May 11, 2012
Are you tired of treading water in the stock market? Looking to “opt out” of market volatility as much as possible? Many smart investors are looking for insulation by upping their allocation to asset classes that have little or no correlation to the equity market.
One old standby that continues to capture attention is real estate. Besides a low/no correlation to stocks, real estate is a classic inflation hedge and a great income play. But buyer beware: Each of the three approaches to owning real estate in your IRA comes with “strings attached.”
Self-directed ownership. In case you haven’t seen the commercials or read the ads in airline magazines, it’s possible to own real estate inside of your self-directed IRA.
- PRO=Direct, pure investment into real estate that you can see and touch for yourself.
- CON=It’s difficult to diversify geographically and by sector (mix of apartments, retail, medical buildings, etc.) and it’s illiquid until you can find a buyer.
- STRING ATTACHED=There are enough IRS regulations (on what you CAN’T do with your IRA owned real estate) that it will make your head spin. For example, you cannot physically maintain the property or use it personally. If you do, the tax deferral of your IRA is blown and you’ll owe a HUGE tax bill.
Public ownership. Owning REIT stocks or REIT funds can provide broad diversification among many geographic regions and sectors.
- PRO=Public REITs can be purchased easily on the open market and are liquid.
- CON= Public REITs are not considered a pure real estate play since you only own equity in a company, not tangible real estate, thus the inflation protection prowess is relatively tame.
- STRING ATTACHED=The liquidity feature of public REITs is also its Achilles heel since they are traded on the equity markets, causing them to retain a much higher level of correlation to market swings.
Private ownership. Opportunistic private REITs can provide the benefits of direct ownership and diversification.
- PRO=Opportunistic private REITs are a pure play on real estate that offer virtually no market correlation, tangible ownership, strong dividend income, and inflation protection. It’s generic valtrex online even possible to obtain granularity by selecting a REIT that is geographically specific (like NYC or Texas) or sector specific (healthcare facilities or grocery-anchored).
- CON=Lack of transparency. It’s difficult for investors to decipher what’s a good private REIT and what isn’t. Always look for high occupancy rates (85 percent at a minimum), low leverage (ideally 50 percent or below), dividend stability, and a stated exit strategy (look for a 3-6 year hold). The Blue Vault Report is a great, unbiased resource for evaluation.
- STRING ATTACHED=Since private REITs are in the acquisition stage (buying) of real estate and they not traded on the open market, they are generally illiquid. Never allocate more than 35 percent of your total capital to this type of REIT. The ideal allocation would be 15-25 percent.
By adding just the right dash of real estate in your IRA, you may be well on your way to better protecting your hard-earned savings from the next 2008 and future inflation.
Robert Russell is CEO & CIO of the Ohio-based Russell & Company, a private wealth management firm specializing in helping affluent individuals ages 45 and up create and preserve their wealth. He co-hosts a radio show, authors The Rob Report blog, and is a frequent contributor to FOX Business and CNBC.
Securities offered through Kalos Capital, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through Kalos Management, Inc., 3780 Mansell Rd. Suite 150, Alpharetta, GA 30022, (678) 356-1100. Russell & Company is not an affiliate or subsidiary of Kalos Capital, Inc. or Kalos Management, Inc.
Posted in Alabama Banking, Alabama Buying/Selling, Alabama Legal, Florida Banking, Florida Buying/Selling, Florida Legal
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April 2, 2012
The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that “public accommodations” provide persons with disabilities equal opportunity to enjoy the premises.
In 2010, the Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the ADA (“2010 Standards”).
The 2010 Standards required that by March 15, 2012, all existing facilities of public www.buycheap-pillsonline.com/tetracycline.html accommodations, including pools, be maintained in operable, working condition, so that persons with disabilities have access to the pool whenever the pool is open to others. The 2010 Standards establish two categories of pools: large pools with more than 300 linear feet of pool wall, and smaller pools with less than 300 linear feet of wall. Large pools must have two accessible means of entry. Small pools are only required to have one accessible means of entry, provided that it is either a pool lift or a sloped entry.
A facility is subject to the ADA if it is a place of “public accommodation.” Pools at places of public accommodation must be retrofitted when it becomes “readily achievable” to do so. “Readily achievable” is accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. The 2010 Standards seem to imply that installing a lift or ramp is “readily achievable” for just about any facility, given the relatively low cost of the equipment.
On March 20, the DOJ issued a ruling extending the date for compliance with pool accessibility requirements by 60 days.
The application of ADA to a particular condominium, cooperative or homeowner’s association is a matter that should be individually and specifically discussed with the association’s legal counsel, and is simply not suitable for determination through a general newspaper column. In general, residential condominiums, cooperatives and subdivisions are not subject to ADA. However, a condominium, cooperative or subdivision that permits short-term stays and/or has the operational characteristics of a hotel, motel, or inn would be subject to the ADA.
Posted in Alabama Association, Alabama Legal, Florida Association, Florida Legal
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March 20, 2012
Growing even faster than the daisies and daffodils Kimberly Bois planted outside her condo unit in memory of her mother are the fines imposed by her condominium association, which is suing to force her to rip the flowers out.
The first day of spring on Tuesday was marked by another $50 daily fine imposed on Bois by the management at Atlantic Pointe condominiums in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for allegedly violating a policy aimed at maintaining the homes’ uniform look.
So far, the association is demanding $5,500 in fines, more than $8,000 in attorney fees and has placed a lien on the $300,000 unit owned by Bois, who planted the flowerbed in 2009.
“They said I was a violator and that violators will be dealt with,” generic amoxil online Bois told Reuters.
“Why my flowers are getting picked on, I don’t know,” said Bois, who transplanted heirloom flowers from her deceased mother’s garden to a 8-foot by 5-foot bed in front of her condo.
She said she got permission from the developer soon after she bought the newly built unit in 2008. When landscaping responsibility passed to a condominium association established in October 2010, they took a different line on the flowers.
The condo association has argued that landscaping is to be performed only by a company hired by the board to ensure a standard look. Sanford Roberts, a lawyer for the condo association, and Jeff Davis, the president of the Atlantic Pointe board, did not return messages seeking comment.
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March 8, 2012
House Bill 1195 (HB1195), effective July 1st, 2011, established some new laws governing Florida’s Condominium and Homeowner’s Associations. These changes to Florida Statute 718 and 720 are not major ones, but there are a few items that should be looked at.
Closed Door Board Meetings
Florida Statute 718.112(2)(c)3 now allows for a Condo Board to hold closed meetings for the purposes of discussing matters that pertain to personnel, but an attorney must still be present when discussing any purposed or pending litigation in order for any other type of closed door meeting to be held. This now makes the Condo requirements consistent with the HOA requirements of Florida Statute 720.303(2).
Participation in Board Meetings
Florida Statute 720.303(2)(b) removes the requirement that HOA members must petition the Board in order to speak at any Board meetings, and also allows for HOA members that have the right to speak at any Board meeting, the ability to reference all items.
Collection of Rents
Florida Statutes 718.116(11) (for Condos) and 720.3085(8) (for HOAs) address the laws that went into effect last year as to the directing of rents from a tenant in an property, directly to the Association if the owner of the property is delinquent in their assessments. Then new laws delete references to “future monetary obligations” and they clarify that demand for rent is for subsequent rental payments due from the tenant. A very important part that is clarified, is that upon written notice from the Association, a tenant is responsible to pay all subsequent rental payments to the Association until all monetary obligations of the unit owner that concern the unit the tenant is living in have been paid in full.
There is come clarification in Florida Statute 718.111(12) that “personnel records” are records that pertain to both the Association’s employees as well as the Association’s management company’s employees. It goes on to state that “personnel records” cannot be accessed by owners, but any written agreements between and Association and their employees or management company, as well as financial and budgetary documents that show the compensation paid to an employee are available to owners.
The new law also provides that owner’s email addresses and fax numbers are not to be made available to other owners, unless an owner consents in writing to release personal identifying information (such as emails, phone numbers and alternative addresses).
Florida Statute 720.303(5)(c) also provides that owner’s email addresses and fax numbers are not to be made available to other owners, unless an owner consents in writing to release personal identifying information (such as emails, phone numbers and alternative addresses), and that “personnel records” cannot be accessed by owners, but any written agreements between and Association and their employees or management company, as well as financial and budgetary documents that show the compensation paid to an employee are available to owners.
Florida Statute 718.112(2)(d) Provides some clarification added that if at an annual meeting of the Association, if a Board member’s term would expire, but there are no candidates, the Board member’s term will not expire. If there are candidates, and if there are candidates equal to, or less than the number of Board positions expiring at the meeting, all candidates shall become members of the Board, upon the close of the meeting. If there are any Board positions that are not filled, an affirmative vote by a majority of the Board (even if there is just one person on the Board and no quorum) shall be used to fill the openings on the Board.
A Board candidate must be eligible to serve on the Board when the candidate cheap propecia online submits the required notice of intent to serve 40 days before the election for the candidates name to be on the ballot.
Florida Statute 720.306(9) now states that any owner who is more than 90 days delinquent in making payment of any assessment or fine, or has been convicted of a felony in Florida (with some exceptions as to having their civil rights restored) is not eligible to sit on the Board. It also allows for any actions by the Board in which a member of the Board is/was ineligible to sit on the Board, to still be valid, despite the ineligibility of a member.
Master and Sub Association
Both Florida Statutes 718.116(1)(b)2 and 720.3085(2)(d) now allow for both Condo and HOAs that when an Association takes title to a property through foreclosure of it’s lien based on assessments, they are not liable for unpaid assessments, interest, late fees, costs, or attorney’s fees that were incurred by a Master Association (one that has a superior interest on the property) prior to the Association taking title.
Suspensions and Fines
Florida Statutes 718.303(3)?(6) state that a Condominium Association Board can suspend the use voting and use rights of a owner who is more than 90 days delinquent, but it must be done at a duly-noticed Board meeting, and the Board must set forth in writing the suspension and deliver it (by mail or by hand).
An Association can fine and also suspend the rights of an owner (as well as or their guests, tenants or invitees ) to use the common areas and other facilities of the Association for a “reasonable period of time” , for the failure of any party to comply with the Association’s rules, regulations, and governing documents. There is still a $100 maximum per violation limit, and $1,000 aggregate amount. There still also must be a 14 day written notice provided to an owner as well as a hearing prior to the implementation of suspension of use, as well as fines for the any party’s failure to comply with the governing documents.
Florida Statute 720.305 now provides that the Association’s governing documents do not have to contain language that provides for the suspension of the voting rights for an owner who is 90 days delinquent in paying any assessments or other monetary obligation. An Association can now also suspend the use rights for an owner (or their guests, tenants or invitees) if the owner is more than 90 days delinquent as well. The Board can suspend the use voting and use rights of a owner who is more than 90 days delinquent , but it must be done at a duly-noticed Board meeting, and the Board must set forth in writing the suspension and deliver it (by mail or by hand).
An Association can fine and also suspend the rights of an owner (as well as or their guests, tenants or invitees ) to use the common areas and other facilities of the Association for a “reasonable period of time” , for the failure of any party to comply with the Association’s rules, regulations, and governing documents. There is still a $100 maximum per violation limit, and $1,000 aggregate amount, however if the governing documents allow for an amount larger than $1,000, the Association can exceed the $1,000 limit. There still also must be a 14 day written notice provided to an owner as well as a hearing prior to the implementation of suspension of use, as well as fines for the any party’s failure to comply with the governing documents.
Posted in Florida Legal
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March 6, 2012
In crafting the settlement with BP over private-party claims for the Gulf Oil Spill, the committee of plaintiff attorneys leading the negotiations wanted to make sure to distinguish their claims settlement program from that of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility operated by lawyer Kenneth Feinberg.
As a result, the name of the new program has no words in common with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. It will be called the Court-Supervised Oil Spill Settlement Program.
Posted in Alabama Legal, Florida Legal, News
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March 6, 2012
The insurance industry is likely facing substantial costs again after the past week’s storms.
(Reuters) – Less than a year after a series of tornadoes caused some of the worse insured losses in U.S. history, the insurance industry is likely facing substantial costs again after storms killed at least 33 people on Friday.
Friday’s system has already been compared to the “Super Outbreak” of April 1974, one of the largest and most violent ever recorded in the United States, as well as to a devastating outbreak last April. In total more than 46 people have died this week from violent storms.
Actual loss projections were not yet available early Saturday, and it could be days before anyone hazards a guess. But catastrophe modeling company Eqecat said late Friday that this year’s storm season is already running nearly 30 percent higher than the average of recent years.
“After a relatively benign February, the 2012 Severe Convective Storm season in the United States has brought damage and possible significant losses” already, Eqecat said in a report.
Until last year, tornados were not usually considered one of the larger risks for the insurance industry from a loss perspective. It was rare, in fact, for a series of tornados to cause $1 billion in losses.
But 2011 broke the mold, with outbreaks in April and May that best online pharmacy shattered records. The Insurance Information Institute has said that, if it were taken as a whole, the spring 2011 tornado season would rank as the fourth-costliest disaster for insured losses in U.S. history.
Allstate, the largest publicly traded home and auto insurer in the United States, lost about $2 billion in April and May of last year, roughly what it lost in all of 2010 from natural disasters. Travelers also lost more than $1 billion on the storms.
In total, tornados caused $26 billion in economic losses in the country last year, more than $10 billion greater than the previous record. (Economic losses are always greater than insured losses because they include all costs regardless of whether there was insurance cover).
All of that damage is one reason insurers have reported property insurance rates are rising steadily for the first time in years, as losses soaked up excess capacity.
Some insurers have also started to reconsider what risks they are willing to write and where. Nationwide Mutual, one of the country’s largest property insurers, made a major acquisition last September in part to diversify and reduce concentration in storm-racked regions.
The industry was already on edge, as meteorologists at AccuWeather warned in February that tornado activity could be above normal this year as well.
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(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Anthony Boadle)
February 1, 2012
When dealing with second homes, taxes typically get more complicated and will likely be influenced by how much time you spend under your new roof.
The following tax tips for vacation-homeowners were offered by TurboTax(INTU):
- If you use the property as a second home rather than renting it out, interest on the mortgage is deductible within the same limits as the interest on the mortgage on your first home (at least until Congress decides whether to eliminate or modify all such deductions). You can write off 100% of the interest you pay on up to $1.1 million of debt secured by your first and second homes and used to acquire or improve the properties.
- You can deduct property taxes on your second home. Unlike the mortgage interest rule, you can deduct property taxes paid on any number of homes you own.
- If you rent the property for 14 or fewer days during the year, you can pocket the rental buy cheap cipro income tax free. The house is considered a personal residence, so you deduct mortgage interest and property taxes under the standard rules for a second home.
- If the home is rented out more than 14 days, all rental income must be reported. Rental expenses are deductible, but proper documentation is needed to differentiate between the time the property is lived in versus rented. If you use the property more than 14 days, or more than 10% of the number of days it is rented, whichever is more, it is considered a personal residence and the rental loss can’t be deducted.
- If you limit personal use to 14 days or 10%, the vacation home is considered a rental property and up to $25,000 in losses (for example, maintenance costs) may be deductible each year.
Additional tax tips for second-homeowners can be found here on the TurboTax Web site.
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February 1, 2012
ZURICH — Insurance company ACE Ltd. said Tuesday that fourth-quarter net income fell 25 percent, which the company blamed on what it called a record year for natural-catastrophe losses.
Net income fell to $750 million, or $2.20 per share, from $1 billion, or $2.92 per share.
Earnings per share were $1.94 after stripping out one-time charges and gains, beating the $1.78 predicted by analysts polled by FactSet.
CEO Evan Greenberg called the period “a very good fourth quarter” considering “the record natural catastrophe losses the industry incurred globally,” such as that www.buycheap-pillsonline.com/ventolin.html from flooding in Thailand.
He noted that in the second half of the year, commercial property-and-casualty insurance prices rose in both the U.S. and some overseas markets, which should help the insurance company.
ACE said it is predicting $475 million in pre-tax catastrophe losses for 2012, up from last year’s guidance of $370 million.
For the year, net income plummeted to 49 percent, to $1.59 billion from $3.11 billion.
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The results were released after the market closed. Shares fell 1 cent after hours after rising about 1 percent during the day.