- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 15, 2005

Q: I have been living in my childhood home off and on since the ‘70s. Now, my husband and I are ready to get a little land and build a small prefab cabin. My daughter is grown and still living at home with all her college junk. My three dogs and two cats have their own doggie doors, and they come and go all during the day while we’re gone. Chinese Pugs are very sensitive to heat and cold and can’t stay out all the time. My question is, when I put the house on the market, how in the world can an agent ever show it? I can’t put the dogs in the yard the entire time, and I can’t come home from work to keep the dogs outside every time the house is shown. One is a large rescue dog and very aggressive. Also, the house is more than 30 years old, and the master bath needs new tile because it’s very mildewed. The kitchen has a new tile floor, but the countertops, cabinets and stove are ancient. I don’t even want to talk with an agent because I know the dogs will be a huge issue and I want to sell “as-is.” Could you please help me with some suggestions, if you can think of any in this hopeless situation? A: It is perfectly possible to restrict showings of the property to the hours when you are home and able to deal with the dogs. Your best bet is to call two or three brokerages that are active in your area (look at nearby “for sale” signs), and ask each one to send an agent to talk with you. They can give you advice about getting your home ready for the market and should have ideas about how to show it. You won’t have any cost or obligation until you pick the agent with whom you want to work. Q: My wife and I bought and closed on my dad’s house in late December 2004. Although we were fortunate to pay most of the sale price in cash from the sale of our previous home, my dad proposed holding the remaining mortgage privately to help us. What a guy. The real estate attorney had his office generate a biweekly amortization schedule for an eight-year payoff. Then, recently, we both decided it would be too much of a pain to write checks and cash them twice a month. I started sending one payment a month. My tax preparer cautioned that it might be best to have new amortization schedules generated for this year, one bimonthly and one monthly because the interest amounts are slightly different. Our bank agreed to run the schedules a month ago, but nothing has been done yet. The schedules we need are more sophisticated than what I can find on free Internet amortization calculators, and I’m too thrifty (my children call it “cheap”) to have our attorney’s office run them again. Will the Internal Revenue Service nail us if we just use the original amortization schedule? How carefully does it scrutinize payment schedules of private mortgages? A: I’m not an accountant or a lawyer, so I’m going to feel free to go out on a limb and guess that as the differences in total interest would be slight, the IRS probably will be content if you deduct as interest payments on this year’s tax return the same amount your dad declares as income on his return. You can easily use an Internet site, though, to generate a simple monthly schedule to keep accurate track of interest from here on out. Q: My husband and I are 67. We have a modest income from Social Security and pension and have a mortgage. The mortgage payment takes a large chunk out of our income. Would we be able to change a conventional bank mortgage to a reverse mortgage, and would this be a good move for us? As I understand it, we do not have to pay back reverse mortgages until the house is sold in our estate, and we also both may live in the house until both of us are deceased. Is there some Web site where I can learn about reverse mortgages? A: A reverse mortgage must be a first mortgage, so it would involve paying off your present loan. Great information is available at www.aarp.org/revmort and at www.hud.gov/buying/rvrsmort.cfm. You can calculate how much you could borrow, based on your ages and the value of your property. And, yes, the house remains your own. Nothing needs to be repaid until you die or move out. Edith Lank will personally respond to any questions accompanied by a stamped return envelope at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester, NY 14620. Readers may also contact her by e-mail ([email protected]). CREATORS SYNDICATE

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