True or False?

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image credit: albertogp123

I just was looking at a seller’s closing package today. The seller was asked to certify the answers to the following questions, under the penalty of perjury.

  1. True or False: I owned and used the residence as my principal residence for periods aggregating two (2) years or more during the 5-year period ending on the date of the sale or exchange of the residence.
  2. True or False: I have not sold or exchanged another principal residence during the 2-year period ending on the date of the sale or exchange of the residence.
  3. True or False: I (or my spouse or former spouse, if I was married at any time during the period beginning after May 6, 1997, and ending today) have not used any portion of the residence for business or rental purposes after May 6, 1997
  4. True or False: At least one of the following three statements applies:
    1. The sale or exchange is of the entire residence for $250,000 or less.
    2. I am married, the sale or exchange is of the entire residence for $500,000 or less, and the gain of the sale or exchange of the entire residence is $250,000 or less
    3. I am married, the sale or exchange is of the entire residence for $500,000 or less, and
      1. I intend to file a joint return for the year of the sale or exchange,
      2. my spouse also used the residence as his or her principal residence for periods aggregating 2 years or more during the 5-year period ending on the date of the sale or exchange of the residence, and
      3. my spouse also has not sold or exchanged another principal residence during the 2-year period ending on the date of the sale or exchange of the principal residence.
  5. True or False: If my basis in the residence is determined by reference to the basis in the hands of a person who acquired the residence is an exchange to which section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code applied, the exchange to which section 1031 applied occurred more than 5 (five) years prior to the date I sold or exchanged the residence.

Wow, just 5 True or False questions that an untrained, non-expert seller relies on his real estate agent to help him to answer correctly – under the penalty of perjury. I don’t think I’ve seen as many run-on sentences, double-negatives, ifs, ands, or buts in just 5 true or false questions in my life.

A real estate agent is not expected to be an expert on the law, taxes, whether the roof needs to be replaced, or any number of other topics. Yet, they need to know something, and they need to be able to read, because buyers and sellers rely on agents throughout the process of buying or selling their homes. Just another day in the life of a licensed real estate agent. Kind of makes those questions on the state exam look like a cake walk, doesn’t it?

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