Home & Leisure

House Calls: Buyers Make Value

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: My wife and I reside on a farm. The county full value assessment on our home and farm is $446,000.

We are in our 80s and do not have children interested in the property. Since maintenance may soon exceed our abilities, we will consider selling through a local agent.

I tend to regard the assessed value as the bottom line, below ...Read more

House Calls: Shady Broker's Ponytail

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: I read your article about a couple trying to sell their house. Here's what happened to us.

Before we moved to our retirement home late last year, we placed our house on the market more than a year before with a broker. This agent wasted six months of our time -- only showing the house a few times, constantly pushing me to lower my ...Read more

House Calls: 4 Inches of Trouble

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Mrs. Lank: Several years ago, my neighbor had a survey done before she put up a partial fence on her land. She had her son dig a trench adjacent to a cedar fence I had installed in 1978. It looked as if it her trench was on my property, so I had a survey done. The surveyor's rebar marking my property line showed that her trench was 4 inches...Read more

House Calls: Worried About an LLC?

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: I have a question about limited liability company properties, or LLC properties.

My neighbor moved out, and I saw a "sold" sign on his house. He happened to stop by this past week, and I asked him who my new neighbors would be.

He said he sold to an LLC and he hopes he hasn't ruined our neighborhood. I tried to find out about an LLC ...Read more

House Calls: How to Discriminate

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Hi, Edith: I was a newspaper copy editor for nearly 20 years, and I faithfully edited your column for my paper. But even after all those years of reading your column each week, I need a little help.

I own a duplex, and I live in one side and sometimes rent out the other. Right now, it is vacant. I would like to sell the duplex for a larger home...Read more

House Calls: Prepay Mortgage or Not

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: My husband and I are debating whether or not we should pay more toward our principal. We currently have an adjustable-rate 10-year loan (it'll be eight more years before it can go up) with a 3.25 percent interest rate. He's retired, and I'll retire in about five years. It's more than likely this will not be our final home. What's your ...Read more

House Calls: Agent Dilemma

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: We plan to sell our house in the spring. We interviewed three Realtors and told one we plan to sign with her at the end of the month. In the meantime, we notified our neighborhood and have shown the house to two parties.

In our mail today, there was a handwritten note from a Realtor (someone in the same company) saying they have a ...Read more

House Calls: How to Start in Real Estate

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: Since assisting my sister with the sale of her house, I find the idea of selling homes and preparing homes for sale interesting. I contacted the state and got a list of locations with classes on real estate sales and broker licensing.

I am also interested in estate sales and the process of staging and cleaning homes. I suspect ...Read more

House Calls: Lake House Inherited

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: Six siblings inherited a lake house in 1986. It has been enjoyed by all families for years. However, now there is a need for extensive improvements. No one wants to put the money into it, but no one wants to see it go for taxes.

Four of the six want to sell the house and get their inheritance. One wants to buy it and give everyone ...Read more

House Calls: Cheaper Than Suing

Consumer / Edith Lank /

This past week, lots of readers were commenting on each other's problems. Here's the simplest suggestion that came in for those unhappy condo owners:

Hi Edith: I read your column regarding the folks suffering from secondhand smoke from the condo below them. Some strategically placed fans on their balcony and a window fan or two might give them ...Read more

House Calls: Voice From the Past

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Hi Edith: We were having a discussion about the definition of "abstract of title." I pulled out your book "Modern Real Estate Practice in New York" for the answer. End of discussion!

Thanks for your continued advice to sellers who think their brother-in-law knows more about pricing than their Realtor! -- B. B.

Answer: This email must have come...Read more

House Calls: How to Sell

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: My wife and I are approaching our 80s and thinking about selling our cottage. It is on the water at the Eastern end of Lake Ontario. In 1992, we bought and cleared the lot. We had a shell put up. Over the years, we made improvements to the shell. At this point, all of our children have moved away.

Here are our questions:

--Do we ...Read more

House Calls: Dropping Escrow

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: You discussed escrow in a recent column, but you didn't say whether I could talk my bank into letting me get out of it. Do you have any advice? -- P. I.

Answer: If you were to not keep up with your fire insurance premiums and the building burned down, you'd be left with just the value of the lot. If you were to not pay your property...Read more


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