Senior Resources FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions: Senior Housing

I entered into a reverse mortgage arrangement with my bank. Are the proceeds of this loan taxable to me?

For the most part: No.  However, read this for more info: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p936/index.html

I am thinking of moving to a retirement community. Where can I go to locate communities?

See this Medicare Link

I am thinking of moving to a retirement community.  Where can I go to research how they rate?

Checklist

Real Estate Q & A Closing Questions

My house recently went into escrow that was supposed to last 60 days. One week before closing we were notified by the real estate agent that the house did not appraise for the amount agreed upon in the sales contract. The buyers are refusing to obtain another mortgage company or another appraisal at my cost. Do they forfeit their 2500.00 that is in escrow to me, or is it a technicality and they get their money back?
First, look at your purchase contract. Most Realtors put deadlines in the contract during which certain things must occur, such as appraisal or loan approval. Review the contract to see if they lived up to those types of terms in the contract. Second, press to find out why it took 55 days to get an appraisal. This just seems wrong. Request the name and phone number of the appraiser so your agent can make inquiries. You’re probably not being given the true reason for cancellation. Escrow normally cannot release the deposit money without the permission of both sides. Continue to press until you feel you are being given the real reasons for not closing the transaction. Keep in mind that if you are asking for legal advice, that can only be obtained from a lawyer.

We were set to close and the seller now wants to set up new closing date. Can I get them to come down off the price of the house and anything else you think that would help me?
The seller may have had legitimate reasons or perhaps not. You can attempt to renegotiate the price if you choose to, and this can be looked at several ways. Once you make your offer to purchase the house at a lower price, this can be looked at as a new offer, which can nullify your original offer. Most likely, you are going to just have to decide whether you like the house enough to go ahead with the purchase.

The seller is unable to find a replacement property by the time the sixty day escrow closes. They have requested an extension of thirty days. If we do not agree to that extension, will we lose the appraisal fee, the home inspection fee, and our deposit?
You’ll probably get your deposit back, minus as mall cancellation fee. However, the appraisal and home inspection have been done and those guys don’t work for free, so that money is gone. Since both the appraisal and home inspection were done for that specific property, if you choose not to extend and buy a different property you will have to pay those fees again. Suggestion: Do you want to extend and wait around another thirty days and find the seller still has not purchased something? Remember in your purchase contract that you had time conditions placed upon you. For example, it may have been two days to apply for a loan, seven days to review the disclosures, fourteen days to get a home inspection, and so on.

One hour before closing I signed an addendum to remove tires from the property. There were about 6 to 8tires that I had removed. Mysteriously, about 30 tires have appeared on the property. Am I responsible for their removal? I have witnesses that can state they were not on the property on settlement day.
It just goes to show you how crazy real estate can be, doesn’t it? Most real estate contracts detail exactly when you are to turn over possession of the property to the seller. Turning over possession usually occurs sometime after the transaction actually closes. Often this is three days after closing. If the tires showed up before the transfer of the property (as stated in the contract), you should probably remove the tires.

Real Estate Q & A Ethics

Where can I find a Real Estate Agent “Code of Ethics,” if there is such a thing?
Some real estate agents are members of the National Association of Realtors, which does have a code of ethics for their 720,000 members. It is located at 
http://www.realestateabc.com/codeofethics/

I have reason to believe that the seller’s agent was not truthful about the opposing bids for a property. I’m suspicious he made up bids to drive up the price I eventually offered. Do I have the right to demand proof of the opposing bids?
An agent or a seller is not obligated to divulge details of competing offers. You can ask for it in a counter-offer, but you maybe taking a risk on losing the property altogether. If you feel you were a victim of fraud, you should consult with an attorney and ask him or her for advice.

Can a broker sign an Exclusive Buyer Representation Agreement with a buyer when that broker is representing the seller as a dual agent? Isn’t this a conflict of interest?
There are a few different forms with similar sounding names. The form you signed probably means you agree to use that agent exclusively and will not go out looking for another agent. The other form with a similar name does what you suggest. It means the agent will only represent you in the particular transaction. Read what you sign. Get copies.

I am an out of state owner and made a deal to sell my vacant lot. The buyer was a licensed real estate agent who within a week (and before we closed our transaction) had sold it to someone else for $50,000 more than what they paid me. Is this legal or ethical?
It sounds like you are asking if you have a legal case to sue the individual. For that you need to consult with an attorney. If I were you, I would certainly be talking to an attorney.

Is it legal for an agent representing the buyers in a deal to lend money to their client for the down payment on a home?
This is not legal advice, so don’t take it as legal advice. Most mortgages don’t allow the borrower to borrow money for the down payment. If the borrower conceals the fact that they are borrowing money for the down payment, then the borrower is committing fraud against the lender.

Is the Realtor doing anything illegal? From the lender’s point of view, the borrower is the client, not the Realtor. The application specifically asks if any part of the down payment is borrowed. But this is supposed to be a forum about the ‘real’ world of real estate, and the truth is that things like this do happen without any consequences. If every loan and every purchase was done strictly according to the rules, many fewer homes would be sold and fewer loans would be originated. No one is supposed to say that, but it is true. This is not to say that such a practice is “okay” – just to say that it occurs.

If it is brought to the attention of the lender n some way, however, they may “call” the loan, which means the borrower would have to refinance the loan and get a new mortgage. If the borrower gets into serious financial trouble because they took on too many obligations (including the borrowed money from the agent) – and they blame their Realtor – lawsuits could begin flying and sometimes have disastrous consequences.

I listed my house with an agent with the understanding that if one of two friends buy my property, she would be compensated at 3% commission. One of my friends has made an offer. When my agent sent me the estimated pay out from the transaction, she put in her commission as 6%. Her explanation is that the original deal was only good until she listed the house in MLS. Is this ethical? Or legal?
Sounds like…well, it doesn’t sound ethical, does it? Since agents generally list a property in the MLS immediately, it doesn’t sound like a genuine explanation. You should have made sure the listing contract contained this stipulation, but that is looking backward. One explanation is that she found it difficult to tell her manager of her agreement with you, and now that she is stuck, doesn’t know how to fix it. I would call the Realtor’s manager and start out very nicely and tactfully about your verbal agreement with the agent, and how that seems to have become “confused.” Normally, the desire to build good will in the community will convince the manager to acquiesce and adjust the commission appropriately.