Q. We are selling our house. A broker brought a couple to see it. Later they returned with a relative and asked whether we would sign an agreement of sale with that relative and sell it at a lower price (thereby eliminating the broker and his commission).

They said they would then have their relative transfer the agreement of sale to them just before settlement - and since we had signed the original agreement with someone else, we would not be liable for payment of the commission. My husband doesn't see anything wrong with this, since we would be receiving the same net amounts as if we sold it throught the broker.

Is this "kosher?"

A: You are receiving very poor advice from the prospective buyer and from your husband. Since the person who will eventually own the house was brought to you by the broker, you will be liable for the commission. Sine he brought the prospect to you, he has most certainly earned it.

Q: We recently bought a house that is about 15 years old that has a "leather tile" floor. I have no idea of how to maintain it. Any ideas about cleaning?

A: Cracks in wood veneer paneling can be repaired by using tub caulk. This will dry to a smooth finish, thereby allowing you to stain or paint it with no problem. Tub caulk also retains flexibility, whereas a more rigid putty might break loose.

Q: Our lease recently renewed itself for another year. About two weeks after it went into effect again, we found a house we're very anxious to buy. We never dreamed we'd give up apartment living, but we're really in love with this house.

Could we sublet our apartment? I don't think we'd have any trouble finding a tenant. We put a great deal of money into the apartment.

A: You could assign your lease unless it the lease forbids it. Usually the landlord's consent is required. The reason for this is that the lease is written on the basis of the tenant's financial stability.

However, the landlord's consent to an assignment of the lease does not relieve you, as the original lessee, of the obligation to pay the rent even if the new assignee is in possession of the apartment. An exception to this is if there is an agreement to the contrary.