Consumers prefer home warranties, poll saysQUESTION:How do...

REAL ESTATE Q & A

July 18, 1993

Consumers prefer home warranties, poll says

QUESTION:How do most homeowners feel about the value of a warranty program covering a home being resold?

ANSWER: In a survey of consumers conducted by the Gallup Organization, commissioned by the Home Warranty Association of California, 75 percent of homeowners agreed having a home warranty would give them a greater level of confidence in a home they might purchase.

Also, 79 percent of homebuyers and sellers rated home warranties (home protection plans) as one of the most important considerations in buying or selling a home.

More interest in owning vacation homes

Q: Is the interest in owning a vacation home increasing?

A: It's increasing substantially, according to a nationwide study, ZTC "The American Recreational Property Survey, 1993."

The survey was conducted by Ragatz Associates Inc. for The American Resort Development Association. It found that 43.8 percent of households in America now feel they have a chance of purchasing recreational property during the next 10 years, compared to only 26.2 percent in 1990. The responses were from households nationwide.

Motivations for this increased interest include the slowly improving economy in much of the country, the decline in mortgage interest rates and the maturing of the baby-boom generation into the age bracket where recreational property purchases become more interesting.

The beach is the most preferred type of location for recreational property. Lake locations and mountain areas were the next preferred types.

Homeeowners Foundation is described

Q: What is the American Homeowners Foundation?

A: It's a nonprofit educational organization representing homeowners, prospective homeowners and home sellers in this country. It was founded in 1984. The foundation produces a variety of educational materials of interest to this targeted group. Its newest book is titled, "How to Sell Your Home Fast." For information, write to the foundation at 1724 S. Quincy St., Arlington, Va. 22204.

James M. Woodard

# Copley News Service

(Send questions to James M. Woodard, Copley News Service, P.O. Box 190, San Diego, Calif. 92112-0190.)

On estate value appraisals, play it straight

QUESTION: My husband died last year, and I must have the properties we jointly owned appraised for estate value purposes. What process must I follow? Do I have to hire professional appraisers? This could cost a fortune.

ANSWER: The proess you should follow depends on the complexity of your holdings and your willingness to play it straight with the IRS.

In most cases, our experts say, taxpayers can get away with valuing their real estate holdings through a written list of recently sold comparable properties in the neighborhood. You may have a friendly real estate broker who will perform this service for you gratis; if not, you can purchase such a list from a qualified broker.

However, if your holdings are in any way complicated, you might need the services of a certified appraiser. The alternative could be an IRS hassle that would be equally costly and time-consuming.

The real issue here, our experts say, is the motive behind the appraisal. The higher the appraisal upon the death of the first spouse, the lower the potential taxable gain to the surviving spouse if there is a sale of those properties. If the IRS believes that, upon the death of the first spouse, the properties have been appraised with this in mind, you can expect questions. However, if you play it straight, you should have clear sailing no matter what method of property appraisal you use.

Carla Lazzareschi

! Los Angeles Times

(Carla Lazzareschi is a syndicated columnist. Write to Money Talk, Business Section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, Calif. 90053.)

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