DEAR BOB: When I bought my condo, there were only a few renters in my very desirable complex. Today, there are more than 40 percent renters. Several absentee owners own two, three, four, or more units. As a result, it is like an apartment house. The on-site manager is responsible for maintenance, not for controlling the often-rowdy tenants. A neighbor who recently sold her condo told me she had several prospective buyers who could obtain mortgages only at above-market interest rates so they backed out. She finally sold to an all-cash buyer who didn’t know about the high percentage of renters. I brought this issue up at a board of directors meeting, but nobody knows what to do about the problem of too many renters. Any ideas? –Stewart R.

DEAR STEWART: Condominiums can be wonderful personal residences. I know because I own a condo that has been in my family since 1977.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

About six months ago, our association confronted the same problem, although not as serious. Out of 62 units, we had three rentals. Some of the members and directors thought that was too high.

Fortunately, they nipped the problem in the bud by proposing a severe restriction on future rentals, unless approved by the board of directors. However, several members opposed, especially the three absentee owners.

To stifle opposition, our condo attorney suggested the three rental units be “grandfathered” so they could continue as rentals if their owners desired.

The proposal to limit future rentals to “hardship cases” that must be approved in advance by the board of directors passed by a vote of more than 70 percent of the condo owners. You might want to suggest a similar solution to your association’s big rental problem.

MUST REALTY AGENTS KEEP PURCHASE OFFERS CONFIDENTIAL?

DEAR BOB: As a Realtor, I am concerned about the confidentiality of purchase offers from buyers. I know, as a listing agent, it is not advisable to disclose the price the seller accepted until after the sale closes and the price becomes public record. But what about purchase offers during the negotiation procedure? On behalf of my buyer, I recently presented a home purchase offer, which the seller counteroffered. While my buyer was considering the counteroffer, the listing agent let it be widely known among other agents (1) the offer price from my buyer, and (2) the seller’s counteroffer price. As a result, another buyer offered $3,500 more than the counteroffer price and the seller accepted that offer before my buyer could reply to the counteroffer. Shouldn’t purchase offer negotiations be confidential? –Helen R.

DEAR HELEN: The job of the listing agent is to obtain the highest price and best terms for the home seller. I am not aware of any ethical violation if the listing agent lets it be known the counteroffer price that is acceptable to the seller.

It is not an illegal or unethical act by the listing agent if another buyer exceeds that counteroffer price to obtain the house. For more details, please consult a local real estate attorney.

CAN CO-OWNER, AGE 74, OBTAIN REVERSE MORTGAGE WITH 58-YEAR-OLD CO-OWNER?

DEAR BOB: I admit it. I like younger women. I am 74. My wife of 12 years is only 58. She makes me very happy and I hope I make her happy. However, we could use some increased income. I have followed your reverse mortgage articles with great interest. Because my wife is a co-owner of our house, I am told we cannot obtain a reverse mortgage. Is this true? –Rolf R.

DEAR ROLF: Yes. Your young co-owner wife disqualifies you from obtaining a senior citizen reverse mortgage. The minimum age is 62.

However, if she will quitclaim her title to you, then you alone can obtain a reverse mortgage. Eligibility is based on the age of the youngest co-owner and the market value of the residence.

At your age of 74, you can qualify for a substantial reverse mortgage with your choice of lifetime monthly income, credit line (except in Texas), lump sum, or any combination.

More details are in my special report, “The Whole Truth About Reverse Mortgages for Senior Citizens,” available for $5 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet delivery at www.bobbruss.com. 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 opinion@inman.com.

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