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Real Estate Matters: Readers respond to the probability of condos providing charging stations for electric cars

Americans are buying more electric vehicles every year. In a recent column, we discussed the installation of a charging station all condo owners could use.

That struck a nerve with some regular readers who are condominium association board managers or owners. We wrote about locating electric vehicle car chargers in the common areas of an ...Read more

Personal finance resolutions to consider as we move into another year of the coronavirus pandemic

Here’s a guess: There aren’t many of us who’d care to relive the past two years. Even if your stock portfolio is worth more today than it was 20 months ago, even if you have a new job that pays you more than you were making.

As of early January 2022, according to the CDC COCIVD Data Tracker, COVID-19 has killed more than 840,000 Americans...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Sellers refund deposit after buyers suffer tragedy

Q: This is in reference to one of your recent columns about when someone can back out of a contract.

About 25 years ago, I was offered a contract on my house with a rather quick 30-day settlement date. My wife and I had already planned a one-week vacation, so we knew that we would be extremely busy upon our return to be ready to settle in the ...Read more

2022 New Year’s resolutions for home sellers

Welcome to 2022, and another year of the housing market favoring sellers over buyers.

As we learned last year, the housing market is short by as much as 6.5 million homes, according to the National Association of Realtors. Redfin reports that buyers are facing the fewest number of listings on record, as the number of active listings fell 27% ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: 2022 New Year’s resolutions for homebuyers

COVID-19, as we’ve pointed out in previous columns, is a trend accelerator. When it comes to buying a home, COVID-19 has been the best of times (lowest mortgage rates in history during 2020 and part of 2021) and worst of times (home prices are skyrocketing).

As we ended 2021, the U.S. was short between 5.5 million and 6.8 million housing ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Continuing our looks at probable real estate trends in 2022

Our last column covered several real estate trends that buyers, sellers and investors should be aware of as we move into 2022, including that iBuyers are evolving and interest rates are rising, which means that Millennials and Gen Z may find it cost-prohibitive to buy their first homes.

These came from some interesting conversations Ilyce had ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: A look at possible real estate trends in 2022

If only we could foretell the future, we’d have bought Apple stock at the start of the pandemic.

While we can’t look forward with that degree of certainty, Ilyce had some interesting conversations with real estate experts and industry observers at the recent National Association of Real Estate Editors conference about what real estate ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Here’s your reminder to review your insurance policies

Q: I read your column each week and enjoy it immensely. However, a recent column left out an important consideration.

A woman wrote in to say that she has a house that is in her name alone but her husband still has the loan in his name. If the homeowners insurance policy was taken out by the husband in his name alone, then she does not have any...Read more

Real Estate Matters: An LLC isn’t for everyone, and we stand by that advice

Q: For what it’s worth, I think you need to revisit your advice in your recent column about limited liability companies (LLCs) and investment real estate.

I own two residential rental properties, and the first piece of advice I received years ago from both our accountant and our lawyer was to create a limited liability company (LLC) for each ...Read more

Readers respond to question about managing end-of-life plans

We recently published a question from a reader who was looking for someone to help her manage her end-of-life issues. We received a number of responses from readers.

COMMENT: I am responding to the question regarding an “end of life agent”. It is well known how to set up a will, legal power of attorney, executor, etc., but what I believe is...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Homeowner unsure of the logistics regarding parking, street repair

Q: No improvements have been made to our street in 21 years. It is my understanding that the road is sliced down the center by an imaginary dotted line. The homes on each side own the street to that center line and are responsible for maintaining it.

Does this also mean that parking on each side of the street is restricted to the property owner...Read more

Some ways to transfer assets are more cost-effective than others

Q: I’m a 60-year-old single woman who hopefully has all my finances in order. I have beneficiaries on all of my accounts and a will, but I don’t have a trust.

Considering the cost of setting up a trust is expensive and the only things I would have to put in it are my house and car, my financial guy suggested setting up a transfer of death ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: A discussion on how condo associations should structure reserves

Q: I’ve been reading your column about condominium reserves, and it’s made me think that most condominium associations should have higher reserves.

One reason to have higher reserves is that it’s more equitable for current and future owners. Let’s assume that a condo building has an expense of $10 million every 10 years. If the reserves...Read more

Couple seeks guidance on transferring property ownership before moving overseas

Q: My wife and I own our house outright. We have two daughters, each of whom has a boy. They do not communicate with us because of some misunderstandings through the years. So, we are thinking about moving overseas.

Even with the bad blood between us, we’d still like to give them our home. Can I just change the ownership of the house now to ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Some open permits are easier to close out than others

Q: I saw your recent article about making sure that renovations were done with permits and was reminded of our situation a few years ago.

My buyer was a real estate agent, and she checked with the county and found that I had not closed or finalized two building permits for a small addition I built. There was also some sort of open item for a ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Longtime homeowner unable to find her original deed

Q: My mother bought her home in 1968 but doesn’t remember where the title or deed is. She has the release of mortgage paperwork. Is this the same thing as her title? What documents do we need to put the property into her living trust?

A: Fifty years is a long time to live in the same home, and we wouldn’t necessarily expect our readers to ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Can a would-be tenant break a lease and recoup the deposit?

Q: Because of COVID-19, I signed a lease prior to seeing my apartment. I was advised it was under renovations. After I signed it, I was shown the apartment and it was uninhabitable. I did not move in, and I don’t have the keys.

The apartment manager states she will not give me my deposit back because I signed the lease. I need help. What can ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Heir considers using online tools to determine valuation of inherited property

Q: My dad purchased an investment property in 2006 for $150,000. He put my name as joint owner with him. His intent was for me to become the sole owner of the property after his death. He died late last year. Prior to his death, he managed the property and did everything that had to do with the property. He took all the tax benefits and tax ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Appraising a home is more art than science

Q: We live in a west coast Florida beach town. We applied for a cash out refinance in June 2021, so that we could consolidate our finances and pay off our mortgage on a long-held home in the north.

We were shocked, as was the lender, when the appraisal came in much lower than expected ($575,000). The problem seems to be that there are no ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Readers weigh in

This column features thoughts, comments and suggestions from our readers.

Comment: I saw your response to the question about selling your home to an LLC. To make it work, the taxpayer should sell it to an S-Corp. They should sell it for fair market value, and I would recommend an appraisal. It is legitimate to have property owned by a ...Read more



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