The Simple and Powerful Truths of Homeownership

This article originally appeared on Noozhawk and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

This week I wanted to give my readers who are renters a simple reminder about all the reasons why homeownership is a good idea.

1. Paying off a mortgage over time: I think all renters can agree that it really hurts knowing you pay a large amount of money in rent every month and that you will never see that money again. Conversely, with most mortgages, a portion of your monthly payment is applied to reducing the principal balance itself and the other portion is an interest payment.

Personally, I love watching my mortgage balance go down every month, knowing it will eventually be fully paid off and my living expenses will go way down at that time because I will no longer have a mortgage.

2. Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction: This year, couples filing jointly may deduct interest on qualified home loans up to $750,000. This is a great deduction that helps so many homeowners during tax time. This would be an approximately $20,000 deduction on a $500,000 conventional loan at 4 percent. Talk to your accountant to learn more about this.

3. Property Tax Deduction: For 2019 you deduct up to $10,000 ($5,000 if married filing separately) for a combination of property taxes and either state and local income taxes or sales taxes. Again, this offers further financial assistance when you are filing your taxes. Again,  this is another topic to chat about with your accountant.

4. Stability: As long as you make a responsible purchase, you can rest assured you will never be forced to move unless you want to. This stability helps homeowners plan for the future and better establish themselves in their community.

5. Appreciation: While real estate markets are in a constant state of flux, history has shown us that values increase over time. So in addition to paying off a mortgage over time and utilizing the tax benefits associated with homeownership, the value of your home will likely increase over time. Sadly, renters are not able to reap any of these benefits.

6. Increasing the value of your home through improvements: It’s as simple as it sounds. If your home is located in an area that can support higher values than what you paid, you should be able to invest time and money into the appeal and condition of your home to increase its value. Again, a renter does not have this opportunity.

These are just some of the reasons ownership is so appealing. I’m not mentioning them to make anyone feel badly for renting, or to say renting is not an appropriate option/choice for some. Everyone has a unique situation and ownership is not for everyone.

That said, if any of the above reasons piques your interest, the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors recommends you “Call your Realtor” and a local lender to help you determine if ownership is a good path for you.

— Thomas Schultheis is with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, and can be reached at 805.729.2802 or

Thoughts on Leadership: The Magic of Leaders

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at the Tom Ferry Success Summit on Tuesday and Wednesday, and today I’m in Irvine for alignment meetings for our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Real Living Real Estate brands.

Each year, Tom Ferry’s Success Summit is an opportunity to converge with top agents for learning, growing and idea-sharing. I’m always inspired during the event by the dedication and discipline exhibited by all those who attend. As Warren Buffett said, “By far the best investment you can make is in yourself.”

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Thoughts on Leadership: Catching Success

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me first in San Diego for Buffini & Company’s MasterMind Summit and then back to the Bay Area for Dwight Clark Day during the San Francisco 49ers open training camp. This afternoon, I spent the day with Intero Real Estate Services managers, ironically sharing the West Coast Offense on how to run a real estate company with them.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Continuous Learning

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me first working and planning from my office in Northern California and next I flew to Austin to meet with our HomeServices of America, Inc. technical support team, who interact with customers, dig into complex issues and analyze the efficacy of technical solutions. To succeed at their roles, these technology professionals must keep score on the progress of their goals and exist in a state of continuous learning, educating themselves on the rapid change of industry innovations and forever widening their knowledge about how systems and processes should work.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Scorekeeping in the Game of Work

By Gino Blefari

“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.” – Thomas S. Monson

This week my travels find me first in Newport Beach at the “Link Arms Sales Rally” for Orange Coast Title Family of Profit Centers. The event included company executives, profit center managers and sales representatives for all nine title insurance agencies operating in six states. I presented to the group on habits for success, and it was evident everyone in attendance was dedicated to self-improvement, learning and the systematic attainment of their Wildly Important Goals.

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Redefining SEO in the Real Estate Industry

As I am sure everyone in the entire network is instantaneously aware, the iconic acronym, SEO, stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” Essentially every viable company in the world that operates in the online space is constantly contemplating how they can improve their search rankings be it paid or organic.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Growing through Change

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me in Northern California, visiting two excellent companies that are undergoing leadership changes. The new leaders at both brokerages are vigorous and inspiring, tasked with guiding their firms toward even greater success. Sometimes, new leaders are exactly what an organization needs, even if the present leader is really good. No matter the strength of the current leader, a company may simply need a change. Remember, new eyes see old things in new ways.

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From When ignorance ISN’T bliss

This week, published a piece from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CEO Chris Stuart about the importance of being vigilant against cyber-crime. This important topic hits our industry, and our personal lives, daily. As Stuart points out in his guest post, “The ever-expanding tentacles of cyber-crime can create significant consequences that impact all aspects of our lives and livelihoods.” The consequences for a company can be dire.

Read more below from Chris Stuart in the article, “When ignorance ISN’T bliss,” and share with your sphere of influence so that they too may be aware of the risks associated with cyber-crime.

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By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in Las Vegas for Mike Ferry’s Superstar Retreat. Like him or not (and if you don’t, that just means you don’t like hard work), Mike Ferry has probably taught more successful agents in the last 40+ years than any trainer in the industry and certainly has had the biggest impact on my career. With Mike, it boils down to common-sense business. Work hard. Be proud you’re a professional real estate salesperson. Be confident. Never cower from your success.

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This week my travels find me in Northern California, working with our teams across the country – and world – while preparing for the Fourth of July. As a student of history and its finest leaders, July 4th is my favorite time of year. I spend the day grilling with my family and at night, we watch brilliant fireworks light up the summer sky.

Though Independence Day wasn’t declared a federal holiday until 1941, it’s been celebrated since the American Revolution. (Massachusetts was the first state to make it a state holiday in 1781.) But let’s step back in time to June 1776 …

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