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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Dear Mrs. Lank: Our Realtor listed our house two weeks ago and now she is planning to have an open house next weekend. She has asked us to leave the house and go somewhere for those three hours. She says it will work better. We're not sure, is this usual? -- F. I.
Answer: Of course you're curious to see who comes to see your home, but the agent...Read more
Ms. Lank: If you could answer me today that would be helpful. We are selling our home ourselves, and we got an offer this morning that is $8,000 less than we are asking. It's only good for 48 hours. My wife isn't sure about it. Can you discuss our options? We need advice right away. -- K. R.
Answer: First of all, we'll assume that this is a ...Read more
Ms. Lank: I recently read one of your columns in the paper. R and M.T. wrote that they inherited a property in a different state and wanted to sell it. They were being bothered with correspondences from people they thought wanted to buy the property. I think they would be amazed at how good the Realtors are there. We're from Maryland, and our ...Read more
Dear Edith: What do you think of an older person buying a house or a condo? I'll be 70 this year. I am single, and I have excellent credit. I've been looking for an apartment, and landlords seem to really jack up the prices, at lease this time of year. I pay $1,100 a month, so I think I can afford a mortgage. Thanks for your thoughts. -- M.