Purchased a New Property In Florida? Beware of Solicitations!

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As many of you know, the process of purchasing a new home, or commercial property involves quite a few important documents that you need to be familiar with. Title and Deed documents are given to you by your attorney. Usually, these documents are also accessible online via your county’s property appraiser’s website FOR FREE. In instances where you have purchased a new property, you may receive a letters in the mail that might look like an official county or state document which states that you will need to take additional steps to finalize documentation, or that you will need to order vital documentation that shows ownership of your property.

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This mailing will have your name, parcel number, and property address on it. What Record Transfer Services is doing might not be illegal; however, these services are usually already performed either before or at closing by a title company or real estate attorney. A title search is usually performed by a title company or an attorney, who researches the vested owner, the liens or other judgments on the property, the loans on the property and the property taxes due before the closing is done. If duplicates are needed or documents are misplaced from your records, these documents can usually be found via your county property appraiser’s website or you may contact your real estate attorney.

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Given that the letter includes a deadline for which to request for these documents, it appears to be an official document, however, make special note of the disclaimer in fine print at the bottom of the letter: “This product or service has not been approved, or endorsed by any government…” Generally, if you receive a solicitation asking for more money after your closing, it is not necessary and is rarely legitimate. If you are not sure or you would like more information, contact your Florida Real Estate attorney or title company as soon as possible.

Is Commercial Real Estate a Worthwhile Investment?

If you have been investing in residential real estate for some time now, you might have been considering commercial investments.  The absolute best way to get involved with investments is by doing research, getting advice, and contrasting the familiarity’s with some of the differences.  Knowing the pros and cons before getting involved in a big purchase can help you weigh your options and find out what is best for you.

One major difference between commercial and residential real estate is how the bank values them.  Commercial bank loans tend to require a higher down payment that can easily be more than 30 percent.  Check with your lending institution to find out if they deal with commercial real estate. We have a list of commercial lenders we have worked with in the past, just contact us today and we will be happy to provide them to you!

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Commercial real estate offers the potential for increased cash flow and higher stability.  Renting out several spaces in a multi-unit property means more income, and the return is usually higher per square foot if you’re getting the full potential out of the property.  This can also mean less risk. If one of several tenants leaves, you will only lose a portion of the return.  Commercial leases offer steady income because they are also usually much longer in duration.

As with both residential and commercial investments, it is always important to ask questions and do your research.  There are many parts to look into when purchasing commercial real estate specifically.  Some of these include questions about former management, lease renewals, population income, and the seller’s cash flow statements, among others.  See our Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Purchasing Commercial Real Estate- click here.

Source: Entrepreneur Article 

 

Real Estate Investment Tips on Tax-Deferred Exchanges (1031 Exchange)

A tax-deferred exchange is a where property owner trades one or more relinquished properties for one or more replacement properties of “like-kind”. The payment of federal income taxes and some state taxes on the transaction is deferred until a later date, instead of a typical transaction where the property owner pays the taxes on any gain realized from the sale.  The exchange, however, is not tax-free.  When the replacement property is ultimately sold, the deferred gain as well as any additional gain realized is subject to tax.

Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code states “that no gain or loss is recognized on the exchange of property held for productive use where the property owner has reinvested the sale proceeds into another property.  For example, if vacant land is exchanged for an apartment building, the taxpayer could not be forced to pay taxes on “paper gain”.  The general guidelines to be met in order to allow the taxpayer to defer all taxable gain are that the value of, equity in, and debt on the replacement property must be equal or greater than the value of the relinquished property.  Also, all of the net proceeds from the sale of relinquished property must be used to acquire the replacement.”

The main reason to exchange property instead of selling is the ability to postpone taxes or potentially eliminate them all together.  That way you are able to use the money saved towards investing in another property, and you receive an interest free loan from the federal government in the amount you would have paid in taxes.

Before considering a tax-deferred exchange, there are a few requirements that allow for this replacement.  First, your property must qualify.  Properties that are specifically excluded are: inventories, stocks, bonds, or notes, properties held primarily for sale, interests in a partnership, certificates of trusts, and choses in action.  Also, both the relinquished and replacement property must be held for productive use in a trade or business investment.  Immediate resales or the taxpayer’s personal residence do not qualify.

Tax Deferred Exchange

For a deferred exchange, the properties must be of “like-kind”.  This means they must both be located in the U.S. and must qualify.  Personal properties must be of like-class.  It is also a basic requirement that the relinquished property must be directly exchanged for the other property and cannot be sold for cash to be used in purchasing the replacement property.

Tax-deferred exchanges can be very beneficial for the taxpayer planning to sell an investment or property.  As long as the IRS guidelines are strictly followed, this method can be used as a wise investment strategy. Avoiding losses potentially as high as 30% due to state and federal taxes means allowing the proceeds to go towards future investments or make improvements to the replacement property. If you are considering a tax-deferred exchange for your property, contact us if you are interested in this type of transaction!

For more information see: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Like-Kind-Exchanges-Under-IRC-Code-Section-1031

Young Adults Need To Think About Estate Planning!

Most young adults do not think about future estate planning. However, reality is that you cannot predict the future outcomes of your life, whether there is an unfortunate disability or even death, estate planning for young adults makes sense.

It is unfortunate, but true that unforeseeable accidents and tragedies do happen to young adults, and are becoming more common in today’s day and age. When a young adult is under the age of 18 usually their parents make all of their medical and financial decisions for them. This unfortunately changes once you hit 18.

There are certain privacy laws that are in place to protect everyday people. This is a major disadvantage to someone who does not have an estate plan in place. For example, if you were to become incapacitated and over the age of 18, it is very hard for your family to make decisions about your medical care and financial situation, unless  you have the proper legal paper work in place. Sometimes hospitals and other service providers will not even talk to parents or family members if they do not have legal paperwork suggesting otherwise.

To prevent your family from going through tremendous difficult times during an already stressful time, you should schedule a consultation with an Estate Planning Attorney on your 18th birthday. They will guide you and draft forms that can help prevent situations as described above. Some of the forms will include, but are not limited to:

If you have any Estate Planning questions we invite you to contact us for more details.

Trust v. Will

trustEstate planning for you and your family can be a stressful task. One of the main questions that come up during Estate Planning is:

Do I need a Trust or a Will?

Wills are generally the easier of the two to set up. Even though it is the easiest to set up, it still has its drawbacks. Trusts are a great device if you are looking for privacy and greater protection, however they entail more work and costs.

Here are some more pros and cons:

  •  A revocable living trust is a private contract between the trust maker and trustee(s). However, a will has to go through probate, which of course is public record and anyone can read your last Will and Testament, list of beneficiaries and assets, and the breakdown of who gets what. This is not the safest way to protect your heirs, as public knowledge of inheritance can cause a lot of headache.
  • Another benefit of a revocable living trust is that you have the ability to plan your mental disability planning. This is a great protection if you or your spouse becomes incapacitated.
  • The main benefit of a revocable living trust is that you can avoid probate.
  • Trusts are considered their own legal entity in a sense, so you will have to change the name on registrations, deeds, and set up new bank accounts, if you want them to be part of the trust.

As you can see Trusts and Wills have both benefits and drawbacks. But, here is the real twist to trusts that most do not realize, you still should have a will drafted. Yes that’s right a will. Most people believe if you have formed a trust, you do not need a will. That is not completely true, because a trust takes time to draft and transfer to become valid, the will is an intermediary protection during this process.

If you have any more questions regarding Estate Planning for your future, please contact us today, we will be happy to help.

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    Gulati Law