It's $8,000 If You Screw This Up

Natalie received a job offer with a $15,000 raise. She'd have to move within six months. Natalie and her husband purchased a house with the $8,000 tax credit and can't move until next April. What do they do?

QUESTION: Natalie in Indianapolis received a surprise job proposition making $15,000 more a year. However, she’d have to move to another county within six months of accepting the job. Natalie and her husband purchased a house about two years ago with the $8,000 tax credit. They can’t move until next April. Dave offers some ideas to handle this.

ANSWER: When you’ve only got 90 days, you live in the house up until the six-month mark. You put it on the market. Closing cannot be allowed sooner than the three-year date. Up close to the time, I’d put it on the market, like in January. Move when you need to move, and the house is empty for 90 days. That’s not going to violate the primary residence requirement. You’re going to be fine. You can’t rent it, and you can’t let them move in it early. You can’t close the sale prior to that. So when you put it on the market in January, it’s for an April closing.

Rent something in the meantime. If you’re going to move before April, you’re going to rent. Option number two is asking the county you’re going to work for if they’ll give you a special exception to give you nine months instead of six months to move. Then put the house on the market and move.

Either way, you’re going to move at the six-month or nine-month mark, and your house is not going to be closed. You need to rent on the other end until your house gets closed. I’m not going to own two houses. That’s not going to make this deal work. Plan on renting. Ask for a special exception, or move at the six-month mark with your home sitting empty for three months. At any point that someone gives you an offer, you cannot allow it to close prior to one day longer than three years. And they cannot move in it. Do not get yourself in trouble on this. It’s not worth it for a little bit of money here or there, because it’s going to be $8,000 if you screw this up.