Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Here is news that will make you smile!

Consumer Sentiment Hits Five Year High          U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in more than five years in November as consumers felt more optimistic about employment prospects and the outlook for the overall economy, a survey released on Friday showed.  (Data from Leslie Arnold, First Capital A Mortgage Company, Palm Desert CA)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day Trivia

When did 18-year-olds first get the right to vote?

In 1971 during the Vietnam War. Young people had campaigned long and hard for it: “old enough to fight, old enough to vote.”

In what year were voting machines first used?

1892. They were used for one election in New Jersey, but no one trusted them so they were put back into storage and paper ballots were used until the early 1900s

From a book by Kate Kelly, ELECTION DAY: An American Holiday, An American History.

Tomorrow is election day. As citizens of this great country there is a responsibility that comes with the freedoms we enjoy. And that is to cast a ballot on election day.

Friday, October 19, 2012

10 Things You Need to Know About the 3.8% Tax - Effective 2013

Prepared by the National Association of Realtors

1) When you add up all of your income from every possible source, and that total is less than $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint tax return), you will NOT be subject to this tax.

2) The 3.8% tax will NEVER be collected as a transfer tax on real estate of any type, so you’ll NEVER pay this tax at the time that you purchase a home or other investment property.

3) You’ll NEVER pay this tax at settlement when you sell your home or investment property. Any capital gain you realize at settlement is just one component of that year’s gross income.

4) If you sell your principal residence, you will still receive the full benefit of the $250,000 (single tax return)/$500,000 (married filing joint tax return) exclusion on the sale of that home. If your capital gain is greater than these amounts, then you will include any gain above these amounts as income on your Form 1040 tax return. Even then, if your total income (including this taxable portion of gain on your residence) is less than the $200,000/$250,000 amounts, you will NOT pay this tax. If your total income is more than these amounts, a formula will protect some portion of your investment.

5) The tax applies to other types of investment income, not just real estate. If your income is more than the $200,000/$250,000 amount, then the tax formula will be applied to capital gains, interest income, dividend income and net rents (i.e., rents after expenses).

6) The tax goes into effect in 2013. If you have investment income in 2013, you won’t pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.

7) In any particular year, if you have NO income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll NEVER pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.

8) The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will ALWAYS protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would NEVER be imposed on more than $1000.

9) It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. BUT: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10) The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


37977 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
(760)328-2829  or
Photo by Sybille Algaier
© The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands

            Can you name an historic estate where 7 presidents and a queen have visited right in our own backyard? Yes, it is Sunnylands. In the early 1960s, Walter and Leonore Annenberg hired Los Angeles-based architect A. Quincy Jones to create a mid-century modern residence. Opened to the public March 2012, you can now visit Sunnylands gardens and home. Do go. But before you do, give them a call to check the schedule. Sunnylands Center & Gardens is open free to the public Thursdays through Sundays from 9-4 September 1 to May 31 and from 7-2 June 1 to July 31; closed in August. Ever wonder why the fence surrounding Sunnylands is pink? Take a tour and find out. Tours ($35) of the historic estate and residence are scheduled when there are no retreats.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Housing Market Update

From Leslie Arnold, First Capital a Mortgage Company


Lower Inventories Equals Higher Prices:

Today's rising prices have less to do with surging demand—though hard-hit markets in Arizona, California, and Florida have seen significant investor appetite for distressed homes—than with declines in the number of properties for sale.

Inventories of "existing" homes—that is, ones that haven't just been built—are at eight-year lows. New-home inventories are lower than at any time since the U.S. census began tracking them in 1963. In some cities, there are one-third fewer homes listed for sale than a year ago.

Here's why prices are rising: There are more buyers chasing fewer homes, and—critically—fewer distressed homes, such as foreclosures. Low inventory is one sign that housing markets may have reached a turning point because many want to buy at the bottom but few want to sell. There are several factors behind the low inventory. Banks have slowed their pace of foreclosures. Investors have snapped up discounted properties that they can convert into rentals. Home builders, struggling for several years to compete on price with foreclosed properties, have added little in the way of new supply.

Housing's progress is good news for the economy. Residential investment has now contributed to U.S. economic output for the past five quarters, which hasn't happened since 2005. In other words, housing is no longer a drag, though it is packing far less of a punch than it normally does at this point in the economic cycle. Rising prices also could help turn around consumers' fragile psychology, an unpredictable but important factor that can fuel more sales.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rancho Mirage Real Estate:Sales & Prices 2007-2012


       GOOD NEWS! While average sale prices of homes are not as high as they were in 2007, they are better than in 2009 and are slowly moving up. Hurray!

                  Graph is based on data from the Desert Area MLS, August 21, 2012.