What are Capital Gains on Real Estate Investments?

Investing in Real Estate is one of the best ways to grow your personal wealth. Being an educated investor when it comes to real estate transactions and the taxes you are subject to is important. To understand that we are going to discuss about Capital Gains and ways these monies are taxed when you sell a home.

After a successful real estate transaction, the capital experienced from the sale on your asset, is up for grabs to the IRS.

Capital gains are realized if you sell an asset (in this scenario your home) for more than what you paid for it. The difference between what you paid and what you sold it for may be subject to capital gains taxes.

How long did you own it?

The amount of taxes due on these gains, varies based on how long the asset was in your possession before selling. If the home was held for a year or less this is considered short-term capital gains, and if the home was held for longer than a year it’s considered a long-term capital gain.

Now, the IRS does allow homeowners an opportunity for tax relief on capital gains due to an Act passed in 1997 called the Tax Relief Act of 1997. This Act shifted the policy on how taxes are treated for capital gains realized when it comes to housing. Prior to 1997, homeowners paid capital gains taxes if they sold their house, unless they purchased a new home of equal or greater value.


Today, there are exemptions on capital gains for the sale of a person(s) primary residence of up to $500,000 for jointly filed married couples and $250,000 for singles if they lived in their home for at least two of the previous five years.

The Tax Relief Act of 1997 also lowered the top tier of taxes for long-term capital gains. The current 2021 long-term capital gains tax rate is 0%, 15% or 20% dependent on the income bracket of the taxpayer, while short-term gains are now taxed at the persons ordinary income tax level. This credit has been phased out for high-income families and is capped at usage to once every two years.

You may also qualify for an exception of these gains if the sale of your home was sold because of your employment, health or “an unforeseeable event, according to the IRS.


Always speak with a trusted financial professional for details on how this may affect YOUR own financial information. The IRS has an edibility test you can find here.  Deferring capital gains tax on a sale with the use of a 1031 Exchange is something you will want to explore. To learn more about 1031 Exchange click here.

If you’re ready to invest in real estate, Sposen offers new construction homes at a great value. Contact us today!