DEAR BOB: I was given 100 grave sites in a Maryland cemetery by a relative. He also gave me 134 grave sites in an Ohio cemetery. I want to sell them as a package, not one at a time. Local funeral directors are not interested. Both cemeteries have plenty of their own graves to sell. Any ideas? Raymond L., Arlington.
DEAR RAYMOND: You've got me stumped. But I'll pass along any sales suggestions received from readers. Someone knows the answer how to sell your 234 cemetery lots and they'll be sure to write to me.
DEAR BOB: A tenant in the penthouse apartment of my apartment building died last week. Her rent was $1,250 per month and I can't easily find a replacement tenant who will pay such high rent.Her lease had 14 months to go. Can I put in a claim for the remaining lease rent with her estate? She was a multimillionaire. Gilmer V., Alexandria.
DEAR GILMER: The general rule is that the death of a tenant doesn't cancel a lease unless it contains a "death termination clause." Many older tenants insist on such clauses in their apartment leases.
Until the decedent's estate can sublease her apartment, it will probably be liable for the rent. Check with your attorney to properly present your claim to the deceased's estate executor.
DEAR BOB: I have a new store building under construction. It will take about four more months to complete. Can I depreciate it during the construction period of about six months total? Chris T., Laurel.
DEAR CHRIS: No. Depreciation deductions begin when a building is finished and ready to use in your trade or business or for investment purposes.
DEAR BOB: I own a run-down warehouse next to a busy restaurant. Its owner needs my property for a parking lot. If I tear down the building and lease the land to him, can I deduct the $23,000 wrecking costs? Sam G., D.C.
DEAR SAM: Yes, unless you planned the demolition when you purchased the warehouse. The building's undepreciated basis can usually be written off in the year of demolition. Consult a realty tax advisor for more details on how to properly handle this tax event.
DEAR BOB: We recently paid off our FHA home loan and understand we can get a partial refund of our mortgage insurance fee. How do we apply? Ira F., Bowie.
DEAR IRA: As part of the FHA mortgage payoff procedure, using HUD Form 2344, the FHA lender will see that you receive any insurance refund.
But if you didn't receive the refund, write to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Mortgage Insurance Refund, 451 7th St. NW, D.C. 20410. Include your name, current address, FHA case number, property address, lender's name and date of loan payoff.
DEAR BOB: My business partner and I want to buy income property. Should we form a corporation to limit our liability? Manny L. McLean.
DEAR MANNY: No. The big disadvantages of corporate real estate ownership include (1) double taxation of dividends (once to the corporation and once to the stockholders) and (2) no pass through to stockholders of paper tax losses from the building's depreciation tax shelter.
The Subchapter S (small corporation) election isn't available for most realty corporations because too much income is from passive sources such as rent. Consult your attorney who will probably suggest a limited partnership as your best investment vehicle for real estate investment.
DEAR BOB: I found a three-family house to purchase as investment property. But the seller, a 76-year-old widow, wants to carry the mortgage for 20 years on an interest oly basis. My wife says we should reject it as we would pay interest for 20 years. What do you think? Joseph L., Alexandria.
DEAR JOSEPH: I think you've stumbled onto an excellent mortgage. Many investment property owners would love to trade situations with you.
While homeowners prefer amortized mortgages, so they will eventually own their home free and clear, investment property owners are the opposite. They don't care if they ever own the property outright.
The reason is interest only payments are fully tax deductible. But mortgage amortization principal payments are not tax deductible. So if everything else looks good, buy the triplex before aother investor does.
DEAR BOB: In 1977 we sold two rental properties on long term contracts at 7 percent interest.We're considering selling them at one-third discount to invest in a fourplex. Is this smart? Mrs. L. N., Washington.
DEAR MRS. L. N.: No. Why sell at a big discount? You can borrow on those notes from many banks or individuals who understand hypotecation. It's like going to a pawn shop and getting a loan. But bankers don't like to be known as pawnbrokers, although they sometimes really are.
By putting up your notes as security for a loan, you'll eventually receive full payment from the buyer. Yet you'll have the cash needed now to buy that fourplex.
DEAR BOB: We own an apartment house and wonder what is the criteria for determining deductible repair costs and depreciable improvements? Carl R., Laurel.
DEAR CARL: For each expenditure, ask yourself if it increases the building's value. If so, it's a capital improvement. But if it merely preserves or maintains the building, it's a tax deductible repair. For example, patching a leaky water pipe is a repair. But installing a new pipe is a depreciable capital improvement. Your tax advisor can give more details.
DEAR BOB: Please send me information how to become a real estate salesman and broker in California. Mr. C.D., Quantico.
DEAR MR. C.D.: For full details on sales and broker exams in California, write to the Real Estate Commissioner at Sacramento, California. Information on real estate license requirements and exams in othestates is available by writing to the state real estate commissioners at the state capitals.
The report, "How to Maxinize Your Profit When Selling Your Residence," is available for 25 cents in coin plus a STAMPED self-addressed envelope sent to Robert J. Burss, P. O. Box 6710, San Francisco, Calif. 94101.@