Selling Real Estate Archives - macdonald realty
New Rules Regarding the Principal Residence Exemption

New Rules Regarding the Principal Residence Exemption

Tax season is upon us.  Canadian tax residents must file tax returns for 2016 income with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) before the end of April 2017.  Who is a Canadian tax resident?  In principle, anyone for whom Canada is a home base is regarded as a tax resident.

In reporting income, Canadian tax residents also have to report any capital gains earned during the year, HOWEVER, unlike other income (such as income from employment, interest payments, rent, etc.) only ½ of capital gains are treated as income.  In effect, therefore, the tax rate on capital gains is only ½ the tax rate on regular income.   Moreover, there are a few types of capital gain that are entirely exempt from taxation.  For most taxpayers the most important exemption from capital gains tax is for the capital gain earned on the sale of a family home known as the “principal residence exemption”.

Some of the key issues surrounding the principal residence exemption as follows:

  • Q: Does a taxpayer have to report the capital gain on the sale of a principal residence?
    Yes, the new policy requires the gain to be reported when tax returns are filed with CRA.   This is a new requirement.  The gain is only reportable for the taxation year in which the property is sold.  If the property has, throughout the period it was owned by the taxpayer, been a principal residence then no tax is payable.
  • Q: Who can claim the exemption?
    The exemption is only available to Canadian tax residents who must declare world-wide income and capital gains when filing tax returns.
  • Q: What type of property can be a principal residence?
    Only “capital property” can be a principal residence.  Property bought to “flip” is not “capital property”; it is inventory in a trading business where the profit from the sale of such property is treated as ordinary income, not even a capital gain.  100% of such gains are taxable.  Only properties that were “ordinarily inhabited” by the taxpayer are eligible for the exemption.
  • Q: Can different family members each own a “principal residence”?
    There is only one residence that can be claimed by a family unit as a principal residence.  Of course, adult children living apart from their parents are regarded as having their own family unit and are thereby entitled to claim an exemption for their own principal residence.
  • Q: Are there penalties for failing to report?
    If the sale is not reported in the tax return then CRA can, without any time limitation, audit the taxpayer at any time in the future. Moreover, taxpayers who have failed to designate the home as their principal residence could be subject to a late designation penalty of up to $8,000. It is expected that the new policy will give CRA auditors new audit leads and give rise to many more homeowner audits and re-assessments in the future.

In summary, anyone who sold their principal residences in in 2016 would be well-advised to report the sale and any associated capital gains in their tax returns for the 2016 fiscal year.  Any questions concerning this new policy should be directed to experienced tax advisors.


Written by Peter Scarrow, former immigration lawyer, currently is the Director of Asian Business at Macdonald Real Estate Group.

Macdonald Realty listings get extra exposure on international website LeadingRE.com

Macdonald Realty listings get extra exposure on international website LeadingRE.com

 PrintMacdonald Realty offers consumers an easy way to search home listings and identify top real estate firms in markets worldwide through its participation in the new LeadingRE.com.

The site also brings global exposure for our BC real estate listings and provides consumer resources, such as cost of living comparisons, school information, recent home sales and other local resources and statistics. LeadingRE.com can be accessed via macrealty.com by clicking the Global Home Search logo on the homepage.

“LeadingRE.com now provides home buyers and sellers an easy way to identify the top-performing real estate companies in a given market by searching over 400,000 member listings or by using our comprehensive member directory,” notes Leading Real Estate Companies of the World Director of Strategic Development Rhett Damon. “Our network linking strategy connects many of our high-traffic member sites to LeadingRE.com’s national or global search, providing valuable listing exposure to home sellers.”

 

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For more information about Macdonald Realty and our LeadingRE partnership please email macrealty@macrealty.com or call 1-877-278-3888.  Looking to buy or sell, locally or globally?  Allow us to make a quality introduction to be matched with an independent brokerage and REALTOR® working in your area.

The Principal Residence Exemption

The Principal Residence Exemption

Recently the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) changed its administrative rules so that, unlike the past, if you sell your principal residence in 2016 or later years, you must report:

  1. The sale including the date and price of acquisition, the sale price and date and a description of the property; and
  2. The fact that the property was a principal residence

on your income tax return filed in 2017 if you want to claim the full principal residence exemption.  The exemption means that no tax is paid on a property that is the principal residence of the seller.  In the past CRA did not require taxpayers to report the capital gains on the sale of principal residences.

If you don’t claim the exemption then CRA will treat any gain in the value of the property as a taxable capital gain.  One half of capital gains are deemed to be income in the year in which the capital gain is realized.   The top marginal rate for income taxes in British Columbia is nearly 48% for income in excess of $200,000.

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$94K micro condo in Surrey attracts hordes of home buyers | Platinum Project Marketing

$94K micro condo in Surrey attracts hordes of home buyers | Platinum Project Marketing

Macdonald Realty Estate Group’s project marketing team, Platinum Project Marketing had a busy Saturday, launching sales on Evolve, a new condo development in Surrey, which Developer WestStone Properties said sold 300 condos worth about $70 million in a frenzied 90 minute rush.

Read on for the full story as reported by The Huffington Post.

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Photo from The Huffington Post

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Surrey Condo Sales: Hundreds Line Up For Chance To Buy $94,000 Micro-Units

The opportunity to buy a brand-new condo for under $100,000 in Metro Vancouver’s sizzling real estate market brought hundreds of people to a Surrey sales centre on Saturday.

Prospective buyers stood in line for hours to buy into the 35-storey Evolve concrete tower. A big draw were the micro suites, starting at 316 sq. ft. and $93,900.

Twin brothers and WHL players, Connor and Curtis Honey, drove up from Edmonton to be the first people in line at 4 a.m. for the opening day of sales. They snapped up one of the 80 micro condos.

“It is pretty small, but I think there’s ways to work around it and maximize the space,” Curtis Honey told CTV News.

Developer WestStone Properties said 300 condos worth about $70 million were sold in a frenzied 90 minutes Saturday.

The majority of Evolve’s 406 units are priced at less than $250,000.

The condo project’s marketers, Platinum Project Marketing, also credited the high-tech sales presentation, including holograms and augmented reality, for drumming up interest. (Watch video above.)

Evolve is scheduled to be finished in 2018. It’s one of several new towers in Surrey’s developing West Village.

With about 1,000 people moving to Surrey every month, the city is forecast to become B.C.’s biggest by 2041.

How $500 Can Save You $30,000: Why You Should Get a Home Inspection

How $500 Can Save You $30,000: Why You Should Get a Home Inspection

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Many purchasers of homes decide to forgo the optional home inspection in some cases. They have a tough time trying to decipher why they would shell out anywhere between $450-$800 for a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ to come into their potential new home and tell them things they think they already know. If you fit into this category, STOP and give your head a serious shake.

Like a general practitioner doctor, a home inspector may not know a ton about one particular subject of a house, yet they do know a little bit (or more) about a lot. A good home inspector will use all the latest and greatest tools to inspect your home and should give you a full written report for you to take home at the end. They don’t need to know exactly where that leak is coming from, but they sure can point you in a better direction to figure it out than anyone else.

So why put out the expense? A familiar case sample from numbers of happy clients I have helped in the past, including a story of my own. When I set out to buy my first home, I was excited. It is such a cool experience to go house shopping and even better to imagine all of the amazing ideas, memories and plans you could experience in that new home. After a few weeks of shopping, I had decided on a 2 storey basement entry in North Delta.

The home needed some work, I could see that, and being a relatively handy guy with a good eye for what needed to be done, I wrote my offer accordingly. Now, I realize the importance of a good home inspector so as part of my conditions, I made sure to give myself some time to get my inspector into the house.

When working with clients, I have no emotion invested into what they buy and this allows me to be very unbiased. I can see many things that they typically cannot, due to the large amounts of homes I see every week and also from what I have learned from my home inspector in the past. The challenge is when emotion and excitement get involved, that trained eye can get cloudy. This was also the case for my own almost first home. I was excited and thinking more like a buyer than a Realtor.

My home inspection lasted over 3 hours and my inspector took his time to ensure he got everything I needed to know. At the end of the inspection, together we went through the list of things that needed to be done and the even bigger list of things that the average eye would not see.

There was over $30,000 worth of immediate work that was important to the life of the home that needed to be dealt with asap. This included unsafe electrical, huge drainage issues, sloppy previous home owner renovations, and more. Having a great relationship with my inspector, he jokingly remarked to me, “You need to run away from this house!”

That day was great to cement the lesson into my head that a home inspection is critical. I, nor most other Realtors, do not have a construction/electrical/plumbing/general home construction backgrounds so we cannot catch everything either. By investing around $500 in a 3.5 hour inspection, I saved myself from making a $30,000 mistake.

The moral of the story, get the home inspected everytime before you buy. You never know what yo may discover later if not. As for me, I am in a different home, with much less work to take care of. I get to save my money for bigger and better things!

Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

Legal Mistakes to Avoid When Buying or Selling a House

 The process of buying or selling a house seems to involve a million details.  It is important that you educate yourself on as many parts of this process as you can—this knowledge could mean the difference of thousands of dollars in the long-run.  The legal issues involved in the process are often particularly intricate, ranging from matters of common knowledge to subtle details that might escape the untrained eye.  Any of these issues, if not handled properly, could develop into larger problems.  With so many  legal issues to consider, your first step should be to seek out experienced professionals to help educate you and represent your best legal interests.  Begin with an experienced real estate agent, who can help guide you through the initial hoops.  S/he should also be able to point you in the direction of a reputable local real estate lawyer to assist you in all legal matters involved in the purchase or sale of your house.

While there are countless legal details involved in a real estate transaction, some seem to pose larger problems than others.  We’ve outlined two legal clauses that are commonly misunderstood and may cost you money if not worded correctly.  Handle these carefully and you will be on track to a successful sale or purchase!

Home Inspection Clause

Some real estate transactions have been sabotaged due to the wording of the home inspection clause.  This clause originally allowed that the buyer has the right to withdraw their offer if the home inspection yielded any undesirable results.  However, this allowance was known to backfire, as Buyers took advantage of it, using some non-issue stated in the inspection as an excuse for having changed their minds.  Of course, this was unfair to the Sellers, as they’d poured time and money into what they believed was a sure deal.  Not only might they have missed out on other offers in the interim, but their house might also now be unfairly considered a “problem home.”  Additionally, they’d now have to shoulder the costs of continuing to market the property.  All of this adds up.

In order to remedy this potential problem, the clause should indicate that the seller has the option of repairing any problems the home inspection might point to.  With this slight change in the clause, both buyer and seller are protected.

To ensure this clause is fair from one side of the bargain to the other, work closely with a lawyer experienced in these transactions and all the nuances that may affect the outcome for you.

Survey Clause

It is the right of a home buyer to add a survey clause to the real estate contract on the home they’d like to purchase.  If you are on the selling end of the contract, be aware.  If you have added an addition or a pool to your property since the last survey was produced, your survey will no longer be considered up-to-date and the Buyer may request that a new one be drawn up—the cost of which you will incur.  The price of this process will run anywhere from $700 to $1000.

Your real estate agent has the responsibility to provide you with the most recent survey of your home.  It is then the Buyer’s right to decide if it is acceptable.  An experienced agent should offer you reliable counsel if you encounter an issue with this clause, but it is advisable to talk to your lawyer if you’re unsure at all of the potential ramifications involved.  Remember, the wording of this clause could cost or save you thousands of dollars.

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Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca