Thomas Beauchemin's Blog
In a nutshell, if you have owned a home for five years and lived in it for at least two out of five years, or if you’ve owned the house for two years and lived in it the entire time, a single person has a $250,000 tax exemption. If you are married, as a couple, you have a $500,000 exemption. Any gains over those amounts are taxable. You should always discuss the sale of your home with a tax attorney, especially if you used the house for business or rented it out, as you may not be able to take the exemption on homes used for business or as a rental.
Figuring the Tax
Before you can estimate how much tax you might owe, you need to calculate the cost basis for the property. Figure the tax by completing these steps:
Figure the Cost Basis
Add the price you paid for the property to the cost of any significant improvements. Subtract any casualty and theft losses, closing costs you paid when you bought the house and allowable depreciation. You might be able to subtract some closing costs. If you inherited the property, the initial investment is the fair market value on the date of the death of the person who willed the house to you.
For gifted properties, if there is a gain, you use the donor’s adjusted basis in the cost basis equation. If there is a loss, the cost basis is the fair market value on the date you received the property as a gift or the donor’s adjusted basis, whichever is less.
Figure the Capital Gain
Once you have the cost basis, subtract it from the sale price of the house. For example, if you paid $500,000 for your home and you are now selling it for $1,000,000, you have a capital gain of $500,000. If you are single, you will pay tax on $250,000. If you are married, the exclusion is $500,000, which wipes out the $500,000 profit.
Reducing the Tax Owed
You may be able to use the Section 1031 exchange if you are selling a home used for business or that was rented out as long as you buy another house for business or to rent out. The new purchase cannot be for personal use and the exchange must be for “like-kind.”
The regulations for a Section 1031 exchange are limited and may be confusing. Always retain a tax lawyer or accountant to help you with your taxes, especially if you are buying and selling an investment property. If you are selling a million dollar plus home and you use it as your personal residence, you should still contact a tax lawyer. Depending on your finances, the tax lawyer may be able to help you avoid some of the tax.
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If you want to buy or sell a home, hiring a real estate agent is a must. With an expert real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble getting the best results.
A real estate agent can teach you the ins and outs of the housing market and ensure you can make informed buying or selling decisions. In addition, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you throughout each stage of the homebuying or home selling journey.
Although many real estate agents are available nationwide, it is important to remember that not all of these housing market professionals possess the same communication skills. And if you hire a real estate agent who is an ineffective communicator, you may miss out on opportunities to buy your dream home or get the best price for your current residence.
Ultimately, there are many signs that a real estate agent is a great communicator, including:
1. A real estate agent keeps in touch with clients via emails, phone calls and texts.
A real estate agent who understands the importance of effective communication will be able to stay in contact with you via emails, phone calls and texts. This housing market professional is happy to work with you in any way possible, and as such, is ready to lend a helping hand time and time again.
Furthermore, a great communicator understands the importance of timely, accurate messages. This means a real estate agent who strives to maintain open lines of communication should have no trouble keeping you informed throughout the homebuying or home selling cycle.
2. A real estate agent listens to your concerns and questions.
Let's face it – buying or selling a home can be stressful, particularly if you're operating in a competitive housing market. Lucky for you, a real estate agent who acts as a great communicator can listen to your concerns and questions and help you alleviate stress.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to assist a homebuyer or home seller. He or she also recognizes the importance of active listening and respond to your concerns and queries instantly. That way, this housing market professional can do whatever it takes to help you remain calm, cool and collected as you buy or sell a home.
3. A real estate agent is unafraid to be honest.
Although the homebuying or home selling journey should be simple, problems sometimes may arise. However, a real estate agent who serves as a great communicator will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you overcome any challenges.
A real estate agent is proud to assist his or her clients. At the same time, this housing market professional is unafraid to deliver bad news. Therefore, a real estate agent who is an effective communicator can share good and bad news with clients, provide consistent support and help clients mitigate homebuying or home selling problems as quickly as possible.
Employ a real estate agent who is a great communicator, and you can work with a housing market professional who can help you overcome the challenges associated with buying or selling a home.