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House Calls: My Last Column

Consumer / Edith Lank /

It was December of 1975. My husband, Norman Lank, was a Realtor, with two dozen salespersons under his supervision.

He had received word that day that both local newspapers would be raising their classified ad rates for the coming year. But to sweeten the deal, the Sunday paper was about to start a real estate section. No more lumping real ...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: 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

Hourse Calls: Mortgagor, Mortgagee

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: I'm studying for my real estate license, and last week, we discussed mortgages. I still can't get "mortgagor" and "mortgagee" straight in my mind. I told our professor that I'd email you to see whether you could help. By the way, we sometimes talk about your column in class.

Wish me luck on the exam. -- L. C.

Answer: Perhaps the ...Read more

What to Look for

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: We just put our home on the market without a broker. We'll take any offers we receive to our lawyer, but could you give us an idea of what to watch out for? -- P. I.

Answer: First of all, understand that in the sale of real estate, oral agreements are not enforceable. If a buyer says, "Would you take $10,000 less than your ...Read more

House Calls: What About Tipping?

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: We are buying our first house, and we're both so pleased with the extra help our real estate agent has been giving us. She will be paid by the sellers, and we won't have much spare cash, but are there any guidelines for tipping? -- L. W.

Answer: Depending on the law in your state and the type of license she has, she might not be ...Read more

House Calls: Belt and Suspenders

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: What does it mean when a property shows up in the multiple listing system as a new listing with a pending offer?

I get email updates about my area from a couple of different real estate offices. The email I received today regarding a property shows today's date as the list date and a pending offer with today's date.

I thought it ...Read more

House Calls: More Reader Comments on Home Staging

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Readers are still sending in comments about the rant from a seller who resented trying to live in her professionally staged home while it was on the market. Some sellers agree, but say that staging is worth the discomfort. Some sellers disagree. And at least one reader evidently misread the letter.

Resenting 'Nasty' Answer

Ms. Lank: How...Read more

House Calls: Understand the Difference Between Decorating and Staging

Consumer / Edith Lank /

A few weeks ago, a reader wrote in with what she called a rant -- an account of the "grief" she and her husband felt after their real estate broker staged their longtime home to put it on the market. She couldn't believe buyers would rather see a house in which she and her husband were "imprisoned." Their home felt "totally strange, ...Read more

House Calls: Absentee Real Estate Investment

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: My son is interested in renting out his home, as he received a job offer in another state. Three years ago, I bought your book, "The Home Buyer's Kit," to help him. Does this book have current information for landlords, or do you have another that would guide us? -- J. L.

Answer: Your note made my day! I am flattered that you ...Read more

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