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House Calls: Getting a Mortgage

Edith Lank on

Ms. Lank: We found the house we want to buy without using an agent, but we aren't sure how to get a mortgage. Any advice is welcome. -- P. I.

Answer: If you have an account with a local bank, that's the place to start. It'll refer you to the mortgage department.

You don't "get" a mortgage, by the way. Quite the opposite: You actually give it. The usual term is "placing" a mortgage. It's a document pledging your real estate as security for a loan. You sign it and give it to the lender; the lender "holds" it.

Pool Table

Dear Ms. Lank: We moved into our new home, and there's one question you can help us with. It is my understanding that we were supposed to get the house in the condition it was when we saw it; it was empty, except there was a pool table in the downstairs rec room. But the pool table was taken away between when we saw the house and when we became the owners.

I know you say see a lawyer, but I don't think it would pay for the cost of a used pool table. Is there anything we can do about this? -- B. G.

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Answer: Yes, special arrangements might be necessary to move a pool table -- I believe heavy slate is involved. They're often just left behind when a house is sold. It sounds, though, as if your sellers took theirs or sold it after the furniture had gone.

At any rate, you've run into the definition of real estate, fixtures and personal property (chattels). Your sales contract gave you the right to the seller's real estate and fixtures, which are chattels that had become part of that real estate. The pool table, though, remained personal property. If you wanted it to remain, you should have said so in writing as part of your offer.

Yes, you're entitled to the real estate in the condition it was in when you offered. If the sellers had later removed, for example, a dining-room chandelier you particularly liked, I'd suggest taking them to small claims court. You could represent yourselves there at little cost and see what a judge would have to say.

When permanently attached to the wiring and the ceiling, that chandelier, though originally personal property, would have become a fixture, part of the real estate. Not so with the pool table, I'm afraid. Unless the sellers said in writing that they would leave it, they were free to take it.


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