A Brief Overview on Property Tax Reduction and Property Tax Relief

Property tax reduction:According to a survey, over 60% of property owners are over assessed by the city taxation authorities. The most shocking fact is to know that less than 2% of the property owners requested re-assessment and still 58% of the owners are paying tax on their over-assessed property. People may feel surprised to know that 70% of owners win their case and enjoy the reduced property taxes. Therefore, it is important for the house owners to scrutinize their annual property levy assessment.Have you ever think that your property is over-assessed? If yes, then carry out the research. Contact your taxation authority to know your property tax assessment. However, if the owners find their property is over scrutinized and become successful in collecting the strong evidence, they can save $200-$3000 dollars about every year. However, the savings value may vary depending on number of factors such as your property, tax rate of your city, over-assessed amount of your property, etc.Getting property tax reduction is not at all a complicated job for the house owners. It will take certain time to understand the process and how to present your appeal in front of authorities. When you are planning to file a property tax appeal, collect enough and suitable evidence to prove your appeal. If you file a property tax protest, but fail to produce suitable evidence to prove your appeal, you need to lose the case. You need to prove your case by submitting the assessment value of other properties sold for less than what your city taxation authority claims your property is worth.Filing a tax appealHouse owners should know that as a levy payer they have the rights to file an appeal to know the current financial year tax assessment. The first step of appeal process starts with written notification to the local scrutinizing officer. Taxpayers have forty-five-days’ time from the date of notice to file their appeal. If property owners didn’t receive any notice, they need to file for re-assessment by the later of May 10th of the assessment year or 45 days after the date of the levy bill.Once you decide to file a tax appeal, you need to collect the evidence to support your case. The evidence can be in the form of a sale of the subject property, listing prices, sales of comparable properties and duty appraisal prepared by the licensed evaluator. Once the appeal is filed, the board of evaluators review your petition. If the board finds that your property is over-assessed, the authority sends a new notice stating the change of assessment value.It is advisable for the property owners to get the experts help when they really wish to file a property tax appeal. Expert solicitors help the owners to save time and reinforce their petition by producing suitable evidence. Another benefit of hiring expert is that they have complete know-how about the local market, good hold on the taxation laws and work with complete professionalism and leave no coin turn around to win the case.

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Finding Houses For Your New Property Business

Last time we looked at Market research and one of the topics to be researched was properties that are currently available to rent in your locality. You can find these on your competitor’s web sites and listed in the local press. Make a list of ALL the property available near you. It’s an excellent exercise to type them out on your word processor and list them in order of price. Most property letting agencies list prices as PCM. That’s price Per Calendar Month, though in some areas prices are listed on a per week basis, especially in and around London. Make sure when you compare prices, you are comparing like with like. You’ll need to double check to see how the agencies list properties in your country, in your area.As each newspaper ad appears, enter the new prices on your list in the correct position, cheapest first, most expensive last. What’s the point of this? You are soaking up almost without noticing what a detached bungalow might be worth (rental wise) in one area of your town or district, or a two bedroom apartment in another. It’s all part of building your knowledge into becoming THE local expert in property rentals. And when it comes to valuing properties for rental for real, you will already have a comprehensive register to refer to. True, these properties are not yours, not yet, but that doesn’t matter, you can go to school on these valuations, and they will teach you a great deal.But of course you need properties to let yourself, so let’s get them. But where are you going to find them? They are out there and they are waiting for you, believe me, more than ever before. Here’s where. 1. Do you or any of your friends or relatives have any property sitting empty? Has anyone you know passed away recently? If so what has happened to the house? Do you know of any property that has been up for sale for months and hasn’t sold? Any of these could be your first instruction. Check out with the owners and casually ask them if they have considered letting. If a property is standing empty it is costing money. If it is let, it is producing money, and that’s a big difference. And think about this. When people inherit property why are they always in such a hurry to sell anyway? The answer of course is money, they have probably never seen so much cash before, and can’t wait to spend it on a world cruise and a German sports car. But what happens in a year or two when the money has gone? They are back to square one. Stoney broke.But if the house is rented out, that property will generate money forever, not counting the fact that over time it will increase in value too. You can only sell a house once, you can rent it forever, and like everything else over time those rents will increase. If you know someone who is desperate to sell a house they have inherited, have a word with them. Point that out to them. Why Sell? Why do people sell? It is a mistake. If they are desperate for some cash they could always see the bank manager and take out a loan, but keep the house. It is a cash cow, always has been and always will be.Secondly, why not rent out the house you live in now? What! Yes, I’m serious, you want property to let don’t you? Why not start with your own? Perhaps the kids have grown up and left home and you are now bouncing round in a large 4 bedroom home. Do you really need all that space? You probably don’t. So why not rent a smaller cheaper two bedroom bungalow to live in for a year or two, and rent out your house? You’re not selling your home after all, and if you miss it that much you can always move back into it when the tenancy agreement expires. And if you are going to rent out your own home, make sure you value it highly, because there is no point in going to all that expense and trouble unless you are making money doing it. Right? Value it highly and if it lets, you make money, if it doesn’t let, so what, you have lost nothing. I have done this twice and it worked very well for me.But we want more, of course we do. Put on your walking shoes and get out and take a trip round the area. Take a notebook and visit all the sites where postcard ads are displayed. This might be at the post office, a works canteen, a supermarket, shopping malls, the newsstands, anywhere where small ads await you. It’s common to find properties listed there. May be two or three on each site on a good day. Jot down the details and especially the telephone numbers and return home. Of course these properties are not yours either, but with a little effort they could be. How? By ringing the owners of course.Cold telephone calling is not an easy thing to do, and should only be done when you are feeling at your brightest. Make a couple of notes of what you have to say before you call anyone, as we can all dry up on the spur of the moment. Smile, and ring them up. You don’t have to see a person to know if they are smiling, you can hear it in their voice, and don’t we all prefer to deal with cheerful attractive people? Everyone’s attractive on the telephone! You ring, and the person answers. Imagine it is someone advertising an apartment to let for 500 per month. Be polite, say good morning, be honest and upfront and tell them that you have recently started a new lettings agency, that you have good tenants waiting, (you will have the moment you begin to advertise, and I’ll come back to that.) and that you might be able to let their flat. Sit back and wait for their response!Some landlords will not speak to agents under any circumstances. Some landlords would not do business with an agent even if you offered them 10,000 per month and free beer forever. Life’s like that. Landlords are the same as the rest of us, some are open-minded and will consider any reasonable suggestions, others are closed minded and stupid, some are downright rude, abusive even. Good luck to them. All you were trying to do was help them let their property, and if they couldn’t see that, it’s their loss.Some landlords might say “no I need 500 just to cover the mortgage so I couldn’t afford to pay an agent fee on top.” That’s OK, you could pay them that 500 per month, if you let the property for 550 per month, (allowing for your 10% commission)and that’s so close to their price as makes no difference. Suggest putting the flat on your books for 550. At this stage all you want is the instruction. In the initial period price is secondary. Get the instruction first, and then worry about letting the property afterwards. Tell the landlord you would be happy to put it on for 550, and as it will be on the basis of no let – no fee, what has the landlord got to lose? Nothing, in effect they are employing you for FREE, they only pay you anything if you succeed. Most intelligent people could see the merits in that.And then there are the amateur landlords who have no idea what they are doing. Perhaps they have inherited granny’s house, and they really don’t want to sell it, but on the other hand they are too busy to be chasing round after tenants all day. Perhaps they don’t know how to find tenants, or how to reference tenants. Not everyone knows this, don’t imagine they do. These landlords are precisely the kind of people you are looking for. They are the perfect client for you and when you come across them, court them furiously. You could solve all their property problems for them, and make some money for yourself. Suggest they might like to meet you at the property that is to be let.If they show any inclination to do this, make an appointment to go and see them as soon as possible. Don’t make the appointment for next week; don’t make the appointment for tomorrow, what about this afternoon? What about in twenty minutes? Enthusiasm is everything. Huge & Impressive probably couldn’t meet them in half an hour, but you could. Take your camera and ask if it is OK to photograph the house. Take your diary and note everything that needs noting. You don’t need to measure the rooms, no letting agency does that, don’t even consider it, as it would be a waste of time and could cause you headaches in the future if you made a mistake.Remember, you will do anything within reason to land that property, and if it includes going out in the rain in ten minutes time, then do it. You can do exactly the same thing by ringing private small ads you see for property to let in the local paper. Ring them up, introduce yourself and offer your services. Offer them a small discount if need be. But remember this, you will be backheeled many times, rejected, but hey so what? You will also be invited to take it further plenty of times too, I guarantee it. Why? Simple, because there are so many new and amateur landlords out there, many of whom have property standing empty, and many of whom simply cannot afford to have no revenue. If they do, they run the real risk of the house being repossessed if the mortgage isn’t paid. Not all landlords are rolling in cash, it’s very easy to get into buy-to-let property, but sometimes very difficult to get out of it. These landlords are trapped, they HAVE to let the property and that is why many will be only too pleased to hear from a cheery character (You!) who might solve all their problems. Be persistent, keep at it, and once you have put together three or four properties you will be a step closer to truly launching your business.It is important that from day one that you include actual properties to let in your initial ads, because that is the main reason most of your potential customers will read your ad, to see what you have available. Be creative, be enthusiastic, be clued up and confident, and you will attract properties and you will let them. Believe me, there are many desperate landlords out there and they will instruct you if they think you might shift their empty houses and apartments.Take another look at the other agent’s ads that run week-in-week-out in the local papers. They can only afford to pay for these ads because they are producing the business. But a word of caution here. All property advertising always produces less response than you optimistically imagined. But that’s OK, because every property you sign up and rent out will produce for you around a 1,000, up towards $2,000 in revenue over the year, some more, some less. So you don’t need to sign up and let tens and dozens from each ad, nice though that would be. If you can sign up two or three in a week, and let one or two of them when you are starting out, then you are doing very well, and your business will grow surprising quickly.If you rent just one property a week you’d be on target for more than fifty successful lets by the end of the year. If you do that you are on target for a 50,000 per year income, (almost $90,000) and that is before all the other revenue streams that you can tag on that we will look at a little later. Yes I know you will have expenses, but what business doesn’t? I let twelve properties in one month during my first year, and you can imagine how delighted I was with that, and there is absolutely nothing to stop you doing the same.Just the opposite in fact, because as I said earlier, there are more properties to rent around the world today than there has ever been before, and more people seemingly wanting to rent them. Yes there is competition, of course there is, but you are on the way to becoming THE expert on rental property in your area because you are studying everything there is to know, and because YOU are far more enthusiastic than your tired rivals who don’t really care whether they miss a particular property or not.Look out for the next article in this series entitled “Finding Tenants For Your Property Business” and good luck with your business in the future.

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Pain Points in Selling Commercial Property Today

In today’s commercial property market, the sale of commercial property can be a challenge. The availability of money from the lending institutions, and the price expectations of existing property owners can restrict the marketing and sale of commercial property. Let’s face it, the property market has changed and commercial property owners should know that buyers are more selective in what they will pay for a property today.

Make no mistake, in most locations the prices of properties have fallen to more sensible levels based on passing income from the leases and the tenants in occupancy. Properties still sell in this market but the real estate agent on behalf of the property owner needs to take specific steps to achieve a satisfactory marketing campaign and generate suitable buyer interest.

The pain points in selling commercial property in most locations currently are as follows:

Competing against other properties in the local area of similar type and possibly lesser price
Generating sufficient enquiry from available buyer interest
Finding a buyer who can purchase a property within the nominated price range
Finding a buyer who can qualify for property finance if required
Getting the property valuation to align with the price that is paid for the property

In dealing with these particular factors as a real estate agent, the following strategies can apply.

Identify all the other properties in the local area that directly compete with the subject property. Further to that and in each case, get details of prices, leases, improvements, and time on market. These elements will have impact on the competitive price factor against your property. Essentially your property has to be of better value across the board to the purchaser; the marketing campaign should be based around that.

In today’s property market, generating sufficient enquiry from limited buyer interest can be real challenge. To work with this, it pays to understand the points of difference that the property can provide to the purchaser and achieve a competitive edge with. That should normally be based around the location of the property, the quality of the improvements, the tenant profile, the stability of the cash flow, and the potential for a new property development and or a change of use.

There is no doubt that the higher the price range of the potential property sale will limit the number of enquiries that you can get. The more expensive the expected value of the property, the more restrictive the buyer enquiry. In many locations, there is still reasonable property enquiry up to about two million dollars from property investors. Above that point, there are limited available funds for lending, and the banks are very selective on the type of property that qualifies for a loan.

That being said, there are still property investors out there who have cash capability and are looking for excellent property investments. The trick is to market to these purchasers in the appropriate way. That is where the real estate agent brings high value to the property owner through a dedicated and directed property advertising and marketing campaign; the established database of the real estate agent can also significantly short circuit the time on market and the potential marketing costs.

The experienced real estate agent today should have a qualified and up to date list of active purchasers and high wealth individuals interested in commercial property at this time. Vendors should question this before listing a property with the relative agent.

When a property is sold or goes under contract, getting the property valuation to align with the price that is paid for the property can largely depend on the quality and suitability of the valuer appointed to the task. Importantly the valuer should have significant established experience in the local area and with the type of property involved. When selecting a property valuer for that valuation, it pays to check their experience in this regard.

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Residential Vs Commercial Property Investments

Before purchasing a new investment property, you should always consider the differences between residential and commercial real estate investments. Depending on your financial means, expectations and investment plan, you will have to decide which one can be more profitable for you. Most people will invest in residential properties, as this seems to be a safer endeavour requiring less money, however, if you have the means, commercial properties can be highly profitable. You should also consider that while traditional residential property investments might not have very high returns on your investment, repossessed or foreclosed properties, can bring you a net yield of up to 12-15%.

Property Types for Residential and Commercial Investments

Houses of four units or less, to rent to private tenants are usually considered residential properties. You can invest in buy-to-let residential properties, which means that you’ll get the rental yields every month, or purchase the property solely for future resale. Residential property investments vary from more traditional buy-to-let investments somewhere near your own home to investments in overseas real estate, below market value properties or foreclosed houses. Commercial properties are for businesses, and include a variety of properties, from apartment blocks and office buildings to hotels, restaurants, warehouses and industrial buildings, just to name a few. Managing a relatively small residential property is obviously simpler than managing commercial properties, where you will often need a professional real estate management company to assist you.

Researching the Real Estate Market

While you will always need some knowledge of the property market and current conditions to make a successful investment, residential properties are simpler to research and value. It is relatively easy to compare different residential properties, their prices and investment potential in a given area. Commercial properties, however, are often unique and require specialised knowledge to value accurately and to establish an investment plan.

Risks & Yields

Residential properties are generally regarded as low-risk investments. They also tend to cost much less than commercial properties and will thus be more affordable, especially if you’ve just started building up your investment portfolio. The relatively low risks and the low purchase price, however will also mean that your profits are lower, and your return on investment will come mainly from increases in capital value.

Commercial properties, on the other hand have higher risks, but also higher potential returns. The significantly higher prices will also mean, that for personal investors, only collective investment schemes are affordable for larger commercial property investments. The relative unpredictability of the commercial property market will also bring more risks. While residential property prices generally double every 10 years, this is not true for commercial properties. You can expect a net yield of up to 7-10% on commercial properties, which is higher than the net yield from traditional residential property investments, and a large part of your return on investment will be in the form of rental income.

Rental Properties

A successful investment plan for both commercial and residential properties is to rent them out. Residential leases tend to be much shorter, usually around one year, and private tenants are often considered less reliable than businesses. Landlords will be liable to pay for repairs, which might incur unexpected additional costs. Commercial properties, on the other hand, are leased out for a longer time, 5-10 years is not uncommon, and the yearly increase in rental yields will be more significant. Businesses are also often considered to be more reliable tenants and commercial tenants are generally required to pay for repairs. You should also consider that while commercial properties can bring you a secure and high rental income, it is also much more difficult to find commercial tenants.

Exit Strategy for Residential and Commercial Properties

One investment plan is to rent out your property as detailed above. However, property flipping, or future resale can also be a profitable strategy with both kinds of investments. Residential property can be sold quite simply to another investor or somebody who intends to occupy the house, and as long as the property is in a good condition and in a well-chosen location, you should generally be able to sell it at a significantly higher price than its original purchase value. Commercial properties can bring huge profits, but the process of resale is more complicated. The property must be sold to another investor or investor group, and it should have a successful and profitable record, to be attractive to the buyer for investment purposes.

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Understanding Commercial Property Investments

Do you ever feel that you should be looking more at investments in commercial property in the saturated residential property market? If this is in your mind, you are joining the new wave of investors who wants to diversify their investment portfolio with the unstable economy.

How big exactly is the commercial property market? Generally speaking, commercial property investment is not as straightforward as residential market. In Malaysia, it is almost sure that any piece of residential property will be lapped up the moment it is launched, and everyone at some point of their life will be looking for a house of their own. Some may buy a piece of residential property and rent it out instead. For commercial properties, there are a lot of other considerations.

1. Location

Location is a very important factor when it comes to investment in commercial properties. It may be true that a lot of people are looking into creating their own business, and it will not be too hard to find someone to rent your property start their business, but if the location is not right, the chances for renting out is slim.

When you wish to invest in a commercial property, look around to see whether there are other residential properties which will support the business. You may want to take a good look at the whole development project, and check residential population surrounding the commercial lot that you are aiming for.

Also, do check if the area is a flooding area, or are there any other disadvantages. Parking space is a very important factor of consideration for any business to thrive in this modern world, and you ought to make sure that there are parking spaces near the property you wish to invest in.

2. Features

Sometimes, the success of commercial properties also comes with the features included in the project itself. For example, some properties may be managed by the developer, with facilities such as wi-fi zone, making the commercial blocks into event venues or even being selective about the types of business and brand name to qualify as tenants. Some commercial properties with such strict criteria about tenants include BM Utama in the mainland Bukit Mertajam, and Straits Quay in Penang island.

Both are project examples of two contrasting backdrop. Straits Quay is a high-end sea facing project by E&O, with very high traffic coming from its branded tenants and expensive condominiums and landed property support. Meanwhile, BM Utama is a 7-unit exclusive commercial lot owned by BM Utama’s property developer, DNP Land, and is meant to become part of the lifestyle support for the almost sold-out BM Utama. The 7 units are called The Gallery, which is available for leasing only, to ensure the quality of retailers.

3. Price

Although people are talking about market price, as an investor, you should take into consideration the price and the size of the property. It is important to note that your property lease are usually based on long term contracts, and for some cases may span for 10 years instead of the normal renewable 1 or 2 years for residential properties. Also, you need to remember that returns from residential property comes from the capital value increase, but for commercial properties, it comes from income. Although commercial properties generally will cost more than residential properties, you will still need to sieve through to see if the investment can really bring you back a good return. Is the rental price of that property able to cover the loan that you took for the purchase?

If you are buying the property for the sake of making it into a hub for your own business, then it is up to you to ensure that the business that you are going to do will bring in enough sales and income to cover for the loan repayment of the property.

Commercial property leases provides an average contracted income stream of about 7 years.

4. Ownership

When you buy any property, you need to be very clear about the type of ownership that you have. Is it a freehold or a leasehold property?

Although leasehold properties are usually released with a certain amount of payment when the expiration term arrives, there may also be conditions where the land is taken back for new development. When the lease-land period is almost reached, property prices will drop significantly.

You also will want to check on the previous ownership of the property. Most properties may have more than one owner sharing the ownership of the property, so you should get a background check about this with a trusted lawyer, also to find out if there are any underlying problems to why the property is up for sale. Make sure the property sale gets consent from all legal owners.

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What Constitutes Separate Property in Virginia?

Separately owned property does not automatically become marital upon marriage, even when it is placed into joint names. If one party invested separate funds into a marital asset, if they can trace out or prove that investment, they may be entitled to a return of the asset or the amount invested plus appreciation. This is a substantial issue in many cases.

The goal of the tracing process is to link every asset to its primary source, which is either separate property or marital property. Harris v. Harris, 2004 Va. App. LEXIS 138 (2004). See also Mann v Mann, 22 VA. App 459; 470S.E. 2d 605, 1996, holding that the interest passively earned on the husband’s premarital assets are separate.

The Code of Virginia, §20-107.3(A)(1)(iv) defines “separate property” as “that part of any property classified as separate pursuant to subdivision A.3. Code of Virginia, §20-107.3(A)(3)(e) provides that “when marital property and separate property are commingled into newly acquired property resulting in the loss of identity of the contributing properties, the commingled property shall be deemed transmuted to marital property. However, to the extent the contributed property is retraceable by a preponderance of the evidence and was not a gift, the contributed property shall retain its original classification.” (emphasis added). Code of Virginia, §20-107.3(A)(3)(g) provides that section (e) of this section shall apply to jointly owned property. No presumption of gift shall arise under this section where (ii) newly acquired property is conveyed into joint ownership.

The increase in value of separate property during the marriage is separate property, unless marital property or the personal efforts of either party have contributed to such increases and then only to the extent of the increases in value attributable to such contributions. The personal efforts of either party must be significant and result in substantial appreciation of the separate property if any increase in value attributable thereto is to be considered marital property. See Code of Virginia, §20-107.3(A)(3)(a). All of the increases of the real estate in this case are attributable to market fluctuations.

Tracing involves a two-prong, burden shifting test. First, a party has to prove he invested separate property into the real estate, which he did. It is undisputed that all of the money used to purchase the real estate was his traceable separate property. Then the burden shifts to the Complainant to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the transmutation was a gift. (See Va. Code Ann. § 20-107.3(A)(3)(g)) and Turonis v Turonis, 2003 Va. App. LEXIS 130, (2003)). There is no presumption of a gift that arises from the fact that one party put the real estate in the parties’ joint names. There is no evidence of a gift in this case. (See also von Raab, 26 Va. App. at 248, 494 S.E.2d at 160 and Utsch v. Utsch, 38 Va. App. 450, 458, 565 S.E.2d 345, 349 (2002) (quoting Theismann, 22 Va. App. at 566, 471 S.E.2d at 813).If the party claiming a separate interest proves retraceability and the other party fails to prove transmutation of the property by gift, “the Code states that the contributed separate property ‘shall retain its original classification.’” (emphasis added) Hart v Hart, 27 Va. App. 46, 68, 497 S.E. 2d 496, 506 (1998). (quoting Code § 20-107.3(A)(3)(d), (e)) West v West, 2003 Va. App. LEXIS 512 (2030).

The second issue is the passive appreciation in the value of the jointly titled real estate. Pursuant both to Virginia Code Va. 20-107.3(A), and using the Brandenburg formula, which has never been held erroneous by the Virginia appellate courts, (See Turonis, Supra) All of the passive appreciation on a party’s separate investment in real estate is also separate property. ” This issue was addressed in Kelley v. Kelley, No. 0896-99-2, 2000 Va. App. LEXIS 576 (Ct. of Appeals Aug. 1, 2000) holding that the trial court erred in failing to recognize that passive appreciation on the husband’s separate investment to the real estate was also the husband’s separate property. (emphasis added0. This issue was also addressed in the case of Stark v. Rankins, 2001 Va. App. LEXIS 375 (2001), holding that “in pertinent part, Code § 20-107.3(A)(1) provides that “the increase in value of separate property during the marriage is separate property, unless marital property or the personal efforts of either party have contributed to such increases and then only to the extent of the increases in value attributable to such contributions.” Read as a whole, subsection (A) of the statute contains a “presumption that the increase in value of the separate property is separate.” (emphasis added) Martin v. Martin, 27 Va. App. 745, 753, 501 S.E.2d 450, 454 (1998). Moreover, we have held that the trial judge has a duty “to determine the extent to which [a spouse's] separate property interest in the home increased in value during the… marriage.” Id. at 752, 501 S.E.2d at 453. There is a statutory presumption that the increase in value of the separate property is separate. Id.

By contrast, although the customary care, maintenance, and upkeep of a residential home may preserve the value of the property, it generally does not add value to the home or alter its character. Martin, Supra. The Court held that the Wife’s evidence that at some time during the twelve years of marriage she personally painted, wallpapered, and carpeted parts of the house does not prove a “significant” personal effort.” These activities constitute part of the customary maintenance and upkeep that homeowners typically perform in order to preserve the home’s value; they do not by their nature impart value to the home. (See also Biviano v. Kenny, 2002 Va. App. LEXIS 157 (2002)). The Code of Virginia, Section 20-107.3(A)(3)a) places the burden on the non-owning spouse to prove that “(i) contributions of marital property or personal effort were made and (ii) the separate property increased in value.” Hoffman v. Hoffman, 2004 Va. App. LEXIS 216 2004). In pertinent part, Code § 20-107.3(A)(1) provides that “the increase in value of separate property during the marriage is separate property, unless marital property or the personal efforts of either party have contributed to such increases and then only to the extent of the increases in value attributable to such contributions.” Read as a whole, subsection (A) of the statute contains a “presumption that the increase in value of the separate property is separate.”

Martin v Martin, 27 Va. App., 745, 753, 501 S.E. 2d 450, 454 (1998). Moreover, we have held that the trial judge has a duty “to determine the extent to which [a spouse's] separate property interest in the home increased in value during the… marriage.” Id. at 752, 501 S.E.2d at 453. Stark v. Rankins, 2001 Va. App. LEXIS 375 (2001).

In the case of Hargrave v. Wienckowski, 2000 Va. Cir. LEXIS 208, the Court states that “traceable separate property that is commingled with marital property, whether to acquire new property or otherwise, is subject to being restored to the contributing party.” The Court analyzes the issue and finds that “parties are under no requirement to contribute their separate property, whether acquired before or during the marriage, to the marriage. If a party does so, he or she does so voluntarily and should be reimbursed for it unless the party intended to make a gift of such property to his or her spouse.” This holding is consistent with the purpose of the Virginia legislature in enacting the equitable distribution law which was to give courts power to compensate a spouse for his or her contribution to the acquisition of property obtained during the marriage. See Sawyer v. Sawyer, 1 Va. App. 75, 335 S.E.2d 277 (1985). For example, in Beck v. Beck, 2000 Va. App. LEXIS 658 (2000), the Court held that since the wife contributed 71.3% from her separate funds to acquire the property, she was entitled to 71.3% of the equity in the real estate.

Holden v Holden, 31 VA. App 24; 520 S.E. 2d 842, 1999 involved the same issue. The husband sold comic books for $17,000 to raise the down payment on real estate acquired during the marriage. He deposited the money into a joint account. The Court held that the $17,000 was his separate money. “Separate property does not become untraceable merely because it is mixed with marital property in the same asset. As long as the respective marital and separate contribution to the new asset can be identified, the court can compute the ratio and trace both interests. The Husband is not required to segregate the $17,000 from all other marital funds in order to claim a separate interest. (Citing Rahbaran, 26 Va. App. At 207, 494 S.E. 2d at 141). See Whitehead v Whitehead, 2001 Va. App. LEXIS 381, 2001, holding that the husband’s withdrawals from the parties’ joint account should have been viewed as his reclamation of separate property, to the extent of his contribution, rather than withdrawal of marital funds. The Husband had $9,100.00 in separate funds in the account. The Court held that to the extent the withdrawals equaled $9,100.00, they should have been viewed by the court as his reclamation of his separate property.

If tracing separate property is an issue in a case, records proving the separate ownership are very important. Records include bank accounts, HUDs, deeds, mortgage and payments. Property acquired during the marriage or jointly titled is presumed to be marital without proof of a separate investment or ownership. Of course, the easiest way to resolve this issue is a prenuptial agreement.

Marilyn Solomon became an attorney to help people find justice in an often unjust world. Her goal is to provide high quality, affordable legal services. Ms. Solomon is an experienced attorney offering fast, simple and affordable solutions to your financial and domestic problems. She is also skilled in corporate and government contracts, has a comprehensive business background, and is renown for her negotiating skills. She has practiced law for over 20 years and received awards as follows: Graduated with distinction from George Mason law school with a rank of “first” in class; Recognition for outstanding Pro Bono contributions to those in need; George Mason Hornbook Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement; American Jurisprudence Awards for property, remedies, antitrust, conflict of law, and communications law; Founder and Director of the Kare 4 Kidz Foundation.

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Bad Credit Commercial Loans – Business without Credit Worries

When you get saddled with debts, you might like the idea of putting some money into your commercial venture. This way you can get it repaired and with the earnings you can mend your bad credit in a better way. But, the fact is that everyone does not have plenty of money and that’s why, some people look for loan solutions to get their bad credit repaired through commercial ventures. Obviously this is a unique process of managing stands on bad credit. So, there are unique solutions also. They are the bad credit commercial loans which help you to add some money in your commercial venture to get your bad credit repaired soon. Sounds good? Let’s know it then.Bad credit commercial loans are available for any sort of commercial purpose. You can take Bad credit commercial loans to remodel your plant or put some more money to run it swiftly. Again, whatever be the shape of your commercial venture, you can always avail bad credit commercial loans. It is available for all shapes, medium, large or small commercial ventures and bad credit is no fetter in this attempt. Only, to avail bad credit commercial loans, you need to place a detailed plan of your commercial purpose.And, bad credit commercial loans are available in both the classical formats, secured and unsecured.

If you are looking for cheap rates you should go for the secured versions and if you are looking for loans without collateral, you can opt for unsecured bad credit commercial loans.However, Bad credit commercial loans are available online which is, indeed, the most sparkling side of the flamboyant image of these loans since the online option of bad credit commercial loans offer loans at cheap rates where the loan processing also takes much less time. So, with bad credit commercial loans, bad credit record hurts not any more, rather gets improved.

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Found A Gas Station For Sale And Need A Loan? Who Even Does Gas Station Financing? Part II

Banks in general do not like to lend to gas stations and convenience stores. I will repeat. Banks in general do not like to lend to gas stations and convenience stores.Because banks do not like to lend to this asset class and many that lend do on a limited basis, another option is to use a mortgage broker.There are different types of mortgage brokers, but to generalize, there are those that do residential lending and there are those that do commercial lending and there are those that do both.Unless the person you are dealing with is VERY sharp, you probably should avoid mortgage brokers that mostly do residential lending. The reasons for this should be obvious. They probably are going to know very little about commercial lending and even less about the petroleum business. If you are buying a gas station and have ninety days to close your deal, you don’t have 30-45 days for a residential mortgage broker to learn about commercial lending, find a lender through whoever their sources are AND also learn about the gas station and convenience store industry. Some mortgage brokers might also be correspondent lenders (which basically means they have someone else’s money to lend and close in their own name), but this does not make that more attractive because the company they correspond for probably does not lend to gas stations and convenience stores either.A smarter way to go would be to deal with companies that ONLY do commercial financing. The only problem with this is many tend to specialize in doing certain types of transactions, such as apartment building purchase, construction, restaurants, or whatever their area of specialty is.Question Number 1 you should ask ANY mortgage broker is, have you ever DONE a gas station loan? When was the last time you did one? How many have you done? Just because they might have done quite a few hotels, restaurants, apartment buildings or whatever, the same problem exists in that they still have to find lenders and they still have to learn a certain amount about YOUR business.Again, you should probably ask them questions about what they know about the business? Do they know what a jobber is? Do they know what rack price or pool margin is? Do they know how fuel is distributed in this country? Do they know the difference between an operator, a dealer and a jobber?If it all possible, you should deal with mortgage brokers, banks and lenders that either specialize in this asset class or have done quite a few of these transactions. With the credit markets tightening, it is even more important to find someone that knows the business.Many banks and lenders (and even mortgage brokers that specialize in commercial) avoid financing gas stations and convenience stores like the plague. There is a reason for this. They are a lot tougher to do, so you definitely want to align yourself with an entity that is professional, knowledgeable about the business and can get your transaction done.

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Healthy Lifestyle Tips: Step Away From Your Fat Lifestyle

You have a healthy lifestyle if you regularly exercise, have a balanced diet and is putting effort to stay in shape. And yet for some reasons you still ain’t shedding those extra weight then your healthy lifestyle might not be as healthy as you think. Some people are living a fat lifestyle without their knowledge.To help you understand more about a fat lifestyle, here are some five fat lifestyle indicators:You are part of the low-fat diet bandwagon.
You eat on the run
You love drinking juices and sodas that includes diet ones.
You make use of artificial sweeteners.
You love white rice.Now, if you can relate to these indicators then you must pay close attention as I am about to help you further understand why you should stop practicing this kind of lifestyle.1. Low- fat diet is a rip-off. The greater you deny yourself of fat; the more your body will store fat. Stay away of low- fat items (they are usually full of sugar) instead use organic fats to help you maintain energy and enhance your metabolism. Extra virgin olive oil, avocados and organic meat are to name a few.2. Eating on the run is a big no-no when you’re trying to lose weight. This eating practice tends to make you eat more. By just chewing you’re not savoring the taste of your food which results to dissatisfaction that will result to eating more until you get full. Aside from that your “flash” attitude towards eating will put your body into stress which will again result to increased fat storage.3. Drinks are among the sneakiest ‘fat lifestyle’ factors. If you are to drink juices makes sure that its freshly squeeze. Anything with sugar added or has the diet label will not help you lose weight.4. Artificial sweetener can help you gain weight faster compared to when you’re taking in natural sugar. This is proven on clinical studies.5. The grain industry is selling us lies. Yes they are good source of carbohydrates but it will be better to consume carbohydrates from veggies, as it is much easier to digest and burn down during exercise.So there you have it the five indicators of a fat lifestyle and why you should stop practicing each one. Remember, its easy to have a healthy lifestyle only if you’re willing to change your old ways and accept change.

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Do Your Homework and Avoid Being Cheated With Home Repair Jobs

When you are considering house repair contractors, you need to do a little research before you hire them. You want to make sure they are bonded and insured, but you also need to check references and see some of the work they have done, if possible. Study any contracts carefully and find out about mechanics liens and other problems that could occur, when a contractor doesn’t pay suppliers or subcontractors. This can be important, especially on larger house repairs, because many of these contractors are experiencing financial difficulties.Checking with the Better Business Bureau and any professional associations are another way you can find out about contractors you are considering for your home repairs. You can find out about a lot of contractors on the Internet, since many people will use it to say good and bad things about many home repair contractors, including ones that are home repair scams.It is best if you get several bids and the lowest price doesn’t always mean the best deal. If all bids are similar, it can be easier to decide than ones that are extremely different. Some people will go with the middle bid because one that is too low might mean they will shortcut some items or use inferior materials, but ones that are too high might not add any value. Sometimes, one that is in the middle are the choice many people choose for their home repairs, but price should not be the deciding factor.Most contractors will have references you can check to get an idea of their work. Checking with the references and checking any reviews or comments on the Internet can help you find out about home repair contractors and most home repair scams will make it to the Internet fairly quickly. That’s not to say that a new contractor in town might not be good, but it is better to deal with an established business that has been around for a number of years.With the economy in a declined state, some of the contractors are nearing financial bankruptcy because new housing construction jobs have dried up. If you can check with a home repair contractor’s supplier, it might help you avoid a mechanic’s lien that doesn’t get released and might involve you paying the supplier again, even though you paid the contractor. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to see if you can pay for the materials directly to avoid this scenario.Be sure and get mechanic lien releases signed by the suppliers and contractors you use for your home repairs. This can help you should you need to go to court to get them released. Once you have checked references, seen samples of their work, checked to make sure they are bonded and insured and have mechanic’s lien documentation spelled out, you can proceed with fairly good assurance, if you have done the research on the home repair contractor you have chosen.The best way to avoid house repair scams is to do your research and don’t settle on the lowest price, if they are lacking any of these other things. It can make the difference of thousands of dollars in litigation, release of liens and re-doing a poor home repair job.

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