Selling a home today is more profitable than ever before. However, with this increased profitability comes a significant downside: a larger number of Americans are facing unexpectedly hefty capital-gains taxes. According to recent data from CoreLogic, a real-estate data firm, approximately 8% of home sales in 2023 resulted in gains exceeding the $500,000 tax-free exemption ($250,000 for those filing individually), more than double the percentage from 2019.

Understanding the Capital-Gains Tax
Since 1997, individuals and couples selling their primary residence have been able to exclude up to $250,000 and $500,000, respectively, from capital gains taxes. This exemption threshold has not changed for over two decades, despite substantial growth in property values, especially during the post-pandemic real estate boom. The static nature of this exemption, combined with soaring home prices, means more homeowners than ever are finding themselves liable for capital-gains taxes once they sell their homes.

The Impact of Inflation
One of the critical issues with the current capital-gains tax exemption is that it isn’t indexed for inflation. This oversight means that as home prices increase over the years, homeowners are pushed over the exemption limit by normal market appreciation, which isn’t necessarily reflective of real wealth gain since inflation has greatly devalued the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar.

If you are considering selling your home, it’s crucial to understand the potential tax implications. The windfall from your home sale could lead to a significant tax bill if your profits exceed the exemption limits.

Implementing an Equity Transition Plan
We recommend creating an Equity Transition Plan to ensure you are fully thinking through the downstream effects of selling your home.  This strategic approach focuses on optimizing your financial outcomes by minimizing taxes and ensuring your next home purchase aligns with your long-term financial goals. Here’s how it can help:

  1. Tax Minimization: By understanding the nuances of the tax implications of your home sale, you can plan your selling timeline and home improvements to maximize your tax-free earnings.
  2. Smart Reinvestment: Reinvesting the proceeds from your home sale requires careful planning to avoid financial pitfalls. An Equity Transition Plan helps you assess the best ways to reinvest in real estate or other stable investments.
  3. Future Planning: Whether you’re upsizing, downsizing, or changing locations, your next home purchase should support your lifestyle and financial goals. We can assess how to achieve this within the framework of your overall financial plan.

Selling your home is a major decision with significant financial implications. Don’t navigate this complex process alone. Contact us today to develop your personalized Equity Transition Plan. Together, we’ll ensure that you minimize your tax liability and align your home sale with your broader financial objectives, making your success not only more likely but also easier and faster to achieve.

Have questions? Lets chat! As always, we’re here and ready to help!

Tim Erickson
P: (652) 451-2273

Mark Henderson
P: (651) 398-3477