Opportunity Zones (O-Zones)

You may be hearing more about Opportunity Zones recently, they have been around for some while now, (2017) but mostly in conversation with long term real estate investors.

Opportunity zones are similar in ways to 1031 like-kind exchange, which allow real estate investors to defer taxes on gains from the sale of a property by reinvesting the proceeds from the sale in another property within six months. A key difference is that 1031s do not allow investors to permanently exclude any portion of their profit from taxes, which the opportunity zone program allows for investments held for at least 10 years.

“To take advantage of the tax benefits, investors need to invest capital gains in vehicles known as qualified opportunity funds, which aggregate money from investors and use it to acquire and improve properties in opportunity zones, within 180 days of the sale of an asset. Investors can choose to work with an existing opportunity fund that plans to invest in an area or type of property they want to put money into or form their own fund. For their part, opportunity funds must invest at least as much in improving a property as they pay for it, and are required to invest 90 percent of their assets in properties located in opportunity zones.”

Unlike 1031 like-kind exchanges, which require an intermediary to hold onto the proceeds that come from the sale of property while the seller lines up another investment, funds intended for investment in an opportunity zone don’t need to be kept separate. Investors simply have to file Form 8949 with their income taxes to report the investment to the IRS. That said, the rules for these investments are complex and have not yet been finalized by the government. It’s advisable to seek professional guidance before proceeding. You can find a directory of opportunity funds at the National Council of State Housing Agencies website at

It’s up to each opportunity fund to determine the minimum investment it will accept, but you can get started as an opportunity zone investor with a relatively modest amount of money.

For some answers to specific questions, click through to the IRS page.

The list of designated Qualified Opportunity Zones can be found at Opportunity Zones Resources and in the Federal Register at IRB Notice 2018-48.  Further a visual map of the census tracts designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones may also be found at Opportunity Zones Resources. You can find 11-digit census tract numbers, also known as GEOIDs, using the U.S. Census Bureau’s Geocoder.  After entering the street address, select ACS2015_Current in the Vintage drop-down menu and click Find.

You can also read more on my page:

Equitable Distribution

This isn’t a fun subject, but it is something that a lot of people have to address. . . Divorce. But more importantly, how items of possession are distributed when it is time to separate. The law changes from State to State, so it is good to know in advance exactly where you stand.

The distribution of property in a divorce in Florida is covered by Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes. Rather than a community property state, such as California, Florida has adopted what is known as Equitable Distribution. Under the Equitable Distribution scheme, marital property is fairly divided between the parties.

An award by a judge of property to one spouse must be based upon “competent and substantial evidence” of the spouse’s right to that property, as presented by the lawyer for that spouse.

“Marital property includes such things as, by way of example, assets acquired jointly by the spouses during the marriage, the enhancement of value of a non-marital asset during the marriage due to the efforts of the other spouse, jointly titled personal property, a home titled as tenants by the entirety, a gift during the marriage from one spouse to another, and a joint bank account.

Discuss all options and advise with your own attorney.

As can be expected, much litigation occurs over the distribution of assets in a dissolution of marriage in Florida. 

A court will first award to each party their own non-marital property, such as property they had and retained prior to the marriage, and which did not become marital property. Non-marital property, however, can become marital property, when one party brings a home into the marriage and places the other party on the title to the home. A bank account owned prior to the marriage and maintained by only one party during the marriage, and not used for purposes related to the marriage or the other spouse, would likely retain its separate, non-marital classification.

“Like the distribution of assets, the court will also need to equitably distribute the marital debts of the parties. Marital debts include debts incurred during the marriage, or debts which were incurred by one spouse prior to the marriage but which were somehow ratified or adopted by the other spouse during the marriage.”

Questions From Homebuyers® recently asked real estate professionals to weigh in with the eight most common buyer questions. Have any of these come up in your home buying concerns?

As a REALTOR®, we have answers to your questions.

Eight common buyer questions according to®:

  1. What home can I afford?
  2. Can I buy a home and sell my current one at the same time?
  3. How many homes should I see before making an offer?
  4. What do you think the seller will accept as a fair price?
  5. How do I know if the property is a good deal?
  6. How quickly can I close?
  7. Should I get a home inspection?
  8. When can I back out if I change my mind?

Ozona, Florida

Ozona is a small coastal community located on the west-central coast of Florida. The area of Ozona is about 775 households, located in the northern unincorporated area of Pinellas County,  Tampa Road leads directly into and, in fact, originates in Ozona. It hugs the Gulf of Mexico south of Tarpon Springs and north of Dunedin and Clearwater. Ozona is the very definition of eclectic. With large luxury homes next door to small beach cottages; from out-of-the-way dessert shops to some of the greatest seafood restaurants in Pinellas County; we have that perfect mix of work and play that makes for a place you’re happy to call home.

Take a look through the local village website for more information on the history and current events going on around Ozona.

Ozona—located on the Gulf coast between Dunedin and Palm Harbor (and 10 miles from Clearwater Beach)—is the kind of place that all but forces you to take a deep, cleansing breath, to let your muscles loosen.

Sarah Stone Realtor Ozona Dunedin
One of the beautiful Sunsets in Ozona, FL

“The sense of peace you get in Ozona is probably the first thing that comes to mind,” says eight-year resident George Yost, who lives with his wife Wendy Armel in a custom-built modern home surrounded by natural bamboo. “It has a Mayberry feel, like going back 50 years, but at the same time it’s very diverse.”

The shoreline is dotted with wharfs and docks and small marinas. And the village’s mostly narrow residential streets feature a delightful hodgepodge of housing, from mobile homes to mansions along Harbor Drive, and an abundance of charming bungalows.

And then there’s the quaint commercial district along Orange Avenue. It features quirky restaurant-bars like Molly Goodhead’s and The Ozona Pig, as well as Antiques and Uniques and The Conscious Connection, where you can go for a dose of enlightenment (or maybe just an ayurvedic massage).

At Pop Stansell Park, there’s a launch for non-motored boats, playing fields and a covered roller hockey rink. The village loves its green space, be it tree-lined neighborhoods, moss-draped alleyways, large expanses of grass, or specialty shops shaded by giant oaks.

Ozona, a long-ago fishing hamlet and health retreat, has over the decades nurtured its status as one of the most unique communities in Florida. Take a detour off the usual path and see all the reasons why locals love Ozona!