Benefits of a Seller's Agent
Perhaps you need to sell your home and relocate because you're changing jobs. Or, maybe you need a larger home to accommodate a growing family or a smaller home since your children have moved out on their own. There are a myriad of reasons why people sell their homes, but no matter the circumstances, it's in your best interest to approach the transaction armed with information and assisted by the expertise of a REALTOR®.
Assessing Market Conditions
There's a rule of thumb to keep in mind when deciding to sell your home: Your home is only worth what a qualified buyer is willing to pay at the time it's on the market. The current real estate market fluctuates based on supply and demand, interest rates, general economic conditions, and other factors. The same house may sell for more or less under a different economy. Your REALTOR® can inform you of the going price for homes in your area at the current time; this data is included in a comparative market analysis or CMA.
Tax Implications of Selling
There are many dynamics that can affect your tax liability upon selling your home. These issues include whether you purchased the home or inherited it, if you used your home for business or rental purposes, costs associated with selling your home, and any home improvements and additions that you've undertaken.
The Federal Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 provides capital gains tax exclusions of up to $500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $250,000 for single taxpayers or married taxpayers filing separately. Current capitol gains rates are 20 percent for those in upper tax brackets and 10 percent for those in lower tax brackets. Overall capital gains rates have been lowered even further -- to 18 percent and 8 percent respectively -- for assets acquired after December 31, 2000, and held five years or more.
To qualify for this tax break, you must have used the home as your primary residence for at least two of the prior five years; these two years don't have to be consecutive. If you relocate for your job but don't meet the requirement, you may be allowed to take a capital gains exclusion proportionate to your circumstances. This exclusion is not a one-time benefit; you may take advantage of it once every two years as long as you meet the qualifications.
The tax rules differ when you sell a home that you've inherited. If you sell the inherited home for a profit, you're required to pay federal and state taxes on the gain. If you keep the house as a second residence and/or eventually move into it after renting it to tenants, you may take the $250,000/$500,000 capital gains tax exclusion if you meet the requirements. When you're deciding what to do with inherited property, you should consider the current estate tax laws and basis practices.
Beyond these general rules, it's wise to discuss your home's sale with a tax professional who can advise you on tax benefits in more detail.
Timing Your Decision to Sell
Because most sellers finance a new home purchase with the sale of their present home, they usually put their homes on the market before they begin their search for a new home. Learning the price you can expect from the sale often sets the pricing parameters for your new home search.
Obviously, it's not wise to wait until the sale on your property closes completely before beginning to look for your new home. Timing your search properly with the buyers' transaction can make the difference between having the available funds to buy a new home and cutting down on the interim period between homes.
Trust and Loyalty
I understand the relationship between home sellers and Agents must be based on trust, mutual goals and understanding–this is why I always keep your interests first and foremost. The real estate process requires negotiation of complex issues; I am committed to working in your best interests. I will help you secure the best possible price, with the most favorable terms, in the shortest period of time.
As your agent and an expert in Campbell and the surrounding areas, my job is to understand your unique situation, answer all of your questions as they arise, keep you informed so you can make the best decisions, and navigate you through the process as quickly and painlessly as possible. I'll be representing you, not the buyer.