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Charity Deduction Faces Same Tax Reform Risk as MID

Of all the itemized deductions, the one for charitable contributions might seem to come out the best under tax reform. That’s because it’s the only deduction under both the House and the Senate versions of the bill that is largely undiminished. And yet charities complain donations will dry up under tax reform. What gives?

b“Provisions in the tax bill the House and Senate are considering would make the situation worse” for charities, Ray Madoff, director of the Boston College Law School Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good, says in a Nov. 27 New York Times opinion piece.

The problem, Madoff says, is the near doubling of the standard deduction. With all of the other itemized deductions either going away or constrained by new caps, most households will opt for the standard deduction rather than continue to itemize. That renders the tax deduction for charitable giving nearly meaningless. As Madoff puts it, “A vast majority of American taxpayers would no longer itemize and therefore would receive no benefits for their charitable giving.”

That argument might sound familiar. It’s the same one NAR is making about homeownership. Under the Senate bill, the mortgage interest deduction would be left intact, but the deduction for state and local taxes would go away. In the House, MID would be limited to mortgages of $500,000 and the deductions for property taxes would be capped at $10,000, while the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes would be entirely repealed. So, while MID is preserved, either entirely or in part, very few households that itemize today would continue to do so. As a result, MID would continue to be a benefit only for the wealthiest households.

Given the structural changes to the tax code lawmakers have before them, preserving the deduction for charitable contributions is mostly meaningless. This is exactly the same thing REALTORS® are saying about tax incentives for homeownership. They’re meaningless for most households if tax reform passes in its current form in both the House and the Senate.

More on tax reform’s impact on homeowners in The Voice for Real Estate.

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Don’t Just Sell a Home; Market a Lifestyle

Kevin Tengan told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to remember that home buyers are looking for "a place for their life to happen."

Kevin Tengan told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to remember that home buyers are looking for “a place for their life to happen.”

To help your listing stand out from the competition, focus on the lifestyle the property will help buyers achieve, in addition to common details such as square footage and number of bedrooms.

That’s the advice of visual effects specialist Kevin Tengan, who has turned his experience working on Hollywood productions into the foundation for a real estate business that reflects his love for imagery and storytelling. A buyer might say they want a four-bedroom, three-bath house with a sunny kitchen and a backyard, but what they’re really looking for is “a place for their life to happen,” he said during a session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago earlier this month.

“A lot of what we communicate is ‘what’ and ‘how,’ but few talk about ‘why,’” said Tengan, CRS, chief operating officer of RE/MAX Prestige in Honolulu. “Start with the why.”

As you develop marketing campaigns, remember that saying a home is in a great neighborhood isn’t as powerful as showing why that is the case, said Tengan. For example, if you produce a video property tour, include footage of nearby attractions such as beaches, museums, shopping districts, and other aspects of a community that can inspire a buyer to want to live in the area—not just in the home. Anything you can do to tie your listing to the lifestyle buyers want will attract more traffic, Tengan said.

One of the keys to developing marketing materials that will resonate with buyers looking for a certain lifestyle is understanding the trends that characterize the people you are trying to reach, said Emily Line, vice president of commercial services for Realtors Property Resource®. As a real estate professional, you have access to an enormous amount of data about what consumers are looking for. There are services that can sift through the information and create reports to help you develop an effective pitch, Line said.

The data can help you tune in to trends that reflect the kind of buyers you want to reach. You can identify people in certain kinds of occupations, where they like to shop, and what they like to do for entertainment, Line said. This information can help you connect with buyers in your area, as well as investors who want to purchase commercial or residential properties that will attract certain types of tenants, she said.

Turn the information you collect into a marketing tool by incorporating it into a story that connects the property to the goals and lifestyle of those who would buy it, Tengan said. “At the end of the day, the story is all that matters. A great story evokes a reaction.”

‘This is Our Moment. Own it.’

“Are you ready to own it with me?”  asked Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation REALTOR® and the sixth woman to become president of the National Association of REALTORS® in the past 110 years. “We absolutely have the power to make a difference.”

Mendenhall was sworn into office by her father Richard Mendenhall, who was 2001 NAR president. “There is nothing more powerful in this journey than sharing it with others,” she said addressing thousands of REALTORS® at the Inaugural gala during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago.

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Mendenhall ended her inaugural festivities with a group rendition of “REALTORS® Own It”—the vibrant tune that she co-wrote for her presidency. The song evokes the pride and power embodied in dedicated real estate pros who strive each day to meet the complex needs of their clients and keep the industry strong.

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Testimonials Page

Guest Testimonial- Just wanted to give a testimonial to the great experience I had with Aqua Vacations last month. We stayed at Island Towers for 3 days. On the second day our code did not work for the door but a quick call to Aqua Vacations corrected the problems and got us in quickly. Also, I left some special jewelry from my husband for our 50th anniversary. I called Aqua Vacations who found my jewelry and mailed it to me. What a sweet response to my loss. They would NOT allow me to send them money for mailing. I cried when they called saying they had found it and would mail it to me. Thank you Aqua Vacations....a class act!!! Mrs. Vincent
Comfort Breeze manager was very helpful. The vacation rental was clean. I was very happy with the location. I was more than satisfied with the condition of the vacation rental. Overall, I recommend this vacation rental. Reviewer Comments: The view is great along with the access to the beach. The beach area was never crowded and was clean. The home furnishings were nice and decorated well. We did not care for the living room and kids room television to be connected. We could not watch television unless the children were asleep because the the televisions in those rooms play the same channel only. The rental was mostly clean but we did notice the fridge was dirty and we had to clean it before using it. The Shower doors and ceiling fan in the living room was not clean. It was mostly little things but with the cost of the cleaning fee it would be nice if those things were clean. There is also a couple boards coming up on the deck which is a tripping hazard. Overall we had a great time and the area is very quiet and relaxing. Dana was also great to work with. Lorena, Texas said
The Beach Club Resort Cottage 29-Greatest Vacation ever!! The vacation rental was spotless. I was very happy with the location. I was very satisfied with the condition of the vacation rental. Overall, I recommend this vacation rental. Reviewer Comments: The vacation rental cottage was great, we had 5 adults and two small children, and plenty of room! Watson
The Beach Club Cottage 29 manager was very helpful. The vacation rental was very clean. I was more than happy with the location. I was more than satisfied with the condition of the vacation rental. Overall, I recommend this vacation rental. Reviewer Comments: This was a great rental, felt like home away from home! Awesome Vacation! Morton
The Breaker's 31 The property manager was very helpful. The vacation rental was spotless. I was very happy with the location. I was very satisfied with the condition of the vacation rental. Overall, I recommend this vacation rental. Reviewer Comments: Our kids rentes this wonderful condo for our 25th anniversary! A wonferful gift! Fabulous 25th Anniversary Vacation Jodi B. said...
Mother, Daughter and Granddaughters Beach Get-a-way Stayed 9 days in June, 2014 I can't say enough great things about Dana at Aqua Vacations. She was prompt and professional with our booking and went above and beyond to accommodate our special needs which involved a very late arrival and a 10 day girls weekend get-a-way. We had a wonderful welcome waiting for us on arrival and the condo was better than expected. The Breakers location can't be beat and the beach was immaculately maintained. #31 exceeded our expecations in both the spacious size and all the furnishings. We will definitely we back and rent with Dana.
Awesome Vacation! Stayed 11 days in August, 2014 Services from rental manager Services from rental manager: 5 Cleanliness Cleanliness: 5 Location Location: 5 Property condition Property condition: 5 Overall satisfaction: Overall satisfaction: 5 a guest recommends this vacation rental Loved the location of this condo. So close to stores. We saw dolphins and star fish and so much sea life. We will definitely stay here again. Lots of storage. Only thing we would change is the facility does not have an outdoor grill.
breakers 31 Stayed 7 days in September, 2014 Nelson F recommends this vacation rental Condo was clean and comfortable. Pool is a bit small for pick months with lots of people. No complains. Nelson F
Girls Trip Summer 2014 Stayed 4 days in June, 2014 Services from rental manager Services from rental manager: 5 Cleanliness Cleanliness: 5 Location Location: 5 Property condition Property condition: 5 Overall satisfaction: Overall satisfaction: 5 Billie W from Minden, LA recommends this vacation rental We were very pleased with the rental. It was very nice. Billie W
“Great rental. Enjoyed 2013 - Headed back 2014!” Our stay was perfect - plenty of room, well furnished kitchen, beautiful bathrooms. The amenities were awesome. We enjoyed the fitness center, indoor and outdoor pool, yoga class, tennis lessons, and the arcade. The beautiful walk to the beach was perfect. The house was shielded nicely from the wind enabling us to enjoy being outside on the few days when the wind (beach-side) was miserable. Honestly, this vacation has altered our desire for a beach view - we prefer the ease, privacy, and comfort of this rental. No elevators or buggies! The Evan's Family
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