Edith Lank / Home & Consumer

House Calls: When In Doubt, Disclose

Dear Edith: Ten years ago, I legally added a 600-square-foot addition to my suburban home. I obtained all the necessary permits. However, we failed the final inspection due to some loose outlet wall plates. It only took me a few seconds to tighten...

House Calls: Stepfather's Mortgage

Dear Edith: My stepfather took out a reverse mortgage loan last year for $130,000. His home is probably worth $250,000 and has long been paid off. He is 91 years old, and I know the reverse mortgage will let him keep the house and die at home. ...

House Calls: Selling Furnished

Dear Edith: I am 70 years old and am getting ready to sell my house up north. I already own a condo unit in Florida. I am not at all a handyman and not interested in putting out any sum of money to fix up and/or clean up my house so that it will ...

House Calls: Buying Brother's Share

Dear Ms. Lank, My mother passed away December 2013. I am the executor of the estate. She owned her house outright. I want to buy my brother's share (there are only two of us), and he is agreeable. I have already secured two appraisals.

Can I ...

House Calls: What About Websites

Dear Ms. Lank: How reliable are websites such as Zillow and others that list an estimated value of my home? I purchased my home in 2013, which was new construction for $185,000. It was assessed at $186,000. On websites, they say my home is worth ...

House Calls: Capital Gains Questions

Dear Edith: I have written to you before, so now for the rest of the story. I finally sold my rental home to my long-time tenant of 18 years in April. How I can limit my capital gains tax? How is it figured? If I have to pay, what is the ...