I Survived an IRS Tax Audit

I guess it’s good to experience everything once in a lifetime so when my random number came up for an IRS tax audit I was kinda looking forward to it. But, when I got the notice I went on the Internet to look for advice and what I read didn’t help with my nerves. It’s like looking things up when you have a pain in your shoulder or some other medical thing as you’ll probably run into something that says you may have a serious medical condition. After reading things about IRS audits, it sounded like I was going in front of a firing squad.

The major pain was to get together all the receipts. The IRS sent me a list of everything they wanted to verify and it was pretty much the entire return. Knowing I had nothing to hide didn’t make getting prepared any easier though.

I had the audit on Tuesday. The auditor was very professional and when she asked about a particular item, I had it all ready to show her. It took about an hour and a half and at the end of it all…I’m getting a REFUND!

Get your Newspaper while it lasts

The bad economy looks like it may accelerate the end of the daily newspaper. A Denver newspaper just stopped publication and one of the San Francisco papers is considering the same. My guess is we’re going to see one of the businesses that owns multiple newspapers cease operations sometime this year too.

While I think that a newspaper has a place it today’s Internet world, I really haven’t seen papers change that much. They certainly aren’t going to survive by reprinting national AP stories and professional sports scores that people are reading on the Internet a day earlier.

People I’ve talked to still like the Sunday paper for the ads!

Fast Facts from the Calif Association of Realtors (CAR)

Calif. median home price – December 08: $281,100(Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. highest median home price by C.A.R. region December 08: Santa Barbara So. Coast $875,000 (Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. lowest median home price by C.A.R. region December 08: High Desert $137,560(Source: C.A.R.)
Calif. First-time Buyer Affordability Index – Fourth Quarter 08: 59 percent (Source: C.A.R.)
Mortgage rates – week ending 2/19/09 30-yr. fixed: 5.04% Fees/points: 0.7% 15-yr. fixed: 4.68% Fees/points: 0.6% 1-yr. adjustable: 4.8% Fees/points: 0.5% (Source: Freddie Mac)

The Bay Theatre on Morro Bay Blvd

(submitted by one of our North Coast agents)

The Bay Theater is one of the few remaining single screen theaters around.It was originally built in the early 1940’s and was nicely renovated a few years ago. The theater is spacious and comfortable, the popcorn tasty and the films current and popular. The award winning “Slumdog Millionaire” is playing there now!

It is THE Morro Bay Movie theater, and the only movie theater in the Cambria, Cayucos, Los Osos area. Granted, we can take a 20 minute drive to San Luis Obispo’s multi-plex theaters if we desire more movies to choose from on any given day- but it isn’t necessary to do so in order to see a great flick at a good price in our beautiful town!

Latest Home Buyer Statistics

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) latest Buyer survey, 87% of Buyers used the Internet when buying their home.

Other interesting items:

– Only 1 percent of consumers found their agent through the newspaper, Yellow Pages, direct mail, or specialty advertising such as calendars and magnets.

– The number of people finding their homes through a newspaper, a home book or magazine, or directly through the sellers declined by 50 percent.

– The percent of buyers using the Internet frequently increased from 42 percent in 2003 to 69 percent in 2008

The real estate industry is changing!

Debbie Gibson Short Sale

Deborah (Debbie) Gibson is having problems in this economy too. The Hollywood Hills home she purchased in 2005 for $1.275M is on the market as a Short Sale for $995,000.

With all the exposure you know that you’re going to get for this home, check out the photos taken by the real estate agent with the messy bathroom and bedroom ones. A wide angle lens would have taken much better photos of the smaller rooms too.

Not sure why a photo of the toilet would be included. And…there’s even a dog in the living room photo!


Foreclosure Percentages Up

So far this year (through Feb 19th), we’ve seen the foreclosure percentage of homes sold jump. Foreclosures for 1/1-2/19 was 49% of total homes sold in SLO County (in 2008, we averaged 30%). In Santa Maria, they jumped to 91% foreclosure homes (vs. 75% average in 2008).

Below are the Solds for REOs and Short Sales in each city.

Who wants to move to the Central Coast?

I thought this was an interesting statistic that shows the Top 20 (or so) countries where people are reading this blog. Appears that the Central Coast is popular with the Europeans!

United States 41,798
United Kingdom 961
Canada (CA) 600
Germany (DE) 537
Italy (IT) 245
Netherlands 213
Turkey (TR) 200
Australia (AU) 192
France (FR) 184
Sweden (SE) 174
Belgium (BE) 159
Costa Rica (CR) 128
Denmark (DK) 117
Poland (PL) 113
Brazil (BR) 95
Ireland (IE) 92
Switzerland 87
India (IN) 85
Slovakia (SK) 80
Mexico (MX) 77
Norway (NO) 77
Czech Republic 75
Hungary (HU) 72

Attention other Realtors

We interrupt the normally scheduled blog post for a message to other Realtors…

I know that an increasing number of Realtors are using SLOCountyHomes.com. Either because they don’t want to pay to join the MLS to be able to have access to the system or that this site has more information or is easier to search for homes.

I’d like to remind all Realtors about the Realtor Code of Ethics and this particular article:

Standard of Practice 3-7
When seeking information from another REALTOR® concerning property under a management or listing agreement, REALTORS® shall disclose their REALTOR® status and whether their interest is personal or on behalf of a client and, if on behalf of a client, their representational status.

We are experiencing an increased amount of Realtors that are contacting us, not disclosing they are a Realtor, and then having us do work they should be doing themselves for their clients by pretending they are Buyers.

If this sounds pretty unethical…well it is. Unfortunately, there are Realtors out there that are this way and the really sad part is that their clients probably aren’t even aware they didn’t pick someone good to represent them.

What do you want to see in a Monthly Market Report?

I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on the 2008 market report I did and want to do something similar on a monthly basis. Being able to print a pdf of the report does allow you to read it away from your computer!

What I’d be interested in knowing is what information you’d like to see included in a monthly market report?

I created a page with an easy way you can send me your suggestions, or you can just email them to me. Thanks in advance for your input!