Home & Leisure

House Calls: Why No Sale

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: Hope you can help us.

We have been trying to sell our house for three months now -- with not a single offer. From our agent's market analysis, we are at the low end of the price range for similar houses. We have even dropped the price with no effect.

Our house is relatively new (a little over two years). I think lots of buyers ...Read more

House Calls: Selling to Minority

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: I plan to sell my home in the near future.

There are already some minority families living in my neighborhood. Can I specify to my real estate agent that minority buyers be given priority during the sale of my home? -- F. Q.

Answer: No.

It is illegal for you or your agent to express any preference or avoidance for buyers based...Read more

House Calls: No Broker Needed

Consumer / Edith Lank /

We are looking to purchase a new primary residence and would like to sell our current home to our son. Does either of us need a Realtor for this transaction? Also, can one lawyer manage this, or do we need separate representation? -- No Name

Answer: As you already know who the next owner of your present home will be, you'd have no use for a ...Read more

House Calls: House Worth Less

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: My in-laws are going to a nursing home. My wife and I will be selling their house to fund the move to the nursing home. According to several Realtors, the house and property are worth approximately $40,000 less than what they originally paid for it. Is there any tax benefit to selling the property at a loss? -- D. B. M.

Answer: Nope...Read more

House Calls: Special Assessment

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: I have an empty lot in another state and pay the yearly taxes for the lot, but I stopped paying the assessment charges for sewers, etc., because I doubt, now that I'm 83, that I will ever get to use them. Will nonpayment on the assessments cause me a problem?

I've received a letter from a lawyer but so far not responded. -- G.L.

...Read more

House Calls: No Deed Change

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: My husband died last June. When I asked my lawyer about removing his name from the deed, which is in both our names, he said that isn't necessary. Is there any downside to leaving the deed as it is when I sell the house or my son sells it? -- E. B.

Answer: No problem at all. When the house is sold, someone will do a legal search of ...Read more

House Calls: Selling Sister's House

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: We are selling a house that belonged to my sister who died. She lived there for more than 40 years, and there's probably going to be a large profit. Can we get an income-tax break because it was her main residence? -- L. G.

Answer: You can't use the home seller's tax break on the profit, but you won't need it anyhow. Whoever ...Read more

House Calls: Sister Isn't Paying

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: My brother and sister and I inherited our paid-up family home. The deed lists us as "tenants in common." Now our sister lives in the property while our brother receives no benefit.

Can we force a sale? If our sister doesn't want to move or show the property, what can be done?

If one of us were to die, who would own our share? Will ...Read more

House Calls: Unpaid Taxes

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Edith: My 83-year-old aunt pays $3,000 a year in house taxes. Her house is paid off. She lives in it. She wants to defer payments of the taxes.

Let's say she passes away in five years. When the house gets sold, will the $15,000 she will then owe get taken right off of the sale? Someone told her she would lose the house. Also, if she decides to ...Read more

House Calls: Showing a House

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: I am going to sell my house without a broker. Any advice you can give me would be welcome. -- H. G.

Answer: Here's some of what you need if you're going to sell on your own:

--Leisure time for studying, preparing, answering emails and phone calls, and showing the house.

--The ability to handle disappointment and rejection.

--Extra ...Read more

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


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