DEAR BOB: Many years ago, my mother and her sister bought a rural property together as an investment. It turned out to be a very profitable farm property, which was rented to an adjoining farmer for a share of his annual crop profits. As a result, my mother and her sister received superb annual payments. However, my mother died in July 2003. Since then, her sister claims all the crop profits received from the tenant-farmer go to her. My mother left no will. As the only surviving child of my mother, shouldn’t I be entitled to half of the tenant rent? – Daniel D.

DEAR DANIEL: The answer depends on how your late mother and her sister held title to the property. If it was held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship, then your mother’s sister is the surviving joint tenant who is entitled to full ownership without probate. You then receive nothing.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

However, if they held title as tenants in common, then your mother’s title passes according to her will. Since she left no will, the state law of intestate succession determines who inherits her share of the property.

If you are her closest surviving relative, you probably inherit her share, including entitlement to the tenant farmer’s annual rent payments. For full details, please consult a local real estate or probate attorney.


DEAR BOB: For about 18 years, I have owned a rental four-plex. But I recently received an excellent unsolicited purchase offer from an adjoining owner, which I accepted. Having read your articles for many years about tax-deferred exchanges, I want to use my sales proceeds to acquire a rental house, which my sister wants to sell to me. However, my problem is the rental house is worth less than the sales price of my four-plex. I will use the extra cash proceeds to pay off credit card debt and reduce my home mortgage balance. Will this be a tax-deferred exchange for me? – Grace A.

DEAR GRACE: No. Internal Revenue Code 1031 requires tax-deferred exchanges of “like kind” rental or investment property be (1) an up-trade to a qualifying property of greater market value and (2) the up-trader receive no taxable cash or “boot,” such as net mortgage relief. Your situation clearly does not qualify for tax deferral. For full details, please consult your tax adviser.


DEAR BOB: Congratulations to you for exposing the corruption of some real estate brokerages for charging so-called administration fees, typically $200 to $500, to our home sellers and buyers. Fortunately, I work at an independent firm where our broker doesn’t try to extract such junk or garbage fees from our sellers and buyers. But real estate agents in my area hate their brokers who charge these unnecessary fees. However, many of these agents receive such high percentages of the commissions they bring into the office, typically 75 percent to even 90 percent, they hate to leave those firms. I just thought you should know we agents agree with you that brokerage administrative junk fees are a very bad idea – Jerome B.?

DEAR JEROME: We agree. The best recourse is for home sellers and buyers to strongly protest and refuse to pay those unnecessary 100 percent pure-profit junk fees. But many real estate agents will quickly agree to pay these fees for their clients rather than lose a listing or a prospective home buyer.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “Ten Easy Profit Methods for Your Home and Investment Property,” is now available for $4 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet download at (643 WORDS).

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center


What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription