Research tools to consider when selling your home

Q: Please give us the names of books that neophyte home sellers should read before selling. — D. N. I.

A: The first book that comes to mind is one I wrote myself years ago: “The Homeseller’s Kit.” It’s out of print and so old the earlier editions don’t even mention the internet, but it still contains plenty of good old-fashioned advice, and you should find it helpful. Used and remaindered copies are still being offered on eBay and Amazon.

Beyond that, take the question to the folks at your local library, who will have some more up-to-date suggestions.

If you intend to sell without using an agent, remember that you can eliminate the broker but can’t eliminate the expenses incurred and the work done by the broker. There’s a lot more to it than just finding someone who wants your house. That, in fact, is just the tip of the iceberg. You must still investigate whether the buyers are financially qualified, negotiate a written contract and clear problems that may arise on the way to a successful closing.

At any rate, whether you use professional help or not, you’re starting out the right way, researching the project and studying. Good luck to you.

Timeshare troubles

Q: Could you please give me some advice on how to get rid of my timeshare? My son-in-law owns half, and we have tried to get information on selling it or even giving it away, but no one wants it.

We are paying the annual fee right now, but I am on a very tight budget, and it is a hardship for me to give my half. Because of illness, I can no longer use the timeshare and feel like I am just throwing my money away. I worry that if I don’t pay, they can put a lien on my paid home here.

I have contacted the organization from which we bought the timeshare to ask how I can do it, but their answer was unsatisfactory to my son-in-law. They said we could give it to them (free) and when they have a buyer, we will have to hire the lawyer and pay all the costs associated with selling it. Is there any other way that you could suggest? — J. P.

A: You might put an ad in the newspaper there, offering to give the timeshare away for free and seeing whether anyone responds.

You and your son-in-law could ask your lawyer(s) what is likely to happen if you were to simply stop paying those fees. There are usually no consequences. If the place is in another state, a lien couldn’t be put on your other property.

Beyond that, I just warn you against paying anyone in advance to market the place.

A timeshare can work out well for years of relatively inexpensive vacations, and your family probably enjoyed them. As you are finding out now, though, it shouldn’t be considered an investment.

Worthwhile waiting

Q: We live in an affluent neighborhood and wish to sell our home. The house next door was purchased and demolished, and the new owners are building a very large home on the lot.

This new home will no doubt increase property values in our neighborhood, so my question is, would it behoove us to wait until the house is built to put our home on the market, or go ahead this spring while all the construction is going on? — J. Y. M.

A: I took your question to my favorite appraiser, and he wrote:

“I am going to make several assumptions.

“1. The writer’s home is in an area where the ‘McMansion’ next door is not out of place for the neighborhood, nor is the writer’s home out of place.

“2. The ‘McMansion’ will not be completed for several more months.

“3. The writer is not compelled to sell the house in the immediate future.

“Starting with those assumptions, I recommend that the writer wait until the house next door is complete.

“The problems of dust, dirt and mud will detract from the neighborhood appeal, as will the noise and construction vehicle traffic. The lack of landscaping, the presence of half-completed construction and on-site construction materials and debris are negative issues. The fact that the new neighbors are an unknown factor may also cause some buyer concern — (What if they are wild partiers, motorcycle enthusiasts, etc.)

“Finally, if the house construction bothers the writer, it will in all likelihood be a concern for potential purchasers also.”

So, there you have an opinion from a qualified, experienced, licensed professional. He says to just have patience and hold off.

Contact Edith Lank at, at or at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620.

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