DEAR BOB: Due to a job transfer, my wife and I plan to list our home for sale in a few weeks. My employer gave us the option of either accepting the “low ball” purchase price of their so-called corporate relocation consultant, or selling our home on our own. The low price offered by the relocation consultant is a joke (but we can accept it for up to 120 days if our home doesn’t sell). That’s very fair. Our problem is selecting the best agent to get our listing. My wife is best friends with a realty agent whose firm wants an “exclusive listing,” which will not be placed into the local MLS (multiple listing service). In return, we pay only a 4 percent sales commission. However, having read your articles for many years, you often say the MLS is the most powerful sales tool a realty agent has. What do you think about the agent’s exclusive listing where that firm refuses to cooperate with other agents or put our listing on the Internet at – Ivan H.

DEAR IVAN: I would avoid that real estate agent like the plague. The agent and the brokerage firm want to get “both ends” of your home sale.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

That’s good for the listing agent, but very bad for you as the home seller. As a seller, you want maximum market exposure to the marketplace of home-buyer prospects–even if you pay the customary, full 6 percent sales commission after having widely exposed your home in the local MLS and on the Internet.

As you know, it is extremely important for home sellers to interview at least three successful realty agents who sell homes in your vicinity. Study their CMA (comparative market analysis) forms to determine your home’s probable sales price.

Only after you have as much information as possible, and after you phone the recent sellers of the interviewed agents to ask “Would you list your home for sale again with the same agent and were you in any way unhappy with that agent?” will you know which agent should get your listing.


DEAR BOB: My good friend and I bought a condo together as tenants in common. We both moved in and happily lived there about 10 months. Then he fell in love, got married and moved into his rich new wife’s house. Since then, I’ve been paying all the expenses. We’re still friends. But he refuses to sign a quick claim deed to m, although I am willing to buy out his equity, which is going up at the rate of about 2 percent per month. How can I get him off my title? – Rick R.

DEAR RICK: You can’t, without a partition lawsuit. There is no way you can force your co-owner to sign a quit (not quick) claim deed to you. For more details, please consult a local real estate attorney.


DEAR BOB: How old must I be to qualify for that $250,000 home-sale tax break you often mention? I will be 55 in November. Will I then qualify to sell my house and claim up to $250,000 tax-free profits? – Audrey H.

DEAR AUDREY: Your age has nothing to do with qualifying for the Internal Revenue Code 121 principal-residence sale-tax exemption up to $250,000 (up to $500,000 for a qualified married couple filing jointly).

All you must be able to prove is you owned and lived in your principal residence an “aggregate” two of the five years before the sale. For more details, please consult your tax adviser.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “How to Become a Successful Real Estate Negotiator,” 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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