Q. We're sure our problem is shared by many of your readers. We are in our late 40s and have approximately $35,000 equity in our 16-year-old home. We are 16 years away from retirement, and have one child to put through college. Our problem is how to best utilize our present resources to cut our present taxes; increase income of our rate of appreciation, and make use of our present advise you on a continuing basis. Plan to maintain and manage the property yourselves insofar as you can.

Q: I've sold some real estate I owned and now I have to figure my gain. To do this I need to know what "adjusted cost basis" means.

A. "Adjusted cost basis" is primarily an accounting and tax term that almost always differs from sales price or fair market value. Specifically, it's original cost plus (1) capital improvements, (2) capitalized carrying charges, interest and taxes, if any, (3) current and other real estate taxes owed by seller but paid by buyer (4) purchase commission, if any, paid by buyer, (5) legal fees for prefecting and defending title to the property, if any, and (6) cost of title insurance minus (1) depreciation allowed or allowable, (2) value of a partial sale, if any, (3) casualty loss, if any, and (4) value of any easement granted.