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Dec. 19, 2022

Happy Holidays!

Posted in Community News
Dec. 5, 2022

8 Ways to Find Out Who Owns a Property

8 Ways to Find Out Who Owns a Property



There are many reasons one might want to find out who owns a property or piece of land. Suppose you’re on a walk in Nashville, TN, and you pass by a home that you instantly fall in love with and want to buy – perhaps an antique Victorian home or a beautiful abandoned carriage house. Or maybe you’re just curious about who owns a house in your neighborhood or a piece of land on the edge of town. Well, the good news is that you can usually track down this information pretty easily. 


In most cases, property ownership information is available for free online (just ensure the website you use is legitimate). If that doesn’t work, or if you’re looking in more rural areas, you’ll have to go to a local government agency, title company, or broker. 


We’ll break each of these methods down to help you find out who owns a property.



1. Try searching online

The easiest way to find out who owns a property or house is to search for the address or property number online. Websites like Whitepages offer reverse searching services, and brokerages like Redfin have ownership information at the bottom of most listings. Keep in mind that information may be incomplete and inaccurate. 


Another option is to go to your county’s website and look for a property that way. Many counties have online portals with all of this information in one easy place. If that doesn’t work or if you’re looking for more details, your next best option is to reach out to your county’s tax assessor. 


2. Check the local tax assessor’s office

A majority of people who own private property must pay property tax on it (often excluding churches, libraries, schools, and religious buildings, among others). They pay these taxes to their county, which are collected by the county treasurer (often called the collector’s office). The county assessor determines a property’s true and fair value and retains a record of them. 


So, if you’re wondering who owns that property next door, the best place to start is by going to your local tax assessor’s office. Assessors provide free, easy, and comprehensive ownership data for every registered property in their county. You’ll also get to see any special assessments associated with the property, like loans and other financial information. However, the information may be outdated depending on when it was registered. 


Check with your local government office, call their information line, go to your city hall or meeting place, or email the office if you have any questions. 

3. Contact the county clerk 

Some properties aren’t listed with tax assessors for numerous reasons – perhaps it’s unregistered land, there was an administrative error, or nobody has ever paid taxes on it. If the county assessor couldn’t help, your next step is to contact the county clerk, sometimes called the register of deeds or recorder’s office.


The county clerk often has a record of property deeds. When you find the deed, it should have the signature of the property owner, as well as the address and contact information. Depending on how long ago the deed was recorded, it may be out of date. 


Most of the time, the information is available online but varies by location. 


Do research in the registry of deeds

Depending on your locality, you may be able to manually search through the local registry of deeds. This isn’t available everywhere, so contact your county if you have questions. 


4. Use a local title company

If the county can’t help you figure out who owns a property, your next step is to go to a local title company. “Title companies are experts at locating property information,” says Reid Hayton-Hull, Principle Counsel for Title Forward, a Redfin company. “They don’t typically become involved with a transaction until the property is under contract to be sold, at which point they search the property’s title and identify any issues with the current owner’s title. However, some companies may offer pre-contract searching services for a fee. Check with local title companies to see if they offer such services.”


5. Pay for an online service

If you’re committed to buying an abandoned property or empty lot, paid online property search services can be a great option for finding the owner. Many property data tools can pinpoint the current owner and even provide contact details and information about the land registry. You may also discover any existing liens or debts, which may help guide your next steps.


Online services can be expensive and are often complicated and full of jargon. If you take this route, prepare to invest a significant amount of time and money. 


Mailing list brokers

Mailing list brokers are an online information-gathering service that is ideal for bulk information gathering and outreach. People use them for various reasons, real estate being a common one. Mailing list brokers gather detailed contact information for homeowners, property owners, businesses, and more and send them to their clients. 


If you tell the broker what you’re looking for, you can have them look up property ownership for any number of properties or homes. They will provide you with lists containing every property’s information and contacts. Keep in mind that these services can be expensive and incomplete. 

6. Reach out to a real estate agent or real estate investor

Agents or real estate investors may already have access to informational lists you would otherwise have to pay for. If you have a friend or family member that is a real estate agent, ask for a favor. They also can provide advice if you’re navigating an online service. 


7. Talk to a real estate attorney

If the other options here haven’t worked yet, ask a real estate lawyer for help. They may have ideas for where else to look and might have contacts within the county. 


8. Walk by and leave a note

When all else fails, try knocking on the door of that perfect house you want or leave a note if nobody is home. You may end up face-to-face with the current owner or talk to someone who knows the owner. If nobody answers, consider leaving a message with your contact information. 


This can be the riskiest and most direct method, however, you may get your answer quickly and easily.

Final thoughts

It can be confusing to find out who owns a property, so let’s recap: 


Most of the time, you can easily find the information by searching online 

Many governments have resources that are free and easy to use 

If this doesn’t work, the next step is to contact your county clerk’s office; they often have tax, title, and deed records for as long as the house has been registered 

Counties can often be slow to respond to requests. If it’s taking a while, ask a brokerage, title company, or paid online service to find the information 

When you search for properties, always be cautious about misinformation and companies that use bad practices. Try not to be intrusive, and talk to the county if you have any questions. 


Discovering who owns a property is usually simple and has many advantages. You can guarantee that you’re talking with the legal owner of the property, and you may be able to convince them to sell even if it’s not on the market.


By Jamies Forbes


Source: Realtor.com


Nov. 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sending love and gratitude from the entire team at Full Circle Real Estate Group!

Posted in Community News
Nov. 7, 2022

What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year


Experts are starting to make their 2023 home price forecasts. As they do, most agree homes will continue to gain value, just at a slower pace. Over the past couple of years, home prices have risen at an unsustainable rate, leaving many to wonder how long it would last. If you’re asking yourself: what’s ahead for the price of my home, know that experts are now answering this question, and its welcome news for homeowners who may have been led by the media to believe their home would lose value.


Historically, home prices have appreciated at a rate near 4%. For 2023, the average of six major forecasters noted below is 2.5%. While one, Zelman & Associates, is calling for depreciation, the other five are calling for appreciation. The graph below outlines each expert forecast to show where they project home prices are going in the coming year.



To understand why experts are calling for appreciation next year, look to the economics of supply and demand. Dave Ramsey, Financial Expert, says this:


“The root issue of what drives house prices almost always is supply and demand . . .”   


Two things are driving home prices upward. First, the undersupply of homes on the market is an issue we continue to face in this country. We still don’t have enough homes on the market for the number of people that want to buy them. To further that point, we’re still in a sellers’ market nationally, and in that scenario, home prices tend to appreciate.


Second, millennials are moving through their peak homebuying years. Since they’re the largest demographic behind the baby boomers, demand isn’t going away any time soon.


Bottom Line

Experts are calling for home prices to appreciate next year, although at a slower pace than the previous three years. The reason for this is simple. The dynamics of supply and demand are playing out in real estate and will continue for many years to come.


Source: keepingcurrentmatters.com

Posted in Market Updates
Oct. 24, 2022

7 Fall Decor Tips for When Your Home Is On the Market

7 Fall Decor Tips for When Your Home Is On the Market



Autumn provides home sellers with unique opportunities for staging and decorating. But does fall decor actually help sell your home, or make it more difficult to attract buyers?


As you consider the best way to sell a house, one thing to keep an eye on is the season. Depending on what time of year you choose to list your property, you may run into some unique challenges or opportunities, including some distinct concerns involving your staging and home decor. The fall season is a good example of this. Many homeowners deck their listings with pumpkins, scarecrows, and other seasonally festive ornamentation.


But it’s worth stepping back to ask whether fall decor actually helps you get the place sold, or whether it makes it harder to get a buyer on the line.


Considering Fall Decor

Ultimately, most staging experts agree that staging your listing with fall decor is valuable – as long as you do so judiciously. Remember that the point should be to make your property feel warm, cozy and inviting. If you decorate to the point that it feels cluttered or overwhelming, that’s when you’ve gone too far.


While the end of the year holidays are exciting for some, whether it's for the spookiness at Halloween or the family bonding at Thanksgiving, it’s always wise to consider that your prospective buyer may not share your enthusiasm for the season, even if your decor depicts more of a general harvest scene than alluding to any particular holiday.


You don’t want your autumn decorations to be the focus, or to distract attention from the best selling points of your house. Instead, you want them to accentuate the space and help house hunters see your home’s possibility and charm. To that end, a “less is more” approach is usually the right way to go as you decorate for the season but also prioritize getting your home sold.


Here are some additional tips for staging your home in fall decor:


Think About a Fresh Coat of Paint

Take a look at your interior walls and ask yourself if they could benefit from some fresh new hues. You don’t ever want to do anything too garish, and neutrality is always recommended, but something rich and bright can really help the accent pieces, such as pillows and art, pop. Consider shades like light caramels or creams to establish a classy and upscale setting.


Get the Lighting Right

Another important aspect of seasonal staging is managing your natural light. During the autumn, as the days get a little shorter and a little darker, you’ll probably want to open up all the blinds, curtains and other window treatments, letting in as much natural illumination as possible.


Emphasize Coziness

When selling your home during fall, it’s generally wise to make your home feel as warm and comforting as possible. Create an atmosphere that feels cozy and accommodating – sometimes that’s as simple as using plenty of plush pillows and generous throw blankets in your home decor. Also, lighting some decorative candles is a great way to give the home a cozy ambiance.


Accentuate the Fireplace

Does your home have a fireplace or hearth area, perhaps in the living or family room? If so, make that a focal point of your decor. Surround the fireplace and mantel with some tasteful seasonal decor, subtly but unmistakably drawing the eye. When it comes to conjuring a home-like atmosphere, a clean fireplace can truly be a stirring sight.


Don’t Forget Seasonal Scents

Fall staging isn’t just about colors and furniture. Scents matter, too. During autumn, you’ll want to conjure pleasing, sentimental memories of home, something you can do by putting some apple cider on the stove or burning a cinnamon-scented candle. Even baking some cookies will do the trick. Whenever you can, opt for natural scents instead of artificial plug-ins – buyers can smell the difference.


Remember That Curb Appeal Matters, Too

Fall decor isn’t just a matter of what’s going on inside the home. The exterior of the home can also benefit from a seasonal touch-up. Make sure your landscaping is fall-ready, even if that’s as simple as removing old, dead plants, raking leaves and doing your best to keep the lawn edged and properly watered. Accentuate your front stoop with tasteful elements of autumnal decor, like a harvest-themed wreath or a nice pumpkin or two.


Don’t Go Too Far

Remember, your goal should always be to accentuate your space, and to help buyers imagine themselves making their home in it. You want to aim for cozy without ever teetering into busy or kitschy. Make sure you exercise some restraint in choosing fall-themed decor, and don’t ever invest in so much ornamental stuff that it makes the house feel too cluttered or claustrophobic.


By Deanna Haas


Source: USNews.com


Oct. 10, 2022

So, Where’s the Tub? A Close Look at the Dumbest Bathroom Trend to Date


Tune in to HGTV these days, and it’s more than likely you’ll spot some flipping duo ripping out a home’s humble bathtub to make space for a large, luxurious shower.


This got me wondering: Why?


Sometimes, these flippers go so far as to remove the only tub in the house, all for the sake of a spacious shower. I was truly baffled. For starters, what about the hordes of homebuyers with young kids? You can’t very well bathe a baby in a shower.


And while most adults might shower more often than they bathe, I, for one, enjoy sinking into a tub on occasion. And I’m hardly alone. A recent survey by Bath Fitter found that around half of Americans take a bath at least once a week, and that 54% would bathe more often if they had the time.


Because let’s admit it, a long soak is a beautiful thing. Why remove that possibility from your house?


Apparently, flippers have their reasons.


Why banishing the tub from the bathroom is a big trend

I get it from an aesthetic point of view: There’s nothing glamorous about a workaday tub with a ho-hum curtain pulled across it—or worse, a shower door with dated, opaque glass that rattles on the track.


“A walk-in shower turns a bathroom from an eyesore room into one that’s more aesthetically pleasing,” says Kara Harms, a design blogger at Whimsy Soul. That luxe spa feeling you get when you’re at a fancy hotel is exactly the vibe that folks want every day, especially after a years-long COVID-19 pandemic and other grave uncertainties in the world.


For flippers, the drive to remove tubs is all about the money, honey.


“Flippers know that a large, well-designed shower is more of a selling point than a master tub with a small shower or a shower-tub combo,” explains Briana Ellis Hoag, owner of Ritual Architecture.


“Bathroom remodels usually have the highest return on investment in a home, and a big shower can help your home’s resale value,” adds Carolyn Gagnon, a real estate agent with Compass in New York City.

And while families might be turned off by no tub, that’s OK, since many flippers are more interested in attracting buyers who are either younger (who don’t need a tub) or older (who don’t really need a tub either) and wealthier to boot.


“People who are remodeling homes, though specifically flippers, are keen to remove tubs because of how they perceive their target buyer,” says Hoag.


But it’s not just the moneyed set that expects to see the “shower only” amenity.


“There’s also a good portion of homebuyers in the midrange market that don’t utilize tubs, especially in the master bathroom,” continues Hoag. “They’d rather have that space for a large shower that’s used on a daily basis.”


Another perk to showers? They’re better for older folks.


“Walk-in showers are rising in popularity because they’re more accessible—a tub means you have to step in and out, which not everyone can do easily,” notes Harms.


We’re aging as a nation, with the number of folks aged 65 and older slated to more than double in the next 40 years, reaching 80 million in 2040. What’s more, many are choosing to age in place in homes that they then must retrofit to meet their needs. Swapping a shower for a tub fits perfectly into this trend.


But here’s why banishing the tub may be a bad idea

Yet many architects and real estate agents alike urge homeowners to keep at least one tub somewhere in the home for practicality’s sake.


“We always suggest keeping at least one tub in the house since it’s great for kids, grandkids, and pets and also for resale,” says Pamela O’Brien, principal designer at Pamela Hope Designs.


“I don’t think it’s wise to remove all the tubs from the bathrooms of the house, as there are many families entering the market with young children who will need a standard bathtub,” adds Hoag.


For homeowners who are determined to have their shower, there is a workaround.


“You can buy a shower tub for kids that goes on the bottom of the shower floor,” says Harms. That way, “there’s no need to build an entire room around bathing a child.”


Plastic tub inserts certainly do fix the problem. Still, this problem wouldn’t exist in the first place if you had just kept your tub.


If you’re willing to hold on to a shower-tub combo you own, there are other bells and whistles to consider in a bathroom remodel that could earn you back some money.


“Newer, high-end amenities like radiant flooring, vanity mirrors, better lighting, tiling, faucets, and countertops are just a few examples of additions that could bring more to your wallet,” says Gagnon.


I, for one, will never trade my tub, and chalk this up to a rage that, like so many others, will one day have multitudes shaking their heads and clucking, “Remove the tub! What were they thinking?”


As all trends tend to do, this one will eventually disappear down the drain of home design fads where, in my mind, it belongs.



By Jennifer Kelly Geddes

Source: Realtor.com

Sept. 26, 2022

Walkability As The Ultimate Amenity For Luxury Homebuyers

In American suburbs spawned in the post-war era, sidewalks largely existed for show. Everyone drove everywhere; few would have been caught dead walking. In such a municipality, it was implausible you’d make a new acquaintance on the street, unless you exchanged names, numbers and insurers after being involved in a fender bender.

Like artificial turf, Nehru jackets and eight-track players, that sensibility has been consigned to the dimming memories of aging Baby Boomers and their elders. For years if not decades now, walkability has been among prized amenities touted by developers of upscale communities. Placing schools, shopping, entertainment, work and recreation within walking distance not only enhances residents’ health, fitness and overall quality of life, but can actually boost the value of a property.

A recent Redfin study linked the Walk Score of a property to a direct increase in the price that house was able to fetch. Increasing a Walk Score from 19 to 20 brought average increases of about $180. But an increase in Walk Score from 79 to 80 was associated with a surge of more than $7,000 in property value.

The pandemic only served to hike the popularity of walkable communities, given their tendency to place residents in fresh air, and out of droplet-filled public buses and trains. What follows are sketches of a few newer developments whose creators clearly placed walkability among qualities they fervently wished future residents to savor.

Alina Residences Boca Raton

This wellness-focused development, nestled in downtown Boca Raton, has landscaped promenades that connect right into the energetic hub of that historic city. Royal Palm Place, Mizner Park, al fresco restaurants, high-end galleries and couture boutiques are all strolling distance, while the green scape of the Boca Raton Resort and Club golf course adds another opportunity for residents to accumulate their daily steps.

Mention single-family home living in a secluded setting, and many will conjure up images of a car-centric district.

Not so this community, tucked away at Sunset Blvd. and Olive Street in a location proximate to West Hollywood’s spirited vibe. Bordered by Beverly Hills to the west, the Hollywood Hills north, Hollywood east and Beverly Grove and the Fairfax District south, this enclave is woven into the storied Sunset Strip, priding itself on being steps from buzzworthy bistros, hip pop-up retailers and vibrant nightlife.

Springline, Menlo Park, California

Fully opening next year, this 6.4-acre connected community has been expressly designed to be a walkable city within a city. Situated next to downtown Menlo Park and a short walk from the Caltrain Station, Springline features hospitality-driven homes, creative offices, destination restaurants and outdoor experiences in the heart of the Peninsula.

Bloom on Forty Fifth, New York City

Buyers at this 92-residence condominium in the historic Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood will find everything they need outside their door. Moments away is the luxury shopping of Hudson Yards, the civic meeting place that is The High Line and the bike and running paths of Hudson River Park. Bloom on 45 is also proximate to Bryant Park and office buildings filled with internationally known employers.

Four Seasons Private Residences Nashville

Set right next door to Music City’s legendary, 6.5-acre riverside Cumberland Park, Four Seasons Private Residences Nashville puts residents within an easy walk of country music shrine Ryman Auditorium and the place where Nashville’s hockey team “paints the town Pred,” Bridgestone Arena.

Also near: the watering holes and 365-day-a-year music hotspots that line Broadway, otherwise known as the Honky Tonk Highway.

Anagram Nomad, New York City

This luxury rental development is located in the heart of NoMad, a cultural, commercial and entertainment mecca in the midst of Manhattan. Residents won’t be forced to erode much shoe leather stepping out to prized dining spots that include Scarpetta, ABC Kitchen and Gramercy Tavern.

By Jeffery Steele Source: Forbes - Real Estate 


Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 12, 2022

Short-Term Rentals Prove Ideal Complement To Remote Work

The Covid-19 pandemic and the emergence of short-term rental companies like Airbnb have given birth to a new breed of real estate. This fresh wave blurs the demarcation between hotels and homes, sparking developments designed from the ground up to serve dual purposes. On one hand, they meet the need for buyers seeking a getaway place in a sunny clime like Miami’s. On the other, they satisfy the desire of these and others to generate passive income by renting out the residences when they’re not there.

Among companies making a mark on the short-term rental market is WhyHotel, an alternative hospitality service provider that creates pop-up hotels in places like Miami. Company CEO and founder Jason Fudin calls the work-from-anywhere movement one of the most significant forces impacting real estate uses in a generation.

“We have seen the beginning effects first-hand with increased demand for short-term stay accommodations,” Fudin says. “Our apartment-style hotels have significantly outperformed traditional hotels during Covid, primarily driven by strong occupancy of 85%-plus throughout the heart of the pandemic.

“Consumers demand short-term accommodations that blend home and hospitality, especially as work-from-anywhere continues. For example, people travel for work and stay for fun, especially in Miami, New York and Nashville. And they are looking for apartment-style comforts plus hospitality-like services to support that lifestyle.”

Passive income

Flexible living lets residents have their cake while eating it too, says Nicholas Perez, vice president of Related Group, developer of District 225 Residences Miami, and The Crosby Miami Worldcenter. Many buyers at District 225 Residences Miami and The Crosby Miami Worldcenter arrived in the Magic City seeking an escape from winter and-or high tax states. They enjoy their residences while in Miami, but also relish the passive income cranked out by the units when they travel home to visit family.

“We’ve also seen many locals, especially a new generation of young, upwardly mobile professionals, as well as international buyers, jumping at the opportunity to own property in one of Miami’s fastest growing neighborhoods: Downtown Miami,” Perez says. “Some will opt to live in their units most of the time, like their Northeastern counterparts, while others are looking at this as more of an opportunity to get into the booming short-term rental business with none of the challenges that come with independently managing these types of assets.”

Clear demand

Folks who were highly mobile before the pandemic have become even more nomadic in its wake, adds Harvey Hernandez, CEO of Newgard Development Group, developer of LOFTY Brickell and Natiivo Miami and Austin. Remote work roles have also prompted mobility, and that’s triggered a feeling of unprecedented freedom to test out new and different lifestyles and cities, he adds. “This freedom provides buyers the unique opportunity to have their assets work for them when they want and as much as they want while they’re away,” Hernandez says.

“There’s a clear demand for flexible living and ownership in cities such as Miami, Austin, and others, which have proven to be business hubs and incubators alongside world-class entertainment, a rich culture, award-winning restaurants.”

Asked whether some short-term renters have been known to stay longer, Hernandez answers in the affirmative. He’s seen a surge in length of stay for short-term rentals, reflected in what he calls a “huge demand” for stays of 30 days and more, he says.

Soon, additional developments expressly designed for short-term rentals are sure to sprout, providing a bigger pie for those who want their cake and eat it too.

By Jeffrey Steele Source: Forbes - Real Estate


Posted in Real Estate News
Aug. 29, 2022

How to Buy a Second Home (Hint: It Won't Be Like Your First)

How to Buy a Second Home (Hint: It Won’t Be Like Your First)

As a home buyer, you braved the real estate buying circus when you bought your first home, and you have a great place to show for it. You’ve trudged through the open houses, experienced exactly how stressful closing can be, and dealt with legions of moving trucks. And still, a part of you wants something more: an escape in the mountains, a beach cottage, or a pied-à-terre in the city. You want to buy a second home.


With current mortgage rates at a historic low, you might be tempted to jump in. But beware; buying real estate as an investment property or second home won’t be the same as your first-time home-buying experience. Here are some differences and advice to keep in mind.


First things first: Can you afford to buy a second home?

If you scored a sweet deal on a mortgage for your primary residence, don’t expect lenders to give you the same offer twice.

“Second-home loans generally require more down payment and a better credit score than owner-occupied home loans,” says John Lazenby, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

You may have to pay a higher interest rate on a vacation home mortgage than you would for the mortgage on a home you live in year-round, and lenders may look closely at your debt-to-income ratio. Expect a lender to scrutinize your finances more than when buying a single-family primary residence.

“Lenders look carefully to ensure that second-home buyers are financially capable of paying two mortgages,” Lazenby says.

Make sure to review your budget with a second mortgage payment in mind, and make adjustments if necessary after you know what interest rate you will receive. And make sure you can afford the real estate down payment—a healthy emergency fund and cash reserves are essential if an accident or job loss forces you to float two mortgages at once.

Evaluate Your Goals

Understand exactly how you plan to use the property before you sign on the dotted line.

“Buyers should consider their stage of life and that of their children to ensure they are going to actually use the home for the amount of time that they’re envisioning,” Lazenby says. “A family with young children may find that their use of a second home declines as the kids grow older and become immersed in sports.”

If you’re certain you’ll get enough use and enjoyment out of your new purchase, go for it—but make sure to carefully consider the market.

For most homeowners, a second home shouldn’t be a fixer-upper. Look for homes in high-value areas that will appreciate over time without having to sacrifice every weekend to laborious renovations on your “vacation home.”

Buying in an unfamiliar area? Take a few weekend trips to make sure it’s the right spot for you. In the long term, you’ll want it to be a good investment property, as well as a place to play. Pay close attention to travel times, amenities, and restaurant and recreation availability, otherwise you might spend more time grousing than skiing and sipping wine. And make sure to choose a knowledgeable local real estate agent who will know the local real estate comps and any area idiosyncrasies.

Understand Your Taxes

You may be familiar with a bevy of home credits and tax breaks for your first home, but not all of them apply to your second.


For instance: You might be planning on using your new home as a vacation rental when you’re out of the area. If that’s the case, you need to calculate the return on your investment property purchase price that you can expect over the course of a year. How much can you charge per night or per week for your rental property? How many weeks will you rent out the property? And what expenses will you incur?

“Property tax rules and possible deductions for second homes used as rentals are complicated and vary widely, depending on both the number of days per year that the owner occupies the home and the owner’s personal income level,” says Lazenby.

A vacation home offers more flexibility to buy based on your potential property tax burden—for instance, if you’re looking to buy in an area of high real estate taxes, consider widening your real estate search to another county, which can save you thousands of dollars. Your real estate agent should be able to help you find property you as a buyer can afford.

Lazenby recommends consulting with a tax professional about tax implications, especially if you’re planning on renting out the house.


A vacation home you use part time and also rent out may be considered rental property for tax purposes, depending on personal-use days as the homeowner, and the number of days you rent it out. If you rent out the vacation property for more than 14 days in a year, you must report the rental income on Schedule E of your individual tax return, and you can deduct the rental portion of expenses such as mortgage interest and property taxes. However, renting out your home as a short-term vacation home for 14 days or less in the year means you cannot deduct rental expenses, but the income from your renters is tax-free.

By Jamie Wiebe Source: Realtor.com https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/how-to-buy-a-second-home/


Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 15, 2022

Learning the Lingo: Architecture Edition

OK, let’s get this straight: Craftsman isn’t just the brand name of the tools out in the garage, and Cape Cod isn’t just a fabulous vacation spot. We understand your confusion and feel your pain. There’s so much architecture lingo and name-dropping in listings, how’s a layman supposed to know what’s what?! We’ve compiled a guide to the most popular architecture styles to help you identify what you want in your house hunt!


Cape Cod

OK, it’s no spoiler that these homes are named after the quintessential New England vacation destination—Cape Cod in Massachusetts—where they first became prevalent. Much like the Puritans of old, Cape Cods are modest and economical. This makes sense, since Colonial settlers in the Northeast modeled their newly built homes after British cottages. These homes have steep roofs that reach the first floor (to quickly shed rain and snow) and second-story dormers (a window that projects vertically from a sloping roof). Fun fact: Original Capes used unfinished cedar shingles, which are ideal to weather the stormy and unforgiving East Coast winters.




A Colonial is an OCD fever dream come true: It’s symmetrical and features an entry door in the middle of the front of the home with two windows on either side; there are five windows on the second floor, with one directly above the entry door. Colonials, which originally rose in popularity in the oh-so-uniform 1700s, are still common around the U.S. They’re usually built of wood or brick, which are perfectly suited to the simple, clean, and boxy style. If you see a hint of ancient Greece and Rome in the style, you aren’t wrong. Looking for distinctive flourishes? Keep looking.



Did you spend hours with your dollhouse as a kid? Were your parents, teachers, and various health care providers worried? Then the detail-packed Victorian style will probably look familiar. Key features include a complicated, asymmetrical shape with wings and bays in various directions; elaborate trim; shingles or patterned masonry; steep rooflines; and a large, wraparound porch. They are often painted in bright, complementary colors to highlight the painstaking details. Some people are put off by their aggressive whimsy, but plenty consider them perfect houses to grow old in and sip lemonade on the porch.



Love yourself some neutrals or Jonathan Rhys Meyers? Then you’re probably drawn to Tudors, which are built of brick or stone on the first level and complementary stucco and timbering on the second—all of which is inspired by the medieval architecture of Tudor England in the early 16th century. These babies are made to withstand the elements, with deeply pitched roofs and detailed, covered entryways, which is why you’ll see more of them in the chilly northeast.




Blame (or credit, depending on how you feel about this style) the rise of the automobile, not cowboys, for ranch houses. Cars made it possible for families to buy large lots of land outside traditional metropolitan centers—aka “the suburbs”—so people built spread-out ranch houses to take advantage of these new spaces. These homes are one story and often have an L- or U-shaped floor plan surrounding a patio, sliding glass doors, and a carport or garage. Quite possibly the best-known symbol of American housing, the ranch can conjure up images both good and evil, but no doubt you will see lots of them



These adorable one-story homes are characterized by their low pitched roof and large front porch. Also called Craftsman's, they rose in popularity in the early 1900s during the arts and crafts period and were revered for their—you guessed it—handcrafted details: hand-cut wood, iron and copper work, and masonry. Bungalows hit their peak during this time and became so popular in the early part of the past century, that you could order a complete kit from Sears.




You find a lot of these homes in the South or Southwest (Hollywood is full of them). One reason for their popularity: They’re built from the ground up to take the heat. Clay tile roofs keep the home cool during the hot summer months and extend beyond the walls to provide extra shade, while extensive outdoor living areas, columns, and arched windows and openings take advantage of the breeze.


Mid-Century Modern

If you squint just enough, Mid-Century Modern homes (sometimes just called “modern,” though the century in question is the 20th) can look a bit like your grade-schooler’s art project. Full of sharp angles and void of ornamentation, these contemporary homes offer flat or shallow-pitched roofs and loads of glass. They often incorporate the surrounding outdoor space via decks and balconies. While they started sprouting up in the 1950s, the timeless aesthetic has turned these sleek, stripped-down houses into classics.


French Country

Is that a Nicholas Sparks movie we feel coming on? No, it’s just the French Country style that’s inspired by the rustic manors that dotted the fields of northern and southern France during the reign of Louis XIV in the mid-1600s. The Revival style popped up in the 1920s and 1960s. The homes have a square, symmetrical shape with windows (often double windows and/or balconies) balanced on either side of the entrance and a steep hipped roof. They are most often made of stone, stucco, and brick.



By Maureen Dempsey Source: Realtor.com


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