Snowbirds App to Download: Keep track of your days!

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I have partnered with Gerry Scott, Snowbird App creator.

Are you a Canadian that regularly visits in the USA? Don’t leave home without downloading the Snowbirds App!

The Canadian Snowbirds US Stay Counter helps you track the number of days you’re spending in the USA, which is essential to avoid being classified by the IRS as a US resident for tax purposes.

Stay up-to-date on the latest news, and view our private directory of recommended cross-border services: Currency conversion, flights, travel insurance, even information on how to ship your car and buy a house in the States!

http://www.snowbirdsapp.ca/

 

Canadians: Don’t Forget FIRPTA if you are Thinking of Selling!

No, the Canadian dollar is not doing well, and as a result the Canadian buyer pool has diminished somewhat in the last year.  However, those that did buy a few years ago are now looking at selling to reap the benefit of the dollar.

If I can help you with this, please contact me. I can help you with list price, staging, making some slight changes to make your home more marketable.  The Canadian Snowbirds have slowed, but I am working with a huge US Snowbird population now.

If you are considering selling, make sure you review FIRPTA and figure out if your sale will require withholding tax of 10% or not.  If you are not exempt from the withholding tax, you can possibly reduce or eliminate it if a withholding certificate is obtained from the IRS.  I spoke with my tax person last week and he said it was taking between 90-120 days right now.  If you miss deadlines, and tax is withheld, you may have to wait until the close of the tax year before IRS will consider a claim for refund.

Here is an article that will help you get started and ask your tax adviser for some guidance.

http://www.itaxcpa.com/firpta_wh_direct.htm

Again, if I can help, give me a call/email or a text!

 

Step by Step Tips for Relocation from Canada to the Valley of the Sun

Goldwater Memorial photoArizona is a popular destination for Canadians thanks to its year-round sunshine, temperate climate, low property taxes, organized traffic system and its wealth of outdoor activities.  Before making a move to the beautiful Valley of the Sun, there are some things to consider:

  1. Familiarize yourself with any Canadian income tax regulations that may pertain to purchasing a home or a vacation home in the United States.   Specifically, examine the Canadian Revenue Agency website (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/menu-e.html) for specific information that is particular to your individual situation.
  2. Research the areas or neighborhoods that you’d like to consider.  Consult with a realtor who specializes in the communities you’re considering.  Your realtor will be able to educate you about the communities, the neighborhoods, services and association fees in each location.
  3. Your realtor will then help you to narrow down homes to visit while you are in the Valley of the Sun, and will set up appointments to view these homes, thereby maximizing your time.
  4. Prior to departing Canada, be sure to prepare your finances.  You must have U.S. funds on deposit at time of escrow.  Closing time in Arizona varies from 30 to 60 days depending on the type of financing.  Cash transactions typically close within 2 to 3 weeks.  Closing costs are typically 1 to 2% unless the home price is under $200,000 in which case closing costs are typically 2 to 3%.
  5. Your realtor will also walk you through your home financing options.  You may be able to purchase your home with a foreign national loan through a local lender, or by taking out a home equity loan.  Cash is also a popular option with Canadians purchasing homes in the Valley of the Sun.
  6. Finally, remember that as a buyer in Arizona, you don’t pay for real estate services.  The seller pays for services in real-estate transactions.

I look forward to working with you in your search for a home or a vacation home here in our beautiful Valley of the Sun.

 

 

Fitness in Grayhawk

94557242North Scottsdale is home to many active communities, and Grayhawk is no exception.  Within Grayhawk itself are 20 miles of walking paths, which wind throughout this beautiful community.  Bike lanes are present throughout Grayhawk as well, providing safe and convenient thoroughfares for cyclists.

Grayhawk Park is popular with fitness enthusiasts due to its baseball fields, tennis courts, volleyballs courts, basketball courts, and soccer fields.  Nearby and also available to the residents of Grayhawk is Thompson Peak Park, which has four lighted softball fields as well as two full basketball courts.

path in Grayhawk photoHiking is a popular fitness option in Arizona, and Grayhawk is centrally located to many nearby trails.  The McDowell Sonoran Preserve features many different trails for all skill levels, but a popular option for beginner and intermediate hikers is the Gateway Loop Trail which is about 4.4 miles and offers breathtaking scenery.  More advanced hikers can join the Windgate Pass Trail from the Gateway Loop, to link up to the Tom’s Thumb Trail, a challenging hike with a reward of a phenomenal viewpoint at Tom’s Thumb, a 114 foot granite spire.  Children would enjoy the Bajada Trail, a short nature loop.   Nearby Pinnacle Peak Park features a 3.5 mile round-trip trail that is popular with everyone, from families to trail runners, thanks to its meticulously maintained wide trails and gorgeous vistas.

The Grayhawk area is also home to many indoor fitness centers.  For example, Underground Fitness features bootcamp and personal training options.  Lifetime Fitness is a bit farther from Grayhawk but provides all types of fitness activities, from group fitness classes to swimming and basketball, in a luxury gym environment.  Amenzone Fitness is in nearby DC Ranch for CrossFit fans, and Grayhawk is home to a few different yoga studios such as Sumits Yoga and Harumi Yoga.

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Goodbye to Greasewood Flat

How sad, as of March 21st 2015 Greasewood will no longer be a destination for afternoon drinks, burgers and live music.  For 40 years this watering hole has attracted bikers, cowboys, golfers, the older, the younger looking for a relaxing lazy afternoon under the shade of the huge trees outside.  It is in fact, the greasewood bushes that was the inspiration for the name of the place.   Located just off Alma School, Greasewood started out as an old bunkhouse building that stretched over 1000 acres of the Sonoran Desert known then, in the late 1800’s as DC ranch.  A man named Doc Cavlliere bought 45 acres where Greasewood sat so he could get away from it all, meaning downtown 20 miles south.  I am sure it is a surprise that now that area has developed into one of the most affluent areas in Scottsdale: Troon Village, Pinnacle Peak, Troon North to name a few communities.

The tiny ordering station and bar housed what I think, were the safest dollar bills hanging in open air anywhere!

resized gwood dollars

THE SAFEST DOLLARS IN THE WESTERN US!

There has been  talk  that the current owners were too far in debt, that it was willed to the kids and they weren’t interested or couldn’t keep it and that a developer was going to come in and buy the 42 acres.  I really don’t know the whole story.  There have also been rumours of it relocating but remaining Greasewood Flat.  It would be hard to duplicate, but it was more about the atmosphere, philosophy and people that made it such a unique place to be….. and should it ever happen I hope to be there on opening day as I was there on closing day.

gwood resize golf cart resize Gwood close day gwood resize bar resize gwood stage

Did you know there is even a movie filmed there?  A story of a struggling blues musician named Johnny making his way through life.    Mark Boone Jr. (Bobby from Sons of Anarchy) is in it too.  I believe you can now get that on Netflix!

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GREASEWOODFLAT MOVIE POSTER