DEAR BOB: I am in the process of cleaning up my credit. But I want to buy a condo in a specific complex, preferably with seller mortgage financing. I plan to send condo owners at the complex solicitation letters in the hopes they will sell to me directly, thus saving the realty agent’s sales commission. I have a 3 percent to 6 percent down payment. Do you think a seller will finance my condo purchase at 3 percent interest? That’s about what they can earn at a bank. Will this work? – Judith N.

DEAR JUDITH: Get realistic. You are totally out of touch by offering a condo seller only a 3 percent interest rate in a 6 percent mortgage market, especially considering your extremely low cash down payment.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

Unless a condo owner in your “target complex” is highly motivated to sell when your letter arrives, you will probably get little or no response. However, if you offer a seller a 6 percent mortgage interest rate, that might get the attention of a condo owner who has been thinking about selling.

Out-of-town condo owners who are having trouble with their renters are usually responsive to unsolicited purchase offers like yours. Be sure to include your photo and qualifications. You might have to send several repeat letters to each condo owner, plus follow-up phone calls to get any response. But it’s worth a try.


DEAR BOB: I just finished reading your report about senior citizen reverse mortgages. Can we get a reverse mortgage on our free-and-clear home for approximately 60 percent of its value and put that money in our credit union, which is paying 5 percent interest on 60-month certificates? Then we would draw out $1,000 per month. Yes or no? – Mason C.

DEAR MASON: Presuming both spouses are 62 or older, and your home’s market value is sufficient, you can take your reverse mortgage entire lump sum entirely at one time. But your idea sounds rather foolish.

It doesn’t sound very smart to obtain a reverse mortgage, costing you at least 5 percent interest or more, and then put that money into an account earning 5 percent taxable income.

If you want monthly income, why not select the reverse mortgage lifetime income alternative? Or use the credit line choice. I see no advantage to your idea.


DEAR BOB: There is an unused alley adjoining my home and those of my neighbors. It used to be a service road. But it hasn’t been used for many years. One owner has fenced part of the alley as his back yard. Another of my neighbors told me I can have the alley appended to my lot. Do I have any legal rights to claim this section of the unused alley? – Sean D.

DEAR SEAN: You and your neighbors cannot claim title to the unused alley by adverse possession or prescriptive easement. The reason is government agencies and public utilities are immune to these legal methods of “stealing” property.

It would be best to have all the affected neighbors petition the city or county to abandon its alley and transfer title to the adjoining homeowners. The government agency will probably be glad to get rid of the potential liability for any accident on its alley.

Contact the appropriate local official to get the procedure started. A friend of mine did that a few years ago because his was the only house at the end of a city street. The city was very glad to abandon the street, which led only to his house. Now he owns the entire street, which is only one block long. He even installed a fancy gate to keep out trespassers.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “Pros and Cons of Earning Big Profits from Foreclosures and Bargain Distress Properties,” 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 Questions for this column are welcome at either address.

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


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