We are in a new normal and want to help you do business in the new climate. We will be changing our regular chapter meetings that meet at Camp Hope to webinars in May and July. Our ongoing topics will be extremely relevant as the climate continues to change in how we will be taking care of business. Our Bi-Monthly Webinar hosted by HAR will continue as scheduled. See the Events page for more details when announced. We have the following updates:
April HAR Webinar Speaker: Jason Waggoner, Acutraq
April NARPM Class – April 28 (Schedule expected to change)
May Regular Chapter Mtg – Conference Mtg Speaker: Amy Karnes, Broker/Owner. Topic: Property Management - Buying, Selling and Starting Over.
July Chapter Mtg – Conference Mtg Speaker: Marc Cunningham, Broker/owner. Topic: to be determined as the date gets closer
Our News page of the website is available to every member for help, information and support. Please log in often and look for updates, downloads and property management leader Q & A discussions.
We are listening and want to share as much knowledge and understanding as possible. As members, you have full access to the membership directory in Houston and at the National level. NARPM Pod cast is also addressing legislative changes and updates as the days turn in two weeks.
President Trump on Wednesday directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to suspend evictions and foreclosures through April as Americans grapple with the fallout of the coronavirus.
A must read for all property managers. As a NARPM Affiliate vendor, Petscreening is helping us make sense of HUDs ruling
Yesterday, HUD released the rental housing industry’s long anticipated updated Notice on assistance animals in housing accommodations.
PetScreening was notified directly by HUD’s Enforcement Office about the new Notice and commented that our service’s feedback played an important part in the development of the Notice. Our Pack truly appreciates the positive working relationship we have developed with HUD, and we believe this Notice is thoughtful and well-intended to all parties involved.
With the changes set forth in the Notice, we believe there has never been a better time to continue using our services. For example, in this Notice, HUD has now adopted ADA’s guidelines pertaining to service animals in housing accommodations. This details the appropriate two-question review process specific to service animals. The Notice also maintains the FHAct’s guidelines for support animals and its distinctly different two-question and third-party documentation review process. Housing providers will now need to navigate the difference between service animals and support animals which includes a different permissible review process for each each type of animal.
We have included access to our Chief Legal Counsel’s analysis of the HUD’s FHEO-2020-01 Notice. It’s noteworthy that this Notice is effective immediately. All of our existing clients will not experience any interruption in our service and need to do nothing more than continue focusing on their daily management business.
The PetScreening Pack
Make tax filing less stressful and potentially save money by starting early.
Tax season is upon us with tax forms arriving in inboxes and mailboxes. Tackling your 2019 tax return may be a dreaded chore (because of complexity or the prospect of owing additional tax) or a welcome event (because you are due a refund). Either way, getting started early may help make your tax-filing season less stressful and potentially save you some money.
Filing your tax return as soon as possible is one of the best ways to guard against tax-related identity theft. For the scheme to be successful, a criminal files a fraudulent return and collects a refund in your name before you file your return. If you file your legitimate return before a crook tries to file one for you, the fraudulent return is rejected.
If you haven't received the necessary tax documents from an employer, financial institution, charity, or some other source, be proactive and ask for them. On the other hand, if you owe a payment with your return and you need time to raise the money, you can file your return early and instruct the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to deduct the amount from your bank account or debit card, or charge your credit card, on a specified date—right up until the filing deadline. (The deadline is April 15, 2020, for your 2019 taxes.)
You have several options for potentially reducing your taxable income with a contribution to a tax-advantaged account up until the tax deadline. The sooner you make a contribution, however, the sooner you'll be able to invest your contribution and give that money the chance to grow tax-deferred.
One opportunity available to many taxpayers is a contribution to a traditional IRA. A contribution to a traditional IRA may reduce taxable income and, in turn, 2019 taxes for those eligible for the tax deduction.1 The tax-deductible contribution limit for the 2019 tax year is $6,000. For those who are age 50 and over, the limit is $7,000.
It isn't necessary to have a job to have a traditional IRA. A nonworking spouse, as long as their spouse has earned income, can contribute to a Roth or traditional IRA. The amount of a married couple's combined contributions can't be more than the earned compensation reported on their joint return.
Self-employed individuals and freelancers can open a Simplified Employee Pension plan—more commonly known as a SEP IRA—even if they also have a full-time job as an employee. Those who earn money freelancing or running a small business on the side could take advantage of the potential tax benefits from your side gig. With a SEP IRA, contributions may be tax-deductible, just like with a traditional IRA, but the SEP IRA has a much higher contribution limit. The contribution amount varies based on income. For 2019, the contribution limit is 25% of eligible compensation (or 20% of eligible compensation for the self-employed2) or $56,000, whichever is lower. The deadline for 2019 contributions is the tax deadline—April 15, 2020. If you file an extension, you'll have until October 15, 2020, to make the contribution for 2019.
Consider speaking with a tax advisor to determine the impact of SEP IRA contributions on the tax deductibility of contributions to a traditional IRA in the context of your personal situation.
Looking back at your 2018 tax return can give you a great head start on what you'll need in order to prepare your return for 2019. You can see which financial institutions should be sending you tax documents, which charities you might have contributed to, and which deductions you might again be eligible to claim.
Here's another benefit to taking time to review your 2018 return: If you spot an error, you can file an amended return and possibly get back some money you thought was long gone.
Got married? Had a child? Divorced? Retired? Bought a new home? All of these and many others can have a significant impact on your tax return. Consider the effects they might have on your tax liability and how you file your return. If you are unsure of the effects, consult a tax professional. Newly married couples, for example, are typically better off filing a joint tax return, but there are circumstances, such as one spouse owing back taxes or having large medical bills, when filing separately may make sense.
After reviewing last year's return and any significant life events from 2019, make a checklist of items you need to prepare before filing your return. By starting early, you'll give yourself time to compile all the information you need and to explore potential tax-saving deductions and strategies.
The last thing you want is to get to the bottom line and see an unexpected large balance owed to the IRS. If you wait until the last minute to prepare your taxes, you may not have time to raise the cash for the payment. Filing for an extension won't help. You still have to pay what you owe by the filing deadline or face a penalty and interest.
Last-minute surprises may become more common as larger numbers of Americans earn self-employment income from things such as driving for a ride-sharing service, renting out a room in their home, or performing consulting services. People engaged in these types of income-producing activities are typically required to pay estimated taxes each quarter (i.e., 4 times a year). If you're new to self-employment and failed to make quarterly payments, you'll probably need time to plan for any additional taxes due.
Tax preparation software is great at filling out forms and calculating your tax liability, but it doesn't always spot reporting errors in tax documents sent to you. Unless you catch them yourself, they could significantly impact your tax bill.
For example, suppose you received money from a lawsuit settlement or a sweepstakes prize and it was reported on a Form 1099-MISC. The amount should appear in Box 3, "Other income," but if the issuer mistakenly placed it in Box 7, "Nonemployee compensation," it would be considered self-employment income and subject to an additional 15.3% self-employment tax. Another example is Box 7 on Form 1099-R, which may contain a letter or number code as well as a check box for IRA, SEP, or SIMPLE distributions. The entries can make a difference in how you report the distribution and if it's taxed.
If you can't determine on your own what the proper entries should be on the forms you receive, you should consult a tax professional.
By starting your tax return now and giving yourself time to resolve questions and issues that might arise, you may find the process less anxiety-producing and may discover some opportunities to help lower your tax bill.
Your tenant operates a home-based business and the house floods, damaging his equipment. What is your liability? Your owner's liability? You might be surprised. Find out in this podcast by attorney* Harry Heist, available on NARPM® Radio.
Simply open either Podbean or Apple Podcasts (iTunes). There are many more episodes to help you grow your property management knowledge (and we add new shows regularly!), so subscribe today!
(*Remember that estate law varies from state to state, so always contact your attorney for specific legal advice in your area.)
Several new real estate-related laws passed in 2019 by the 86th Texas Legislature took effect on Jan. 1, 2020. These include the following REALTOR®-supported bills that benefit Texas real estate consumers.
As of January 1, property owners may now use agricultural land as collateral for a home equity loan (House Bill 1254, authored by Rep. Jim Murphy and sponsored by Sen. Kelly Hancock).
In 2017, voters approved a REALTOR®-supported constitutional amendment to modernize the home equity lending process for property owners. This new law further updates those provisions to allow more homeowners the ability to access the hard-earned equity in their homes while maintaining the strong consumer protections in the Texas Constitution.
Several pieces of the monumental property tax reform legislation from 2019 (Senate Bill 2, authored by Sen. Paul Bettencourt and sponsored by Rep. Dustin Burrows) took effect January 1 to be in place for the 2020 tax year:
A new law provides a temporary property tax exemption for property owners in areas that have been declared disasters by the governor. This will help property owners struggling in the wake of disaster and provide these taxpayers more immediate relief.
The new law is the result of the passage of State of Texas Proposition 3, which voters approved in November 2019. This constitutional amendment was on the ballot after the 86th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 492 and House Joint Resolution 34 (authored by Rep. Hugh Shine and sponsored by Sens. Larry Taylor and Paul Bettencourt, respectively).
In November 2019 election, voters also passed a constitutional amendment known as State of Texas Proposition 8. This one was on the ballot after the passage of Senate Bill 7, authored by Sen. Brandon Creighton and sponsored by Rep. Dade Phelan.
The resulting new law effective January 1 created a Flood Infrastructure Fund to develop flood mitigation infrastructure, which will help communities better withstand future flood events and create a more resilient Texas in preparation for future flooding.
Visit the website of the Legislative Reference Library of Texas to see lists of all the bills from the 86th legislative session and provisions from other bills that became effective Jan. 1, 2020.
Contact Jaime Lee, director of advocacy communications, for more information about any of these legislative changes.
Source: Texas Realtor Staff -https://www.texasrealestate.com/members/posts/new-year-new-real-estate-laws/
The Texas Relocation Report is based on data from the American Community Survey and the American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as U-Haul National Migration Trend reports. The report analyzes county relocation data for the 43 largest demographic areas in Texas.
WASHINGTON (January 8, 2020) – Leadership from the National Association of Realtors® met with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and other senior Department officials on Wednesday in Washington to discuss fair housing issues just hours after unanimously passing a new plan to tackle the issue.
The meeting, which included CEO Bob Goldberg and President Vince Malta, allowed NAR to reiterate its commitment to partnering with HUD to advance fair housing protections, while the two sides agreed to work jointly on public service announcements and other proactive initiatives to communicate the importance of housing access for all Americans.
The 2020 NAR Leadership Team Meet with HUD Secretary. From left: President-elect Charlie Oppler, President Vince Malta, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, CEO Bob Goldberg, Immediate Past President John Smaby, First Vice President Leslie Rouda Smith, Vice President of Association Affairs Mabel Guzman, and Vice President of Advocacy Christine Hansen.
“NAR has been active in our pursuit of innovative new policies and partnerships that will help us preserve the fundamental right of housing in America,” said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, CA. “While we have long been a champion of the Fair Housing Act, recent incidents have underscored the progress our nation must still make. That’s why I am proud to announce that our association’s Leadership Team has voted today to approve an action that will directly ramp up and reinvigorate NAR’s fair housing commitment.”
The new NAR initiative, abbreviated ‘ACT,’ will emphasize Accountability, Culture Change and Training in order to ensure America’s 1.4 million Realtors® are doing everything possible to protect housing rights in America. Specifically, the nation’s largest trade association will take new actions to ensure members uphold the fair housing standards incorporated in NAR’s Code of Ethics; begin integrating fair housing into all conferences and engagements; and form partnerships with fair housing advocates to pursue shared goals around accountability and training, among countless other initiatives.
“NAR’s Code of Ethics and its adherence to fair housing are the cornerstones of our commitment as Realtors®,” said Goldberg, NAR’s Chief Executive. “With this new plan, we will see more robust education focusing on core fair housing criteria, unconscious bias, and how the actions of Realtors® impact communities. A partnership with government officials and fair housing advocates will allow us to further promote equality as we continue to work to diversify our industry.”
The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
THE HOUSTON REAL ESTATE MARKET CHARGES ACROSS THE FINISH LINE FOR A RECORD 2019
December marks the biggest percentage increase of the year in home sales
HOUSTON — (January 8, 2020) — Low mortgage interest rates, healthy employment growth and a stable supply of homes created fertile ground for the Houston real estate market, which blossomed to record levels in 2019. Single-family home sales for the full year surpassed 2018’s record volume by nearly five percent. December delivered the year’s strongest percentage increase in single-family home sales. However, as 2020 gets underway, housing inventory has shrunk slightly, which could narrow options for consumers that may be hoping to buy a home in the new year.
According to the Houston Association of Realtors’ (HAR) latest annual report, 2019 single-family home sales rose 4.8 percent to 86,205. Sales of all property types totaled 102,593, which represents a 4.3-percent increase over 2018’s record volume and marks the first time that total property sales have ever broken the 100,000 level. Total dollar volume for 2019 climbed 6.7 percent to a record-breaking $30 billion.
“During the latter half of 2019, we had a sense that we were headed toward a record year for Houston real estate, but no one expected it to be this strong a finish,” said HAR Chairman John Nugent with RE/MAX Space Center. “Townhomes and condominiums had a roller coaster ride and the luxury market cooled a bit, but overall, 2019 was a phenomenal year. As long as the Houston economy remains healthy and we see some growth in housing inventory, we expect 2020 to get off to a positive start,” he added.
Single-family home sales for the month of December jumped 14.3 percent to compared to December 2018. The strongest sales activity took place among homes priced between $250,000 and $500,000, which rocketed 27.2 percent. Homes in the $150,000 to $250,000 range ranked second place, climbing 13.7 percent. The luxury segment, consisting of homes priced from $750,000 and above, increased 12.7 percent.
Prices of single-family homes set new December highs. The median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) rose 4.6 percent to $251,000 while the average price went up 2.5 percent to $312,922. Despite those highs, pricing increases in general began to show moderation as the end of the year drew to a close.
2019 Annual Market Comparison
Economic uncertainty loomed as 2019 began, with federal workers on edge about the continuing government shutdown and escalating trade friction with China. The Houston real estate market entered 2019 with constrained inventory. However, the housing supply grew almost immediately, rising from a 3.6-months supply in January to a peak of 4.3 months in June and July. Months of inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months sales activity.
Real estate records were set throughout the year, with July going down as Houston’s greatest one-month sales volume of all time – 8,918 single-family units sold. A record high average price of $322,143 was reached in May while a record high median price of $252,700 was achieved in June.
By the time the books were closed on December transactions, a record 86,205 single-family homes had sold across greater Houston in 2019. That represents an increase of 4.8 percent from the previous record of 82,229 in 2018.
On a year-to-date basis, the average price rose 2.3 percent to $305,959 while the median price increased 3.2 percent to $245,000. Total dollar volume for full-year 2019 rose 6.7 percent to a record-setting $30 billion.
December Monthly Market Comparison
The Houston housing market generated positive readings across the board in December with the exception of inventory. Single-family home sales, total property sales total dollar volume and pricing were all up compared to December 2018. Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 5,796, an increase of 22.7 percent versus one year earlier. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, rose 3.6 percent from December 2018 to 38,504.
Single-family homes inventory narrowed slightly from a 3.5-months supply to 3.4 months. For perspective, housing inventory across the U.S. currently stands at a 3.7-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
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