Home & Leisure

House Calls: No Broker Involved

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: I have a family member who would like to buy my senior parents' home in a closed sale (without a real estate agent) to avoid commissions. What are the pros and cons of such an arrangement? I'm a little weary of not including an experienced professional. Thank you. -- W.

Answer: Both parties can take appropriate precautions, and there'...Read more

House Calls: Paid-Off Mortgage

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: Once we have paid off our mortgage, how long should we wait to get a clear deed? -- K. F.

Answer: In a few states, you're looking for a reconveyance deed, but in most places, what you want is a certificate of satisfaction. Either way, it will prove your loan has been paid off in full (satisfied).

If the lender has put this new ...Read more

House Calls: Oral Vs. Written Commitment

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: I have applied for a mortgage loan to buy a house. I have been told by the loan counselor that I qualified for the loan. Should I ask for a written commitment, or do you think that an oral commitment suffices? -- G. H.

Answer: What you have is the counselor's personal opinion, based on the information you furnished when you applied ...Read more

House Calls: Bank Gets Appraisal

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: When we applied for a mortgage, the bank charged us for an appraisal. They said it was so they'd know how much it was safe to lend us. As the new owners of the house, we would like to see that appraisal. They say we can't. But we paid for it. Do we have the right to see it? -- L.R.

Answer: When you apply for a loan, you pay for an ...Read more

House Calls: Coordinating the Move

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: Please give me an idea of how to coordinate the sale of my present home with the move-in date for my new home. We have a tentative date of August 2019 for the new house's completion. -- M. H.

Answer: Real estate brokers can help dovetail the two transactions. If you don't already know which firm you'll use to market your present ...Read more

House Calls: Seller Agrees

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: In a recent column, you discussed the topic of neighbors who attend open houses with no intent to buy and whether Realtors encourage it.

My wife and I were like that. On many weekends, just out of curiosity, we attended several open houses in our neighborhood.

Finally, we had to sell our house. And what agent did we select to sell ...Read more

House Calls: Condo Isn't Selling

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: I've had a one-bedroom condo on the market with a Realtor for six weeks. There was a lot of interest at first and almost an offer, except the individual wants two bedrooms in the same building. The building, by the way, is in an extremely desirable location across the street from a popular shopping district that has everything a ...Read more

House Calls: Adding Son

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: Does the existence of a mortgage on the property cause the bank or other mortgage holder to limit one's ability to include another person on the deed?

My wife and I are currently joint owners of our home with right of survival. We have a remaining mortgage balance of about 30% of estimated market value.

I would like to include my ...Read more

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


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