Buying A House With Bitcoin: A Beginner’s Guide
Andrew Dehan4-Minute Read
May 18, 2021
Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are hard for many people to understand. The truth is, they’re not that different in concept than current currencies. Just as the U.S. dollar has no tie to a physical medium, like gold, Bitcoin operates similarly.
A major difference is that Bitcoin is decentralized, meaning it is not controlled by a central bank or government. While people have different reasons for owning Bitcoin, there’s no arguing its value has been volatile. As it becomes more widely used and accepted, people are interested in using it in a bigger range of transactions.
While some may liken buying a house with Bitcoins to buying a house with cash, Bitcoin can be much trickier. Not every seller will accept Bitcoin as payment.
Read on to learn about Bitcoin, how to use it and the hurdles you’ll have to clear to buy a house with it.
Understand How Bitcoin Works
Chances are, if you’re interested in buying a house with Bitcoin, you already understand how it works. But if you’re getting started, or need a refresher, here’s a short review.
Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency. Other cryptocurrencies you may hear about are Dogecoin, Eretheum and Litecoin. Bitcoin is built on an encrypted ledger of transactions called a blockchain. This ledger is anonymous, but it cannot be manipulated and is protected from fraud.
Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are bought and sold through exchanges or peer-to-peer transactions. The technologies these cryptocurrencies are built upon has enormous potential, but the actual currencies themselves fluctuate in value greatly. If you want to get involved with Bitcoin, this fluctuation is something you need to be prepared for.
Find A Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent
Some houses are listed as welcoming or desiring Bitcoin. For this type of specialized purchase, you need to work with someone who understands the details of the transaction. An expert real estate agent is great to have on your side. A knowledgeable real estate agent will help you guide you through the process and know where to find listings that accept Bitcoin.
Consider Using Bitpay If The Seller Wants Cash
The good news is that if the seller wants dollars, your Bitcoin can be converted. A service like Bitpay can help you exchange your cryptocurrency – or “crypto” – as well as exchange it for cash.
For those looking to buy a house with Bitcoin, this could be less desirable. First of all, it defeats the purpose of having a decentralized currency. Second, if you made money with Bitcoin, your cash may be subject to a capital gains tax.
Bitcoin And The Capital Gains Tax
One of the main deterrents for people interested in investing in and spending Bitcoin is the capital gains tax. Bitcoin, and other cryptos, are considered property for tax purposes.
When you have gains on Bitcoin and decide to withdraw your money, you are subject to capital gains tax. Be prepared for this tax when you exchange your Bitcoins for dollars.
Pros Of Buying A House With Bitcoin
There are many pros of buying a home with Bitcoin if you have the ability. Here are a few:
- The speed of the purchase: Like buying a home with cash, buying a house with Bitcoin circumvents a lot of the hurdles that can slow down the home buying process.
- Exchanging a more volatile asset for a less volatile one: Bitcoin’s value changes regularly, whereas home values are steadier and more dependable.
- You may receive a discount: Sellers interested in Bitcoin expect the value to rise. This means you may be more competitive against a non-Bitcoin buyer. Sellers may be willing to sell you the home at a lower price.
Cons Of Buying A House With Bitcoin
Because the home buying process is still centered around the dollar, buying a house with Bitcoin has its cons:
- It can be difficult to find a title insurance or escrow company.
- Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be highly volatile. The amount one has to spend might be different at the start and end of the search.
- Legal protections are lacking in the transaction.
Can I Use Bitcoin For A Mortgage?
You cannot currently use Bitcoin for a mortgage, but Rocket Mortgage® does accept liquidated Bitcoin as assets. These assets can be used in funds to close and reserves. You’ll need proof that the Bitcoin has been liquidated and exists in the form of U.S. dollars in an asset account.
What About Buying A House With Another Cryptocurrency?
Take the difficulty of finding a seller who will take Bitcoin and make it more difficult. Right now, the amount of people accepting Bitcoin alone is still small, and it’s the most well-known cryptocurrency. It’s not impossible, but your options will be limited until more cryptos gain traction.
The Bottom Line: Buy, But Beware Bitcoin Bubbles
To buy a home using Bitcoin, all it takes is finding someone who will accept it as payment. A lot of people have made money off of the rising price of Bitcoin, and they don’t want to pay the capital gains tax associated with it, so it makes sense why they would want to take advantage of trading a volatile asset for a home.
After all, Bitcoin’s a currency and currencies are used to buy things. Whether you want the legal security of a more conventional transaction or you’re excited to strike a deal using Bitcoin, talking to a Rocket Homes® Verified Partner Agent is a great first step.
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