DEAR BENNY: My aunt is 76 years old and lives in her home. She also owns a detached rental property nearby. Her primary residence has been the same property for more than 10 years. She would like to move into a retirement community this year, but to afford this new lifestyle she would have to sell one of her properties soon. Would it be more cost-effective from a tax perspective to sell her primary residence or her rental property? Are there any tax benefits to selling rental property vs. one’s primary residence?
I have heard about a one-time tax exemption on the proceeds of selling one’s primary residence, but I do not understand the rules of this exemption. I was thinking it would be better to sell the rental property first to avoid inconveniencing my aunt’s daily routines, and later convert the primary residence into rental property after she moves.