NEWS BRIEFS

Stay up to date on current News & Issues.

General News
Municipal primary election is on Tuesday, May 21

Bucks County
Haycock opposes state code-enforcement proposal

Chester County
Route 352 and King Road meeting set for June 5

Delaware County
Middletown to have open space referendum

Montgomery County
Pottstown school board considers music cuts to balance budget

Philadelphia County
City officials announce down payment assistance program for first-time home buyers
 

 

Blog

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What Is a Homestead?

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 10:00:00 am Comments (0)
 
On Nov. 7, PA voters will see a referendum question on whether to allow increased property tax relief for homesteads. First things first — What, exactly, is a homestead?
 
The short version: A homestead is a home that is the primary residence of its owner. That excludes vacation homes, second homes, rental homes and corporate-owned properties, among others. 
 
The word "homestead" might bring to mind a house on the prairie, but a townhouse in the Delaware Valley can fit the bill, too.
 
The long version, from the state website:
 
In Pennsylvania law, a homestead is defined as dwelling, including the parcel of land on which the dwelling is located and the other improvements located on the parcel for which any of the following apply:
 
1.  The dwelling is primarily used as the domicile of an owner who is a natural person. The homestead for real property qualifying under this paragraph shall not include the land on which the dwelling is located if the land is owned by a person other than the person who owns the dwelling.
 
2.  The dwelling is a unit in a condominium as the term is defined in Section 3103 of Title 68 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes and the unit is primarily used as the domicile of a natural person who is an owner of the unit; or the dwelling is a unit in a cooperative as the term is defined in Section 4103 of Title 68 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes and the unit is primarily used as the domicile of a natural person who is an owner of the unit. The homestead for a unit in a condominium or a cooperative shall be limited to the assessed value of the unit, which shall be determined in a manner consistent with the assessment of real property taxes on those units under Title 68 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes or as otherwise provided by law. If the unit is not separately assessed for real property taxes, the homestead shall be a pro rata share of the real property.
 
3.  The dwelling does not qualify under the criteria listed above and a portion of the dwelling is used as the domicile of an owner who is a natural person. The homestead for real property qualifying under this paragraph shall be the portion of the real property that is equal to the portion of the dwelling that is used as the domicile of an owner.
 
That legal definition begs the question: What is a natural person? A natural person is simply a human being — as opposed to a legal person, such a corporate entity.
 
The Suburban Realtors® Alliance and the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® urge you to vote "Yes" on the referendum.
 
For more information about the referendum, see this earlier blog post: 

      Property tax referendum will be on November ballot

Flickr image by Lane Pearman (CC BY 2.0)

 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Meet Our Board: Q+A with Chris Beadling

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Monday, October 23, 2017 at 6:00:00 am Comments (0)

Chris Beadling is a Realtor® with an eye for technology. The immediate  past chairman of the  Alliance, he has spent more than 15 years helping other Realtors® make the best use of the tools at their disposal to maximize their success. In 2015, he founded Sqaak, an earnest-money transfer tool for real estate professionals.

Chris Beadling 
Board member, Suburban Realtors® Alliance (2016-2017 chairman)
Quinn & Wilson, Realtors®

Hometown (born/raised):  Hatboro, PA
Hometown (current):   Doylestown, PA 
Years as a Realtor®15

Why did you first join the Alliance Board?

​I had just finished service as the president of the Bucks County Association and from that experience I knew there were so many important issues that needed our attention.  The SRA Board was a great way to leverage that experience. ​

What do you see as the most important legislative issue for Realtors® right now?

Because of my technology background, I tend to look at legislative issues others don't; patent reform, net neutrality, things of that nature.  That doesn't mean the mortgage interest deduction isn't important or that protecting private property rights isn't critical, rather, I just like to keep an eye on the items others may not.

Describe the first deal you ever closed.

My first deal was on a single family house in Levittown.  Cute couple trying to find their first real home.  I quickly learned about municipal ordinances (I think I paid for an electrical mast to clear the U&O) and how important it is for Realtors to have a say in how homes are transferred.

What was the most unusual home/sale you have handled?

​I represented the seller of a historic old home in Haverford Township in the 1990s.  The house and its owner were both very eclectic.  It was an "in-house" deal, so the other agent seemed to think we could be lax about the rules.  It was the first time I really had to stand up for doing things correctly. 

 

          The other agent seemed to think we could be lax about the rules.

                    It was the first time I really had to stand up for doing things correctly.  

How do you like to spend your time when you're not working?

In addition to doting on my 11-year old daughter, I like to play golf (especially in support of our local candidates) and I am an avid reader.  During the fall you can find me playing fantasy football or at the Linc cheering on my favorite team.​

What is one piece of advice you would give to a new Realtor®?

​Learn from your mentors and those who have been doing the business, but don't rely exclusively on them.  There are so many tools and services out there people ignore because their mentor/trainer told them "we do it this way" (which happens to be the old-school way).  Look at the technology available from sources like RPR.​

What book(s) is on your nightstand?

​In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam - Robert McNamara​
​The Confessions of Young Nero - Margaret George
(and a copy of Don Quixote that I have been trying to finish for two years)​

Offices/titles held: 

Chair, Suburban Realtors® Alliance, 2016-2017
President BCAR - 2014
Chair, PAR Strategic Plan Task Force - 2010
Chair, Pennsylvania YPN - 2014
Chair, PAR Member Services Coordinating Committee - 2013/2014
President, Bloomsburg University Alumni Assocaiton - 2010
Founder & President, Central Bucks Rotary Club - 2010/2011
 
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tax Reform Shouldn't Harm Homeowners

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 11:00:00 am Comments (0)

Homeownership is the foundation of the American economy, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said at a forum on June 1.

Unfortunately, that sentiment is not reflected in tax reform proposals being pushed in Washington today.

On June 24, Congressional Republicans released a of comprehensive tax reform “blueprint” that would penalize most homeowners with a tax hike and remove incentives to homeownership that have existed for more than a century.

Realtors® are on high alert, focused on defeating any policy changes that would hurt homeowners.

“This proposal recommends a backdoor elimination of the mortgage interest deduction for all but the top 5 percent who would still itemize their deductions,” said National Association of Realtors® (NAR) President William E. Brown.

No bill has been introduced yet, but the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), commissioned by NAR, evaluated a tax reform plan modeled on the “blueprint.”

PWC’s study concluded that home-owning families with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would face average tax hikes of $815 in the year after enactment, while non-homeowners in the same income range would enjoy average annual tax cuts of $516. Further, home prices nationwide in the short run would fall by 10.2 percent.

The blueprint recommends cutting all but two deductions — for mortgage interest and charitable deductions — and doubling the standard deduction. These changes would make the mortgage interest deduction (MID) useless for nearly all middle-income homeowners.

Homeowners nationwide already pay 83 percent of all federal income taxes; they would pay an even bigger share under the proposed reform.

These changes would make the

mortgage interest deduction useless

for nearly all middle-income homeowners

NAR has released an interactive map tool showing how much homeowners currently benefit from the MID, sorted by congressional district. For example, in Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District — which includes portions of Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, Berks and Lancaster counties — 59 percent of homeowners claim the MID in 2015, cutting an average of $8,427 from their taxable income in 2015.  

At that HUD forum in June, kicking off National Homeownership Month, Sec. Carson also said: "The importance of homeownership is apparent to all of us … security, certainty, safety, wealth creation, a path forward, self-sufficiency, a place to live with loved ones, to raise our families, the location of our neighborhood.”

Realtors® agree. And we support sensible tax reform, but we will fight hard against any policy that would harm homeowners.

Image: HUD  Instagram

 

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