New Tax Rule Creates Big Win for Realtors

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) call the new tax rule a Massive win for realtors. The new tax law sees a reduction of the corporate tax rate going from 35 percent to 20 percent. This new ruling will help realtors give better deals at better prices. Also, this is tax return time, so that means more money to spend on future homes.

Wire Fraud is on the Rise

Scammers will do whatever it takes to get their hands on your hard earned money. For a scammer to trick individuals, they must first gain trust. However, why make you believe what they are selling when they can act like someone you know? Recently they have been doing just that, using emails disguised as coming from someone you are doing business with, and then following up with a text message from the same area code or close to yours, claiming to be the same individual. These numbers close to yours might make you want to answer the call or text, but you should always be confident of their identity before giving away any valuable information or making important decisions.

What's Coming in 2019?

The economy will experience ups, downs, and plateaus in 2019. After a well rounded 2018, how will 2019 fare against it? Well, professionals are saying not that great. This year will be slowed, not drastically, but we should expect numbers to go down. You can not expect numbers to stay high forever. This is just economic nature; like a roller coaster, it goes up and down.

Property Management & Cybersecurity

The thought of computer hackers being abundantly present is an often overlooked and frightening realization. Hackers have gotten so skilled at their craft that there are very few protections that they can not breach. It is crucial for real estate businesses to be aware of the possible detriment to the agency if there is a potential breach in security of its clients. Cybercriminals have been taking advantage that there is currently no federal law for real estate businesses to possess security measures to protect client information. As high as 50 percent of real estate companies admitted to not being adequately prepared for cybercrime according to KPMG research. In a society where cybercrime costs roughly 6 trillion a year according to Forbes, being unprotected in a mostly digital business world can be a terrifying thought.

Cost and lack of understanding are two main problems that prevent an effective Cybersecurity system in the real estate business. Even a basic security package can be financially taxing for many companies. Further maintenance to keep this system effective and frequent updates can increase the costs exponentially. Rarely are property management professionals also IT experts, and this can lead to a lack of knowledge about what actually must be done to protect valuable digital information. Chief Technology Officer at Abacode, Jeremy Rasmussen, provided a five-point plan for establishing the basis of a cybersecurity strategy. This plan is as follows :

1. Inventory all systems to understand what data is possessed, what type of data and where it is stored.

2. Assess systems externally and internally. Verify proper security controls versus a Cybersecurity framework.

3. Address gaps through policies, procedures, processes, people and layer security controls.

4. Monitor the situation continuously and respond to incidents in real time to contain threats.

5. Empower employees to be the first and last line of defense.

Vigilance is the keyword in the prevention of cyber loss. Property managers can significantly benefit from everyone on their team being involved in the challenging task of proper Cybersecurity.

Top Florida Real Estate Stories of 2018

SETCO stays on top of real estate stories and wants our clients to stay in the know as well. Florida Realtors website chose to cover some of the top stories of 2018. Being about anything from Hurricane Michael to cuts in business rent tax, these stories are ones to read.

Property Insurers Drop 87,000 Florida Homeowners in Q3

With hurricanes damage and other water issues aplenty during this recent stretch of months, more than 87,000 homeowners have been dropped in the third quarter alone.

Reduce Your Tax Burden Before the End of 2018

SETCO likes to educate our real estate community so that they are aware of what to do before closing on a house. With a new tax law in place, people are doing some things differently this year when it comes to money.

Mortgage Rates Had A Record Drop As of November

Long-term mortgage rates in the U.S. had the biggest recorded drop in nearly four years in the month of November. Although they have hit a record drop, they still remain much higher than they were a year ago. Either way, SETCO is ready to help our clients with their closings whether they mortgage rates be high or low.

Who Needs Black Friday When You Have December 26th?

Everyone knows about Black Friday, but not everyone knows about December 26th. If you are like us and do not want to battle the crowds and craziness that comes with Black Friday, then December 26th is the day for you. According to researchers, home buyers who are looking for a great deal should wait until the day after Christmas.

SETCO Helps Clients Prepare to Buy Their Homes

Here at SETCO we are prepared to help our clients buy their dream home whether it be for the experienced or beginner homebuyer. A great way to prepare yourself to buy a house is lowering your 2018 tax bill. The tax overhaul law, which was signed into law late last year, created $1.5 trillion in tax cuts but did not help with making the filing process simpler.

Checking your withholding and updating your W-4 can be used to help avoid large balances. Knowing whether you have the right amount of tax held back from your paycheck can be beneficial when knowing whether you have enough money to buy a house. It is also said that taxpayers should focus on the “use-it-or-lose-it” type planning opportunities. Taxpayers should aim to maximize contributions to their available retirement plans. Additional contributions to your retirement plan can be made if you are of age 50 or older. Retirement plans can include buying a house or condo, which is why it is crucial never to pass over an opportunity to maximize your revenue to that. Any funds that are not used by the end of the year will be lost, so it is essential to make sure that you are taking advantage of these leftover funds.

The new tax law also doubled the standard deduction to $12,000 for single taxpayers and $24,000 for those who are married and file jointly. This means that starting in 2019, more than 90 percent of taxpayers will claim the standard deduction. These deductions are crucial to take into account when deciding whether you want to buy a home or not, even if it is not your first time around.

If you are looking to reduce your estate tax exposure, you can give up to $15,000 to an unlimited number of beneficiaries a year without decreasing their lifetime estate tax exclusion amount or paying a gift tax. If your tax rate is high, consider boosting your and your spouse's 401(k) contributions and/or IRA contributions. On the other hand, if you are in a loss position, consider converting IRA or 401(k) assets to a Roth IRA.

Each of these things is valuable to take into consideration when buying a new home. With the end of the year coming up and taxes being filed, these things are heavy on everyone’s mind. SETCO helps our clients with these things while also helping them with their closing on a new home.