REAL ESTATE ADVICE
“What You Need to Know About Mortgages” (February 2) was a great article, but it left me with a few serious concerns. First, as the owner of a real estate company, I, like others, occasionally accommodate rent-to-owns. But buyers who cannot get a traditional mortgage usually can’t for good reason and are not being approved out of concern for their ability to repay. A rent-to-own arrangement does not improve that ability, and the concept involves paying a premium above the rental value to contribute toward ownership. All too often the renter/buyer is not able to complete the transaction and loses a great deal of money. Second, properties available under this scenario are nearly always ones the owners can’t sell traditionally, because, basically, they are junk. Buyers need to concentrate on buying a home they will be happy living in — not selecting among the few poor rent-to-own options out there. Third, the article mentions converting basements and attics into additional bedrooms. That’s a dangerous blanket statement because most of these spaces do not meet building or fire safety codes. Professional — and licensed — advice needs to be sought prior to buying a house with use of those spaces involved, and that means an architect, structural engineer, or the town’s building inspector.
John P. Wells
Broker/Owner, Wellsco Realty
Thank you for Shira Springer’s thoughtful, informative essay opposing a Boston bid for the Olympics (Perspective, February 2). Our city has its faults, but matters would not be improved by remaking it in the Olympics’ image. Have we forgotten the Democratic National Convention? That much-smaller event was so crippling, employers were forced to ask their employees to take vacation time or work from home. Why not ask the citizens directly? We were given the chance to vote on a casino; isn’t the Olympics a more disruptive and expensive endeavor?
The state can’t even take care of our roads and public transportation, provide for the homeless, or make sure that all young people in our cities receive an adequate education. It’s immoral to be spending money on investigating the possibility of having the Olympics here, never mind the cost of actually hosting it.
I attended the first nine days of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta with my son. I was struck by how much better Boston would be as a site. As the Boston 2024 Organizing Committee’s website makes clear, Boston is in move-in condition for hosting the full range of Olympic events. The huge number of venues — both commercial like the TD Garden, Fenway Park, and Gillette Stadium, as well as those involving institutions of higher education — offers an existing infrastructure that no other modern Summer Olympics site has ever had. The presence of the Charles River and Boston Harbor completes this picture. Further, as much as those of us who live here sometimes fail to appreciate the quality and extent of service the MBTA offers, it is vastly superior to what Atlanta had to offer. Montreal, Beijing, and London could only have wished that they had had what Boston offers today coming out of the gate.
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