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Comp Talks: Real Estate Agents (Part 2 of 2)
Last week, we discussed real estate agent compensation and looked for parallels within the investment management industry to point to possible clues toward the future. Today, we're circling back to look at different models that exist currently, and what they mean for agents and the clients.
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Comp Talks: Real Estate Agents (Part 1 of 2)
Real estate agents have faced many challenges in the recent past, including the advent of Zillow and online portals, and now the pressure to reduce fees and/or adopt a fee-based compensation model. The investment advisory industry offers great insights into this transition, as it is one that has been adopting a move to fee-based compensation over the past 20 years. Should the real estate industry follow suit?
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Year-End Tax Planning, It's Not Too Late to Lower Your Taxes
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Crye-Leike Integrates CRM, Transaction Management, and Accounting
Crye-Leike is the sixth largest real estate company in America, and third largest independent behind HomeServices of America and Howard Hanna. The firm processes over 30,000 transactions a year across their 3200 agents in 125 offices spanning nine states. Beyond residential real estate, they operate businesses that provide services in commercial real estate, mortgage, title insurance, property and personal insurance, property management, and relocation. A few years ago, the company embarked on a program to select a transaction management solution and tie it into their accounting system and CRM system. The result is among the most sophisticated and effective solutons deployed anywhere in the nation.
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5 Technology Expenses to Review for Budget Season, Part Two
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5 Technology Expenses to Review for Budget Season, Part One
As we embark into the first week of the fall season, the time is ripe to review and prepare next year's budget. When it comes to technology expenses for 2019 budgets, the following five areas are prime opportunities to harvest savings or craft better budget strategies. This is part one of a two-part series.
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Put Money Back in Agent Pockets Without Affecting Your Bottom Line
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[Video] How Profitable is Your Brokerage Compared to Your Peers?
Brokers, do you want to triple your profits without raising fees or even needing to bring on new agents? Then we've got a killer strategy for you. Recently, RE Technology teamed up with iBroker and the Profit Centre for a live webinar all about broker profitability. Attendees learned the single most important metric for driving higher profits and how brokers can drive profitability with the right metrics in hand. Did you miss the webinar? No worries... we recorded it for you! Check out the video below to catch up, and see our notes below for more information and to learn more about a special offer for RE Technology readers!
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IRS Releases Updated Withholding Calculator and 2018 Form W-4
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Real Estate and Taxes: What's in Store for 2018?
Americans across the board are curious as to how the new tax laws will impact what they pay in coming years. One industry people are particularly curious about is real estate — and how the new law will affect the market. Read on to find out more about how 2018 tax laws could shake out in the real estate business.
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Do You Still Need to Track Your Mileage with the New Tax Law?
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How the New Tax Law Affects Small Business Owners
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1, "TCJA") is now law. The law contains many provisions affecting both individuals and small businesses. The main provisions affecting businesses are summarized below. Except where otherwise noted, these changes apply to after January 1, 2018. Thus, they do not apply to your 2017 taxes and your upcoming tax return. What's the New Corporate Tax Rate?
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The Proposed Tax Change and Potential Impact to Home Buyers
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IRS Announces 2018 Mileage Rates: Your Miles Are Worth More!
The IRS just announced the new standard mileage rates for 2018. There's good news if you drive for business, as your miles are worth more. IRS 2018 Mileage Rates The 2018 IRS Standard Mileage Rates are: 54.5 cents per business mile, up 1 cent from 2017 18 cents per mile for medical or moving, up 1 cent from 2017 14 cents for charitable reasons. This rate has remained steady for years.
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Inside Real Estate Acquires BrokerSumo
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7 Year-End Tax Tips to Do Before Tax Reform
Most tax experts believe that Congress will pass, and President Trump will sign, a massive tax reform bill before the end of the year. Here are some year-end tax tips you may want to consider in light of tax reform.
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Which Back Office Platform is Right for Your Brokerage?
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How Real Estate Consumers Can Deduct Losses after a Disaster
Editor's note: Between hurricanes and wildfires, 2017 was rife with property-damaging natural disasters. The article below offers helpful information that you can share with clients on how to deduct losses after a natural disaster strikes. Unfortunately, disasters happen. We've seen how devastating these can be. One slightly bright spot is you may deduct losses at tax time. Here's how to deduct losses after a disaster. Deduct Losses After a Disaster If a fire, earthquake, storm, floods, terrorism, or similar disaster damages your property, you may have undergone a casualty loss. You may deduct that on your tax return as an itemized deduction. Casualty losses are damage to property caused by a disaster. The casualty loss must involve some external force. You get no deduction if you simply lose or misplace property. Nor do you get one if something wears down over time. You get no deduction if insurance fully covers the loss.
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Rich Broker, Poor Broker: Breaking Free and Building Wealth in Real Estate with the 'Cashflow Quadrant'
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Is the 6 Percent Real Estate Commission Outdated?
The Internet is changing the real estate business, continually drawing into question the current commission regime: typically 6 percent of the average home's sale price. With buyers doing a lot of the legwork, seeking out properties and neighborhood stats online, this is leading many to question whether that $18,000 chunk of change (6 percent of the average $300,000 home) is a worthwhile investment. Why the 6 Percent, Anyway?
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Mileage Log Template for Excel
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Intuit Partners with Moxi Works to Enable Agent Tax Savings
Moxi Works is a brokerage application development company that was founded by Seattle's leading brokerage company, Windermere Real Estate. The software was originally developed for Windermere's brokerage company until the company expanded the offering to include brokerages around the nation. Today, Moxi Works is a separate company that serves a brokerage base that is representative of more than 90,000 agent users. Some of their leading brokerage partners include Windermere, Long and Foster, Howard Hanna, Pacific Union, Seven Gables and many others.
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Are You Guilty of "Business as Usual" Budgeting?
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Top 5 Reasons Why Getting Real Estate Accounting Software Could Be Your Play of the Week
Although real estate and sports teams differ in many ways, your real estate team shares many of the same needs as your favorite professional sports team. Here are five benefits to getting real estate accounting software for your team. 1. Financial System Accounting software gives your team a financial system. NHL General Manager Jim Rutherford needs to track his team's spending in relation to the NHL's salary cap. Since taking the GM position in 2014, Rutherford has kept his finances in check, continues to have a cap friendly team and has won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. Like a Cup contending NHL team, your real estate team needs to understand and track its finances. Accounting software gives your real estate team a financial system that helps keep track of your team's productivity, transactions and deals in the pipeline.
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Brokermint Matures into a Top Choice for Small to Mid-sized Brokers
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How Integrating Quickbooks with Your Back Office Can Save You Thousands
If you've been paying attention to the back office tech space, you've probably noticed a lot of talk about Quickbooks integration, especially by solutions that serve small- and mid-sized brokerages. This market segment has been rolling out integrations with not just Quickbooks, but other popular accounting programs like Xero and Waveapp. Why? Well, once integrated, transaction data can move seamlessly between your back office platform and your accounting software. That means automatically cutting commission checks upon the close of a transaction, and never risking missed payments (mandatory for retaining top talent!). Brokers can also create invoices, sales receipts, and generate checks and 1099s. Integrating back office and financial systems can save even small brokers significant cash. Back office solution Brokermint estimates that brokers that close just 10 transactions per month can save at least $1200 per year with integration.
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Friday Freebie: 2 Back Office Tools Go Head-to-Head!
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What Is a Contemporaneous Mileage Log?
The IRS wants you to keep a "contemporaneous" mileage log. But what does that actually mean? Let's go over a recent court case to see what records you need to keep. What Does the Tax Court Want From a Mileage Log? The Tax Court has reminded all business owners that you can't wait until you're audited to create records of your business mileage. Sam Kilpatrick, a CPA who should have known better, claimed that he drove 8,867 miles for his business during 2009. Therefore, he said he was entitled to a $4,477 mileage deduction. Kilpatrick never kept a mileage log to record his business driving. When he was audited in 2011, he provided the IRS with a calendar with the dates he claimed to have driven for business circled and printouts from MapQuest.
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5 Ways to Invest Your Tax Refund In Your Business
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The Tech Ecosystem of a Thriving Real Estate Brokerage
There is no secret to success. There is no missing ingredient. The key to running a business, and running it well, is in the business' commitment to fundamentals. With the fundamentals in place, the business owner is free to determine what success means to them and able pursue that idea with fervor. Okay, that's great, but what are the fundamentals? Eliminate all the fluff. Throw out the shiny pennies. Strip your business down to the essentials. What are the essential external and internal functions necessary for your brokerage to operate in the real estate industry? Generally speaking, all brokerages need to 1) make money from clients 2) manage money from the clients and 3) distribute money to their staff and outside vendors. Each function is comprised of multiple other functions, such as lead generation, transaction management, agent billing, commission splits, payroll and so on and so on. With all this in motion, it's admittedly difficult to keep track of everything. So we've gone ahead and grouped all of these functions into components and put all of these components into a real estate 'ecosystem.' On the right, you can see a preview of what this ecosystem looks like.
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Does Your Accounting and Commission System Help You to Retain Agents and Recruit New Agents?
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Are Car Repairs Tax Deductible? Writing Off Auto Repairs
Are car repairs tax deductible? Yes, if you use your car for business, but there are some rules and specifics to know. When Are Car Repairs Tax Deductible? The actual expense method allows you to write off many costs. This includes business driving costs, car repairs and car improvements. You add these costs to your other annual expenses. If you use the standard mileage rate, you get no deduction for repairs. These are already factored into the standard rate (53.5 cents per business mile in 2017). With the actual expense method, you may only deduct your business use percentage of your car repairs and improvements. If you drive your car 50 percent of the time for business, you can deduct 50 percent of the repair costs. The remaining costs is a non-deductible personal expense. You may deduct the cost of parts and depreciate the cost of tools if you fix the car yourself. But, there's no deduction for your labor. Many of the expenses you incur to keep your car running are currently deductible—that is, the full amount can be deducted in the year incurred. Yet, some must be depreciated over at least five years. It all depends on whether the expense is for: A repair An improvement.
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Parking Deduction 101: Writing Off Parking Costs on Taxes
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Rental Property Tax Deduction: IRS Schedule E and More
Many real estate agents and brokers own rental properties or think about acquiring them. Sometimes, it works out amazingly but other times, it leads to losses. These losses can lead to a rental property tax deduction on IRS Schedule E form—but you need to understand the IRS restrictions on rental losses. What Is the Rental Property Tax Deduction? Investing in real estate can lead to great returns, but it doesn't always lead to a profit. When that happens, you can take a rental property tax deduction. Like many investments, real estate may not always pay off during the first few years. The government wants to encourage investment, so it allows for write-offs with some strict limitations. If you have rental property losses, you have plenty of company. IRS stats show that more than half of the 8.7 million taxpayers with rental income showed a loss. Some of this is due to the depreciation deduction allowed on the cost of the property. What Is a Rental Loss Limitation? You have a rental loss limitation if all the deductions from a rental property you own exceed the annual rent and other money you receive from the property. If you own multiple properties, combine the netted annual income or losses from each property to determine if you have income or loss from all your rental activities for the year. You report your rental income and deductible expenses on IRS Schedule E. You can find a sample of this form on the IRS website.
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The IRS Warns Against These Tax Scams
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Top 3 Tools to Integrate Into Your Back Office
When it comes to real estate software, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Small brokers have different technology needs than large brokers, and franchises have different requirements than independent firms. Rather than relying on one system to handle everything you need, today's brokers look to solutions that can integrate with others to share data. MLS listing data is typically the backbone of all integrations--given the right set-up, this information can flow into your transaction management systems and eliminate the need for repetitive data entry. MLS data can also be used to automatically generate marketing materials for every new listing. There is an almost endless amount of integrations available to brokers across multiple solutions. Today, however, we're going to narrow our focus to integrations with what we consider the backbone of your real estate firm--your back office solution. The 'Trifecta' of Back Office Integrations This article came out of a conversation we had with Andrew Chishchevoy, co-founder of back office solution Brokermint. Although Brokermint integrates with multiple solutions, there are three that they consider the "trifecta" of back office integrations. 1. MLS Integration - This is the core integration of any back office or transaction management system. When MLS data freely flows into the solution you use, you can save time and payroll by eliminating redundant data entry, and ensure that all listing/transaction data is accurate. For example, once a listing is entered into the MLS, a transaction is immediately created in Brokermint and agents and administrators can start uploading documents immediately. Depending on the back office solution you use, agents are assigned to a new transaction immediately, based on the listing data from the MLS. If your back office solution has a commission management component, a default commission structure may be added to the transaction, as well.
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Business Expenses You Can't Deduct
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5 Ways a Term Loan Will Unlock Your Next Big Growth Opportunity
The start of a new year is a great time to think about what you can do to expand your real estate business. Taking stock of where your business has been—and what you'd like to achieve over the next six to 12 months—is one part of the equation. The other involves finding the financial resources necessary to transform your goals into action. Fortunately, a term loan may be just the solution you need when an opportunity for growth comes knocking. If you're not familiar with what a term loan is or how it can help you widen your business horizons, don't panic. Here's everything you need to know. What Is a Term Loan Anyway? Simply put, a term loan is a type of small business financing that features a fixed repayment term. Just like a mortgage, you'd repay a term loan over a set period of time (as little as one year and as long as 10 years). Term loan limits usually top out at $500,000, which is more than you could borrow compared to a personal loan or a small business credit card. Another advantage of term loans is the convenience factor. If you're borrowing through an online lender, it's possible to get the money you need in as little as two business days. That's a huge plus over a traditional bank or Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, which could take weeks to fund.
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Facts and Myths About the Mileage Deduction
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The Power of Automation: Sync your transactions to QuickBooks
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM PST In real estate we know how important it is to keep your business and accounting streamlined, so we have a fantastic solution that we built based on our own customer's needs and feedback for just that purpose! Connect Brokermint transaction management to Quickbooks and pay agents, invoice customers and send all receivables and payables, eliminating double entry and allowing you to keep your books straight, seamlessly. In a few days, on January 18 at 10am PT, our team will be hosting a webinar to share best practices with you: Why QuickBooks is a perfect fit for thousands of businesses How to sync your transaction data to QuickBooksHow to cut checks and pay your agents How to setup recurring/monthly billing How to do direct deposits and much more... All attendees get 25% off the first 3 months of their Brokermint subscription. Register now!
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Guide to Tax Basics for Real Estate Brokers
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Deducting Business Expense: Reasonable Expenses You Can Write Off
You spend a lot for your business. Thankfully, the IRS allows you to deduct business expenses to lower your taxable income. Said another way: the more deductions you have, the lower your taxable income and the less income tax you pay. But what business expense qualifies for this deduction? What does the IRS consider as reasonable business expenses? We'll cover what every agent and broker needs to know. What Are Deductible Business Expenses? Most of the work involved in doing your taxes will go into determining what deductions you can take, how much you can take, and when you can take them. You don't have to become an income tax expert. But even if you have a tax professional prepare your tax returns, you need to have a basic understanding of what expenses are deductible so that you can keep proper records. This takes some time, but it's worth it. There's no point in working hard to earn a good income only to miss deductions to which you are entitled and turn over more of your income to the government than required. What Reasonable Business Expenses Can You Deduct? Virtually any expense is deductible as long as it is: Ordinary and necessary Directly related to your business For a reasonable amount.
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Tips to: Protect Your Broker’s License
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3 Foolproof Tactics to Recruit Top Agents
As a real estate broker, selling houses is not your only goal. Recruiting top agents is another important task that's on your mind. Recruiting top performing agents will benefit your brokerage. We all know that if they do well, you do well. Agents have a lot of options when it comes to choosing the brokerage they want to work with; it's almost like being a kid in a candy store. But if you want to attract top talent, you need to show them how you can positively affect their career. Showcase how choosing you will be the best decision they make! At the end of the day, agents are entrepreneurs. They work for themselves and they will see only profit. Show how you can help them be the best at their job. Show them how you can add value. Here are three foolproof tactics to recruit top agents: 1. Record Keeping Let's face it—an agent is not an accountant. Your agents can get out there and be the best only when they know you can handle their transactions efficiently and be transparent about it.
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How Black Friday Can Benefit the Self Employed
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Broker Business Tips: How to Read Your Financial Statements
Your financial statement is the roadmap to your financial health. Read it like you were heading somewhere. You don't go on a trip without planning your route and tracking your progress. So why would you treat your company any different. Having accurate and timely financial statements is the key to financial health. Knowing how you did six months later is useless. Planning, monitoring and utilizing is what counts. So how do you plan? With a budget. And then when you print a financial statement, you are able to compare your actual results against what you budgeted. Budgeting is not a science but an art. And the financial statement tells you how accurate you were. A financial statement that allows you to see monthly numbers, year-to-date numbers and prior period numbers is critical to understanding where you have been and where you are going. The financial statement needs to track information that is actionable. Too much detail just drowns you and too little doesn't do a thing for you. The first number that you need to be able to track is how much of each dollar coming in do you manage to keep. Whether you run your office as a traditional split operation or you use per deal fees and/or desk fees, what you need to keep your eye on is the gross revenue from your operations. No matter how you get it, that is what you have to operate your business with, paying your overhead and creating profit for yourself.
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5 Ways to Lower Taxes Before End of the Year
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Deducting Travel to Conferences and Seminars
Travel to business-related conventions, seminars, or similar meetings can be tax deductible. This can include deductions for your transportation, lodging, and 50 percent of your meal expenses while on business. Learn about how to do this, as well as some of the IRS restrictions. It is much easier to deduct trips to destinations that are within North America. Such trips need only be an "ordinary and necessary" expense to be deductible. That is, these trips must benefit your business in some way. Trips outside North America are deductible only if it was reasonable to hold the event in such a distant location. For example, it would be hard to deduct a convention for New York plumbing contractors held in Tahiti. For this reason, you should generally avoid attended business conventions outside North America. Fortunately, the IRS has recently expanded the definition of what constitutes "North America."
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How to Deduct Cell Phone Costs
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What Are You Budgeting for in 2017?
It's that time again... budget season! This is the time of year where companies are looking at the upcoming year and how they are going to spend their money to increase revenue. Marketing, sales, and operations—everyone has their favorite thing they are trying to get approved in the budget. Let's take a look at some examples: Brokers trying to list and sell more luxury listings. I talk to brokers all the time who are looking for ways to increase their average sales price. A great way to do this is to list and sell higher priced listings. This doesn't happen by itself. Sure, you can train your agents and do this organically, but most brokerages are looking for a luxury sales and marketing platform or affiliation that can put them in front of the right agents, sellers, and buyers. Again, all these things cost money. Which is the most efficient for the dollars invested? Builder/developers trying to expand their sales footprint. Many builders/developers are trying to expand their footprint of external agents. Typically, external agents produce 60 to 80 percent of their sales, so finding ways to get information in the hands of more agents is key. The question is, how do you get in front of more agents regionally, domestically, and internationally and how do you budget for it?
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Real Estate Professional Exception to Passive Loss Rules
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Is a Business Website Deductible?
Gone are the days when brokers could rely on a brick-and-mortar business alone to grow their companies. Business websites are a necessity rather than a nice-to-have feature now. But between website design, development and maintenance, business owners incur numerous expenses, raising the question, "Is a business website deductible?" Like with home office deductions, business website expenses have specific allowances and limitations that apply. When Is a Business Website Deductible? Despite the ubiquitous presence of business websites in the digital era, the tax code lacks clear-cut verbiage surrounding the deduction of website costs. Instead, it addresses the subject more broadly through established guidelines for deducting business-related software expenses. Website costs that fall under the "software" umbrella are generally those incurred for features or functions implemented using higher-level programming languages. As these efforts often require technical expertise outside of the expertise of the business launching the website, the business may purchase the website design or development from a third-party web designer or developer who undertakes a degree of risk should the website fail to operate. These third-party software costs can often be amortized, or deducted ratably, by the business, incurring the costs over a three-year useful life period. Of course, not all third-party-designed websites are treated as software. Those that weren't produced out of sophisticated programming languages are often regarded as "Section 179" property, a special category of depreciable property that qualifies for the Section 179 deduction. This deduction is in itself limited by certain dollar thresholds. After exceeding the thresholds, you are required to revert to deducting and amortizing the costs of non-software website components over the period of their useful life in your business. This could be three years or even less for a simple website that you expect to undergo a re-design in the near future.
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What DocuSign's New 'Lead to Close Strategy' Means for Brokers
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IRS Reporting Requirements for Mileage Deduction
I often get asked if you have to include odometer readings for every trip to get the mileage deduction. The IRS does not require odometer readings for every trip. Let's go over the reporting requirements for mileage deduction. IRS Reporting Requirements for Mileage Deduction IRS regulations and guidance provide that to qualify for the mileage deduction you are required to have a record of four facts when you drive your car for business: time and date of the drive total distance of the drive destination of the drive, and business purpose of the drive. (IRS Reg. 1.274-5T(b)(6); IRS Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses, Table 5-1) You should have a written record of these facts made at or near the time the car was driven (at least weekly). This record can be an old-fashioned paper mileage log, but IRS regulations specifically provide that "a record of the business use... [of an] automobile, prepared in a computer memory device with the aid of a logging program will constitute an adequate record." (IRS Reg. 1.274-5T(c)(2)(C)(2).) You do not have to have your car's odometer readings. This is nowhere in the tax law, IRS regulations, IRS publications or elsewhere is there any requirement. All that is required is an adequate written record of the distance you drove.
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QuickBooks integration for your real estate back office (8/17)
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How Do I Control Bad Debts?
As a broker, you provide a service for your agents and you deserve to get paid for it! Part of running a real estate brokerage is paying expenses for your agents so they can go out and earn commission income. This can be everything from advertising expenses to franchise fees to something as small as photocopies. And everything that you pay on behalf of the agents or supply to them costs you money. To ensure that you are covered for the funds you are laying out, you can review brokerWOLF's Agent Expenses Uncovered report on a weekly basis. With this report in your hand, you will not only know what your agents owe you, but also what future commissions they have coming in that can cover what they owe. Remember, an agent who owes you $2,000 but has $10,000 in closings is not your bad debt problem; the agent who owes you $500 with no closings is!
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Who Should I Recruit and How?
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What’s in a Number?
Numbers can mean a lot of things. They can make you happy, sad, proud, angry and, best of all, the same number can make five different people experience five distinctly different emotions. In the world of real estate brokerages, we see numbers being discussed all the time. Who has the most agents? Who has the most offices? Who is number one? Who closed the most transactions? Who closed the highest volume? I am sure you have all witnessed brokerages stake claim to one of these “achievements” and perhaps you have even done so yourself, but so what? As a real estate professional, how you measure success may be different from another, so here is a question: how confident are you in your numbers when you make your statement? More importantly, do you have the ability to accurately track the numbers that are important to you? Do you have the internal systems and software to get every piece of important information you desire? How long does it take you or your administrator to gather this information? Is your data presented to you in real time? Running a brokerage properly can be a daunting task even for the best brokers. There are so many moving parts to manage. Not to mention, you are frequently dealing with people and their emotions and the impact their decisions have on their entire family. Managing the numbers in your brokerage is not just about you and your business, it is about your agents and their business. A strong understanding of your numbers will help you proactively identify when your agents are thriving and when they need help, allowing you to identify coaching opportunities, when to ask questions and when to congratulate them on a job well-done.
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Lean, Mean Brokerage Machine: Technology Empowers Firm to Operate with Zero Debt
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A High-Volume Brokerage on the Solution that Enriches Their Bottom Line
One of the principles of running a lean business is eliminating redundant processes, like duplicate data entry, and automating others in order to free your team from the grip of time-wasting tasks. Because brokers rely on dozens of elements--websites, accounting solutions, document and transaction management, and beyond--it can be difficult to untangle the knot of over-complicated data in order to streamline a business. That's why many enterprise-level brokers are increasingly turning to all-in-one solutions to handle the lion's share of their back office needs. Using one solution rather than several unrelated solutions means that data flows freely between components, eliminating mistakes and wasted time. Currently, there are only a few companies that offer all-in-one solutions. Today, we're evaluating one company that offers a full suite of solutions that encompasses accounting, a "front office" intranet, document and transaction management, brokerage and agent websites and more. We spoke with Teresa Powers, a long-time Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies' Complete Enterprise Solution user, to hear about her brokerage's experience with the software. Teresa Powers is the Director of Operations for RE/MAX Professionals in Lakewood, Colorado. Her firm adopted Lone Wolf's accounting solution, brokerWOLF, in 2006 and added the company's front office platform, WOLFconnect, and document and transaction management solution, loadingDOCS, in 2012 and 2014, respectively. One reason Powers' brokerage repeatedly turned to Lone Wolf's solutions is because even though they're feature-dense, they're easily adaptable to her business's unique needs. "Any canned software program thinks that they know how you should run your business, but that isn't always true," Powers says. "We have our systems in place, and we're able to take Lone Wolf's software and make it work with how we like to run our businesses and how we like to function. That has always been very easy to do." For RE/MAX Professionals, that means handling the needs of a multi-office, high volume production company that serves 400 agents. "I've got files being processed at eight locations and so to have everything go into one system, pretty much 99 percent error-free, is huge for me," she says. "We close over 6,000 files a year and it just saves me so much time."
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Having a Technologically Integrated Brokerage is Crucial to Recruiting Top Agents
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3 Tools for Stress-Free Money Management
Guest contributor Erica Christoffer of REALTOR®Mag says: Successful broker-owners and managers need to keep close track of their income and expenses—both to set financial goals and to manage the daily operation of their business. Today's financial software can synch between your computer and mobile devices for easy tracking and consolidate all of your accounts for budgeting and monitoring. You'll be able to see income and spending, debt and investments, accounting and payroll, and various bank accounts all in one place. Plus, you can control notifications from the apps and programs to notify you if a problem arises. Here are three money management tools that will keep a small business on track: Expensify This online service, which offers both personal and business accounts, lets you import your various bank and credit card accounts to track daily spending. The mobile app (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows) comes with SmartScan, where you can import receipts after simply snapping their picture. You can consolidate your receipts from other programs such as Dropbox, Evernote, and even your e-mail inbox. The application creates charts and graphs to further help you analyze your financial picture. While these basic features are free, Expensify charges $6 per user (after the first two users) to run financial data reports using the business account. Brokers can categorize expenses and reimburse employees via direct deposit, PayPal, or payroll. The service can integrate with accounting, payroll, or CRM software.
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What Financial Numbers Should Brokers Be Looking At?
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Product Review: brokerWOLF
brokerWOLF is a double-entry bookkeeping and back office management solution for brokerages. It enables brokers to manage listing inventory, transactions, commissions, agent billing, accounts payable and receivable, and more. That's the short story. In truth, brokerWOLF is a far more robust program than a simple list of features and available reports can articulate. While it can help balance your general ledger, its real power is in how it enables brokers to leverage data to reveal everything from uncovered expenses to which agents provide the most value to their firm. When it comes to data, of course, more is better. The more data a broker has access to, the greater their opportunity to hone in on ways to improve profitability and streamline business. brokerWOLF allows brokers to input data on nearly every aspect of their firm's operation. The catch, however, is that users only get as much as they put in to the program. The more they leverage brokerWOLF's multitude of features, the clearer the picture of their brokerage's health will become. So what does brokerWOLF have to offer? While it's far too dense a program to go over every detail, today we'll provide an overview of major highlights, as well as an evaluation of end-user concerns like usability and support. Here's a quick peek at major features: Complex fee structure with template capabilities Hundreds of available reports, including real estate specific ones like Pending Transactions, Commission Cutting, Agent Net Worth, Leads Production, and more Keyboard shortcuts and favorites Comprehensive Help menu, tip sheets, and the ability to contact customer support from within the program
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Choosing a Back Office Solution
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How Accounting Data Aids Managerial Decision Making
Making decisions and finding appropriate methods to facilitate these decisions is the primary role of managers across companies worldwide. The types of decisions differ from business to business and industry to industry, but they all affect the long term success of an organization. The old adage "hindsight is 20/20" refers to actions making sense once it has already happened. While it's easy to look back at a poor move in a game of checkers and make sense of your decisions, there is a lot more data involved in making sense of decisions made in a business setting. In order to achieve this "20/20" insight into the performance of your business, you must have all of the data methodically recorded and segmented in a meaningful way. In order to achieve the production of meaningful data, you need to have a system that is relevant to how you operate on a daily basis. Powerful software allows businesses to generate meaningful reports in a timely manner and allows you to answer the questions that you need in order to make educated decisions. Are we doing well? Are things improving? Are we making money? How much?
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First-time buyers being squeezed out? Actually, we see signs of more buying power.
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Counting Down to Year End
Guest contributor Kashoo says: Just two months remain on the 2012 calendar. And you know what that means, right? Aside from the ensuing blitz of holiday marketeering, it means decision and action time for small business owners—and their advisors—whose fiscal years mirror the calendar. From retirement contributions to equipment purchases to tracking down contractor tax forms, there's plenty for business owners to consider when it comes to end-of-year finances. To help, we tapped a handful of accounting experts (including our own in-house CPA, Sandra Tomlinson) to offer a few tips. Reconciliations. There are specific reconciliations that should be done before year-end and then rolled forward to include year-end. These are necessary to ensure that transactions have been recorded correctly. Reconciliation examples include Bank to Books, Aged Accounts Payable balance to Accounts Payable balance on the Balance Sheet, Aged Accounts Receivable balance to Accounts Receivable balance on the Balance Sheet, and Undeposited funds on the Balance sheet to checks not deposited in the bank account.
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What to Look for in Real Estate Back Office Software
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Do You Know the Net Worth of Your Business?
Guest contributor Kashoo says: The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) generally classifies a "small business" as having less than 500 employees and about $50 million in annual sales. Here at Kashoo, we specialize in working with freelancers, solo practitioners, SOHO (Small Office Home Office) owners, and small businesses—none of which even register on the SBA's Size Standards Table. But no matter what the size of your business, it is important for you to know its net worth and you can calculate your company's net worth using the reports generated from your online small business accounting software—Kashoo is real accounting for real small businesses like ours! The net worth of your business is different from its market value because to calculate the net worth, all of the assets, liabilities, and equity listed on your balance sheet are reported as historical costs. Business owners often use their net worth when applying for financing from banks and other lending institutions.
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Five Steps to Setting Up Your Business Budget
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The Two Most Important Financial Documents for Your Small Business
This post comes to us from the Kashoo blog: Whether the size of your small business is 1 or 100 employees, $25,000 in net income or $250,000 in net income, you need to pay attention to your business accounting. Your financial statements are much more valuable than helping you to prepare your taxes. They are part of your roadmap for the profitability of your company—even if your company is a business of one. There are two overall financial statements—each of which contains sub-documents. 1) Balance Sheet Your balance sheet is the up-to-date picture of your company's financial position at any point in time. It contains information about your assets (positive—"black ink") and your liabilities (negative—"red ink") and gives you the "bottom line" that your accountant always advises you to watch.
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Three Tech Solutions for Tax Season Woes
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