Absentee co-owner loses out on real estate tax break

DEAR BOB: My daughter and I own a house as joint tenants.She has lived in the house for the last two years. I have never lived there. Weplan to sell it and expect a net profit around $100,000. Can the entire profitbe allocated to her so it will be exempt from capital gains tax? –Arnie C.

DEAR ARNIE: Yes. If your daughter owned and occupied herprincipal residence at least 24 of the 60 months before its sale, InternalRevenue Code 121 entitles her to claim up to $250,000 tax-free home-saleprofits. Thankfully, this includes the entire $100,000 expected sale profit sono capital gains tax will be due on the sale. For more details, please consultyour tax adviser.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

IS HOMEOWNER RESPONSIBLE FOR TRIMMING OVERHANGING TREES?

DEAR BOB: I have renters living in the houses on each sideof my house. These rented houses have trees that overhang my property. Is theowner responsible for trimming these trees? If not, can I trim theseoverhanging trees? –Jim H.

DEAR JIM: A property owner can trim overhanging trees backto the property boundary. However, be sure your trimming is not so severe thatit kills a tree or causes it to fall and cause damage, in which case you couldbe held liable for the loss.

Before trimming the overhanging trees, try to contact theadjacent owners on a friendly basis. I recently did that about two trees thatleaned toward my house.

My nice neighbor paid to have his trees removed to avoidfuture possible damage liability if they fell and damaged my house.

WHAT IF LISTING AGENT REFUSES TO RAISE THE SALES COMMISSION?

DEAR BOB: Thanks for those recent items about raising thehome sales commission to 7 percent — with 4 percent going to the buyer’s agent– to get a house sold in a slow market. That is exactly my problem. However,when I showed your article to my listing agent, her broker said it would be”unethical” to charge a 7 percent sales commission so he refused. Mylisting still has about 60 days left and I want the house sold. What should Ido? –Pat C.

DEAR PAT: I am shocked. I’ve never heard of a real estatebroker refusing to raise the sales commission to get a listing sold.

There is nothing unethical, illegal, immoral or evenfattening for a home seller offering to pay a 7 percent sales commission with 4percent going to the buyer’s agent and 3 percent to the listing agent.

If I were in your situation, I would phone the listingagent’s broker, politely explain you want to get your house sold in a slowmarket, and wish to raise the sales commission to increase the incentive forbuyer’s agents to sell your house. If refuses to agree, then it’s time toconsider canceling the listing for lack of due diligence so you can list with abetter agent.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “Five Easy Ways toBuy Your Home and Investment Property for Nothing Down,” is now availablefor $5 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit cardat 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet delivery at www.BobBruss.com. Questions for this columnare welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

Copyright 2006 Inman News

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