Thursday, October 11, 2007

Real Estate Transfer Taxes Overlooked Sale or Purchase Expense

A real estate transfer tax is a one-time tax paid at the closing of a property, and is considered a stream of revenue for state budgets. This transfer tax though, once collected is not generally used for housing-related purposes. The tax is based on the value of a property as agreed to by the parties in a real estate contract.

In the excitement of selling or buying a home, often the real estate transfer tax cost is overlooked. Depending on locale, either the buyer or seller pays the tax at closing or escrow, but beware in New Hampshire both the buyer and seller pay, half of 1.5%!. In some states it can be a formidable amount, you should be prepared for what the transfer taxes will be, and who pays them, before you start a home search or list your home for-sale.

The good news is, thirteen states don't have a real estate property tax. They are: Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

The bad news is that the remaining thirty-seven states and The District of Columbia charge taxes on the transfer of a property. The tax is only levied once when a property is exchanged between parties, unlike general property taxes which are paid annually and are based on the assessed value. Real estate transfer taxes range from a low of .01% in Colorado to a high of 1.28% in Washington state.

Variations on transfer taxes include; in Arizona only charges a tax on deeds. However Alabama and Florida charge on deeds and mortgages. To avoid financial surprises, inquire early as to who pays (buyer or seller) and how much transfer taxes will be. Some states dictate who pays the tax, and some just want the tax paid. This cost can typically be negotiated between the parties. Consult an experienced real estate attorney.

A handy online link for transfer taxes for all fifty states. Resource Center/Realty Transfer Tax/Transfer tax chart.pdf

Mark Nash, is a residential real estate author, broker, columnist and writer based in Chicago. His fourth book 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home received eighteen five star reviews on His latest book; Real Estate A-Z for Buying & Selling a Home will be published in December 2006. Mark publishes a free monthly ezine for real estate professionals. Agent to Agent features ten articles that offer free reprints for agents, home buyers and sellers through . Real estate news and book reviews, Celebrity Homestyles, Home selling and buying tips and advice, Joke-of-the-Month, Help this Agent, and agent marketing tips. Over 5000 subscribers in the U.S. & Canada. Subscribe at: