Buying at 70

By Edith Lank

June 23, 2019 5 min read

Dear Edith: What do you think of an older person buying a house or a condo? I'll be 70 this year. I am single, and I have excellent credit. I've been looking for an apartment, and landlords seem to really jack up the prices, at lease this time of year. I pay $1,100 a month, so I think I can afford a mortgage. Thanks for your thoughts. — M.

Answer: I know nothing about your finances or where you're looking, so I can't give you advice on that score. But being older is no reason why you shouldn't become a homeowner. I'm old enough to be your mother, and I still live in my own house.

At any rate, mortgage lenders are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of age. They cannot even ask how old you are.

And, by the way, you might prefer a condo so you can be free of maintenance worries and expenses.

Tree Problem

Hello, Edith: I am contacting you with regard to an issue I currently have with a dangerous tree in my neighbor's yard. I have gone through my insurance company to get advice and sent my neighbor a certified notice, for which she refused to sign. We then sent priority mail, which we have proof from USPS was delivered.

We have tried to talk to her and gotten no response. We have even offered to pay to take the tree down, and we just got silence. Our village recognizes it will hit our house — and maybe us, too, if we're in the wrong place at the wrong time — but refuses to assist even though it is a civil matter.

I have managed to find out where she has a mortgage, but the lender won't give me her insurance company's name, so we can't get it involved.

Her house is currently in disrepair. I think it's in her advantage for the tree to fall. Unfortunately for us, the larger part would head our way.

I am desperate to get this resolved. Do you have any advice? — A. S.

Answer: I'm afraid it's thanks for nothing. You've reported the problem to your homeowners insurance company and tried to contact your neighbors'. You've discussed this with the village and communicated with the neighbor as much as you could. The next thing is to consult your attorney.

Selling the Farm

Dear Edith: I shared ownership of a farm with a relative who has since passed. The farmland is still tillable. But the house needs all new electrics, a new septic and an interior redo. It is not livable at this time. Other outside buildings are not in good shape.

How do I go about selling this farm? Do I advertise it as is or list it as a fixer-upper? I don't want to sell off parcels of land or sell the house separate from the lot. I want to sell it all as one. How do I put restrictions on it?

This farm has been in the family since the '30s. I have not contacted a Realtor yet. — A. M.

Answer: Selling off lots would be a complex time-consuming undertaking with extensive legal work. I can understand your desire for just one sale. But local real estate agents who are active in the vicinity of the farm will have much better advice for you than I can give from a distance.

Call real estate brokerages in several nearby towns. Ask whether they have someone who specializes in farms. If you live near the farm, ask them to send someone to meet you there. If you're not nearby, perhaps a phone or Skype conference would do. Interview at least three agents. This won't cost anything, and you'll get professional advice.

You can write restrictions into the deed when you turn ownership over to your buyer. As long as the restrictions are legal, they can limit what could be done with the land. Trying to control the farm in the future with these restrictions will make it much harder to sell, though. It would take longer to find a buyer, and you wouldn't be likely to receive full market value.

Is the condition of the farmhouse so bad that buyers would have trouble getting a mortgage loan? Potential buyers' problems are, to some extent, your problems. A good agent may know the answer or offer to look into the matter and report back to you.

Contact Edith Lank at, at [email protected] or at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620.

Photo credit: TheDigitalArtist at Pixabay

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