Monday, August 29, 2016

Any Plans to Buy or Sell in this Tax Year?

It may seem ridiculous for me to be posting on a hazy, hot, and humid August morning that time is running out for real estate sales this year.  However, much of commercial real estate is driven by tax concerns, and taxes play an important role all the time, even when the reasons for activity relate to other concerns.  Therefore, it's wise to consider that it takes a long time to close most properties that need environmental testing or financing, so now would be the time to get moving, if you intend to accomplish anything by the end of 2016.  In the real estate field, we try not to count on much getting done after mid-November.  Since that is about ten weeks away, I'm not being overly cautious to say that Labor Day should be your signal to ramp up your search or your sale.  Even leases can be affected by the calendar year for taxpayers, if you are interested in deducting costs of fit-up or commissions.

So time's awasting--get moving!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Services for City Dwellers

"Walkability" is near the top of the list of attributes for residential housing these days.  Everybody wants to be able to walk--to work, to restaurants, to public spaces, and to culture.  Even towns now advertise when something is walking distance from whatever town center is closest.  New Haven is enjoying a boom in high-rise living, with prices headed up and supply being absorbed ahead of anyone's predictions.  What does that mean for our commercial sector?

In prior days, retail meant big box stores that could be accessed with little driving time, and abundant free parking on site. That's still true if  you are big enough--IKEA comes to mind.  For almost everyone else, retail now means the old-time corner store, the local market, the neighborhood bar or restaurant, and farmers' markets nearby.  With all the new housing downtown, there are still services needed locally--in this case, hyperlocally.  What about pets?  Drugstores? Grocery stores? Even gift shops?  We've got something for everyone, but there's room for more.  Tenants and downtown homeowners expect to pay more for convenience, and they will.  More boutiques and pop-up stores are in our future, as our more of the ever-expanding restaurant and bar scene, which already draws from around the state.  It will continue to do so, and visitors will complement the city natives who patronize those places. 

For investors or developers, there is money to be made.  Property now seems reasonably priced for commercial, and it can easily be made into space for the uses that walkability-minded folks require.  Think about it--but not for too long, or the window will close!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Goodbye to Another CT Billiionaire

Paul Tudor Jones has taken his marbles and moved to Florida, according to recent sources.  In most states, it probably wouldn't matter what one person does, but Connecticut is not most states.  Last year, Jones made about $600 million, giving him a CT income tax bill of around $30 million.  Florida has no income tax.  Although he could obviously afford to pay his tax bill here, many people feel that paying what you don't need to pay is always a bad idea; that is, smart people minimize taxes. 

I just did a little math about what that means for the rest of us, since the State has announced that, once again, their tax collections in the most recent period fell short of projections.  Although Jones moved late last year, I suppose it's possible that Connecticut didn't find out until taxes were due.  After all, most people don't announce their departures. 

Connecticut has about 1.3 million households.  Using Federal data, it seems that 73% of CT taxpayers pay income taxes nationally, which is a very high rate. If we assume that the State collection would be at the same rate, 949,000 households pay taxes.  When Mr. Jones left, his $30 million tax bill would then get divided up amongst all of us, adding about $32 to each bill in the State.  And that's before any increases for cost of living, additional services, repairs and maintenance, or other parts of the State budget.  You can see that, if enough people leave, the rest of us will be paying for that,  year after year.  So maybe we should all care about the 1%, since their comings and goings affect us all!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Finding What's Not There

Usually, when you are looking for something to purchase, you expect to choose from among the options available, either at a retail outlet, or on line.  Real estate has become very different these days.  There is often a disconnect between what sellers are offering, and what buyers want to buy.  And that's where the agents come in.

In the olden days, we sat down with people, and showed them a physical book of properties available, or took them in our cars to see what was listed.  Now, we've become experts in finding what is not on the market.  We frequently scour an area, or brainstorm together at an office meeting, to try and locate what a buyer or renter is hoping to find.  It's not uncommon for us to chase down leads, or contact out-of-town owners upon seeing a half-empty parking lot or signs of disuse, in order to present more choices to clients. 

That's where the distinct advantage of a local company comes in.  We are big enough to network all over the world, to promote listings on line, and to have the technology necessary to accomplish transactions.  However, because we know Connecticut, and have our whole team of local experts, we can search with purpose, having a good idea of where things not on the market currently may be located, or carved out of a larger property.  In one recent search, only a couple out of almost 20 properties were being marketed for sale or lease.  The others came through networking with owners, agents, State and town officials, and each other.

That's the future of real estate brokerage--agents as consultants--and we are in the vanguard.  We advise people who have found buildings and land, people who are looking, and people who haven't looked.  We seek out alternatives, identify and sometimes eliminate obstacles, and smooth the way with regulations.  It's the best way for us to work--as partners with our clients--and the best way to access our services.  Sometimes change really is good for everybody!