The Two Best Days

We wanted to wrap up this hour of the show with a look at a truly wonderful part of home ownership.

But first – ever heard that old joke about boats? The two best days in the life of a boat owner are the days you buy it…and the day you sell it!

The joke is, of course, many boat owners can’t wait to get rid of it!

In a different way, though, you could almost say that about houses too. The day you buy it – well, time to celebrate. The day you sell it? Well, there’s plenty to celebrate then too…and it’s largely because of the wonderful thing called the ‘Capital Gains Exemption.’

You probably know what that is…but just in case, let’s review it. The Capital Gains exemption helps millions of homeowners keep a huge amount of profit when they sell. It says that if you are single, and sell your home, you will pay no taxes on the profit up to a quarter million dollars. So. Buy your house for a hundred grand – and years later sell it for three-fifty? No taxes.

If you’re married – it’s double that. No taxes on up to a half-million dollars. But a place for 400…and later on sell it for nine? No taxes.


Now, if you’ve owned property for decades, you might remember the old Capital Gains rules – the ones that said to get the exemption you had to sell one place, then buy another one really quickly…well, that’s the way it used to be. It’s not that way any more.

Now, what if you sell your house, and make more than the $250,000 if you’re single, and more than the $500,000 if you’re married?

One word – congratulations. Anyone who makes a profit like that in today’s market – well done.

But, if you do – you can possibly pull back that profit by counting up all the improvements you’ve made. New deck, new kitchen, maybe even a new roof – they might count against your profit…and bring it back down under the 250-500 limits.

Now – full disclosure here – I’m not an accountant, and I’m not a tax attorney. This is just general information. Definitely talk to a financial or legal professional, to find out where you stand.

But – what a great benefit. It helps retirees. It helps people trading up or trading down. If you sell, and you even have a little profit – it helps you too. And it’s just one more way that homeownership can help you, grow wealth, over time.

Now back to that joke about boats. I know – the best days when you own a house certainly include the day you buy it and the day you sell it. But let’s not forget all those days in between. The best moments of our lives often happen – at home. It’s where you live that life, where you build those memories, and where you know you belong.

So that boat analogy only goes so far. But I would agree that the day you sell your house can be a great one – thanks to the way America supports homeownership…with benefits, like the Capital Gains Exemption.

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