January 2018

Tax Changes and How to Increase Your Sales in 2018!

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While attending the National Association of REALTORS® (N.A.R.) conference this past November in Chicago, there was an air of uncertainty about housing that I have not seen since 2007 when it became evident that the housing crisis was real.  By the end of 2008, the Case-Shillar housing price index reported its largest price drop in its history. Housing prices in most urban and suburban areas struggled to recapture their value before starting to rebound in 2013.

The theme of the 2017 N.A.R. conference, “The Sky’s the Limit”, focused on raising attendees’ real estate careers to higher levels.  With a pending massive tax legislation being proposed, the idea of raising your income in 2018 was an immediate challenge to envision. This time, the uncertainty at the major real estate conference of the year was not about the financial stability of households, the economy, or the quality of mortgage underwriting.  It was legislation proposing the elimination of mortgage interest and property tax deductions. These deductions have helped to promote and incentivize homeownership, helping millions of families realize the American dream of owning their own home. Eliminating those deductions completely would have a major negative impact on housing markets across the United States.

Credit is certainly due to the N.A.R., as their efforts helped impact the decisions of congress. The deductions stayed in the tax reform that passed into law. However, there are now limitations that affect certain areas more than others. Specifically, high tax states such as California, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, where it is estimated that 30% of homeowners pay more than $10,000 annually in property taxes. The limitation for interest deductions on mortgages above $750,000 will give pause to buyers in the luxury market, and the elimination of the interest deduction on home equity lines combined with the maximum mortgage deductions will also affect individuals who are considering buying a second home. If you are already close to the $750,000 mortgage cap on your primary residence, buying a second home will not have the same benefit of ownership, as the additional interest and property deductions would be eliminated and not tax deductible on that new residence. You also are less likely to take out an equity loan for a down payment on a vacation home.

How local real estate markets will be affected by the new law remains to be seen. What is clear for 2018 is a universal agreement amongst economists that there will be a modest, at best, increase in the number of home sales. This means more competition for real estate buyers trying to purchase an affordable home and an increase in competition amongst REALTORS to build their client base.

What will it take to grow your income in 2018? First, you will need to become an expert. Not an expert in your entire city, but an expert in a micro-market. Real estate consumers will do their research and will want to work with someone they like and trust. That trust will be gained in 2018 by agents who position themselves as micro-market experts, not generalists. Second, develop the thinking of an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur in real estate is not only a business model, it is a mindset. You need a mindset of positivity, growth, and personal accountability in 2018 to raise your income.

To learn more about the 2018 market, micro-markets, and developing a mindset of growth, please view my Facebook live interview with RealTrends at the N.A.R. conference.

https://www.facebook.com/realtrends/videos/10154962768797927/

Best wishes for growth in 2018!

The ABC’s of Having a Great Start to Your New Year!

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The chance to start anew makes the New Year’s holiday unique for almost everyone. New Year’s is not centered on a historical event, a memorial occasion or a religious remembrance. It is about the beginning of a new calendar. The fresh new calendar and end of year celebrations, spurs millions to rethink their opportunities in life. If you are one of the millions of people who made a New Year’s resolution and want to start off right to achieve your goals this year, here are the ABC’s of simplifying the process to crush 2018!

A – Acceptance.  In order to get where you want to go, you have to accept the realities of your current situation. If you do not start with your current truth, the odds are against you achieving your future goals. It is important to have a bold and exciting vision for the New Year so you are continuously reminded that success is worth the journey.  However without accepting the complete truth of your current status, the New Year goals will soon be replaced with the realization of the difficulty in change. If you want to lose weight, then you must step on the scale to see your starting point. If you are in sales and your goal is to double your income, then you must look to see the potential clients you should reach out to in the New Year. Eliminate a potential downfall by recognizing the facts and accepting your starting point, whether positive or negative.

B – Belief.  It is very seldom in life that we accomplish anything more than what we believe we can achieve or deserve. Belief is the foundation of all religious faiths.  It is central to our accomplishments that we believe that regardless of the difficulties ahead, there are in fact better days ahead. If you create goals and accept your starting point, then you must develop a process that reminds you each day to move forward and reach your goal. Forget the naysayers, the biggest critic you have is you. In order to reach your true potential and crush your goals, you must stop your own negative thinking and believe in yourself.  Start each day with the affirmation, “I deserve this success.” Follow up with a visual image of what you are striving for in 2018 that is printed out and in front of you each day as a meaningful reminder of why it’s important to believe in yourself.

C – Comfortable. If you are comfortable in your current situation, you will continue to justify your actions and be part of the 90+% of the population that does not achieve their New Year goals. If you allow yourself to be comfortable with the status quo, you will prevent yourself from taking the necessary actions to achieve your goal and become okay with your past self. You will justify your actions and rationalize why you didn’t reach your goal. Life should be lived with an attitude of abundance to wake up each day working towards achieving a big dream. We become who we desire, by taking action every day until those positive actions become habits. Whatever you want to accomplish that is new in 2018 will require change. Change is difficult because doing new things is uncomfortable. The key to success is committing to new action items.  You will reach success when you transform actions that were once uncomfortable into actions that are now comfortable. No one is immediately comfortable getting up early to go to the gym or in a sales position is eager to call on new prospects.

The key to crushing your goals this year is to take action. Perform those new activities for 90 days and you will discover what was once uncomfortable will become comfortable and you now have built a habit to reach your goals.

Happy New Year!