California Real Estate Taxes – The 2 year period


Alright, gather ’round folks! Eric Karwowski from ID8 Real Estate is about to spill some tea on the not-so-fun world of tax penalties when you get an itch to flip your house faster than a pancake – especially if it’s before 2 years.  🥞


Taxing Times in Real Estate Land

So, you thought buying a house was all about choosing wallpapers and hosting BBQs? Think again! There’s a sneaky little thing called tax that loves to play hide and seek with your money. And, surprise, surprise, it pops up when you least expect it—like when you’re reselling your house within two years of buying it. Ouch!

Now, don’t get me wrong. Real estate is still a dazzling world of potential profits. But, like a puzzle, it’s got its tricky bits. And taxes? They’re that one piece you just can’t seem to fit anywhere.

Every state and county in the good ol’ US of A has its own tax flavor. And, just like ice cream, not all flavors are everyone’s favorite. So, before you dive into the real estate pool, have a chat with your tax accountant. They’re like the lifeguards of the financial world.


The Tax Tango & Mansion Tax

When you buy a house, you’re not just paying for bricks and mortar. There’s a little extra called the real estate “excise” tax. Think of it as the cherry on top. And if you’re borrowing money to buy your dream home, there’s the “intangible tax” on the loan amount. Oh, and let’s not forget the “tax service fee”—because someone’s got to do the hard work of taking your money and giving it to the taxman, right?

Own a property? Congrats! You’ve just won an annual property tax bill. And if you’re making some moolah from it, like rent, there’s income tax on that too.

Selling your home? There’s a tax for that too! Documentary stamps on the deed, based on the purchase price. Some of this goes back to the community, but let’s just say, not always in the way you’d hope. Looking at you, California!

And if you’re in the Empire State (that’s New York for the uninitiated), selling a swanky property for $1M or more? Say hello to the “mansion tax.”

Also to note, some Bay Area and Southern California locations have rolled out their new “Mansion Tax”, selling a swanky property above $5million then be ready to fork out an extra 4% (on top of the other fees) and if you’re over $10million dollars then you’re the lucky winner who gets to pay an extra 5.5%. Yes, those fees are on top of all of the other fees and applies for both residential and commercial real estate. These fees are supposed to help house the homeless.. needless to say sales have plummeted.


The Big Bad Capital Gains Tax

Here’s the biggie. The capital gains tax. It’s like the boss level in the game of real estate. Sell your personal pad within two years of buying it, and this tax comes knocking. And it’s not shy. Depending on your income, you could be parting with almost 40% of your profit. Yikes!

But fear not! There are ways to dodge this tax bullet. Legally, of course.


Avoiding the Tax Tsunami

  1. Keep It Cool: Hold onto your home for at least two years and enjoy a sweet tax exemption. Live there for two out of the past five years, and you can keep a chunk of your capital gains all to yourself.
  2. Finance It Smart: If you’re not in a rush for cash, consider selling your home on an installment contract. Rent-to-own or lease options can be your best pals.
  3. 1031 Exchange: If you’re the investment type, this is your golden ticket. Reinvest your sale proceeds into another property and defer those pesky taxes. Professional advice is recommended!


When to Just Take the Hit

Sometimes, it’s better to just rip off the band-aid. If your property’s value is on a downhill slide or you’re in a financial pickle, it might be worth paying the tax to avoid bigger losses. Again, depends on your situation.


In a Nutshell

Selling your home within two years? Brace yourself for a tax storm. But with some savvy moves and a sprinkle of patience, you can navigate these choppy waters like a pro. Always be sure to have a conversation with your tax person to ensure you’re following the rules before engaging in any real estate investing, buying, or selling.

And remember, if you’re ever in a bind, Eric Karwowski and the ID8 Real Estate team are just a call away. They’re like the ninjas of the real estate world, minus the swords (they have metaphorical swords).

Agents compete, you win!


🌶 Hot Take-Aways

  • Is selling a house after 2 years a no-no? You can, but waiting two years could save you a pretty penny in taxes.
  • What’s this 2 out of 5-year rule? Live in your house for 2 of the last 5 years, and you can get a tax break when selling.
  • How to dodge capital gains taxes on a home sale? The 1031 exchange is your magic trick. However, it’s not that simple consult with us first!

Stay savvy, folks! 🎩🏡 🤙

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