DEAR BOB: You make purchase of income property sound too good, with the tax shelter, income, and inflation hedge benefits. What are the disadvantages of such property? Linda P., Virginia. DEAR LINDA: Management of income properties, such as apartments, offices, and stores, requires time and skill. When there's a vacancy, you'll have to fill it. Emergency repairs may be needed at inconvenient hours. In some areas, rent control is a threat to owners. And you'll have the rent checks for deposit in your bank. You'll have to pay the bills and kept accurate records too.
But at income tax time, you'll soon forget these inconveniences. The tax shelter savings, thanks to the depreciation tax loss, and the positive cash flow into your pocket, more than compensate.
When you decide to sell the income property, your profit will be taxed at the low long term capital gain tax rate, giving you added tax savings. Or you can defer the tax by using investment property. DEAR BOB: We inherited some Florida lots from my brother. Several realtors there have written us asking if we want to sell. We do, but we have no idea of the lot values. What is the best way to handle this long distance sale? Vivian L. Virginia. DEAR VIVIAN: Write or phone the agents who are eager for your lot listings. Get their estimate of the value of your lots. Ask for references of former clients whose lots they have sold. Check the agent carefully, then list with the egent you think will do the best job.
But list the losts for a minimum time period. If the lots are unsold when the listing expires, but the agent is doing a good job, you can renew. Be patient. Lot sales can take a long time. Above all, don't get suckered into paying any "advance advertising fee."
Readers desiring a copy of "How the Magic of Depreciation Can Save You Income Taxes" should send 10 cents in coin and a STAMPED self addressed envelope to Robert J. Bruss, P.O. Box 6710, San Francisco, Calif 94101.