Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FHFA Announces New Short-Sale Guidelines

On August 21, 2012, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA, the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be issuing new guidelines to enhance and streamline the short sale process.

Servicers of Fannie and Freddie loans will be allowed to approve short sales for borrowers with severe financial hardship with limited documentation, provide borrowers who are current on their loan the option for a short sale if they face a financial hardship such as divorce, long distance employment transfer, or a severe disability, and provide valuation guidance to real estate agents early on in the short sale process. Servicers are required to implement the changes by Nov. 1, 2012.

“Realtors appreciate FHFA’s efforts to increase the number of short sale approvals, which limit the losses incurred by homeowners, lenders, the federal government and taxpayers,” said National Association of Realtors® President Moe Veissi.

NAR worked closely with FHFA and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to create the new guidelines and has long advocated improving the short sale process to provide more distressed homeowners with alternatives to foreclosure. NAR believes that improving short sale eligibility will allow more families to avoid foreclosure and reduce the negative impact foreclosures have on families and communities. Short sales also help stabilize home values and neighborhoods by keeping homes occupied, which benefits the housing market and aids in the recovery.

For additional details, please click here to read the FHFA summary and fact sheet.
Related links: Realtors Applaud FHFA for Expanding Short Sale Eligibility to Help More Struggling Homeowners Fannie Mae guidance available Aug. 22 Freddie Mac guidance available Aug. 21

Monday, August 27, 2012

The New Luxury Farm and Ranch Destination

We are pleased to announce the new A new lifestyle site for the Farm and Ranch connossieur.
This destination provides unrivaled access to the full gamut of farm and ranch properties offerred within our global Brand. Visitors searching for trophy ranches, legendary horse farms, fine haciendas and iconic rural retreats will gain valuable insights on this niche market. showcases extraordinary farm & ranch properties at one beautiful new location.

Bellevue Farm, Idaho

Bellevue Farm, Idaho
View more information on this property here.

The Sotheby's International Realty brand has long been a major influence in Farm & Ranch markets globally. Through our dedicated Farm & Ranch segment, we are unmatched in our ability to connect the most discerning buyers and sellers of iconic rural and recreational retreats around the world.
Silver Creek Ranch, Idaho

Silver Creek Ranch, Idaho
View more information on this property here.

From the finest trophy ranches of the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Coast and State of Texas to legendary horse farms stretching from Vermont to Virginia to Florida, our brand has long been synonymous with the most significant sales of sought-after properties in the United States and abroad.
Lake Creek Farm

Lake Creek Farm, Ketchum Idaho
View more information on this property here.

Our assemblage of farm & ranch property offerrings also spans the finest haciendas and estancias throughout Central and South America as well as storied recreational and cultural retreats in Western and Souther Europe and hunting & fishing lodges in New Zealand and Australia. No other real estate frim in the world offers truly global access into these specialized market segments.
By leveraging our fine tuned skills and broadening our reach we better serve the needs of our worldwide clientele whose trophy farms, ranches and recreational retreats are their most prized possessions.
For more inforormation and to search for farms, ranches and recreational retreats please visit
Information provided by Sotheby's International Realty

Thursday, August 23, 2012

5 Sun Valley Fun Facts

For those of you with little knowledge of our area, or just need a refresher, here are 5 fun facts about Sun Valley:

1. Sun Valley was the first ski resort to build a chairlift, which was adapted from a system used to haul bananas onto ships in Panama.

2. The first lift ticket price at Sun Valley in 1936 on Proctor and Dollar Mountains was 25 cents.

3. Sun Valley has the largest automated snowmaking system in the world.

4. The name "Sun Valley" was thought up by a New York PR agent, Steve Hannigan, who thought the name appropriate for a place that receives 250 days of sunshine a year.

5. Sun Valley Resort's uphill lift capacity on Bald Mountain is a staggering 21,580 skiers per hour, but averages only 3,500 skiers per day. Result: no lift lines.

For more fun facts go to

Monday, August 20, 2012

Exercise in Privacy and Luxury

The outdoors in Sun Valley, ID are absolutely spectacular year-round, but on days where the sky may be a bit hazy, the morning too brisk, or the winter temperature just a bit too low, there is sanctuary in owning a private, indoor gym.
Here are a few luxury homes in Sun Valley and around the world that possess a private indoor gym.

Home Gym in Ketchum, Idaho
This home, located just north of Ketchum, ID is surrounded by mature evergreens and bordered by USFS land. A sprawling lawn borders a path leading to the Big Wood River. Features include a home theater/bar/game room, exercise room, and in-ground hot tub. Ultimate privacy and beautiful sunsets await. Listed by Sun Valley Sotheby's International Realty.

Lake Creek Privacy, North of Ketchum, ID
Location, design, and impeccable craftsmanship define this exclusive property. This exquisite estate located in Lake Creek Meadows, just North of Ketchum, ID, features a workout room with a padded workout floor and large floor to ceiling mirrors, 20” LCD TV, and Niles hand held remote control for audio. Listed by our office Sun Valley Sotheby's International Realty.

Lap Pool in Hailey, ID
For a bit of a different spin on exercising, this private home in Hailey, ID features an indoor, custom tiled lap pool. And when the weather clears outside, this exquisite retreat is conveniently located only 12 miles from world famous Sun Valley, ID ski resort. Listed by our office Sun Valley Sotheby's International Realty.

Now to travel around the world:
Ballet Barre Exercise Room, Greece
Ideally situated in one of the most sought after residential areas in Athens, this exceptional villa boasts an exemplary finish and is presented to the highest standard. The ground floor, comprises a gym, and a dance studio (pictured here), for any and all of your exercise needs. Listed by our affiliate office Greece Sotheby's International Realty.

Rustic Luxury In-Home Gym, CO
Not only does this property in Snowmass, CO allow you to ski-in and ski-out during the ski season, but it is also equipped with a private gym with amazing views. Listed by our affiliate office Aspen Snowmass Sotheby's International Realty.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the 3.8% Tax

The National Association of Realtors is always a wealth of information, and for those of you who don't spend your day's reading through their blogs and other interesting articles we want to share one specific post with you.

Beginning January 1, 2013 a new 3.8% tax on some investment income will take effect. This new tax will affect some real estate transactions, and it is not predictable in how it will affect every seller and buyer. Below is a summary of the Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the 3.8% Tax. Please visit to download a comprehensive brochure.

Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the 3.8% Tax
1. When you add up all of your income from every possible source, and that total is less than $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint tax return), you will not be subject to this tax.

2. The 3.8% tax will never be collected as a transfer tax on real estate of any type, so you’ll never pay this tax at the time that you purchase a home or other investment property.

3. You’ll never pay this tax at settlement when you sell your home or investment property. Any capital gain you realize at settlement is just one component of that year’s gross income.

4. If you sell your principal residence, you will still receive the full benefit of the $250,000 (single tax return)/$500,000 (married filing joint tax return) exclusion on the sale of that home. If your capital gain is greater than these amounts, then you will include any gain above these amounts as income on your Form 1040 tax return. Even then, if your total income (including this taxable portion of gain on your residence) is less than the $200,000/$250,000 amounts, you will not pay this tax. If your total income is more than these amounts, a formula will protect some portion of your investment.

5. The tax applies to other types of investment income, not just real estate. If your income is more than the $200,000/$250,000 amount, then the tax formula will be applied to capital gains, interest income, dividend income and net rents (i.e., rents after expenses).

6. The tax goes into effect in 2013. If you have investment income in 2013, you won’t pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.

7. In any particular year, if you have no income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll never pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.

8. The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will always protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would never be imposed on more than $1,000.

9. It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. But: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10. The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

If you have questions about how this tax will affect you please seek the guidance of a tax professional. The amount of tax will vary from individual to individual because the elements that comprise AGI differ from taxpayer to taxpayer.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Basic Tips for Buyers

For those of you looking to buy, and may even be in a bidding war, here are a few great tips to keep in mind:
● Put down a large earnest money deposit.
● Write a compelling letter about why you want the property. Include how you plan to use the home and why it means something to you.
● Have your financing in order. If you are getting gift money, have it already in your bank account.
● Use a good real estate agent and a lender with a good reputation.
Read the entire article at the Wall Street Journal Online.
And don't forget, SVSIR can provide all of these things for you. We are known for our expertise in the Sun Valley real estate market.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

5 Reasons to Live in Sun Valley

We wanted to share our top five reasons for living in Sun Valley, Idaho, and depending on how much you know about the area, you may easily have a top 5 (or 10) list of your own.

Let's see if we have picked some of the same reasons.

1. We have a friendly ambiance not seen in many places.
2. We have some of the world's best skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and fly-fishing.
3. Our average summer temperature is 78 degrees, with an average of 250 days of sunshine annually.
4. We have a very unique cultural excellence that includes the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Trailing of the Sheep Festival, Wagon Days, art fairs and exhibits, and world-renowned concerts and performances, just to name a few.

5. Our trails and slopes are uncrowded--no lift lines.

Hopefully this list just reaffirmed your love for Sun Valley, as we at Sun Valley Sotheby's international Realty are all in love with this magical place we call home.

For a full list of events and information on Sun Valley, please go to

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Seller Advice: 10 Ways to Lose a Buyer

After chatting with a couple agents last week, we wanted to do a lighter take on real estate and it's many facets. We presented the topic this morning at our weekly sales meeting and we were overwhelmed with suggestions.

As the title states "Seller Advice: 10 Easy Ways to Lose a Buyer", we had to cut the list back a bit to fit.

1. Keep your listing a secret so your neighbors won't know.
2. Don't listen to your Realtor when pricing a property.
3. Raise your price after no one makes an offer.
4. Ignore curb appeal.
5. Leave the beds unmade.
6. Don't leave when someone shows your home.
7. Have your kids hide in the closets.
8. Rent your house out to tenants who are unwilling or unable to show it and/or clean-up.
9. Don't clean the cat box.
10. Have your pit bull greet them at the door.

There were a few that definitely wouldn't have been appropriate to share here, but we had quite the chuckle at the office meeting, and a few great stories to use for future "lists".