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Death and…

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Putting documentation together for an audit is the biggest P in the H I’ve been through in a long time – even as Realtors who each go through a tree a week in contracts and disclosures – this beats it.  So to save you from some of the hair pulling and headaches, I’ve come up with my Top 10 Lessons I Learned from an IRS Audit:

10.   Track your miles.  Every time my CPA said, “You really should be tracking your miles,” I did one of those “cha” noises.  Not anymore.  The hours I’ve spent reconstructing a year of head-banging frustration in previewing and showing property and not selling it is a bitter reminder.

9.    Determine the clients’ motivation – buyers and sellers – before I start the car or warm up the computer  See number 10.

8.    Get a buyer-broker agreement – every time.  No exceptions.  See number 10.

7.    If you don’t have money-management software, yesterday was a good day to start using it.  Then learn how to use it.  And use it all year – not just when it’s audit time and you have to spend four hours figuring out what you bought at Home Depot in February.

6.    Unball those receipts you’ve been carrying around and file them in a file in a drawer.

5.    Back up your computer.  Do we have to discuss this one again?

4.    Use a CPA.  Cheaper is not better.  You know what you tell sellers all the time:  You wouldn’t do your own surgery, right?  Why would sell your own house?  Don’t do your own taxes.

3.    Know and understand how your CPA is categorizing your expenses.  If you mail postcards, does it go under promotions, advertising, printing?

2.    Keep your personal and business expenses separate.  Separate checking accounts and credit/debit cards used solely for one or the other.

And the number one lesson I learned from an IRS audit…drum roll…please….

1.    It’s not if, it’s when.  So be prepared.  It’s going to happen.  And when it does, put on your fuzzy slippers, get a cup of hot chocolate, play Chrismas music and solicit lots of sympathy on Twitter – oh wait.  That’s what I’ve been doing.  Anyway, make the best of it.  And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate Blog.com.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Andrew Olson

    December 23, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Most of us can become too relaxed with financial organization but if we get audited, it can become a nightmare. And these are great tips to prevent an even bigger headache. Thanks for the reminders!

  2. Paula Henry

    December 24, 2008 at 5:45 am

    I can only imagine the headahes and hope I never personally have to know what you are going through.
    One can never be too prepared for either an IRS audit or simply knowing their expenses.

  3. Teresa Boardman

    December 24, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    My records used to be perfect but now they are a mess. If I get audited . . . 🙂

  4. Missy Caulk

    December 29, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    ..my CPA told me, if you get audited I will go, you stay home. Tee hee. I have no understanding of that corporate document.

  5. Vicki Moore

    December 29, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Missy – My CPA told me the same thing. He was so funny. He said, “You can go, we can go together or I can go for you. I suggest I go for you. I don’t think it’s a good idea for the client to go. They always talk too much.” I thought YES. I can understand that. You go!

    Oh Teresa & Paula – It’s awful.

    Andrew – I hope it helps. Seems that we’re the target for the IRS this year.

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Business Marketing

“House has spark” – burning up the MLS with typos and other bloopers

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The year is starting a march toward its natural ending, friends…and it seems a few real estate careers may be also. This week I found some real head-scratchers in local real estate ads and the MLS.  However, I get submissions from all over the U.S., so no one is safe from the eyes of  the Blooper Scooper. Check out these blunders:

Do You Smell Smoke?

“House has spark” (Apparently your real estate career isn’t the only thing going up in smoke.)

“Big pep area in kitchen” (Is that the cookie jar where Mommy Dearest stashes her uppers?) 

“Dull Viking ovens” (Methinks there’s something in the cookie jar that will perk up those dull Vikings.)

“Large greenhose in back” (Large, naked Jolly Green Giant in yard.)

“Mush added to this house” (Was that the overflow from between your ears?)

I Think I See Flames

“Beautifully remolded guest” (Another cosmetically-altered Barbie hits the Hollywood party circuit.)

“Enjoy a drink poolslide” ( Hell, if the pool is sliding, I’ll need a whole pint of Jack.)

“Each bedroom has own bedrooom” (Hello-o-o, Alice, how are things down there in the rabbit hole?)

“Separate pod to build GH” (That should please my pea-sized buyers.)

“Play room for the kiss” (Something tells me this is the back seat of a ’67 Chevy.)

Still Smoldering…

“Ideal for gusts” (That’s great…if you want to live in a wind sock.)

“Impaccably detailed” (Incredibly challenged)

“Stylish pewder room” (Try burning a match.)

“Stone pillars flake driveway” (Flakey agent got stoned in driveway.)

Nothing But Embers (This Week’s Fave):

“From a bygone error” (You have just written your own epitaph.)

 

 

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Business Marketing

“New bd pans inc” – Making a Splash on the MLS

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I have two things to say this week: 1. When you drink, you can’t think. 2. When you drink you can’t- … uh, what was I saying? Oh, yes – the MLS.  It was so full of bloopers this week that I am led to conclude that happy hour started Monday and never stopped. Read these and tell me if it is any wonder I was driven to throw back a few martinis myself:

Booze ‘N’ Fools

“Free membership to gin inc” (It seems someone else beat us to it, Martini Mary.)

“Grab now use imagination” (That’s what Arnold said to his housekeeper.)

“House has new edition” (Agent lacks erudition.)

“Babblying broke runs in back” (Bumbling buffoon runs amuck.)

“Drop by for cocktail ho” (Oh, is the Sunset Strip for sale?)

Puff ‘N’ Stuff

“Near Sacramento airpot” (I believe his name is Jerry Brown.)

“Claw me for selling” (I’m too busy clawing my eyes out over your spelling.)

“Reduction on mid-century ner Holywod” (Another mid-sixties porn star is looking for work.)

“We can sake your home” (Can I get fried rice with my sake?)

Proof or Goof

“Nice streem” (Said Grandma to Grandpa after his diaper  exploded.)

“Nice for dog kids” (Uh, they’re called ‘puppies,” pal.)

“New bd pans included” (Thank you, Nurse Nancy – can you warm those first?)

“Good stable in neighborhood.” (Have you contacted Mary and Joseph?)

“Drawing for plasma” (Is this a blood-bank?)

And This Week’s Winner Is:

“Good school in areola” (Thanks for keeping me abreast of things.)

PROOF OR GOOF, FRIENDS – I’M WATCHING EWE 🙂

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Highlights

My secret office organization tip – Sharpies and tape

If you’re still practicing to be OCD, here is a secret I don’t typically share with anyone, but I’m willing to share with you today…

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Keeping organized

I used to be obsessed with the P-touch machine. I labeled everything. Drawers, shelves, folders, canisters, and anything that I could think of putting a label on.

But the label makers weren’t as pretty as my own handwriting and didn’t come in every color a Sharpie does, so I got the brilliant idea one day to write in light blue sharpie in my beautiful handwriting on clear tape, placed neatly on the shelves in the pantry. Visitors thought I had written on the cabinets, “what if you have to move things?” they asked. “It’s just tape, look!” I said as if I was performing a complicated magic trick.

Not just shelves!

It’s great to use this tip on files and folders so you can reuse them (especially if you have custom files or designer files), on drawers at the bottom of each section where pens and tape goes, and especially in the break room.

No more label maker, no more refill cartridges and no more mess, especially someone else’s mess! Trust me, this is an OCD person’s dream organizing tip!

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