As the Baby Boomers of the 1950s send their children off to college, they join the part of the market called "empty nesters". At this point they no longer need six bedrooms and three baths, a family room and a gigantic yard. Many "empty nesters" are trading in the family home for something that is smaller, easier to maintain and has the amenities that are important to their more carefree lifestyle.
If you are considering such a move, start out by consulting a good Realtor whom you like and trust. The good news is--- when you sell your primary residence, you are not taxed on your profit if (1) you have lived in the home for two out of the last five years and (2) your gain does not exceed $250,000 as a single taxpayer or $500,000 as a married couple filing jointly. These capital gain exclusions apply whether you "buy up" to a more expensive home or "buy down" to a less expensive one. If you are moving downtown from the suburbs in order to be close to cultural centers, theaters and restaurants, there may be "quality of life" issues, such as noise or parking. Your Realtor can help you find a home that has all the conveniences and amenities you desire.