DEAR MR. MELTZER: This past summer was our first in our new home. In the spring we had hung our winter clothing in the basement, since our closet space is limited. We also keep our luggage and other things rarely used in the basement.

When we got ready to bring the things upstairs this fall, we were shocked to find that we had lots of mildew, for we keep our house and basement very clean tidy.

What have we done wrong?

ANSWER: Mildew is caused by spores of milds which are always in the air. When the weather is warm and humid, they flourish on things that provide the nutrients they require - such as fabrics, leather, paper, wood, etc. This happens particularly where there is poor ventilation and light.

The way to avoid mildew is to keep your house well ventilated, in addition to keeping it clean. It should also be as dry as you can possibly make it. Ventilate your house as much as possible. Leave closets and dresser drawers open periodically, and make sure that clothing is hung loosely so that air can circulate around it.

Luggage and shoes should be up on shelf, rather than on the floor.

DEAR MR. MELTZER: Can you tell me if industrial property mortgages differ from ordinary mortgages?

ANSWER: In industrial property, the mortgage covers the real estate, plus the fixtures and equipment it contains. Also, it's important to know that equipment and fixtures added after the execution of the mortgage, such as equipment necessary for a plant to function, are also covered.

Even if the equipment is installed a long while after the mortgage is given, it is still additional security for the benefit of the mortgagee.

DEAR MR. MELTZER: I really had a ghastly experience - and an expensive one. I hope many people who read this can benefit from my horrendous experience.

I signed an exclusive listing with a real estate broker. Not long after he secured a buyer, but the downpayment offered was unusually small. The broker urged me to accept it and sign the agreement of sale because he said the buyer was temporarily a little short of funds. He assured me that when settlement time arrived, the buyer would have the necessary money.

As you have probably guessed, the buyer didn't have the necessary money when settlement date arrived. I was furious and told the broker to cancel my listing agreement with him. I went to another broker who sold my house almost immediately.

I nearly did when the first broker sued me for his commission. I couldn't believe it. We went to court and he WON! I wound up paying two commissions, to say nothing of the outrageous sum my lawyer charged.

ANSWER Yes, I agree that your experience was horrendous. But it could have been avoided. You know, when you sign an agreement you must be aware that you will be obligated to pay a commission. Therefore, it's reasonable that the minimum down payment should be equal, at least, to what the commission would be.

It happens often that a buyer is not able to complete settlement. When this occurs, the broker will usually find another buyer and accept one commission.