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Real Estate Matters: Reader responds to our take on condo owner’s insurance denial

Q: I read your column regarding a condominium owner that was denied homeowner’s insurance coverage for sewer water damage he sustained. I don’t believe your answer adequately responds to the issue at hand. It may be relevant in Illinois, but there are substantial differences in other states, and specifically in Florida.

What the owner in ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: There are steps you can take to successfully reject inherited assets

Q: I am one of four siblings whose mother passed away last year. She had a will. In it, she left an equal share of her house and all other financial assets to her children, all four of us.

For a variety of reasons, I’m not interested in receiving my one-quarter share in the house. I’d prefer to allow my share to pass to my youngest brother...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Siblings seek guidance on ownership of vacation home inherited from father

Q: I read your column regularly and always find it very interesting and informative.

I have a rather complicated question: My brother and I inherited my father’s vacation home when he passed away. It was part of his trust. All of the assets of the trust have been distributed except this house. I want to sell it, and my brother wants to buy me...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Readers respond to column concerning divorce, death and joint tenancy

We’ve received several comments and observations about a column we recently wrote about divorce, death and joint tenancy. A grandchild wrote about how her grandparents had a difficult marriage and divorce. But even after the divorce, they kept the property in both names. Whoever died first lost the house. But there were some questions about ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Condo owner denied insurance coverage for unit damage caused by sewer pipe burst in building

Q: I live in a highrise condo building. Recently, a sewer pipe burst outside my condo between units. The water caused a substantial amount of water damage to my kitchen and the floors in my unit.

The condominium association has been in the process of repairing the pipe and fixing the walls but they won’t repair my kitchen or my floors. I put ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Homeowner concerned about potential lien on property after partner died while owing income taxes

Q: My life partner and I owned our home as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. We were not married. She died and left me her share of our home. I am the executor of her estate and the home is in Maryland.

I filed her income taxes in the year she died and she owed the IRS and the state of Maryland around $1,500. She only had about $300 to...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Parents concerned about gifted down payment funds becoming a marital asset if daughter heads for divorce

Q: We gave our daughter $30,000 for a down payment so she could buy a house. She’s married. If she dies or divorces, we would like this money to come back to us instead of becoming a marital asset. How should we do this?

A: Well, interestingly, if she’s closed on her home and she’s married, those funds you gave her may already be part of ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Sitting on an estate after a loved one dies adds layers of complications as years pass

Q: My mother-in-law passed away more than 25 years ago. Her son, his wife and their children lived in the house. They still live there, maintain the home and pay the taxes.

A probate estate was never opened when Mom passed away, as she didn’t have anything of value and lived with us. The only thing she owned was the house. My husband and his ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Everyone could use these personal finance resolutions in 2023

Every year, Ilyce and Sam offer their readers New Year’s resolutions for home buyers, sellers and their personal finances. These are their personal finance resolutions for 2023.

As we finish the third year of the pandemic, money and credit issues continue to weigh heavily on the minds of most Americans.

Let’s take a moment and recap the ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: 2023 New Year’s resolutions for sellers

Every year, Ilyce and Sam offer their readers New Year’s resolutions for home buyers, sellers and their personal finances. These are their 2023 home seller resolutions.

We feel like a broken record, but 2022 was still one of the best years on record for home sellers.

Despite mortgage interest rates rising at an all-time blistering pace, ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Reader adds to discussion about unloading timeshares

Q: This is a comment regarding your article on getting rid of timeshare properties several months ago. I have two bits of information for disillusioned owners.

Two of the major timeshare companies have a process where they can assist you in disposing of your timeshare ownership. Vistana Signature Experiences has an “exit” link that ...Read more

2023 New Year’s resolutions for buyers

Every year, Ilyce and Sam offer their readers New Year’s resolutions for home buyers, sellers and their personal finances. These are their 2023 home buyer resolutions.

My, how the tide is shifting for home buyers, sellers, renovators, investors and owners.

At the end of 2021, we wrote that “COVID-19 is a trend accelerator.” When it came ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Homebuyers struggle to obtain escrow money to fix issues after sellers move

Q: My wife and I bought a house in Maryland in early July 2022. The sellers wanted to stay in the house rent free for 30 days. They put up a $2,000 security deposit. After the sellers moved out, we found they had removed a light fixture, damaged a wall while removing an art object, and hired a contractor to do tree work without our prior ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Fire damage, depleted insurance put homeowners in a tough spot

Q: We live in a townhouse. The unit attached to ours had a major fire. The fire also caused considerable damage to our home. We have been in temporary housing for the last 17 months waiting for our home to be restored. We have depleted our insurance allotment through our insurance company. We recently heard that our neighbor’s bank foreclosed ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: When real estate situations are complicated, it’s often simpler to inherit property

Q: My dad owns a duplex and has a very limited income. He lives on one side of the duplex and rents the other. He is leaving the property to me and really can’t afford the cost to set up a trust. My husband and I want to have a trust because we own several properties. To set one up, we were quoted about $3,500, which is more than my dad can ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Senior condo owner considers paying off mortgage to alleviate financial burden on son after she passes

Q: I’m a 71-year-old retired single woman. I have $100,000 in the bank and $700,000 in investments. I also receive my Social Security benefits monthly. I owe about $90,000 on my condo, and I have no other debts. I have one adult child who will inherit it all.

Should I pay off the condo before I die? I heard that if the loan is not paid off ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Neighbor’s gutter causes issues on homeowner’s driveway, especially during winter months

Q: I live in a townhouse cluster that is governed by a community association. I’ve been having an issue with a neighbor about their gutter, which extends over my driveway.

This summer, I noticed a large amount of water spilling from this gutter onto my driveway. I was concerned, because during the winter the downspout causes a skating rink on...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Divorce decree may control home ownership after grandmother’s passing

Q: My grandparents had a less than ideal marriage and a less than peaceful divorce. They both kept the house in their names and never quitclaimed their ownership to the other. The way they left it, whoever died first lost the house.

My granny passed away in March of this year. We’re wondering if she is the true owner of the house, because she...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Original deed doesn’t guarantee property ownership

Q: My father and I purchased a home together with his VA loan. I provided the money to assist in the purchase, but I am not on the mortgage. But the property is deeded to me. My father also refinanced the property before he passed. Is the original deed with my name on it still valid? The property is now in his estate, I still make the payments ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: What does it mean to have a right of first refusal?

Q: We tried to purchase two different lots in a lake community about two hours from where we live. They have a right of first refusal clause in the bylaws of the community association. We had signed contracts on both of these lots.

The issue we had is that once we put in a contract for both of the lots, the owners then offered the lots to the ...Read more



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