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Tax Benefits of Home Ownership 

The tax laws beginning in 1998 and in some cases a little earlier have changed in regards to homeownership and the previous requirement to reinvest profits from the sale of a principal residence.

The new law allows for married taxpayers filing a joint return to exclude up to $500,000 of gain on the sale of their principal residence.  Single taxpayers can exclude up to $250,000 of gain.

To Qualify for the exclusion, homeowners must have lived in and used the home as their primary residence for TWO OUT OF THE PRECEDING FIVE YEARS.  Homeowners are allowed to take the exclusion 
ONCE EVERY TWO YEARS.

PLUS,
HOMEOWNERS MAY TAKE THE EXCLUSION AS MANY TIMES AS THEY LIKE
,
There is no cap on how much total gain they may exclude in their lifetimes.

This is a significant change in the tax law.

MORE BENEFITS:

TRANSFEREES
Homeowners going to a LESS expensive real estate market will now be able to purchase a LESS expensive home without worrying about the rollover rules, exclude the gain, and take the cash and do whatever they want with it.

EMPTY NESTERS & RETIREES
Homeowners wishing to 'downsize' will be able to sell their current home, take the equity, claim the exclusion, buy a condominium or smaller home and use the leftover proceeds for a retirement investment.

SINGLES 55 Or OLDER
Can stop worrying whether a prospective spouse has already taken their exclusion - the new law allows new exclusions even if the old exclusion was used.

There are many changes that could significantly affect 'do it yourself' fixer-uppers and owners of second homes or rental properties.

CAUTION:  Before you make any financial decisions based on tax laws, consult an expert on taxes as they relate to real estate.