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Welcome to Plantation Furnishing's first monthly newsletter.    

In This Issue:

From the VP
Article:  What's in a Niche?
Feature Article:  8 Smart Tax Moves
Earn $1000+ with Referral Programs
Real Estate News, November 2003

From the VP

Dear Real Estate Professionals,

I would like to welcome you to the first issue of the Plantation Furnishings newsletter.  Some of you have long-term relationships with Plantation Furnishings.  Others of you will begin your relationship with us today.  

As real estate professionals, you are our most valued referrer-base.  We owe more than 40% of our business to you.  In thanks, we've developed this newsletter with helpful tips for those in the real estate business.

If you are not yet a member of our Plantation Partners referral program we invite you to become a member today.  When you refer one of your clients, you receive a 10% commission on all of their purchases.  Plantation Partners also enjoy a wide variety of other benefits such as free vacations, special discounts on personal purchases, a banner ad on our website and .... Read More.

What's in a Niche?  
by Wintress Odom

The vast majority of real estate agents become accustomed to dealing with--and attempting to accommodate--whatever business shows up at their doorstep.  This naturally provides a wide market.  But it also creates a market in which many prospects are likely to fall through.  Why?  Because nobody can please everybody. 

Buyers and sellers are likely to shop real estate agents, and when they do, they will pick the one they are most comfortable with--the one that fits their niche.  So, instead of waiting for unreturned phone calls, it makes sense to find the buyers whose niche fits you.  This solves a lot of hassle, paperwork, and time.

The trick is finding the right niche.  It has to be a niche in which you are ... Read Full Article.  

8 Smart Tax Moves
by Rande Spiegelman

How to keep more of your hard-earned income

1. Offset capital gains with capital losses in taxable accounts by Dec. 31 each year. Capital losses—securities sold for less than the original purchase price—may be used to offset capital gains, as long as the loss occurs in a taxable account. Losses that exceed gains in any year, up to $3,000, may be used to reduce your taxable income (up to $1,500 each for married people filing separately). Carry over unused losses to future tax years.

2. Contribute the maximum to your IRA. You can contribute $3,000 to your IRA each year (jumping to $4,000 in 2005) and, if you're 50 or older, you can make an additional catch-up contribution of $500 per year (increasing to $1,000 in 2006). Contributions to your traditional IRA are tax-deductible in many cases.

3. Open a SEP-IRA or a Qualified Retirement Plan. SEPs and QRPs allow you to set aside for retirement up to 25 percent of your net self-employment income each year. The money you put in the account each year is tax-deductible and grows tax-deferred. If you open your account by Dec. 31, you have until the time you file your return, including extensions, to make a contribution for the preceding tax year.

4. Pay the balance due on your estimated state tax by Dec. 31. Don't wait until April 15. Paying by the end of the year allows you to itemize your state taxes as a deduction on your federal return. Make sure you're not subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which disallows federal deductions for state and local taxes.

5. Prepay the second installment of your property tax by Dec. 31 each year. Many counties bill taxpayers in two installments, one due in November or December and the other due the following spring. If you prepay the second installment, you can claim it on the current year's tax return. Again, watch out for the federal AMT.

6. Make January's mortgage payment in December. It'll boost your interest deduction. Also, consider converting debt that's not tax deductible, such as credit card debt, to a tax-deductible home equity loan or line of credit. On points 4, 5, and 6: Accelerate deductions only if you think your income will be greater this year than next.

7. Open a 529 college savings account for a child or grandchild. A 529 plan allows you and your spouse to contribute the five-year, per-child maximum of $110,000 in the first year, without incurring gift tax. You won't be able to donate again for five years, but by contributing a lump sum up front, you'll accrue more interest than if you made small donations over five years.

8. Donate appreciated securities you've held for more than a year to a qualified public charity. You'll receive a full, fair-market-value deduction (up to 30 percent of your adjusted gross income in most cases, with a five-year carryover on any unused portion) and pay no tax on capital gains.

Remember, before taking any of the steps outlined here, consult with a tax expert for advice pertinent to your situation.

Spiegelman, CPA, CFP, is vice president of financial planning for the Schwab Center for Investment Research. To learn more about tax savings, contact Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., a Realtor VIP® Alliance Program partner, at 800/979-9017 or visit www.schwabpreferredbrokerage.com/nar.

This article published in Realtor Magazine Online, 03/01/2003.  Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.

Earn $1000+ with Referral Programs

As a real estate professional, you enjoy a unique place in our community.  You have helped your clients to make one of the most important decisions of their lives.  They trust you.  And they trust your recommendations.  

This also makes you a valuable partner for businesses in your local community.  With referral programs, such as those offered by Plantation Furnishings, you can easily earn bonus checks of $1000 or more every month--simply based on your good recommendations.  

In fact, when you become a partner with Plantation Furnishings, you can earn $1000 on just one referral.   For every designer's choice package purchased by your referral, you earn a $1000 bonus.  And they receive an immediate $1000 off, just by providing us with your name.

You will also receive a 10% commission on all your referral's purchases, a banner ad and link from our website, entries into free giveaways, special discounts and more.   

Registration is fast, free and easy.  Plus, Plantation Furnishings is giving away a dinner for two and tickets to Cirque du Soleil at Disney World to a Plantation Partner who Registers before November 30th!

Real Estate News, November 2003

NAR Member Survey Shows Large Growth in Realtors® (11/7)
NAR, SAN FRANCISCO--Newcomers entering the real estate industry accounted for three-fourths of a large increase in membership of the National Association of Realtors® during last year, according to a survey released at a news briefing at NAR's annual REALTOR® Conference & Expo.  FULL STORY->

Tampa Bay, Florida Home Prices Still Rising, Say Local Realtors
REALTY TIMES--Tampa Bay, Florida has a lot of fans in its Realtors who say that the market continues to be strong. FULL STORY->

Fla.: Identifying Most, Least Expensive Housing Markets
REALTOR MAGAZINE ONLINE, FLORIDA--Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation's recently released Home Price Comparison Index (HPCI) revealed that a 2,200-square-foot home in Miami/Coral Gables costs $588,000, while a similar home in Pensacola would fetch only about $162,333, making the two markets the most and least expensive in the state, respectively.  FULL STORY->

Realtor Political Victories Said To Be Widespread
REALTY TIMES--In a bit of well-earned chest-thumping, the influential Realtor political machine claimed many hard-won legislative and regulatory victories at its annual convention in San Francisco last week. Lew Sichelman has the details. FULL STORY->

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