DEAR BOB: My husband and I have a little realty problem. Can we obtain an equity loan on our four-unit apartment property and will the interest be tax-deductible? We want to use the money to improve the property. But our community bank, where we’ve banked at least 10 years, refused our request although we have great credit and keep substantial deposits – Kim W.

DEAR KIM: Dump that bad bank. If you have great credit and have kept substantial deposits for more than 10 years, your bank should roll out the red carpet for you.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

Presuming you have adequate equity in your small apartment building, you should have no trouble obtaining a second mortgage to pay for improvements. When you obtain an equity loan – known as a second mortgage – on your apartments, the interest becomes tax deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense. For more details, please consult your tax adviser.


DEAR BOB: We recently sold our Massachusetts home and plan to use that $500,000 principal-residence-sale tax exemption. How soon can we use that tax break again if we decide to sell our Florida home? – John R.

DEAR JOHN: Presuming your Florida home has now become your principal residence, you must wait to again use the Internal Revenue Code 121 tax exemption until at least 24 months after your prior principal-residence sale. For full details, please consult your tax adviser.


DEAR BOB: I was divorced three years ago. My husband got the house. My lawyer said my ex-husband had to refinance to get my name off the mortgage. We do not speak to each other. But his mortgage information is still listed on my credit reports. Can he sell the house if my name is still listed as a part owner? If he dies, can he bequeath the house to someone else? – Barbara V.

DEAR BARBARA: Unless your name was removed from the house title as part of the divorce agreement, you still co-own part of that house.

As for the mortgage, as a co-signer your name remains on the mortgage until your ex-husband either refinances or sells the property. However, if your name is still on the title, your signature is required to convey marketable title.

At this point, you can’t force your ex-husband to either refinance the mortgage or sell the house. For full details, please consult your divorce attorney.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “The Whole Truth About Reverse Mortgages for Senior Citizen Homeowners,” 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 PDF delivery at Questions for this column are welcome at either address.

(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