Q: In 1972 I purchased a two-bedroom condominium at Sea Colony in Bethany Beach, Del., for $40,000. For the past four years, I've been trying to sell it for the same price that I paid for it. I've listed it with four realtors in the area at different times with no results. It was never occupied and the appliances have never been used. It costs me approximately $500 per month in maintenance, condominium fees, taxes and interest. I can no longer continue to take such a loss. Since I need to unburden myself of this expense, what steps would you recommend I take?
A: The logical answer is to lower the sales price until a buyer is attracted. But I'm puzzled. The most authoritative informative I have is that two-bed-room condominiums at Sea Colony are selling in the $55,000 range. (Incidentally, I couldn't find your name listed as an owner of a two-bedroom condominium at Sea Colony.)
I don't know why the four realtors you retained haven't been able to sell your condominium. But the real estate marketing arm of Sea Colony, Inc., developers of Sea Colony, indicate they're willing to market your unit. A spokesman says it can be sold at about the price I've indicated above. You'll have to pay a sales commission, of course. The spokesman said this is 6 per cent of the selling price.
Q: I have recently heard that the Internal Revenue Service is looking more carefully at the viability of tax shelter investments. Is this true? What are they doing?
A: This is true. When a tax return shows significant tax-sheltered income, the Internal Revenue Service is more apt to audit the return more carefully than it once did. And the audit covers the entire return, not just the tax-shelter aspect. Moreover, if a tax shelter partnership looks vulnerable, current Internal Revenue Service policy requires an audit of the entire return of every party.
This may persuade tax shelter investors to examine their investments again. They will want to decide whether the tax shelter investment makes sense as an investment.