Edith Lank: Taking a home off the market, temporarily

Dear Edith: We are trying to sell my deceased mother’s house in Greece. The listing contract expires on Jan. 18. At that time, we plan to de-list until late March. We are unhappy with the Realtor and will likely list with someone else. My sister-in-law thinks there is a period of time that must pass before the home appears as a new listing again. Is there? When we re-list, it will start at the same price it is at now.

— via askedith.com

Answer: You are free to put the house back on the market the day after your current listing expires. Perhaps what your sister-in-law has heard is that if you later sell to someone who saw the house while it was originally listed, the first agent might have a claim for commission. That provision would apply for a specific length of time, as set out in your first listing contract.

It is true that more houses are sold in the spring, but spring starts early in real estate. If that’s what you’re waiting for, you should put the place on the market by the end of February. And if the house is vacant, be sure it’s winterized so the pipes don’t freeze.

Dear Edith: I own the house my parents lived in. They are both deceased. My eldest son now lives in the house. My mother’s wish was for my two boys to share in the proceeds from the house. The son now living there wants to buy it. It is worth around $100,000. If the house sold to an outside party, each son would receive half of that, minus about $20,000 that I have put into the house.

But since my son wants to buy it, I’m not sure how to arrange it. Could I sell it to him for $50,000 and when I get the check just give that money to my younger son? I could take $10,000 from my younger son’s proceeds, but how do I get my other $10,000?

I have receipts for all the money I’ve spent on improvements. Also, my neighbor who is a Realtor said the bank would not loan my son just $50,000. She said something about him not having equity in the house. I am not grasping what she is talking about. My son has a good job and good credit, so a loan should not be a problem for him.

— J.D., Camillus

Answer: If the house were sold to a stranger for $100,000, you would receive $20,000 and each of your sons would end up with $40,000. So here’s what to do:

The son who wants to buy the house signs a purchase contract with you, offering $100,000. Then he goes to a bank and applies for a $60,000 mortgage. He shouldn’t have much trouble about that, because he’ll have $40,000 equity. He’s applying for only 60 percent of what — we assume — the bank’s appraiser will say the house is worth.

Out of the $60,000, he pays you the $20,000 you’ve spent. He gives his brother the remaining $40,000.

Eventually, he’ll repay $60,000. In return, he’ll own a $100,000 house. His brother will end up with $40,000 cash. It’s fair to both of them.

Dear Edith: I wanted to offer advice to the seller with a mobile home on a foundation whose buyers couldn’t obtain a mortgage. I had a similar situation two years ago.

I have what was a mobile home that is on a full basement foundation now, on property that I fully own. The utilities are in the basement. I simply needed the local town code enforcement officer to come and inspect the home. They reclassified the property as regular real estate (similar to a modular home) and provided me with an official letter regarding the new classification. This satisfied the mortgage lender (a major U.S. mortgage provider).

— via askedith.com

Answer: Thanks for the information. Hope it works for the reader who inquired.

Dear Edith: My ex-husband owes me $30,000 for my half of the house and 20 acres where he lives. He is also seven months in arrears at $552.50 a month. I have since remarried, so now it is my ex, myself and my husband on title of property. We will be in court soon. Can I and my husband force a sale so I can get paid?

— G., Canandaigua

Answer: Not sure how your present husband got on the title to the house, or what a court would say about who owes what to whom, but at any rate:

As a co-owner, and as you are no longer married to your ex, you have the right to a court-ordered sale of the property. You need a lawyer, either the one who handled your divorce or someone who specializes in real estate.

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

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