Home Quicken for Windows Product Ideas - Quicken for Windows Investments (Windows)

Home Purchase/Sale Wizard [edited]

K.O. (Win-Premier)K.O. (Win-Premier) SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
edited November 2019 in Investments (Windows)
The buying and selling of a home is a complex financial transaction.  Do a search on home purchase, home sale, etc here on Quicken's site and you'll see hundreds of pages (i.e. thousands of posts) of questions asking how to deal with home purchase and sale transactions in Quicken. And in almost all cases the recommendations provided are workarounds to what Quicken should natively handle from an accounting perspective.

The root of the problem in Quicken is its inability to track (and report on) cost basis and value.  Cost basis needs to include the purchase price plus other expenses at the time of purchase plus capital improvements (e.g. add a deck to the house).  Then as the value of the house rises or falls Quicken needs to track (and report on) this as unrealized gains/losses.  Then when a house is sold Quicken needs to track (and report on) the sales price and all related costs (which increase the cost basis) and then track the difference in sales price minus cost basis as a realized gain and report it accurately to tax programs.

That is the internal accounting but to facilitate this Quicken should provide a Home Purchase Wizard and a Home Sale Wizard (maybe modeled after the paycheck wizard) where line items commonly included in the purchase or sale can be identified and accounted for appropriately.  In the US these items are listed on a HUD-1 or Closing Disclosure or ALTA (same information - just different names).

For example, sales commission, property taxes, recordation fees, admin fees, insurance, property taxes, mortgage(s) amount (which should feed a new mortgage in the case of a purchase or pay off a mortgage in the event of a sale), escrow account (set up for new home purchase for those that escrow insurance/property taxes), PMI, income taxes withheld (for sales), points, cash back to buyer, prepaid items back to seller, etc. Some of these have tax impacts and some do not and currently none of this can be tied to tax line items for easy tax reporting (i.e. tax schedule or tax summary).

If Quicken could add this functionality there are tens or hundreds of thousands of users who would benefit.
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  • azalea4vaazalea4va Member
    edited July 2018
    Acounts for Houses should be able to efficiently track both cost basis and market value. But as best I can determine, currently they can only do one or the other.  As stated by q.lurker a number of years ago, "you either carry your home asset 'at cost' or you carry it 'at value'.  Doing both is too much work, IMO"  Quicken itself seems confused on this issue, offering conflicting advice.  In  article "How do I track the cost basis of my home" (HOW23798), Quicken describes a House Asset account in terms of maintaining the cost basis. But in "Tips for Homeowners", Quicken advices ("We recommend that you update the value of your home in Quicken at least yearly") using the account to track home value by adding "Update Balance" transactions.  But by doing so, one loses the cost basis tracking.

    It appears to me, Quicken is not using the model they already have.  I can create an investment account and within that account purchase a stock.  The account maintains my cost basis (amount paid for stock) and current value (number of shares times current share price).  Why not have the same principle with Houses (and other assets)?  Associate with the account what is essentially a house "stock" (or maybe allow for multiple such stocks). Each added transaction adds to the account balance (cost basis).  But like an investment account, also have a type of historical price mechanism with a "house stock" that acts as a multiplier to the cost basis to determine house value.  For example, a home purchased for $100,000 and then having a $50,000 improvements would have a cost basis of $150,000.  If the house value shows a worth $300,000, then Quicken would use a mulitplier of 2 to determine value at that time (this mechanism allows added cost basis items to autmopatically increase house value without requirung a matching chnage in the historical data).

    Too further illustrate, lets look at what is available now, but with all kinds of kludges and "mess".  I can create an investment account for my house.  I can create a "stock" that represents the house.  For each cost basis transaction, I can use it in that investment account to purchase additional share of the "house stock" at $1 per share.  The number of shares of the house stock is the cost basis. (Kind of kludgy, since it would be better for the cost basis to show up as a dollar figure instead of a share count).  Whenever I want, I can edit the "house stock" historical price so the acount value matches the house value.  This is a pain because I must computer the required value instead of just entering the actual house value (an ideal "house account would allow just the value to be entered).  And it is problematic because one forgets at the time some cost basis item (likely sooner or later) and adds that item in years later, one would have to go back through and change and values put it  for stock price as those multipliers would now be wrong with the increased cost basis.  In an ideal house acount, the historical data would have house value not multiplier and the multiplier at any time would be computed dynamically. Othe rproblems with using an investment account for a house include the register does not display payee, tag, & memo info fromt the transaction and one cannot link mortgage accounts to investment accounts.

    So the proposal is to add to house account some capabilities that operate very similarly to the capabilities for handling changing stock values in investment accounts.  intelligence already programmed into Quicken, just not applied to house accounts.  Given house values fluctuate as stock prices do but effect the account similarly, I wonder why Quicken for all its features does not include this basic concept which appears to me to be at the core of what a house account is all about (just as it is a core compinent of investment accounts).
  • Quicken DaveQuicken Dave Alumni ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2017
    Hi James,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your idea. It sounds like you may be using Quicken for Windows - Rental Property Manager, but just to confirm (and to make sure the right development team gets your idea), can you please let us know what Quicken product (QWin or QMac) and what version (2015, 2016, etc.). you are using.

    Thanks,
    Dave
  • azalea4vaazalea4va Member
    edited October 2017
    Sorry, I am using Quicken 2015 Deluxe for Windows.  I am NOT refering to a rental property, although I believe the concept would apply there as well.  In my case, I am just dealing with the homes I have owned and lived in over the years.  And that asset has always constituted a significant percentage of my net worth (as is probably the case for most people) so having Quicken handle it well is appropriate.
  • bmciancebmciance SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2017
    What I do is I have created a second "house" account (asset) called "House - unrealized gain/loss". Both accounts together add up to the current market value of my house. Periodically I put an entry in the other account to adjust the value. I agree it should work as you say but this accomplishes it for me
  • K.O. (Win-Premier)K.O. (Win-Premier) SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2017
    Totally agree that Quicken needs a solution to deal with cost basis (including capital improvements) and value (i.e. cost basis + unrealized gains) of a house.  Users should not have to create separate accounts to track each.  This is not complex accounting but Quicken has no easy way for users to deal with it.

    And the reason I found this post is I just sold a house and I'm realizing I'm in trouble when it comes to determining the cost basis and capital improvements.  Quicken desperately needs a home purchase and sale wizard (modeled after the paycheck wizard) where users can enter purchase or sale price and all the other credits/debits that occur when you buy or sell a house.  For example, lines for commissions, transfer taxes, recordation fees, cash back, loan established or paid off.  And these items need to tie into the cost basis and capital gains (for the sale).  To finalize this concept a home report needs to be created so a user can, at any time, see the cost basis and unrealized gains or after its sold the cost basis and realized gains.  I'll probably create another post with this idea just so people can find it and vote it up.
  • edited October 2016
    I certainly that this would be of value but question whether Quicken is robust enough to deal with a 5 - 20 year history; also, which of the many products will have it as a feature and what will happen if a user purchases various versions (e.g. Home and Business versus Deluxe) or only purchases the product occasionally rather than every update? In the past Quicken has created specialty products like medical tracking (I think). Would this be a better way to go?
  • K.O. (Win-Premier)K.O. (Win-Premier) SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2017
    Agree that if Quicken added this functionality that historical data (e.g. the home I purchased in 1993) would not necessarily have the information required to accurately report cost basis.  That happens all the time when improved functionality occurs.  A user could always go back and delete/re-enter transactions to bring all transactions inline with new functionality if it were important to them.

    As to which version (Deluxe vs. Premier vs. H&B) I guess that is Quickens call but home purchase/sale is pretty basic functionality so IMO it should not be pushed up into H&B but should be in Deluxe (or Premier at the highest).

    I don't see this as a specialty product because home purchase/sale is part of basic personal finance and the tracking/accounting/taxation really isn't special as it relates to your net worth and accounting.
  • smayer97smayer97 SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2018
    And I would ask that this not be limited to the Windows version but is also made available in the Mac version.
    Have Questions? Check out these FAQs:COMPLETE list of Product Ideas - Quicken for Mac to VOTE on

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    (
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  • NotACPANotACPA SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    Quicken is ENTIRELY able to track all of the items listed in Kevin's original post.  YOU, the user of Q, just needs to set up those categories and assign them to the appropriate transactions.

    You also need a HOUSE asset category to track the initial cost basis, and any changes in that asset over the years.

    Q can't possible know those amounts, those transactions, unless you input them.  There's no place that they can be downloaded from.

    I know this because I've done exactly that for over 30 years of using Q ... which is a PERSONAL finance manager that requires the PERSON to take responsibility for their own records.
    Q user since DOS version 5
    Now running Quicken Windows Subscription,  Home & Business
    Retired "Certified Information Systems Auditor" & Bank Audit VP
  • K.O. (Win-Premier)K.O. (Win-Premier) SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2016

    Quicken is ENTIRELY able to track all of the items listed in Kevin's original post.  YOU, the user of Q, just needs to set up those categories and assign them to the appropriate transactions.

    You also need a HOUSE asset category to track the initial cost basis, and any changes in that asset over the years.

    Q can't possible know those amounts, those transactions, unless you input them.  There's no place that they can be downloaded from.

    I know this because I've done exactly that for over 30 years of using Q ... which is a PERSONAL finance manager that requires the PERSON to take responsibility for their own records.

    Seriously.  Common man.  How do you think I know about all the transactions in my post.  I know about them because I have encountered them and have entered them (on the buy side and now on the sell side) into Quicken.  So please, if you're going to opine without knowing the knowledge of the original post author then please refrain and if you think I don't account for my own personal finances you are sadly mistaken.

    And yes, there are always ways to do pretty much anything but it's clear by all the posts that it's extremely complicated because so many intelligent people who take their personal finances seriously can't figure it out.  One post that I saw suggested the user create 2 accounts (1 for the cost and one for the gains) which is ridiculous. 

    Nowhere in my post did I claim quicken should download or know the amounts related to the items I listed.  The suggestion is for Quicken to provide a way to help facilitate the transaction(s) (e.g. buy and sell wizards) and to handle the accounting (and tax lines) related to it (e.g. capital improvements and sales expenses that reduce the cost basis) so that the information can be readily available to the user when they have to file their taxes.
  • thecreatorthecreator SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016

    Quicken is ENTIRELY able to track all of the items listed in Kevin's original post.  YOU, the user of Q, just needs to set up those categories and assign them to the appropriate transactions.

    You also need a HOUSE asset category to track the initial cost basis, and any changes in that asset over the years.

    Q can't possible know those amounts, those transactions, unless you input them.  There's no place that they can be downloaded from.

    I know this because I've done exactly that for over 30 years of using Q ... which is a PERSONAL finance manager that requires the PERSON to take responsibility for their own records.

    Hi @ Kevin Osborn ,

    Sort of like a template for Splits for a given use, where it would be up to the Users to fill it the exact details.
  • K.O. (Win-Premier)K.O. (Win-Premier) SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2016

    Quicken is ENTIRELY able to track all of the items listed in Kevin's original post.  YOU, the user of Q, just needs to set up those categories and assign them to the appropriate transactions.

    You also need a HOUSE asset category to track the initial cost basis, and any changes in that asset over the years.

    Q can't possible know those amounts, those transactions, unless you input them.  There's no place that they can be downloaded from.

    I know this because I've done exactly that for over 30 years of using Q ... which is a PERSONAL finance manager that requires the PERSON to take responsibility for their own records.

    Exactly.  Many people would seriously struggle to enter a paycheck correctly with all the related deductions and additions if it wasn't for the paycheck wizard and its helpful entries.  Buying/selling homes have complexities of their own.
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