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posted: 5/15/2014 4:00 PM

Neat and clean condo won't sell

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Q. My daughter bought a condo. She was there two years, and then her company moved her to Houston. Her condo has been on sale for a year now and has not sold. It is expensive to keep it. She said she lowered the price several times.

Is there anything she can do to get a buyer to buy it? Is there any real estate company that would buy it from her? It is very neat and clean. I don't know anything about the price.

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Any advice you have would be most welcome.

A. Any company that would buy your daughter's condo has to give her a lot less than market value in order to resell at a profit, so that wouldn't work.

Here's the problem, and it's a common one: Your daughter has a price that she feels the condo is worth, and the thought of selling it for less makes her feel as if she'd be losing money. Actually, of course, where she's losing money is paying those expenses every month.

The buying public has voted that the place isn't worth what she's been asking -- and I'm afraid theirs is the only opinion that counts. Sooner or later, she'll face facts and find the price level that will attract offers.

Q. My wife and I have a house with a high-interest loan that our daughter is living in with her sons. My daughter pays the monthly mortgage and escrow. Her credit is poor, but she has a full-time position and is working to get her credit in order.

Should we continue this loan or have her refinance at a lower interest rate? We were told we could only get a 15-year loan because it is not our primary residence. Do we have an option to transfer the deed in her name without any payment to us or is there any other option for us to consider?

A. It's easy, and inexpensive, to put the house in your daughter's name any time you want. But when there's a change in ownership, the lender probably has the right to call in the present loan immediately. Don't make any change without consulting the mortgage company first.

It'd be best, of course, if your daughter could own the house and qualify for a loan herself. Perhaps she could if you cosigned. But if that's not possible, you'll have to decide whether it pays to go after a new loan at a lower rate. If you remain the owners, a mortgage will have to be in your names, and as you've learned, there are some limitations with non-owner-occupied property.

A mortgage broker (not mortgage banker) might help you find the best fit for the situation.

Q. I am a retired senior widow on a limited income. Twenty-five years ago, my now deceased husband purchased a time share in Tennessee. It was supposed to be for our use first and then passed on to the children. He has been gone 10 years now. It is no longer feasible for me to use it, and the children have no desire to own it. I have had it listed with the resort real estate person for over three years, and I have tried to give it away or donate it to charity. I know you mention giving it back to the owners, and I tried that, too. They are not accepting any givebacks.

I'm told charities won't accept anything with a yearly fee attached. The companies that will accept it charge anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 to take it off your hands.

The fees just went up to $800. What happens if I just don't pay the fee and ignore it altogether?

A. I have the impression that usually nothing happens. I don't want to say right out here in print that you should just ignore the bills, but I'm not sure anyone would go to the trouble and expense of suing you. If they got a judgment in Tennessee, it could be placed against the time share, but so what? It might hurt your credit rating a bit, but that's about all.

Perhaps someone will write in and tell us their experience.

I'll feel better about saying all this if you have a family lawyer to consult. A simple phone call could give you advice about whether anything bad is likely to happen if you simply stop paying those fees.

• Edith Lank will respond to questions sent to her at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester, N.Y. 14620 (include a stamped return envelope), or readers may email her through askedith.com.

© 2014, Creators Syndicate Inc.

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