Edith Lank / Home & Consumer

House Calls: Who Owns the House

Dear Ms. Lank: My sister, who I hadn't seen in years, died recently in North Dakota. The neighbor that phoned me said the house was vacant when she died. I don't know if she still owned it. How can I find out without making a trip to North Dakota?...

House Calls: Several Reasons to Write

Dear Ms. Lank: I hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits (I never see anyone asking how you are when I read your column). Now the reasons I am writing you are several.

One: how do you find out the title of a home? Or if someone owns...

House Calls: Seller Please Leave

Dear Mrs. Lank: My realtor wants me to be absent from the house whenever she brings a client. Is it OK to stay in a room such as the den or computer room? This room could be shown first, the door closed, and they could explore the house together. ...

House Calls: Monopoly, Deeds and Automobiles

Dear Edith: My grandfather left his cabin to me years ago, and I was given a deed to the property from my aunt, who was executor of the estate. I have it safely put away. Now my cousins want to buy the cabin, and we are in agreement about ...

House Calls: Cost Basis for TV

Dear Edith: We have owned a vacation home for almost 30 years. It has always been used personally, never rented. We recently placed it on the market. My question concerns treatment of potential capital gains.

The house is fully furnished and ...

House Calls: Three-Day Visit

Dear Ms. Lank: We are moving out of state for new jobs and we're ready to buy our first house. The problem is we need to stay at our jobs till the last minute and don't have much time for house hunting. If you have any advice about buying a house ...