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House Calls: Pricing to Sell

Edith Lank on

Answer: Losses on real estate sales are not automatically deductible and have complicated regulations that don't apply here anyhow.

For starters, that timeshare was classified as personal property, not business property. If you had bought a car for $22,000 in 1997 and sold it last year for $5,600, that wouldn't give you a deductible capital loss. And that's pretty much the way the IRS considers the sale of the timeshare, even though you received a 1099 for it.

Nice try, but no cigar.

Homeowner During Showings

Ms. Lank: Regarding a recent letter on whether a homeowner should remain in the home when it's being shown, we looked at a house, an interesting midcentury house on a cul-de-sac in the perfect neighborhood. But the owner was sitting in a chair in the great room watching TV the whole time.

The effect? We could not stop and imagine changes, furniture, lifestyle ... anything! And that was the most important room in the house.

We felt we could whisper in the basement, but, otherwise, we used our eyes to communicate, and hardly even walked into bedrooms, baths or secondary places. It was a house that really needed work, but we simply could not talk about it.

We got out fast and whispered in the driveway. It kinda broke our hearts -- we really wanted to like that house. Eventually, it did sell ... but not to us.

--Sponsored Video--

The whole thing about it being hard on the owner -- it was hard on the Realtors and interested buyers. Even during open houses, it is easier to look at a house with other prospects and their agents wandering around than it is when the owner is silently holding court.

How could it have been avoided? If the seller finds it hard to get out (due to age, health, transport), does someone take her to church? When is her next doctor's appointment?

Her agent could have put multiple overlapping viewings together. Some folks might have grouched about it, but it would have been better than what we experienced. The owner could have been taken to lunch and to the hairdresser, and returned to multiple offers. It was an opportunity missed.

Thanks for the opportunity to vent. -- D. P.

Answer: Thanks for sharing the experience.


Contact Edith Lank at, at or at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620.

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