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‘More or less’ a key phrase in potential real estate transaction

January 7, 2011
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Question: Bob, we have been reading your columns for a very long time. We live in North Carolina an have a subscription to The Breeze here. We moved from the Cape several years past. We are coming to Cape Coral for a small vacation the third weekend of January so if you could answer this for the Saturday edition it would be great and we can have our own little question to frame.

Recently you ran a letter from a home seller who asked how she could avoid a law suit for non-disclosure of defects. She reported a friend who sold her home was sued when the roof leaked many months after the sale.

My problem is similar, yet different. I want to sell some rural land which, I am told, is about 24 acres. It is hilly and irregular, very difficult to measure. A survey would cost several thousand dollars.

It is beautiful land, ideal for a home site with lots of privacy. How can I avoid being sued for mis-representation as to the size of this parcel without getting a survey?

- Fred & Sue P.

Answer: Fred & Sue, Wow what a compliment. This will be here when you arrive, call me when you read this and let me know what you think.

That's easy. Presuming you have some reasonable basis for telling prospects the parcel is about 24 acres, be sure to state it is approximately 24 acres, more or less. Those magic words "more or less" put the buyer on inquiry.

If the exact is important, then it is up to the buyer to have the land surveyed at the buyer's expense. For further details, please consult a local real estate attorney.

Question: Bob, I own (not in Cape Coral) a four-unit luxury apartment building where I live in one apartment. My three tenants have been with me 19, 12 and 10 years. They are like family. We all get along great.

Recently, two of them came to ask if I would convert to condominiums. I looked into doing so, with the help of my attorney. But he tells me that my building doesn't meet the current city requirements, as it does not have adequate parking. Is there any alternative?

- Ben G.

Answer: Ben, There are several possibilities. One is to convert to cooperative apartments. Another is to sell the building to the tenants as tenants in common.

Neither method is without drawbacks, especially if one of the owners fails to pay his or her share of the monthly payments. Also, selling a cooperative apartment or a tenant in common share to a subsequent buyer can be very difficult.

I don't recommend either method but those are the two best alternatives. You have already consulted your attorney, so good luck!


Have a real estate question? Write, call, fax or e-mail:

Bob Jeffries, Realtor,

Century 21 Birchwood Realty, Inc.

4040 Del Prado Blvd., Cape Coral, FL

239-549-5724 Office

239-542-7760 Fax



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