Real Estate Information Archive


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The Importance of Using an Agent to Sell Your House


When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price with the least amount of hassles. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is to actually get the home sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. For the past three years, 92% of all buyers have used the internet in their home search according to the National Association of Realtors’ most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers.

However, the report also revealed that 95% percent of buyers that used the internet when searching for a home purchased their home through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their home directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online, but then depend on an agent to find the actual home they will buy (53%), or to negotiate the terms of the sale & price (48%), or to help understand the process (60%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots”. This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who used an agent to buy their home has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.

Tax Time Can be a Dream......

by DeLois Smith

Dear Friends,    

      Serving as your Realtor continues to inspire, challenge, restore friendships, create new relationships, bring adjustments, change communication styles, and genuinely make me excited about the opportunity to begin a new day. As I am near the completion of my 43rd year serving this community as a Realtor, I can sincerely say, I love “bringing you home . . . again and again.”

    Our 2016 open houses have provided opportunities to see and visit with several of you who are discussing making a move – either for more or less living space, more or less property to care for, shorter commute distances, a change in school districts etc. Several have asked questions about tax consequences for moving. 

     Tax time can be a dream for home buyers! One of the oldest deductions itemizing homeowners can take advantage of is the mortgage interest deduction. (This is an advantage continuously fought for by your local, state, and national Realtor organizations.) To get this mortgage interest deduction, your mortgage must be secured by your home, and your home can be a house, trailer, or boat as long as you sleep in it, cook in it, and it has a toilet. Interest you’re paying is deductible when you use the loan to buy, build, or improve your home. If you use loans secured by your home for other things – like sending your kid to college – you can still deduct up to $100,000. 

       If you bought a house in 2015, check your settlement statement for property taxes or prepaid interest you paid at closing. Of course, property taxes paid on your home are deductible. Since 2007, you may also deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance as mortgage interest if you itemize your return.  

      Tax time can be a dream for home sellers!  Many home sellers know they can exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples filing jointly) of their capital gain from taxes. This is no longer a once in a lifetime exclusion. In order to qualify for the whole exclusion, you must have lived in the home for two of the five years (730 days) previous to the sale – the ownership and use test. You may still be eligible, however, to a whole or partial tax break even if you don’t meet this test.   

       Capital gain is not just simply the profit of the sale – selling price minus the original purchase price. Your gain is actually the home’s selling price, minus deductible closing costs, selling costs, and your tax basis – the original purchase price, plus purchase expenses and cost of capital improvements, minus any depreciation and casualty losses or insurance payments – to the property.

       You are still eligible for a partial exclusion even if you haven’t lived in your home for two of the last five years as long as you sold your home due to a change in employment, because of a divorce, for health reasons, or for unforeseen changes like multiple births or a death in the family. If you moved for any other reason, you can get a partial break based on the portion of the two-year period you lived in the home.

       For example – After living in the home for a year, an unmarried, single taxpayer sells their home due to a reason not qualified by the ownership and use test exclusions and makes a $100,000 capital gain.  The entire amount could still be excluded. Since they lived in the house for half of the two year period, they can exclude up to $125,000 (12/24 x $250,000 = $125,000), which will cover the $100,000 gain. For those who move into a nursing home the use requirement is lowered to one year out of five. Additionally, you can count the time in the nursing home counts towards the ownership and use test. 

       Marriage and divorce allow for a greater exclusion, but also more requirements on the ownership and use test. A married couple can exclude up to $500,000 ($250,000 for each spouse) if either spouse owned the residence (either before or after marriage), both spouses meet the two year use test, and neither spouse has sold a separate residence within the last two years. Divorced taxpayers may count the ownership and use by their ex-spouse. For example, a wife remains in the house owned by her former husband until she sells it and they split the profits 50-50. As long as the husband has owned the home for at least two years and she has lived in it for the same amount of time, then they may each exclude up to $250,000 of capital gain.

This information is meant only for informational purposes for general planning. Always seek advice from a CPA or other professional tax advisor for a specific tax-related matter.

       Our team has been involved with several 1031 exchange transactions, numerous estate sales, and other complex real estate transactions. Our community is well served by our lending  institutions, title companies, tax attorneys, and other professionals to complete these transactions.        

       Even considering the trauma created by the October 3rd Dodd-Frank Act. Realtors, lenders, title companies, buyers and sellers are all adjusting to the changes and additional restrictions with grace. Your Realtor team is keeping the pace of closing a sale every 24 hours or less. Thank you for your continued kind words of appreciation and encouragement.  

                                                                                                           Gratefully, DeLois & Team

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Contact Information

The All-Star Team, REALTORS®
Bringing you home...again and again!
4 Willow Bend, Suite 2A
Hattiesburg MS 39402

The All-Star Team, REALTORS brings you over 200 years of accumulated experience along with the most innovative marketing strategies in the real estate industry. We specialize in the real estate properties located in Hattiesburg, Oak Grove, Petal, Sumrall, Purvis, Columbia, and the entire Pine Belt region. Put The All-Star Team, REALTORS® to work for you as you consider your next home sale or purchase. Experience the team approach to real estate and make us your REALTOR® for life! See how The All-Star Team, REALTORS® really is bringing the Pine Belt home again and again.