Archive for the 'Multi-Family Property Investing' Category

Comments Off on How The Tax Bill Impacts Minneapolis Duplex Owners

Now that we’re a month past the passage of the new tax bill, what exactly does it mean to Minneapolis duplex owners and investment property landlords?

First, if you own your rental property as a sole proprietor, LLC or partnership, you own it is a pass-through entity. In other words, any profit you make on the investment is passed through to your personal income taxes, and you pay taxes on it at your individual rate.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), created a new tax deduction for people who have pass-through income.

If your activity with rental property qualifies as a business, you now may now deduct an amount equal to 20 percent of your net rental income. In other words, if you qualify for this, you’ll be taxed on 80 percent of your rental income rather than 100 percent.

In order to qualify for this deduction, you must:

  • operate the rental business as a sole proprietor, S corporation shareholder, LLC owner or partner in a partnership and
  • you can’t have more than $315,000 in taxable income for the year if you’re a married couple filing jointly, or $157,500 if you’re single.

If you’re lucky enough to earn more than that, the deduction is phased out and eliminated entirely for single people who make more than $207,500 and couples who make more than $415,000. However, you can still qualify if:

  • The deduction just can’t be more than 50 percent of your share of the W-2 wages paid by your rental business or
  • 25 percent of your portion of the W-2 wages plus 2.5 percent of the original purchase price of the depreciable property. In other words, if you paid $300,000 for a duplex, and the land value was $100,000, you could take 2.5 percent of the $200,o00 value on the building itself. This deduction can be taken during the entire depreciation period for the property (27.5 years on residential property). You do have to commit to it though, as once you take it, you must continue to do so for at least 10 years.

Second, starting in 2018, you can start to deduct the cost of personal property used in residential rentals. In other words, if you had to buy a new refrigerator for a unit, you may now deduct it as an expense.

Next, duplex owners may take something called “bonus depreciation” on any personal property purchased for their rental property business. In the past, investors could deduct 50 percent of the cost of any personal property they purchase for their business in a year. Now, any personal property purchased after September 2017 is 100 percent deductible.

For the first time, 100 percent bonus depreciation may applied to both new and used property, rather than just new property. This benefit will begin to be phased out after 2023, and eliminated in 2027.

This bonus may not be used for the building itself. Rather, it can be used on anything that has a depreciation schedule shorter than 20 years. That may include appliances, washers and dryers, yard equipment and furniture. It also applies to landscaping!

Third, since mortgage interest is considered an expense in a rental property business, it is not impacted by the limits to mortgage interest deductions.

Finally, if you are self-employed, you probably know you’re required to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your net business income, as well as personal income tax. However, income you net from your rental property is exempt from this; with one exception.

Landlords who provide substantial services to their tenants – like an AirBnB or bed and breakfast, are required to pay self-employment taxes on the income they generate. That’s important to know for those of you renting out units for the Super Bowl.

Of course, more will be sorted out as tax professionals work their way through the new bill.  Be sure to check with your tax advisor on how the new tax laws impact you.


Comments Off on Looking For A Good Property Manager? Ask The Right Questions

There often comes a time in a real estate investors career when managing his or her own properties isn’t possible. As a result, I am often asked if I can recommend a great property manager.

Of course, I can.

My criteria, however, may not be the same as either the property owner’s or, most certainly, that of the tenants.

To me, in addition to the usual jobs of a property manager, the most important qualities I look for is the understanding that their fiduciary duties are to the property owner (not the tenants) and knowledge of landlord/tenant law.

A fiduciary has a legal or ethical responsibility to act in the best interest and sole benefit of the property owner at all times.

Over the years, I have interviewed a number of property managers to see if they are good fits for my clients. Time and again I have been told by these individuals and companies that they have great relationships with their tenants. It is rare to hear they have good relationships with their owners. And those are the very people they have a fiduciary duty to!

Of course, when it comes to access to properties, evictions and even tenant screening, knowing the letter of the law can be the difference between success and failure, both as an investment property owner and as a seller.

That’s why I always ask prospective managers a trick question. It is, quite simply, if a property owner decides to sell, what kind of notice are we required to give residents for showings?

Of course, if the answer deviates from Minnesota state law and isn’t detailed specifically in the property’s leases, I can’t recommend them.

So what is Minnesota law?

I’ll give you a hint. There’s no such thing as a 24-hour notice rule.



Comments Off on Minneapolis & St Paul Pass Short-Term Rental Ordinances

Minneapolis and St. Paul duplex, triplex and apartment building owners have discovered an additional and often lucrative income stream: short-term rentals. Whether it’s renting out a one bedroom unit for a weekend, or the week of the Super Bowl, the revenue these properties generate often exceeds what a full-time tenant would pay each month for rent.

Enter the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. In recent weeks, city councils in both have passed ordinances requiring both the online platforms that advertise properties, like Airbnb and VRBO, and the property owners themselves to apply for rental licenses as well as pay an annual renewal fee.

Doing this allows each municipality to do property inspections, collect sales tax, and enforce parking requirements.

Similar regulations have already been passed in local suburbs like Eagan, Lakeville and Stillwater, as well as cities including San Francisco and Austin, Tex.

In Minneapolis, owners who rent a property they live in but move out of for guests will have to pay $46 for an annual rental license and may be subject to inspections. Owners who remain on the premises where they live while hosting guests aren’t subject to regulations or required to pay licensing fees.

Property owners who conduct short-term rentals in locations where they do not live, on the other hand, will be required to get a standard rental license and be subject to the same inspections traditional landlords are.

Only rental properties that have a Tier 1 or Tier 2 designation may apply for short-term rental licenses. License holders who already have that designation do not need to reapply. The short-term designation fee for

Properties being converted to rental properties must pass an initial city inspection, which is $1000, and pay an annual fee of $70 for a Tier 1 property or $112 for those designated Tier 2.

Minneapolis will also charge large online platforms like Airbnb, Expedia and HomeAway an annual fee of $5000.

The city of St. Paul will charge short-term rental property owners an annual fee of $40.

Owners of single family homes, duplexes and triplexes are restricted to having only one of the units in each property as a short term rental. Four to eight unit building owners may rent out half of the units on a short-term basis.

The city will also be charging online platforms an annual licensing fee of $10,000.

The online platforms have stated they intend to explore their legal options to challenge the ordinances.


Comments Off on Share What You Know: Make Your Investment Property A Gift

Duplex Chick and Dad

On May 3, 2017, my father died following a 9 month battle with pancreatic cancer.

On the surface, that doesn’t seem to have much to do with duplexes, investment property, real estate, or this blog.

But this blog wouldn’t have been possible without my dad.

You see, throughout my childhood, my dad had a sign on his desk that read “Happiness is a positive cash flow”.

The terms “cash flow” and “cap rate” were heard as often when I was growing up as “eat your vegetables” or “good job”. They have, quite simply, been part of the soundtrack of my life.

While today I do speak the language of investment property, it is nonetheless daunting to suddenly be charged with understanding someone else’s real estate portfolio; especially when it involves larger commercial property that may share many of the principles of multi-family investing, but not all of the same language.

If you’re thinking about investing in real estate, or have already started, I’ve now come to realize how important it is to have all of the information someone would need to run your properties centralized; from a list of service people, to loan numbers, balloon payments, tenant contact information and leases.

The one gift of a terminal diagnosis is we got a little bit of time to prepare for this transition. Even so, it’s a challenge to understand it all.

Helping your loved ones by sharing as much information as you can is one of the easiest ways you can make sure your investment is the blessing for them you intended it to be. And it’s never too early, or too late to get started.




Comments Off on Millenials Won’t Be Moving Out of Duplexes Soon

2016 Graduate Student Loan Icons - Crippling Student Loan Graphics for Education Financial Aid or Assistance, Government Loans, and DebtIs there a reason investment properties continue to be among the hottest sectors of the real estate market?

The answer may be found with millenials. After all, a recent study by CoreLogic found that 60 percent of applicants for rental housing between 2011-2015 were millennials.

And that means student loan debt.

The total amount of student loan debt in the U.S. has mushroomed from $380 billion in 2004 to $1.3 trillion in 2015. The only collective consumer debt that’s bigger is mortgages.

Nearly half of all millenials (48%) in 2015 had student loan debt. This represents a 10 percent increase over just 8 years ago.

The average amount of student loan debt was $31,900 for adults between the ages of 20-34. In 2008, this average was $22,500. The median balance was up 53.7 percent to $18,600; an increase of more than $6500 over the $12,100 median in 2008.

Repaying this debt may be the reason so many of today’s renters are millenials.

With no sign of this changing soon, odds are millenials will continue to rent, keeping vacancy rates low.

Low vacancy rates mean higher rents, which make it a great time to be a landlord.


Comments Off on Make Your Vacation Home A Great Investment

Vacation Properties Make Great InvestmentsIf you already own a home or live in your duplex, you may want to explore the possibility of buying a vacation home for your own enjoyment, and as an investment.


If you’re purchasing an investment property in today’s mortgage market, you’ll be required to put 20 or 25 percent down.

But if you’re purchasing a second home, such as a winter residence in a warmer climate or a cabin on a lake, you are only required to put 10 percent down. The property must be a single family residence. In other words, it can be a condo, townhouse or house. It cannot be  a duplex, triplex or apartment building.

Lenders are not asking you to live in your second home a minimum number of days or months in order to qualify for this loan. You may go for one weekend or for six months.

When you’re not there, you can leave it vacant. Or, rent it out as AirBNB or VRBO.

In other words, you can have short term residents buy you a vacation property.

Want a cabin up north or a condo on the beach? Why not let someone else buy it for you?

All the principles of duplex investment apply to vacation rentals as well. You just need to know how to use them.



Comments Off on Minneapolis Real Estate Still The Best Investment

Minneapolis Real Estate is the Best InvestmentLast month Bankrate released its latest Financial Security Index poll, and discovered one fourth of the respondents said they would rather invest in real estate with money they won’t need for the next 10 years.

That doesn’t sound like a lot until you look at the rest of the numbers.

Real estate beat out CDs and savings, which just 23 percent of those polled thought was a good place for a long term investment. Sixteen percent of those surveyed thought the stock market or precious metals would yield the best 10 year strategy, and just 5 percent thought they should put their money in bonds.

Due to the dot-com crash of the early 200s and the slide of the financial crisis of 2008-2009, many people don’t trust the stock market. This holds true in spite of the fact the stock market has benn on a bull run (when prices rise and investors are confident in the market) since 2009.

Real estate may inspire investor confidence, in spite of its own crash during the financial crisis, as a result of it being a tangible asset that, as an investor, you can see and touch.

While it may not be as liquid as money in a savings account or even stock, if the return isn’t what it should be, can you physically improve or manage differently to help change your rate of return. An investor may improve their cash flow by doing something as simple as picking up a paint brush, cleaning up the yard, or screening tenants more stringently. It’s tough to that with a stock.

If you believe real estate is a great investment, but aren’t sure how to get started, give me a call or email me. You’ll see why so many people believe it’s the best possible way to make sure you’re protecting your financial future.



Comments Off on Increase Your Duplex Cash Flow Through Short Term Rentals

airbnb logoOver the last few years, many of my investment property clients have told me they have dramatically increased the cash flow on their properties by furnishing a unit and using it as a short term rental through services such as Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) and Airbnb.

These services allow for short term rentals. In some cases it may be for a couple of days, and in others, several months. Because of the short term nature of the tenants stays, owners are able to charge a premium rent. In some cases, this is as much as double what a unit may rent for on a long term basis.

With the Superbowl and Final Four on the horizon, this may be especially appealing to Minneapolis duplex owners.

Of course, this is a relatively new way of running a rental property, which has cities across the nation scrambling to create regulations to make sure these properties are not exempt from the standards other types of investment properties are held to.

In San Francisco, for example, the city wants Airbnb landlords to display their city rental license number in all of their advertising as a way of insuring every owner is, in fact, running a legal unit.

In St Paul, the city council just created a committee to develop standards and rules and a way to collect taxes on the properties.

Minneapolis, however, doesn’t plan to add new rules because they haven’t experienced any problems with short term rental properties.

In Savage, there is a city ordinance which prohibits renting a property for less than 15 days which effectively bans short term rentals.

Even if your city has no restrictions on vacation rentals, you may encounter other hurdles. For example, if you purchase a condominium or townhouse where rentals are allowed, you may discover that applies only to long term tenancy.

The moral of the story is this. If you’re thinking of using your investment property for short term rentals, be sure to check with your city for the latest rules and restrictions.






Comments Off on What Are The Two Kinds of Minneapolis Duplexes?

Duplexes Have Different ValuesWould you believe me if I told you there are two different kinds of duplexes?

And no, I’m not referring to a side by side compared to an up/down.

One kind of duplex cash flows.

The other kind helps an owner occupant afford a lifestyle.

Sometimes the difference is hard for people to understand. After all, shouldn’t all duplexes cash flow?

Theoretically, yes.

However, there’s one thing that’s radically different about a duplex, triplex or fourplex from any other kind of investment property; it’s eligible for FHA financing.

FHA financing is available only to buyers who intend to live in the property, and it requires just a 3.5 percent down payment.

Many duplex buyers don’t buy the property for the immediate cash flow. Rather, they purchase it for a long term investment that, for the moment, will offset their own living expenses

Rent, believe it or not, has gotten expensive. As a result, many tenants begin looking to purchase a home of their own. Some quickly realize that a house payment isn’t any less expensive; particularly if they want to live in a hot neighborhood.

However, they often realize if they buy a duplex, not only is their portion of the mortgage payment reduced by the amount of rental income, it is quite often even less than they were paying in rent.

This epiphany means an owner occupant buyer is typically willing to pay more for a duplex in a sought after neighborhood than is a duplex investor looking for a specific rate of return. This drives prices up to where they no longer make sense for many real estate investors.

That’s a hard thing to understand if you’ve been watching late night infomercials on how to make millions in real estate.

But in many markets, it’s reality.

Comments Off on How To Learn Real Estate Investing – For Free

cash flow logoIf you’ve ever dreamed about investing in real estate, but just weren’t sure how to begin, you can learn for free this Wednesday at the monthly Minneapolis-St Paul Cashflow game.

Cashflow 101 is a board game created by Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki that teaches the basic principles of his book in a fun, easy to learn way. Not only does the game provide an opportunity to learn about real estate investing with very little risk, it also gives you a chance to meet and network with other investors.

The Minneapolis-St Paul Cashflow group meets at 7 pm the second Wednesday of every month at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 1114 American Blvd W in Bloomington. Food and beverages are available.

Hope to see you there!