Property Tax Exemption for Baby Boomers and Above
There is a property tax break available if you or your spouse are over 55, own a home and want to sell it, and move to another that you purchase within California. Many people are unaware of these laws, and in the high-priced Bay Area, the taxes saved can make a tremendous difference in affordability. California Propositions 60 (1986) and 90 (1988) were enacted to give one-time help to those over 55 who move to a home of equal or lesser value as established by the county tax assessor. Proposition 60 is limited to moves within a county. Proposition 90 allows counties to determine if they will allow a transfer of a tax base from a different country to their county. That is the only difference between the two propositions.
The eligibility rules for both Proposition 60 and 90:
* You or your spouse must be at least 55 years of age when the original property was sold.
* The original property and new property must be within the same county or participating Prop 90 county.
* You can only use the transfer once in a lifetime.
* The new replacement property must be of equal or lesser value than the original property sold.
* The replacement property must be built or bought within two years of selling the original property.
* Your original property must be your primary residence and have been eligible for the homeowners' or disabled veterans' exemptions.
* Your replacement property must be your primary residence and must be eligible for either the homeowners' or disabled veterans' exemptions.
Regarding Proposition 90, the California State Board of Equalization website lists 11 counties that currently accept intra-county base year value transfers (as of June 5, 2015): Alameda, Orange, San Diego, Tuolumne, El Dorado, Riverside, San Mateo, and Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Santa Clara. Since the counties that participate in this program are subject to change, it is important to contact the county where you wish to move to verify eligibility.
(In fact, your agent should do this for you). Find out what homes in your own and similar neighborhoods have sold for in the past 6-12 months, and research what current homes are listed for. That's certainly how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home.