Special Considerations for Second/Vacation Homes

How do you insure a vacation home?You'll want to insure your vacation home against damage and loss. Your homeowners policy will provide liability coverage for you at your vacation home. However, most homeowners insurance policies provide only limited coverage for personal property at an additional...

Gifting to Avoid Estate and Gift Taxes

U.S. taxpayers are experiencing a "perfect storm" of opportunity to make tax-free transfers (gifts) of assets such as family businesses, real estate and other wealth from one generation to the next. The gift tax was first enacted in 1932 by the federal government after the...

Tax Changes You Need to Know About

Although there aren't a lot of changes that affect 2011, there are a few important items to note: 2012 will bring many changes for state tax returns that will require more planning than many of us are used to.There are changes being implemented by...

Self-Directed IRAs: Proceed with Caution

With the poor economy, many IRA owners are desperately looking for better returns, which might prompt them to consider self-directed IRAs. But investors need to proceed with caution down the self-directed IRA path.Self-directed IRA accounts allow IRA owners to invest their retirement assets in unique...

Industrial Strength

Why demand for industrial properties is growing - and who's buyingGRAND TRAVERSE CO. - Driving around Grand Traverse County, it's hard to miss the dozens of empty industrial buildings for sale. A 61,000 square-foot warehouse on Barlow. The giant, 80,000 square-foot former Lear Manufacturing complex...

Ten questions you must ask your contractor

Hiring a contractor? All contractors are not created equal. Communication is critical and easier than ever before, but you should be prepared with at least these questions for your initial meeting:1. What sets your company apart from your competition, and what is your business philosophy?2....

Reaching out to returning veterans

A year ago I wrote on the subject of honoring veterans' employment rights and I reflected on the combat deaths of Cpl. Paul Miller, Sgt. Jason Calo, Sgt. Dillion Fox and Sgt. Matthew West, all northern Michigan soldiers killed in our Iraq and Afghanistan wars....

Local commercial development on par with national trend

TRAVERSE CITY - While we are far from the construction craze of the mid 2000s, it appears commercial development is slowly on the rise, both nationally and in Traverse City.Recent numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau show non-residential construction spending at its highest levels...