All Things Real Estate: A tough choice to sell or stay

Philip A Raices

I am currently working with several clients who are still trying to decide whether they want to stay put in their homes for the long term or possibly considerputting their places on the market. One couple is in generally good health and enjoys their current surroundings and the other client is in somewhat fair condition.

The first couple complains about the expenses of owning as their income, although fairly good, is being reduced yearly s inflation has been ramping up lately. Real Estate taxes, heating costs, snow removal, repairs, landscaping and upkeep are starting to wear on them financially and mentally. The second situation is a woman whose husband passed away a few years ago, and as she is getting older, her children are concerned about her health and feel moving closer to them would be to everyone’s advantage and in her best interest.

The couple feels very comfortable where they live and have a few friends who still reside on Long Island, although others whom they miss, have gone south to warmer climates. Although their health is excellent, they are attempting to figure out what to do. They have a tremendous amount of equity in their home as they have lived there for over 50 years. They are curious as to what their tax ramifications would be when selling.

I told them they are allowed $500,000, plus their original purchase price and any capital improvements that they had made over the years (one needs to have receipts in case of an audit). At the point of sale, they would subtract those amounts and the costs of closing from the sale price. Their income and tax bracket for that year that would determine their capital gains. This percentage for a few could be as little as 0 percent up to a maximum of 20 percent.

They should have a plan to determine the time that they need to reduce their accumulations over the years and get rid of the clutter and have a tag or garage sale. In the end packing to move is a lot to handle. Advising and guiding them through this time- consuming process is a job for a caring and expert broker to make it as simple and stress-free as possible.

It’s not always just about putting a home on the market to sell but the immense preparation leading up to it and in getting it done. Having a checklist is always a prudent and smart way to begin and your agent can assist you in getting started.

However, the couple wants to stay, and they have to plan for the future in the event one or both become disabled or have a very serious illness. Retrofitting the home to make it more livable going forward should be a consideration. Whether it is changing countertop heights for a wheelchair to get under or a stair lift to be installed for second-floor access or creating an owner’s suite on the first floor or other pertinent items to make life easier.

For some moving to an independent, assisted-iving or nursing home facility may be another option. Those homeowners who might prefer to stay in their own home might consider another option in hiring a healthcare aid, part or full time.

The second client has to make a decision to either stay by creating a living environment that will be safe and comfortable by doing similar upgrades. In making those decisions and asking for advice from me and family members, it enables her to at least begin thinking about what to do. She has some options, but that final act in coming to a solution is the toughest to make and it is never easy.

Telling a homeowner not to wait until the last minute and fall into the “Monday morning quarterback” syndrome will never be to anyone’s advantage, but human beings are procrastinators at heart. The threerealities of life are we are born, we pay taxes and we eventually pass on.

But life is similar to the seasons as we have spring, summer, fall and winter. We try to enjoy each and every season to the fullest as best we can, but as we grow older life can throw us many curveballs that aren’t necessarily anticipated. Some of us have contingency plans, but I believe most do not.  When deciding to stay in your home or consider selling, take your time and look at the pros and cons, (or call me for help) so your final decision will make the most sense.

Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck. He has 40 years of experience in the Real Estate industry and has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (G.R.I.) and also as a Certified International Property Specialist (C.I.P.S). For a “FREE” 15 minute consultation, a value analysis of your home, or to answer any of your questions or concerns he can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com

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