Q: We are selling our house, and the asking price is $80,000. A potential purchaser has expressed interest in buying a Veterans Administration guarantee, which we understand will cost us points. Can we offer the house at a higher price, if the buyer goes through the VA?
A: The question of dual pricing is an interesting one which deserves some attention. Officials at the Veterans Administration frown on such practice, yet they recognize that the seller, in a VA transaction, often has to pay more than if the purchaser obtained conventional financing.
The Veterans Administration prohibits the buyer from making any payments, other than one point for the lender, and some of the reasonable title search charges. If you advertise your property, I see nothing wrong in listing the sales price as "all cash." Thus, if your buyer is unable to come up with all cash, you certainly have the right to charge a higher price, if it costs you more in the process.
Needless to say, you are prohhibited by law from discriminating againsst a purchaser on the basis of race, color, or creed. But, although the Veterans Administration frowns on dual pricing, it appears that it is perfectly legalg.
After all, the veteran buyer is protected in a number of ways. First, they do get the benefits of VA financin Second, if the appraisal (the certificate of reasonable value) does not come up to the contract price, then the veteran need not purchase the house.
It is recommended that sellers carefully review the dollar figure before they agreed to sell their house to a veteran buyer. It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that the Veterans Administration considers all VA buyers as poverty-stricken, and all VA sellers as "fat cats." There should be no reason for the veteran seller to get stuck with the additional cost, so that the buyer can obtain a low-interest loan. In the final analysis, today's seller is tomorrow's buyer.
Benny L. Kass is a Washington attorney. Write him in care of the Real Estate section, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington 20071.