Property Q&A: More Capital Gains dilemmas

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Q: We bought my mother a flat (in our names, as a second home) and sold it five years later, making about £40,000. I didn't think we needed to pay Capital Gains Tax because the "gain" went to another home (we moved to a bigger house so my mother could live with us). A colleague tells me I should declare it as I may be liable. Please advise! J Cowans, by e-mail

A: If you sell any property that has not been designated as your main home, you are liable for CGT on the profit made from its sale. Each of you has an annual CGT allowance of £7,500, however, so you can claim £15,400 against the gain as you owned the house jointly. There may also be other expenses that could be offset against the tax. The rate payable depends on the level of your income tax. Ask your tax office or tax adviser for more information, or read "Capital Gains Tax – An introduction" online on

Q: My wife and I would like to buy a property on a golfing complex somewhere in the sun, but not in Spain. Can you suggest any other country in the Mediterranean? Paul Craven, by e-mail

A:You could take a look at Cyprus, where a number of golf resorts are being built to rival the Costa del Sol and the Algarve. A championship links has recently opened at Aphrodite Hills, around 10 miles from Pafos to the west of the island. Around the course, Lanitis Group is building apartments (from £160,000), townhouses (£250,000) and villas (£300,000). The course includes a golf academy and is designed across two plateaux separated by a ravine. Membership is restricted to property owners at Aphrodite Hills. Flights to Pafos or Larnaca take four hours from the UK. For more details contact Premier Resorts, 020-8940 9406.

Q: We have just bought our first house and it needs totally redecorating. Friends say we should keep things neutral to make it easier to sell, but we want to put our individual stamp on it. Who is right? S Kemsie, by e-mail

A: If you intend to move on fairly quickly, a newly redecorated house is going to appeal to buyers, and estate agents would probably agree with your friends on colour scheme. Most buyers, however, are prepared to make some changes when they move in, so introducing colour should not be a problem if it can be painted over.

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