02/22/15: New Tax Regulations Every Real Estate Investor Must Know

It’s said the only things which are certain are death and taxes.

We think this could be modified to DEBT and taxes….especially when you consider the relationship between the two.  BUT…we’ll put our tin-foil hats in our lead cased fire-proof safe and focus on the tax…er, task…at hand.

We were out in the Phoenix area to visit Robert Kiyosaki and decided to pay a quick visit to a nearby friend and tax guru.  We’d heard there was a new regulation all real estate investors need to know about…

Talking taxes in the top of office to Tom’s tower…

  • Your regular host, Robert Helms
  • His irregular co-host, Russell Gray
  • CPA, best-selling author and Rich Dad Advisor, Tom Wheelwright

Let’s face it…taxes are NOT the most titillating topic.  After all, we’d all much rather focus on MAKING money, than spending dozens of hours and thousands of dollars tallying up how big a slice to send to the tax man.

And of course, just when you think you’ve got everything dialed, the tax man changes the rules of the game and hopes you’re not paying attention.  It’s a constant and unproductive game of cat and mouse.

SO…

If you decide to play, you’ll need to find a way to keep up on the changes.  And then organize your activities to utilize EVERY deduction you’re entitled to.  That’s why you want a great tax advisor on your team.

Robert Kiyosaki makes a lot of money.  The guy he depends on to minimize the tax bite is Tom Wheelwright.

Tom Wheelwright CPA is the author of Tax Free WealthTom’s a bit of a nut job.  He actually LIKES taxes.  Weird.  But there’s no accounting for taste.

But thankfully, guy’s like Tom are out there.  And he pays attention to all the things that affect real estate investors.  So when he called and told us about some new tax regulations, we wanted to learn more.

Of course, we brought along our microphones and captured the conversation…because that’s what we do.

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

When it comes to taxes, it’s so easy to focus our efforts on paying LESS.  Sounds good, right?

Of course, the easiest way to pay less tax is to make less money…so be careful what you wish for.

Tom says your focus should be on MAKING MORE MONEY…and that’s also true when selecting an advisor.  That is, your advisors are investments…just like your real estate…and you should select them based on their potential to MAKE you money.

It’s a subtle, but important difference.  Otherwise, the temptation is to think of them as an expense…hire the cheapest, and get costly results.

The goal is to INCREASE the amount of money you pay for advisors, taxes, interest and insurance…and have those investments decrease as a percentage of your income.

To Change Your Tax You Must Change Your Facts

This is no different than the person who buys a horrible property in a terrible area and rents to the tenant from hell…then shows up at some poor property manager’s doorstep with a problem they need fixed.

In other words, if you want the property’s performance to improve, the conditions and circumstances need to change.  A property manager can only do so much with a bad situation.

The same is true for your taxes.

To get a beneficial tax result, you need to create better factual circumstances.  But it’s much harder to rewrite history, so it’s wise to understand basic taxation principles in ADVANCE, and then conduct your affairs in such a way that you create the most favorable tax result as you go along.

Obviously, this means getting an education and working closely ALONG THE WAY with your tax advisor.

Duh.  But knowing you need to do it and actually doing it are two different things.  So DO IT.

This Promises to Be a Crazy Tax Year

Tom tells us there are a number of items which are making tax filing a little more…taxing…this year.

The biggie is the new repair regulations.  Without getting lost in the weeds, the short version is that the IRS has issued new regulations designed to clarify a specific area of tax law which affects ALL real estate investors and most small business owners.

It has to do with how certain expenses are classified and whether they are treated as capital or ordinary expense.

Yeah, we don’t get it either.  That’s why you need a guy like Tom.

The point is that if it affects you…and if you own investment real estate, it probably does…then you’ll have to file one (or more!) of Form 3115 Change of Accounting Method.  So be sure to ask your tax advisor before you file for 2014.

The Affordable Care Act is making things more complicated for individuals and small businesses this year also.  But that’s been all over the news, so you’re probably aware of it.  If not, your tax advisor will help you.

A couple of other items Tom says to keep an eye on are President Obama’s proposal to charge capital gains tax at death (yes, it’s true…death and taxes together again);  and a proposal to change the “carried interest rule”, which would effectively cause real estate developers to pay ordinary income tax on certain items which are currently classified as long term capital gains.  Ugh.

So listen in to CPA Tom Wheelwright and find out what’s happening and how it affects you!

Listen Now: [sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/realestateguysradio/New_Tax_Regulations_Every_Real_Estate_Investor_Must_Know.mp3″]

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4/21/13: Should I Stay or Should I Go? Knowing When to Sell an Investment Property

In case you’ve been snoozing, many real estate markets are heating up.  In fact, investors who were brave enough to buy a few years back actually have (are you ready?)….equity!

Yes, it’s true.  Equity is happening again.

And whether you were an early adopter and have seen some appreciation, or you’re running a little late to the party, one of the questions you should be asking yourself is “Should I stay or should I go?”

What a great question!  In fact, it was this very question (sent in to Ask The Guys™ by our faithful listener, Keith in Anchorage Alaska) that inspired this entire episode.

So behind the microphones in a secret location hidden somewhere deep within The Real Estate Guys™ think tank:

  • Your super hot host, Robert Helms
  • You not-so-cool co-host, Russell Gray

Keith’s questions was really about financial analysis.  But in considering the question, we realized there are a whole host of things to think about when deciding to stand pat or move on.

First, the math.

Wait! Come back!  Math is good.  And math can be fun when it saves you THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, don’t you agree?

Big shot investors monitor the frothiness of the market by the cap rate.  In keeping with our no-investor-left-behind-policy, cap rate is simply the NOI (Net Operating Income – rent, less operating expenses BEFORE debt service) divided by the price or current market value of the property.

When cap rates FALL, it means investors are paying MORE for the SAME income.  That means the income is MORE EXPENSIVE.  Got it?  And who wants to pay more for the same?

So, if you’re smart (and lucky), you buy when cap rates are HIGH (you paid LESS for the income, which is a good deal), then sell when cap rates are low.

There’s another way to do the math that we find a little simpler, but essentially tells the same story.  It’s called GRM (Gross Rent Multiplier) or Rent Ratio.  It doesn’t include expenses, so it isn’t precise enough for investment due diligence or loan qualifying, but it’s a great way to tell if a market is getting overbought (buyers bidding up the price…potentially to an unsustainable level or “a bubble”).

So, let’s say a property that generates $10,000 a year GROSS rents and sells for $100,000.  This means it’s selling for 10 times gross. Make sense?

Now if that same property now sells for $120,000 but still only rents for $10,000 a year, it’s now selling at 12 times gross.  Ergo (we always wanted to say that) buyers are paying 20% MORE for the SAME income.  Great if you’re a seller (time to go?) but not so great if you’re the buyer.

If you’re watching a market and GRMs are generally rising- or if you already own property in that market – you need to dig deeper and find out why prices are going up when income isn’t.  If there’s no rationale for it, it may mean there’s just too much money chasing too many deals (or worse. “dumb” money chasing deals), you may decide it’s time to sell (at a premium) and take your equity and head for a less heated market. Then hope the whole process repeats itself there!

Of course, all of this happens over the course of years, not hours like the stock market.  So while you’re waiting, you’re collecting rents, taking generous tax deductions and enjoying your life.

And speaking of tax deductions…

Another reason why it may make sense to sell a property is because you’ve used up the tax benefits (primarily depreciation) available to you on that particular property.  This has nothing to do with the market (it could be fine), and everything to do with you and your personal tax situation.

Remember, according to our good friend CPA Tom Wheelwright (author of Tax Free Wealth), a savvy real estate investor should be paying pretty near ZERO INCOME TAX (sorry to shout…we got excited).

Other reasons to consider selling are changes in the neighborhood, the physical condition of the property, the kinds of tenants you’re attracting, or local changes to landlord law.

The point is that you don’t want to develop LAME (Lazy Asset Manager Entropy…it’s a pseudo medical term that we just made up).  Sometimes it’s easy to get lulled to sleep just sitting at home opening rent checks all day.  We understand.  But we don’t want you to be blindsided in slow motion if the market is telling you it’s time to move on.

So listen to the episode and consider your own markets and properties.  Then ask yourself, “Should I stay or should I go?”

Listen Now:

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10/2/11: Zero Tax! Deductions and Benefits that Matter Most to Real Estate Investors

Active real estate investors should NEVER pay tax on their cash flow or gains..EVER!  So says CPA Tom Wheelwright, our hero with a zero (taxes that is) and Rich Dad’s tax advisor to Robert Kiyosaki.

And unless you’re Warren Buffett, we’re guessing you’d probably rather pay LESS tax than more.

Maybe when we’re multi-mega-billionaires like Warren, we’ll want to pay more too.  Give us a few years and we’ll let you know. For right now, less tax is better.  We’d rather save on taxes today and use the money to buy more real estate.  Weird, we know…but that’s just us.

The GOOD NEWS is that even while most governments’ appetites for taxes is growing, real estate investors still enjoy some of the best tax deductions and benefits there are!

To learn more about this taxing topic, we flew to Arizona and met face to face with Tom Wheelwright.  He says with proper planning, real estate investors can get their effective income tax rate to ZERO!

Manning the microphones for another exciting escapade into broadcast brilliance:

  • Your host with benefits, Robert Helms
  • Your big zero co-host, Russell Gray
  • A master of brilliant deductions, Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Tax Advisor and CPA, Tom Wheelwright

Zero tax!  Now THAT sounds pretty stimulating.  In fact, Tom says the tax code is a treasure map to a series of stimulus programs.  So to get your personal economy working better, be sure to organize your investing to maximize tax deductions and tax benefits.

Tom tells us:

  • Why the tax code is a powerful tool for increasing your cash flow and accelerating  your real estate wealth building
  • How to avoid the number one MOST COMMON MISTAKE real estate investors make on their tax returns
  • How to save money on everyday items by using the tax code to make more of your expenses tax deductible
  • Why every dollar saved in taxes is worth five dollars of real estate!

And there’s even more!  So grab a note pad and listen in as The Real Estate Guys™ interview CPA Tom Wheelwright.

Listen Now: 

  • Want more? Sign up for The Real Estate Guysfree newsletter and visit our Special Reports library.
  • Don’t miss an episode of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show.  Subscribe to the free podcast!
  • Stay connected with The Real Estate Guys™ on Facebook!

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources that help real estate investors succeed.