The Ins and Outs of California's Prop 19: What Homeowners Need to Know

We've got a hot topic to dive into today—one that's especially relevant if you're a homeowner in California who's been in your home for years and might be thinking of making a move. Yep, we're talking about Proposition 19. The question on everyone's mind is: Can you sell your home and transfer your lower property tax bill to your new place? Let's unpack this, shall we?

A Brief History: The Era Before Prop 13

Let's turn the clock back to pre-1978. Property taxes in LA County were, well, pretty wild. Homeowners were often faced with steeply increasing taxes, some even having to split their lots or sell their homes just to make ends meet. Enter Proposition 13 in 1978. This legislation was a game-changer; it capped property tax increases at a maximum of 2% per year, providing much-needed relief to homeowners.

The Old Way: Age and Limitations

For the longest time, if you were over 55, like yours truly, you had a bit of a silver lining. You could sell your primary residence and buy another one within the same county or certain reciprocating counties. The catch? Your new home had to be of equal or lesser value than your previous one to transfer that sweet, low property tax. So, upgrading was a no-go if you wanted to keep your taxes low.

The New Deal: Prop 19 Explained

Ah, but times change, and so do laws. The "Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families, and Victims of Wildfire and Natural Disaster Act"—yeah, that's a mouthful, so let's stick with Prop 19—came into the picture. This legislation improved several key points:

  • Geography: You can now buy a home anywhere in California and transfer your low property taxes.
  • Price: If the new home is more expensive, you simply pay the difference in tax between your old and new place.
  • Frequency: The one-time transfer rule? That's history. You can now do this up to three times.
  • Timing: You've got a generous two-year window to buy your new home and complete the transaction.

Sounds awesome, right? But hold your horses; let's also look at the other side of the coin.

The Catch: Inheritance Rules

Prop 19 also tweaked inheritance rules. Kids inheriting property can no longer maintain the property's low tax status unless they plan to live in it. So, if you were planning to inherit a rental property with those good ol' 40-year-old tax bills, think again.

Is Prop 19 a Boon or a Bane?

Like most legislation, the impact of Prop 19 depends on your situation. If you're looking to move, it's fantastic news. But if you're thinking more about future generations inheriting your property, it's a mixed bag.

Still have questions? Hey, that's what we're here for. We're all about community, transparency, and helping you navigate the complex world of real estate. Feel free to reach out to us at Think Real Estate Group. We've got your back!

Until next time, happy home hunting or nesting!

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