What is the definition of “Primary Residence”?

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What is the definition of “Primary Residence”?

I got married 9 months ago…and I own a condo (which I am renting out). I’ve had this condo for 4 years. I would love to get rid of it…but I understand if it’s not my “primary residence” – it will be a lot more difficult going into a short sale. Even though I’ve only been married nine months – and I live in a house my husband owns – could the condo still be considered my “primary” residence? What are the laws in California? Thank you.

Asked on May 21, 2009 under Real Estate Law, California


E.H., Member, Calfiornia Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 14 years ago | Contributor

According to the IRS website, your "principal residence" is the home where you ordinarily live most of the time. You can have only one principal residence at any one time. It is also known as "Main Home".

The examples of what qualifies as a "main home" are listed on the IRS website below:


The laws in California can be found in the Revenue and Taxation Code.

I suggest that you contact a real estate attorney who can help you with real estate transactions, including purchase and sale, leasing, mortgages, and foreclosures.




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