Tag Archives: real estate transactions

The Right Lender Can Help Win in a Situation with Multiple Offers

This is the final part of a three part serious on how to win in a situation with multiple offers. 

Reasons why NOT to use a big box lender in a multiple offer situation

In situations with multiple offers, if one buyer is getting a mortgage and another buyer is paying all cash, the seller may not necessarily accept the all cash offer. The goal of the seller is to sell the property. The seller, with the help of the seller’s agent, will want to accept the best offer to get to the closing table. I have already discussed the terms of an offer can win against multiple offers and how a Realtor can provide an advantage against multiple offers. However, if a buyer uses the wrong mortgage lender, it could cost time, money, and the home.

With a Variety of Mortgage Lenders, Having the Right One against Multiple Offers is a MustWhen I write “the wrong mortgage lender,” I don’t mean one lender is bad and to stay away. In a competitive market, where inventory is low, having a reliable, easily accessible mortgage lender can mean getting to the closing table. The low rates offered by big box lenders can be very attractive but the underwriting guidelines are strict and unyielding. By big box lenders, I mean Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, etc. and other large banks who do not keep their loans in house. When a buyer gets a loan from one of these banks, the bank in turns sells the loan to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. In order to sell the loan, the loan has to follow certain guidelines. The process to follow these guidelines is painstakingly slow and, with larger mortgage lenders, buyers do not have one person handling every part of the mortgage process. Our buyers have used a variety of lenders but the smoothest transactions by far were when our buyers have used either Guaranteed Rate or First Republic. In fact, one deal was saved when Guaranteed Rate stepped in after Bank of America could not approve the loan.

Boutique Mortgage Lender Guaranteed Rate Can Help Win Against Multiple Offers

  • Underwriting

Due to the strict underwriting, big box lenders have had to delay a closing date for some buyers if the situation is unique in some way (not FHA approved, appraised lower than asking price, the buyer is self employed, or from out of the country, etc.). As I mentioned before, the seller’s goal is to sell the property and the seller’s agent will help sort through the offers to find the one to get to the closing table and offers the best terms. The seller’s agent and, in this age of information, the seller know big box lenders are more tedious to deal with. If another offer has an offer letter from a mortgage lender the seller’s agent and the seller know will get the job done, that offer will hold more weight.

  • Inflexible Processing Time

A buyer who submits an offer with flexible terms will be attractive to the seller. But in order for a buyer to have flexible terms, the buyer needs to know what options the lender can offer. With a lender such as Bank of America, a buyer would not be able to offer a closing date less than 6 weeks from acceptance.

  • No Waiving Mortgage Contingency Option

If the buyer wanted to use a larger lender, waiving the mortgage contingency would be an incredibly risky move on the buyer’s part. The property would not likely be able to be pre-approved by a larger lender prior to submitting an offer, so the buyer would have to hope the property is approved afterward which could take weeks and leave the buyer’s deposit vulnerable. Smaller mortgage lenders are more involved with the local community and know the real estate market specific to their area. This benefits the buyer because the lender will be able to anticipate any problems which could affect the loan or the lender will able to pre-approve a property in as fast as four days.

Situations with multiple offers may not continue to happen as consistently as is now the case, but rare and unique properties will always have more than one interested party. When a buyer has to have a certain property, who the buyer uses and what terms the buyer offers can make the property home.

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3 Ways A Realtor Can Help You Win in a Situation with Multiple Offers

This is part two of a three part series on how to win in a situation with multiple offers. 

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know…. and what they know.

Many of the strategies I wrote about in the previous blog on how offer terms can help win a situation with multiple offers are only possible when the buyer has a good Realtor working on their behalf. A strong Realtor has a large vetted network of vendors in all aspects of a real estate purchase. From lenders and attorneys to painters and carpenters, a good Realtor has many qualified contacts able to put a buyer in the best position to buy a home. More importantly a strong Realtor has developed good relationships with other Realtors in the broker community.

  • Quiet Listings 

The Realtors behind Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate Blog

Most sellers would prefer to have their property on the general market but few unique properties are shopped around quietly among brokers for reasons as simple as getting the right price, the sellers do no want the general public in their home, or the sellers does not want their neighbors to know they are moving. No matter the reason, the result is the same, a buyer needs to be in the know when a property becomes available. A good Realtor spends their time knowing the market conditions, the properties on the market, and the other agents working in the real estate sales market in the area and surrounding neighborhoods. So when a new listing is not going on the general market right away, selling agents will contact other trusted agents they know and have worked with to bring a buyer. Agents working for brokerages with deep connections in the community and many active agents will have further access to these quiet listings beyond their own personal network.

In extreme cases where a buyer must waive a mortgage contingency and/or an inspection contingency, advance knowledge or early access to a property can also allow the buyer the ability to have an inspection prior to submitting an offer or get the property approved by a lender before submitting an offer. Our team of Realtors does not believe a buyer should waive these contingencies unless protected. By getting our clients early access to properties we are able to offer them a competitive advantage while protecting their deposits.

  • Home Inspectors

As mentioned in the previous blog, expedited contingency dates and a short due diligence period can mean an accepted offer. Having a Realtor with a network of trusted inspectors means a buyer can offer an inspection date within two days of acceptance. With a list of multiple qualified inspectors to call, a buyer can almost always find an inspector available within two days.

  • Mortgage Lenders

When an offer has a mortgage contingency, a pre-approval letter must accompany the offer. In a multiple-offer situation, the decision can come down to what lender two particular buyers are using. When a buyer is using a big box lender, such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, etc., their offer can be viewed less favorably because the arduous and inflexible underwriting can stall, delay, and even kill a deal after keeping the home off the market for two or more months. A seasoned listing agent will advise their client on the risks associated with taking an offer accompanied by a pre-approval letter from one of these lenders. Similar to the network of trusted home inspectors, Realtors have extensive networks of trusted mortgage lenders. Many Realtors have had to step in and advise a buyer to switch from a big box lender promising slightly lower rates to a mortgage lender known for getting to the closing table.

Working with a Realtor a buyer trusts is a key factor in any real estate transaction. However, a seller’s agent will not only look for the best terms for their client, but also the team the buyer has decided to use. Agents want to work with other proven agents because it assures their client the best chance of success. Using an agent unfamiliar with the area and the local customs of a transaction or an aunt who has her real estate license but has not sold a home in four years will not make an offer appear any stronger in a situation with multiple offers.

In the next post in this series, I will discuss how important the lender can be in a home purchase. Unless all buyers start buying property with cash, the lender a buyer uses can make or break a deal.

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How to Win in a Situation with Multiple Offers: Terms

This is part one in a three part series on how to win in a situation with multiple offers.

It’s not all about the money.

In this real estate sales market, with very little inventory available, well-priced properties are getting multiple offers. This is true nation wide and can be intimidating to all types of buyers. From first time home buyers to seasoned home owners and investors, this market is fiercely competitive. Buyers who have been on the losing end of multiple offers, can make an aggressive over-priced offer which can create more burned buyers who feel they need to pay more to get the home they want.

If a buyer are working within a budget has found a home priced comfortably in the selected price range, how can an offer look attractive to a seller without significantly over bidding? An offer includes more than the price. The terms of the offer are incredibly important to a seller.

Before submitting an offer, a buyer should consider the following:

  • Flexible closing date

A flexible closing date shows the sellers the buyer wants to work with them to make their transition as smooth as possible. Some sellers have their next home already lined up and need to sell their first property before they can close on their next. So a quick close would be preferred. However, other sellers may have renovations planned and would prefer to have a later closing, allowing them to perform renovations prior to moving into the new property. If the buyer has the flexibility, make it know to the seller by putting it in the offer.

  • Quick contingency dates and due diligence period

How to Win Against Multiple OffersWhile the closing date may not need to be rushed, speeding up the dates for inspection and mortgage contingency will look positive to the seller. If a deal falls through, it will most likely be at the inspection stage. Because most failed deals fall through at this stage, it benefits both buyer and seller to shorten the due diligence period. If any problems do arise and the deal falls through, both parties are find out early in the process are are then free to move onto other options (the next buyer or the next home for sale).

  • Larger down payment or pay with all cash

A larger down payment or an all-cash offer means one thing to the seller, low risk. An all-cash offer means there will be no problems due to financing because the offer contains no mortgage contingency. A larger down payment looks better to a seller for the same reason as a bank, less risk. If a buyer puts in more of their own money, the less the bank has to lend. With a smaller loan amount the easier it should be to obtain a mortgage.

  • Escalating Clause

An escalating clause should only be used in a circumstance when the buyer must have a particular home and can afford to have an aggressive strategy. Adding an escalating clause means the buyer will offer  a certain amount ($1000 or $5000) over the highest offer the seller receives. The buyer can always cap the escalating clause at a certain amount to to minimize risk should another bidder be overly aggressive and offer far more than the home is worth. Keep in mind the escalating clause is a risky and aggressive strategy only to be used with much consideration.

Other ways buyers are attempting to set their offer apart include waiving the contingencies all together. We do not recommend waving contingencies to our buyers, however if a buyer is properly prepared it is possible to waive both the mortgage and inspection contingencies while still protecting a buyers interest.

  • Waiving the inspection contingency

If the buyer can have early access to a property,  the access can be used for more than a superficial look. A buyer may be able to schedule an inspection prior to submitting an offer. If the buyer is able to preform an inspection and is satisfied with the report, the buyer can submit an offer waiving the inspection contingency with confidence and no risk to the good-faith deposit.

  • Waiving the mortgage contingency

Waiving a mortgage contingency should only be done when the buyer has complete confidence in their financial means and in the lender. We would not recommend waiving the mortgage contingency unless the lender has pre-qualified the subject property. We work with lenders who can qualify a property within 4 days, however in most cases the buyer would need early access for this strategy to work.

Not all of these options are for everyone. If the property you are looking at is a highly desired property, one or more of these options could help you offer stand out among the multiple offers. Some of these strategies also require a buyer to have early access to the property before it is made available to the general public. In the next post in this series, I will discuss how a buyers choice of agent can position them to win a situation with multiple offers.

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What Sellers Wish Buyers Knew Before Submitting an Offer

With property selling at lightening speed, sellers are in the position where they can review multiple offers. However, not all offers are created equal and some are down right off. Here are 4 things sellers hope buyers know when submitting an offer.

1- Nitpicking and nickel-and-diming will not get you a discount.

Pointing out every little stain and out-dated design will not have the seller agree to a discounted price. Sellers and seller’s agents know the difference between cosmetic issues and major concerns, and they (should) price the home accordingly. If you want to offer a certain price based on what you are going to have to do to the home, fine, but if it’s significantly less than asking and what you need to do is cosmetic, it will not be considered a serious offer by the seller. Even if you come back with a more reasonable offer, (and the property is still available) the seller may have taken your original offer personally and may decide not to work with you.

2- Giving a sad story with a sloppy offer will not impress or move a seller.

I have suggested to my buyers to write a brief letter about themselves and why they want to buy this particular property. This is a good idea when the sellers have multiple offers and the property was the seller’s home rather than a new construction from a developer. The letter gives the seller a chance to identify with you and in the best case scenario allows the seller to see you are in the same position they were in when they bought this home.

However, if your offer is incomplete (missing pre-approval letter, offer not signed, no deposit check, etc.) and you have a letter saying how you would rather be homeless than live in any other home than theirs, it could raise a red flag to the sellers and they may not want to deal with you.

Tips for Buyers from Sellers3- Making everything easy for the seller will make everything easy for the buyer.

First, have all your the paperwork signed, complete, and organized. Not every agent types the offer to purchase paperwork, which is fine as long as the offer is written clean and legible. Second, know what your timeline is but also be flexible to what the seller’s timeline is. Many sellers want to sell as soon as possible, so consider having your offer with accelerated closing dates. This will also give sellers more confidence your offer will make it to closing. Of course, paying cash will bring the most comfort, but if the buyer can have an inspection in two days, sign purchase and sale within a week, and close in 30 days, the seller may find those terms more comforting than a cash offer at a lower price.

4- Mind your manners.

Asking for a seller to fix something or give credit toward fixing something is not uncommon. Little issues are almost always found during an inspection. But do not demand to have the something done that doesn’t need to be fixed. If there is an issue, politeness and rationality goes a long way. Even beginning a request by stating, “I understand that I may asking this too late but…” or “Thank you for considering” will help your cause. As always “Please” and “Thank You” goes a long way.

5-Choose your agent wisely.

From beginning your search to closing your transaction, your agent is there with you at every step acting in your best interest. Whether you are selling a home or buying a home, your agent should be acting professionally, responsibility, and constantly communicating with you. If you are putting in an offer to purchase, your agent should make sure you have all the paperwork to sign, have the dates clear, and go over everything to make sure you know what you are offering. I have written this many times, but it bears repeating, buying property and selling property is emotional. Anything that involves egos, memory, and money will be emotional, real estate transactions involve all of these with multiple parties. As your Realtor, it is our job to represent your best interests and keep emotions calm. Many of the tips I’ve written above can and should be explained by your Realtor, so it is very important to work with a Realtor you trust and who will represent you in the best possible light.

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Real Estate Transactions and Reviews from January and February

Over the last couple of months, Matthew and Alisa have had clients close on the following three properties. They represented the buyer in one transaction, represented the seller in another transaction, and represented both the buyer and the seller in the third transaction.

The first property to close was 121 Beach Street #703 in the Leather District. This closing was actually on December 28th, which is practically January, right? Matthew and Alisa represented both the buyer and the seller in the sale of 121 Beach Street #703. This 2 bedroom loft was under agreement in 16 days and sold for 96% of the list price after 23 days on the market. During 2012, the average days on market for the Leather District neighborhood was 99, compared to the 16 days on market for this loft condo.

The following is a video review provided by the buyer of 121 Beach Street #703. Apologizes for the audio on this video.

The second condo to close was 141 Arlington Street #4, a closing which took place on January 15th. Matthew and Alisa represented the seller of the pied-à-terre in Bay Village. This one bedroom was under agreement in 14 days and sold for 96% of the list price after 18 days on the market, while the average days on market for Bay Village condos was 67.

In fact, 141 Arlington Street #6 recently sold. Unit #6 is a unit identical to the unit sold by Matthew and Alisa, but it also offers a roof deck. You would think it would sell faster than unit #4 and for more money, right? Wrong. This penthouse unit with a private roof deck sold for $3000 less than the unit sold by Matthew and Alisa and it took 135 days on market to do so. This is the difference marketing makes.

The following is a video review provided by the seller of 141 Arlington Street #4.

The last transaction was a condo at 87-89 Bourne Street #2 in Jamaica Plain, which closed on February 22nd. Matthew and Alisa brought the buyer to this condo and their buyer went under agreement after winning a multiple bid situation. Despite multiple offers, the buyers were able to purchase the condo for 97% of the asking price.

The following is a video review provided by the buyers of 87-89 Bourne Street #2.

If you would like to know what sets us apart from the average real estate agent, contact Realtors from the Matthew and Alisa Group.

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How Buying Power Affects Buying and Selling Property

Buying power in real estate is directly related to interest rates for a mortgage. Before a buyer should start searching for property to buy, the buyer will want to get pre-approved by a lender. The mortgage lender will determine what a buyer can afford in terms of purchase price based on what the buyer can afford in monthly payments after looking at income, other debt, etc.

The higher the interest rate for a loan, the less the buyer can afford to buy in terms of the purchase price. For example, a 1% increase in interest rates is equal to 10% of the purchase price of a property. As illustrated in the chart below, if a buyer could afford the monthly payments for a $400,000 home at 3.5% interest, at 4.5% interest a buyer would only be able to afford a $360,000 home. Depending on the real estate sales market you are looking in, this will change your buying options drastically.

Interest Rate vs Loan Payment

 

Freddie Mac History

With interest rates where they are, buyers have more money to spend on property. However, many potential sellers have asked me if they should hold on to their property and wait until prices go up to put their listing on the market. No one can predict what will happen next year or even a few months from now, but the current circumstances make now a great time to sell property. Low inventory means low competition. Historic low mortgage rates means strong buying power. No time in recent history has seen these two factors in play together. Even Warren Buffet has said we will not see buying power at this level for another lifetime.

 

Interest Rates from 2012-2013Even though the interests rates are ticking back up, it may be a couple years before they are back up to 5% or 7%. But I can guarantee if one seller I spoke with is thinking about holding on to their property to sell next year, there are a lot more thinking the same thing. Simply put, it is supply and demand. Right now, it is a seller’s market which is getting sellers multiple offers over asking price after a week on the market. The limited supply of available properties on the real estate sales market and an excess of buyers is pushing up the prices. Next year, if everyone decides to sell, it could become a buyers market with sellers hoping to get close to their asking price. When the supply increases buyers will take their time to look around and even under-bid.

Contact us to assess your individual situation and what the best strategy is in the current market.

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Selling Property: Are You Ready?

I have not made any secret about how great the real estate sales market is behaving right now especially if you are selling. Inventory is low and the properties on the market are getting multiple offers and selling over-asking. It is very exciting to be a seller in this market but only if you are ready to sell. So how do you know if you are ready to sell?

1. You have another place to go.

If you are thinking about selling your property and want to put it on the market to see what you can get, what will you do if you actually get an offer? Do you have another neighborhood to which you want to move? Another state? Are you looking for something bigger? Smaller? You do not necessarily have to have another home in escrow, but if you have already moved on mentally, it will be much easier to move on physically.

2. Your current place is no longer suiting your needs.

Is your one bedroom too small for you and your growing family? Or have all the kids moved out and now your large home is too much work? When you look at your current home and only see how it no longer works for your lifestyle, you are ready to move on.

3. You are receptive to advice.

Whether this is the first home your are selling or your seventh, unless you work full time in real estate, you are not an expert. Three reasons define why properties do not sell today and when you are fighting with your Realtor about any of these, you are fighting the real estate sales market.

  • Are You Ready to Sell Your Property?Price – Realtors have to abide by certain ethical guidelines, so if we are telling you the price is too high, we are not secretly trying to get you to lower the price to fit our buyer’s budget. We have done the research, we have listened to the feedback from the buyers and agents. Pricing is the difference between a sold listing and old listing.
  • Staging - This is your home that you have decorated to your taste that you love, we understand and respect this. But if your taste is preventing any buyer from being able to envision it to their taste, it will not sell. It is always a good idea to visit other listings you are competing against and “borrow” some ideas from the ones that show very well
  • Marketing – This is only as good as the Realtor you use. If you don’t want to be bothered  with what needs to be done to market your home to sell, you may not be ready to sell.

4. Timing makes sense.

Many people have held onto their property as an investment and rented it out instead of selling in a down market. In certain areas, rent is high enough to cover the mortgage and then some. However, being a landlord can be more trouble than it’s worth and with tenant laws continuously evolving (such as Boston’s New Inspection Ordinance), it may be worth it to sell now and move on.

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What Does $700K Buy in South Boston?

The real estate sales market in South Boston is hot. In the last 6 months 306 properties have sold in South Boston, beating Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and South End. This could be due to a combination of facts:

According to MLS, over the last 6 months in South Boston, 2 single family homes and 9 condos have sold between $650-$750K. The average sold price per square foot was $260 for single family homes and $403 per square foot for condos.

52 P Street

This single family home listed for $679,000 could be converted into a two family home making it into an income generating property. At 2,880 square feet and with 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and 2 kitchens, this home sold in 8 days for $665,000.

52 P Street - Bode Well

52 P Street – Bode Well


106 G Street

This charming 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom is located in one of the most desired and famous locations in South Boston, Dorchester Heights. This renovated townhouse has 2,250 square feet of living space, was listed $649,000, had an accepted offer after being on the market for two weeks, and sold for $650,000.

106 G Street - Keller Williams

106 G Street – Keller Williams

 

404 E 3rd Street #2

Originally listed for $679K , this 2,478 square foot 3 level renovated condo has everything. With 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, parking, 3 decks, and a spacious open layout, it is no wonder it sold after 10 days on the market for $668,500.

404 E 3rd Street #2 - RE:MAX Realty Plus

404 E 3rd Street #2 – RE:MAX Realty Plus

 

392 W 2nd Street #392

Over on the West Side of Southie, this newly constructed condo has 2,000 square feet of living area with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and a full 3 car garage underneath. Originally listed for $699,900, this condo sold for $670,000 after 136 days on the market.

392 W 2nd St #392 - Boston Realty Sales and Services

392 W 2nd St #392 – Boston Realty Sales and Services

 

Search here to see homes for sale in South Boston for $700,000. Or you can see what you can buy $500,000 in South Boston on a previous blog post.

If you are interested in discussing your search in more detail to find out if South Boston is the right neighborhood for you, contact the Realtors of the Matthew and Alisa Group.

Schedule a consultation with a Realtor

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Should You Work with a Realtor to Sell Property?

The internet has revolutionized the real estate business. For a long time sellers could only find out what their home was worth when someone told them or the latest real estate section of the paper came out. Today, sellers can go on Zillow and get a “zestimate.” So when all the information is at your finger tips, why work with a Realtor? Many use the saying, “Would you do your own dental work?” or “Would you self-diagnose chest pains?” Selling property is a major endeavor, with the exception of a few people, working with a professional will save you time and money in the long run.

Sellers, unless you have sold property numerous times and have plenty of time, it is in your best interest to work with a Realtor. I understand many will feel I am biased, but there is much more to selling property than putting an ad on the internet and opening a door.

Why Use a Realtor to Sell PropertyMarketing is the most important factor in getting your home sold at the best possible price. Realtors have access to a variety of networks and we use them all to showcase a property to get it sold. A couple of examples include an email blast to area Realtors, hosting a broker’s open house, and radius mailers introducing the property. According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors analyzing the latest trends of Buyers and Sellers, 90% of buyers use the internet for their search, which means high quality, professional photos are a must. If the pictures are dark, blurry, of messy rooms, or if the listing does not include photos buyers will move on. Many Realtors know how important good pictures are which is why many real estate offices have a professional photographer on staff.

The showings alone can be incredibly time consuming. Depending on the market your home is in, if there is an influx of properties similar to yours, you will have to accommodate every showing you can get. If you list your property with a Realtor, you will still have to accommodate showings but your Realtor can coordinate everything from multiple showings, open houses, and private showings to better accommodate your schedule and maximize the time allotted.

Finally, since 87% of buyers use agents, if you are going to sell your property on your own, you will only save half a commission since you will most likely need to offer a commission for buyer’s agents to bring their clients to your home. The majority of sellers who sell their property without professional assistance usually have a buyer before selling. But if you do not have a buyer and want to sell your property, consider using a professional. A large percentage of owners who try to sell on their own eventually list with a real estate professional, but what has this delay cost them in terms of lost buyers and time?

Would you like to discuss what The Matthew and Alisa Group offers when we list your property? We would be happy to share our method with you, so you can make an informed decision when it is time to sell.

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Real Estate Transfer Tax: Fact or Fiction?

Plenty of rumors were spread during the election. Now that the dust has settled, we can start separating what was fact from what was fiction. One rumor in particular had myself and fellow Realtors concerned, the rumor of a 3.8% real estate transfer tax included in the Obamacare bill going into effect on January 1, 2013. If true, this would indeed affect many people. Fortunately, it is has been completely misunderstood and will not impact 97% of real estate transactions. In fact, it is wrong to call it a real estate transfer tax. It is a capital gains tax.

This video from the National Association of Realtors, addresses some of the rumors and explains how and when this tax will come into play.

Here are the basic facts:

  •  The new 3.8% tax increase is to help Medicare and goes into the Social Security Trust.
  • The tax only applies to individuals that makes over $200,000 a year or couples that make over $250,000 a year.
  • Sales of primary residences can still take advantage of the $500,000 capital gains exclusion, but the tax will apply to anything above that cap.
  • Any capital gains on non-primary residences (investment properties, second homes, ect.) will be subject to the tax if the owner’s income exceeds the limits previously mentioned.

Working in a bustling city, many of my clients own investment properties and pied-à-terres throughout the downtown neighborhoods. If you feel you will be affected by this new tax, please consult a tax or financial consultant to learn exactly how.

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