Claiming the capital gains exemption when you sell your home?

Question: Claiming the capital gains exemption when you sell your home?
I sold a home in 2008 and claimed the house selling exemption for my capitol gains and at that time I was single. I got married last year. Before we got married my spouse sold her home and made a profit on it. We are now filing a joint return. Can we claim the capitol gains exemption since she was single at the time she sold the home?

Best answer:

That’s a really good question! You should look through the IRS publication below on this subject, and there is an example in there that I believe is on point. (Example 1 under “married persons”, about halfway down). Based on this I would say you can definitely use the exlusion (just the $ 250K) and you can do so filing seperately or jointly (not legal advice). Good luck on the return! http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=106951,00.html

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The Pros and cons of Selling your home

Moving is always a difficult thing to do, and having to selling your current home will only add to the difficulties. It doesn’t matter how much you are looking forward to moving to your new home, it can still be a very stressful process.

Being able to quickly find a buyer for your home is the ideal situation.

However, having an unoccupied home that you have to continue paying for can become a  serious financial burden for you, especially when the selling process drags on for a long period of time. Selling your current home before you have to begin paying for your new home is the best choice for your bank account.

 There are many tips that experts boast about that claim to increase your chances of unloading your home quickly. But few compare the pros and cons of different ways you can sell your home.

Choose the right method for you when  selling your home.  Below are some essential tips to help you decide the best way to sell your home.

 Real Estate agents are  still the most common way to find a buyer for your home. Real Estate agents are the best choice for homeowner trying to sell their home while accomplishing countless other things.  Many home sellers are also uncomfortable dealing and negotiating with buyers directly.

 A good Real Estate Agent can eliminate a lot of the stress of  selling your home by dealing with potential buyers and much of the paperwork that comes with selling a home. However, it can still take months to sell your home with a Real Estate Agent if your home isn’t marketable.

Good Real Estate Agents are specially trained to handle the intricate details associated with selling your home. There are many aspects of home selling that an average seller might not be aware. Problems often arise during the sale of a home that can be very troublesome for Real Estate Agent (let-alone homeowners). Working with a trained  Real Estate professional can help alleviate much of the stress that comes from the uncertainty of not knowing what to do next.  But whatever you do, remember, it is always a mistake to hire a Real Estate Agent solely on the basis they gave you the highest valuation for your house.

Please repeat the sentence in bold above until memorized. Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.

 Many homeowners choose do to a FSBO (For Sale By Owner) because they want complete control over the process of selling their home and any other details that affect such a significant investment.

FSBO (For Sale By Owner) can be a very time consuming process and thanks to the internet an increasingly popular choice as more home sellers are trying to find cheaper alternatives to Real Estate Agents. For those who do decide to pursue selling their own home, there are many facts to consider.

Determing the valuing your home is the first step. Too many sellers simply “think of a number” and fail to do sufficient market research . Others refuse to be realistic regarding what their house is worth. Once you determine what value you want for your home, the next logical step is to begin marketing and showing your house.

 Whenever showing a home, make sure that it looks great and smells fantastic. A clean, nice smelling house is essential. A house with a  lived-in look is passable as long as you take steps to depersonalise some of the clutter.  Scented candles, home baking, and fresh coffee can all help. 

 Potential buyers intimidate many private sellers. Experienced Real Estate Agents are specially trained to find out information  about a buyer without being direct or offensive. It can be very embarrassing for a seller to have to be so intrusive, but it is important for them to qualify buyers. You can prepare a list of questions in advance. If you’re on good terms with amortgage broker ask them to help you prequalify your potential buyers.

 The last option for selling your home is to sell to a cash property buyer. Typically, these are investors or developers who specialise in quick cash house sales. They work quickly and can make it possible to sell a home in a very short span of time, typically less than a month.

 People who need to sell their homes quickly have a whole host of reasons for doing  so. Some of these include bankruptcy, divorce, a broken sale chain or a sudden move. In some cases there are further complicating factors which restrict the alternatives open to the house seller. These include high levels of debt and house repossession or a desire to sell the property but to then rent it back.

 Cash property buyers tend to fall into categories. Some tend to focus on quick property sales and run their businesses according to strict investment criteria. This restricts the types of properties they buy or the nature of their offers. Others are more consultative in style and  claim they will help you fix your financial problems.

 As with any property sale, always be suspicious of offers that sound too good to be true.


House Selling Tips To Know When Selling a Vacant House

Tips to sell your vacant house

If the time has come that you need to move from your home and you don’t have buyer’s lining up for your home then chances are it will be vacant until it sells.

#1 Make sure your homeowners insurance covers your vacant home.

This is the most important step and it may take the longest to find out the answer.

Homeowners insurance policies are designed for homes that are occupied by the property’s owner.

Many homeowners policies have exclusions for homes vacant for more than a certain time.

Call your insurance agent and find out.

#2 Talk with your neighbors

Yeah, you may think why now after all this time.

It’s very simple. Your neighbors have a vested interest to keep your home safe from vandals. They don’t want their home being stigmatized by an eye sore at their neighbors house caused by vandals. Tell your neighbors your situation, whether your moving across town or across country and who has access to your home besides you.

#3Vandals aren’t the only problem

Many industrious criminals have turned to the Internet to find their next prey. In recent years, many homes have had their high-end appliances among other things stolen by thieves. It’s important to keep track of who has keys to your property and to make sure all doors and windows are secure.

#4 Dual purpose renovations

Add some motion sensor lights outside to illuminate your vacant home at night. There are many good choices available other than traditional flood lights. Most chain hardware stores carry a wide variety of outdoor lights from wall mounted to ceiling mounted motion sensing light fixtures.  Leave some tables and lamps running on timers behind for a little extra interior light. They will help keep your vacant home looking a little more occupied and help with evening showings of your home. 

#5 Do some gardening

Remove any brush around the doors and windows of your home. Trim back some of the branches and try to make your yard neat, clean and free of hiding spots. it will help your homes curb appeal and keep people from hiding in the bushes.

Final Step

Find an experienced Realtor that can help you identify any marketability issues with your home that can lengthen it marketing time. Depending on your property’s market your Realtor may suggest that  your home be  staged.


Q&A: Need tips for selling a home fast?

Does anyone have any tips for selling a home fast?
My husband’s job is relocating us and our a relocation package that does not cover selling a home.

We need to get our home sold fast in this tough market.

We can’t really afford two house payments.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Best answer:

The best first step you can take is to get a good real estate agent (me).

You will need an objective opinion of what your home needs to be more marketable.

The general tips are: Quick fix-ups, De-clutter,  fresh paint, carpet, and landscaping.

To sell quickly, set a reasonable price after consulting an experienced real estate agent.

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Buying a home from a relocation company?

Question: Buying a house thats selling thru a relo company?
I’m interested in buying a house that is listed for sale at $ 425K. The price was reduced from $ 450K. I tried to do some research and found out that the house was purchased in the late 199o’s for $ 230K (not that it has much to do with the current value). I know that the owners were company-relocated and a relocation company is now handling the sale of the home.

I think the house is slightly overpriced. 

Is there any place where I can find out how much the relo company paid the owner? This information would be incredibly helpful in determining the offer I make on the house. Would $ 385K be too low-ball of an offer (90% of asking price)?


It is not a matter of how much the house was purchased for in the 1990’s or even how much the relo company paid the homeowner.

If you are really interested in that house, I suggest you get an experienced Realtor to provide you with comps of active properties and recent  sales.  That’s the kind of information the relo company will use in deciding on offers.  Every market is different. Guessing percentages is not a way to determine a property’s value. Find out whats going on in that area and then you can make an offer with the values as a guide.

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