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Jen Breysler
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Need a real estate CPA? Attorney? to sell a house

Jen Breysler
Posted Mar 20 2024, 10:43

Hello everyone, 

We are planning to sell our house in San Diego, CA. We use it as rental for the last couple of years.

We need someone to help us with all the tax implications that go with it. Who do we look for? Real Estate CPA? 

We currently live in New Hampshire. Do we need to find a CPA in CA, or any real estate CPA can help us? Or do we need a real estate attorney?

More info:

We own the house since February 2010, we've rented it out since January 2022. My husband and I both own the house. I haven't lived in the house since August 2021, my husband hasn't lived in the house since January 2021.

We need a consultation on how much money we can get and how much taxes we will pay if we sell the house around August 2024. Do we qualify for section 121, or maybe we can buy another rental and do we qualify for section 1031.

Any advice will be appreciated, as I've never sold a house before. 

Thank you so much for anyone who will find the time to answer. Also any good referrals are appreciated. 

T

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Jessie Dillon
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  • Hopedale, MA
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Jessie Dillon
  • Investor
  • Hopedale, MA
Replied Mar 20 2024, 11:16

check out danielle rutigliano! she is beachwoodbuyshouses on ig. i'm in MA and she is my CPA. she specializes in RE and is also a VERY active investor herself. she's based in long island. you don't have to use someone local. 

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Benjamin Weinhart
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Benjamin Weinhart
Tax & Financial Services
  • Accountant
  • Cincinnati OH 45209, USA
Replied Mar 20 2024, 12:02

Hi Jen, great question! Any CPA worth their salt would be able to assist you either by knowing things immediately or knowing exactly where to look to find out if they don't. Being specifically located in CA could help marginally, but you may also pay a much higher fee due to the higher cost of living (depending on which part of CA of course). I'd need to know more information to determine myself if I were assisting you (hypothetically, of course, since we aren't allowed to advertise our services through this medium), but from the surface level it does sound like you do qualify for the 121 exclusion. A 1031 exchange is also possible, but albiet a little more costly to perform. You would be wanting to look for a CPA/EA/Tax Professional though to help guide you through this process.

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Jen Breysler
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Jen Breysler
Replied Mar 20 2024, 13:41
Quote from @Jessie Dillon:

check out danielle rutigliano! she is beachwoodbuyshouses on ig. i'm in MA and she is my CPA. she specializes in RE and is also a VERY active investor herself. she's based in long island. you don't have to use someone local. 


 Thank you for your rec!

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Bradley Buxton
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  • Nevada
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Bradley Buxton
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Nevada
Replied Mar 20 2024, 15:31

@Jen Breysler

I recommend talking with a CPA that know real estate investors needs. The one we recommend to our clients from CA is Carlan White.  We get a lot of CA investors in our market here in Tahoe Reno, NV that are looking to 1031 exchange out of CA and into Nevada for the lower property taxes and no state income tax benefits

Carlan C. White 

Direct 775-229-7806
[email protected]

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Zachary Jensen
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Zachary Jensen
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#4 Tax, SDIRAs & Cost Segregation Contributor
  • Accountant
  • San Diego, CA
Replied Mar 20 2024, 15:41
Quote from @Jen Breysler:

Hello everyone, 

We are planning to sell our house in San Diego, CA. We use it as rental for the last couple of years.

We need someone to help us with all the tax implications that go with it. Who do we look for? Real Estate CPA? 

We currently live in New Hampshire. Do we need to find a CPA in CA, or any real estate CPA can help us? Or do we need a real estate attorney?

More info:

We own the house since February 2010, we've rented it out since January 2022. My husband and I both own the house. I haven't lived in the house since August 2021, my husband hasn't lived in the house since January 2021.

We need a consultation on how much money we can get and how much taxes we will pay if we sell the house around August 2024. Do we qualify for section 121, or maybe we can buy another rental and do we qualify for section 1031.

Any advice will be appreciated, as I've never sold a house before. 

Thank you so much for anyone who will find the time to answer. Also any good referrals are appreciated. 

T

 Hey Jen, have you lived in the house the past 24 months out of the last 5 years? if yes you can avoid paying taxes on up to 250k of your gain or 500k if married filing joint. I wouldn't worry about getting a real estate focused accountant just for this simple test. If your accountant is unaware of this, then it maybe time to find someone who is more sophisticated. 

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Dave Foster
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Dave Foster
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Replied Mar 20 2024, 19:24

@Jen Breysler, You're going to qualify for the 121 exemption.  Your husbands time of residency might need to be looked at.  If you have more than $500K of gain (and you both qualify) or if you have more than $250K of gain and only you qualify then you could actually sell and take both the primary residence exemption.  And do a 1031 exchange on the rest.  So, effectively getting some of the profit tax free.  And indefinitely deferring the tax on the rest with your 1031.

You've got a great scenario to play out here.

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Michael Plaks
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Michael Plaks
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Replied Mar 20 2024, 20:07

@Jen Breysler

This post answers your question if you scroll down through comments to my reply:

https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/51-tax-legal-issues-con...

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Katie Balatbat
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Katie Balatbat
  • CPA and Attorney
  • San Diego, attorney
Replied Mar 21 2024, 11:49

@Jen Breysler

Check with your usual CPA if he/she can handle the CA portion of your taxes.  You'll also want to ensure that your realtor or escrow officer is familiar with the required CA withholding as part of the escrow process.  If your usual CPA is not familiar with CA taxes, then you may want to seek an attorney who is familiar with CA rules - whether he/she is located in CA or elsewhere.

CA tends to use realtors rather than attorneys to actually sell the real property, alongside an escrow officer.  Let me know if you need referrals for any professionals in the San Diego area.

*This post does not create an attorney-client or CPA-client relationship.  The information contained in this post is not to be relied upon.  Readers are advised to seek professional advice.

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Jay Thomas
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Jay Thomas
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Replied Mar 21 2024, 12:12

It's wise to consult with a real estate CPA who specializes in taxes.They can advise on capital gains taxes, potential exclusions under Section 121 if occupancy requirements are met, and the option of a Section 1031 exchange to defer capital gains by reinvesting in another property. While any real estate CPA can assist, a California-based CPA may offer expertise in state tax laws relevant to your situation.

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Bill Hampton
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Bill Hampton
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Replied Mar 21 2024, 18:04

@Jen Breysler


I recommend finding a tax strategist who specializes in real estate taxation. You may want to consider working with your tax strategist remotely to expand your options.

I would also recommend looking for a tax strategist who is willing to work with you throughout the year, not just when preparing your tax return. You want an accountant who can help you strategize and who is responsive when you want to know the tax consequences of the decisions you are making throughout the year.

Good luck in your search.

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Nate Meeker
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Nate Meeker
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Replied Mar 23 2024, 11:53

@Jen Breysler it wouldn't hurt to talk to a CPA that specializes in real estate so they can provide you with the best strategy based on your specific situation. As a few others have mentioned on here, the location of your CPA is not as crucial as their expertise regarding REI. If I were you, I would reach out to a few and use the one that best aligns with your goals.

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Steve Meyers
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Steve Meyers
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Replied Mar 23 2024, 20:38

@Jen Breysler sent you a PM.

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Basit Siddiqi
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Basit Siddiqi
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Replied Apr 21 2024, 12:26

Home prices are much higher in 2024 than they were in 2010 so hopefully you made a good amount of appreciation on your investment.

It may be worthwhile to sell, if possible, within the next couple of months if you want to take advantage of section 121 exclusion becuase it looks like it will expire for you soon.