BASIS VS VALUE
21 08 07
When thinking about making improvements to your home there are many considerations. Project type, design, style and affordability aside, there are the practical issues of “basis” and “value”. The concept of value takes centerstage when a homeowner is getting ready to sell, and thoughts of “adding value” and
a higher price are paramount.
But I think most folks know by now that there are very few improvements that return 100% or more in real marketable value. If an Appraiser, or Realtor determines a marketable value of $200,000 for your home, and you decide to add a $30,000 new kitchen to improve value, you will not automatically see a $230,000 selling price on your home. Sad but very, very true.
But guess what, under most circumstances, you can indeed add 100% of the cost of that improved and new kitchen to your basis in the home. What is basis, and why do you care? You care because basis is critical to how much of any gain on the sale of your home is ultimately going to be taxable. In simple terms, basis is the price you paid for your home, plus many of your closing costs, plus capital improvements (NOT normal maintenance & repairs due to wear & tear) you have made to the home, less any insurance proceeds received for damages to the property, or less any deductions you took to repair damages for which you did not receive an insurance settlement.
As always, it is more complicated than that, and check with your Accountant for actual details relative to your own situation. But the important things to remember here are
1) Additions to basis REDUCE your tax liability and you can generally add the full cost of the improvements that you personally funded to your basis.
2) If you don’t have the records to show the cost of the improvement, you can’t add it to your basis.
3) If you got some insurance money to pay for a portion of those improvements (or Aunt Sally paid for part of it), you can’t add that part of the cost to your personal basis!
As always – KEEP GOOD RECORDS (and remember where you put them!)