Home & Leisure

House Calls: Portfolio Loan

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: We have been working with a real estate agent for some time, and he says we qualify for a mortgage. We have fallen in love with a house that's more than 125 years old and has a very great backyard. Our agent says whoever buys it will have to pay all cash because it won't meet the standards for a regular mortgage loan and the owners ...Read more

House Calls: Selling by Fizbo

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: We want to move out of the state, but we're not in any hurry, and we want to try selling our home without using a broker. We would appreciate any advice you have for us. -- K. and N. B.

Answer: Let's assume you've already done the standard preparation for showing your property -- cleaned, tidied, washed the windows, researched the ...Read more

House Calls: No Action on Sale

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: My brother passed away suddenly in September, and I have been named executrix of his estate. His estate includes a two-bedroom, two-bathroom adobe-style home in Apache Junction, Arizona.

I hired a real estate agent off the internet promptly because the home has a sizable mortgage and all his family is in New York state. The agent ...Read more

House Calls: Update or Just Repair?

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: We bought a wonderful home in a desirable suburb last June. It was built in 1988, and it has been well maintained with a beautiful kitchen upgrade, but there are no bathroom updates.

We've discovered a leak in the shower in the master bath, which has slightly damaged the kitchen ceiling. We are weighing updating the master bath ...Read more

House Calls: Payment in Arrears

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: This past November, I made my normal mortgage payment. Then, in the middle of that month, we sold the house. And at the closing, I paid off the whole remaining loan.

Now they are after me to pay interest on that mortgage for Nov. 1 through Nov. 15. But I already paid for the whole month of November. In fact, they should refund me...Read more

House Calls: Sharing Old Questions

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Today, I'm sharing some questions I've saved over the years. I couldn't quite bear to discard them, but I never printed them. The first one came from a state prison.

1031 Exchange

Dear Edith: I have a building that I'm selling, and I stand to make $1.6 million. Could you tell me the correct way a 1031 exchange is done and whether it is ...Read more

House Calls: Condo-Selling Specialist

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: Although I've bought and sold several homes, I always feel like I don't know what I'm doing!

I'm selling my condo next year, and I was wondering if I should seek a Realtor who is a condo specialist. Also, you mention getting an attorney early on. Is there a resource that you can recommend? How much should this cost? -- M. S.

...Read more

House Calls: Condo Windows

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Edith: We have an investment in a condo and wonder if the homeowners association has the right to select the type of window replacement without any input from us, the condo owners? -- J.

Answer: Get out the condo agreement you signed when you first moved in, and read some of the fine print. You probably agreed that the homeowners association ...Read more

House Calls: Backup Contract

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: We looked at many houses and then fell in love with one. I won't describe or say where it is, because we are having enough problems with getting it as it is. I'll only say it's old enough to be called an antique.

The problem is that by the time we got our offer signed, the owners had already accepted an offer through a different ...Read more

House Calls: Regarding Lookie-Loos

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: I'm responding to the person who thinks that neighbors shouldn't be welcome at an open house. The house across the street from me is now occupied by the family who lived across from me at a former location. And the house about six doors up the street is now occupied by the family who bought my house at my former location. You just ...Read more

House Calls: God Bless Them

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: My daughter gave me a hard time because my house is only in my name now that my husband died. I would appreciate your explanation of why it is not wise to put the house in the children's name. I have four daughters. God bless them, but I hate arguments. -- R. J. C.

Answer: Sometimes it pays to put your house in the children's names. ...Read more

House Calls: What About HARP?

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: Is HARP, the government program, worth the time? I keep getting banks calling us saying how good a deal it is. We owe $124,000 and have a 30-year loan. We pay $100 extra a month, and the loan has 4 percent interest. -- no signature

Answer: HARP is the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program. It offers those with higher interest ...Read more

House Calls: Answer From a Looky-Loo

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: Recently, someone wrote that one shouldn't attend an open house for decor ideas or just to be nosy. I beg to differ.

I have stopped by quite a few open houses in my area when they weren't busy, and the salesperson is always glad to chat and pick my brain about the neighborhood, schools, etc.

The open house gives me an idea of what I ...Read more


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