Q: I have a question about a letter I received from my county assessor’s office. I live in Maricopa County, Arizona. The form asks how many people live in our home and what we’re doing with the home. The form also states that if we don’t respond, they will fine us.
My take is that it’s none of their business how many people live in my ...Read more
Q: I have a question about adding a name to the deed of a house. My boyfriend (we have never married) and I have one son together. Our son has my last name and is now an adult. My boyfriend is the one who bought the home we live in and the home is in his name.
He is now thinking about the future in case something should happen to him. He is ...Read more
Q: I own a home that my mother gave me by quitclaim deed. She did this two months before she passed away.
The attorney who handled my mother’s legal affairs before she died mistakenly put my maiden name on the deed, as opposed to my married legal name. To make matters worse, she admittedly also put my wrong middle initial on the deed. This ...Read more
Q: I just watched one of your YouTube videos about 1031 exchanges. We are a family of investors and have done quite a few 1031 exchanges. How do we facilitate the change of ownership on a property that was acquired through a 1031? My parents want to transfer the ownership of a few of their properties to me and my siblings.
A: For starters, a ...Read more
Q: I read your article on using real estate attorneys in residential closings. What a bunch of drivel. I have handled tens of thousands, if not over 200,000 closings, settlements and escrows in all 50 states since 1996 and have found the greatest costs are always in states where we had to use attorneys.
Tell me why one would need a survey on a ...Read more
Q: I have a condo that I rent. The condo association has started a new annual fee of $600 to cover administrative costs for rentals. The association also now charges $350 every time a renter moves in or out of the building.
The move in and out fees cover the cost of reserving the elevator and placing padding on the elevator walls. Previously, ...Read more
Q: I am one of three daughters who will inherit our home when our parents pass away. They have a mortgage on the home and some credit card debt. Would it be wise for us to purchase their home before their death, so their mortgage debt is paid off?
I recently sold my home and have money from that sale. I don’t want my parents to die with all ...Read more
Q: I have lived in a house for the past three years and received a letter stating the house was sold for unpaid taxes. I’ve tried reaching the homeowners, but they won’t respond. If I pay the back taxes on the house can I claim ownership in West Virginia?
A: The short answer to your questions is no. You can’t simply pay the real estate ...Read more
Q: A couple of years ago, we purchased a unit in a four-unit, newly built condominium in Washington, D.C. We were the second purchaser in this building.
The first unit in the building was conveyed around November 2018, and the last unit was sold in the summer of 2019. The buyers of the first unit noticed water leaks from the roof after closing....Read more
Q: There are thousands of seniors like us who are “stuck” in their homes because they do not “qualify” for a mortgage, let alone a refinance of their existing mortgage. All our funds are tied up in our houses or condos and we’re barely surviving on our monthly Social Security checks.
If seniors have a mortgage and wish to move to a ...Read more
Q: The siding of my home is inside my neighbor’s yard. He put up a big shed very close to my siding. How can I get my neighbor to comply with setback rules to have him move his shed and other things that are up against my siding wall?
A: Neighbor issues. Gotta love ’em. You can approach your issue in one of two ways: nicely or aggressively....Read more
Q: I recently read an article you published about being able to buy a house for $5,000. I am looking to purchase a house. I have saved up $7,000. I understand the house will need to be fixed up. Where would you suggest I begin?
A: For about 10 years, Ilyce wrote about 12 columns per month for a website called Moneywatch, which was later folded ...Read more
Q. I purchased a condominium from my mother in 1997 for a small nominal fee after living in it for 10 years. My question is, if I sell the unit now, would I pay taxes based on the county’s appraised value in 1997, of which I am unaware, or do I pay taxes based on the purchase price from my mother that is stated on the deed transfer?
A: In a ...Read more
Q: First off, thank you for all the wonderful information on Ilyce’s YouTube channel. The videos are very well made and informative. I am trying to gather some initial information about a situation my family will be dealing with shortly and was hoping that you could shed some light on things for me.
Here’s the situation: My mother is the ...Read more
A year ago, we were in a very different place: The COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning, but the real estate market had been running hot. With interest rates and housing inventory near historic lows, most areas of the country were in a solid seller’s market, and most homeowners were enjoying watching their home values appreciate, with their ...Read more
Q: My sister put my name on the title to a condominium unit that was bought with her trust fund money. I owned it for seven years and during that time, she lived in the condo rent free.
She says that the reason she didn’t want the condo in her name was that she didn’t want her ownership of a condo to interfere with the government assistance...Read more
Q: I just read your article in our local paper titled “Parents worry about splitting sale of home,” but it did not answer some questions I’ve had.
My first question is about selling my vacation home. My understanding is I would have to pay taxes on the sale, but if I let my three kids inherit it, my kids would pay no taxes if they sell it...Read more
A couple of weeks ago we wrote a column about real estate taxes and real estate tax escrows. Most homeowners pay their property tax bill via an escrow with their lender, but that doesn’t always work out as it should. We wanted to share a few of the comments we received.
Comment: In your response to a question about property taxes you made a ...Read more
Q: You co-authored an article a few years back about a homeowner that faced a seller that hid defects in their home. In the article it mentioned an asbestos issue.
I recently closed on a house in Florida and the inspector did not identify the ceilings as popcorn, nor did he call out the possible hazard in the report summary. He also did not ...Read more
Q: My wife and I own our home in Florida. We paid a bit over $300,000 early last year for the property. The home was newly built when we bought it, but prices are rising quickly in our area and it’s now worth around $350,000.
I’m working full time and I’m around 60. My wife has a debilitating disease and we don’t have much in the way of...Read more