DEAR BOB: It seems all the property here is so overpriced. How can I find a home to buy that is fairly priced? Mrs. E. T., Wheaton.
DEAR MRS. M. T.: Rember, the asking price is only the seller's "dream price." To find bargains, find a seller who is anxious to sell for his property's true market value. Look for sales involving divorces, job transfers, deaths, or financial problems. Your agent can help.
DEAR BOB: When will mortgage interest rates come down? We would like to refinance the mortgage on our house, convert it to rental use, and buy another home. But with the high interest rates, we can't afford to do so. Ramon M., College Park.
DEAR RAMON: I don't know when mortgage interest rates will drop. But I do know that waiting to buy the home you want could be very expensive. While you're delaying buying, the cost of that home is going up at least 1 percent per month in most communities.
Even if interest rates do drop slightly in 1980, any slight savings will be eaten up by the higher purchase price of the home you buy.
Unless Carter-style inflation is halted, don't expect mortgage interest rates to decline much. The reasons include lender expectations about continued high inflation rates, pressure on savings associations to pay higher passbook interest rates to savers, and a shortage of net inflow of money into savings accounts.
DEAR BOB: We are considering buying a rental duplex. One purpose is to give us some tax shelter from the depreciation tax deduction. To maximize our deduction, should we make as big or as little a down payment as possible? Betsy M., Washington.
DEAR BETSY: It doesn't matter. Your depreciation deduction has no relationship to the amount of the cash down payment.
After purchase, you allocate the purchase price among the building value, non-depreciable land value, and the value of any included personal property such as furnishings and appliances. Your tax advisor can show you how to do this to maximize your depreciation tax deduction.
DEAR BOB: My real estate agent suggests that I get a new mortgage on my home to make its sale easier. As I now have a $11,600 VA mortgage with a 6 percent interest rate, I'm wondering if this is wise. Felda T., Rockville.
DEAR FELDA: Leave it up to your buyer to arrange his or her own mortgage financing. If you put on a new mortgage now, without a specific buyer in mind, your agent may find an all-cash buyer or one who can get a better mortgage elsewhere, in which case your money spent on the loan fee would be wasted. Only if the buyer's offer is conditional on your getting the new mortgage before title transfer would it be wise for you to get the new loan.
DEAR BOB: Is it true that if we sell our home and buy a more costly replacement within 18 months, we can defer our profit tax and don't have to reinvest any of the sale cash in the new house if we get a new VA mortgage for 100 percent of the purchase price? Mr. W. L., Germantown.
DEAR MR. W. L.: Yes, the good news is true. For further details I'm sending you my report "How to Avoid Tax and Put Cash in Your Pocket When Selling Your Home." Readers desiring a copy can get one for 25 cents plus a STAMPED self-addressed envelope sent to Robert J. Bruss, P.o. Box 6710, San Francisco, Calif. 94101.