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Heads Up: brokerWOLF Reporting Is Getting New Features
Hey, brokerWOLF users! Lone Wolf is rolling some new features rolling out for you this week, and we think you're going to like them. It all starts with the built-in reporting function. So what changed? Well, look at your old reporting workflow. Now look at T.C.1. Now back at your old workflow. And back at T.C.1. Notice any differences?
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A Simple Guide to Better Real Estate Accounting
Professionals in the real estate industry know that one of the most critical aspects of your day-to-day is dealing with (and managing) large sums of money. This money needs to be well-managed. Otherwise, you risk costly mistakes – for you or your business, and for your clients. That's why, finding the right method, people, and technology to properly manage your real estate accounting is incredibly important. Let's start by answering the question: who should know a "thing or two" about real estate accounting?
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Comp Talks: Real Estate Agents (Part 2 of 2)
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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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IRS Releases Updated Withholding Calculator and 2018 Form W-4
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by Congress at the end of 2017 established a whole new set of income tax rates for 2018 and later. The new rates are somewhat lower than those in effect during 2017 and earlier. As a result, most taxpayers will have to pay less income tax in 2018 than they did in 2017. The IRS has updated its online withholding calculator that individual taxpayers can use to determine how much should be withheld for 2018.
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Real Estate and Taxes: What's in Store for 2018?
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Do You Still Need to Track Your Mileage with the New Tax Law?
The new tax laws may have you wondering if you still need to track your mileage for taxes. Let's go over how you may be impacted by the new tax law. What Are the Major New Parts of the Tax Law? The new tax law includes a major cut in the corporate tax rate, as well as reductions in the individual tax rates. As with change in the tax law, there are many, many little things that you should talk to your tax pro about. We'll go over a few things we think are useful. Keep in mind that most of the new tax law changes will impact your 2018 tax year. When you file your taxes on April 17, 2018, you will be filing for 2017 taxes and the previous tax law. The impact of the new tax law will mostly be felt starting in 2019.
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How the New Tax Law Affects Small Business Owners
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The Proposed Tax Change and Potential Impact to Home Buyers
Homeowners and the real estate industry have benefited from substantial tax deductions for decades. However in the latest real estate news, changes to these deductions are coming now that the proposed tax plan has been signed into law. What will the fallout to the industry and to homeownership be?
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IRS Announces 2018 Mileage Rates: Your Miles Are Worth More!
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Inside Real Estate Acquires BrokerSumo
WAV Group would like to congratulate Inside Real Estate and BrokerSumo. Inside Real Estate acquired BrokerSumo in an all cash transaction today. Both real estate technology firms are clients of both WAV Group and RE Technology. WAV Group is highly impressed by the quality of the Inside Real Estate core product, kvCORE. Inside Real Estate acquired Kunversion last year and has expanded the platform beyond team to a full broker suite. The kvCORE platform includes agent and broker lead generation websites, smart CRM, transaction management, an application marketplace, and integrations into many of the most popular applications in the industry. For the most part, the combination of kvCORE plus Transaction Management integration goes a long way toward a true lead-to-close solution. But the one thing was missing was accounting and commission management. With the acquisition of BrokerSumo, they have completed the suite.
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7 Year-End Tax Tips to Do Before Tax Reform
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Which Back Office Platform is Right for Your Brokerage?
Last week, we took a look at the first of two back office solutions for brokerages. Today, we're highlighting brokerWOLF, a back office and accounting solution from our 2017-18 Technology Guide.
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How Real Estate Consumers Can Deduct Losses after a Disaster
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Rich Broker, Poor Broker: Breaking Free and Building Wealth in Real Estate with the 'Cashflow Quadrant'
By now, everyone is nauseatingly familiar with the mantra, "Work smarter, not harder." However sick of the expression you may be, as a professional in the real estate industry, can say that you actually consider this concept on a regular basis and actively practice it? Be honest, because what we see in this industry is an ideology centered around putting our heads down and logging long hours every week. This "hustle 'till you drop" philosophy seems to be the more prevalent mantra in the business culture of North America. The average person believes if they just put a little more effort into their work and take on a few extra projects or clients, they will eventually find success. The unfortunate reality is the average person working in real estate will never find freedom they're after, or the success they believe their hard work entitles them to. Their level of wealth will forever be directly correlated to how many hours they are willing to sacrifice with their nose to the grindstone "hustling." Don't Sweat, Succeed!
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Is the 6 Percent Real Estate Commission Outdated?
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Mileage Log Template for Excel
Looking for a mileage log template for Excel? We have you covered. Download this Excel mileage log to manually keep track of your miles. Free Mileage Log Template for Taxes You can use the following log as documentation for your mileage deduction: Download Mileage Log Template For Excel The IRS lets you deduct 53.5 cents per business mile. This template will calculate the value of your business trips based on this figure. When tax time rolls around, you can use this mileage template to determine your deduction on your Schedule C tax form.
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Intuit Partners with Moxi Works to Enable Agent Tax Savings
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Are You Guilty of "Business as Usual" Budgeting?
How many of have been informed that you need to spend the rest of your budget or it's going to be reduced next year? How many times have you blindly hit copy and paste and then added a bit for inflation and an unexpected project, and then called it a day on your budgeting process? If you're walking somewhat blindly through your budgeting process, then you're practicing what we call "business-as-usual budgeting."
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Top 5 Reasons Why Getting Real Estate Accounting Software Could Be Your Play of the Week
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Brokermint Matures into a Top Choice for Small to Mid-sized Brokers
Last year, we introduced you to Brokermint, an all-in-one back office platform that was just emerging as a serious contender in its niche. The article came right at the moment of Brokermint's "coming of age," so to speak, when the company was adding the crucial features—like eSignature support—that made it competitive with established tools in the back office space. A lot has happened in the intervening months, and Brokermint is now well down the path to maturity. They've spent the past year adding refining the platform, adding new functionalities, and making their reports even smarter. So what's new? Here's our exhaustive list of all the latest improvements from Brokermint: New Dropbox Integration Available
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How Integrating Quickbooks with Your Back Office Can Save You Thousands
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Friday Freebie: 2 Back Office Tools Go Head-to-Head!
An all-in-one back office solution or a platform that integrates with your existing tools? Different brokerages have different needs, and today we're highlighting two competing back office systems aimed at small- and mid-sized firms. Free trials and special offers from Brokermint and BrokerSumo Brokers in the market for a back office solution that handles commissions and billings have a world of choices available to them. At one end, we have enterprise-level packages that work great for massive firms, but are likely too expensive or too complicated for smaller companies. At the other end, we have leaner solutions like Brokermint and BrokerSumo that are better equipped to serve independent and more modestly sized brokerages. Both solutions are relative newcomers to the real estate technology scene and are targeted at a similar customer base. Both offer commission management, and both can integrate with Quickbooks or other popular accounting tools. So where do they differ? Well, Brokermint aims to be the do-it-all solution for small- and mid-sized brokers, and offers a complete transaction management component, complete with task checklists, integrated eSignatures, as well as tracking of tools like lockboxes and yard signs. BrokerSumo, on the other hand, offers integration opportunities with existing transaction management platforms like Dotloop. Rather than reinvent the wheel with regards to transaction management, BrokerSumo focuses on doing what it does really well—managing your commission plans and internal accounting needs like agent billing, direct deposit, escrow, generating 1099s, and even tracking the ROI of your marketing efforts. Which solution is best for you comes down to what you need. Do you already use a transaction management tool that you're happy with? If you just need a program to handle your commission and accounting needs, BrokerSumo may be the better bet. Are you looking to get all your back office needs—from transaction management to accounting to commissions—met under one roof? Consider Brokermint. If you're not sure which option is best for you, you can try them both for free—no credit card required. Better yet, we've negotiated additional special offers just for RE Technology readers. Check out the details of each opportunity below: Brokermint: Free 30-day trial, plus 10% off your subscription fees for life when you sign up here. BrokerSumo: Free 14-day trial, plus $50 off your first month with promo code RETECHJUNE. Sign-up here!
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What Is a Contemporaneous Mileage Log?
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5 Ways to Invest Your Tax Refund In Your Business
If you're lucky enough to get a tax refund, it's a nice infusion of cash. It's easy to want to spend it on something lavish or fun. But as a small business owner, you can invest your tax refund in your business and have it compound in value. Take a look at these tax refund spending ideas that can help grow your business and your wallet. Buy New Equipment You can claim a tax deduction for buying qualifying equipment for business use. Yet, many entrepreneurs go year after year with the same outdated equipment. Take an inventory of the equipment you use in the course of day-to-day business. This could include computers or software. Invest your tax refund in new equipment if your business can benefit from it. The deduction helps offset the purchase price. The new equipment and software will help your business run more smoothly. New equipment may seem expensive upfront but just think about the gains your business can have. If you're waiting five minutes every day for your older computer to boot up, that's 20 hours a year you're wasting. And that increased productivity is also combined with the deduction at tax time.
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The Tech Ecosystem of a Thriving Real Estate Brokerage
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Does Your Accounting and Commission System Help You to Retain Agents and Recruit New Agents?
There is a salesperson in the heart of every great real estate agent. They track their income year to date, look at their sales pipeline, and forecast sales and commission goals. For the most part, brokers who use many of the popular accounting systems do not offer a portal that allows agents to log in and see their performance. Newer technology systems for brokerage accounting are focused on giving agents actionable access to their financial performance. "Knowing your numbers" is at the core of every successful business plan execution. It's not about the plan, but the real numbers and the day-to-day changes that impact sales and profits. What are the steps to make it easy? We took a look at Brokersumo, a popular accounting solution for small to midsized brokerage firms. Its reporting function gives both you and your agents direct access to the pipeline of data, close rates, where the bulk of income is generated, and volume to date. Agents will be able to focus on where their best opportunities are, and you'll be able to quickly identify top performers. You'll get deeper insights to your agents and methods to incentivize them.
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Are Car Repairs Tax Deductible? Writing Off Auto Repairs
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Parking Deduction 101: Writing Off Parking Costs on Taxes
The mileage deduction is one of the largest tax savings you can get if you use a personal car for business purposes. But, there are various vehicle-related deductions for self-employed individuals like real estate agents and brokers. Let's go over the parking deduction and see how it can impact your tax bill. Parking Deduction: What Qualifies According to the IRS, you can deduct "business-related parking fees when visiting a customer or client." Some examples of this include paying to park visiting a client, paying for parking at the airport during business trips and other work-related trips. The IRS also allows you to deduct the cost of tolls incurred during business trips. This could start to add up depending on where you are and what you do. For example, a ride-sharing driver for Uber or Lyft in the Bay Area could wind up with multiple write-offs for tolls at the end of the year. Remember, you cannot deduct the parking fees you pay to park your car at your place of work. This is considered a non-deductible commuting expense. One potential way around this is to have a qualifying home office. With this, your trips to the office go from non-deductible commutes to business mileage—the parking costs may also qualify for tax relief. You're also not allowed to write off the costs of parking tickets. This is true even if you got the ticket parking for business purposes.
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Rental Property Tax Deduction: IRS Schedule E and More
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The IRS Warns Against These Tax Scams
It's tax season and that means tracking down all your forms, maximizing your write-offs with things like the mileage deduction and potentially getting a refund. The scammers are also out in force this time of year. Here are some common tax scams the IRS has rounded up and some tips on how to avoid them. Phone Call Scams There are thousands of scammers who try to trick people over the phone every year. This often involves somebody claiming you owe taxes or penalties and if you don't pay quickly, you'll be faced with punitive measures—including jail. What's insidious about this is that the scammers can have legitimate information about you including your name, address or Social Security number. The IRS will never: Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe Require a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official IRS notice Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.
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Top 3 Tools to Integrate Into Your Back Office
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Business Expenses You Can't Deduct
One of the nice things about being a self-employed worker or a small business owner is your ability to deduct nearly all your business expenses. There are some exceptions to this, though. Let's go over business expenses you can't deduct. What You Can Write Off If you're self-employed, the IRS allows you to deduct any "reasonable" business expense. This can include almost any expense as long as it's: Ordinary and necessary Directly related to your business For a reasonable amount. The first requirement means it's common and appropriate for your profession or business. Think of a hammer for a carpenter or office supplies for your small business. Similarly, these expenses must be directly related to your business and can't be for an exorbitant amount. There is a wide-ranging list of expenses that can fit into this category. This includes advertising costs, bank fees for your business accounts, health insurance costs, license fees, office utilities, wages and benefits you provide to your employees and much more. Outside of those, there are a few exceptions of expenses you may think are related to your business but the IRS won't let you take a deduction.
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5 Ways a Term Loan Will Unlock Your Next Big Growth Opportunity
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Facts and Myths About the Mileage Deduction
The mileage deduction is a great way to save on your tax bill. But there are some misconceptions about this valuable deduction. Let's go over some facts and myths about the mileage deduction. Myth: You Need an Odometer Reading for Every Trip Some believe you need to record your odometer reading for every business mileage trip. But that's not what the IRS requires. When you claim business mileage on taxes, you need total business mileage deduction, commuting and your personal mileage. Fact: What the IRS Requires When Claiming When claiming your deduction on IRS 1040 Schedule C, the IRS wants to know your total deduction amount. You'll also have to provide the following answers: Date you placed car into service for business purposes Total business miles you drove during the year Total commuting miles for the year Total non-commuting, non-business miles for the year Was your vehicle available for personal use during off-duty hours? Do you (or your spouse) have another car for personal use? Do you have evidence to support your deduction? Is your evidence written?
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The Power of Automation: Sync your transactions to QuickBooks
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Guide to Tax Basics for Real Estate Brokers
The federal income tax law recognizes that you must spend money to make money. Virtually every real estate agent or broker, however small his or her business, incurs some expenses. Even an agent or broker who works from home must pay for business driving and insurance. Let's take a look at the basics for real estate brokers taxes, as well as some valuable deductions that may be helpful during tax time. Real Estate Brokers Taxes: A Basic Guide for What You Need to Know If you are a sole proprietor (or owner of a one-person LLC taxed as a sole proprietorship), you are not legally required to pay tax on every dollar your real estate sales business takes in (your gross business income). Instead, you owe tax only on the amount left over after your deductible business expenses are subtracted from your gross income (this remaining amount is called your net profit). Although some tax deduction calculations can get a bit complicated, the basic math is simple: the more deductions you take, the lower your net profit will be and the less tax you will have to pay. Example: Karen, a sole proprietor real estate broker, earned $100,000 in commissions this year. Fortunately, she doesn't have to pay income tax on the entire $100,000—her gross business income. Instead, she can deduct from her gross income various business expenses, including a $10,000 office rental deduction and a $5,000 deduction for insurance. These and her other expenses amount to $20,000. She can deduct the $20,000 from her $100,000 gross income to arrive at her net profit: $80,000. She pays income tax only on this net profit amount. The principle is the same if your business is a partnership, limited liability company or S corporation: Business expenses are deducted from the entity's profits to determine the entity's net profit for the year, which is passed through the entity to the owners' individual tax returns. Example: Assume that Karen is a member of a three-owner real estate brokerage organized as a limited liability company (LLC), and is entitled to one-third of the LLC's income. She doesn't pay tax on the gross income the LLC receives, only on her portion of its net income after expenses are deducted. This year, the LLC earned $400,000 and had $100,000 in expenses. She pays tax on one-third of the LLC's $300,000 net profit. If your business is organized as a regular "C" corporation, it too pays tax only on its net profits. Real estate agents and brokers can deduct three broad categories of business expenses: start-up expenses operating expenses capital expenses
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Deducting Business Expense: Reasonable Expenses You Can Write Off
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Tips to: Protect Your Broker’s License
When it comes right down to it, the broker is responsible for the trust account. It is amazing to imagine how many brokers run a business with so much money changing hands, agents coming and going, and yet, they fail to spend 30 minutes a month checking over their trust account. The Pay Me List Holding trust money is an immense responsibility and one, if not done properly, that can literally force an office to close their doors. It is important each month to track the coming and going of trust funds, but ultimately know who owns every dollar in your trust account. Think of it this way: if you were to close your doors today and had to refund all trust money, would you know which buyer and transaction the money belongs to? If the buyers were lined up outside your door would you have enough at the end? Would you have too much? Your monthly bank reconciliation should not only show you your banking information, outstanding checks and deposits, but also a list of money you are holding – the pay me list. This list should be for all current pending transactions.
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3 Foolproof Tactics to Recruit Top Agents
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How Black Friday Can Benefit the Self Employed
Black Friday is often seen as a great time to pick up some holiday gifts or new goodies for your house. But savvy self-employed workers, like real estate professionals, can use Black Friday sales to buy equipment for their business and then deduct the cost at tax time. Why Should I Care About Less Expensive Business Equipment? Some of you might be thinking that the price of your business expenses might not matter because you can write it off anyways. You're right on the second part. The IRS allows you to deduct the cost of virtually any expense related to your business as long as it's ordinary and necessary. But remember that a tax deduction only helps you when you're filing your tax return. You still have to shell out the money upfront for your equipment. Those dollars can quickly add up. We don't advise buying anything simply for a tax deduction: If your business doesn't need the equipment, don't buy it. Black Friday is generally aimed at consumers, so don't expect any deals on rent, advertisement or other business-specific costs. But there are two major categories of sales that could be useful for your business: cars and computers.
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Broker Business Tips: How to Read Your Financial Statements
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5 Ways to Lower Taxes Before End of the Year
If you're self-employed, as most real estate professionals are, there are lots of things you can do by December 31 to lower your taxes for 2016. Let's go over five ways to lower taxes before the end of the year. Defer Income to 2017 With the election of Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress, it is likely that massive across-the-board tax cuts will be enacted in 2017. It is unclear when these cuts would take effect. They could be delayed until 2018. Nevertheless, it is almost certain that individual tax rates will be lower in 2017 and later than in 2016. To take advantage of these cuts, you should defer as much income as possible from 2016 to 2017. For example, if you're owed a commission from your job, ask that it not be paid until 2017.
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Deducting Travel to Conferences and Seminars
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How to Deduct Cell Phone Costs
If you're like most Americans, you have a cell phone and you use it for business at least some of the time. These pocket-sized devices don't come cheap, though. Read on to learn how to deduct cell phone bills on your taxes. When Are Cellular Services Expenses Deductible? You probably bemoan paying cell phone bills each month because it can eat into your bottom line. Uncle Sam does allow you to deduct qualifying cell phone service expenses as business expenses. Your cell phone bill is qualifying if it's connected with your trade or business. Your personal usage of cell phone services are not deductible business expenses. Keep Adequate Records The IRS scrutinizes claims for sizable cellular service expense deductions. This is because it's quite easy to mix business and personal use of a cell phone.
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What Are You Budgeting for in 2017?
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Real Estate Professional Exception to Passive Loss Rules
Life isn't exactly easy for most real estate brokers and agents these days. But real estate pros who own rental property have one thing going for them that others don't: special tax advantages. Let's say that you are a rental property owner and you spend more on the property than you earn during the year–a depressingly common occurrence. Naturally, you'd like to be able to deduct your loss from any non-rental income you have, thereby reducing your taxable income and lowering your taxes for the year. Unfortunately, losses from real property rentals are classified as "passive activity losses." Special passive activity loss rules greatly limit the amount of losses that a rental property owner can deduct from his other non-passive income, such as salary or other business income. A maximum of $25,000 can be deducted from non-passive income each year, and even this is phased out if the owner's adjust gross income exceeds $100,000. Unused losses must be saved for future years. Luckily for real estate professionals, they can qualify for a special exemption from the passive loss rules–an exemption nobody else can get. If you qualify, you may deduct any amount of rental activity losses you have for the year from your other income–such as real estate commission income–regardless of how high your income for the year may be. (IRC Sec. 469(c)(7).) For example, a real estate broker who loses $100,000 from his rentals could deduct the entire amount from his commission income. But it gets even better. Real estate professionals are also not subject to the 3.8 percent net investment income tax on their real estate income. The NII tax was enacted to help fund Obamacare and took effect with the 2013 tax year. (However, real estate pros do have to pay the 3.8 percent tax on investment income, like interest and dividends.) So being a real estate professional can now save you on taxes whether your real estate ventures make or lose money.
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Is a Business Website Deductible?
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What DocuSign's New 'Lead to Close Strategy' Means for Brokers
DocuSign revealed a new 'lead to close' strategy for real estate at last month's Inman Connect conference in San Francisco. But what does that actually mean? Here's a breakdown. What is a 'lead to close' strategy? "Lead to close" is a succinct summation of DocuSign's new mission: to make real estate transactions 100 percent digital, from lead generation through recording of the deed. The heart of this strategy is integration with other major tools that brokers use. For example, one of DocuSign's newest partnerships is with Realtors Property Resource (RPR). Thanks to the integration, DocuSign users no longer need to enter property data into the program. That information is automatically pre-populated into DocuSign Transaction Rooms from RPR's database. Another new integration is with Lantrax's back office and accounting solution, Profit Power. All data about a property sale is pushed from DocuSign into Profit Power. By connecting transaction data to financial performance, this integration gives brokers greater insight into their business performance. DocuSign launched a similar integration with brokerWOLF, Lone Wolf's back office solution, last November.
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IRS Reporting Requirements for Mileage Deduction
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QuickBooks integration for your real estate back office (8/17)
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 11:00 AM PDT This webinar is for both existing and new QuickBooks users who want to automate data entry, integrate with back office, setup recurring billing, etc. Why QuickBooks is a perfect fit for thousands of real estate businesses How to automate data entry and connect your back office to QuickBooks Bonus: Invaluable Best Practices. Recurring billing, direct deposits and much more Register now!
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How Do I Control Bad Debts?
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Who Should I Recruit and How?
Tracking commissions on transactions and entering other broker information is part of the bookkeeping function that your staff is performing for you. But have you ever thought about the way that information can be used by you in guiding your recruiting activities? We all have a checklist of steps to perform when completing a sale file. Most of these center on the need to perform compliance steps to ensure that your files meet legal requirements. But that checklist can include other steps to assist you in reaching out to other agents that your office deals with. Thank you letters can be pre-configured to print from your system, personally addressed to the other agent on your transaction. As part of your staff's closing process, the thank you is a point of contact with the other agent. Another letter that could be produced is simply an outside agent notice that you or your recruiter would receive on each closing involving an outside agent. This notice would serve as a reminder to you to make a phone call and congratulate the other agent on the sale they completed with your office. Which leads to the next report. Agents who consistently do transactions with your agents are prime candidates for recruitment.  Brokers who are successful at recruiting run another broker activity report which notifies them which agents from other offices are regularly listing in their offices. It also can tell which agents from outside offices have lots of listings that your agents are selling. Making that recruiting phone call and having talking points about the agent themselves instead of just you is a great way to keep them engaged and on the line.
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What’s in a Number?
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Lean, Mean Brokerage Machine: Technology Empowers Firm to Operate with Zero Debt
Cory Kammerdiener is a military veteran who applied the technical skills he honed as an Electronic Technician in the U.S. Navy to running a real estate brokerage with minimal overhead and no debt. He accomplishes this by operating his company, NewHomePrograms.com, virtually. The firm has 55 agents and eight brokers in six major cities across Texas and Florida. Rather than leasing physical offices and hiring staff in each of those places, Kammerdiener leans on technology to close transactions, engage his agents, and bring in new business. "If you look at any other real estate company that has offices in as many cities as we do, they probably have a broker, an office manager and someone answering the phones," says Kammerdiener. "But I'm pretty much a one-man operation. I'm the accountant and lead coordinator. I do payroll and transaction management. I'm literally filling in for probably 10 different people that a typical real estate company has to hire. I can do it all because of the software I use." Kammerdiener uses four programs, all integrated with each other, from Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies to achieve this: brokerWOLF, for accounting needs like managing commission structures, tracking expenses and listing inventory, and real-time reporting. WOLFconnect, a virtual front office management system that helps agents working remotely stay connected to the brokerage. loadingDOCS, a document and transaction management platform. globalWOLF, a website solution that automatically syncs online leads to WOLFconnect's built-in CRM. "We first built the company with the idea that brokerWOLF and WOLFconnect were going to be the foundation," Kammerdiener says. "We wanted to be able to grow not only in our city, but in other cities, as well. Lone Wolf allows me to expand our operations without having to hire a bunch of employees."
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A High-Volume Brokerage on the Solution that Enriches Their Bottom Line
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Having a Technologically Integrated Brokerage is Crucial to Recruiting Top Agents
Top performing agents have certain qualities in common. They are extremely organized and efficient with their time. Successful, proactive agents rely on maximizing their time in order to accomplish as many tasks as possible and to stay organized along the way. Like top performing agents, top performing brokerages also have certain commonalities. They use an attractive office environment to recruit and empower top performing agents. Attractive, in this case, means offering agents the tools they need to succeed. Being technologically integrated benefits your brokerage in a number of ways and can take on a number of forms. Here are some examples: Website and Multimedia Support: Having a cohesive online presence across all brokerage and agent sites will make your brand appear organized and trustworthy. Your customer-facing digital presence is an essential component of your lead generation strategy. Your beautifully designed brokerage website loses credibility if it is being referenced by agent sites that are ugly and disorganized. Find a website solution provider who can support your entire brokerage so that your agent websites will follow similar styles and formats, and agents will have access to the same support resources. The same goes for social media support. Keep a bank of branding resources such as high resolution logos, testimonials, videos, etc. that agents can use online. Form contractual agreements with media producers such as photographers, graphic designers and videographers. Offer their services to your agents as needed.  
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3 Tools for Stress-Free Money Management
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What Financial Numbers Should Brokers Be Looking At?
One of the most common questions that brokers/owners ask is this: "What numbers should I be looking at?" This is an intensely personal question, since it goes to the root of what type of operation you are running. The goal in this article is to guide you to some key numbers you should have a handle on. First let's agree on one thing--you need an up-to-date, accurate, financial statement. Your financial statement is your roadmap to financial health, read it like you are going 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. Finding out how you did in your last fiscal year when your CPA gives you statements six months later is ineffective. The information is out of date and not relevant to what is currently happening in your business. So the first set of numbers you should look at is your current financial statement – and it must be in a format that you can read. A statement that shows the most recent twelve months of activity is critical. This is what will allow you to spot trends and get a feel for what direction things are heading. The financial statements that your CPA gives you, with a column for last year and a column for the current year might be required for your income tax return but they do little to help you understand the flow of your business. Only a spreadsheet type twelve month statement will do this. The year-end date of your company doesn't matter here either; you need to see the most recent 12 months, regardless of the fiscal year they fall in. The fiscal year is just a convention created by the government and accountants to fit your numbers into a nice neat slot for them, not to help you run your business.
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Product Review: brokerWOLF
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Choosing a Back Office Solution
This is the latest in a series of 'Buyer's Guides' that feature questions to ask and options to consider before making a new purchase. See our previous guides to purchasing a CMA, CRM, Document and Transaction Management, Electronic Signature, Ad Network, IDX/VOW, and iPad App. What are Back Office Solutions? So much of the business of a real estate broker goes on behind-the-scenes, in your back office. Functions such as accounting, lead routing, reporting, and agent management often fall into this category and are managed with back office software. Each back office solution is different, so it's important to understand what you expect from your technology. Questions to Ask There are some important questions to ask when buying any real estate technology product and some that are unique to choosing a Back Office solution. First, let's look at general questions you'll want to ask. What are my objectives for this piece of technology and will this product help me achieve those objectives? What is my budget? Does my MLS or Association have any agreements with any vendors that might help me obtain this product at a discount or for free? What kind of customer service and training programs are available? Are there webinars and, if so, are they recorded so you can view them at any time? Is the vendor's online help sufficient?
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How Accounting Data Aids Managerial Decision Making
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First-time buyers being squeezed out? Actually, we see signs of more buying power.
Guest contributor Down Payment Resource says: The Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA) recently highlighted that its Home at Last Access™ program resulted in 438 home sales and $64 million in home loans. That's a lot of new homebuyers and sales for REALTORS®. And, the program more than doubled the amount of home loans from the previous year. The Home at Last Access program provides down payment and closing cost assistance through a grant equal to four percent of the loan — and, it doesn't require the homeowner to be a first-time homebuyer. It also offers competitive mortgage lending rates through participating lenders on FHA, VA or USDA home mortgages. What can this local program teach us?
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Counting Down to Year End
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What to Look for in Real Estate Back Office Software
Welcome to the first edition of The Back Office Blog (B.O.B.) – what to look for in back office software. In the ever evolving world of real estate, there has always been one constant and that's the financial viability and cost effectiveness to be a successful brokerage. When starting a new brokerage or analyzing your existing operations, your first thought will often be, "How can I save money and reduce my costs?" Click through to the next page for the top ten recommendations on what you should look for in a back office software solution that answers these two very important questions.
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Do You Know the Net Worth of Your Business?
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Five Steps to Setting Up Your Business Budget
This post comes to us from the Kashoo blog: The word "budget" is often a scary word to business owners, but it shouldn't be. A budget helps you to keep track of the financial goals for your business, as well as keep you updated on your monthly debt retirement activities. Always refer to your business plan for the "big picture" of your business goals, and then generate your income and expense reports from your small business accounting software. Then working with your bookkeeper and/or accountant, set up your budget in the following five easy steps.
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The Two Most Important Financial Documents for Your Small Business
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Three Tech Solutions for Tax Season Woes
We published an agent article about tax season last week.Unfortunately we didn't realize that the day we published it was a holiday. So, we thought we'd republish the article here for brokers. I have a heavy feeling deep down inside. It’s too late to be the effects of holiday gluttony, so how do I account for this painful knot in my stomach? Oh wait – I understand now – it’s time to start thinking about tax season! If the thought of preparing your taxes fills you with dread (like me), you may want to consider some tech tools that just might make it a little less painful. 1) Easy Mile LogLike many real estate professionals, I am an independent contractor. This means that, if I don’t want to take a major hit at tax time, I have to track every work-related penny I spend so that I can write it off as a deduction. A big factor there is mileage! I keep a little notebook in the center console of my car for tracking my mileage to-and-from the office, but I’m terrible about remembering to write in it. So I’m very intrigued by a new product called Easy Mile Log. In fact, I was hoping that this handy dandy little GPS unit would end up in my Christmas stocking. I was disappointed when it didn’t. Looks like it’s going to have to be my present to myself in the new year. So, what am I going on about? What is Easy Mile Log? I talked to David Winiarczyk, President of Easy Mile Log, to get the skinny. “Everybody knows they’re supposed to keep a mileage log, but nobody does it,” says David. “Easy Mile Log makes it easy to do what you’re supposed to do. “
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