Stars And Stripes Real Estate Blog

What To Ask When Hiring A PM

Property Manager - Monday, July 16, 2018

Below are thoughts and questions you may want to keep in mind!  To understand what your home will rent for - Click Here For A Free Rental Quote.  First time leasing out your home?  You may also want to Click Here For Owner's Frequently Asked Questions

Justin Sadler, Owner, Realtor, Licensed Broker Associate, Property Manager

Member, National Association of Realtors (NAR) and National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM)

Office: 303.326.0550, Text/Cell: 303.506.9633, Justin .
I currently manage a portfolio of 80 rental homes and welcome the opportunity to manage your home!
While many home owners spend a large amount of time and effort carefully researching the property markets and neighborhoods when they purchase, they ignore the role that a profession property manager can play in preserving their property’s capital value and maximizing the owner's income when it comes time to lease out the home.  

With rising rentals and falling vacancy rates, many beginning landlords (owners) fail to ignore the relationship with their property manager as an ongoing business partnership. Too many landlords choose their property manager on fees alone.

Others think they don’t need a property manager at all and can do it themselves. This is possibly because they don’t understand that property management is much more than just collecting rents.

To manage your home to minimize vacancies and maximize your returns requires:

*  Industry specific skills and knowledge such as knowing how to market your property effectively to get it exposed to the maximum number of tenants.

* Setting the rent at an appropriate market level to ensure quick leasing, the choice of a variety of good tenants and at the same time maximize the returns in these days of rising rents.

* Checking potential tenant’s references to ensure you have a reliable tenant who is unlikely to  cause troubles.

* Drawing a fair and comprehensive lease to protect your interests as a landlord.

* Lodging the bond with the relevant authority.

* Handling repairs and maintenance with skilled, licensed tradespeople.

* Paying insurances and outgoings on behalf of the landlords who will work at fair prices.

* Keeping up to date with complex ever changing tenancy legislation.

Here are 11 questions that you should ask your prospective Property Manager:

1. Does the agency have a dedicated, licensed property management personnel and how many staff will be looking after my property?
Many agencies see property management as a “poor sister” to the more glamorous sales department and some even leave the management of client’s assets to the front desk staff and receptionists. Ensure that your agent has a dedicated property management department. It would be preferable that this department is staffed by a number of experts so there is continuity of management in the event of one property manager being ill or leaving.

2. Is the Director/Owner/Managing Broker of the company you want to hire involved in the day to day management & supervision of the property management operations?
Some real estate offices have both a sales department and a rental department. Generally the business owner has a sales background and not a rental background, and looks after the sales department leaving the management of their rental department to a property manager. This is often because the sales department has a higher turnover and high income.  The rental department has a lower income, is more intensive and difficult to manage. You may find that an agency where the director has an active involvement of the property management department will take the business of property management more seriously.

3. How many years has the property manager looking after your property been working in real estate?
This relates to the property manager and not the agency. Going to a brand name agency doesn’t mean their service is going to be any better.

Some people start their career in real estate as receptionists and then move up to the property management department, and some of the top performers move into sales. Yet some individuals choose property management as a career and this is the type of person that should be looking after your property. 

4. How many years has the property manager been with the agency or office?
You should look for stability in your property manager. You want someone who will learn your property inside and out. You want to pick up the phone and talk to that person today, and in 6 months time you want to be able to talk to that same person. Due to the stresses involved in property management, the staff turnover tends to be quite high. 

5. Does the property manager provide you with samples of their leasing documents?
Some property managers just go out and look at your property and say “OK, we’ll put it on our books”. Look for someone who has put in the time and effort to present a professional image to you and gives you a written proposal. If they make the effort to present their services professionally to you, it is likely they will look after your property professionally also.

6. What geographic areas does the property management service cover?
While you should be looking for a property manager with expert local knowledge, consider what your property portfolio will look like in a couple of year’s time. Will you own a number of properties spread throughout the suburbs?

You could either employ a specialist property manager in each geographic location or you could instruct a large property management company that covers a larger geographic area.

7. Does the Property Manager hand out keys or do they attend property showings with prospective tenants?
If they just hand out the keys and let the tenant inspect the property on their own, move on to another agency. Too many things can go wrong with this approach and the security of your property is compromised. Showing your property with a prospective tenant means that the agent/property manager has a better opportunity to promote the property, as well a chance to get to know the tenant a little better.

8. How many properties does the manager look after?
A property manager who looks after too many properties may not have time to devote the attention to your property. Some busy agencies have 200 properties per property manager. In general, this may be far too many to give your property individual attention. At some boutique agencies each property manager looks after about 50 -150 properties. While these agencies may charge a little more for their property management services, landlords find this extra expense translates to a trouble free investment that often produces a higher return.

9. Do you have staff available to show my property to prospective tenants six days a week?
The hectic pace of life and the advertising of rental properties on the Internet 24 hours a day means a good property manager must be available to show prospective tenants your property when it best suits the tenant.

10. Do you have a system for checking prospective tenants with regard to credit worthiness, past rental history and their current employment?
Ensure that your property manager subscribes to a major tenancy database and screens all prospective tenants carefully.

11. Will you go to court for me if need be?
When you have chosen your property manager, establish a collaborative relationship and agree on your working parameters. While many property managers do go to court - property managers are not Attorneys.

Explain to them how involved you want to be in the ongoing management of your property. Make it clear what they are allowed to do without referring back to you and when you do require them to contact you. This will avoid many of the misunderstandings that arise between property managers and landlords.

For example, if you signed an agreement for your property manager to spend up to $500 on repairs without obtaining permission, don’t expect them to phone you each time a tap washer needs replacing.

Listen to your property manager if they suggest you undertake non-urgent repairs or maintenance on your investment. This will keep your property in top condition and you will be less likely to lose your tenants.



Average Home Price Now $519,098.00

Uncle Sam - Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thinking of purchasing or selling? Wondering if you should just keep your current home and lease it?

Click Here for the most recent (June 2018) Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR) report on Denver Metro Area Real Estate Sales.

Enjoy.......and yikes!  Home prices continue to soar! The average price for Detached Single Family homes in the Denver Metro Area is now $519,098.00 (a 7.8% year over year increase) and the average price for Condos/Townhomes is now $362,330.00 (an 8.9% year over year increase).

Give Us A Call! We welcome the opportunity to serve you!


Owner, Broker, Property Manager, Licensed Realtor, CRS, GRI
Master Sergeant, United States Air Force, Retired
Direct 720.317.5121
Email Shari

Owner, Broker, Property Manager, Licensed Realtor
Direct 303.506.9633
Email Justin

Property Manager, Broker Associate, Licensed Realtor
Direct 303.204.5360
Email Bob



Property Manager, Broker Associate, Licensed Realtor

Direct 720.435.1777 

Email Thuy

Beautiful Home In Castle Pines For Rent

Property Manager - Friday, July 06, 2018


8346 Briar Haven Court, Castle Pines, Colorado 80108 MAP

5 bd, 5 ba, 4,169 Sq. Ft. | Available Now

Immaculate 5 Bed/5 Bath Home On Cul De Sac! Finished Basement With Full Bar And Fitness Room!

Castle Pines welcomes to this open and inviting 2 story home with 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms on cul de sac. Immediately greeted with entirely open floor plan with hardwood floors throughout most of the main level. Immaculate remodeled kitchen features enormous eating area and is perfect for all. Chef's dream kitchen with stunning white cabinets, SS appliances, slab granite, under cabinet lighting, gas cooktop/oven, convection microwave and planning desk just off kitchen. Vaulted ceilings soar throughout the entire home. Main floor also features fabulous great room, formal dining room, spacious laundry with utility sink and built-in storage. Convenient main floor study and 3/4 bathroom. Wrought iron railing leads to upper level where you find your oversize master suite with hardwoods. Abundance of closet space with storage! 2 large bedrooms with adjoining Jack and Jill bath AND guest suite with private bathroom. Basement is the perfect place for a party to include a large media room, rec room, full bar, 5th bedroom, 3/4 bathroom and fitness room. An ABSOLUTE MUST SEE! DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS ONE!

Call Thuy today @ 720.435.1777 to schedule a showing.

Applicants must have minimum 650 credit.

This home is professionally marketed and managed by Stars and Stripes Homes, Inc. - a Colorado Property Management and Real Estate Company.

FAQ Property Management Services

Property Manager - Sunday, July 01, 2018

Owner Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For many, this may be the first time you need to or have considered hiring a Property Manager. We understand this. The information below is provided to help you understand how we do business and how Stars & Stripes Homes serves you. 

 Thuy Beinert, Broker, Licensed Realtor, Property Manager, Cell/Text: 720.435.1777, Request Rental Analysis,  I manage a portfolio of 50+ rental homes and assist both home buyers and sellers!  Please contact me and let me know how I can best serve you! 

1. When Do I Receive My Monthly Proceeds And Statement?

As an owner, expect to receive your proceeds electronically in your bank account of choice between the 7th and the 9th of every month. Variables will be (1) when your tenant pays the rent, and (2) how long your bank takes to process and post the deposit to your account.  Want to sleep better at nite? Recommend having at least one month's mortgage payment in reserve. We understand and are sensitive to the fact that it is important that you receive your proceeds as soon as possible.

You will receive a monthly statement. Expect to receive your monthly statement by the 15th of each month. When your monthly statement is ready, you will be notified by email.  Click Here to view a Sample of the Monthly Cash Flow Statement and click Here to view a Sample of the Year To Date Cash Flow Statement. For additional information on accessing the Owner portal, click here.

2. How Does Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc. Market My Home?

Advertising is important - done correctly - your home will potentially rent quicker and at a higher rate! Our marketing of your rental home can include: 


(A) Internet.  We use a Network Of Sites technology to advertise your home on the internet. We advertise your home on an extensive network that includes but is not limited to:,,, and our main website     




Note: AHRN, the Automated Housing Referral Network site, - is a unique Department Of Defense rental website designed for service/military members moving around the country in search of a rental home at their new duty assignment.

Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).

Stars & Stripes Homes uses the most up-to-date, advanced, Mobile Responsive Technology for its website - This technology is an approach to web design that provides an optimal customer viewing and interaction experience - easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop/laptop computer monitors to smart phones, Ipads, and other mobile phones). Websites designed using Mobile Responsive Technology adapt the layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids and flexible images. Bottomline - a better customer experience accessing information on available rentals and processing tenant applications!


(B)  Signage.  We can place a Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc. sign in your yard or window as appropriate. Some homeowners do not want a sign in their front yard or window. If you do not want a sign, we will honor that request and not use a sign.



(C)  Walk-Ins. Face-to-face meeting with walk-in customers.  Stars & Stripes Homes has a bricks and mortar location. We receive numerous walk-in's due to our main office's unique location across from Buckley Air Force Base, our sister office location across from the Cherry Creek High School in the Denver Tech Center, our sister office in Parker, and our close association with government tenants and organizations, and proximity to University of Colorado Hospital Complex @ Fitzsimons, and the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood,

Although we have numerous walk-in's, we are still waiting for the President to drop in when he/she drives by our office after arriving on Air Force One at Buckley Air Force Base!  We keep Old Glory flying outside our front door, but no Presidents, Vice-Presidents or First Ladies have stopped in to see us yet! We will let you know when they do!

3. What Does Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc. Charge To Manage My Home?

You get what you pay for.  There are no upfront fees!  We earn our pay when we find a qualified tenant, have a signed lease and received rent and the tenant has moved into your home!

  • Monthly Management Fee - Our monthly management fee typically ranges from 8 to 10 per cent of the monthly rent we collect on your behalf. Please  contact us for a custom quote on your home.

  • Tenant Procurement Fee - Tenant Procurement Fee includes advertising your home using our Network Of Sites technology and procuring the tenant (show your home, conduct a tenant background check, complete the lease, document the condition of the home and move the tenant in.    
  • Lease Renewal Fee - In the event the tenant desires to re-new their lease at the end of agreed to leasing period, there may be a nominal fee to coordinate, re-negotiate and document the rent and extend the leasing period.

4. How Long Does It Take To Find A Tenant For My Home?

We typically lease your home in 3 to 21 days.  Some have rented in as little as 24 hours. Our vacancy rate is typically between 1% and 3%. In other words, we manage approximately 600 homes and generally have between 6 and 12 vacancies at any given time. That's not a lot. To streamline the tenant procurement process and lease your home as quickly as possible with quality tenants, our tenants submit their rental application online, pay the application fee online and in many cases sign the lease electronically. How quickly your home rents may be dependent upon price, condition, neighborhood, school district and competing homes for lease.

5. Is Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc. Accredited By The Denver Better Business Bureau (BBB)?

Good question! Consumers have varying views of the Better Business Bureau (BBB). For many, the BBB is a vehicle to vet (according to Webster's Dictionary, vet is "to appraise, verify or check for accuracy, authenticity, validity, etc.") those companies that meet the business standards and practices of the BBB versus those that do not.

Yes, Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc. Is a BBB Accredited business and holds an A+ rating.  Click to see our rating  HERE.

6. How Many Homes Does Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc. Manage?

Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc.serves 600+ homeowners and one foreign government embassy (England).  Most of the homes we manage are located in the Denver-Aurora Metro Area and have a market value in the $150,000.00 to $500,000.00 price range! Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc. is a medium size company that is neither too large nor too small - but the right size to provide the quality services customers need and receive. All of our Property Managers are licensed, insured and are full time.  All Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc. Property Managers are members of either the National Association Of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) or the National Association of Realtors (NAR). They all adhere to either the NARPM Code Of Ethics or the NAR Code Of Ethics. Our Property Managers typically manage between 75 and 125 homes,  Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc. is a home-grown Colorado company!  Not a franchise! Our Full Time Property Managers are supported by an in-house Accountant/Book Keeper and full time Administrative Support Staff. 

7. Who Screens The Tenant?

We do. Prospective tenants complete our application.  We conduct background checks on general information (previous landlord, employer, other personal references), verify income, history of bounced checks, and check for derogatory information such as police records, arrests, bankruptcies or foreclosures. Experience over the years has taught us that properly screening tenants is the most important step in successfully managing your home.  Our process is assisted by Experian - one of the three major credit bureaus in the United States. The Experian report we receive - that we share with you the owner - includes the applicant's FICO score (Fair, Issac, and COmpany) and available police reports. 

There are many different types of credit scores. FICO® Scores and scores by VantageScore are two of the most common types of credit scores, but industry-specific scores also exist.

One of the most well-known types of credit score are FICO Scores, created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. FICO Scores are used by many lenders, and often range from 300 to 850. Generally, a FICO Score above 670 is considered a good credit score on these models, and a score above 800 is usually perceived to be exceptional.

FICO Score Ranges:

Credit Score Rating % of People Impact
300-579 Very Poor 17% Credit applicants may be required to pay a fee or deposit, and applicants with this rating may not be approved for credit at all.
580-669 Fair 20.2% Applicants with scores in this range are considered to be subprime borrowers.
670-739 Good 21.5% Only 8% of applicants in this score range are likely to become seriously delinquent in the future.
740-799 Very Good 18.2% Applicants with scores here are likely to receive better than average rates from lenders.
800-850 Exceptional 19.9% Applicants with scores in this range are at the top of the list for the best rates from lenders.


VantageScore ranges


8. Who Shows My Home?

Your licensed and insured Property Manager responds to calls and emails from prospective tenants and sets appointments to show your home! It is much safer to have us do this rather than you personally showing your home. We DO NOT give showing codes to prospective tenants and allow them to enter your home without being accompanied by a licensed Realtor.

9. What Does My Property Manager Do?

All of our Property Managers are full-time, licensed, and insured brokers and realtors. Typically, each Property Manager manages between 50 and 125 homes.  They:

  • Collect rent and distribute proceeds to you.
  • Prepare & Coordinate leases and lease renewals
  • Accept phone calls, emails and faxes from tenants.
  • Coordinate repairs.
  • Ensure repairs are done properly.
  • Send notices for late or nonpayment of rent, violations of the rules, etc.
  • Coordinate or oversee evictions.
  • Obtain your approval for major expenses.
  • Conduct a home walk-through or inspection.
  • Provide timely and accurate accounting of all money received and disbursed monthly, as well as keeping a client trust account in a non-interest bearing account for your money. Colorado state law and the Colorado Real Estate Commission and Department Of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) regulates Property Managers.
  • At the request of owners, provide Comparative Market Analyses (CMA) on the manged home to determine re-sale and rental market value.

10. Is Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc. Registered With The State Of Colorado?

Yes, Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc. is a licensed and registered company in the State Of Colorado. We are not a franchise registered in another state.  The Office of the Secretary Of State (SOS) of Colorado certifies that Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc. is a corporation that was formed in 2002 under Colorado law and complies with all applicable requirements of the office of the Colorado Secretary of State.  

For more information about the Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc certificate, click SOS Certificate Of Good Standing, or visit the Colorado Secretary Of State website and look up  businesses then type in "Stars & Stripes Homes".

Other Thoughts & Considerations:

 (1)  Homes require regular & preventative maintenance.  Different occupants stress homes in different ways.  Unforeseen maintenance may be required.

 (2)  Sprinkler systems, plumbing systems, appliances and heating/cooling systems require maintenance. In order to keep your investment home in good condition and to maintain the home in safe condition for your tenants, it is imperative to keep these items in good working condition.

 (3)  Over time, exterior items such as fences, the exterior frame, and siding of the home should be painted.  Also, landscaping above and beyond simple mowing and weeding needs to be attended to.  Do not expect the Tenant to perform painting and landscaping other than mowing and weeding.

 (4)  Property Managers monitor the overall condition of the interior and exterior of your home and coordinate repairs as necessary as per the Property Management Agreement.  Making a repair immediately for $50.00 is typically more effective and cost efficient than doing the same repair later for $500.00.

 (5)  Property Managers do not control the rental market and do not guarantee how much the home will rent for.  Property Managers also do not guarantee how long it will take to rent your home.  If you demand top dollar for rent, it could require a longer time period to find a Tenant.

 (6)  Property Managers often do not accept the opportunity to manage every home that is made available to them to manage.  If the homeowner does not want to properly maintain the home, then the Property Manager may elect not to assume responsibility for managing the home.

 (7)  In the state of Colorado, water is a lienable item.  Ultimately, it is the homeowner's responsibility to pay the water and sewer bill unless other legal arrangements have been made via a Home Owners Association.  The Property Manager will monitor Tenant water use and water bill payments to ensure proper payment of water and sewer bills.  Utility companies do not always bill in a timely manner; occasionally you will receive a water bill from a reading that is several months old.

 (8)  In the state of Colorado, Home Owner Associations (HOA) may place liens on properties if HOA fees are not paid.  Ultimately, it is the homeowner's responsibility to pay the HOA fees.  The homeowner may choose to pay the HOA fees themselves or request that the Property Manager provide this service.

 (9)  Property Managers do not pay mortgages.  They collect rent and forward rent proceeds to owners.  It is homeowner´s responsibility to pay their own mortgages.

 (10) Property Managers maintain a non-interest bearing escrow account for all tenant security deposits.  All funds are placed in an FDIC insured bank.  Property Managers, not owners, are responsible for the maintenance of tenant security deposits.

 (11)  Property Managers do not control the individual lives of Tenants.  Tenants do things that neither of us understand nor can explain.  Be aware that Tenants can leave the home in better or worse condition than when they moved in.

 (12)  Tenants will sometimes move out of a home without any notice. Welcome to owning an investment home!

 (13)  Property Managers will turn down a perfectly good Tenant if they cannot bring certified funds for the Security Deposit and certified funds for the First Month's Rent as per the Rental Agreement.

 (14)  Tenants may not fully comply with the lease.  Occasionally, legal action is required to force a Tenant to comply with the lease.

 (15)  Late fees are put in the lease to motivate Tenants to pay the rent on time.  If Tenants do not have the money to pay the rent on time they more than likely will not have the money to pay late fees.  It can be difficult to collect late fees.

 (16)  Be aware that Tenants will make promises that they cannot keep.  They may promise to rent the home and not show up to sign the lease.  They may show up to sign the lease without the security deposit. We will not allow the Tenant to sign the lease without the Security Deposit.

 (17) In the event that an appliance needs to be replaced the Tenant will expect the appliance to be replaced with a like-kind appliance.

 (18)  Please understand that home repairs priced below $500 can be considered minor repairs.  We may make these repairs in accordance with the property management agreement.

 (19)  Our Property Managers are licensed and insured realtors/brokers who service clients buying and selling real estate.  As realtors we can offer you a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), neighborhood market updates or specific sale/sold information on a particular home.  These are complimentary services available upon request.


Renting? Credit Scores Do Matter

Uncle Sam - Saturday, June 23, 2018

Renters Are Getting More Trustworthy

Trust me, I'm a renter

Apartments new construction


Renters are less likely to be evicted or skip out on their leases thanks to improving economic conditions in the U.S., according to a new report from TransUnion. The report shows that renter risk decreased by 2% year-over-year as 34% of renters now have renter scores of 720 or higher. The score is based on a TransUnion proprietary scoring method.

According to TransUnion Senior Vice President of Rental Screening Mike Doherty, landlords can thank a strong economy and low unemployment levels for the rise in renter dependability.

“Strong local economies coupled with low unemployment rates are likely driving the improvement in the average ResidentScore," Doherty said in a statement.

“This is positive news for renters as fewer applicants are likely to be declined or be subject to higher deposits. For property management companies, this is a major plus as the likelihood of evictions, which can cost thousands of dollars, drops precipitously when renters have a higher ResidentScore,” he added.

To create this report, TransUnion examined over 500,000 move-ins and payment performance over a 15-month period as reported by property managers.

Over that 15-month period, only 1.1% of the residents with renter scores of 720 or higher were evicted or skipped out on their leases. That percentage increases drastically as you move down in quality of credit. A whopping 41.9% of residents with credit scores below 540 were evicted or skipped their leases. On average, renters who skip out on their leases leave with $4,215 in expenses that property managers must eat.

Rental credit performance as of March 2018 for renters that started leases in 2016

“When property management companies are steady on their accept or decline criteria, they are declining fewer applicants and the population they are accepting is expected to perform better,” Doherty said.

“Yet, some property management companies should still consider tightening their criteria because it’s clear that applicants with low ResidentScores are far more likely to skip out on a lease or be evicted, causing major losses to property managers,” he added.

IRS: HELOCs Still Deductible For Renovations

Uncle Sam - Thursday, April 12, 2018



IRS:  Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC) Still OK! 

Taxpayers can continue to deduct the interest they pay on home equity loans when the funds are used for home improvements, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confirmed in a statement. The status of home equity deductions has been in question following the limits on the mortgage interest deduction included in recent tax reform legislation. The IRS says it has been fielding more questions from taxpayers and tax professionals on whether the interest on home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, or second mortgages can still be deducted. Here's the scoop!

IR-2018-32, Feb. 21, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today advised taxpayers that in many cases they can continue to deduct interest paid on home equity loans.

Responding to many questions received from taxpayers and tax professionals, the IRS said that despite newly-enacted restrictions on home mortgages, taxpayers can often still deduct interest on a home equity loan, home equity line of credit (HELOC) or second mortgage, regardless of how the loan is labelled. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, enacted Dec. 22, suspends from 2018 until 2026 the deduction for interest paid on home equity loans and lines of credit, unless they are used to buy, build or substantially improve the taxpayer’s home that secures the loan.

Under the new law, for example, interest on a home equity loan used to build an addition to an existing home is typically deductible, while interest on the same loan used to pay personal living expenses, such as credit card debts, is not. As under prior law, the loan must be secured by the taxpayer’s main home or second home (known as a qualified residence), not exceed the cost of the home and meet other requirements.

And also for your information:

New dollar limit on total qualified residence loan balance

For anyone considering taking out a mortgage, the new law imposes a lower dollar limit on mortgages qualifying for the home mortgage interest deduction. Beginning in 2018, taxpayers may only deduct interest on $750,000 of qualified residence loans. The limit is $375,000 for a married taxpayer filing a separate return. These are down from the prior limits of $1 million, or $500,000 for a married taxpayer filing a separate return. The limits apply to the combined amount of loans used to buy, build or substantially improve the taxpayer’s main home and second home.

The following examples illustrate these points.

Example 1: In January 2018, a taxpayer takes out a $500,000 mortgage to purchase a main home with a fair market value of $800,000. In February 2018, the taxpayer takes out a $250,000 home equity loan to put an addition on the main home. Both loans are secured by the main home and the total does not exceed the cost of the home. Because the total amount of both loans does not exceed $750,000, all of the interest paid on the loans is deductible. However, if the taxpayer used the home equity loan proceeds for personal expenses, such as paying off student loans and credit cards, then the interest on the home equity loan would not be deductible.

Example 2: In January 2018, a taxpayer takes out a $500,000 mortgage to purchase a main home. The loan is secured by the main home. In February 2018, the taxpayer takes out a $250,000 loan to purchase a vacation home. The loan is secured by the vacation home. Because the total amount of both mortgages does not exceed $750,000, all of the interest paid on both mortgages is deductible. However, if the taxpayer took out a $250,000 home equity loan on the main home to purchase the vacation home, then the interest on the home equity loan would not be deductible.

Example 3: In January 2018, a taxpayer takes out a $500,000 mortgage to purchase a main home. The loan is secured by the main home. In February 2018, the taxpayer takes out a $500,000 loan to purchase a vacation home. The loan is secured by the vacation home. Because the total amount of both mortgages exceeds $750,000, not all of the interest paid on the mortgages is deductible. A percentage of the total interest paid is deductible (see Publication 936).

For more information about the new tax law, visit the Tax Reform page on


Should I Rent Or Sell My Home

Property Manager - Saturday, February 10, 2018


Should I Sell or Rent My Home? Weighing the Pros and Cons...

By Cathie Ericson |

Many homeowners who need to move decide to sell their current home so they can have plenty of cash to buy their next digs. Still, though, some might wonder: Should I sell or rent out my house? It's a good question.

Owning rental property, after all, brings in predictable, long-term income. But make no mistake, backing into a landlord role comes with some hefty responsibilities—and no small amount of headaches.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you decide which road is right for you.

Can you afford to own two homes?

“Financial wherewithal should be the No. 1 component as you weigh whether to hold on to the house,” says John Lazenby, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor® Association. Here's what that means:

  • First, consider whether you will need two mortgages, one for the new house you are (presumably) buying and one for the potential rental. If you have owned your home long enough, you may have enough equity that you can pay off the balance and be free and clear. If not, you’ll want to consult with a mortgage adviser to make sure you will qualify for a mortgage on both the rental and the home you’ll be living in.
  • Do the math on the return on investment of a rental. Check into local rental rates and see if there is a viable tenant stream. If you are depending on the rental income to cover the mortgage on your new home, you’ll need to be able to charge enough to cover that and then some. After all, a rental comes with its own expenses—like maintenance, repairs, and, if you opt for it, property management. There also may be times the house sits empty between tenants. If the total monthly amount that you need supersedes rental market value, you may end up taking a monthly loss.
  • Also factor in potential tax benefits. Check into what costs you can write off, such as mortgage interest, property tax, operating expenses, depreciation, and repairs. In most states these expenses are tax write-offs; you also might be able to deduct fees associated with running the rental, including property management, attorneys, and cleaning services.

Will your old property appreciate?

Market conditions should weigh heavily in your decision as well.

  • “If you purchased the home at a good price and its value is rising steadily, you may want to hang on to it and accept any potential monthly loss in exchange for keeping your investment,” Lazenby says. You also might want to keep the home if you’ve recently purchased it and it has not yet increased enough in value to cover costs associated with selling, such as closing costs, transfer taxes, and other fees, says Adasi.
  • Look into comparable values in the neighborhood to evaluate the long-term outlook. Determine whether trends are pointing toward it being an up-and-coming locale or one on the decline. Although it’s impossible to predict the future, those types of evaluations can help you determine if the property is likely to rise or fall in market value.
  • And, consider the “opportunity cost.” Evaluate whether you would potentially make more investing that money elsewhere, such as in the stock market or other retirement vehicle.

Can you effectively oversee the rental?

Being a landlord isn’t for everyone, points out Lazenby. “Ask yourself if you will be able to tolerate the stress that comes with being responsible for the home you’re living in, as well as a rental, particularly if it is long-distance.”

And before you become a landlord, you need to conduct your due diligence: A decent amount of upfront research is needed on the licensing and other laws that pertain to rentals in your city, county, and state.

Will you ever want to return to your home, sweet home?

If you're relocating, either for work or personal reasons, consider the possibility that you might return to the area at some point to be near family or friends, suggests Lazenby. If the home offered everything you wanted and the financial factors line up, you may choose to rent it out so that you one day have the option to return.

Cathie Ericson is a journalist who writes about real estate, finance, and health.


Let's get together and look closely at what you can rent your home for and what the selling price will be if you choose to sell.  It's an important decision and the right answer differs from person to person. What you decide can be life changing . I professionally market homes for sale and also manage rentals.  My perspective includes the experiences of owning my own rental/income homes.  Let's talk.....  I want to ensure you make a fully informed decision....

Justin Sadler, Owner, Broker, Stars & Stripes Homes, Inc.

Cell/Text:  303.506.9633

Colorado Home Owners Gain $21K In Equity

Property Manager - Sunday, September 24, 2017

Selling? Or Thinking of Keeping Your Home And Leasing It Out? Read On...... You may want to keep it....

Homeowners gain nearly $13,000 in equity from last year

September 21, 2017
money house

Homeowners with mortgages continue to see their equity increase in their home, according to the Q2 2017 Home Equity analysis from CoreLogic, a property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider.

Home equity for all homeowners with a mortgage, about 63% of total homeowners, increased a total 10.6% annually, or $766 billion since the second quarter of 2016, according to the report.

Individually, homeowners earned an average $12,987 in equity between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of this year. Western states saw even higher increases with average homeowners in Washington gaining $40,000 in equity and those in California gaining $30,000 since last year.

The map below shows which states saw the largest rise in equity from the second quarter last year to the second quarter of 2017. [The state of Colorado saw homeowners experience a $21,000 increase in year over year equity!]

Click to Enlarge

Home equity

(Source: CoreLogic)

“Homeowner equity reached $8 trillion in the second quarter of 2017, which is more than double the level just five years ago,” CoreLogic President and CEO Frank Martell said. “The rapid rise in homeowner equity not only reduces mortgage risk, but also supports consumer spending and economic growth.”

CoreLogic explained these increases are driven by ever-increasing home prices across the U.S. The most recent House Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency showed home prices jumped 6.3% from July 2016 to July 2017.

And as more homeowners gain equity in their home, the total number of mortgaged residential properties with negative equity decreased 10% from the first quarter to 2.8 million homes. This represents 5.4% of all mortgaged properties. This drop is even more drastic from last year as it fell 21.9% from 3.6 million homes in the second quarter of 2016, or 7.1% of all mortgaged properties.

“Over the last 12 months, approximately 750,000 borrowers achieved positive equity,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said. “This means that mortgage risk continues to decline and, given the continued strength in home prices, CoreLogic expects home equity to rise steadily over the next year.”

Negative equity, often referred to as being underwater or upside down, applies to borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Negative equity can occur because of a decline in home value, an increase in mortgage debt or both.

The national value of total negative equity decreased slightly to $284.4 billion by the end of the second quarter of 2017. This is down $700 million or 0.2% from $285.1 billion in the second quarter last year, but up $200 million or 0.1% from $284.2 billion in the first quarter.

2017 Harvard University Housing Report

Uncle Sam - Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Harvard University: State Of The Nation's Housing 2017

National Home Prices Regain Previous Peak

     US house prices rose 5.6 percent in 2016, finally surpassing the high reached nearly a decade earlier. Achieving this milestone reduced the number of homeowners underwater on their mortgages to 3.2 million by year’s end, a remarkable drop from the 12.1 million peak in 2011. In inflation-adjusted terms, however, national home prices remained nearly 15 percent below their previous high. As a result, the typical homeowner has yet to fully regain the housing wealth lost during the downturn.

     By the Housing Vacancy Survey’s count, the number of renter households rose by 600,000 from 2015 to 2016, marking 12 consecutive years of growth and lifting net growth since 2005 to nearly 10 million. Although still solid, the level of renter growth in 2016 did represent a sharp deceleration from the previous two years. Some 43.3 million households currently rent their housing, including more than 80 million adults and families with over 30 million children. The renter share of US households now stands at a 50-year high of 37 percent, up more than 5 percentage points from 2004, when the homeownership rate peaked.


Click Here to View Report

Military Families Housing Struggles

Uncle Sam - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Military Families Struggle To Find Affordable Housing

Fewer stationed overseas than ever before

August 2017
Kelsey Ramírez


Affordability is a problem that plagues homebuyers and renters in most areas of the U.S., but the Military community could be some of the worst hit as home prices continue to increase.

Military families don’t get to choose what city they live in, or when they will move there. As a result, they can’t choose an area that is most affordable and meets their family’s needs.

And a surprising majority of them choose not to live on base or even in military privatized housing, according to a study, Military Families and Their Housing Choices, from LMIGovernment Consulting, conducted on behalf of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In fact, it showed 38% of military members are homeowners, while another 32% rent their home.

The chart below shows the breakdown of military members’ housing choices:

Click to Enlarge

military housing

(Source: LMI)

And now, more military members than ever before are staying in the U.S. as overseas deployment hit its all-time low. A new study from the Pew Research Center showed U.S. military overseas presence is at its lowest point since 1957, the earliest year with comparable data.

The chart below shows even since 2009 and 2010, U.S. military presence overseas dropped off drastically.

Click to Enlarge

military housing

(Source: Pew Research Center)

And as overseas deployment drops, that means more military members are looking for homes in the U.S.

In May last year, a Trulia study found military members at the lower end of the pay scale struggled to find housing options. In some markets such at Fayetteville, Arkansas, or Florida Keys, Florida, up to 90% of the available homes listed would take up 75% of the median local monthly housing stipend.

But from May 2016 to May 2017, home prices increased 5.8%, according to the National Association of Realtors, reaching a new high, and increased even higher through the summer, leaving 70% of the military community which rents or owns homes off the base struggling to find affordable housing.


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