Author: Carrie B. Reyes

College graduates: a powerful economic force

Do you think a college degree makes a difference in succeeding as a real estate agent? No (56%, 73 Votes) Yes (44%, 58 Votes) Total Voters: 131 College graduates play a significant role in a city’s economic success. However, attaining and keeping graduates is a struggle for some urban centers. The national average of metro area residents with a four-year degree is 32%. In California, Contra Costa County leads the way with 44% and Fresno trails with fewer than 20% of its residents with a four-year degree as of 2009, according to the U.S. Census. Related article Age and...

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Now is the time to go solar

2012 is a good time to go solar. In the past four years, the purchase cost of solar panels has fallen by 50% and the cost of electricity has risen considerably in California. Waiting to install solar panels on your residence or commercial space might cost more out-of-pocket since many clean-energy incentives introduced with the 2009 economic stimulus are ending, unless they are extended (which will largely depend on this November’s election outcome). In 2009 there were $44 billion in clean-energy incentives available, though currently there are only $16 billion, falling to $11 billion by 2014. Solar panels allow...

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Owner must meet both criteria of a real estate professional to claim passive real estate loss deductions

Facts: An owner of two rental properties spent 800 hours a year actively managing them as a second job, spending more hours working in a primary profession. The owner claimed rental real estate loss deductions on his tax return as passive activity losses available to real estate professionals. Claim: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notice of deficiency, claiming the owner was not entitled to passive activity loss deductions since he was not a real estate professional, as, despite working the minimum hours rendering real estate services, he spent more time working in a primary profession unrelated to...

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California’s success lies in education and weather – tempered by zoning

Two measures accurately predict county growth: education level and climate. Nationwide, counties in which more than 21% of adults possess college degrees grew by 13%, compared to 3% in the least educated counties over the past decade. This is understandable, as counties with higher education levels are generally more productive and magnetically draw other educated people to them. The best jobs are there. American counties with January temperatures averaging above 43 degrees grew over 9% during the last decade. Conversely, counties with January temperatures averaging below 22 degrees grew less than 2% over the past ten years. Looking forward,...

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Lender GFE abuse

Do you represent buyers who receive more than one good faith estimate (GFE) from a single lender? Sometimes. (40%, 21 Votes) Never. (36%, 19 Votes) Often. (25%, 13 Votes) Total Voters: 53 Lenders have found another way to cheat the system and leach higher fees from buyers using the good faith estimate (GFE). [See first tuesday Form 204-5] The GFE, given to buyers within three days of submitting their home loan application, is prohibited from exceeding 10% of the final closing costs, otherwise lenders pay the difference. However, some lenders purposefully over quote their estimates to ensure the final...

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Do you believe undisclosed fees paid to real estate brokers or their agents for referring clients to home warranty companies are illegal kickbacks?

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from POLL: Are undisclosed fees paid for referring clients to home warranty companies illegal kickbacks?

Check out our previous poll here.

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[M]ost people join CAR in order to obtain the forms, not for the other services. And if there were any viable choices for agents, CAR would immediately suffer as much as a 40% to 50% loss in membership. […] CAR owns the “for profit” company that produces their software, with top officers in CAR sitting in top management spots in ZipLogix. This is the living, breathing definition of a conflict of interest. […] On their website they parade their forms software as “free” when cost of their forms software for non-members as a percentage of their actual membership cost speaks for itself.

- William Tormey, on CAR is "dangerously close" to having a monopoly on real estate forms, counters PDFfiller

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