Real estate agent career may not be for everyone HOUSE CALLS

Q: In your opinion, about how many people who pass the license exam actually become successful real estate agents? — S.

A: Good question, and of course I don’t know.

My husband, who is a Realtor, has been known to say, “It’s a revolving door.”

I’m trying to think about my own students, in prelicensing courses over the years. Not all of them, even after passing the course, applied for licenses. And of those who did, many probably dropped out during their first year. It’s not so much a matter of failing, as of discovering they weren’t cut out to be self-starters; they wanted more routine in their days, needed regular paychecks and didn’t like working evenings and weekends.

In many other fields, people who don’t enjoy their work become clock-watchers, thank God for Friday and count the years till retirement. In real estate, people who don’t enjoy it leave and do something else.

Lender absorbs

short sale shortfall

Q: If you sell your home in a short sale, what happens to the remaining balance of the home? Is it still the homeowner’s responsibility? — W.S.

A: No, it isn’t. A short sale is one in which the lender agrees to take whatever the place brings on the open market and cancel the rest of the debt. The IRS is now willing to forget about the usual tax on “forgiven debt.”

So if you can talk your lender into the arrangement, it’s a much better solution to a mortgage problem than a foreclosure.

Normally, a lender will consider it only if you have no other assets you could tap to make up the shortfall. But these days, banks are more willing to negotiate than they were in the past.

Saving credit may involve

sale of investment property

Q: My husband and I have an investment property (condo) in Florida. Fifty other owners have walked out, due to high homeowner dues. So, now it’s very high for the rest of us owners paying. We can’t sell it, since nobody wants to buy. We haven’t finished paying off the mortgage, and we are losing so much money.

Should we walk out as well and risk destroying our credit? Should I divorce my husband to save my credit (since the loan is in his name)? Please help! We don’t know what to do about this bad decision. — R.J.

A: Divorce is a pretty drastic step. If your name isn’t on the mortgage, foreclosure may not affect your individual credit anyhow.

You don’t say who holds the mortgage, but these days lenders are more willing to work something out than they used to be, trying to cut down on the number of foreclosures. Talking with them should be your first step.

When you say you “can’t sell” — come on! If you offered the place for $2, someone would buy.

Edith Lank will respond personally to any questions sent to her at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester, NY 14620 (please include a stamped return envelope), or readers may e-mail her at

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