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VIEWPOINT: Donating real estate can be simple, joyful and powerful

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Your home is more than just four walls. It’s where your family gathers, where memories are made – and, perhaps, the way you make a great philanthropic impact.

While we put a lot of thought into our homes and property, too often we don’t think of real estate as a potential charitable tool. But remember: If you own a home, that’s most likely your biggest financial asset.

There are numerous benefits to making a gift of real estate, and the Delaware Community Foundation can be a savvy partner in the process. The first step is for a potential donor to begin a conversation with their trusted financial advisor.

Albeit a more complex asset than cash or stock, real estate is also a tax-wise and financially beneficial way to make a difference. Additionally, when a person decides to give — not sell — a property, the tax benefit may be better than if they had sold the property outright and then donated the proceeds.

With most donations of real estate, the DCF will liquidate the property and use the proceeds to create or add to a charitable fund. In order to make a gift of real estate, which must be approved prior to acceptance, the only two items on the donor’s to-do list are 1) arranging for an initial environmental study and an appraisal, and 2) reflecting on their charitable goals.

A gift of property could be rooted in a family home or something else entirely. Perhaps at one point you purchased land intending to build a dream retreat, and continue to pay property taxes even though your focus has shifted. Or, maybe that rental property is no longer such a breeze to manage. Instead of sitting on your books, such properties could be turned into philanthropic tools.

Choosing to give real estate and support a philanthropic goal can also be a meaningful, simple choice for individuals with specific concerns around their properties and financial assets.

For example, someone without an heir or who does not want to burden their executor with such decisions could leave property to the DCF in their estate plans. Gifts of real estate can also include levels of environmental protection if, for example, a donor wants to see their property continue to be natural, open space.

With such options, it is especially important to begin conversations around real estate gifts now. A gift of real estate can take a few months to process, and donors should ensure they have enough time to consider and navigate the process before the end of the year.

Talk with your financial advisor to begin the conversation about how you can make a gift of real estate in partnership with the DCF. You could soon be setting up a meaningful charitable fund with the potential to make a great impact on an area close to your heart.

Mike DiPaolo is the vice president for Southern Delaware at the Delaware Community Foundation. Contact Mike at 302.335.6933 or mdipaolo@delcf.org.

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