Although moving is not uncommon in the United States, with an estimated 40 million Americans moving each year, moves do not always occur for positive reasons. The COVID-19 pandemic has been exceptionally difficult for countless Americans, causing job loss on a massive scale. This has led to housing insecurity. With many individuals being left unable to pay for their rent and their mortgage bills and affordable housing being difficult to obtain, homelessness levels are also rising. However, housing is not the only concern that individuals are currently struggling with. Many families are finding it difficult to pay for groceries and other basic necessities like medical care. There are many issues that can be connected to generational poverty. Interestingly, some of these problems can be, if not solved, aided in some ways through individuals choosing the option of donating a house to a charity.
Most charitable organizations run through donations at least in part. Many of the most famous charities are able to fund their efforts through the sales of items in thrift stores, which are donated from individuals. Donating a house to a nonprofit is a similar activity, but on of course a much larger scale. However, nonprofits across the world accept the donations of houses and other types of real estate from individuals. This real estate can then be sold, and the income from the sale becomes a significant donation that the nonprofit can utilize to pursue its goals.
Inevitably, donating a house to a nonprofit can be a difficult decision for many individuals to make. Although it is a positive action on a charitable level, those that donate houses to charity clearly will not be able to benefit from the profits of the house’s sale. But the benefits of donating a house to a nonprofit can extend beyond those that serve the nonprofit in question directly. In fact, those that donate their houses can find multiple advantages to donating their homes rather than selling them or for that matter maintaining them.
Understanding the Benefits of House Donations for Nonprofit Organizations
The benefits that nonprofit organizations receive from donated houses are manifold. In the past, homeowners moved first towards selling their houses and then donating the proceeds from the sale to nonprofit organizations in order to give charitably. For those that are considering “sell your house fast” options, receiving a full payment from a cash buyer and donating it to charity is a very kind gesture. However, the charity is actually receiving the proceeds minus closing costs and any capital gains taxes that the owner will owe the IRS. When a homeowner donates their house directly to their nonprofit organization of choice, the organization can choose to use the house as they wish.
The clearest decision would be for the nonprofit organization to sell the house. If a mortgage claim needs to be settled, many nonprofit organizations will move to sell the house as quickly as possible. Furthermore, selling the house will free the organization of the need to pay for taxes and property insurance premiums for the long term. Owners of the house should be aware that if the charity sells the house, they may sell it to a buyer that could demolish it. However, the influx of cash can be majorly beneficial for nonprofit organizations.
At times, however, charitable organizations may choose alternate options when an individual decides that donating a house to a nonprofit is the right choice for them. Some nonprofit organizations choose to benefit for the long term through a monthly rental income. It is possible for nonprofit organizations to become landlords. This is not a commonly chosen option for multiple reasons. The charitable organization will still need to pay for the previously mentioned property taxes and insurance premiums. Furthermore, the organization will be responsible for the property maintenance expected of landlords on a general level. At times, the benefits can outweigh the losses and nonprofit organizations are able to fund their ongoing operating costs through the income received from rental properties.
Charities can additionally utilize houses for the long term in order to remain functional. Houses can be repurposed in a variety of different ways. A house could potentially be converted into the headquarters of a nonprofit organization, or a storefront. Although this requires renovation costs, a house can serve a nonprofit organization well in this sense. Many nonprofit organizations additionally serve demographics experiencing housing insecurity. Therefore, after an individual chooses donating a house to a nonprofit as the right option for them, the house can be used as a shelter or a halfway house. As is the case with rental properties, the charitable organization must still take care of regular home and lawn maintenance, among other continuous costs. But being able to provide those in need is the primary objective for charitable organizations. If a charity’s primary goal is to provide housing or shelter for those in need, a donated house can be hugely beneficial for the long term.
Some charitable organizations furthermore take donated houses and offer them to those that need more permanent housing. Oftentimes, these houses may require renovations involving exterior house painting, but otherwise can be given to families that need them. Choosing the option of donating a house to a nonprofit can be life-changing for those that benefit from charitable organizations. But inevitably, those that benefit directly from charities are not the only individuals that receive certain advantages from the process. Donors are also aided when they decide to donate houses to charity.
How Homeowners Benefit from Donating Houses to Nonprofit Organizations
As previously, deciding to donate a house to a nonprofit organization is not simple. But donors stand to benefit from the process, if not in the exact same sense that the nonprofit organizations and the people that they help do. Many of those that decide on donating a house to a nonprofit do so because the property was burdensome for them in some way. Although owning a come comes with benefits, it also requires a good deal of personal and financial responsibility. Homeowners must ensure that their homes are regularly maintained and that property taxes and insurance premiums are paid. Additionally, renting a house can be more complex than the income is ultimately worth. Some homeowners, therefore, choose to donate their houses to nonprofit organizations in order to eliminate the costs that come with home ownership.
Donors are additionally able to avoid paying capital gains taxes when they decide on donating a house to a nonprofit. A capital gains tax is a particular kind of tax that is based on the amount that a home’s value increases in between its initial purchase and its ultimate sale. This can sometimes be quite significant, and if a home did not appreciate significantly enough in value between the time of its initial purchase and its sale, the homeowner may actually pay more in capital gains taxes than they initially expected. They are not responsible for those taxes if they choose to donate their houses to charitable organizations rather than selling them on the traditional real estate market.
In fact, homeowners can actually use donating a house to a nonprofit as a way to benefit their tax statuses. Each year, countless individuals make charitable donations to nonprofit organizations in order, in part, to make tax deductions on their income tax returns. When a house is donated to a nonprofit organization, there is the potential for a tax write-off of the property’s fair market value, minus its unpaid mortgage balance. It is important to emphasize that homeowners should make the decision to donate a house with the assistance of a financial advisor if their primary goals are to benefit from tax deductions. Every individual’s tax returns are different, and a financial advisor can help homeowners understand exactly how their donations can affect their tax returns. Furthermore, working with a financial advisor could help donors gain more than they would individually.
Through donating a house to a nonprofit rather than selling it on the traditional real estate market, homeowners are also able to avoid other costs. When a house is sold, homeowners will normally need to pay closing costs, brokerage fees, and other costs that come from preparing a house for a sale. If a home is damaged in some way, for example surrounding its windows and doors, contractors will need to be paid to make repairs prior to the house’s sale. Additionally, homeowners will usually need to work with real estate agents that will take commission payments. During this time, a homeowner may not be living in a house or renting it out but will need to continue to pay for regular maintenance and upkeep. A home could potentially take months or even years to sell. After a certain point in time, retaining the house could very well become more harmful for the homeowner than it is beneficial. When choosing to donate a house to a nonprofit, a homeowner rids themselves of these concerns, can potentially benefit from tax credits and is able to emotionally benefit through the understanding that the home they donate can aid a charity in a major way.
Some homeowners also choose to donate a house to a nonprofit organization after they die. The house can be occupied by the homeowner throughout their lifetime. If the homeowner is happy with their house and merely wants to donate the home for charitable reasons, this can be done after an individual’s death. It is important that this addressed with an attorney and made explicit in the homeowner’s will. Married couples in particular must be in agreement about what will happen to the house after both of them die. Ideally, close relatives should also be notified of these plans. Homeowners should be aware of the fact that this can ultimately result in familial conflicts. But if a homeowner’s will is explicit and legally binding, as well as created with a qualified lawyer, the homeowner’s wishes should be respected and the house should be donated to their charity of choice.
How A Homeowner Can Donate Their House to Charity
After a homeowner has made the decision to donate property to a nonprofit organization, they need to move forward with the process. Firstly, they should choose the organization in question. A homeowner will only receive a tax credit if they donate their home to a nonprofit organization approved by the IRS. Approved organizations are listed on the IRS’s website. Homeowners should choose Exempt Organizations under the Charities and Nonprofits tab.
The homeowner should then choose the method through which they are donating their house. The most straightforward process involves transferring the title of the home to the charitable organization. This is usually simple if the house is unoccupied, and if the house is owned without an outstanding mortgage the organization will receive its full value. Because houses with outstanding mortgages represent liabilities, not all nonprofit organizations accept houses or metal buildings with outstanding mortgages. Therefore, some owners choose to transfer the titles of their homes while occupying them. They will pay off the mortgage while occupying the house, and move out after the mortgage is paid off. This is referred to as a living trust, and the nonprofit will be able to use the house as they wish after the mortgage is paid off in full and the former homeowners move out. As previously referenced, the house can also be willed to the organization.
Usually, donors will need to then complete paperwork. They may want to do so with legal advice; lawyers can act as excellent tools for donors in cases like these. Often, homeowners will need to fill out a quitclaim deed, a warranty claim deed, a donation agreement, as well as a deed and gift declaration. Donation agreements often require information regarding the house’s condition and estimated value, as well as any specific details the nonprofit organization may require regarding the house. Donors will then need to pay title transfer fees to place the house in the nonprofit organization’s name.
The house will then need to be inspected and appraised. This way, the homeowners and the donors will be aware of the house’s value on an official level. In particular, homeowners interested in tax credits will need accurate fair market values for their homes.
Donating a house to a nonprofit organization can be quite intimidating. But it is done more often than many believe, and in some cases, condos, duplexes, mobile homes, apartment buildings, and hotels can be donated as well. This option offers donors tax credits as well as the sense that they have done something for others. Ideally, donations like these will allow charitable organizations to continue operations for the long term.