FAQ

For Charities:

How can a charity monetize real estate donations without having the risk of ownership?

All the charity has to do is market real estate donations as an donor option (website form, newsletters, emails, etc.) and Zetabid will handle the property screening, marketing and sale without the charity ever having to own or manage the property.  Much like the car donation programs, Zetabid operates a national real estate auction platform and can quickly monetize all donations of real estate.  The auctions actually occur prior to the charity taking title (while under contract of sale).

Can you accept real estate with a mortgage balance?

Yes, the proceeds of the auction sale will pay off the mortgage balance first, with the remainder going to the charity (after normal closing costs such as escrow, title fees, transfer tax, real estate commissions, etc.).  Prior to the auction we will determine if the likely value exceeds the mortgage balance and reject any asset that does not have sufficient equity to result in cash proceeds to the charity.

Can a donor give a portion of their equity to charity, or do they have to donate it all?

If a donor has a higher value asset, they may elect to donate a portion of the equity (falling under a Bargain Sale-IRS Section 170) which will incent more donations from those who wish to make a significant donation, but not their entire equity.  Many potential donors avoid real estate donations because they believe it is ‘all or nothing’ proposition, but donors can receive significant cash at closing too.

What type of real estate can be donated?

Any type of real property may be donated that has positive equity, clear title, and no environmental issues.

What are the costs for the charity to participate?

There are no costs or obligations to participate.  The charity agrees to promote the donation option in its fundraising communications and allow Zetabid to display the charity logo and mention its participation in the program.  Zetabid will respond, vet and report on the status of all donation inquiries.  The charity does not take title to the asset (we use a central 3rd party charity to take title and execute donation contracts) but 95% of the net proceeds shown on the closing statement go to the charity.  The central charity retains 5% to cover its costs and liability stepping into the chair of title.  Zetabid earns a nominal auction fee at closing paid by the buyer (not the charity) and real estate commissions may be paid to 3rd party brokers to assist with marketing and closing.  Closing costs such as escrow, title, donor back taxes or other unpaid liens may be paid from sales proceeds and vary wildly by property.

How is Zetabid different?

Third party car donation services are fairly ubiquitous and allow charities to collect cash with little effort other than the marketing of the donation option.  Real estate has no such 3rd party services due to the complexity of sale and lack of liquidity.  With a national real estate auction platform, and a national title company partner, Zetabid can quickly vet assets and convert them to cash without the charity ever having to own or operate the asset.  Also, using the IRS Bargain Sale, it can accept real estate with mortgage debt and high value assets with a portion of the equity going to the charity (and a portion in cash to donor) which induces more willing donors than an all or nothing donation approach.

For Donors:

What tax deduction do I receive when donating?

Generally speaking, you may deduct the difference between the cash received and the fair market value based on an appraisal specifically completed to assess the value based on IRS gift appraisal guidelines.  On a straight donation, the deduction is that appraised value.  Capital gain tax may also be avoided (excluding the mortgaged portion or cash received, and accelerated depreciation may be recaptured).  Unlike car donations, the real estate donation is based on appraised value not the charity auction liquidation price.  The deduction can be carried forward up to five years following the year of sale.

Can I chose my favorite charity?

The proceeds can go to the charity of your choice provided they accept the donation.  Zetabid uses a master or central charity to take title of real estate and execute the numerous documents required to buy and sell real estate.  Almost no charities in the USA can take title to real estate, let alone process sale documents without very lengthy approval periods, so the master charity approach is the only way to facilitate such closings.  At least 95% of the net sales proceeds go to the charity of your choice.

How long does it take to complete a donation?

Although charity car auctions often take place once a week, real estate auctions take much longer.  Our goal is to maximize the value of the property so the charity donation is also optimized.  So the auction marketing process is usually 21 days at the low end for lower value residential, and up to 90 days for complicated transactions with commercial property.

Do I have to pay commissions or closing costs?

You do not have to pay any commissions unless your property is currently listed with a broker.  There are no closing costs to a donor and all unpaid liens will be paid off at closing by Charity.

Can either party cancel the donation agreement? 

In short, it depends on the transaction.  If the charity can’t achieve an auction sales price that results in a profit, it may terminate the donation agreement.  Same goes for title problems or repair issues.  If we are completing a bargain sale, if the auction sales price does not result in a charity profit and the seller required cash, parties have termination rights.

What if my property has environmental issues?

Our principals have assisted with transactions such as the AEP Muskingum River Power Plant in Ohio and Lockheed Martin in Burbank CA with significant environmental issues.  However, only high value assets would be considered due to the risk and complexity.

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