Archive for November, 2013

BLINDSIDED! A TRUE NIGHTMARE KILLS a Real Estate Deal for my neighbor.

Last Tuesday, my next door neighbors invited me and Beth out for dinner at a new upscale restaurant in the “NuLu” part of downtown Louisville. (little did we know the University of Louisville basketball team had a game to play at the YUM center. Traffic was horrible.) They wanted to pick my brain about real estate investing and setting up Self Directed Roth IRAs for their two young sons.

This restaurant takes pride in all menu items are from local producers, including beer and wine. For the first time in over 25 years, I had myself an ice cold Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. It tasted pretty good, but not good enough for me to switch back from an occasional Bud Select here and there.


My next door neighbors, Heidi and Sean arrived and were visibly upset. They proceeded to tell me about the bad news they received that morning.

Heidi and Sean were selling their previous home, a nice home with a great view overlooking the Ohio River. After almost of year of trying to sell this unique river home, they finally got a buyer to purchase their previous home for approx. $225,000 AND their closing was scheduled to place this Friday.

Just 4 days before their scheduled closing Heidi gets a phone call reporting their buyers can not qualify now for their previously approved loan.


Because of some new, hidden until now, federal regulations involving flood insurance and FEMA, the flood insurance on this property had increased almost 1,000% overnight!

Yes, when Heidi and Sean owned this home, their flood insurance was about $3,000 a year.

Get This!

Their Flood Insurance Premium is $23,000.

Absolutely Insane!

This can not be true!

What in the world is going on?

What about Real Estate Investors and Homeowners?

What gets my goat is how this new flood insurance pricing program “snuck up” on me, you, Heidi and Sean.

FYI, Heidi owns not one, but 3 Keller Williams offices. One in Louisville, another in northern Kentucky, and a third in southern Indiana.

Heidi is very involved in the real estate market and she was blindsided by this. Not a word in advance from our market industry watchdog groups. (I won’t name any group, but you know what I mean)

Here is the link from National Association of Realtors on this new flood insurance reform act


This is Part 1 – too much to write here.

Part 2 – some research reveals what is going on

Part 3 – new opportunities for creative investors


What are your thoughts?

Accelerating or Deferring Income / Deductions as Part of a Year End Strategy
from Mike Grinnan CPA

The arrival of year end presents special opportunities for most taxpayers to take steps in lowering their tax liability. The tax law imposes tax liability based upon a “tax year.” For most individuals and small business, their tax year is the same as the calendar year. As 2013 year end gets closer, most taxpayers have a more accurate picture of what their tax liability will be in 2013 than at any other time during the current year. However, if you don’t like what you see, you have until year end to make improvements before your tax liability for 2013 is permanently set in stone.

A good part of year-end tax planning involves techniques to accelerate or postpone income or deductions, as your tax situation dictates. Efforts are generally focused on keeping projected tax liability for 2013 slightly lower than that anticipated for 2014, not overweighing projected tax liability for any one year. Having spikes in taxable income in any one tax year puts you in a higher average tax bracket than you would be in if you had evened out the amount of taxable income between the current and subsequent year.

Right to income versus cash receipt

Generally, a cash-basis taxpayer (which includes most individuals) recognizesincome when it is received and takes deductions when expenses are paid. There is a subtle but important difference between the two:

  • Income is generally taxable in the year that it is received, by cash or check or direct deposit. You cannot postpone tax on income by refusing payment until the following year once you have the right to that payment in the current year. However, if you make deferred payments a part of the overall transaction, you may legitimately postpone both the income and the tax on it into the year or years in which payment is made. Postponement in this context usually takes place in a business setting. Examples include: installment sales, on which gain is prorated and taxed based upon the years over which installment payments are made; like-kind exchanges through which no gain is realized except to the extent other non-like-kind property (including cash) may change hands; and, on a higher level, tax-free corporate reorganizations pursuant to special tax code provisions.
  • Deductions, on the other hand, are generally not allowed until you pay for the item or service for which you want to take the deduction. Merely accepting the liability to pay for a deductible item does not make it deduction. Therefore, a doctor’s bill does not become a medical expense deduction necessarily in the year that services are rendered or the bill is sent for payment. Rather, it is only considered deductible in the year in which you pay the bill. Determining when you pay your bills for tax purposes also has its nuances. A bill may be paid when cash is tendered; when a credit card is charged; or when a check is put in the mail (even if it is delivered in due course a few days into a new calendar year).

Compensation arrangements

Compensation arrangements carry their own special set of tax rules. The timing of the inclusion and deduction of compensation is largely governed by the employee’s and the employer’s normal methods of accounting. Under the cash method of accounting, amounts are includible in income when they are actually or constructively received and deductible when they are paid. Most employees are on the cash method.

Cash-basis employers can only deduct the cost of compensation the employee actually or constructively received. Constructive receipt comes into play when an employee attempts to decline offered compensation in order to defer its receipt and thereby postpone tax. Under the constructive receipt rule, the employee is currently taxed in this situation. However, there is no analogous constructive payment rule. Thus, a cash-basis employer may not take a deduction for amounts that it is willing to pay, and that it may have debited on its corporate books, but that it has not actually paid.

Deferred compensation plans, however, may be used to modify these general rules. There are basically two kinds of deferred compensation plans: qualified plans (such as 401(k) plans) and nonqualified plans or arrangements (common in executive compensation packages). Qualified plans are tax favored in that an employer can take an immediate deduction even though the employee might not recognize the income for years. With a nonqualified plan, the employer cannot take its deduction until the employee recognizes the income.

Particularly relevant to employers at year end is an annual bonus rule. Bonuses paid within a brief period of time after the end of the employer’s tax year may be deducted in that tax year. Compensation is generally considered to be paid within a brief period of time if it is paid within two and one-half months of the end of the employer’s tax year.

Please Share Your Thoughts Below

Did You Know Giving Your Tenant A Project Can Be BOTH Your Time Saver and Money Saver?

“Project.” Is it a good word or a bad word in our world of real estate investing? Your mental knee jerk reaction is probably BAD.

Take a chill pill, settle down for a moment and you will learn how you can benefit with BOTH your time and MONEY by creating projects.

How many times has this happened to you?

One of your great long term tenants contacts you with a request for new carpet for their living room. (not the whole house, but just one room).

Do you have thoughts like…

  • Think about how good they have been by not being a pain?
  • Son of a #$#@, why now, I don’t have time for this problem and spending more money.
  • Perhaps a fear of not “giving in” to new carpet may cause them to move creating another vacancy?
  • How can I play ostrich, buy some time, postpone this expense for another year?
  • The carpet was new when they moved in, they don’t need new carpet if they would take care of it properly.
  • Thoughts switch to greed or “business”…hmm, upgrade with new carpet = higher rent?

Well, sit down and get ready to knock yourself in the noggin with a big stick.

Good Tenants are a rare breed today. They are on the endangered species list. I think I saw it on the Discovery Channel.



YOUR LIFE: Do you have a busy schedule EVERY DAY. Putting out fires, “riding the bull”, doing deals, paperwork, insurance, taxes, phone calls, messages, bills, payments, evictions, late charges, late notices, work orders, Family, plus a job?… sound familiar? I found myself in this rat race above for many years. If this is not you, you are a rare exception. Stick to it.

TENANT LIFE: (perhaps as we view it), let’s switch gears and step into their shoes. Watch late night TV. Sleep late. Coffee in the morning, Jerry Springer, soap operas, gossip tv, gossip phone calls, pizza delivery is a meal, getting ready to wait for the mailman to arrive, 2 hours spent preparing a grocery list,… WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS.

Now let’s go back to the carpet story.

Your knee jerk reaction is another problem.

WRONG, You should view this as an OPPORTUNITY.

Especially with a good tenant, YOUR HOUSE is THEIR HOME. Do NOT forget this. It is a powerful tool for you.

When your good tenant contacts you with the carpet story, the absolute most dangerous act on your part is to go “check it out”. This “good business” practice on your part simply puts a bullet right between your eyes on the part of your tenant. Your “good business” behavior is actually calling your tenant a liar. Your actions are saying I am not sure I believe you, let me come over and check it out. Even with good intentions on your part, you just went 2 steps forward and 7 steps BACKWARD.

Hold On – there is more… So, you go “check it out” and you agree with your tenant. YUP, it is worn and could be replaced. Mentally, your tenant has their arms folded across their chest saying “I TOLD YOU THAT EARLIER STUPID.”

With good intentions on your part and a concern of SAVING MONEY…. You might tell your tenant something like…. “yes, I see you could use some new carpet. I will call my carpet guy and he will contact you to schedule putting in the new carpet.”

You work your butt off trying to run an efficient rental business by using the same CHEAP carpet with all of your rentals, the same installer, etc. This really is a good business thing by putting systems into place.

Your KIND act and pride of showing your tenant you have a system in place to take care of their problem is a total disregard to the concerns of your great tenant and you just SMACKED them square in the face with a 2×4 by reminding them they are a TENANT who is RENTING MY HOUSE. All of their thoughts about their HOME just evaporated with you bumping your gums about your system.

But wait a minute. You are trying to be a nice guy, a good landlord, etc. Yes, this is true BY YOUR STANDARDS. You are taking time out of your busy day, spending your money, to do something for your tenant in YOUR HOUSE. So when you get viewed as a greedy landlord, you remind your self of your good intentions, good actions, spending money, etc. all for not even one simple thank you. You are guilty of promoting the US and THEM attitude as much as anyone else.

SWITCH GEARS and try this next time. When your good tenant contacts you with a request for new carpet in one room, turn it into a WIN – WIN situation for both the Tenant and yourself.

If on the phone, let the tenant bump their gums for a while. Use their NAME when talking to them. It makes them feel good. After they make some noise for a while, here is how to make them want to stay forever. Refer to your rental house as “THEIR HOME”.

Give them a project. Tell your tenant you can help them out if they want the new carpet. Tell them you will buy the carpet if they get it installed.

Instruct your tenant to go “carpet shopping”. Give them some places to go. There are carpet remnant stores and outlets in almost every town. Tell the tenant to be reasonable and give them good instructions… no gold laced carpet allowed. The tenant goes carpet shopping and gets a bill from the carpet store. Have the tenant mail or fax the bill to you. You create a check payable to the carpet store.

Even though you are a tightwad, you should not have to replace the pad. Your tenant is going to round up their own installer. Do not worry about the installer. Odds are, your tenant will choose better quality carpet than what you normally install. By the time they move out, it really doesn’t matter how it was installed because you will probably remove it and replace it again.

Now think about this in the big picture. Tenant contacted you with a request. You are a good landlord. You acknowledge their concern, and you give your tenant a PROJECT. In their mind, they are going shopping on your dollar to buy carpet they choose for THEIR HOME. No more phone calls on your part and I bet the purchase of the carpet is CHEAPER than your system in the long run. I doubt if the cost of the carpet in this manner will be more than the expense of your installer and the carpet.

Using YOUR system, your tenant is reminded they are a tenant living in your house. They will be sitting at home waiting for your system to do their thing. Your tenant has time to waste on projects to make them feel good. Give them TIME EATING PROJECTS. Your Tenant will win and you will win.

This is a great program. Think about it from your Tenant’s perspective.

  • You did not challenge their request.
  • Carpet Shopping Time has just become a priority and will be placed at the top of their list of things to do.
  • Maybe they need transportation to go carpet shopping. Call family, friends, church people, to take them carpet shopping because their landlord is going to buy them new carpet… Wow, good free advertising as well.
  • Spend hours at the carpet store listening to all of the BS stories from the salesperson. We hate it. They love it along with all of the attention.
  • Maybe they need to think about it and return for a 2nd trip or opinion or maybe go to 3,4, or 5 carpet stores to help find the best deal. Yes, it sounds stupid, but this is a major project to them and they may really truly try to find the best of both price and quality. (Haven’t you seen co-workers who spend 60 hours of their time comparison shopping researching prices on car tires only to discover their best deal is $12.25 a tire cheaper at XYZ tire store? Sound like they worked 60 hours to save $49.00. They worked for about  $0.81 an hour)
  • You are instilling pride in their HOME by allowing your tenant to choose the carpet for their home. You will also become a hero and the best landlord in the world.
  • Now they must consider a lot of stuff. Color, texture, quality, fiber, cost… wow, a lot of stuff they never dreamed of… is all an important part of the project to install carpet in their living room. They had no idea how much stuff their landlord had to go through for carpet.
  • Moving on, they finally make a decision on a piece of carpet. Now they make the salesperson write up some kind of bill and I recommend to have your tenant hand deliver the bill to your office. (this is another mini-project). If you do not have an office, have them fax it or mail it.
  • Once received, if you have an office, make the tenant return to your office to “pick up the check” made payable to the carpet store. (again, another mini-project).
  • With no office, simply mail the check to the tenant or drop it off at their home if your office is on wheels. Nothing better than giving them a check in person for their carpet purchase. Wow, what a landlord!
  • Now the Tenant needs to make arrangements to get back out to the carpet store to purchase the carpet….another project.
  • Don’t forget about the installer…another project and a cost for the tenant. Now they have another project to research and will spend their time shopping for the best deal for a carpet installer.
  • Still yet another mini project involves making arrangements to schedule the installation, moving furniture, and on and on.
  • They do not mind all of these projects and time eaters that benefit them. We despise time eating projects. They love it and will probably seek an atta-boy from you for the results of their efforts while thanking you for ALL OF YOUR HELP.
  • You have really turned your house into THEIR HOME. They will be proud of their new carpet they picked out and all of the experiences of their project.
  • QUESTION – if you delegate this project to them, how long will this carpet be labeled or referred to as “NEW”?. I’ll bet it will be called “NEW” for a lot longer than your carpet would be called new. If you used your system and installed your generic run of the mill cheap carpet, it will not last a year as being called NEW. Next year it will be called “OLD CARPET” because it is over a year old.
  • Now your tenant loves their home with THEIR NEW CARPET and their landlord is the best.

Yes, I drug this out and made it painful. We do not have patience for s-l-o-w  m-o-v-I-n-g stuff. This is my point. We are in so much of a hurry and have no patience, we assume we are normal and everyone should be like us. WRONG. We are the 1%ers. We are the weird ones and proud of it. It is what makes us successful.

Use the same method described above on almost any improvement request by a tenant. Do NOT use it on skilled or licensed trades such as furnaces, plumbing or electric.

It works great for requests for such things as painting, landscaping, or window air conditioners.

So slow down, be patient, and the next time you receive a request for something, use your creative abilities and TURN IT INTO A TIME EATING FUN AND CHALLENGING PROJECT to benefit you.

It reminds me of the Tom Sawyer story of whitewashing the fence and he was getting helpers to PAY HIM for the privilege of using his brush to have fun slopping the whitewash on the fence. Try it, you might surprise yourself and they will THANK YOU.

To really nail it down good, drop them a note about how good a job they did or simply stop by with a positive attitude to see the results of their efforts

DO NOT ACT LIKE AN INSPECTOR. Let them bump their gums again and tell them they did great on colors and all. They are decorating their HOME. Help them feel proud and they will take care of it better and stay forever.

Please Share Your Thoughts of Giving Your Tenant A Project Below

Look What Is Cooking in the Lending Business!
Utility Bills May WILL Soon Become Part of the Loan Approval Process for Home Buyers! 
A great local successful investor, Eric George, is an expert in making homes energy efficient, forwarded this article to me yesterday. Eric shared this very interesting article because the wheels are in motion where the Energy Costs of a Home will be factored into underwriting and the loan approval process.
In today’s world, home heating, cooling, and energy costs are a huge part of a family budget. It is apparent, the lending institutions have done their homework and discovered energy efficient homes have a 32% lower default rate.
Having this information NOW, can help forecast your future business. By getting this heads up right now, you will be in a much better position as an investor.
  • What will happen to the market values of homes with high utility bills?
  • Will you have a different vision for your rehabs in the future?
  • What about selling your rentals to your tenants or others?
I am not an energy expert and odds are, you are not either.
Unlike Eric, we can only think about the simple things like replacement windows and insulation; but, there is a lot more to it.
Question: If I can get Eric to do it, would you be interested in attending a free webinar featuring Eric on these energy efficient home techniques?
If so, please click this email and write “Yes, I want a webinar with Eric”
here is the email “
Here is the article Eric sent me yesterday

RESNET Calls for Reforms of Housing Market and Mortgage Financing
RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network) has released a policy proposal that calls for the labeling of a home’s energy performance and More…including the monthly energy savings when calculating home ownership costs in mortgage financing. The intent is to bring transparency to the housing market and introduce greater rationality into mortgage financing.
Car and home appliance manufacturers have long been providing consumers with information about the energy efficiency of their products through MPG (miles-per-gallon) stickers and Energy Guide labels. As a result, consumers are able to make better-informed buying decisions.
This, however, is not the case for homebuyers who for the most part are not aware of the energy performance of homes they are considering buying.
Making HERS Index scores a requirement for homes financed through federal mortgage programs like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and VA, would be a start in the right direction to addressing this problem.
Current federal mortgage underwriting practices fail to take energy savings into consideration when determining the value and affordability of energy efficient homes. However, a recent study showed that energy efficient homes have a 32% less mortgage default rate. Therefore, RESNET proposes the adoption of a new formula to calculate how to determine housing affordability – one that would account for energy savings:
+ Interest 
+ Taxes 
+ Insurance 
– Monthly Energy Savings (PITI-ES)  
The new formula would provide greater accuracy in determining housing affordability, and could make energy efficient  homes more accessible to consumers than they are now.
The combination of labeling of a home’s energy performance in federal backed mortgages and the new way of calculating housing affordability in the mortgage loan will help homebuyers better understand the true cost of owning a home and allow energy upgrades to be financed in the mortgage loan.
To download the new policy initiative click on RESNET Call for Reform
Residential Energy Services Network

Special Thanks to Eric for this very important update of upcoming trends affecting our real estate market.
P.S   There’s only 15 Cabins left for the Great Investor Cruise Jan 12-19, 2014 on board the FREEDOM of the SEAS, RCCL. Give Ty a call to reserve your cabin now!