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Use the Internet to find reverse mortgage lenders

DEAR BOB: Thank you for recent information on reverse mortgages. My grandmother owns her home but could use extra income. She is interested in a reverse mortgage but can't find a lender near her home in North Carolina. I gave her the Fannie Mae number you recommended, (800) 7FANNIE, or (800) 732-6643, but it didn't help. I also told her to call Norwest Mortgage, but their nearest office doesn't offer reverse mortgages. Can you help her find a reverse mortgage lender? _ Roman W.

DEAR ROMAN: Yes. Many senior citizen homeowners such as your grandmother need extra income but have difficulty finding local reverse mortgage lenders.

Just recently a new reverse mortgage information source has become available. Are you or your grandmother Internet savvy? The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association has added state-by-state information on reverse mortgage lenders.

It is so simple even I can understand it. Just go to the organization's Web site at, click on lenders and click on the appropriate state. Then, the Web site produces names of reverse mortgage originators near you. I checked North Carolina for your grandmother and found five lenders. One will let her apply online. The others show their toll-free phone numbers.

If you or your grandmother are not computer savvy yet, your local public library reference department will gladly show you how to reach the site on the Internet.

DEAR BOB: I inherited a property that I want to sell so I can reinvest closer to my home. If I buy an investment property for more than I sell the inherited property, does this qualify for tax exemption? The property comes from my mother's estate. Does this make any difference? _ Edgar M.

DEAR EDGAR: From the facts you stated, it appears you have no serious tax worry. The reason is an heir receives inherited property with a new cost basis stepped-up to market value on the date of the decedent's death.

To illustrate, if the property you inherited was worth $200,000 when your mother died, but you sell it for a net price of $210,000, you owe tax only on the $10,000 profit. Your mother's adjusted cost basis is irrelevant. Unless the property skyrocketed in value after you inherited it, you don't have a serious tax problem. But please consult your tax adviser to discuss the details.

_ Tribune Media Services