New construction question

7 Replies

Hey BP,

I am in the middle of a new construction build and have a question for those who are familiar with building/selling new homes. The home is being built for me by a small builder and the price is 275k for 2800 square feet, 900 of which is below grade. A different (larger) builder has built 3 homes directly behind my lot and they have sold for 275k, 300k and 305k these houses are all identical and only have 1600 square feet and mediocre finishes. In my opinion my completed house will have much nice finishes and appliances. The question I have is, would I divide the other builders selling prices by his square footage to get a good estimate on what I could potentially sell my house for? I originally planned to live in the new construction but if I could flip it and do a tax exchange I would be intrigued. Any help would be great.

Thank you,


Can you find comps similar to the size you are building? You are also using better finishes.

The only comparable comps are the three new builds behind my lot. All three have already sold.
One sold 6 months ago for 275k and the remaining two sold in the past 2 months for 299k and 303k.

Well if you do the dollars per square foot method you come out over half a million. Does that seem right to you? It may be worth it to call a realtor friend to get their opinion

@Lamar Quinn , I don't think you'll be able to do a 1031 exchange unless you decide to change  your plans for it.  Your intent in commissioning the house was for it to be your primary residence.  That would not qualify.  If you change your intent to selling it immediately that too would not qualify since it would then be treated as inventory.

Now if you decided to change  your intent to hold for productive use then when you decide to sell you could do a 1031 exchange.

@Steve Sapowsky half a million seems a little steep, but i was hoping to turn around and sell it for at least 350-375k. I am in the middle of closing on my primary residence, so I am going to ask the listing agent what his thoughts are. Thanks for getting back to me!

@Dave Foster being that I plan on living in the house for at least the time being, would it still be possible to the exchange down the road? Say beginning of spring?? I currently have one rental and would use the gains as down payments on at least two more units. From what I heard on one of the podcasts, you can do an exchange on multiple properties as long as the total price is more expensive than the property being sold.. I believe that's what I recall hearing... But either way, thanks for the insights gents!

@Lamar Quinn , the issue isn't what you'd be exchanging into.  That would be perfectly fine to sell one and buy two as long as you spent at least as much as you sell (to avoid all tax).  

The issue is that the new construction is one of two things right now by your description.  It is either intended to be your primary residence or it is your intent to sell as soon as completed (which makes it inventory).  Neither of these qualify for 1031 exchanges.

Property that qualifies for 1031 is property that it has been your intent to hold for productive use in business, trade, or for investment.  Unfortunately both scenarios you describe do not match that intent.  So as it stands you cannot do a 1031 exchange on that property without running a strong risk of it being disallowed if ever audited.

However, there's a bright light at the end of the tunnel that is not a train.  If you do actually move into it and live in it long enough so that you can document that you have lived in it for 2 out of the previous 5 year period then you can sell that property and take the first $250K ($500K if married) in profit tax free.  

If you want to embark on this longer path you will find at the end that tax free is certainly better than tax deferred. In order to satisfy your desire for further investing now you could always take out a HELOC or other debt instrument on the new house and use it for investing.

The other option is to think of the new construction as investment.  Attempt to rent it.  Put a renter in for a year and then re-evaluate whether you want to keep it.  Now your intent can be documented as holding for productive use and you could do a 1031.

I would personally live in it for two years then sell. First 250k profit tax free!

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