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House Calls: How Long to Wait

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: You have advised that a house priced right will sell, and if it is not selling, it could be priced too high for the market.

Obviously, all situations are unique, but is there a good rule of thumb about how long should you let a house be on the market before reducing the price? Does a month suffice? Supposedly, the real estate market...Read more

House Calls: Change the Locks

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: When you wrote about real estate closings, one of the things you did not mention was to change the locks, or have the lock cylinders changed, so that the old keys no longer work.

We trust that the old owners would not have kept any keys, but we don't know who else might have been given a hard copy over the years, like a house sitter...Read more

House Calls: Grandchild Buying

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: My father-in-law is moving from his home of 60 years to assisted living. One of his grandchildren wants to buy the house, possibly in a cash deal. What is the best way to set a fair market value? Are we naive to think we can make the transaction with just a lawyer and no Realtor? What "gotchas" should we be careful about? -- M. D.

...Read more

House Calls: Quiet Enjoyment

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: Recently, a man with a toddler moved into the apartment next door to me, and since then, I haven't had any peace. I've tried to be understanding, but the plain fact is I don't want to live next door to this noisy kid and I was here first. Do I have any rights in this situation? -- S.

Answer: You can certainly make a fuss to your ...Read more

House Calls: Wet Basement

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: I bought a house two years ago for which the seller's disclosure form answered "No" to questions about wet basement problems. It was a bald-faced lie.

I called a lawyer from one of the area's premier firms, and he told me: "Yeah, the seller lied, and if you sue, you'll probably win. But it'll cost you more than just repairing the...Read more

House Calls: Hurricane Damage

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: We are buying a house in Cape Coral, Florida, and are supposed to close soon. The seller has evacuated and may not return.

If there is more than $5,000 damage, I can get out of the contract. But how is the amount of damage determined? Because of the scope of the storm, it may take weeks just to get an insurance adjuster there. -- to...Read more

House Calls: Closing on First Home

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: I am buying a house on my own, and this is my first time. The closing should be next week if all goes well, and I'm excited and also nervous about it. Do you have any tips on things I should look into while I'm waiting? Any advice about what to watch out for will be welcome. -- D. L.

Answer: Ask your agent to set up a last-minute ...Read more

House Calls: Different Opinion

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: My husband and I have been following the recent discussion in your column related to the removal of a mature hedge on a corner lot and replacement with white fencing. It seems that all feedback so far has been to retain the hedge.

Well, we are going to be the dissenting opinion.

We also live on a corner lot, and we have an in-...Read more

House Calls: Tenant Selection

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: After letting her two-bedroom condo in New Jersey stand unused for many years, my wife has decided to rent it out. She wants to keep that furniture, so she's renting it out furnished.

We really want to be selective in the choice of a tenant. She engaged with a Realtor there, who sent us what the applicants or their agents ...Read more

House Calls: About the Hedge

Consumer / Edith Lank /

A few weeks ago, a reader wrote in about his mature hedge, which enclosed a corner lot. Since he is getting on in years, he was considering replacing it with a stretch of low-maintenance plastic white fencing. He asked how doing so might affect the sale price.

Quite a few people sent advice, and not one of them wanted that hedge taken down. ...Read more

House Calls: Minor Matters

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: Though my problems were not as major as your recent letter writers', I had a few strange experiences with my house.

Months after purchase, I finally got around to figuring out why the light over the sink would not operate, even with a new bulb. I unscrewed the fixture from the ceiling only to find out that it was simply a fixture ...Read more

Oral Agreements

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: We are in a rental house. We like this neighborhood, and our children like the school. We talked to the landlady about buying, but she doesn't want to sell.

Last year, we told our neighbor that if he ever wanted to sell, we would buy his house. He promised to give us first right of refusal. Now he's getting ready to list his ...Read more

House Calls: Dream House Annoyances

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: My husband and I found the house of our dreams this year. I looked at it myself first and brought him back for a look, and we made an offer that was accepted.

We had an engineer inspection and a final walk-through before the closing, but there were things we didn't see until we moved in. We are so upset to find a small shelf of the ...Read more

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