DEAR BOB: Although I contacted a real estate agent about listing my condo, I found a buyer on my own prior to signing the listing contract. But I still want the agent to handle all the paperwork to complete the sale. What is the customary compensation for the agent in this situation? She is employed by a real estate agency – Sharon D.

DEAR SHARON: There is no customary fee for the situation you describe. But you should be aware most real estate agents working for a brokerage will be discouraged or prohibited by their broker from assisting you with the paperwork on your sale.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

The very good reason is the realty agent might incur liability if something goes wrong with the transaction, such as the buyer suing the seller for undisclosed defects.

Smart realty agents stay out of risky situations like that where they are paid very little but their potential risk is very high. Instead, I suggest you hire a local real estate attorney to successfully complete your condo sale.


DEAR BOB: I am selling my condo. But I have not lived in it for two years. I am 73. I want to know if I have to pay a penalty because I have not lived in it for the last two years? – Joe S.

DEAR JOE: Your young age is irrelevant. But you don’t have to pay a penalty for selling your condo after less than two years of ownership and occupancy. However, your capital gain will be fully taxable.

If the reason for your condo sale is due to change of employment location, health reasons or qualifying unforeseen reasons, such as divorce, family changes, etc., you might be eligible for a partial Internal Revenue Code 121 exemption.

However, if you can wait to sell your condo principal residence until you have owned and lived in it at least an “aggregate” 24 months before its sale, then you can qualify for up to $250,000 tax-free sales profits. For full details, please consult your tax adviser.


DEAR BOB: I am a senior citizen homeowner who received a mailer from a company offering reverse mortgage income. As I can use more monthly income, I contacted this firm. They sent a representative to tell me about their FHA reverse mortgage program. However, this company only offers the FHA plan. As my home is worth around $700,000, I felt their monthly payments to me would be too small. The sales representative said he doesn’t represent the Fannie Mae and Financial Freedom Plan reverse mortgage plans you often discuss. Where can I compare information on those programs? – Angelina R.

DEAR ANGELINA: The best source of reverse mortgage local representatives is

Just click on your state and you will see many reverse mortgage representatives and the lenders they represent. More details are in my special report, “Secrets of Tax-Free Reverse Mortgage Income for Senior Citizen Homeowners,” 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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