Over the past fifteen years, the value of homes in Santa Clara County has more than doubled.
In January 2000, the median price for single-family, re-sale homes was $433,500. In September 2015, the median price was $960,000.
Many homeowners will find they may owe capital gains tax on the sale of their property.
Most homeowners know they can exclude $250,000 of their capital gains. For married couples filing jointly, the exclusion goes up to $500,000.
The exclusion is only for your principal residence. You must have lived in the home for an aggregate of at least two of the five years before the sale.
One nice thing about calculating your gain is it is based on your home’s selling price minus deductible closing costs, selling costs and your tax basis in the property. Your basis is the original purchase price, plus purchase expenses, plus the cost of capital improvements, minus any depreciation and minus any casualty losses or insurance payments.
Deductible closing costs include points or prepaid interest on your mortgage and your share of the prorated property taxes.
Of course, like any law, there is a lot of fine print. If you are planning on selling your home, we highly recommend consulting with an accountant or real estate attorney.
If your capital gains exceeds the exclusionary amount, then things can get very interesting.
We are now in the land of trusts.
There are three basic trusts: revocable, irrevocable and the charitable remainder trust.
A revocable trust does not provide the ability to shelter capital gains above the exclusionary amount from taxes.
Irrevocable trusts come in two flavors: simple and complex. In both types, the trust would have to pay taxes on the capital gains from the sale of a home. That doesn’t sound good.
The last time, the charitable remainder trust, will exempt gains from all taxes. Of course, there is a catch: you do not get to use all the proceeds from the sale of the home at once.
Using this type of trust is very complicated and beyond the purview of this article.
Needless to say, please consult an accountant or attorney for a detailed explanation.
To learn more about selling your home and what homes are selling for in your neighborhood, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (408) 605-8741. I am currently offering a FREE market analysis to help you get the most for your home in the current market – click here to request your home evaluation.