Are you taking advantage right now of every tax break that is legally available to you? Probably not. The genius, Albert Einstein, is attributed to  saying about taxes, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes.”

Are you trusting your tax advisor to provide you with all the tax saving benefits available to you? As experienced as many tax advisors are, most largely do a great job of recording the history that you give to them.  It is far more uncommon to find an accountant that provides you with insight about tax breaks that you are not already taking.

Let’s explore some Tax Saving strategies and benefits – recommendations to put you in the driver’s seat and potentially put more money in your pocket, legally.

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A real estate agent called complaining that he spoke with one of his buyers who wanted to see a property he found online. When the agent went to check the listing out, he was shocked. The commission stated was for $1.00. Being the professional that he was, he went to show the condo. He sent me a copy of the MLS sheet and lo and behold it was true. Then I contacted the listing agent thinking perhaps they were new and had made an error. Nope, she said, it was correct. The commission was one dollar.

 

Was this an isolated incident? No, the stories came pouring in from other agents. Another real estate agent showing buyers in a community where home prices start at $500,000 experienced something similar. The commission for the transaction broker was 3%. If you were a buyer’s agent, then the commission was only $1.

 

Now my curiosity was triggered to find out how many homes were for sale offering 1% or $1 commission. I searched multiple counties in one MLS in Florida, the results found 256 properties offering 1% commission with prices ranging from $25,000 to 12 million.  Two were offering $1.

 

As more and more real estate agents build teams with agents that specialize in working with buyers, this concept can be hurtful. The 1% is often split multiple ways. The commission could be split with the head of the team along with the brokerage. That coupled with franchise fees, transaction fees, errors and omissions insurance along with business expenses could have your commission end up being less than 50% of the 1%. Then when you subtract taxes, the net income gets even lower.  For many, this may not a profitable business model depending on the price of the home for sale.  1% of $50,000 is a lot different than 1% of 10M.

 

What Would You Do in This Situation?

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Remember the famous childhood rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me?” Well, think again. In today’s digital age, words matter, and more importantly, what people are saying about you can make an impact on your business’ reputation.

 

What are people saying about you?

When was the last time you searched your name to see what came up? Take some time today to search your name on different browsers such as Google, Firefox, or Safari if you are a Mac user.

 

Why is knowing your business footprint important?

According to NAR statistics, 99% of Millennials search online websites compared to 90% of Boomers.  Whether you receive a large amount of your business from referrals or friends, rave reviews and testimonials can catapult you to the top. They can also create strength and value as to why clients should choose YOU.

 

A 2018 survey reveals how consumers search and what is important to them. Here are some key statistics from the survey:

  • 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34)
  • 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • 80% of 18-34-year-olds have written online reviews – compared to just 41% of consumers over 55

 

3 steps to getting testimonials with ease.

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At his moment in time, how many emails are in your inbox?  Today, one woman said 20,000 emails, and she just ignores most of them. 20,000 may sound extreme, yet many people have thousands of emails in their inbox.  We are talking about the number of total emails sitting there, not just the read ones.

An attorney I work with is completely up to date with all his emails.  His wife had only 22 emails in her inbox. That is a rarity.

As business people, and in our personal lives, the number of emails we get each day can be daunting. A disorganized inbox can hurt our business and productivity.

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We hear this over and over as professionals. The first offer is the best offer – especially when there are no other offers on the table. This viewpoint has withheld the test of time. What remains to be proven is whether this perception is the truth or a tale that we have all accepted as true.

 

Not Taking The First Offer Cost The Seller $10,000

Your listing becomes active in your market and a few days later, an offer is received. You, as the agent, are excited about presenting it to the seller after thoroughly reviewing it. “Wow, that was fast,” says the seller, “Why don’t we wait, since this came so quickly, and see if we get a higher offer from another buyer. Someone else will also want my home and be willing to pay more.” But does another offer come? Nope. When this property finally did sell, it was 3 months later. The offer was less, and the seller accepted it. She ended up netting $10,000 less than had she accepted the first offer. Ouch!

Sound familiar? Many sellers think that the Realtor just wants to sell the property fast and make their commission. But while that may be true of some, most Realtors have the sellers’ best interests at heart.

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When buyers are searching for properties online, photos and property descriptions are vital to gaining exposure and showings. The same is true when agents are searching for properties to show their clients. But should the descriptions for both audiences be the same?

The answer is no, because you are appealing to two different needs, with different perspectives when viewing the information.  Let’s review the best way to communicate with each audience.

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