New and Updated in the Library – April 2016

The following Field Guides have recently been updated in the Library: 1031 Exchanges Section 1031 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code allows investors to defer capital gains taxes on the exchange of like-kind properties. 1031, or tax-deferred, exchanges hold great advantages for both investors and REALTORS®. This field guide provides access to articles, manuals, forms, ideas, and other information to help you start building your 1031 niche. Fair Housing The Fair Housing Act was passed 48 years ago but it has evolved over time in response to societal changes. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has proposed the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” initiative, which seeks to expand fair housing choice, eliminate racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, and reduce disparities in access to important community assets such as quality schools, job centers, and transit. This Field Guide provides updated Fair Housing information, links to short documentaries and videos, and helpful resources for REALTORS®. Zoning Laws & Ordinances Zoning laws are found in virtually every municipality in the United States, affecting land use, lot size, building heights, density, setbacks, and other aspects of property use. This field guide features links to articles, books, and websites that will provide you with information on the concept of zoning, zoning’s impacts on property values, and related topics. Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) “An underground storage tank system (UST) is a tank and any underground piping connected to the tank that has at least 10 percent of its combined volume underground. The federal UST regulations apply only to UST systems storing either petroleum or certain hazardous substances.” Learn About Underground Storage Tanks, (U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mar. 8, 2016). Until the mid-1980s most underground storage tanks (USTs) were made of bare steel, which is likely to corrode over time and allow UST contents to leak into the environment. The greatest potential hazard from a leaking UST is that its contents (petroleum or other hazardous substances) can seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans. Frequent Questions about Underground Storage Tanks, (U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Dec. 15, 2015). Lease-Option Purchases Lease-option agreements* are common when acquiring personal property—such as dishwashers, washing machines, automobiles, and TVs—but are not as common for the acquisition of real property. Lease-option agreements are generally utilized in residential real estate acquisition when a home buyer would like to purchase a home, but needs to repair her credit rating in order to secure a promissory note and mortgage. The lease-option agreement allows a buyer to lease a property for a set period of time—typically between 1-3 years—with the option to buy the property at a contractual future date. “The negotiated option is typically a percentage of the price for example, one to five percent, and is credited, along with the rents and a rent premium, to the purchase price if the lessee buys the property. If the option to buy is not exercised, the buyer will lose the option fee and rent premium.” (Real Estate Law, p. 227). Read the articles below to learn more about this alternative real estate financing option. Women in Real Estate There are few industries remaining today that have not seen a drastic change in the role that women play, and real estate and relocation are certainly not immune to these changes. Historically, women have been involved in real estate almost since its inception in 1794 and its establishment as a legitimate business in the 1840s. In real estate’s early days, women filled office and clerical roles, but by the 1880s, women were already moving into the roles of agents and brokers, though at a relatively slow rate. Nationwide, women brokers dominate the residential real estate market, but have yet to make a major entrance into the more lucrative commercial market. This page includes articles, books and web sites related to issues facing women in the real estate industry. Agricultural / Farm Land On the surface, buying a farm has a very ‘get away from it all’ sort of appeal. The reality is that farming can be emotionally and financially stressful with success dependent upon many variables, including the weather, taxes, domestic and foreign competition, etc. The rewards, however, can be considerable. This field guide explores the pros and cons of owning farm property. Retail Property Market Retail property is under stress, with empty stores, little growth and customers who prefer to shop online.  Find out current trends, forecasts, and what is happening in retail leasing and investing. Recruiting & Retaining Salespeople In this highly competitive real estate marketplace, how do you find and hire successful agents—and what’s the best way to prevent your top producers from switching to another firm? The material on this page will help you discover what makes a top producer and offers some of the latest tips and techniques for hiring successful, reliable agents and keeping them on your team. Selling New Homes Interested in selling new homes? Learn about the latest market conditions, how to market new homes, and how to spot new home design trends. Surviving and Thriving in a Challenging Market Every market has its ups and downs, and real estate is certainly no exception. In difficult times, it is more important than ever to find your niche, to discover new marketing methods, and to explore how you can separate yourself from the competition. And whether you are a residential or commercial specialist, your clients will be looking to you for advice on coming out on top. This Field Guide offers tips and ideas to help you and your clients survive and thrive in a challenging market. Social Benefits of Home Ownership The financial and tax benefits of owning a home vs. renting are very clear. Home ownership also provides many benefits to the family, children and the community, such as increased education for children, lower teen-age pregnancy rate and a higher lifetime annual income for children, as discussed in the following articles. Drones & Real Estate Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are currently used for law enforcement, national security, commercial and scientific purposes.   The Federal Aviation Administration sets out the rules here for commercial drone operations.  This Field Guide includes resources to help REALTORS® stay abreast of the legal status of utilizing drones, and to learn about the use of drones for the real estate industry. Commuting & The Home Buying Decision Commuting – the bane of our workweek! For many Americans, commute times or public transportation options figure strongly in their home-buying decisions. This field guide offers statistics, articles, and even alternatives to mind-numbing rush hours.