Smart Money

DEAR BRUCE: I contacted a real estate agent to sell my condo. He already had a buyer and sold the property without placing it on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Still, the agent charged me a 5 percent fee for the MLS listing. When I objected, he threatened to sue me into bankruptcy. What would you do? -- Reader

DEAR READER: Sounds like you got a real winner! I agree you shouldn't have been charged the listing fee, but on the contract you signed, you probably agreed to pay it whether or not he had to list the property.

The likelihood is I would just pay it, and I would certainly not recommend this guy to anybody else. Be glad you sold the condo and get on with your life.

DEAR BRUCE: Given the unique problems with owning a home in Florida (hurricanes, sinkholes, property insurance issues), do you think it's a good idea to own a home in that state? -- L.L.

DEAR L.L.: Do I think it's a good idea to live in the Sunshine State? Of course! I've been living in Florida for 25 years, maybe a little more, and I have no problems. My home has appreciated in value in a reasonable fashion, and we have never had hurricane, sinkhole or property insurance issues. We have to pay a little more for insurance than I would like to, but I would have no problem recommending living here.

(Send questions to Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.)

(The Bruce Williams Radio Show can now be heard 24/7 via iTunes and at It is also available at

More like Smart Money