Real Estate Articles

What sort of licensing do you need in Massachusetts before renting out a residential property? What basic regulations do rental properties need to follow?

Who? Me? A Landlord? Real estate can be the key to financial independence and success. While TV might have popularized the “flipper” model of real estate transaction, in which infusions of cash and elbow grease transform run-down properties into glossy sources of resale profit, the old-fashioned practice of landlording is still an attainable, affordable, and profitable. To be a landlord (or landlady, though the law uses the generic term landlord to refer to property owners), you

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Why You Need a Lawyer for FSBO Residential Transactions

When It Comes to Home Sweet Home, Don’t Go On Your Own Owning a home is not just the dream of millions of Americans, but it is also the key to growing wealth. Purchasing a home is one of the largest expenditures most people will ever make, but it is also the largest investment they will ever have, since the value of real estate, historically, goes up. Money put into a home can be taken out

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New electronic tools coming into use

The exploration of digital tools is expanding in ways that that are likely to continue well beyond the current world of social-distancing. The situation is creating change for types of transactions that have traditionally been focused on many in-person meetings and rounds of paperwork and walk-throughs. Sellers, real estate agents and landlords are using a Zillow feature that allows them to create virtual 3D home tours using a panorama of the home taken on a smartphone.

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Bill pending in Congress would allow remote online notarizations

A bill pending in Congress would approve the use of remote online notarizations, making it easier to close on houses even if you cannot meet in person. The measure, called the “Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020,” would allow every notary across the country to perform remote online notarizations. The bill was introduced by Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND). At the current time, nearly half of the

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Fix in stimulus law gives tax benefits to real estate owners

Commercial real estate owners can now get big tax benefits, thanks to a fix of a glitch from 2017 contained in the economic stimulus measure passed in late March. A provision in the new law fixed a typo in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was intended to allow certain real estate businesses and retailers to write off the costs of certain property improvements right away, instead of over time. However, due to a

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More time for 1031 exchanges, opportunity zone investors

The IRS is giving investors with like-kind exchange or opportunity zone investment deadlines between April 1 and July 15 more time to complete their deals. The deadline is extended to July 15 for all taxpayers, including trusts, estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers. Like-kind exchanges under Section 1031 allow real estate investors to sell a single asset, such as condominiums or an office building, identify another property with a similar value to buy with the

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Dual agents: When the same realtor represents both the seller and buyer

When you sell your house, your real estate agent usually represents you throughout the process. And your agent has a fiduciary duty to you, which means he or she has a responsibility to act in your best interest. It is possible for the seller’s agent to represent the buyer as well. But how does that work in practice? The idea is that the “dual agent” manages all negotiations and paperwork between the buyer and seller and

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Tips for writing off investment property on your taxes

You can maximize the return on your real estate investments by knowing the rules for writing them off on your taxes. Taxes on rental income Rental income is taxable as income on your ordinary income tax return, but is not subject to FICA tax. Income on your rental property includes anything paid to you as rent or royalty, minus any deductible expenses, which include mortgage interest and basic repairs to bring the property to a minimally

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Legislators work to create new options for security deposits

Cash security deposits, on top of high rents in most cities, make it difficult for many people to find affordable places to live. State and city lawmakers are working to eliminate the requirement that renters pay the deposits, which can be as much as one to two months’ rent, up front. The bills would require that landlords accept installment payments over time or insurance that would protect against damages to the rental. Legislators say many people

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2019 a big year for refinancing, mortgage recovery

The year 2019 was the best year for mortgages since the crisis in 2006, the Wall Street Journal reported. The lending boom amounted to $2.4 trillion in home loans, an increase of 46 percent since 2018, according to industry research group Inside Mortgage Finance. The trend is expected to continue this year. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, refinancings made up nearly 40 percent of mortgage originations in 2019. Lending, fueled by cuts in interest rates,

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