Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Painful Has This Year Been For You?

I don’t know about you, but this past year has been a real “bear” in more ways than one!

Not long ago, the calls and emails I received were primarily from relatively happy individuals who had found a buyer for their appreciated real estate, businesses, etc. and were looking to minimize their capital gains taxes.

Fast forward to today. More and more calls and emails are from people who
have been trying to sell their assets for a very long time, and few are having any success. Here are the most common dilemmas:

They are getting low-balled on the offers that do come in and are determined to wait for the values to go back up

They are getting close to losing the properties because tenants have pulled out, they are behind on mortgage payments, or buyers offers are dependent on the sale of another property

The most common is that buyers, even though they are supposedly prequalified for loans, are unable to get the loans, and this is happening right up to the day of close.

The saddest calls of all are from investors who have had to go through short sales on investment properties they bought at the top of the market and now are finding out that they owe income tax on the amount of debt forgiven by the lender. In some cases, this amounts to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars which the person does not have, and they face possible bankruptcy or insolvency.

As much as I’d like to help with these things, when you aren’t able to sell at a profit, I have no tax strategy to help save on your tax bill. I sure wish I did, because I’d be the most popular person around. Until credit frees up, real estate prices stabilize and confidence is restored we are all pretty much at a standstill and it stinks.

Just realize, if any of the situations above are similar to yours, you are in very good company. Let’s hope all these stimulus packages using our tax dollars have the desired effect. Personally, I can’t wait for the day to get happy calls again!

If you do have a cash buyer that makes even close to a reasonable offer, think real hard before turning them away. They are far and few between and it will be a good while before it is once again a sellers market.

Paula Straub
Fill out a Confidential Qualification Questionnaire and see if you qualify to save capital gains tax. Go to

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