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Infrastructure Improvement Means Real Estate Activity

When the Trump administration released its $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan last month, it set in motion a multi-year process that could eventually lead to considerable investment in communities. Of course, Congress must pass legislation to make much of it happen. Although there are some parts that the administration can do on its own, a lot of the plan will require both authorizing and funding legislation, so how close we get to that $1.5 trillion goal is dependent on what lawmakers can agree on in the next year or two.

Regardless, with the country’s roads, bridges, waterways, dams, and other public projects aging, some projects will be getting funds in the years ahead whether or not the plan is all or partly enacted. The question for you is, how will you get involved? Will you get involved upfront, when projects are in the planning stages, or will you get involved after projects get going? Often, bridge replacement means land transactions, because it’s not unusual for a replacement bridge to be built alongside the existing bridge. That means government might have to acquire or condemn nearby property. Or if a road is widened—will that involve acquisition or condemnation of land?

Property values tend to go up after infrastructure improvements are made. In northern Virginia, expansion of the metropolitan subway system had a tremendous impact on property values along the new tracks. Huge condo, apartment, retail, office, and mixed-use projects followed. It triggered a real estate boom.

The administration’s infrastructure plan is featured in the latest Voice for Real Estate news video from NAR. Access that segment now.

The video also looks at why NAR supports the banking reform bill that passed the Senate a couple of weeks ago, why passage of long-term reform of federal flood insurance is just as much about improving communities as it is about continuation of insurance policies, and why Congress needs to make mortgage debt forgiveness relief a permanent part of the tax code. Cyber crime and association health plans are covered, too.

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Audio: Dealing with Cyberthreats

Steve Spano, president and chief operating officer of the Center for Internet Security, recently visited NAR’s Washington offices to discuss techniques real estate professionals can employ to stay safe online. Listen to his comments below.

Yes, Interest on Home Equity Loans is Still Deductible

There’s been confusion since the big tax law was enacted over the deductibility of interest on home equity loans. NAR has been saying that the interest is still deductible for the part of the loan that’s used for home repairs, renovations, and additions. And that’s the correct interpretation, according to the IRS. The agency confirmed that in a memo about a week and a half ago.

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The part of the loan that’s used on the house to fix something or improve it remains deductible under the new tax law. Loan proceeds that are used for personal living expenses or anything not related to improving the home are not deductible.

The clarification is looked at in the latest Voice for Real Estate news video from NAR.

The video also looks at an important vote in the House on so-called drive-by lawsuits. These are lawsuits filed by people who are using accessibility requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act to extract fees from small property owners. People are sending letters to property owners alleging they have an ADA violation and threatening a lawsuit unless the owner reaches a settlement with them. The person sending the letter typically doesn’t even say what the alleged violation is. The only way the owner can find out is by going to court. Most owners end up settling as the cheaper alternative and if there was ever any violation the owner never finds out what it is.

The House passed a bill requiring people who send these letters to identify what the alleged violation is and to give owners a chance to correct the problem before taking them to court. It’s a solution that addresses a clear abuse of an important law and NAR supported its passage. The bill still has to be taken up in the Senate.

Other topics in the video include NAR’s Commitment to Excellence initiative, which will roll out later this year, to give NAR members a chance to voluntarily assess how well they perform on key aspects of their business, including technology, the Code of Ethics, and the forms and contracts they use.

The video also gives an update on home sales—they’re off to a slow start this year, mainly because of inventory shortages in many markets, especially among lower-cost starter homes—and what’s happening in commercial real estate. Briefly, transaction volume on small cap properties is doing okay but volume on large cap properties is slowing down.

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As a first time home buyer, the process of looking for my starter home seemed really daunting. Luckily, it was suggested that I call Bo Lance to be my realtor. Bo took care of everything! He was very informative, helpful, and hardworking. Bo made sure to be in contact with me whenever I needed him and answered any questions that I had. He took into consideration many things other realtors would have overlooked. I am so thankful for Bo Lance and the wonderful realtor he turned out to be for me. He really helped make my dreams of home ownership a reality! Thank you, Bo! Taylor Corley
I want to take this time to thank real estate agent Vernie Moore in the recent sale of my deceased mothers home in Lubbock, TX. I have had very little experience in getting a property ready, listing, and the sale of a house. I needed a lot of hand holding and education to get all the things done in a proper time and manner, agent Vernie Moore did all of that. If you are looking for a sincere and personable agent, Vernie Moore and his agency is the one you want. Thank you again, Vernie. Respectfully, Ann Ortt, Orange County, CA
This is my first time selling a property. It was a good one. Monty was always on the ball... Answered every question I had and was quick to respond whether I called or sent an email. He kept me up to speed on the process and I appreciate that in business. So thanks to M. Edwards, Realtors for making this a good experience! Kory Koontz, 19-time National Finals Rodeo Qualifier, TX
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DISCLAIMER:  All property information contained herein is furnished by the owner, or from sources deemed reliable to the best of their knowledge.  It is not guaranteed, and M.Edwards makes no representation, guarantee, or warranty, expressed or implied; nor do we assume any legal liability for its accuracy.  All offerings are subject to change  in price, errors, omissions, prior sales, and/or withdrawal without notice.  Purchaser is solely responsible for verification and all necessary due diligence that may be necessary or required for purchaser’s intended use of subject property.  In accordance with the law, all properties are offered without regard to race, color, gender, creed, national origin,  familial status, or handicap.
NOTE:  The square footage of home and buildings, lot sizes, acreage size, and all property dimensions are approximate; subject to verification by purchaser, and/or new survey.