A crucial part of dealing with clients like this, too, is explaining what they get with their tax rate. Young parents, for example, might see a tax rate in a city as onerous until they look at the quality of the local public schools. For the education their kids will receive there, they might be willing to pony up a little more in income tax. Donlon also works with his clients to develop long-term plans to manage their tax burden as they shift into retirement. Even after they’ve paid off their mortgage, the tax might be onerous for these clients as they move on to a fixed income. Donlon connects them with real estate professionals who can help them sell a piece of their property or tax professionals who can negotiate their tax rate down.
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Donlon doesn’t think that taxes alone will drive Massachusetts’ homebuyers to Florida, but taken with the anguish of shovelling snow in winter it may spark the beginning of a trend. He sees many buyers looking long term at initiatives like this millionaire’s tax, or even at local estate tax rates, and thinks they may move out-of-state based on those. Even if new freedom of movement does allow some people to move to lower tax states, though, Donlon is confident that new buyers can fill the gap knowing that even if it comes with a high tax rate, living in a state like Massachusetts is worth it.
As mortgage professionals in other high tax states like New York and California stare down similar prospects, Donlon said that they can safeguard their businesses by obtaining licenses in multiple states. Low-tax Nevada might be a perfect addition for a California based mortgage pro, as Florida or South Carolina might be for someone based in New York. Even as these markets should be preparing for a high to low tax relocation shift, Donlon is confident that the national housing market will find its equilibrium again.
“If taxes spike, I would think that the values would correct at some point in places like Boston or New York City,” Donlon said. “That’ll help make it more palatable for people paying heavy real estate or income tax bills. It may represent opportunity as those markets fill back in, you just always have to be looking for it. The downside velocity of these trends can be impressive, but not if you’re just peddling one product. You’ve got to look for other options, different types of clients, different styles of selling and different demographics.”