Higher-end Homes Hit by Excise Tax Rate Increase

Sellers of higher-end homes will pay more in real estate excise tax (REET) next year due to changes adopted by the Washington state Legislature. A new graduated tax, or tiered REET, will go into effect for homes sold on or after January 1, 2020.

Washington state has one of the highest real estate “transfer tax” rates in the country, according to a study by the National Association of REALTORS®. That rate will now be higher for sellers of homes valued at slightly over $1.5 million or more. The current single rate REET is assessed at 1.28% on the sale price of the home. In addition, most local governments in the state assess an additional one-half percent on the sales price, making the current effective rate 1.78%.

Under the new system, effective in 2020, the first $500,000 of value will be taxed at a new reduced state rate of 1.1%, saving the seller of a $500,000 home $900. For the value of the sale between $500,000 and $1,500,000, the tax rate remains 1.28%. For the value of the sale between $1.5M and $3M the rate is 2.75 % and for sales above $3M the rate is 3%. Because the tax is assessed at a marginal rate (the different rates apply on each portion of the sale), the actual break even point between the old and the new rates is $1,561,224 of value. Sales greater than that amount will pay more REET under the new system and sales under that amount will pay less.

The local government REET rates do not change and remain in effect. The combined state and local taxable rate is shown in the table above.

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9 Tips for Creating the Perfect Guest Room

guest-room

The holidays are coming – is your home ready for overnight guests? Follow these suggestions to create the perfect guest room for friends and family.

  1. Offer reading material

A pile of recent magazines or a shelf of assorted books offers guests a way to wind down before bed.

  1. Add flowers

A simple flower arrangement adds class and color to any room.

  1. Provide seating

Make sure there’s somewhere cozy for guests to sit if they need some alone time during holiday chaos.

  1. Make wi-fi connection easy

Leave a piece of paper with your internet server’s name and password on the dresser so guests can easily access your wireless connection.

  1. Did they forget something?

Fill a basket with sample-sized containers of essentials, like toothpaste, mouthwash and shampoo.

  1. Add a luggage stand

Put out a folding luggage stand where guests can prop their suitcases to avoid having to squat all the way down to the floor every time they need something.

  1. Make the closet functional

Be sure to stock the closet with empty hangers for guest’s clothes.

  1. Add charm with decorations

Create a welcoming, calm space for guests. Err on the side of generic. Remember, not everyone wants to sleep surrounded by Star Wars-themed decorations or your horror movie poster collection.

  1. A picture perfect welcome

Place a framed photo of you and your guest on the nightstand.

Is your “guest room” your living room sofa? Maybe it’s time to look for a larger space; I’ll be happy to help!

7 Must-Know Facts About President Obama’s New Home

Obama

Whoever winds up moving into the White House next year is still anyone’s guess, but one thing’s for certain: President Barack Obama will have to move out. And he’s already chosen his new digs!

Here are seven facts about the first family’s new home that you’ll be glad to know…

4 Must-Know Facts About the Last Frank Lloyd Wright

last-frank-lloyd-wright

About a month ago, this distinctive three-bedroom, three-bath home in Phoenix went on the market for $3.6 million. This desert dwelling is particularly notable because it’s the final masterpiece designed by Frank Lloyd Wright before he died in 1959.

Its undulating shape, cantilevered space, and porthole cutouts throughout are Wright hallmarks that remind the eye of his design of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

I’ve had my eye on Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs for a long time, so enjoy the full story here.

Kirkland, Bellevue among nation’s priciest for high-end homes

Front Door 2

If you own a home in Kirkland or Bellevue, you live in one of the nation’s top 10 luxury markets, according to a new report by Redfin. Though the Eastside cities rank high, they are nowhere near Miami Beach, where the average luxury home sold for $8.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Read the Seattle Times article…

21 Hot Housing Trends for 2015

United States

Everyone wants to be hip, and the latest trends in design can help distinguish one home from another. And it’s not all flash; many new home fads are geared to pare maintenance and energy use and deliver information faster. Here’s a look at what’s coming…

In Housing, Big Is Back (not counting the extras)

The bursting of the housing bubble didn’t deter affluent buyers for long.

After the recession, the market for large, expensive homes slowed sharply. Yet despite the bursting of the housing bubble, the ensuing recession and the slow recovery, buyers have not abandoned luxury homes. It turns out that they just took a break. In July 2013, sales of homes costing more than $1 million were up 46.6 percent from the previous July. When it comes to new homes, bigger is again better.

Read more…