Possible Capital Gains Tax Changes in 2021

Here’s how potential capital gains tax changes impact homeowners.

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Potential tax law changes on the horizon could impact home sellers’ capital gains rates and exclusions. Currently, sellers are allowed to sell their primary residence and not pay the capital gains tax if they’ve lived in that residence for at least two out of the past five years. Married couples can exclude up to $500,000 worth of capital gains, while single homeowners can exclude up to $250,000.

Due to the run-up of our real estate market, many homeowners out there are sitting on a lot of equity. If they wait until next year or any year afterward to sell their properties, they could pay an enormous amount of capital gains. For our team’s savvy home sellers who don’t want to miss out on taking advantage of home appreciation, we recommend that they sell now, collect their capital gains tax-free, and buy a comparatively priced home in the same area or market. If you’re in the same situation, this simple lateral move protects you from the coming tax basis. 

Similarly, investors and landlords who own lots of properties could be looking to sell them because it’s a lock that capital gains rates are rising. If you’re an investor or landlord, you can look at this as an opportunity to take a greater gain as well. Of course, you can always buy back properties and take part in the appreciation that’s expected to happen in the next few years.

      This simple lateral move protects you from the coming tax basis.

However, because these tax changes haven’t been formally announced yet, people are waiting to see what happens. The problem here is that if you wait too long, you may not be able to sell your property within the same year. It’s not just about when you list your property—it’s about when you close on it. If you wait too long to list and your property closes next year, you won’t get the same benefit. 

Many of our smart, wealthy clients who own primary residences worth $500,000 to $1 million and have $200,000 to $500,000 worth of equity are selling now and buying comparable properties for this very reason. They also plan on staying in their new properties until the tax laws swing back the other way. If you’re afraid that home prices will keep rising, they may do so in the coming year, but that rise gets offset by what you’d have to pay in capital gains if you wait to sell. 

The longer you wait, the more you put yourself at risk, and there’s never been a better time to sell real estate in Tampa Bay. Inventory is low, we’re seeing high population growth, and there are tons of strong economic indicators. We’re seeing bidding wars across all price ranges and homes selling far above asking price, so talk to an agent and review your options. We’d be happy to give you a free consultation or determine what your home would sell for in this market, so give us a call or shoot us an email today. 

If you have any other real estate needs, feel free to reach out to us as well. Also, be sure to check out our weekly radio show every Sunday at 10 a.m. on 970 AM. We look forward to hearing from you!

5 Major Home-Buying Mistakes

If you’re buying a home, avoid making these five disastrous mistakes.

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There are five fatal mistakes that too many homebuyers make during the home-buying process:

1. Hiring an inexperienced agent. This includes hiring people like your close friends and family because you’d feel guilty if you didn’t. Many people work in real estate part time and unfortunately can't always provide the resources, tools, and experience needed to help you navigate to a successful closing. Hiring an inexperienced agent to help you could cost you tens of thousands of dollars, a lot of heartache, and cause you to make further mistakes in the transaction. More experienced agents do more transactions, have more experience, and can therefore help you get to the closing table.

2. Failing to get a home inspection. Home inspectors are trained to find things that are wrong with a house. Like when they hire agents, many people look to their friends and family to help, only to find out months after the transaction that something had been missed or poorly assessed. Hiring a professional home inspector is a must in every real estate transaction.

      Don’t go out and make major credit purchases until after you close on the home.

3. Changing jobs. Any change in your job environment during a home purchase can cause issues with your mortgage. It doesn’t matter if you’ll make more money at your new job; it’s a risk the bank doesn’t want to take. Keep your job during the process, and be sure to document any bonuses you receive. 

4. Making credit purchases. We’ve helped countless people who, after qualifying for a home, have gone out and purchased new furniture at 0% interest. That throws their debt-to-income ratio out of whack, and they’ll find that they can’t qualify with their lender to buy the home. Don’t go out and make major credit purchases until after you close on the home.

5. Choosing the cheapest insurance. Far too many people buy the cheapest insurance policies they can, pass on flood insurance, or fail to get the proper coverage for certain elements of the home. Later when they have a claim, their claim is denied, meaning that they’re out potentially tens of thousands of dollars all because they didn’t want to pay an extra $100 a month for good coverage. Shop around for insurance before you pick one because buying the cheapest insurance is a recipe for disaster.

If you have any questions about what it takes to successfully buy a home in our current market, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to help you.