weather icon Clear

Old lead paint not as scary as it sounds

Q: We have an older house with lead paint on most of the interior wood (door casings, stair treads). Are we required to eliminate all that before putting the house up for sale, or just disclose it to potential buyers? — B. D.

A: You will present buyers with a signed statement about the presence of lead paint, and that’s sufficient. Much old paint has been covered by now. If it’s not flaking off, buyers aren’t usually concerned.

Neighbor’s Junk

Q: Our neighbor may be a hoarder. His yard is full of all kinds of junk and lately, it’s moving into his driveway, which is on our side. We may want to sell in a year or two and that’s not going to help our sale. I don’t want to complain to the government because he is a nice guy. Do you have any suggestions? — askedith.com

A: You’re right in thinking that the neighboring junk will affect the sale price of your property. Appraisers call it external obsolescence, loss of value from a condition beyond the property.

Over the years, I’ve heard from a couple of readers who offered to help with cleanup. Not “You’re a slob” but “We’re doing all sorts of things to spiff up our house for sale.” Maybe that would work for you.

Senior Wants Mortgage

Q: I am recently retired, single. I wish to sell my home and relocate to Florida. Does it make sense for a 72-year-old woman to apply for a 20-year mortgage? I could pay cash but want to conserve it. I would use much of the profit from my home as a down payment and finance about $90,000. — J. S., www.askedith.com

A: There’s no reason why an older person can’t carry a mortgage. Lenders aren’t even allowed to ask your age.

As you are older than 62 and not concerned about bequests to children, you may be interested to hear that reverse mortgages can be used for buying a home. You need to prove only that you can pay the property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums.

The program requires a substantial down payment (often with proceeds from the sale of a current larger home). After that, you make no further monthly payments. They just pile up, including interest and mortgage insurance premiums, until you die or move out. At that point, the sale of the house covers the debt, even if it’s become higher than the value of the property. Or if there’s money left over, it goes to you or your estate.

Losing on Sale

Q: Our son moved to an island and in 2008, we purchased a townhome there to rent out and use to visit his family. We paid $177,500. It is on the golf course and an end unit. First question: Will it bring more because it is an end unit? $5,000 more?

We are paying $20,000 a year between mortgage and association fees. We never earned more than $6,000 a year in rental income. We owe around $121,000 on the place now.

The economy there tanked in 2012 when the major employer went out of business. A couple of years ago, someone dumped their property for $68,500. Prices are slowly coming back up. Two units are on the market for $28,000 and $35,000, but they are in a poorer location.

Our rental agent isn’t doing much and our contract is up Feb. 5. We need a selling agent. Can we go with someone different in the same company? We will have one shot to sell this because the season is now through May.

We will have to come up with money for closing. Will we have tax write-offs because of selling so low? Should we list more than $135,000 since we are an end unit and top category, or list lower to sell it fast? Finally, we have marginal furniture. Is it worth buying more so it shows better? It is well-maintained and recently painted. — L. K., www.askedith.com

Q: Don’t put any more money into the place. Don’t try to get a higher price — take your agent’s recommendation, and offer it at a bargain.

If you’ve been reporting the property as a rental on your income tax returns, you should be able to declare a capital loss. Your accountant will know how to account for depreciation.

You can certainly ask that company for a different agent. Depending on what documents you have signed, you may be free to interview agents from other companies as well. Pay attention to their price suggestions. If you don’t set yours low enough to attract buyers, you’ll just be stuck with expenses for another year.

Edith Lank will respond personally to any question sent to www.askedith.com, to 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620, or to edithlank@aol.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
New state laws that will affect HOAs

There were not too many laws passed in this last legislative session that affected our local homeowners associations. Here are some that did.

BHHS partners with Adwerx to offer Realtors new program

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties, in partnership with Adwerx Enterprises, has launched a new platform, called Brilliantly Simple to immediately advertise its real estate listings online. The platform automatically creates digital advertising programs for each home, including custom ads that are optimized for social media, apps and websites.

Homeowners have right to see HOA financial records

Per Nevada Revised Statute 116.31175 (1a), upon written request, you are entitled to receive financial statements from your association. Please send a formal specific request of what financial statements that you would like to receive.

High land costs affect developments

For all the job growth and expansion in the Las Vegas economy, a lack of land and its high cost is restricting growth in the valley, experts told the Southern Nevada real estate and development community.

Local home prices stuck at $300,000

For the third straight month, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, GLVAR, reported that local home prices are hovering at $300,000, while the number of homes on the market continues to increase.

Fair Housing Law requires accommodations for disabled

The Fair Housing Law requires accommodations for the disabled. Based upon your email, the homeowner would have a strong claim against the association if the homeowner was forced to remove the motor home, or if the association were to fine the homeowner because of the therapy equipment. Take the time to meet with this homeowner and see if there are any other viable alternatives.

HOA must deal with bully board member

The only way to keep bully board members in check is for the entire board to deal with the issue in executive session. Depending upon the gravity of the situation, legal counsel should be informed and invited to attend the executive session.

Federal law allows for service animals in HOA

The Fair Housing Act amendments of 1988 extended the protections of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Associations must allow service dogs and emotional support animals, if necessary for a person with a disability.

Condo owner complains of being harassed by renter

You have to contact the police department at the time of the incidents. When meeting with the police officer let the officer know that you want to file a formal complaint and that you would like some report from him or her. Filing a complaint will most likely require you to go to one of the police stations. Find out which one from the police officer.