How to Change an Investment Home to Your Primary Residence

Some mortgage agreements require owners to occupy homes as a condition of approval on a principal dwelling. You can convert an investment property into your primary home whenever you want, though. If you decide to sell a rental or vacation home for more than you paid, the Internal Revenue Service will charge you a capital gains tax on the profit. A gain of up to $500,000 is exempt from taxes if the home is a primary residence. You must live in the home for at least two out of five years before selling to qualify.

Step 1

Move into the home. Have the utilities turned on in your name. Contact your insurance company to change your policy. If you carried landlord insurance, you will need to change it to a homeowner's policy that covers your personal property. For landlords, liability coverage is generally higher due to the increased risk of exposure. The policy protects landlords in case of injury to the tenant or visitors at the property.

Step 2

Notify your employer, banks, creditors and service providers of the address change. Complete a change of address form at the local post office.

Step 3

Update your voter registration address online or by visiting the county's election office.

Step 4

Visit your county property appraiser's office to file for homestead. Depending on your state, you might need to file a homestead declaration and property tax exclusion. Apply as soon as you begin occupying the home to avoid missing out on a tax break. In the majority of counties, the filing deadline is March 1 to receive the exclusion for the upcoming year.

Step 5

List the address on your state and federal tax return. Even if you are declaring rental income from the home during the year, indicate the property as your primary residence when completing your personal information for the refund.

Tip

  • Under the Section 121 of the Internal Revenue Code, single taxpayers can exclude gains of up to $250,000 and couples who file joint returns can exclude $500,000. You are only eligible for the primary home exclusion once every two years.

About the Author

Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.

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