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Tax Tips for Selling a Residence

March 19, 20241 min read

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the primary residence you sold in 2023 may have federal tax benefits that can help you avoid capital gains on the sale, if you meet certain criteria for ownership and use of the home.

To claim a tax exclusion, you must have owned the home for at least two years and lived in the home for at least two out of no more than five years of ownership. The tax gain exclusion that’s available is $250,000 if you’re single, or $500,000 if you’re married and use a joint tax return. If you sell at a loss, such as a short sale, you can’t deduct the loss from your income, likely because of the many homeownership benefits subsidized by the government, including loan programs, first-time and low-income homebuyer grants, energy star appliance credits, and so on. Tax exclusions are also subsidized by the government.

To maximize your gain and lessen your tax bill, you can adjust the basis of the home you sold. The basis is the price you paid for the home, including closing costs and settlement fees. The adjusted basis, explains Smart Asset, factors in capital improvements that you made to the home, such as replacing the roof or the HVAC, adding a second story, or laying utility lines to the home. You can also adjust for casualty losses, like restoring your home after a fire or water damage.

The higher your adjusted basis is, the lower your capital gains are.

No matter what stage of your real estate journey you are navigating, our Forever AgentsSM are here to help you with your real estate needs and questions. Call us at 303-905-8850 or visit

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