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Is ‘Green’ at a Premium? Depends Where You Purchase

Who says you need “green” to get a green home?

According to an analysis by realtor.com®, eco-friendliness is becoming the norm—and being a green homeowner may not be as pricey as thought. While California’s costlier markets have high concentrations of green homes, there are also affordable pockets outside the Golden State—and, in many markets, eco-features are no longer at a premium.

The greenest:

  1. Fort Collins, Colo.
    Green Home Listings Share: 36 percent
    Local Median Price-Per-Square Foot (PPSF): $170.4
    Green Local Median PPSF: $171
  1. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
    Green Home Listings Share: 35 percent
    Local Median Price-Per-Square Foot (PPSF): $139.1
    Green Local Median PPSF: $144
  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
    Green Home Listings Share: 35 percent
    Local Median Price-Per-Square Foot (PPSF): $738.9
    Green Local Median PPSF: $701
  1. San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas
    Green Home Listings Share: 34 percent
    Local Median Price-Per-Square Foot (PPSF): $128.8
    Green Local Median PPSF: $130
  1. Tulsa, Okla.
    Green Home Listings Share: 33 percent
    Local Median Price-Per-Square Foot (PPSF): $96.7
    Green Local Median PPSF: $115
  1. Boulder, Colo.
    Green Home Listings Share: 25 percent
    Local Median Price-Per-Square Foot (PPSF): $257.7
    Green Local Median PPSF: $267
  1. Salinas, Calif.
    Green Home Listings Share: 21 percent
    Local Median Price-Per-Square Foot (PPSF): $498.5
    Green Local Median PPSF: $429
  1. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga.
    Green Home Listings Share: 20 percent
    Local Median Price-Per-Square Foot (PPSF): $121.5
    Green Local Median PPSF: $132
  1. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas
    Green Home Listings Share: 19 percent
    Local Median Price-Per-Square Foot (PPSF): $93.2
    Green Local Median PPSF: $107
  1. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.
    Green Home Listings Share: 17 percent
    Local Median Price-Per-Square Foot (PPSF): $565.7
    Green Local Median PPSF: $544

“Although Southern and Western states still lead the way in green technology adoption, eco-friendly features have grown in popularity across many regions of the United States,” says Javier Vivas, director of Economic Research at realtor.com. “Many buyers have come to expect standard features, and homes integrating specialty green features are becoming more mainstream.

“However, in today’s inventory-starved market, location still reigns supreme and the price of land can easily override the allure of special eco-friendly features,” Vivas says.

Analysts defined a “green” home as one with bamboo flooring, dual-pane windows, ENERGY STAR appliances and/or rating, Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ventilation and/or solar panels.

For more information, please visit www.realtor.com.

DeVita_Suzanne_60x60Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Is ‘Green’ at a Premium? Depends Where You Purchase appeared first on RISMedia.

New Data Finds Homeowners Struggle When Selling, Despite Hot Market

Twelve days before Thanksgiving, Mark and Sue Meaney decided to put their 109-year-old house on the market. They looked at comps of similar-sized homes near their St. Paul neighborhood, agreed on a price with their agent and waited anxiously for their first offer to roll in.

Mark and Sue knew their timing wasn’t ideal. The holidays loomed, and the market was slowing; worse, St. Paul was entering its notorious subzero season.

The couple felt torn. After one year of searching for a new home, they had found the perfect place a few miles away. It was spacious enough to raise their kids and had a first-floor bedroom and bathroom for Sue’s aging parents.

As first-time sellers—Mark and Sue had lived in the house for 20 years—the couple took a leap of faith. They bought the new home, moved in Sue’s parents and dropped nearly $20,000 to spruce up their old house to help it sell quickly.

Several weeks later, their vacant home remains for sale, its exterior weathering the forces of yet another Minnesota winter.

Selling a Home: Truth in Data
Skim any number of news articles on the U.S. housing market and chances are you’ll run across the phrases “low inventory,” “sellers’ market” and “strong demand.” This rings especially true in larger metropolitan areas, where stories of bidding wars abound, leaving the impression that sellers in these markets simply list their homes, sit back and receive offers above the asking price.

For much of the U.S., however, the data reveals a starker reality.

According to new findings from Zillow Group—which used data from the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017—selling a home in the U.S. is not only fraught with anxiety, but often culminates in unmet expectations.

In fact, close to one-third of sellers said they felt unsatisfied with the selling process. Of first-time sellers, nearly 30 percent were unprepared for how long it took to sell their homes and said they wished they would have started the process sooner, according to the analysis.

Furthermore, 76 percent of sellers across the U.S. ended up making at least one concession, with lowering the price the most-cited compromise. Thirty-six percent said they either struggled to sell their homes within their desired price range or time frame.

“This data shows there is a huge opportunity to create a better end-to-end experience for sellers and help them turn over their homes faster,” said Jeremy Wacksman, chief marketing officer at Zillow Group.

More Information, More Stress
Much of the stress sellers feel stems from that nail-biting wait to get the right offer. Fueling this collective anxiety is, of course, more access to information.

While the internet has greatly democratized the buying and selling process, it has also created a state of seller vigilance. Sellers are more involved than ever in the sale of their homes—and more stressed out.

Take Mark, for instance. He’s constantly monitoring how many views his house gets on Zillow and how it ranks compared to other homes coming on the market. Despite working with an agent, Mark is immersed—and stressed.

While Zillow’s findings show that 82 percent of sellers valued having an agent guide them through the process, America has entered a new era of how deeply involved homeowners are in selling their most expensive investment, Wacksman said.

Krishnan_SoniaSonia Krishnan is a senior writer at Zillow Group. This article was originally published on the Premier Agent Resource Center on Feb. 16, 2018. See the full story here.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post New Data Finds Homeowners Struggle When Selling, Despite Hot Market appeared first on RISMedia.

Weighing Risk and Reward: Crypto-Investing in Home Equity

For homeowners that are looking to access home equity funds, but don’t want to take out a second loan, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or a reverse mortgage, there are not many options; however, blockchain technology is looking to change that by offering investment opportunities that are tied to a home’s equity and rising values.

Quantm Real Estate (QuantmRE) is a membership-based real estate investment network built on blockchain technology. It allows the primary issuance and secondary trading of investment tokens backed by fractional equity interests in single-family homes. This means that QuantmRE invests in a fraction of the home by paying the homeowner a pre-determined amount of money (USD) to later benefit from rising home values when the homeowner decides to sell.

Any funds gained are used by QuantmRE to continue investing in single family homes—of which the portion purchased goes into a pool of other equity from other homeowners. The company also invests in non-homeowner occupied single-family homes that are held as investment properties.

“Having to borrow from a bank simply to access the wealth that you have built up in your home is deeply unsatisfactory,” said Matthew Sullivan, CEO and founder of QuantmRE, in a statement. “Our ability to digitize the value of a homeowner’s equity and realize the locked-up value will solve a huge problem for homeowners worldwide. It’s time for people to be able to access more affordable homeownership options, flexibility and less financial risk.”

Although the company makes a consistent effort to stay away from the term loan—because the process lacks monthly payments and interest charges—it is, in fact, a type of loan that needs to be paid back. The company does not charge interest, but homeowners are required to pay more than the original sum provided as QuantmRE becomes a partner with the owner of the property and is entitled to a fraction of home value gains—a lien is placed on the property to make sure of that.

So, what’s in it for homeowners? At the moment, fast cash without having to worry about monthly payments and a small chance to profit should the property values dramatically increase from the time of investment. Of course, QuantmRE funds are on the line if the property doesn’t appreciate or goes down in value; but if it does, homeowners will typically receive less for the sale of their property than if they had not engaged in a shared equity contract in the first place.

The question is, do these blockchain investment companies make out better than the homeowners? That may be the case. QuantmRE will typically make its initial investment amount back, and has the chance to profit from home value appreciation. Homeowners, on the other hand, are automatically in debt—a term QuantmRE chooses to refuse—and are then on the line for an even larger balance should their home’s value rise.

The pros? Risk of volatility is reduced, as the tokens deal with only real estate assets instead of other less reliable crypto-investments. When it comes to home improvements, QuantmRE is not entitled to a fraction of the property value gains earned from these updates. Homeowners can also pay QuantmRE before the sale of their home; however, the company may add provisions to ensure they don’t take a loss in the case of unfavorable market conditions. Although QuantmRE’s website states that tax consequences are not known until a future date, homeowners should speak to their tax advisors to confirm before participating.

As with most investments, profitability is determined on a case-by-case basis. While this is a chance for homeowners to participate in a blockchain-based investment, they should consult a financial advisor to determine if this is the right choice for them or if traditional equity-funded loans make more financial sense.

Dominguez_Liz_60x60_4cLiz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Weighing Risk and Reward: Crypto-Investing in Home Equity appeared first on RISMedia.

Prepaid Property Tax Debate Undecided

Just a few days shy from the 2018 tax deadline on April 17, and controversy surrounding the new tax law—the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—is leaving multitudes of homeowners uncertain about whether they should claim their prepaid property tax deductions. The new law imposes a $10,000 cap on state and local tax write-offs (previously unlimited) for both single filers and married couples, leaving tax consultants and taxpayers searching for ways to make the most of the decreased cap before it takes effect in next year’s filing.

Interpretation of the new law has been varied. The ruling clearly states that state and local income taxes are not eligible for prepayment. With no mention of property taxes, many homeowners rushed to prepay in December; however, on December 27, the IRS released a statement, clarifying that prepaid taxes are only deductible under certain circumstances—homeowners cannot deduct the prepayment for property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018.

The IRS provided the following examples:

“Assume County A assesses property tax on July 1, 2017 for the period July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018. On July 31, 2017, County A sends notices to residents notifying them of the assessment and billing the property tax in two installments with the first installment due Sept. 30, 2017 and the second installment due Jan. 31, 2018. Assuming taxpayer has paid the first installment in 2017, the taxpayer may choose to pay the second installment on Dec. 31, 2017 and may claim a deduction for this prepayment on the taxpayer’s 2017 return.”

“County B also assesses and bills its residents for property taxes on July 1, 2017, for the period July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018. County B intends to make the usual assessment in July 2018 for the period July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019; however, because county residents wish to prepay their 2018-2019 property taxes in 2017, County B has revised its computer systems to accept prepayment of property taxes for the 2018-2019 property tax year. Taxpayers who prepay their 2018-2019 property taxes in 2017 will not be allowed to deduct the prepayment on their federal tax returns because the county will not assess the property tax for the 2018-2019 tax year until July 1, 2018.”

Not all tax experts agree, and several members of the Ways & Means Committee are petitioning the IRS for higher deductions of reasonable estimates, according to the Wall Street Journal. The issue has not been resolved across the board, but with a low audit risk due to limitations on IRS resources, some taxpayers are urging their tax preparers to claim the deduction without disclosing the write-off on the required IRS form (8275).

“There is no reason to believe that Congress made a mistake in omitting property tax prepayments, and there was certainly no basis for the IRS to substitute its own policy judgements that departs from the act of Congress, especially when the consequence of the IRS’s determination may have cost taxpayers millions of dollars,” states the Ways & Means Committee letter.

Stay tuned to RISMedia for more developments.

Dominguez_Liz_60x60_4cLiz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Prepaid Property Tax Debate Undecided appeared first on RISMedia.

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