Do you know about an exemption that can save you money when you sell?

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TAX TIP: The 121 Exemption When Selling Your Home

The reason to do a 1031 exchange is to avoid capital gains taxes on investment property. Almost once a week I get asked about the sale of a primary residence. When you sell your home, you have an exemption from most capital gains taxes. A great resource to get more details about that is an IRS Publication, updated annually, called Selling Your Home (Pub 245). You could go to IRS.gov to download that.

In short, there is a 121 Exemption for capital gains taxes up to $250K per individual or $500K per married couple filing jointly. You do have to have lived in the property as your primary residence for 2 out of the last 5 years, and you can only take this exemption, once every 2 years.

This has been used in a long term strategy to avoid paying capital gains on rentals by converting the property from investment to primary residence. The IRS got wise to this strategy and put some constraints on this.

It could still be part of a plan, but reach out to your tax advisor with questions and see if this is an option for you

Home Sellers where are you???

We need sellers!!! Now that spring is almost here and rates are very low buyers are out in force! I just put an offer for a home buyer that had 14 offers on it in one day! Ouch, talk about competition. So what can you do to get your home ready for the spring selling season? Gain some knowledge and gain an advantage with my ideas and the link (5 ways spring home sellers can gain an edge ) for a few more.

Here are some simple upgrades to increase your home’s value for my clients

You don’t have to spend $$$ thousands of dollars $$$ to add value to your home.

Change fixtures and hardware. This adds appeal and newness quite easily. If you’re selling your home a new mirror in the bathroom and new fixtures can make a huge difference. Upgrade sinks, showerheads and faucets to newer water conserving models in sleek finishes. Sorry folks but brass is dated and out! Make sure all light bulbs work! If wanting a remodel on a larger scale replace cabinets, windows and doors. New molding that’s been painted also really pops out.

Declutter. Clean and organize storage areas including the attic and garage. Look for Rubbermaid bins on sale, fill them up and stack neatly in the garage or a closet. You will be clean and ready to move. This is also an ideal tip before a showing your home to a prospective buyer. Each family should have their own bin and before a showing just quickly put everything that is out in. Believe it or not organization adds tremendous value. Keep kitchen and bathroom counters clear. Cleanliness gives your home more room and a newer feeling that a buyer will appreciate.

Replace appliances. From the stove, refrigerator, dishwasher to the washer and dryer (if leaving) upgrading appliances to newer energy efficient models adds instant value and convenience not to mention Earth friendly.

Spiff up landscaping. Ever hear of curb appeal? An ugly front yard can torpedo your home’s value. Add flowers to add color. A study was done on homes for sale in which red flowers were used on the front door step. These homes sold faster and were more appealing to the client. You can also add path lighting for style and safety. Dust off the exterior. Gutters, siding and windows are often forgotten. Clean them! Crud cutter is wonderful for cleaning off gutters and getting the grime off. Also, make sure everything is properly sealed and in good shape. It looks better and helps conserve energy.

The more you do prior to selling the less the buyers will ask for in an inspection. Preventative maintenance is one of your biggest selling advantages. If not it will become a costly nightmare. What you may have been able to do yourself now has to be done by contractors; as all receipts are needed with documentation in the middle of the selling process. Not to mention you are trying to meet deadlines and make the buyers happy so they don’t just completely walk away from the transaction.

Let me give you an example: I was helping a seller of mine prepare his rental house for putting on the market. I gave them a hand out sheet to go over and check all main components plus attics, crawl space, roof ect. Even with all my advice they did not feel it necessary to check the crawl space. Huge mistake on this one. There was standing water in the crawl space and even though he paid thousands of dollars to rectify the problem it didn’t matter the buyer’s walked. The repairs had to be done and documented then we had to disclose to a new buyer. He ended up coming down $5000 and paid at least $4000 in repairs. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!

Finally let my team assist you in the process and we will get your home SOLD, SOLD, SOLD!