Date Archives: January 2021

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Proposed Changes To Estate Tax and Stepped-Up Basis Rule

Biden's administration may spell changes to estate tax and stepped-up basis rule. Along with a new administration comes tax code changes.

Proposed Changes to Estate Tax and Stepped-Up Basis Rule

While it remains unclear exactly what tax changes President Biden's administration will usher in, two possibilities are that he will propose lowering the estate tax exemption and eliminating the stepped-up basis on death. The first would affect only multi-millionaires, but the second could have an impact on more modest estates and their heirs. 

In 2017, Republicans in Congress and President Trump doubled the federal estate tax exemption and indexed it for inflation. For the 2020 tax year, the exemption is $11.58 million for individuals and $23.16 million for couples. As long as your estate is valued at under the exemption amount, it will not pay any federal estate taxes, and the vast majority of estates do not owe any tax. President Biden has expressed an interest in lowering the estate tax exemption. It could be halved to $5 million or even reduced to the previous exemption of $3.5 million for individuals. 

Another possible tax change is to how property is valued when it is passed on at death. "Cost basis" is the monetary value of an item for tax purposes. When determining whether a capital gains tax is owed on property, the basis is used to determine whether an asset has increased or decreased in value. For example, if you purchase a stock for $10,000, that is the cost basis. If you later sell it for $50,000, you will have to pay taxes on the $40,000 increase in value. 

Under current law, when a property owner dies, the cost basis of the property is "stepped up." This means the current value of the property becomes the basis. For example, suppose you inherit a house that was purchased years ago for $50,000 and it is now worth $250,000. You will receive a step up from the original cost basis from $50,000 to $250,000. If you sell the property right away, you will not owe any capital gains taxes.

According to an article in the New York Times, the current administration may propose to eliminate the basis step-up rule. In the past it was difficult to determine the original cost basis of some property, but in the digital age that information is more easily gathered. The change could result in tax increases for some people inheriting property that has risen significantly in value. 

Another question is whether either of these changes will be made retroactively. It is unlikely, but possible, that if Congress changes these rules later in the year, they could be made retroactive to the first of the year. 

If you are concerned about these rules changing, a trust may be a good way to protect your estate. Property in a trust passes outside of probate, and there are specific types of trusts that are designed to protect assets against estate taxes and capital gains. Talk to your attorney to determine if a trust is right for you. 

Tax experts agree that while changes to the tax code are likely, they probably will not happen right away. The coronavirus pandemic and the recession it has triggered mean that Congress has other priorities now. 

View the full article at


Real Estate Market Update for Three Rivers South-Sunriver-Zip 97707

This week the median list price for Three Rivers South/ Sunriver (97707) is $1,050 with the real estate market action index hovering around 72. This is an increase over last month's real estate market condition. Inventory at record lows.


You ask "How's the market?"
By comparing rate of sales versus inventory we see the market continues to get hotter. More sales demand and fewer homes listed for sale have contributed to a relatively long run of increasing prices. The current supply and demand levels show no sign of prices changing from their current trend.

Inventory in Sunriver as of today is 2 with one land listing and in Three Rivers South there is only 1 single family resident and one single family resident listed for sale in Crosswater.

Land listings are also at a record low for inventory, there are only 15 including 2 in Caldera Springs.

If you have any questions about what the real estate market I would love to speak to you.

Information was provided by First American Title in Sunriver/ Bend Oregon. If you would like to see the full real estate report you can go directly to the site.


Choosing the Right Statement Piece For Your Home

Every room needs a focal point, whether it's a work of art, a piece of furniture, a light fixture or an eye-catching rug. A statement piece adds visual interest and pulls the space together — and interior designers usually recommend one.

Choosing the Right Statement Piece

Do you want to make sure your living area, bedroom or elsewhere features an attention-getting piece, but not sure where to start?

Here's how you can find the right focal point for your space:

  1. Determine the room's best feature. Whether you have a living area with vaulted ceilings, a dining room with large windows or a bedroom with crown molding, you can use your statement piece to highlight this area.

  2. Understand the scale. Take your room's full size into account. Don't choose a small rug for a huge space or an oversized console table for an entryway. Here is a site with a simple formula for choosing the right size art for your wall.

  3. Decide if you want to go big or subtle. You could do one large statement piece in the center of the room or multiple smaller ones here and there. Consider a large mirror on an accent wall or a pair of striking vases on either side of a fireplace. This will depend on your taste as well as the size and shape of the space. The right size accent rugs are very important as well, you never want to skimp on the size or it will make your room look smaller...

  4. Choose a theme or mix-and-match. Is a single color palette, pattern or material your style? Or would you prefer to blend several looks for something more eclectic?  Whether you're a minimalist or not will probably help you make this decision.

  5. Know your timeline. Maybe you plan to change your statement piece every so often, or perhaps you want something that will be there for the long haul. You may want to choose more subtle, timeless pieces if you plan to keep them for a while.

If you're ready for a new place to design and decorate or need help with getting your place ready to sell, get in touch today for help with your real estate needs.


Screen Time and Insomnia: What Does It Mean For Teens?

For teenagers, sleep plays a critical role in staying healthy, feeling happy, maintaining good grades, and doing well in sports. But sleep doesn't come easily for some teens. For those who struggle, it's important to look at their electronic use. An increased amount of screen time throughout the day has been linked to insomnia and symptoms of depression in adolescents. This can include social messaging, web surfing, watching TV, and gaming, in addition to using the internet for schoolwork. The presence of electronic devices in teenagers' lives isn't going anywhere, anytime soon, so it's important to understand its effects on sleep and how to find a better balance.

The Blue Light Effect

Electronic devices emit an artificial blue light that can suppress the release of the body's sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. In turn, this can interfere with the body's natural internal clock that signals when it's time to sleep and wake up. The more time teens spend in front of an electronic device, especially in the evening, the greater the delay in the release of melatonin, making sleep a challenge. They may experience problems falling asleep as well as difficulty staying asleep. As a result, these teens sleep fewer overall hours; over time, that sleep deprivation can lead to symptoms of depression.

Getting Back on Track

Limiting overall daily screen time can help improve sleep issues, but most importantly, restricting use right before bed can play a key role in helping teens fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality. Consider setting a digital curfew one to two hours before bedtime (the earlier, the better). Create a sleep-positive bedroom environment by encouraging teens to read before bed rather than texting to wind down. Some parents institute a tech-free bedroom policy—no TV, computer, or smart phone allowed in the sleeping space, at least during the night.

There are many benefits to today's tech-driven world: Access to more information, the ability to connect with others in an emergency, and a chance to make friends with new people in new places. Managing the amount of time adolescents spend plugged into their electronic devices helps give them the benefits without as many drawbacks, especially when it comes to sleep.

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Winter Home Projects You Can Do During the Pandemic

Winter Home Improvement Projects

After months of living through COVID-19, your to-do list may have gotten much shorter. But now that we're in the midst of winter and are continuing to stay at home, what are some good winter DIY home projects to tackle?

Home improvement projects

Let's start with some home improvement ideas for winter. If you read about fall DIY projects, you may have already tackled painting your kitchen cabinets and accent walls and changed your lighting fixtures. If so, congratulations on that achievement! Now, let's look at some other home improvement projects you can tackle.

Give a fresh coat to your interior trim

After painting accent walls, you may have noticed you also need to add a new coat of paint to the molding around your floors, ceilings, windows and doors. All you will need to get starting is paing and some paint supplies.

Repair your door and window screens

It may be cold now and your are not opening your doors and windows but come spring you will want to and you won't want pesky bugs getting in your house through holes and tears in your screens. This is a great winter home improvement project because you can bring the screens into your garage or basemnet to repair them in the off season. If you want to replace the entire screen you will need screen spline and rolling tool. You can buy these individually or pick up a complete screen replacement kit. If you have a small hole that just needs patched, you could use screen tape or pre-cut patches. A great place to buy these items is at our local hardware store in Sunriver, Camp Abbot Trading Co. 

Organize your garage

After spending time in your garage, you may realize you don't have much space with tools and sports gear everywhere. You can solve this issue with a few a garage organization measures. Get you garden tools out of the way with a wall mounted rack. A bike storage rack will get your bikes off the floor since you probably won't be riding them this winter. Add some hooks to store other things on the wall. A sports rack can keep all your balls, bats, gloves and rackets in one easy to find place. Stackable storage containers are great for all the other miscellaneous items you keep in the garage.

Organize your closet

Now that you've finished your garage, you're ready to move on to your closet . Even if you have a small closet or no closet at all, these tips are for you.

You can choose a closet organization system  or select the pieces you need on your own. You may want to include space-saving collapsible hangers  that let you hang four or five items in the same space as one regular hanger. Or, you could use an adjustable hanging rod , which gives you a two-tier system, doubling the number of clothes you can hang in the same space. Hanging shelves with drawers give you a great deal of flexibility, while a hanging shoe organizer will free up a lot of space on your floor.

Get your kitchen in order

organize your homes kitchen drawers

If you're ready for more organizing, move on to the kitchen to find ways to create more space and make it easier to find the things you need. Arrange your silverware and cutlery with an expandable drawer organizer that will work in most drawers, narrow or wide. If your cans are always in the far reaches of your pantry, make them easier to find with a stackable can rack organizer. Take advantage of more space in your corner cabinet with a lazy susan. Keep your flour, sugar and other food fresh in stackable airtight food containers. With a pot rack organizer, you'll always be able to find the pot and lid you need without digging through your cupboard, while an over the door rack can be used for both spices and cans to save space in your pantry.

Rejuvenate your bathroom

Ready for a new look for your bathroom? This may be a great time to spruce this room up with a new shower curtain, mat, and towels. Dress up your countertop with a new soap dispenser kit. Top it off by replacing your sink faucet and tub and shower kit.

Freshen up your door and drawer hardware

You may not want to spring for new doors throughout your house or new cabinets, but you can give both a fresh, new look by replacing the door handles and cabinet knobs.

Hopefully this give you few ideas to spruce up your home before spring comes.

Article from and written By: Laurie Garrison 


5 Considerations for Buying Right Now

 5 Considerations for Buying a Home Right Now

If you were looking at homes in late fall but halted your plans, you should know that you do not have to delay your home purchase. Though the process may look slightly different now, buying a home is still very much possible in today's market.

So, if you are still looking to buy that dream house or second home soon, don't be afraid to move forward with it, as long as it aligns with your personal goal plan.

Keep these five things in mind:

  • Use tech to your advantage. Be sure to leverage video tours, 3D floor plans and interactive walk-throughs when searching for your house. Reach out if you need more online resources for a property.

  • Choose your vendors carefully. We can work together to ensure that you have a highly experienced lender and real estate broker. This is particularly important if you require a jumbo loan.

  • Keep safety top of mind. Your health and safety are always a top priority. If we meet in person for a showing, you will be advised on safety measures beforehand.

  • Understand how services might proceed. Your appraisal may be done mostly online. You will also probably meet with your home inspector via phone or video call to go over your report plus there might be limited people allowed at the inspection.

  • Know the market. The housing market may fluctuate, but your situation is what is most important. We will review current conditions, so you know you're making informed decisions that are right for you.

Do not let circumstances keep you from investing in your future. If you do decide to move forward with your home purchase I would love to help!


Property Tax Collection – How To Read Your Deschutes County Property Tax Statement
Deschutes County Property Taxes

What color is your tax statement?

Green statements indicates that no lender has requested information and the property owner is responsible for paying the bill.

A yellow statement indicates one of the two things:

The property owner is receiving a Senior or Disabled Tax Deferral in which the Oregon Department of Revenue will pay all or part of the property tax.

Or our records indicate a lender has requested your information and will be making your payment.

Taxpayers are urged to check with their mortgage company if they believe their current arrangement is not reflected by the color of the tax statement. This has been an area of confusion in the past years.

Important dates to consider:

  • Late payments lose the discount, and the tax begins accruing interest after the due date.
  • In Oregon, property is valued each year as of January 1.
  • The fiscal tax year runs from July 1 through June 30.
  • Property taxes are mailed no later than October 25 and payment is due November 15.  The dates at the top of your statement reflect the fiscal tax year for the property taxes imposed.

Roll type: The property "roll type" is printed at the top of the statement. You will see one of the following descriptions: "Real Property", "Manufactured Structure", "Utility", or "Personal Property". 

Property Description: Identifies certain characteristics of your property (when applicable) by:

  • Code:  Tax levy code that defines the list of taxing districts for your property.
  • Map:  Represents the location of your property by township, range, section and tax lot as per the Assessors' Maps.
  • Legal:  Some properties may be identified by their legal description if it is a lot and block in a subdivision.
  • Situs: The physical address of the property
  • Account No:  Property Tax Account number. 

Current tax year detail:
Your tax statement shows the taxes collected for each of the districts in which your property is located. Each district collects a permanent tax rate for ongoing services, plus any additional taxes that may be approved by the voters.  These taxes are shown on your statement as Local Option Levies (LOL) or Bond Levies.

  • A. Educational Taxes:  Assessed for Central Oregon Community College, your property's Educational Service District and K-12 school district.
  • B. General Government Taxes: Paid to cities, regional government, county and special districts (water, sewer, fire, etc).
  • C. Bond Taxes: Finance capital improvements such as school buildings, parks, or public works projects that have been authorized by voters.


  • Real Market Value (RMV) is the amount in cash that could reasonably be expected to be paid by an informed buyer to an informed seller.
  • Assessed Value (AV) is the total (combined land and structures) amount of value used to impose property taxes. If you are currently receiving a Veteran's Exemption, it will be noted in this section.
  • Delinquent Taxes Any prior year's tax remaining unpaid will be listed just above your current year total tax due on the front, right hand side of the statement. Delinquent amounts that will be subject to foreclosure, if not paid by May 15 the following year, will be indicated with an asterisk (*). Payments will be applied to the oldest tax year first.

An informational flyer is included with each tax statement to be used as a guide for a better understanding of the property tax statement, payment options, and other programs associated with the Oregon Property Tax System.

Appeals, delinquency, foreclosure you can learn more here  

Still have questions? Check out Deschutes County's frequently asked questions page.






Real Estate Market Update January 2020

In this Beacon report you will see information about the housing market from 1997-2020. Median sales price trends in Bend and well as Sunriver and La Pine, Oregon.

the Central Oregon real estate market has experienced a significant decline in the level of inventory this last quarter. The median single family residence sale price in Bend declined for the second consecutive month as the number of sales was nearly unchanged from November and December. Inventory declined to .3 months supply.


Redmond single family residential real estate market median sales price was $375k in December and had an increase in the number of sales when compared to November. The inventory in Redmond remains less than half month suppply.

Sunriver's single family residential real estate market median sales price was $635k with an average of 4 days on the market. Current Sunriver inventory is .2 months.


La Pine's single family residential median sales price  was $325k with 17 days on market and a current inventory of .3 months.

With interest still being at record lows buyers are stacked up waiting to purchase properties as soon as they come on the market. If you are looking to sell a property now is a great time.

If you have any questions about the Central Oregon real estate market give me a call! 541-815-0906

View the whole report here

This information is from our MLS system, it is deemed liable but not guaranteed and is subject to change.

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