Home & Leisure



Real Estate Matters: Property owner questions tax implications on sale of home and additional landscaped lot

Q: We have two combined lots that we bought in 1984 for a total cost of about $50,000. A 100-year old cottage sits on one lot and the other lot is a landscaped garden with no structures. Over the past 37 years, we have spent quite a bit of money on landscaping, fencing, a new roof, a new garage and a complete gut job to the main floor and attic ...Read more

Neighbor dispute leads to practical and legal questions about road usage

Q: I live in South Carolina and share a private road with my neighbor. The neighbor owns the first several hundred feet, and then I own a bit more, and then he owns a tad more on the tail end. My neighbor just informed me that they plan on putting a fence up. That fence would block my entry to my property. Can I legally block them from putting ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Can a new developer force existing owners to sell their condo units?

Q: I am fortunate enough to be a snowbird. We own a condo in Jacksonville, Florida. Our condo is in a development that was purchased by an investor/developer in the late 1980s. The developer improved the existing units, added several new buildings, sold some of the units and rented out the rest. We think the developer still controls a bit over ...Read more

Homeowner paying ex-husband ‘rent’ seeks advice on financing the home the couple once shared

Q: I divorced my husband two years ago. He signed a quitclaim deed giving me the house. There is a loan on the home, but my name was never on the loan.

I have been sending my ex-husband payments for the loan, which he claims as rent. What do I do about taxes and insurance, and how do I know whether or not he is actually paying the lender? The ...Read more

Homeowner considers selling property to personal LLC to minimize future taxes on sale profits

Q: Two year ago, I relocated for my company and rented out my primary residence. My initial plan was for this to be temporary and to eventually move back into the property. However, my move is turning into a long-term assignment and I am planning on keeping the property as a rental.

My question is regarding the cost basis of the home. My home ...Read more

Resident believes condo unit number is incorrect on title document

Q: I recently found out that the master deed plan referenced on my title document shows the wrong unit number for my condo. I have tried approaching my neighbor to work on a title transfer swap, but they are unwilling to do a title swap. How can I fix my title document? My condo association lawyer is also unwilling to take on the fix.

A: Well, ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: How are condo associations handling increases in utility costs due to electric cars?

Q: We have 12 units in our condo building, and each unit has its own garage. The association pays for the electricity for all of the garage units. What happens if someone purchases an electric car? Would that unit pay more because they’re using more electricity?

A: This is a great question. We, too, have wondered what condominium associations...Read more

Here’s why you should keep your kids off the title to your home

Q: My mother put me on the deed to a house she purchased five years ago. Recently, she has decided that she wants to sell the house to buy a smaller house in a nearby town. The house has been her primary residence for the last five years, but not mine. I live three hours away.

What are the tax implications for me from the sale of the house? She...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Condo residents’ desire to enlarge patio rebuffed by association

Q: Our condominium association was built about 50 years ago. Our development consists of six separate buildings. Each building is its own condominium plus one master association that governs all of the buildings.

Buildings 3, 4, 5 and 6 have allowed their owners to enlarge their patios. These patio enlargements go into the common area. ...Read more

Why parents often don’t share information about their assets

As Baby Boomers and their parents age, we’re receiving more questions about how to manage their housing and their inheritances. We’ll continue to publish these questions, comments and our responses, and encourage you to keep sending them our way.

Reader comment: Maybe there was more information from your correspondent being blindsided by ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Buyers hang hat on technicalities of the contract. Is the seller out of luck?

Q: I am the designated power of attorney for my husband, who is a firefighter. He was exposed to chemicals at a gas station explosion, had a severe reaction, and I have been taking care of him since 2016 because he now has early onset Alzheimer’s, encephalopathy and Parkinson’s.

His care has been getting expensive, so I thought I would sell...Read more

Reader questions moving costs, we respond

Over the past six months, we’ve written several times about seniors and housing issues. We’ve received more questions and comments about older homeowners and the particular struggles they and their families are facing.

Here’s a comment we recently received about the costs of moving. We encourage our readers to keep writing, and we’ll ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Homeowner seeks advice about putting house into trust

Q: How do I go about getting my house into our trust? Do I need to contact the person who did the trust for us? Do I need to use the attorney that set up the trust? Do I even need an attorney to do this?

A: You should know that most estate planning attorneys that create a living trust for their clients have someone on staff that can prepare the...Read more

Heir who inherited 20% of property is curious about asset division

Q: I inherited 20% of a home with a mortgage. The person who owns 80% wants to keep the house. How do we divide the property? Should I get 20% of the appraised value or 20% of the equity of a house? There are enough other assets in the estate to pay me either way.

A: Thank you for the question. You didn’t give us much detail or background ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Reader suggests using an auction company to sell elderly’s home, possessions

Q: I read your recent column about a person who was prepping for the sale of their elderly mother’s home. Your advice to them was to perhaps consider a local Realtor to coordinate and assist them with some of what they needed to do.

That is sound advice, but they might also consider using an auction company. Auction companies will often ...Read more

Why would a seller refuse a potential buyer’s inspection request?

Q: In a recent article you suggested to a daughter that when selling her mother’s home in poor condition that she could just refuse the buyer’s request to have a home inspection.

Why in the world would you suggest that? Refusing a buyer to conduct a home inspection reeks of “hiding” something.

A: Some people will certainly see it that ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Landlord seeks to break lease, leaving tenants in the lurch

Q: I just watched one of your YouTube videos: Can Landlords Make Tenants Pay if They Break Their Lease?

What if it is the other way around? My landlord gave a termination notice to vacate the rental home on Oct. 23, 2021 for the following reason: “During this Pandemic Era, it has been truly hard on my business to be profitable at renting this...Read more

Is buying a home above the listing price wise? Only time will tell

When we bought our house nearly 27 years ago, we wondered if we were overpaying. It was the mid-1990s and houses in our neighborhoods of choice were in extremely short supply.

We couldn’t afford a house that someone else had already renovated to perfection. (Not that we could find one we liked.) Instead, we looked around at homes that hadn’...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Discussing the governance of agent behavior

Q: We recently sold our deceased mother’s home in Columbus, Ohio. The house needed quite a bit of work, was structurally sound, and was in a very desirable neighborhood.

My siblings and I selected an agent after a couple of interviews, and emptied all contents from the home. In the six weeks or so before it was listed, our agent came to us ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Senior couple considers selling house to move to a rental

Q: We’re in our early 80s and we own our home. We have a loan of about $95,000 and make monthly payments of $700 to the lender. We don’t have much in savings, but we do have some. If a major repair came along it would deplete our savings. Would we be smart to sell the home now and rent?

A: You pose a great question, but it’s also ...Read more



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