Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Tax Code & Housing

In the final days and hours, the National Association of REALTORS® generated over 300,000 emails and telephone calls to members of Congress and held countless in-person meetings with legislators, all of which helped shape the final outcome of the new tax bill as it relates to housing.

This grass-roots effort was of significance to homeowners and the housing industry. NAR worked diligently with members of the House-Senate conference committee to help educate them on how to improve the final bill.

In the end, NAR saved the exclusion for capital gains on the sale of a home and protected the mortgage interest deduction for primary and secondary homes. Here is a summary of the results:

  • Capital gains exclusion. In a huge win for current and prospective homeowners, current law is left in place on the capital gains exclusion of $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for married couples on the sale of a home. Both the House and the Senate had sought to make it much harder to qualify for the exclusion.
  • Mortgage interest deduction. The maximum mortgage amount for households deducting their mortgage interest has been decreased to $750,000 from the current $1 million limit on primary and secondary homes. The House bill sought a reduction to $500,000.
  • State and local tax deductions. Both property taxes and state and local income taxes remain deductible, although with a combined limit of $10,000. Both the House and Senate bills sought to eliminate the state and local income tax deduction altogether.
  • Pass-through entities. The bill significantly reduces the effective rate of tax on business income earned by independent contractors and income received from pass-through entities. This change will lower the taxes of many real estate professionals.

If you have questions, make sure you talk with your tax professional. Thank you for checking out this Fresh Blog. Happy holidays and CHEERS!

Santa's House

Sincerely,  Kevin                

*This post is a summary of a 12/21/2017 letter to the NAR members from Elizabeth Mendenhall -President of NAR.

Comments Off on New Tax Code & Housing

Filed under Uncategorized

Empty Pocket Syndrome

pocketsHome buyers that are not aware of how much cash they will need to complete their purchase could be exposing themselves to a financial disorder (that I just totally made up) called “Empty Pocket Syndrome”, or EPS. Symptoms of EPS include the cancelling of pizza and beer nights, more frequent attendance at Costco free sample booths and increased lottery ticket purchases!


But seriously, below are the most likely expenses that buyers should include in their cost analysis BEFORE making an offer on a new home:

  • Loan Down Payment – The percentage of the purchase price that you can afford to pay at closing. Knowing what your other costs are going to be (as below) will help you determine how much down payment you can truly afford. This should be discussed very carefully with your lender and realtor.
  • Earnest Money – When you make an offer on a home you will also be required to deposit earnest money into escrow shortly after your offer is accepted. This money shows the seller that you are serious. The good news is that the earnest money is applied to your down payment at closing.
  • Professional Home Inspection – Home Inspectors charge varying rates. Many set their rates based on the size of the home. The average sized home in Oregon will cost around $400-500.
  • Radon Gas Test– Most real estate professionals now recommend a radon test for every home. The cost in our area is approximately $150 and many home inspectors are qualified to add this test to their inspection.
  • Sewer Line Scope –Sewer line repairs can be very costly and since the sewer line is buried, you need to have it checked. For approximately $125 the contractor will send a camera down the line and provide you with a “Pass” or “Fail” report along with a link to a video of the line. Don’t forget the popcorn when you sit back to watch this video.
  • Appraisal – Recently in Oregon the cost of a home appraisal has increased significantly. Check with your lender on this, but it could be in the range of $1000 or more.
  • Lender & Escrow Closing Costs – These costs can be significant. It’s important for buyers to work with their lender to get an accurate estimate of the lender and escrow closing costs before making an offer. The amount of these closing costs vary depending on the price of the home, the amount of the property taxes, insurance, closing date, etc. Check with your realtor and lender to see if it is possible to wrap some, or all of these costs into your loan.
  • Miscellaneous – This category will help you be prepared for any unforeseen or additional recommended inspection costs. I suggest buyers have a minimum of $500 factored in, just in case.

It’s still a fantastic time to buy, so GO FOR IT. But please avoid Empty Pocket Syndrome by working with your Realtor and lender to calculate how much money you will need…then go get some beer and pizza.  🙂

I’m not a doctor folks, but I can answer your real estate questions at  503-367-4869.

Happy home shopping!

             Kevin      Kevin

Broker, Certified Residential Specialist –  Summa Pacific Cascade


Comments Off on Empty Pocket Syndrome

Filed under Buying a Home, Uncategorized

Housing Shortage Fix

PDX Metro Housing Problem? Well, there isn’t a problem if you are living in a home you own and plan to stay in, or if you own rental properties. Both are reaping the benefits of an approximate 11.4% increase in appreciation over the past 12 months. (Check out my  Audio Market Action Report  for these and other market stats)

Portland area landlords are enjoying an annual yearly increase in rental rates of approximately 9%. In the past six months alone, rents have raised 7% which suggest an increase rate of 14% for this year! (Here is a link to a recent Oregonian article regarding these numbers)

Unfortunately, buyers and renters are struggling with the higher costs and lack of choices. That is a problem. Thankfully, loan interest rates still remain low. It is still possible for first-timers to buy. However, sacrifices in location, age or condition may need to be made. Renters should contact a local preferred lender and find out if they can qualify. If they can’t qualify now, ask the lender what steps to take to make it happen in the future.

So what’s the fix? Oregon and Portland metro have been discovered. We are now known to be one of the best places in the world to live. Those of us that live here are fortunate, regardless of whether we rent or own. That said, we need to solve the housing problem. It seems obvious that we need to build a wall and have California, Nevada, Idaho and Washington pay for it!  Just kidding of course… we may need to pay for it ourselves.   🙂   Have a safe & spooky Halloween!



Kevin G.                                                                       






Questions about the market?  Give me a call  503-367-4869

Comments Off on Housing Shortage Fix

Filed under Buying a Home, Investment Properties, Oregon Real Estate, Portland Real Estate, Uncategorized