To Gift Or Devise, That Is The Question!

Tax and Estate Planning is Critical to Avoid Unnecessary Tax Burdens and Consequences I have clients ask me all the time if it makes sense to give their property to their kids or should they wait to die and let their kids inherit it.  The practical answer from a tax planning perspective is to allow…

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Most Common Real Estate Tax Audit Issues In 2014 And How To Avoid Them

Selling, Exchanging and Facilitating a Tax Deferral Strategy Requiring the Use of a Qualified Intermediary and IRC 1031 Requires Careful Planning and a CPA or Tax Attorney Internal Revenue Code Section 1031 Like-Kind Exchange Audits continue to find non-compliance in some common areas.  Specifically, the following list of items are repeatedly flagged for audit by…

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The High Price To The Low Bid – Why You Should Never Hire An Unlicensed Contractor To Work On Your Property (When A License Is Required)

It Never Makes Sense To Hire An Unlicensed Contractor – The Risks Far Outweigh Any Rewards And It’s Against The Law In California, like many states, contracting for work where the labor and materials are greater than $500 requires a contractor’s license – there are no exceptions.  Month after month I hear stories of people, including…

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Durable Power of Attorney – What Is It And Do You Need One?

A Durable Power of Attorney Can Provide Peace Of Mind, Comfort, and Ease of Transition For Families As baby boomers approach retirement age there are many considerations which should be addressed regarding preparation for transitions and changes in their lifestyle.  Generally, most people will have to rely on others to help them at some point…

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Straight Facts about Reverse Mortgages

Reverse Mortgages Are Not For Everyone, But They Are Great Products For Certain Individuals In Their Retirement Years With Limited Cash Flow You have probably heard the term “reverse mortgage” but do you really understand what one is?  A reverse mortgage is basically a loan homeowners older than 62 years old can utilize to convert…

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Baby Boomers, Property Tax Relief, and Downsizing Strategies

Baby Boomers Property Tax Relief

Why Baby Boomers Should Take Advantage of Prop. 60/90 and Transfer Their Property Tax Base Many baby boomers (those people born between 1946 and 1964) are in the middle of their transitions from working to retirement.  During this time period it is difficult for many people to imagine their lives without the homes that they raised and educated…

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What California’s Water-Saving Plumbing Law Means to You

California Water-Saving Plumbing Law Effects Investment Property Owners, Sellers, Property Managers and Property Management Companies A California law enacted in 2009 is finally taking effect and causing concerns among property owners, sellers, buyers, and realtors.  California Civil Code Section 1101.4 requires owners of single-family residences which were “built or available for use on or before…

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Home Improvements Critical Now More Than Ever

Home Improvements Cost-Value Cash-On-Cash Returns Rise as the Overall Market Rises I am often surprised when I see homeowners getting their homes ready to sell without anticipating doing any repairs or improvements.  I am even more surprised when I see realtors counseling their clients not to do repairs or improvements because “the market is hot,…

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Flood Insurance Relief for Palo Alto

New Flood Insurance Law Provides Relief for Palo Alto Property Owners In March of this year President Obama signed into law the Federal Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 which amends previous law – now homeowners in flood plains and districts, like Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park will be provided relief.

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What the New Shared Fence Law Means to You

New California Fence Law

New Shared Fence Law As Of January 1, 2014 Have you ever heard “Good fences make good neighbors?”  Now, adjoining landowners are statutorily equally responsible for shared fences and boundary fences pursuant to California Civil Code Section 841 which took effect January 1, 2014.  Adjoining or contiguous landowners are now faced with a presumption that…

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Comfortable and Cost Effective, Energy Efficiency in Homes

Manage heating and air conditioning for optimum efficiency

High Energy Efficiency of Your Heating and Air Conditioning Systems Makes Your Home Comfortable and Cost Effective With the rising costs of energy making your home more energy efficient is tantamount to a comfortable and cost effective living environment. Comfortable interior environments make for a more friendly and welcoming home.  Improving the efficiency of your…

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Buying a Home?

things to think about when buying a home

Seven (7) Things to Consider and Research before Buying a Home So you’ve made the decision to stop renting and buy a home.  Buying a home is very emotional, incredibly stressful, and requires diligence and strategy.  To make sure your pursuit is not fraught with pitfalls you should consider the following ideas:

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Palo Alto Main Library Gets a New Name

Palo Alto Main Library Name  is “Rinconada” After a long drawn out process Palo Alto’s main library has been renamed to “Rinconada Library” by the Palo Alto City Council.  Supporters of the new name have consistently argued that the library is not the main library because it is not the biggest library in the system,…

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Should El Camino be Pedestrian Friendly?

Palo Alto Sidewalk

El Camino Real Sidewalk Widening Plan Hears Opposition from Palo Alto There is currently a wide-based effort to widen El Camino Real into a pedestrian friendly thoroughfare, however, those portions of real estate within the city limits of Palo Alto will not be widened without a fight. Palo Alto City Councilmembers have proposed an ordinance…

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Menlo Park to Revamp Downtown

Menlo Park Hiring Expert to Research Initiative to Revamp Downtown Plan The Menlo Park City Council has actually authorized investing up to $150,000 on a consultant to examine the brand-new effort proposed by locals that would significantly change the city’s downtown/El Camino particular strategy. 

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The Importance of Landscape Design and Architecture

Landscaping and architecture are key elements for value

Curb Appeal Adds Value to Your Home An important but often overlooked component of a well-designed residential property is the landscaping surrounding a home.  Savvy homeowners know that 15-20% of a property’s value should be spent on well-thought out architectural design and installation of quality landscaping materials and elements.

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