Area housing stock tips scales to sellers
If you have given any thought recently to selling your home, I have one piece of advice for you: Do it now.With interest rates remaining low and the demand for housing in the Lake Tahoe area still outstripping the supply of homes for sale, this remains a strong sellers market. But ever so gradually, the inventory of available homes is starting to climb again and the pendulum is beginning to swing back to a more balanced market. As a result, there may not be a better time than now to cash in on your home’s value.Make no mistake about it – this is still a great time to be a seller. The inventory of homes for sale sits at about half of what it was a year or so ago. With the dearth of homes for sale, prices have been climbing over the past year and, in many cases, sellers are receiving multiple offers for their homes. But with interest rates expected to inch up in the months ahead and listings beginning to inch higher, the picture could change down the road. It won’t happen overnight, but undoubtedly sellers won’t see a stronger market advantage than they have today.If the thought of selling your home and moving seems overwhelming, there’s help available. There are a host of options and resources to assist people thinking about selling, particularly those homeowners who are retired and have decided to move out of the area, move to a smaller property, or sell investment property. Here are a few resources to consider:• Relocation Services – Many real estate firms have relocation specialists whose primary job is to help make moving easier. They can help you understand the attributes of various communities, and pick a neighborhood that best meets your lifestyle needs. They can also help you find a sales associate who is thoroughly familiar with your chosen area, and many offer dining, recreation and entertainment alternatives, as well as handy moving tips. • Market comparisons – If you’re interested in moving but would like to find out what comparable homes cost elsewhere, there are resources available to you. At our national Web site http://www.coldwellbanker.com/ for example, there is a home price comparison index. This great tool allows consumers thinking about relocating to simply input the value of their current home and translate that into a comparable home in 317 other markets across the United States. Coming from Northern California, you’d be amazed at how much more home you can afford elsewhere.• Seniors Real Estate Specialists – My firm, like many others, understands the importance of meeting the special real estate needs and concerns of maturing Americans when buying or selling residential or investment properties. Seniors Real Estate Specialists are Realtors who have received special training to obtain their SRES designation, and can help seniors make wise decisions about selling the family home, buying rental property or managing the capital gains and tax implications of owning real estate. For example, a specialist can help you understand whether you’re eligible for a capital gains exclusion or a 1031 Exchange, or whether you can take your Prop. 13 tax base to a new property. • Capital Gains Exclusion – If have lived in your home for two of the last five years, you may be eligible for a $250,000 exclusion in capital gains tax. If you are married, and file a joint return, you may be eligible for a $500,000 exclusion on your principle residence. This can mean a big savings for people whose homes have appreciated significantly over time.• Keeping Your Lower Tax Base – If you’ve decided to move to a smaller house, yet plan to remain in the same county in California, you may be able to take your existing Proposition 13 base year value to your new residence. Proposition 60, a constitutional amendment approved by the voters of California in 1986, allows the transfer of the lower tax base if certain conditions are met. This benefit is open to homeowners who are at least 55 years old who sell a home and buy another of equal or lesser value in the same county. Depending on the county, a transfer between counties may also be possible thanks to Proposition 90. You should contact the county assessor’s office where your new home will be located to be sure. • IRS 1031 Exchange – Generally, when a property is sold, the owner is taxed on any gains realized from the sale. In a Section 1031 Exchange, however, the federal tax (and sometimes state taxes) on that gain may be deferred to some date in the future. This IRS Section applies to investment property, and involves exchanging the property for a “like-kind” property. With the Bay Area’s housing inventory and mortgage rates still relatively low, sellers still have the upper hand in Lake Tahoe’s real estate market. But that’s starting to change. So if you have been on the fence about selling, now’s the time take the plunge so that you can get the very most for your No. 1 investment – your home. Daunielle Cutting, manager of Coldwell Banker Northern California’s Tahoe/Truckee region, provides the above tips. A 15-year real estate veteran, Cutting oversees a talented team of more than 75 real estate professionals in the Tahoe/Truckee area. Her office is located at 12068 Donner Pass Road in Truckee and she can be reached at 530.581.7987 or by e-mail at email@example.com.