tariffs, some of my clients who do business on an international level have already experienced higher import/export costs, and are extremely frustrated about the uncertainty and unpredictability the new tax law and the financial indicators are creating. Also, present national and international politics are not exactly signaling peace and certainty to help plan one’s financial future.
Fact is: The real estate market is shifting – globally as well as locally! Local and global financial and real estate markets are interconnected and cyclical and, appear to repeat themselves in certain intervals.
If you or a family member, a friend or anyone you know are considering buying, selling, down- or up-sizing, relocating to a warmer climate or, just contemplating shifting resources to a safer haven, but are not sure about the state of the market, text/call (347)842 8880 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be more than happy to help you distinguish facts from fiction and enable you to make an educated and empowered decision.
Please feel free to share with family and friends and LIKING on your social media networks.
Happy Halloween to you, your family and friends.
Retrofitting Buildings for Flood Risk
On October 8th, 2014, the Department of City Planning released Retrofitting Buildings for Flood Risk, the most comprehensive analysis of retrofit options available for buildings in the New York City floodplain to date.
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Great home for entertaining and enjoying with family and friends. This rarity is a one-of a kind in the #WardHill Landmark District among other #HistoricHomes. Absolutely spacious and luxurious 6-Bedroom home with over 3,200 sq. ft., 16 rooms, 3 fireplaces, 2 balconies; well maintained, with beautiful wood finishes, beautiful wood trim, pocket doors and wood flooring and plenty of upgrades throughout; spacious formal dining room, formal living room, library, eat-in kitchen, sunroom, 6 bedrooms (3 of which have access to balcony), full bathroom. Basement is fully finished and includes a family room, 3/4 bath with steam shower, laundry room, dark room, workshop, cold storage and hot tub! Beautifully and easy to care for landscaped gardens in front and rear. Easy commute to NYC via buses and #StatenIslandFerry close by.
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Rising interest rates and higher real estate prices ask buyers, sellers and investors alike to become more creative to reach their goals. Here is one way to do it:
Bryan and I are standing by to help you reach your goals.
Diana Caughell +1 (347) 842 8880 Bryan Cohen +1 (718) 664 7530
In New York City, 3 out of 4 homeowners in high-risk flood zones are overpaying for their flood insurance because they don’t have an Elevation Certificate. Since the rising cost of flood insurance was a concern shared with us at public events in coastal communities, we wanted to share information on how obtaining an Elevation Certificate may help reduce your premium.
What is an Elevation Certificate?
An Elevation Certificate is used by FEMA to determine your flood risk and flood insurance premium in the flood zone based on the 2007 Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). (Check to see if you’re in the flood zone at www.FloodHelpNY.org.) In order to obtain an Elevation Certificate, a licensed engineer or surveyor needs to identify the existing conditions and characteristics of your building, including its location within the flood zone, the height of the lowest floor (including basements), the number of flood vents installed, and the location of mechanical equipment. If the height of the lowest floor is above the expected level of flooding denoted on the FIRMs – the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) – you have less risk and lower rates; if this floor is below the expected flood height, you are at higher risk and may pay higher rates. See FEMA’s Fact Sheet on Elevation Certificates for more information.
Did you know?
The elevation certificate can help you qualify for lower flood insurance premiums—while actual savings will vary depending on your property’s characteristics, a typical household can save $1,200 per year!
While Elevation Certificates are not required for all homes within the flood zone, they can be used to understand your full-risk rate. In some cases, an Elevation Certificate can help achieve a cheaper rate on your flood insurance premiums. For example, if your home was constructed prior to 1983 when NYC adopted its first flood maps, you may be eligible for a subsidized flood insurance rate and do not need an Elevation Certificate in order to purchase coverage. However, these rates are being phased out, and in many cases your full-risk rate could be lower if you obtain an Elevation Certificate. Regardless, your insurance agent will charge you the lowest of the two rates.
Once you have this important document, you should share it with your insurance agent within 90 days and, if your property has flood vents installed, be sure to include photographs of the vents to show they were properly installed, as well as engineering documentation that shows the vents meet FEMA and NFIP requirements
An Elevation Certificate is a helpful tool for understanding your risk to flooding today, and how future resiliency investments in your home can reduce this risk and lower your insurance premium. City Planning would like to learn whether you are considering making any resiliency improvements to your building. As part of our work to update the Flood Resilience Zoning Text, we want to ensure that zoning is not an impediment, whether you’re considering elevating your entire home, or whether you’re looking to elevate your mechanical equipment. We hope you’ll write to us and share your story!
Did you know?
You might be eligible for a free Elevation Certificate as part of the Home Resiliency Audit Program (valued at over $1,800). To see if you’re in a qualifying neighborhood visit www.FloodHelpNY.org
Courtesy of NYC.Gov/ResilientNeighborhoods
Could now be a good time to sell your home?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is just under 25,000. Deputy chief economist Len Kiefer announced a positive economic outlook saying “Treasury yields are higher and the economy has strengthened since December”. As a result, and as I projected in my fall blog, interest rates on a 30 fixed mortgage have gone up; and they’ve gone up 48 basis points since January. When this happens, historically the real estate market slows, however not this time. Coming off of a strong 2017, there still wasn’t enough inventory to meet the demand of the buyer community. “We think the strength of the economy and pent up housing demand should allow the U.S. housing market to post modest growth this year even with higher mortgage rates” Kiefer goes on to say. Along with interest rates and buyer demand, home prices have also been going up, showing an increase of 7.1% over the last year. That means your $350,000 home will now sell for roughly $375,000.
For so many people, the equity they have in their home is a big part of their net worth. I always tell my clients, I don’t determine the price of your home nor does the consumer, the market dictates the price of a home. So we are in a unique moment in time where while rates have increased, so too have the number of qualified buyers and the value of your home; yet inventory remains low. Right now, you have an opportunity to perhaps be one of just a few, perhaps even the only home for sale on your street or in your neighborhood! What does this all spell out? Well, if you’re a home owner that is looking to downsize, now may be a very good time to list. If you are a homeowner and are looking to go bigger, you may also consider listing because rates are still very low, but are climbing. I recently had a client say, “if I list now, I may get more money from the sale of my home, but I’m also going to pay more for my next home!” My response was simple: “use a mortgage calculator and plug in 4.5%, 5%, 6% and 7% because in doing so you will see the impact mortgage rates will have on your decision making. All I’m saying is that if, in the back of your mind you have considered selling, you should have a market analysis done on your home, be presented with the facts and make an educated decision. I’ve seen the cycle of real estate for many years; too many people wait too long, in hopes to max out their equity, which is extremely difficult to project.
Tax Cuts & Jobs Act: How will the new tax laws affect you?
Part 1: The new brackets
Part 2: Deduction Changes
Part 3: The Big Winners
Disclaimer: The examples provided are for illustrative purposes. Individuals should consult a tax professional regarding their unique financial position
In comparison to the old tax brackets, the new rates are slightly lower and the brackets are broader. In simple terms, the new tax brackets as a whole, will save most people some money, which is always great. What’s important to look at is where you were last year (what tax bracket) and if this year was a mirror image, what would happen under the tax cuts and jobs act.
For example, if you were filing single and earned $157,000 under the new tax brackets, you would pay 24% in taxes, or $37,680, giving you a net of $119,200. Last year you would have paid 28%, ($43,960) netting you $113,040. So now in 2018, you have $6,160 more in your pocket. That’s a new car payment, a vacation or money you can put into a retirement account, all good stuff that will trigger spending and/or investing which boosts the overall economy. However, by making just 3,000 more, $160,000, you fall into the 32% tax bracket in 2018 and were still in the 28% bracket in 2017. So by making $3,000 more, you only bring home $108,800 in 2018 ($160,000 – $51,200 )versus $111,200 in 2017. In this case, you took a 4% hit in net income ( 2017 income on 160k= $111,200 vs. 2018: 108,800). In that scenario, you would earn $2,400 less under the new tax brackets.
Here’s another quick example:
Johnny made $40,000 as a single tax payer in 2017. His tax rate was 25%, paying $5,739 in taxes. Under the 2018 tax bracket, Johnny is now only paying $4,740 in taxes (22%), giving him an extra $999 to save or spend. That’s just on the tax bracket side of things as Johnny will also benefit from the increase in standard deductions.
As you can see in the diagram, they have doubled the standard deductions and eliminated the personal exemptions. Being that 70% of American’s don’t itemize their deductions, this is also an added savings for most.
Tax brackets, rates and credits play a large role in how much a taxpayer will pay, but the amount of taxable income plays an EVEN BIGGER role. So here’s a very simple reference for my readers to know and understand about the new law:
- Personal and dependent exemptions are eliminated. However, child tax credits have increased through 2025. The TCJA increases the maximum child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child. The refundable portion of the credit increases from $1,000 to $1,400. So taxpayers who don’t owe tax can still get a credit of up to $1,400. The higher child tax credit will be available for qualifying children under the age of 17 (as under current law). In addition, the TCJA allows a new $500 credit for dependents who do not qualify for the child tax credit. These are children who are too old for the child tax credit, or non-child dependents. No social security number is required, you can cliam the credit using an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) or and Adoption Tax Identification Number (ATIN).
- Standard Deductions Increase
- $12,000 (single)
- $18,000 (head of household)
- $24,000 (married filing jointly)
This means you don’t have to file a schedule A. That said, you may want to continue to track your expenses so you know whether or or not the standard deduction or itemized deduction process favors you more.
- Changes to Itemized Deductions:
- Employee business expenses
- Tax preparation fees
- Investment interest expenses
- Personal casualty and theft losses (with the exception of federally declared disasters)
- Moving expenses (minus US military required relocation)
- Alimony- no longer deductible AND the spouse receiving alimony does not have to report alimony as income
Limitations put on old deductions: it’s very evident, one is encouraged to use the new standard deductions offered vs itemization. If you’re one of the 30% of American’s that used itemized deductions, you need to know what has been modified or eliminated.
- SALT Tax (state and local tax): still deductible but only up to a combined total limit of $10,000 ($5,000 if MFS). This can make a difference in high taxed states like New York or California
- Mortgage Interest
- Limited to interest paid on up to a $750,000 mortgage ($375,000 if MFS) on a mortgage taken after 12/14/2017
- Home Equity Loans- The final bill repeals the deduction for interest paid on home equity debt through 12/31/25. Interest is still deductible on home equity loans (or second mortgages) if the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.
- If you’ve taken out a mortgage prior to 12/15/2017, you can deduct mortgage interest up to a $1MM mortgage moving forward. That applies if you refinanced your mortgage prior to 12/15/2017 ($550k if MFS)
- Medical expenses- still deductible to the extent they exceed 7.5% of AGI (adjusted gross income)
- Charitable contributions: These have expanded. You may contribute up to 60% of your AGI, up 10% from the former 50% number
- IRA deduction
- Health Savings Account deduction
- Student loan interest
- Educator expense deduction ($250 for unreimbursed classroom supplies)
- Deductions for the self-employed (self-employment tax, health insurance, qualified retirement contributions etc)
- You can continue to claim the American Opportunity Credit of up to $2,500 per year for the first 4 years of college education. In addition, you can still earn the lifetime learning credit of up to $2,000 per year for education expenses
- 529 plans may now be used for K-12 expenses- plans can distribute up to $10,000 each year for tuition related to public or private education
- The Obama administration’s health care penalty for those not enrolled in a health care plan has been eliminated
The Biggest Winners of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act: Businesses
There are two primary types of businesses:
- Corporations- C-Corps. These businesses pay corporate tax using the corporate tax brackets. They pay dividends to their shareholders who are then taxed on their gains
- Pass Through entities: LLC’s, Sole Proprietors, S-Corps and Partnerships. In this business structure, the business does not pay taxes. The profits of these businesses are “passed through” to the owner(s) whom are taxed on the individual tax bracket schedule.
With the intent to create more jobs and keep American businesses from moving offshore, C-Corps will go from paying 35% to 21% in corporate taxes. Truly the top win in the new bill, corporations are encouraged to deliver more jobs, keep their businesses on US soil and subsequently a greater overall tax base for this country. One set of beliefs is that this needed to be done to grow America; that doing business in America was costing many American businesses millions and in some cases, billions of dollars; vs heading overseas and employing foreign employees while paying substantially less in taxes. The flip side argument is that it’s merely taking away entitlement programs and supplying the top 1% with a substantial boost in income and shareholder wealth. The fact, which is what I present to my readers is from a historical perspective, growth in American business means growth to main street USA. Growth in Main-street USA is undeniably critical to balance our economy.
2n Place Prize: Pass-Through Business Owners: pass-through businesses will receive a 20% deduction on their income. So if you are Suzie Creamcheese LLC and you, after all of your legal business expenses, show a $100,000 profit to your business, you now get an additional 20% tax savings; taking your adjusted income to $80,000.00. In addition, at $80,000 income are also saving an additional 3% on the newly introduced tax brackets. If you’re a small business owner, I encourage you to click on the link below in addition to having a clear meeting with your accountant. You should learn some of the particulars and restrictions as certain industries have limitations to this new law, it’s not a blanket 20% for all small business owners:
Overall we will be paying less in taxes. This should in turn generate spending and the opportunity for businesses to employ more people, which historically equates to a stable economy. These changes as it relates to the real estate and mortgage industries should end in:
- Increased prices on homes
- More inventory
- Higher interest rates
To my readers that are considering buying, my recommendation is to do it sooner than later. For my sellers, know the market value of your home, contact me if you don’t know it and I will help you. Your home is a tremendous asset and being informed always provides you with the knowledge you’ll need to make educated decisions. Thank you very much for reading my blog; I hope you find value in my research.