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Posts Tagged ‘tracy california homes’

IRS Agent One Of Fourteen People Arrested For Tax Fraud

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Yet another lesson in not messing with the Tax Man…..

According to US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, fourteen people – including an employee of the Internal Revenue Service – have been charged with using the first-time homebuyers government credit to commit tax fraud.

Mostly from Massachusetts, the defendants were charged in multiple indictments all related to filing false tax returns linked to the federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers.

The IRS agent charged in the case, 44-year-old Michael Doyle, is from New Hampshire and is accused of falsely claiming that he purchased a home in 2008 so that he would qualify for the credit, when in reality he actually bought the property in 2007.

An official with the IRS could not say whether or not Michael Doyle still has his job, and Doyle could not be reached for comment.

The other defendants include Junior Lopez of Southbridge, and Christopher Proe of Michigan, who allegedly filed more than 50 fraudulent tax returns. According to prosecutors, they received about $500,000 in refunds.

Like Michael Doyle, neither Lopez nor Proe could be reached for comment.

In a prepared statement, Ortiz said, “It is critically important that taxpayers who play by the rules do not end up paying for refunds to people who commit fraud and blatantly lie on the forms submitted to the IRS.”

J. Russell George, the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, added in his own statement that it is “especially troubling” when an IRS agent is implicated in a fraud case. “Congress created and modified the home buyer credit to stimulate and help taxpayers achieve the America Dream, not to line the pockets of wrongdoers,” he said.

[source]

Is Composite Decking More Eco-Friendly Than Cumaru?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Author: gwatson

You definitely have choices when it comes to quality decking. By far, wood decking is the most diverse and offers advantages that are unique to each species. Cumaru wood is one species known to be the most superior decking material available. It is a high quality natural material that is grown as a sustainable wood. Its durability, strength, versatility, and density make it the perfect option for any outdoor project. Cumaru is naturally durable and has a flame spread rating of Class A, the same as concrete or steel. Cumaru wood offers a lifespan well over 40 years without preservatives. If you do treat it, you can expect an average lifespan of over 80 years. Due to its strength and high density, it is also naturally resistant to rot, decay and damage from wood boring insects like termites. Its versatility makes it a great choice for both commercial and residential decking. Cumaru makes the most beautiful longest lasting decks in the world. Its density helps make Cumaru remain smooth and splinter free. It doesn’t absorb water, twist, splinter, or bow like softer woods.

Cumaru wood is also extremely rich in color and appearance. Its color varies from a golden tan to reddish brown with some dark grain accents throughout the wood. It has an irregular, slightly interlocked grain which is coarse and wavy in texture. Unlike most exotics, Cumaru endures very little color change due to sun light. Its color will slightly mute over time into a more consistent color. It is also very low maintenance and easy to work with. Cumaru wood is far greater than most composite decking products.

Composite decking tries to compete with high end decking materials, but is unable to when it comes to quality. It is made of a mixture of recycled materials and glue. The recycled materials typically consist of a 50/50 mixture of wood fibers and waste plastic. This plastic includes high density polyethylene and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Many people think that because composite decking uses recyclable resources it is eco-friendly. That is not the case because PVC is known as a toxic plastic and is obviously not good for the environment. Due to the manufacturing process of composite decking, it is extremely porous and soaks up water very easily. This causes it to be prone to rot, decay, mildew, mold and fungus. Also, it will expand and contract according to the temperature, causing loosening of screws and plates. Many of the cleaners for composite decking are extremely dangerous and clean only the surface.

Composite decking products claim to be cost competitive, but they are actually significantly more expensive than real wood products. When you factor in installation costs, maintenance fees, and possible replacement costs, it turns out to be much more expensive than a wood deck made of Cumaru.

Most composite decking materials haven’t been thoroughly tested, but it sure has been thoroughly marketed. This causes home owners to think that composite decking is a great choice. However, with some research, you can find complaints and problems about the quality of the product. You can avoid all this and simply build a deck with Cumaru. Cumaru wood is the ideal choice in decking.

Discover why wood decking such as Cumaru and other species of Brazilian Hardwood is superior to composite decking materials. Grayer Watson enjoys building decks, installing floors and working with people to make their homes better.

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Feng Shui Essential Rules

Monday, May 31st, 2010

You have likely heard of “Feng Shui.” But do you know what it’s about? Feng Shui is basically a body of guidelines for arranging the home environment, based on ancient principles, in which things flow together to create a more tranquil setting. You can use the following basic of this venerable body of art to get started on your own Feng Shui project in your home.

Clean out the Clutter

Actually, you don’t have to be doing Feng Shui to accomplish this first step, even without the others. This is done to “lighten the load” of the possessions in your environment and it’s probably the most essential part of the process. Throw away anything that you do not really need in your home. Then when you have done that, you will automatically feel refreshed and lighter.

Introduce More Light and Fresh Air

Whenever possible, open up the windows and let the fresh air enter in to encourage a good “energy.” Get plants that do their part to purify the air or purchase a good air purifier. And, just as vital, let the sunlight come in, too.

Know the Esoteric Elements of Feng Shui

Elements of Feng Shui such as wood, water and metal each have an optimal place in the home. For example if you want to increase your prosperity, put water and wood in the southeast corner of your room or home.

Identify and Orient According to the Ba Gua

This has to do with evaluating and optimizing the layout of the home with the Feng Shui compass. The word refers to eight diagrams (eight areas) which are used to optimize the location of elements of the room or home for maximum benefit to those who enter into the space. You can read up on it in various online sources, and many people find it to be a fascinating topic. By relating to Ba Gua, you’ll find how areas of your home are tied to specific areas of your life and what you experience.

Find out Your Feng Shui Birth Element and Create a Plan Around It

Your Birth Element requires a specific analysis, which is something you can do with various reference sources. For example, if you have fire as your Birth Element use lots of reds, purples, oranges and yellows to decorate your home. Generous use of wood would also be a complementary element to emphasize as it feeds fire, building upon the relationship between these elements.

Know Your Individual Kua Number

This lets you know which direction is the best way to position yourself in the room where you spend a lot of time for better tranquility. It will guide you in placing desk or favorite chair so you’re facing in your most auspicious direction.

Know How Your Home’s Energy Influences You

Pay special attention to your living room, your bedroom, and the kitchen to make sure the layouts in each of these areas are positive inputs to your comfort and prosperity. These three most important living spaces constitute the Feng Shui triangle.

Whether you think the effects of Feng Shui are genuine or imaginary, countless people over the years have used it as a way to improve their lives. After all, that first big step of getting all the clutter out of your home is important whether you use Feng Shui or not. After you get that done, it doesn’t require much more work to try different techniques to see how what happens.

Article made available courtesy of Automated Homefinder, the best Lafayette Colorado home location experts.

feng shui your home

Ensure Your Remodeling Project Pays Off

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

You might not be selling your home anytime soon, but you could in the future, and what you’re doing now will have a definite have an effect on on that.

Repairs get the biggest returns

You may think it’s the big things like a updated kitchen or a hot tub that will bring in the buyers, but often times it’s the lack of general repairs that need to be done that really catches their eye.

Austin, TX real estate appraiser Jim Amorin says, “If a property is known to have issues, today’s buyers won’t even look at it.”

He goes on to point out that asking sellers to not only pay for the repairs as part of the agreement, but also pay a penalty to compensate the buyer for the inconvenience is now common practice., and that $20,000 roof repair you never did because you wanted to save money, could very well turn into a $30,000 credit to the buyer.

Remodel instead of adding on

The desire for a large and spacious home is dwindling. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add value to your home.

Instead of adding on to your house, remodel the existing areas to better suit the needs and wants of today’s buyers.

Eco-friendly upgrades can save money

Green-living is huge right now. Why not make your house part of the environment-friendly trend?

Think energy-efficient – with such features as EnergyStar appliances and extra wall insulation.

Perhaps the best way to go green is make the changes while you’re there anyway. For example, when it’s time to replace your furnace, upgrade to a super-efficient model – it could very well save you, and your future buyers, $150 or more in annual heating costs.

Get more tips on how remodeling your home can pay off at Money.Cnn.Com.

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The Wrong Way to Invest in Real Estate

Monday, March 15th, 2010

By William Bronchick

“Real estate fever” . . . it’s hit the Country like a plague. Zillions of “newbies” are hitting the bandwagon, trying to make a profit where they lost in the stock market. I meet them all the time, and many are making big mistakes!

Mistake #1: Stock Market Mentality

You’d think after losing $7 trillion in the stock market people would have learned! Nope, they are making the same mistake, which is assuming what happened yesterday will happen tomorrow. Nine of ten new investors I meet say they are interested in real estate because they saw someone else make money from the rapid appreciation of the market over the last few years. But, buying real estate solely for short-term appreciation is often a big gamble! If you buy real estate to hold for 15 years or more, the chances are you will come out on top. If you buy a property and flip it in within a year, you probably are fine, too. And, despite the risk, many people can intelligently time the “boom” of a local market (or subdivision within a market) and make a profit. But, if you buy a rental property for full market price with break even or negative cash flow, you’d better have a backup plan if the market doesn’t keep going up. Investing is a lot like surfing… if you don’t know how to ride the wave, you will drown!

So, should you refrain from investing if you think the market has peaked? Absolutely not! You can find bargain-priced properties in every real estate market, even the hottest. You can find low-interest rate financing that will increase your cash flow so if values drop, you still are covered. You can plan short-term (six to 12 months), because real estate markets rise and fall slowly. And, if you keep a cash reserve for your business, you won’t sweat when the market tanks, because you know that in the long run, real estate markets virtually always come back.

Mistake #2: Investing Blind

You’d think after losing $7 trillion in the stock market people would have learned! Nope, they are making the same mistake, which is blindly buying real estate based on bogus advice or complete lack of education. Real estate is one of the few investments in which risk is directly proportional to knowledge. True, it has a higher learning curve than investing in the stock market, but there’s no proof that having knowledge of the stock market reduces risk (just ask your mutual fund manager).

I read a comment on a real estate discussion group on the Internet. In response to an inquiry as to whether a particular seminar or training program was worth the money, someone answered, “Why waste your money on that stuff? Just use your money as a down payment and learn as you go.” This is probably the worst advice you could ever give a beginner. Money for real estate deals is easy to find if you can find good deals. But, you won’t know what a good deal is without having first invested in your education!

The more knowledge of real estate investing techniques, financing, acquisition, negotiating and, of course, your local marketplace, the less risky your investments will be. A bargain real estate purchase will generally always be a safe investment; a bargain stock purchase isn’t – after all, who says the company you bought into will be in business next year?

Mistake #3: No Cash Reserves

Ask anyone in real estate long term (or any other business, for that matter) and they will tell you the two most important words for survival are: “cash flow.” Heck, even K-Mart failed to learn that valuable lesson!

In order to stay in real estate long term, you need cash reserves. Buying real estate nothing down is easy; handling negative cash flow, repairs and other expenses in the meantime is the trick. In fact, if you can handle the bad times, real estate will always make you come out on top. Lack of cash reserves puts unnecessary pressure on you to do substandard repairs, accept less than qualified tenants and give into tenants’ demands for fear of vacancy.

When you have a sufficient cash reserve, you act rationally. You hold out for a higher sales price. You hold out for a qualified tenant. You leave properties vacant rather than rent to low-lifes. You call a tenant’s bluff when they threaten to leave. You take care of necessary repairs and improvements on your properties. It’s a whole different ballgame than operating from a lack of cash. Like I said, buying properties with no money down isn’t hard; it’s handling the cash flow. In other words, you can buy real estate without money, you just can’t survive in business without cash reserves. Thus, consider accumulating cash reserves before investing in rental properties.

Mistake #4: Being Greedy

Many investors get started flipping properties to other investors, which is a good idea to generate cash reserves. However, you must be realistic about how much profit is in a deal. If there is a potential for a $20,000 profit in a rehab project, you can’t expect to make $10,000 flipping that property to a rehabber. A rehabber has a huge risk in embarking in such a project and wants a large enough profit to justify the risk.

For example, if a house needs $10,000 in repairs, the rehabber investor wants to make at least a $20,000 profit. If you find a deal with $20,000 in profit potential, how could you expect to get $10,000 for flipping the property if the rehab investor you flip it to is only going to make $10,000? You should be happy making $2,500 and moving on to the next deal. If you want to make more than $2,500 on such a deal, then you must find and negotiate a better bargain that has more profit potential.

Mistake #5: Treating Real Estate as Anything Other Than a Business

People are lured to real estate because of the quick buck that it promises. Don’t hold your breath, you won’t get rich quick. An “overnight sensation” usually takes about five years. More than ninety percent of the people who take a real estate seminar quit after three months.

Why the high fallout rate? Lack of action and unrealistic expectations. Real estate investing should be treated with the seriousness of a career. It takes months, even years for a business to cultivate customers and have a life of its own. You need to treat real estate like any other business. Give yourself at least six months to see if real estate works for you. It may even take a year before you buy your first property. Maybe in the second year you will buy three or four properties. If you work hard at it and keep your eyes and ears open, you may even find your first deal in 30 days. Certainly, you will not make money by talking or thinking about it; you must go out and take action.

[Source]


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Four Family Members Charged In $16 Million Real Estate Fraud Conspiracy

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

The Orange County, CA District Attorney’s office has announced they have charged four family members –
including a mother and her two daughters – in a conspiracy to commit more than 16 million dollars worth of
real estate fraud by forging documents and buying homes using straw buyers*.

If convicted, each of the four defendants could be facing as much as 19 to 40 years in prison.

Here’s what we know about each defendant, and the charges being brought against them:

Sushama Devi Lohia, 71, Newport Beach
Felony charges include 13 counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, 19 counts of forgery, 6 counts of identity theft and 4 counts of recording false and forged instrument and other charges. She is the mother of defendants Supriti Soni and Suniti Shah.

Supriti Soni, 49, Corona del Mar
Felony charges include eight counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, 10 counts of forgery and other charges. In addition, prosecutors are seeking a stiffer sentence for her, if she’s convicted, because she was imprisoned in 2003 for perjury.

Suniti Shah, 48, Newport Beach
Felony charges include five counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, nine counts of forgery, six felony counts of identity theft, four counts of recording a false and forged instrument and other charges.

Dinesh Valjeebhai Shah, 60, Newport Beach
Felony charges include two counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, four counts of forgery, four counts of
identity theft, four counts of recording a false and forged instrument and other charges. He is Suniti Shah’s
husband.

According to prosecutors, the alleged scheme happened like this:

-Between June 2006 and October 2009, Lohia, Soni, Suniti Shah and Dinesh Shah obtained 54 fraudulent loans on 29 properties in Orange County through the use of straw buyers’ credit.

-The four defendants then fabricated loan applications to reflect significantly higher incomes for the straw
buyers, supplying altered bank statements to reflect the higher incomes, falsifying employer information on
loan documents and forging the names and signatures of straw buyers on various deeds and loan documents.

-They used the personal and credit information of the straw buyers to complete the fraudulent documents used in obtaining loans, as well as took fraudulent loans under their own names.

-The 54 loans were all approved by then-Washington Mutual Bank.

[source]

It’s scary out there – and in desperate times, people make desperate decisions.

Always play it safe by being cautious when meeting with a new Realtor or Lender, and ask all the questions you can think of – even if you think they’re silly or will make you look stupid.

Scammers feed off ignorance and fear, so be sure to gather all the information you can before making any
choice of this magnitude.

Remember to go with your gut. If what your hearing sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

*A straw buyer is a person who uses or allows their credit to be used for the purchase of a property they never intend to use or control. Straw buyers can also be used to purchase non-owner occupied properties by being paid simply for the use of their credit. [source]


Clipart from Clipartheaven.com

Tips for Keeping Tenants in Your Rental Property

Friday, March 5th, 2010

If you are an investor who rents homes, having tenants is important to make sure that you make a profit. They pay your mortgage and put money in your bank account. It is important to show them that you appreciate them, so they stay in your property and continue keeping your investment worthwhile. Here are some ways you can show your tenants that you appreciate them.

Probably one of the least productive things you can do as a property owner in maintaining your relationship with your tenants is to constantly remind them that you own the property. They know you are the owner; if you make too big a point of it or frequently bring it up, they could start feeling a little defensive or possibly take it as an insult. If you show respect understanding of their position, they will be more likely to respect you and your property by being good renters.

Make it a practice not to make unexpected visits or enter the property when the tenants are not at home. In some states, this isn’t just a violation of the tenants’ privacy, it’s also a violation of the law. Enter the house when the tenants are not home only if you have an understanding with them, or if it’s a real emergency.

You have the opportunity to be a teacher or mentor when it comes to inexperienced tenants. You have the opportunity of showing them, by taking the lead and giving a good example, how to engage in a successful association. You can show them around the house and give them detailed information about the various appliances and fixtures so they can see how things work. Also, let them know about any quirks or oddities that the house has, for example if you have to avoid taking a shower while running the clothes washer. Make sure they also know how to get in touch with you in case they have any problems about the property. One good way to make them feel welcome is to bring sandwiches or a pizza on the day they move in. Even though something like that is such a small gesture it can do a lot toward creating a sense of mutual respect.

A good, reliable tenant is hard to find. When it happens that you have a good one who wants to renew the lease, it benefits both you and them. From your side, you save a lot of turnover time and expense. When it’s time to renew, come up with something to offer, even something of just a small value, that makes the unit better for the next six months or a year. Ask if any of the appliances need to be replaced or if they could use new curtains or maybe some landscaping work. Think of one thing you can throw in to improve the deal if you can afford it. There’s a good chance you can deduct this on your taxes as a business expense. The suggestion of a caring approach to the situation goes farther than you might think.

A good tenant, in short, is worth keeping. That’s why it is important to make the good ones know that you appreciate them. If you had no tenants providing your income, you wouldn’t have a working investment at all. By putting in a bit more and spending some extra money, you can reap some good benefits from your rentals.

If you are ready to check out Lafayette Colorado homes, you can start and end your search at AutomatedHomefinder.com.

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Understanding The Federal Housing Tax Credit

Monday, November 16th, 2009

The $8,000 First Time Home Buyers tax credit has been extended – and expanded – the Government is now offering a $6,500 credit to repeat buyers.

I know a lot of people are confused about the details, so here’s a little help in understanding all the ins and outs of the Federal Housing Tax Credit.

For complete information and answers to your questions visit FederalHousingTaxCredit.com

$8,000 First-time Home Buyer Tax Credit at a Glance

  • The $8,000 tax credit is for first-time home buyers only. For the tax credit program, the IRS defines a first-time home buyer as someone who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase.
  • The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
  • The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000.
  • The tax credit applies only to homes priced at $800,000 or less.
  • The tax credit now applies to sales occurring on or after January 1, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010. However, in cases where a binding sales contract is signed by April 30, 2010, a home purchase completed by June 30, 2010 will qualify.
  • For homes purchased on or after January 1, 2009 and on or before November 6, 2009, the income limits are $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.
  • For homes purchased after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010, single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit.

The $6,500 Move-Up / Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit at a Glance

  • To be eligible to claim the tax credit, buyers must have owned and lived in their previous home for five consecutive years out of the last eight years.
  • The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
  • The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $6,500.
  • The tax credit applies only to homes priced at $800,000 or less.
  • The credit is available for homes purchased after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010. However, in cases where a binding sales contract is signed by April 30, 2010, the home purchase qualifies provided it is completed by June 30, 2010.
  • Single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit.

federal housing tax credit