ON THE MOVE?
Housing needs change throughout our lives. At first, singles need a place to call their own. Then young families move to get more space for the kids. Later, “first generation” retirees may want less to take care of, and finally “second generation” retirees may need more support and services.
Many seniors stay in their old homes and are perfectly content to be there. Others find their thoughts turning to a new home, perhaps even to a completely new way of life. Still others remain in their familiar homes while they are independent, but plan ahead to move to assisted living housing when they need it.
Here are a few things to consider if you or older family members have reached the point where a retirement move might be the best strategy:
- ARE YOU OVER HOUSED?
Are you rattling around in your “empty nest,” paying more than you want for taxes, utilities and maintenance? If retirement means a cut in income, would a lower-priced home, townhome or condominium be easier to manage on your resources?
- DO YOU NEED THE EQUITY FROM YOUR HOME?
For some older owners, the equity built up in a home is their main retirement savings. Sometimes a move is needed to convert that equity into cash and income to be secure for the years to come.
- IS THE HOME’S UPKEEP MANAGEABLE?
Do you have the time, energy or interest to paint, clean, mow, etc.? Will the roof need replacing soon, or the heating/AC need repair?
- DOES YOUR HOME STYLE MATCH YOUR PHYSICAL ABILITY?
Are there too many steps or stepdown rooms in your current home? do you need a wheelchair accessible residence? Is the yard more than you can handle? Are the safety, security, lighting, heating/AC systems adequate for retirement?
- HAS THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHANGED?
If friends, relatives, neighbors, doctors and merchants have gone, maybe it’s time for you to consider moving also.
- DO YOU WANT TO BE CLOSER TO FAMILY?
Do you want to spend more time with your children and grandchildren? Maybe you would like to cut down on long trips to visit them, or perhaps you need regular assistance from a family member.
- WOULD A MOVE IMPROVE YOUR LIFESTYLE?
If extensive traveling appeals to you, for example, you may want to relocate to a more economical, lower-maintenance home (“lock and leave,” as we say in real estate). You may want to be more conveniently located for activities such as golf, bridge clubs, walking trails. Or you may just want to move near old friends–or to a community where you can make new friends with interests similar to yours.
Careful planning and sound, expert advice are crucial to a successful move. Consult your financial adviser or accountant–and please feel free to call us about your real estate options. We’d be happy to listen to your needs to learn how we can help.
HOW CAN WE HELP – Locally or Nationwide
Whether it has been many years since you sold or bought a house or just one, we specialize in listening to your concerns, answering your questions and explaining how today’s ever changing real estate market can affect your lifestyle and financial planning.
For home buying or home selling assistance-in our area or elsewhere–please give us a call. We’re experts in local real estate, and through a nationwide network of relocation specialists, we can refer you to top quality real estate professionals in other locations.
TAX FACTS – How To Double Up On Capital Gain Tax Benefits
Some seniors are happily doubling their tax breaks by combining the capital gain rollover with their once-in-a-lifetime exemption. Here’s how it works.
A homeowner who is over 55 and has lived in a home for at least three out of the last five years is eligible (only once) for a $125,000 tax exemption on the profit form a home sale. A homeowner who sells a home and buys another of the same or greater value within two years may defer payment of any profit tax.
Putting these two benefits together allows some people to put the equity of their old homes into new homes and, a at the same time, claim their over-55 exemption and defer all gains tax.
How To Double Up On Benefits
Step 1: Determine Profit From Sale
- Original cost of old home $50,000
- Add improvements to old home +20,000
- Adjusted cost basis $70,000
- Sales price of old home $350,000
- Subtract adjusted cost basis -70,000
- Subtract selling expenses -25,000
- Profit from sale $255,000
Step 2: Use Over-55 Exemption
- Profit from sale $255,000
- Subtract over-55 exemption -125,000
- Taxable profit $130,000
Step 3: Defer Tax On Profit
- Adjusted cost, old home $70,000
- Add taxable profit +130,000
- Minimum new home cost $200,000 for 100% tax deferral
In our example, the senior sellers took the $125,000 exemption, bought their new home for $200,000 (cash or financed), and owed no tax on ($350,000-$25,000 selling expenses).
(Figures are for illustration only. For your specific case, consult your tax adviser or CPA.)
If you found this article helpful, you might also like our “Downsizing Made Easy Guide”