2018 Tax Bill and Real Estate Investment Planning

Content by Ephraim Schwartz & Teresa O'Dette. Consult your tax advisor to better understand how these changes to the 2018 tax code affect your personal situation.

Every tax return must either: Itemize deductions, or take a standard deduction. It must be one or the other and cannot be a combination. Mortgage interest deduction = Itemizing. Here's what every real estate owner should understand regarding whether to deduct their mortgage interest, OR take the standard deduction:

Mortgage interest deduction is reduced from loan amounts up to $1,000,0000, to $750,000. This is for the primary residence + one vacation home, combined. $1.0M limit is grandfathered for:

  • Mortgage debt incurred on, or before, Dec. 15, 2017.
  • Mortgage debt incurred on, or before, Apr. 1, 2018, where the purchase contract was signed prior to Dec. 16, 2017 to close prior to Jan. 1, 2018.
  • Rate & Term (non-cash out) Refinances of mortgage debt originally incurred prior to Dec. 15, 2017.

Vacation Home mortgage interest can still be deducted if a primary residence mortgage is less than the $750k limit. If the two (primary & 2nd home) mortgages combined exceed the $750k, then only a portion of the vacation home interest would be deductible. Ex. Primary residence mortgage balance of $500k, and a vacation home mortgage balance of $500k, then all of the primary residence mortgage interest will be deductible, and half of the vacation home mortgage interest will be deductible.
HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) debt interest can only be deducted if it was used for either; purchase, building, or improving the property.
Cash-out (home equity) mortgage debt is no longer tax deductible. The previous limit was $100k.

Standard deduction is increasing:

  • Individuals: increase from $6,350 → $12k
  • Married: increase from $12k → $24k
  • Head of Household: is now $18k

The increase to the standard deduction combined with a decrease to mortgage interest deduction means the standard deduction will be the right decision for more people nationwide. This will impact the tax savings for some future purchases, but not all. It's true that first time home buyers of less expensive homes will be more likely to take the standard deduction, than make use of their mortgage interest deduction, going forward. However, in our high cost market, many individuals will still benefit from itemizing their mortgage interest deduction because their mortgage interest is still larger than the standard deduction. So, in addition to other reasons to invest in real estate, owning real estate will continue to be a tax advantage for most in this area.

Income from real estate can be deducted by 20% under the new law.

This deduction will be a new benefit to some vacation & investment property owners in our market. The scenario that will benefit is when the loan amount on a primary residence alone maxes out the allowable mortgage interest deduction, as a 2nd home mortgage interest would not be deductible. Under the new law 20% of rental income is a new deducted on a vacation/investment property.


Notice both the tax bracket and taxable income change.



Real estate taxes can now only be deducted up to $10,000. Previously, all property taxes could be deducted at no limit. Property taxes remain fully deductible for businesses or for-profit real estate reported on schedule E of tax returns.

Consider the combination of 20% deduction of rental income + the cap of state & local taxes: Less expensive homes & investment properties with good rental income may benefit, meanwhile more expensive homes not on schedule E are more likely to see an increased cost of homeownership.


  • 2017 = $14,000/person/year
  • 2018 = $15,000/person/year


  • 2017 = $5,490,000/person
  • 2018 = $11,200,000/person

*Portability between married couples, so actually ~$22.4M lifetime Gift Tax exemption between couples.
The majority of home buyers will not have to worry about their family paying gift taxes for any gifted down payment going forward.

Remains unchanged. If a property has been the primary residence for any 2 years within the most recent 5 yrs, then capital gains are excluded from tax up to:

  • $250,000 for individual
  • $500,000 for joint filers

Substantial Improvement

  • Adds to the value of the home
  • Prolongs the home's useful life, or adapts the home to new uses

24 Month Look Back Period
12 Month Look Forward Period

Content by,

Originally posted by Brit Crezee at Sierra Sotheby's International Realty

Additional resources from Baker, Newman and Noyes, an accounting firm in New England, can be found on their website here.

The New Affluent: A Report on Consumers in Luxury Real Estate

The New Affluent report was custom-created for the Sotheby's International Realty brand with information distilled from a comprehensive research study into the needs and wants of the luxury consumer. The report offers unique insights into the changing landscape of this niche market, real estate consumers and the perception of the Sotheby's International Realty brand. This report is part of ongoing research and evolution our brand pursues to ensure that we are in the forefront of the real estate market which means that we are perfectly positioned to sell your home to the world.

Read on to see key findings that Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty is honing in on to continue bringing our clients, new and repeat customers the best experience when buying or selling real estate in Southern Maine and on the Seacoast of New Hampshire.

Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty welcomes Skanlon Sittig to its team of professionals

York & Ogunquit, Maine (August 9, 2017)Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty, one of Maine's leading luxury real estate services firms, is pleased to announce that Skanlon Sittig has joined the firm's professional team.

"We are thrilled to welcome Skanlon to both our York and Ogunquit offices" said Linda Briggs, President and Owner of Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty. "Skanlon brings an unrivaled reputation with his strong work ethic, expert negotiating skills, and an extensive knowledge of the coastal real estate market. His warm and poised personality provides buyers and sellers with a very positive real estate experience."

Skanlon is a seasoned real estate professional with over 20 years of experience in the southern Maine real estate market. His real estate career began as a Certified Real Estate Appraiser, a license he still holds in addition to being a REALTOR®. As a REALTOR® with an appraisal background, Skanlon brings a wealth of diverse expertise. He has worked across a broad array of property types, classifications, and price points including single-family homes, multi-unit, and condominiums for both buyers and sellers.

"I have long admired Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty and the team's collaborative spirit," Skanlon says. "Their approach is defined by a greater commitment to service. I am excited to work with a world-class marketing firm to grow my business and continue to offer my clients a superior experience." The Sotheby's International Realty network currently has more than 21,000 sales associates located in approximately 900 offices in 68 countries and territories worldwide. Each office is independently owned and operated.

Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty has had a leading presence in the southern Maine real estate market for over 35 years. Founded in 1980, the company offers a wide selection of oceanfront, ocean view, waterfront, water view and distinctive homes in every price range in southern Maine including York, Cape Neddick, Kittery, Kittery Point, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, South Berwick, and Eliot. Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty is located at 31 Long Sands Road, York, Maine and 19 Beach Street, Ogunquit, Maine. As the exclusive affiliate of Sotheby's International Realty in the Southern Maine region, property listings of Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty are distributed worldwide on the global website, as well as on the firm's local website,

George Marshall Store Gallery Sponsorship - July 15 - Aug 20

Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty is proud to sponsor the upcoming exhibit at the George Marshall Store Gallery from July 15 - August 20.
Join us Saturday, July 15 from 5-7pm at the George Marshall Store Gallery at 140 Lindsay Road, York, ME for the opening reception.
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10-5 / Sunday 1-5 / and by appointment

David Ernster, Phyllis Ewen & Wendy Prellwitz: Imprint

David Ernster is a ceramic artist whose work is deeply connected to nature and water. This inherent connection is rooted in both the materials he uses and his childhood fascination with fossil formations along the Mississippi river. David’s interest in vessels and their ability to contain infinite possibilities is what drew him to work with clay and metal, mediums traditionally used in the creation of vessels. In addition to his own work in ceramics, metal, and jewelry, David has taught at multiple universities and is a visiting professor of art at Colby-Sawyer College. Click here to view images of David’s work.

Phyllis Ewen‘s mixed-media artwork is a fusion of art and science with an emphasis on the organic quality of nature. Her sculptural drawings present an exploration of the effects of global warming, such as drying rivers and rising seas. This subtle commentary on politics, society, and nature is a common thread throughout her work, no matter the medium. Phyllis currently works in Somerville, Massachusetts at her studio in the Brickbottom Artist Building, of which she is a founding member. Click here to view images Phyllis’s work.

The combination of graphic and organic imagery in Wendy Prellwitz‘s monotypes and paintings are a result of the dualities that she observes in the fluidity of water – the known and unknown, the tangible and intangible. Ultimately, her work aims to draw the viewer out of themselves and into the infinite beyond of the sea. Wendy currently works at her studio in Somerville, Massachusetts. Click here to view images of Wendy’s work.

Amy Brnger: Surroundings

Amy Brnger uses nature as a vehicle for expression and inspiration throughout all of her paintings, whether it be still life, landscape, or flowers. Her landscapes are often drawn from her surroundings on the seacoast, serving as a means to enjoy and record the region that she calls home. Amy lives and works in seacoast New Hampshire. Click here to view images of Amy's work.

Brett X. Gamache: Fresh & Ripe

Brett X. Gamache is an oil painter who works and teaches in the Boston area. He paints mostly from observation, typically outdoors, and strives to capture the light, energy, and life that he sees before him. Brett received a BFA in painting from Mass Art, an MFA in painting from the University of New Hampshire, and studied in Italy as a Fulbright recipient in 2007. Images of Brett’s work coming soon.

Maine home prices were up 5.12 percent in May

Maine Listings reported yesterday that Maine home prices were up 5.12 percent in May over May of 2016. They said lower than normal inventory of existing single family homes in Maine led to an 8.85 percent decline in May 2017 sales. However, according to Maine Listings, the median sales price (MSP) for the 1,524 homes sold last month rose 5.12 percent to $200,000. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.

"Along the coast, in York County, sales for single-family homes priced between $200,000 and $700,000 beat the rest of the market," states Linda Briggs, owner of Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty. "Our office has felt the lack the inventory of homes coming to the market and agree with the trend that these mid-market homes are maintaining value and see some values increasing," said Briggs. "It's the luxury market that's been suffering, only 10 homes, priced above $2 million have sold in the last 365 days in York County. And of those 10 homes our office listed 3 of them, more than any other office," Briggs continued. "With a strong internet presence, there is no lack of visibility, however luxury buyers appear to be taking their time. The better weather and summer season should see an increase in activity."

Nationally, single family home sales increased 2.7 percent. The National Association of Realtors reported a nationwide MSP of $254,600 a 6.0 percent jump from one year ago. The Northeastern US experienced a sales increase of 2.6 percent and the regional MSP rose 4.7 percent to $281,300.

Below are two charts showing statistics for Maine and York county. The first chart lists statistics for the month of May only, statewide. The second chart compares the number of existing, single-family homes sold (units) and volume (MSP) during the rolling quarter of March, April and May of 2016 and 2017.

Sotheby's International Realty Brand Expands Presence in Upstate New York

by Natalie Hernandez

Originally published on June 21, 2017 | Extraordinary Living Blog

Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates LLC today announced that Timm Associates, Inc. in Old Forge and Blue Mountain Lake, New York is the newest member of its network and will now do business as Timm Associates Sotheby's International Realty.

The firm was founded in 1989 and is owned and operated by Dawn Timm. Timm Associates Sotheby's International Realty will serve the luxury residential real estate market in the Central and Western Adirondacks region of New York.

"The Adirondack Mountains are a year-round retreat and an attractive market for those seeking a home that caters to an active lifestyle," said Philip White, president and chief executive officer of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. "We are proud to welcome Timm Associates Sotheby’s International Realty to our global network."

"The communities we serve offer an abundance of recreational activities and we enjoy sharing our love of the Adirondacks with our clients," said Timm. "We like to say we are selling a fun-filled lifestyle, but we also believe every client deserves the same exceptional service throughout the buying and selling process, no matter the size of the transaction. Affiliating with the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand allows us the opportunity to provide our clients with an extraordinary global marketing platform. We are thrilled to be Timm Associates Sotheby’s International Realty."

Timm Associates Sotheby’s International Realty has offices in Old Forge and in Blue Mountain Lake. With this addition, the Sotheby’s International Realty network has 62 branded offices throughout the state of New York.

The Sotheby's International Realty network currently has more than 20,000 affiliated independent sales associates located in approximately 880 offices in 69 countries and territories worldwide. In 2016, the brand achieved a record global sales volume of $95 billion USD. Timm Associates Sotheby's International Realty listings will be marketed on the global website. In addition to the referral opportunities and widened exposure generated from this source, the firm's brokers and clients will benefit from an association with the Sotheby's auction house and worldwide Sotheby's International Realty marketing programs. Each office is independently owned and operated.

A Weekend in Ogunquit :: Your Guide to Everything

Rightfully called "Beautiful Place by The Sea," Ogunquit has been a popular vacation destination year after year. Shrouded in a curtain of Seaside Charm and New England hospitality is an abundance of history, culture, and summer activity.  Here's a suggestion for your day-by-day, long-weekend guide to all things Ogunquit: where to stay, where to eat and what to do- including agent suggestions and local favorites!

DAY 1 :: Arrival

Welcome to Ogunquit. We may be biased, but we are sure you are going to love it here. The first thing on your list is to check into your room at The Above Tide Inn. The sunny room overlooks the magical spot where the Ogunquit River meets the salty Atlantic.

You've checked in, and now is the perfect chance to get acclimated with Ogunquit Village. After just a five minute walk, you'll find yourself surrounded by locally owned shops and countless, delicious eateries. Don't forget to stop by Junebugs Beach House for everything beach-y and some hand crafted goods. When hunger hits, head over to La Orilla. Outdoor seating and local beer at this tapas bar will start you off on your path to relaxation.

It's getting late, but you can't go straight home yet. A moonlit stroll on the beach will get you ready for a night of rest before your first full day tomorrow. Be sure your curtains open tonight. Doze off to the lapping of the waves.


DAY 2 :: By the Beach

You've left your curtains open so you can rise with the sun to be the first people at the beach- and the earlier the better! First though, stop at Village Food Market to grab your morning coffee and a to-go breakfast sandwich or muffin. After finding your spot on the beach, grab your inner tube to take a "lazy" ride down the river.

Eventually, you will need a break from the sun and the bustle of the beach. Drop your things off at the Inn and start your walk on the Marginal Way. Walking along the ocean over cliffs and rocks, this leisurely walk will take you right to the center of Perkins Cove. Much like the Village, the Cove is filled unique shops and restaurants that perfectly reflect the Maine lifestyle. You cannot leave the Cove without trying a lobster roll from the Lobster Shack... and be prepared to spend a good amount of time browsing the eclectic goods & antiques at Blue Willow Gift Shop.

It's been a long day in the sun. Head back to the Inn to wash up and treat yourself to a special evening. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art as you make your way dinner at That Place. The museum harbors a permanent exhibit as well as a rotating exhibit, and is a hub for local culture. Let the inspiration and creativity spill onto your dinner plate at That Place, at the gateway to Perkins Cove. Refresh with a unique cocktail and fresh seafood for your next big day.



Day 3 :: Explore Wells

Throw on your hiking boots, grab a smoothie at Loveshack Juicery and hop in the car. You're headed North to Wells, Maine- but on your way you're likely going to make a number of stops. Following the shoreline, Route 1 is a hub for antiques, oddities and treasures. There are plenty of places that will call to your collectors senses as you drive by, but this Antique Trail Guide can help you get an idea of what places you might want to stop at on your way to Wells.

Your final destination is Laudholm Farms. This ecological education center is home to miles of walking trails and plenty to do for most of the day. In addition to the network of trails, Laudholm also offers free guided tours, information and educational programs throughout the trails, and exhibits open to the public in the Maine Coastal Ecology Center. Make sure you check out the trails that lead to  Laudholm Beach and the Salt Marshes before you leave!

Since it's your last night in Ogunquit, you'll want to do something special. After dinner, get your tickets out and head over to the Ogunquit Playhouse. The Playhouse was created in the 1930's, and to this day puts on shows, year-after-year, that draw crowds from all over New England. Ogunquit Playhouse has 6 different productions lined up for the 2017 season, from "Mama Mia!" to "Heartbreak Hotel" they have something for everyone. Check out their schedule and purchase your tickets here.

After a handful of radiant sunsets and ocean air, we hope you'll return to Ogunquit. Maybe next time, you'll want to stay longer- for a week, a month, or perhaps even a lifetime. For whatever length you choose to stay, Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty would like to help make your visit special. Contact us for current information on available homes for sale and rentals. Even if you're just here for a couple days, pop in and say "Hi!" at our Ogunquit office, located at 19 Beach Street.

Sotheby's International Realty Expands Presence in Greece

by Natalie Hernandez

Originally published on May 25, 2017 | Extraordinary Living Blog

Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC today announced it has signed a long-term franchise agreement with Greece One Realty Limited to further expand the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand presence in Greece and with Rodon Realty P.C. for the opening of Rhodes Sotheby’s International Realty in Rhodes.

Greece Sotheby’s International Realty is led by seasoned real estate professionals Savvas Savvaidis, president and chief executive officer, and Natalie Leontaraki, chief operations officer. Savvaidis also serves as the chief executive officer of Rhodes Sotheby’s International Realty. With a flagship office in the historic capital city of Athens, Greece Sotheby’s International Realty will continue to serve the luxury residential real estate market throughout the country and in key areas including Mykonos, Crete and Corfu, while Rhodes Sotheby’s International Realty will focus on the unique market in Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands of Greece.

“Greece and its islands are emerging as an attractive luxury real estate market in the Mediterranean,” said Philip White, president and chief executive officer of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “Rhodes is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece known for its rich history, beaches and 300 days of sunshine, and we are proud to have Savvas Savvaidis at the helm of this expansion within the country.”

“The luxury real estate sector in Greece has a promising future,” says Savvaidis. “Greece’s luxury tourism market is expanding rapidly while state-of-the-art golf resorts and branded mixed-use developments are creating a strong luxury footprint in the Mediterranean. Being a part of the Sotheby’s International Realty brand allows us access to unparalleled marketing platforms for these high-end developments, an excellent recipe for a successful business operation.”

The Sotheby's International Realty network currently has more than 20,000 affiliated independent sales associates located in approximately 880 offices in 69 countries and territories worldwide. In 2016, the brand achieved a record global sales volume of $95 billion USD. Greece Sotheby's International Realty and Rhodes Sotheby's International Realty listings will be marketed on the global website. In addition to the referral opportunities and widened exposure generated from this source, the firm's brokers and clients will benefit from an association with the Sotheby's auction house and worldwide Sotheby's International Realty marketing programs. Each office is independently owned and operated.