DEAR BOB: I am 22 and my husband is 21. We got married three months ago. Joe has a good job but we can't seem to save any money for a home. I'm expecting our first baby in a few months. Is there any way we can buy a home on Joe's $14,000 annual income? We only have about $350 for a down payment? Helen R., Washington.
DEAR HELEN: Yes, you can get a VA home loan with no down payment if your husband is a qualified veteran. Or you might get lucky and find a home seller who will carry the mortgage with a $350 down payment.
An alternative would be to live rent free for a year or two while you build up your down payment savings. A good way is to manage an apartment house. Since you may be home with the new baby, you could run the apartments and maybe even earn a small salary. Check the want ads for owners looking for reliable couples to manage apartment houses.
DEAR BOB: I would like to learn more about real estate. Can you suggest what courses to take or books to read? Ruth K., McLean.
DEAR RUTH: You can't sutdy a better field than real estate. Most colleges now offer real estate principles, management and investment classes. The cost is often minimal. In addition, read Bill Nickerson's classic "How I Turned $1,000 into $3,000,000 in Real Estate in My Spare Time," available at larger libraries and bookstores.
DEAR BOB: In 1978 we bought a 55-year-old home. The driveway is 15 feet wide. Twelve feet is on my land. The people who live in the house next door use the driveway to get to their garage. I don't like this. Can I build a fence down the property line? James Q., Washington.
DEAR JAMES: Check with your lawyer first. Your neighbors probably have an easement over your driveway that should have been disclosed to you at the time of purchase. Be sure of your legal rights before you build that fence.
DEAR BOB: Three years ago I purchased a lovely converted condo, with a monthly maintenance fee of only $117. Today it is $178 and at the rate the fee is escalating, I'm feeling uncomfortable and getting scared. My mortgage fee and condo fee take one-half my take-home pay. I'm afraid to retire. While I am active in the condo association, the other members don't seem to think the fee is high. Many are two-salary families. Is there any limit to how high the condo fee can go? Mae W., Silver Spring.
DEAR MAE: There is no limit to how high the condo owner's association directors can raise the monthly maintenance fee. Your best bet is to become more active in the owner's assocation. Get yourself elected to the board of directors so you can make your wishes known. With efficient management, condominium fees can be kept to a minimum.
Readers desiring the report, "How to Sell Your Home With or Without an Agent," should send 25 cents plus a STAMPED self-addressed envelope to Robert J. Bruss, P.O. Box 6710, San Francisco, Calif. 94101.