Condo buyer uses financial wits to avoid real estate disaster

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

DEAR BOB: Thank you so much for your great advice not to pay all cash for a home. I almost made that mistake. After my husband died in 2004, I sold our home and received about $600,000 tax-free cash. I decided to move near my two daughters and my wonderful grandchildren. I found what I thought was a perfect brand-new condominium I could have paid cash for. But I remembered your advice. I had no trouble qualifying for the developer's 10 percent down-payment plan. Shortly after moving in early in 2005, I discovered many problems and misrepresentations. My son-in-law, who is a lawyer, tried to help. But it is now clear the developer is a "crook" who took advantage of us buyers. The condo complex is a disaster with lots of problems, such as bad construction and uncompleted amenities. Only about 70 percent of the units are sold. My number one complaint is the poor soundproofing between units. Many owners have stopped paying their monthly fees. The developer is either broke or on the edge o...