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REAL ESTATE
August 29, 1999 | ROBERT J. BRUSS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Question: My wife and I paid $74,000 for a condo where we lived for four years while stationed at George Air Force Base, near Victorville in San Bernardino County, which closed in 1992. Since then, the condo's value has plummeted to about $55,000. We owe $64,000. It is now rented for $650 per month, with a $613 FHA mortgage payment plus $100 condo association fee. I am still in the military. Should I let the mortgage company have the condo rather than pay about $15,000 out of pocket to sell?
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BUSINESS
August 29, 2010 | By Charles Carter, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Question: Before the housing crash and all the foreclosures, wasn't the government trying to increase the rate of homeownership in America? What's happened to the rate of homeownership since things took a downturn in 2006? Answer: Yes, the rate of homeownership topped off in 2005 at 69% of American households, with the remainder renting — aside from some small part in institutional housing, such as jails. Homeownership had been flat from 1985 to 1995 at about 64%. Then, from 1995 to 2005, it shot up to 69%. Since 2005, the rate of homeownership has fallen again.
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REAL ESTATE
August 13, 1989
I would like to compliment you for your excellent articles which appear in the Real Estate section. In particular, I am interested in Real Estate Q&A, the "Hot Property" column, the Gardening section and the other articles of general interest. Candidly, from all the many sections in the Sunday Times, I feel that the Real Estate Section is simply the best. JOHN SCOTT MATTHEW Sherman Oaks
REAL ESTATE
May 27, 2007
I have really missed Robert Bruss' Real Estate Q&A. It has always provided a breadth of useful and interesting information on a topic of interest to many. I hope his column is just on vacation and that it will soon return. Please advise as to its future status. MONICA RUZICH HAMILTON Huntington Beach Editor's note: Bruss has been ill. His column will resume as soon as he returns to work.
REAL ESTATE
September 19, 1999
Just a small addition to Robert J. Bruss' reply to the question headlined "No-Pets Policy Doesn't Cover Seeing-Eye Dogs" in the Aug. 29 Real Estate Q&A: Any type of residential rental is covered under the Fair Housing Act as amended, and the act offers the same protection for service animals as it does for seeing-eye dogs. I just won a settlement in a suit about a hearing dog, and all landlords should be aware of the Fair Housing Act's requirements. RICH CHRISTOPHERSON Via e-mail
REAL ESTATE
February 18, 1996
"Real Estate Q&A" columnist Robert J. Bruss will discuss all aspects of home buying and answer your questions at the seventh annual Times' Home Buyers and Sellers Fair on Saturday, March 2, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The all-day consumer education event features workshops and seminars on buying, selling and financing, as well as more than 50 exhibitors, including lenders, Realtors, home builders and governmental agencies such as the IRS, VA, FHA and Department of Real Estate.
REAL ESTATE
May 27, 2007
I have really missed Robert Bruss' Real Estate Q&A. It has always provided a breadth of useful and interesting information on a topic of interest to many. I hope his column is just on vacation and that it will soon return. Please advise as to its future status. MONICA RUZICH HAMILTON Huntington Beach Editor's note: Bruss has been ill. His column will resume as soon as he returns to work.
REAL ESTATE
May 9, 1993
In one of his recent "Real Estate Q&A" columns, Robert Bruss was asked if any lenders offer open-end mortgages. He replied that he doubted if any residential lenders were offering these loans today. For the record, we'd like your readers to know that Home Savings of America has offered open-end mortgages for more than 10 years. In fact, four of our most popular adjustable rate mortgage loans have an open-end feature and more than 60,000 of our borrowers are currently using this feature on their loan.
REAL ESTATE
February 14, 1999
In the Jan. 24 "Real Estate Q&A," Robert J. Bruss wrote that if a neighbor's overhanging limbs are on your property, you have no recourse in Small Claims Court. In the Jan. 31 "Real Estate Q&A," another reader wrote that Bruss was wrong and that he had the firsthand experience of taking his neighbor to Small Claims Court to collect for the expense of trimming the neighbor's tree. Bruss wrote that the judge was wrong to side with neighbor asking for reimbursement. I am on the board of a homeowners association that had to trim the overhanging limbs of a neighboring landlord's trees.
REAL ESTATE
June 24, 1990
I read the Real Estate Q&A every Sunday and I have gained some very valuable information. However, I would enjoy it more if Robert Bruss answered questions with fact, not personal opinion. His opinion regarding three previous references and part-time agents floors me. Everyone has to start somewhere. What if you are a new agent and you don't have one reference to give? The paranoia Bruss has instilled in his readers will never give new agents a first chance. A new agent will probably work harder than the seasoned, complacent agent.
REAL ESTATE
July 14, 2002
Regarding "Lender Refuses to Accept Appraisal" (Real Estate Q&A, by Robert J. Bruss, June 30): The buyers stated that they "would pay $5,000 more than any legitimate, competitive bid" and that they were in a "competitive bidding situation." Based on the information provided, concluding that the low appraisal was bad and the high appraisal was good is absurd. Was the appraiser hired by the buyers approved by the lender? Did they expect the lender to just accept an appraisal from an appraiser without first verifying the quality of his or her work?
REAL ESTATE
January 2, 2000
Robert Bruss contributes an immense amount to the Real Estate section, and I am grateful for what his columns have taught me. In fact, Bruss has helped me to become so real estate savvy that even subtle examples of his use-an-agent bias scream out. For example, a man whose letter was printed in the Dec. 19 "Real Estate Q&A" got incomplete advice. The man and his wife were selling by owner (the ultimate Bruss no-no) and couldn't understand why one interested couple had come three times to inspect their home without making an offer.
REAL ESTATE
September 26, 1999
Robert J. Bruss advises a condo owner concerned about rising dues and lack of maintenance to attend board meetings and volunteer for committees (Real Estate Q&A, Sept. 19). Bruss wrongly assumes that buyers in common-interest developments, or CIDs, understand they are buying into a closely held nonprofit real estate holding corporation (the homeowners association), and that they understand their obligations as members of the association. Most CID home buyers have little or no expectation at the time of purchase that they must "get involved," as Bruss counsels.
REAL ESTATE
September 19, 1999
Just a small addition to Robert J. Bruss' reply to the question headlined "No-Pets Policy Doesn't Cover Seeing-Eye Dogs" in the Aug. 29 Real Estate Q&A: Any type of residential rental is covered under the Fair Housing Act as amended, and the act offers the same protection for service animals as it does for seeing-eye dogs. I just won a settlement in a suit about a hearing dog, and all landlords should be aware of the Fair Housing Act's requirements. RICH CHRISTOPHERSON Via e-mail
REAL ESTATE
September 5, 1999 | ROBERT J. BRUSS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Question: About a year ago, we took out one of those 125% mortgages at 11.25% interest on our home. We used the money to pay off our credit cards and other high-interest rate loans. The payment relief was wonderful, but now we must sell our home due to a job transfer. Our problem is how to sell our home, which has a mortgage that's way above its market value. There is no way we can pay the lender about $40,000 more than our house is worth.
REAL ESTATE
August 29, 1999 | ROBERT J. BRUSS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Question: My wife and I paid $74,000 for a condo where we lived for four years while stationed at George Air Force Base, near Victorville in San Bernardino County, which closed in 1992. Since then, the condo's value has plummeted to about $55,000. We owe $64,000. It is now rented for $650 per month, with a $613 FHA mortgage payment plus $100 condo association fee. I am still in the military. Should I let the mortgage company have the condo rather than pay about $15,000 out of pocket to sell?
REAL ESTATE
June 2, 1996
On May 12 you published two angry letters responding to advice by "Real Estate Q&A" columnist Robert Bruss about settling lawsuits. I, too, find his advice questionable. Bruss has, for some time, promoted seller financing as a way for retirees who own their own homes to receive profitable income by becoming mortgage bankers. I am against such financing because (1) the seller is locked in without the ability to get emergency cash, if needed, from this arrangement and (2) an institution can afford to plan long term; an individual cannot.
BUSINESS
April 7, 1996
This letter is written in response to comments made by your syndicated columnist Robert J. Bruss. It has become very tiresome reading Bruss' articles in the Real Estate Section in which he continues to misinform his readers about the appraisal profession. In an answer that Bruss gave in the March 10 "Real Estate Q&A," he stated that "appraisers were to blame for the S&L fiasco that cost taxpayers billions of bail-out dollars." This is simply not true. The S&L fiasco was the result of bad loans made by bankers who were loaning money on properties they had no business making loans on in the first place.
REAL ESTATE
May 16, 1999
Robert J. Bruss gave incorrect answers to the questions raised by the buyers of a home later found to have a "hidden" lien (Real Estate Q&A, March 21). Contrary to Bruss' answer, judgment liens recorded against California real property may not be foreclosed by the creditor (California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 697); only deeds of trust given to lenders as security for loans may be foreclosed in California. Judgment liens, which do not have "power of sale" provisions as do deeds of trust, are required to be paid only when the property is sold or refinanced through an escrow.
REAL ESTATE
February 14, 1999
In the Jan. 24 "Real Estate Q&A," Robert J. Bruss wrote that if a neighbor's overhanging limbs are on your property, you have no recourse in Small Claims Court. In the Jan. 31 "Real Estate Q&A," another reader wrote that Bruss was wrong and that he had the firsthand experience of taking his neighbor to Small Claims Court to collect for the expense of trimming the neighbor's tree. Bruss wrote that the judge was wrong to side with neighbor asking for reimbursement. I am on the board of a homeowners association that had to trim the overhanging limbs of a neighboring landlord's trees.
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