DEAR BOB: Suppose several people own and occupy a property as their primary residences. Is there a limit to the number of people who can claim that $250,000 tax exemption on a home sale? –Bob A.

DEAR BOB: There is no limit to the number of individual $250,000 principal residence sale tax exemptions if all the titleholders meet the 24 out of last 60-month ownership and occupancy tests of Internal Revenue Code 121.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

For example, suppose four people hold title and occupy a house as their principal residence for the required 24 of the last 60 months before its sale. They each then qualify for up to $250,000 tax-free capital gains on their personal tax returns (a total of $1 million tax-free capital gains in this example) when the home is sold. For more details, please consult your personal tax advisers.


DEAR BOB: My husband owns a piece of property in New York. It is hard to rent and the property taxes are very high. We plan to sell this property and do an Internal Revenue Code 1031 tax-deferred exchange. As we own a home in Florida, which equals the market value of the New York property, can we pay off the mortgage with the proceeds from the New York sale and then rent out the Florida property? –Barbara O.

DEAR BARBARA: No. Internal Revenue Code 1031 tax-deferred exchanges require selling a property held for investment or business use, such as that New York property, and acquiring another “like-kind” property of equal or greater cost and equity with the sales proceeds.

Because you and your husband already own the Florida property, it can’t qualify. For more details, please consult your tax adviser.


DEAR BOB: Some time ago, you recommended the best book explaining reverse mortgages for senior citizens. What is the name of that book? –Laura M.

DEAR LAURA: The best book about reverse mortgages is “Reverse Mortgages for Dummies” by Sarah Lyons and John E. Lucas. It is available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries, and

The new Robert Bruss special report, “How to Earn Your First Profit When Buying Your Home or Investment Property Right,” is now available for $5 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet PDF delivery at Questions for this column are welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center


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