Saturday, August 18, 2012

ObamaCare's New Home Seller Tax

"So when I sell my home, do I have to pay a new tax?" This is the question on every home sellers' mind since news of the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 broke. 

According to the California Association of Realtors, beginning January 1, 2013, a new tax sometimes referred to as the "Medicare Tax" will take effect.  Part of the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, includes this new 3.8% tax on sellers that have an adjusted gross income of more than $200,000 (for a single person), $250,000 (for couples filing jointly), and $125,000 (couples filing separately). 

Because this is a complicated tax law and will impact investor's differently, for the purpose of this blog, I will only be addressing home owners selling their principal residence with gains greater than the normal sellers' tax exemptions ($500,000 for married couples and $250,000 for individuals).   To help you understand, I am including an example from The 3.8% Tax Real Estate Scenarios & Examples Brochure, written by the California Association of Realtors (CAR): 

John and Mary sold their principal residence and realized a gain of $525,000. They have $325,000 Adjusted Gross Income (before adding taxable gain)."

The tax applies as follows:
     AGI Before Taxable Gain $325,000

     Gain on Sale of Residence $525,000

     Taxable Gain (Added to AGI) $25,000 ($525,000 – $500,000)

     New AGI $350,000 ($325,000 + $25,000 taxable gain)

     Excess of AGI over $250,000 $100,000 ($350,000 – $250,000)

     Lesser Amount (Taxable) $25,000 (Taxable gain)

     Tax Due $950 ($25,000 x 0.038)

NOTE:  If John and Mary had a gain of less than $500,000 on the sale of their residence, none of that gain would be subject to the 3.8% tax. Whether they paid the 3.8% tax would depend on the other components of their $325,000 AGI.

With this new tax, I recommend sellers talk to their accountants to verify their liabilities, because each home seller has different circumstances that may impact their tax rates when selling their home.  

Written by Virginia Hall
                ABR, CRS, e-Pro, GRI, SFR
                Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
                DRE Lic 01409760
                Direct (619)258-8585



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Home Seller's Tip--Unwelcomed Summer House Guests

Right on time as usual, I hustled into my listing to prepare for my Open House.  The home was spotless.  Background music played softly and the air conditioning cooled the house, blocking out the summer heat.   After setting down my briefcase next to a chair, I set the plate of freshly baked cookies on the kitchen counter, just before a couple walked in.. 

I introduced myself to the man and woman, before showing them around.  As we walked past the kitchen I offered a cookie.  They thanked me, but had just eaten.  They spent the next 15 minutes looking around the house and chatting about buying a home in the future.   While they said they had just started looking, I had made a connection and would followup.

Now I prepared to settle in for the next two hours, I opened my laptop on the kitchen table and glanced in the direction of the kitchen when I noticed a straight black line of ants crawling across the ceiling, down the corner of the wall and across the counter straight to the cookies.  To my horror, the ants swarmed over the chocolate chips cookies.  Any moment I expected them to lift the plate of cookies and run off with them.  I jumped up in a panic trying to decide what to do.  I thought of a Yogi Bear cartoon where the ants carried away the picnic basket. I quickly slid the ant covered cookies into the trash and tied the plastic bag tightly.  I didn't want any get-a-ways.  Then I headed after the rest with several wet paper towels.   The last thing I wanted in a closed up home was ode de ant spray. But I had to stop the flow of ants.  So I grabbed a can of ant spray from under the sink and sprayed lightly at where it looked like the ants were coming from. 

Thank goodness no one walked in those 15 minutes.  I let the sellers know, that they needed to either spray themselves or hire a pest control company to rid the house of ants.  

While it is not uncommon to see bugs during the summer with the heat, it is important that homes for sale be kept bug free.    Also during the summer trash, cat boxes, and the laundry should be emptied each day to avoid odors.  You want your home to smell as good as it looks.

Written by Virginia Hall
                  ABR, CRS, E-Pro, GRI, SFR 
                  Direct: (619)258-8585