Are you keeping track of your Home Improvements?

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

Do you live in the Olathe, KS area?  How long have you owned our home?  According to the National Association for Realtors and even recent U.S. Census data, many homeowners are choosing to stay in their current homes longer.  As many of you have heard, most people USED to move every 7 years or so.  With today’s times, some homeowners are choosing to just staying put for a little while longer.  Many of our homeowners tell us that one of the main reasons they purchase a home is to take advantage of the tax deductions of homeownership.  Over time, even a small appreciation in home value can result in a solid gain.   When getting ready to sell your home, you can help minimize possible taxes by having a solid strategy.  Do you have a plan in place to help you track improvements to your home?

Maintenance on a primary residence in not deductable, however improvements to your home can add to the basis that helps reduce the ‘gain’ in the sale.  Wondering what an “improvement” is?  Anything that adds value to the home and helps prolong the life of the home OR prolong its use.  Keep in mind, you should be upkeeping your home as needed – paint, new carpets, etc.  But is that an improvement?  Not necessarily.  A new water heater, replacing old windows to energy efficient windows, and even energy efficient appliances all would be great improvements to a home.  How do you prove it?  RECEIPTS!  I know friends who have kept EVERYTHING on their homes.  I have seen homeowners lug in boxes of paperwork to the closing table or make reference to a special drawer somewhere in the house that has owners manuals, appliance warranty, and special instructions of which servicemen did repairs to the home.  These receipts and sometimes even pictures (great idea!) of the improvements should be kept during ownership (consult a tax professional, but I would even keep copies for several years later).  Items like a closing statement, receipts of improvement and additions may affect the home’s adjusted basis or cost.

How does this affect me in our Kansas City area?  For a primary home, “basis” includes the final sales price of the home, + certain closing or acquisition costs + capital improvements made to the home.  When a property is sold for more than the basis, there is a gain on the home.  Homeowners that meet the requirements can exclude up to $250,000 of gain if single or $500,000 if filing jointly if married.

So, have an idea for a system yet to keep track of all those improvements?  An envelope does quite nicely!  As a homeowner, I would place receipts for any money spent on my home that ISN’T a mortgage payment or utilities.  At the end of the year, my tax advisor sorts through it with me to determine what my capital improvements are.

I hope you found this to be a helpful tip!  If you have any questions or need a qualified professional to help make some “improvements” around your home, give us a call at the Char MacCallum Team office at 913-782-8857 and we can help recommend someone in the area to help!  If you are in the process of buying your home or have an Olathe home for sale we are only a phone call or a click away to help!