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Real estate market update


A new year has started, and with it a newly enacted tax policy: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While most changes will not be noticeable until consumers file their taxes in 2019, the new tax law stands to alter how consumers view home-ownership incentives and could impact real estate markets across the country. Additionally, many consumers, but not all, may see a change to their paychecks by next month due to the new tax rate deductions. These are the biggest real estate-related tax policies and how they could affect homeowners. 1. Cap on Mortgage Interest Deduction The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the limit for the mortgage interest rate deduction for new loans starting Dec. 15 to $750,000. Loans that were taken out before this date are grandfathered into the previous tax policy, which featured a $1 million cap on the deduction. Homeowners can refinance their existing mortgage balance up to $1 million while still being able to deduct the interest— the new loan cannot exceed the amount of debt being refinanced. 2. New SALT Deduction Limit In the final bill, taxpayers can itemize deductions up to $10,000 for their total state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes. The cap is the same for both individual and married filers. In the previous law, the SALT deduction was unlimited.

3. Preserved Exclusion of Capital Gains This tax policy remains unchanged from the previous law, which stated that homeowners must live in their home for two out of the past five years in order to qualify for the exclusion. The Senate bill proposed an increase to the residency requirement to five years of the past eight, but it did not pass to the final version. 4. Deductibility on Home Equity Loans The new law states that taxpayers will no longer be able to deduct interest paid on home equity loans beginning in 2018, unless the funds are being used to significantly improve the residence. This provision expires in 2026, when it reverts back to the previous cap of $100,000 of home equity debt. 5. Doubling of the Standard Deduction In the previous law, the standard deduction for single taxpayers and married couples filing jointly was $6,350. This amount is nearly doubled in the new law to $12,000. For married couples filing jointly, the previous standard deduction was $12,700, which has been increased to $24,000.


Location and Timing The impact, however, will largely be based on where taxpayers are located. Those in high-cost states may see the biggest changes in how they file, especially with 0.2 1 0.04% 3.2% the new $10,000 SALT limit. Months Day


Every year an estimated 400 people die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But how can people protect themselves and their families from being poisoned by carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you? Experts say there are several ways. Check detectors, appliances Since carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when a buildup of gas occurs indoors, people need to make sure their equipment is examined every year and get a carbon monoxide detector. "Consumers have to know that any fuelpowered appliance - whether charcoal, wood, gas, propane, natural gas or oil - if you run it in or near the house, it can poison you," said Jim Davis, a carbon monoxide expert and a trainer for the National Comfort Institute. Davis suggested consumers have their fuelpowered appliances serviced by someone who carries the proper equipment, a combustion analyzer, which can properly measure CO levels. "You can't eyeball it; you have to measure," he said. Symptoms of poisoning The CDC says common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset

stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. The symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” People who are asleep or drunk can die before experiencing symptoms, according to the CDC. Davis suggested that people who are worried about carbon monoxide poisoning while traveling and staying at hotels, cabins or vacation home rentals could bring a battery-powered detector along with them to check for carbon monoxide. But he warned that some detectors only alert you when there are dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide already in the air. More suggestions • Never run a car or truck inside a garage that is attached to a house, even with the garage door open. Always open the door to a detached garage to let in fresh air when running a car or truck inside. • Make sure gas appliances are vented properly. • Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. • Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum or something else. • Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Doing so can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide inside your home. • Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage, or less than 20 feet 0.2 1 0.04% 3.2% from any window, doorMonths or vent. Day


TRENDS If you’re thinking about renovating your kitchen, we’ve got some data that may interest you. Houzz recently surveyed more than 1,700 renovating homeowners as part of its 2018 U.S. Kitchen Trends Study. Among other things, the study asked about the colors and finishes people are choosing for their kitchen remodels.


Since survey respondents had completed a kitchen project in the previous 12 months, were working on one or planned to start one in the next three months, their responses provide a window on what’s trending in American kitchens now. Read on to find out which colors and materials were most popular. Replacing counter-tops is a popular move. The most popular feature to upgrade in a renovated kitchen was the counter-top, followed by the sink and back-splash, according to the survey. Faucets, wall finishes, lighting fixtures and cabinets were next on the upgrade list. White and multicolored counter-tops top the list. Renovating homeowners were split between white counter-tops and multicolored ones (27 percent each) as their top choices. A multicolored counter-top might be one with colorful Moroccan-style tile or one made of marble with veining in a different color than the background. Popular counter-top materials. Engineered quartz is now the most popular material, chosen by 43 percent of renovating homeowners updating their counter-tops. Granite was next, at 34 percent. Wood floors are the top choice. When it comes to colors for the floor, neutrals reign these days. Wood tones have become the most popular for upgraded floors in renovated kitchens, chosen by 52 percent of renovating homeowners upgrading their flooring. Gray floors were a distant second, followed by brown and beige. Natural hardwood still leads. Hardwood was the top choice for new flooring materials, followed by ceramic or porcelain tile and then engineered wood. While wood tones are still the most popular choice, actual hardwood (29 percent) is losing some steam as a choice. Two years ago in the survey, by comparison, 34 percent of respondents chose hardwood. White cabinets continue to rule. The white kitchen has been a popular choice among renovating homeowners for some time, and with 43 percent of homeowners choosing this neutral for their cabinets, it looks as though the trend has staying power. Wood was the second-most popular color choice for cabinets, followed by another neutral, gray. Shaker is the most popular cabinet style by far. The most popular cabinet style among those upgrading their cabinets was Shaker, followed by flat-panel (also known as slab), the study found. White back-splashes top the list. More than one-third of renovating homeowners (36 percent) chose white for their kitchen back-splashes, while 19 percent chose multicolored and 13 percent chose gray, the survey found.


I bring a unique skill set to the real estate market. As a homebuilder's daughter, I learned early the importance of service, dedication and excellence that clients both expect and deserve. Having resided in Scottsdale for the last 36 years, I am well versed on the various communities throughout Scottsdale and the Valley. I have broad experience in luxury homes, vacation homes, first time buyers and investment properties. Dedicated to listening to your needs, preferences and motivation, then translating those thoughts into action. Whether Buying or Selling, I produce results!

Realtor at RE/MAX Fine

Scottsdale Resident for


over 36 Years

RE/MAX 100% Club

Bachelor's Degree in


Business Management

RE/MAX Executive Club

from Ottawa University


Married to Bruce Usher

Member of Top Agents

for 37 Years!

Network for top 10% of

Managed Usher &

agents in their market.

Associates, a financial

Specialize in Luxury &

planning organization

2nd Home Properties.

Currently resides in

Built 3 Custom Homes

Cactus Corridor just east

Remodeled 3 Custom

of the 101 in Scottsdale


Active in the community

Well connected to

Avid sports participant

Builders, Architects,

including hiking,

Contractors and

boating, fishing, skiing


and spinning



6269 E Bent Tree Drive Scottsdale, AZ 85266

19550 N Grayhawk D.r #1080 Scottsdale, AZ 85255


MLS# 5709364



7792 E Journey Lane Scottsdale, AZ 85255

8461 E Diamond Rim Drive Scottsdale, AZ 85255

MLS# 5706328

MLS# 5711361

February newsletter  

Check out the latest real estate market update and design trends by Chris Usher, Realtor with RE/MAX Fine Properties!

February newsletter  

Check out the latest real estate market update and design trends by Chris Usher, Realtor with RE/MAX Fine Properties!