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5 tips for preparing a property sale

We like to post helpful real estate tips lists every once in a while. Our last one focused more on low-impact home improvements, but this list involves the so-called “staging” of a home. As is always the case, the idea is to prepare a home and make it appealing enough that the buyer either wants to move in or sees it as a good investment.

Ramping up the curb appeal

How can I know if I am eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

When individuals are overrun by consuming debt, they may be unsure of what to do next. The bills are piling up, interest is accumulating and creditors are calling. Where can you turn for relief? Will you ever be able to have solid financial footing again? You may find the answers to these questions and more by filing for bankruptcy.

Many Texas readers who believe that moving forward with bankruptcy is the right choice for them prefer to file for Chapter 7. This is a popular option, but it is not always the most beneficial choice. In fact, there are strict eligibility requirements for Chapter 7. If you wish to apply, you will first have to take a means test that will evaluate your income and your financial obligations.

New data confirms ongoing downward trend on audits

The 2019 tax season is now officially upon us. Plus, the federal government is at least temporarily reopened, although the IRS workers had been called back to work. The season will be noteworthy for the above issues as well as the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act that revamped the rules for determining one’s tax obligation. Nonetheless, one trend that continues is the fact that the IRS continues its downward trend of auditing fewer and fewer filers.

How likely am I to be audited?

Why a clean or clear title is so important

Real estate transactions involve the most valuable asset for many of us – our homes – but it can also be an investment property. Either way, part of that transaction process involves transferring the title from one party to another. It is crucial that property sellers and buyers ensure that these matters are in order.

What could go wrong?

New poll finds that most Americans carry debt

Anyone with a credit card knows how easy it is to just charge it and carry balance on the card. Most of us need only look at our January credit card bill to see the damage done while shopping for holiday gifts. Unfortunately, that generosity or obligation can be a slippery slope that leaves many feeling that there is no end in sight.

This feeling is once again confirmed by the web site The site has a new survey that found that over 41 percent of adults in the U.S. have debt and do not know how or when they will be able to pay off the debt. Another 25 percent have debt and believe they will carry the debt to their grave. That is nearly 66 percent of U.S. adults who have crippling debt.

IRS workers called back to work

The government shutdown continues with many of the 880,000 federal workers still on furlough. Many news reports claim, however, that the IRS is preparing for the beginning of the tax filing season on January 28 by recalling 46,052 workers (or 57 percent of the 80,265 workers on staff) to work. Much to the consternation of many including the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), most of these workers will not be paid until the government reopens. The IRS has previously been operating with only 12.5 percent of its staff, which is less than 10,000 employees.

What does this mean for those filing?

Will the government shutdown affect filing my taxes?

The federal government remains in a partial shutdown as the president and congress go toe to toe over border security. This means that 880,000 federal employees are currently on furlough, including seven in eight of those at the Internal Revenue Service. Experts believe that there will be no delays in the processing and issuing of returns as long as the shutdown does not drag on past the middle of January. It should also be noted that tax payers can file online or submit them via the mail even if the government is shut down.

Workers could be called back

If you file for liquidation bankruptcy, will you lose your stuff?

When a person owes a tremendous amount of debt, it can be difficult to know what to do next. For many, filing for bankruptcy is a smart and practical choice, but many refrain from taking this step because they have various misconceptions about what this step will mean. One misunderstanding that people have regarding consumer bankruptcy is the assumption they will lose their belongings. 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, known as liquidation bankruptcy, leads to the discharge of certain types of debt. It also requires the liquidation of some assets to pay off some balances. However, the intent of bankruptcy is not to leave you penniless. Bankruptcy exemptions can allow you to keep many of the things that are important to you while still dealing with your debt.

Are Opportunity Zone deals worth the risk?

Different initiatives have been designed by the federal government to incentivize private investment in low-income communities. Today, it is Opportunity Zones that are located in a few areas here in Austin, but an estimated 57 percent across the country would qualify. These types of new markets programs have been around for a while but have gained new relevance in the new Tax Cuts and Jobs act of 2017.

These Opportunity Zones are designed to reward long-term investment in the community by levying taxes on just 85 percent of the original investment as well as proceeds for seven years. If the investment is held 10 or more years, investors are only responsible for paying taxes on the original investment. These measures can make for cost effective options for real estate investing.

What we can learn from Google’s approach to real estate

Amazon has made a lot of news in recent months about opening a new campus. It eventually picked both Arlington, Virginia as well as the Queens’ neighborhood of Long Island City in New York City, which will a large new campus for 25,000 employees. Google, on the other hand, started with a single employee in Manhattan and has grown to 7,000 in the Chelsea neighborhood.

Incentives vs. slow growth

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William T. Peckham
1104 Nueces Street, Suite 104
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-487-7604
Fax: 512-478-1790
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