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Proposed ballot initiative would revise California Proposition 13

In 1978, California voters passed a ballot measure that caps property taxes at 1 percent of the property's original purchase price and limits increases to 2 percent per year. Proposition 13 applies to both residential and commercial properties, but a new ballot initiative would change the state's constitution to tax industrial properties, commercial real estate and land that will not be used for residential development based on their current market values.

Supporters of the initiative say that it would add between $6 and $10 billion each year to state coffers that could be used to improve schools, community colleges and cash-starved programs. Under the proposed measure, businesses with property holdings worth less than $2 million would still pay taxes under the rules established in 1978. When calculating the financial benefits of passing the ballot initiative, its backers accounted for increased property assessment costs and the impact that the measure would have on income tax revenues.

Emotions add to the price tag of homes for first-time buyers

The purchase of a first home in California represents an exciting achievement. People typically work and save toward this goal for a long time, but a study produced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency reveals that first-time buyers pay more than veteran home shoppers. Two economists looked at data from 1.7 million housing transactions between 2012 and 2016 and calculated that first-time buyers spent an average of 0.79 percent more than people who had bought homes previously.

Commenting on the study, the president of the Appraisal Institute said that emotions such as excitement tend to push first-timers to pursue a home. They downplay negative aspects of a property and focus on the positives.

Is your business entry closed to those with disabilities?

Unless you deal with your own disability, there are likely many things you take for granted. Getting out of bed and into the shower on your own, driving yourself to work and even reading this article may take little effort. However, some citizens of California face a constant challenge to perform these and other activities.

As a business owner, you certainly want to make your establishment as welcoming as possible. One way you do so is by complying with the regulations in the Americans with Disabilities Act. This law requires buildings that are open to the public to guarantee access to those whose disabilities may make it a challenge for them to get around. For example, you may have handicap parking spaces in front of your building or safety bars in the public bathroom. However, have you considered the accessibility of your entrance?

Barriers to home ownership for younger people

Society may think that young people living in California don't want to buy a home because it would make it harder to buy other things. However, the reasons why younger people don't want to buy a home aren't that out of the ordinary. For instance, many who went through the last recession may be wary about using credit. Therefore, they may not have the credit history needed to obtain a mortgage.

The fact that many younger people have student loan payments could also be pushing them away from buying a home. In some cases, it may not be possible to add mortgage payments to that debt load. It is also possible that student loan payments push an individual's debt-to-income ratio beyond what is needed to qualify for a loan. Currently, the average student loan debt is $35,000, and that amount may count toward a person's ratio whether they are being deferred or currently in repayment.

An overview of the 2018 housing market

California residents and others who are looking to buy homes in 2018 may face a couple of key challenges. First, mortgages are expected to get more expensive as the year goes on. Rates could rise to as high as 4.5 percent by the end of 2018. Second, any available homes that go on the market are expected to be sold quickly. According to an economist at Redfin, home sales will increase by 3 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.

As of December 2017, there was less than a three-month supply of available homes. In a neutral market, the supply would be enough to last for six months. However, this may be offset by the fact that new home construction is expected to increase by 10 percent. It is also expected that builders will start to focus on starter homes and homes in the middle of the market as opposed to just luxury properties.

Tips to keep in mind when buying a home

Buying a home can be an exciting yet challenging time for people in California. Planning a move into one's dream home can be a major accomplishment in life, but a home purchase also comes with major stresses about securing financing, ensuring a proper inspection and concluding a fair deal. As people plan their goals for homebuying, keeping a few tips in mind can help real estate buyers to make a good choice when making an offer for a new home.

It's important to know one's own abilities before launching a real estate search. Being aware of one's credit score, credit report and any challenges can help a potential homebuyer to figure out what kind of a mortgage loan they can secure and what their interest rate might be. It can also be a chance to get to work on improving one's credit score in order to secure more favorable financing terms.

How to buy a house with poor credit

When a California resident wants to buy a house, a lender will run a credit check. If prospective buyers have a low credit score, it may hinder their ability to get a mortgage. However, those with poor credit may still have an opportunity to purchase a home. One option may be to enter into an owner finance arrangement.

In this scenario, a buyer will make monthly payments of principal and interest to the seller of the home who will take back a mortgage. It may also be possible to enter into agreement that allows a buyer to first rent the property with an option to buy in a year or two. This may be beneficial as a potential buyer gets to know all the pros and cons of a property before making a long-term commitment.

Complying with ADA bathroom regulations may prevent legal issues

Numerous individuals across the country live with disabilities. Those disabilities affect each person differently, and as a business owner, you certainly understand that everyone faces different challenges. Because you also want to ensure that your patrons do not have to deal with unnecessary hardships when visiting your establishment, you undoubtedly want to make sure that all areas of your establishment meet requirements set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In particular, bathroom areas can often pose challenges for individuals with disabilities. In hopes of avoiding undue struggles, the ADA has guidelines for business owners to follow when it comes to ensuring that their bathrooms have adequate accessibility. If your bathrooms do not meet these guidelines, you could potentially face legal issues for not complying.

L.A. mayor signs off on developer fee to fund affordable housing

Very high rents price many people out of homes in California cities. To raise money for the development of affordable housing, the Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of a fee ordinance that would collect fees from developers. Mayor Eric Garcetti's signature made the linkage fee official, and it is expected to cost developers within the city $93.7 million to $114.3 million annually, according to a report prepared by the Department of City Planning and Housing and Community Investment Department.

The market values of neighborhoods will determine the fee tiers. Residential fees will charge developers $8 to $15 per square foot. Commercial developers will be obligated to pay $3 to $5 per square foot. The city intends to rebuild its depleted affordable housing trust fund with collected fees.

Sellers may face tougher conditions in 2018

Buyers in California may find that they can find better deals on homes in 2018. This is because rising prices and changes to tax laws may reduce the demand for properties on the open market. According to the chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, home sales are likely to remain flat or decline during 2018 in spite of the fact that there are likely to be an increase in jobs over that period.

Since 2015, the median home price has increased about 6 percent per year. However, the median home price is expected to increase only 2 percent in 2018 to about $253,000. Since 2011, the median home price has increased 48 percent overall. There is currently a large supply of homes, and the lack of inventory is partially attributed to investors who have held onto their rental properties as home values and rents have gone up.

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L. Scott Karlin

L. Scott Karlin

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David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin is a California attorney with a primary focus on business and real estate, including law and legal issues...

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Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin is a Southern California based attorney whose practice primarily focuses on Entertainment Law. Michael began...

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