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Real Estate Matters: American interested in transferring potential condo sale profits from India to US

Q: I bought a condo in 1999 in Mumbai, India, to use when we visited the city. It has been rented for a total of six to seven years, but not continuously. I have not taken any depreciation nor reported any income from the property. Is there any way I can sell the condo and bring the proceeds from the sale of that property back to the United ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Woman signs home over to daughter as protective measure, has second thoughts

Q: My wife signed her home over to her daughter 15 years ago. She wanted to protect her home in case she ever went into a nursing home. She got paid less than $100 for the house.

We got married three months ago and her daughter now has a very controlling husband and they will not sign the deed back over to her. My wife wants the house to go to ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Tenant at odds with ‘broke uncle’ over inheritance, homeownership

Q: I live with my grandmother and uncle. When she passes away, my uncle told me that he is going to inherit the house. He says he wants to put it in my name for some financial reason. He is a broke jerk I want nothing to do with. Although my decision is already to have nothing to do with him, I would like to know exactly what it would mean if ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Parent seeks loan to help pay for daughter’s home renovation

Q: I read your articles regularly. I would love your opinion on options for financing an addition on my daughter’s house.

Once her renovation is done, we will live with her. We currently own our own home and have no mortgage. We hold title to the house in our living trust. All of our money is tied up in our IRAs, and we have little in savings...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Association reluctant to participate in reserve study

Q: In our 60-unit building, our association board is reluctant to have a reserve study done for two reasons. First, the board members feel that they may have liability if they have a reserve study done and then work does not get completed. Second, depending on what comes up in the study, they don’t want to be forced to increase assessments.

...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Parent seeks help navigating late son’s estate

Q: My single son died two years ago. He had no children. His only assets were his condominium and the money he had in his 401(k) plan. His condo is worth around $100,000 and his 401(k) plan has about $10,000.

For the past two years, we continued to make his mortgage and tax payments on his condo and, of course, we paid for his funeral expenses....Read more

Real Estate Matters: New condo owner says special assessment was not disclosed at closing

Q: I purchased my condo in July 2021. Since then, the condo board put through a special assessment for $120 per month for the next 84 months to pay for “unsafe balcony” repairs. This was not disclosed at the time of my closing.

I’ve made two payments so far, and no work has begun, nor has there been any update furnished by the board. My ...Read more

Do homeowners need a service to protect their title?

Q: I received an offer in the mail from a company in San Diego. They offer a service to protect the title on our home from someone stealing it to take out loans for credit lines and second mortgages without our knowledge. According to the company, these thieves would take the money and leave us with the legal obligation to pay back the funds.

...Read more

Real Estate Matters: The ins and outs of buying a co-op

Q: We’re wondering if you could provide us with some enlightenment about the ins and outs of buying a co-op in the Washington, D.C., area. We would also like to know about how we can get more information about the co-op — bylaws, financial health, co-op board minutes, etc. — without actually submitting a contract.

Our daughter is ready to...Read more

Real Estate Matters: What do you do about the keys after closing on a home?

Q: I found Ilyce’s book, "100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask," to be extremely helpful. However, there was one section that I felt received “short shrift,” and that was the section about receiving the keys from the owner after the closing.

Specifically, what are the buyer’s options if some of the keys that he receives ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Let’s catch up with our readers

COMMENT: Your column from a couple of weeks ago was like the Marx Brothers’ bit from “A Day At The Races” when Groucho bought a racing form. He was informed that he also needed a breeder’s guide, a tip sheet, then a code book and a master code book to understand the Racing Form.

Your column mentioned that the reader might want to hire ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Homeowner recommends whole house water shut-off valves

Q: I just finished your article on water sensors and was disappointed you did not mention whole house water shut-off valves. I recently experienced water damage that required 90% of my wood floors to be replaced at an insured cost of about $55,000.

My next move is to have installed a Moen Flo water shut-off valve (top rated by Consumer Reports)...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Will there be tax implications when you have joint tenants with right of survivorship?

Q: In 2008, I paid off my parents’ mortgage. In exchange, I was placed on the deed as joint tenants with right of survivorship, with the expectation that I was to be repaid when the house was sold. I never lived in the home.

Fourteen years later, my step dad has passed away and my mom has just moved to a retirement home. We plan to sell the ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Each state has its own rules governing estate taxes

Q: Your answer to the reader about inheritance taxes in Pennsylvania addressed the questions about federal taxes and a gift tax, but isn’t there misinformation in the question concerning avoiding probate on a cash estate of $250,000?

In my state of Virginia, probate is required if the estate is greater than $50,000 or includes real property. ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Who is responsible for repairing damaged insulation in a condo?

Q: My condo association has repeatedly repaired our roof. It has also paid for repainting parts of the ceiling in my unit on multiple occasions. I live on the top floor of a five-story building.

Whose responsibility is it to replace rain damaged ceiling insulation? And, whose responsibility is it if the insulation above my unit has been blown ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Readers respond to our advice regarding quitclaim deeds

There were a number of comments about a recent question we wrote regarding a quitclaim deed that was signed but not recorded. Here’s a sample:

Comment: I am an attorney and practice estate planning. The other attorneys in the office specialize in real estate. Your recent column regarding the conditional use of a quitclaim deed does not ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Association requiring homeowner to unnecessarily upgrade roof to match aesthetic changes

Q: Where can I find information about homeowners association’s powers? Can a homeowners association force me to replace a perfectly good roof because they want me to upgrade to their new favorite roof style of shingles?

It is my responsibility to repair the roof. But having me pay more than $10,000 for a new roof simply because they have ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: How to prevent water infiltration, maintain a dry basement

Climate change is causing a big divide in the U.S.: The eastern half of the country is getting a lot wetter and the western half is getting a lot drier. If you’re a homeowner, and you live east of Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, you’ve probably spent some time thinking about how to prevent water infiltration.

Keeping your basement dry is ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Let’s explore today’s market for first-time homebuyers

Mortgage interest rates have doubled over the past 15 months, throwing a curveball to first-time buyers who were trying to cope with skyrocketing home prices, and were hoping for their shot at achieving the American Dream of homeownership.

According to the 2022 NAR Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report, first-time buyers made up 34...Read more

Homeowners frustrated about discussion of their home’s valuation

Q: I am growing impatient with so many saying, “Wow, the value of your home has gone up so much,” without knowing the facts.

Fifteen years ago, in 2007, I bought my house in Florida from a trust, as the owners had both died. I offered $700,000 on the property, which was listed at $800,000, so I do not feel I overpaid. The trust accepted my ...Read more



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