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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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David L. Britt, MBA
9393 W 110th St Suite 170
Overland Park, KS 66210
Phone: 913-226-5830

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We have only the highest praise and recommendation for David. In all transactions David was organized, thorough, and personable. He offered us an objective viewpoint on each house we toured, thereby helping us with our decisions. We found him to be knowledgeable about aspects of realty that surpassed just the legalities of buying and selling properties, and furthermore we were consistently impressed by his willingness to research questions he couldn't answer right away. His vast knowledge of market analysis, contractors, financial options, legal issues, etc. showcases that he is best in the industry. Through our journey, we watched David educate the other realtors while they provided misinformation or demonstrated a lack of experience. He was always expedient in returning our calls, searching for properties, and setting up tours. We looked at many houses and David always had appointments scheduled, maximizing the number of houses to view by the next day. Then, when we ran into some trouble with our mortgage lender and final inspections, David was instrumental at helping us navigate through the mess so that we could close on our home. His patience with us and our lack of understanding was beyond that of realtor, but more resembling a friend. In summary, we had a great experience utilizing David for the purchase of our new home. In today's world, customer service is very important and we feel David is the epitome of delivering customer service that would exceed your expectations. We recommend you find out for yourself. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend David Britt to any person who is looking to buy or sell a home, as well as seek his service in any of our future real estate transactions. B and S Coffman - Olathe, KS
David Britt is a man of his word; honorable, kind, and very professional. When I called him to ask his help and advice on the purchase of a new home, he made himself available in a moment's notice. As we went through the process of finding it, making an offer, closing the deal, and finally signing all the paperwork, David was a very helpful "partner." He made it look easy and feel comfortable. My daughter and her husband needed a real estate agent too. I recommended they call David. I am very protective of her--and not many sales people would have my stamp of approval--a prerequisite for working with "my baby." David earned that stamp and represented them in the purchase of their new home too! J Cutler - Olathe, KS
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