House Calls: About the Hedge
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. Some called it "irreplaceable." Now he has written in again.
About the Hedge
Hi, Edith: I appreciated all those thoughts on the hedge replacement. We will try and go with this natural property border.
Today I'm commenting on your other reader who wanted to leave his rental properties to his children. He was worried that they might not take to being landlords and would have to sell the units.
Please suggest that his children engage a Realtor to handle the rentals -- find occupants, collect rent, etc. A Realtor would gladly provide those services, and the properties would generate a steady income for his children!
We have not personally hired a property manager. But I got the idea when my parents were renting their upstairs apartment in a big converted home. We found a nearby broker who would have been very handy, only taking a small percentage of the rent for his fee. My stepmother insisted on doing it all herself, so we were never sure she got the maximum rent possible, and she had to deal with the tenants and their problems, pets, etc. -- G. N. R.
Answer: Professional property management is particularly valuable when the landlord doesn't live near the rental(s). But for just an upstairs apartment in one's own home, frankly, I'm not sure it would pay for itself.
Loan Is a Lien
Dear Edith: We're having trouble making our monthly payments right now. We can manage the mortgage, but if we were to put off payments on our equity loan, could they put a lien on our house? -- R. D.