Home & Leisure



Remember the Five P's When Changing Homes

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: My grandmother owns a home and wants to downsize and live in another property she has. My husband and I want to buy it for a rental property. My grandmother's idea is to sell to an outsider and gift us her equity to fix up an apartment in a building that we already own for us to live in. We currently do have a mortgage and will be ...Read more

When First Jumping Into Rental Real Estate -- Be Very Careful

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: I want to buy my first rental property with my husband. We plan on purchasing with cash and buying cash flow of $1,500 a month. We found a property with three units and a monthly rent of $1,500. The only red flag is that it is reasonably priced and has been on the market for 100-plus days. I looked into the purchase history and saw...Read more

Selling Too Soon in Uncertain Market Puts Former Homebuyers' Equity at Risk

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: We bought our first home in 2021. We paid $287,400 for it. We saved our $30k down payment by living on one income (we both work) for the first six years of our marriage. My wife just received a big promotion, but we have to relocate. To prepare to sell, we obtained three estimates of value. They average $300k. We will lose money ...Read more

The Nine Most Important Contingencies When Buying or Selling a Home

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: We are going to buy our first home this year. We are investigating using an agent or buying directly from a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO). Some friends have used agents, while others have not. We want more information on the contingencies we may require. Do you have a checklist of contingencies to use in purchase offers?

Monty's Answer...Read more

Buyer Damages Home Then Backs Out

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: On the morning of closing, the buyer did the final walk-through. Then his agent called, asking about the water valve replaced years earlier. They used this incident to extort 500 dollars from my agent. I wasn't talking with this buyer. The sale of my house was contingent on him selling his home. While at the house doing the final ...Read more

Agent Calls Lender Without Client Approval. Is This Unethical?

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: My wife and I are currently looking for homes with an agent. We have received preapproval letters from three lenders and are still deciding which way we will go. Upon providing our agent with our preapproval letters (all for the same amount and similar interest rates), the agent called our potential lenders and asked how a high HOA...Read more

Condo Remodel Requires Extra Due Diligence

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: I found a condo near my office, but my agent quickly let me know that the outside of the complex has structural damage and that a special assessment would come. It is also in poor condition inside. There are signs of water penetration and mold everywhere. Nothing works; there is junk around and a horrible smell. That may be why it ...Read more

The Four Critical Components of Homeowners Associations (HOAs)

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: We are considering buying a home in a homeowners association. The agent calls it an HOA. We have heard both positive and negative reviews about the concept. Are homeowners associations a good idea?

Monty's Answer: There are many homeowners associations. Estimates vary, but the U.S. Census Bureau has published data on the number of...Read more

Nine Reasons to Adopt Real Estate Technology

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: At some point in the next few years, we will sell our home. We have been here 25 years and raised our kids here. My wife and I have resisted modern technology. We get along fine with paper road maps. I have an old flip phone, but my work is outdoors, and my hobbies are hunting, fishing and collecting rocks. My family, friends and ...Read more

A Little-Known Fact About Earnest Money

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: We want to make an offer on a home in Wisconsin. Our real estate agent wants us to put $10,000 down as earnest money. She said it would show the sellers how much we like the house and may be an influence if there is another buyer. While the advice could be accurate, we are still determining if the sellers will accept our offer or ...Read more

Three Ways to Make a Home Video Tour

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: We will sell our home on our own in the spring. We want a video so people can preview the house first to see if it will work for them. It saves us from showing the house to someone that walks away because they didn't like the floor plan. We save time getting ready for the showing, and the buyer saves a trip to an unsuitable home. ...Read more

The Best Market Data When Buying or Selling a Home

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: I recently read that markets can change rapidly in neighborhoods. The term "hyperlocal markets" appeared in one of your recent columns. I am an experienced real estate agent and have yet to hear of this concept. I am not challenging the conclusion, but curious to know how you determined it. Do you have any research that supports ...Read more

Are Home Appraisals Obsolete?

Home & Leisure / Dear Monty /

Dear Monty: I am indirectly involved in real estate transactions. I work for a title company. I witness real estate transactions regularly failing for a variety of reasons. Appraisals are one of the leading causes. There should be a better method. Will there be a better process in the future?

Monty's Answer: Your question requires a quick ...Read more



Rubes Bob Gorrell Andy Capp Agnes Carpe Diem Adam Zyglis