Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Missouri Taxes

It's the end of the year and the tax man cometh! Here's a tax related topic you may not be aware of...

Did you know that Missouri is only 1 of 13 states w/out a transfer tax? Did you know that every state touching Missouri has a transfer tax? Have you heard of a transfer tax before?

A transfer tax is a tax imposed on a real estate transaction for “transferring” the property. Basically this means that when you sell your home, not only are you paying the normal annual taxes but you're also paying simply to sell your home. In the current economy, well in any economy, you probably don't want to have to lose this money when you sell your home, I know I don't!

The odds are that you will one day own a home if you already do not. This is an issue that will affect you if we don't do something about it. If you think a transfer tax sounds like a bad idea then please sign the petition here: http://bit.ly/7mE4lL

The Missouri Associate of Realtors is pro-actively addressing this issue by trying to get a constitutional amendment on the ballots in Missouri to ensure that a transfer tax can never be imposed. Vote yes to support this amendment and stop the potential of these taxes getting started in Missouri.

Here's a map to show what Real Estate Transfer Taxes are already in place across America. I'm not sure the original source of this map and apologize that it appears to show 14 states without a transfer tax.

For more information please visit the official petition website: http://bit.ly/6QAhYm

Please let me know your thoughts on this issue. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad one? Have you had personal experience with this in another state?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Google Voice

I was recently chatting with several Realtor colleagues of mine who have some tech savvy but aren't always up on the latest and greatest. Even though Google Voice is something that's been out there for a while they weren't familiar with it. After highlighting several of the positives of this offering I decided I should document my thoughts out here and provide links to more details.

At a high level Google Voice is a simply a free phone number. Now, that being said, you still need to have a phone number (home or cell) for it to forward calls to. The best part though is you get to pick your phone number (out of the ones still available and the ranges that Google has available to offer). This can allow you to get a phone number that's easier for clients or friends to remember and also makes you look more credible.

One of the neat things though is that you can have it forward to both phones. This way, if you have limited minutes on your cell phone you can answer your home phone number when you're at home. This is great because in this age of cell phones people seldom save both your home & cell phone number and if they do they are often inclined to just call your cell as they are more likely to get you than calling your home number first.

Google Voice also screens calls. If the number or caller is known when you answer your phone it will give you the option of answering or sending to voicemail. This really isn't much different from what cell phones offer today when you have the phone number saved in your phone though. But if you have home phone service and are paying for caller id you may be able to save some money.

The last feature I'll mention is the voicemail service. Here you can get e-mail notifications of when you've recieved a voicemail. You can either listen to the voicemail online or read a dictation of the message. So far I haven't been overly impressed with the dictation and hope this improves in the future.

One feature I greatly desire now that I have a "permanent, all-in-one number" is the ability for it to also accept faxes and just e-mail them to me. I encourage everyone to suggest this as functionality for a future release at this link: http://www.google.com/support/voice/bin/static.py?page=suggestions.cs

For those interested in signing up or learning more about this service, please check out:


Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts on this topic!