Q: We recently read a reply you gave to a question about a homeowners association (HOA) in Maryland that is having trouble getting people to run for the board.
We live in a Chicago suburb in a community with 26 single-family homes. The town that we live in has told us that we could turn over responsibility for the two retention ponds that we ...Read more
Q: I inherited my mother’s home. That part went well, but boy was I uninformed. As I’ve now learned, and Ilyce’s site (ThinkGlink.com ) made this clearer, when one inherits a house:
In my case, my mother died in August 2020, and the trust deeded it to me in September 2021. I then sold it July 2022, since a family was renting it from the ...Read more
Q: We purchased a home with liquid propane (LP) gas service to heat the pool. We did not heat the pool and did not use the LP gas at all. Now the gas company wants to charge us for the LP gas tank rental fee. Are we required to pay the tank rental fee and any maintenance costs to maintain the LP gas home system?
A: You pose an interesting ...Read more
Q: You recently had a column about how to protect your home from someone trying to take out a fraudulent mortgage against it. In the story, you said an appraiser would come inside to view the house. We’ve done several refinances over the years and have never had an appraiser come by and ask to view the inside of the house. Just curious about ...Read more
Q: I read your recent article on capital gains and how to calculate them. Here’s my issue.
I thought I could shred a whole bunch of receipts accumulated during my ownership of my home. I see the feds are forcing people to sell within two years of a spouse’s death to get the $500,000 capital gains write off. So, I’ll keep the receipts for ...Read more
Q: Is there any risk, concern or benefit to simply adding a child to title through a quitclaim deed (not replacing homeowner on title, but adding)? This child is the beneficiary and trustee/executor of the revocable living trust already in place. Is a quitclaim deed even necessary?
A: The quick answer to your question is that you likely don’t...Read more
Q: I live in a four-unit condominium in Chicago. My understanding is that in a condominium building of this size, only one unit can hold a license for short-term rentals. One owner already has this license but so far hasn’t rented out their unit. This unit owner lives in her unit. I would like to amend our condo by-laws to prohibit short-term ...Read more
Q: I wanted to record a quitclaim deed to transfer title of our home into our respective living trusts in order to avoid probate. Our plan was to record this deed ourselves to save money.
We thought we could record the deed and it would be a simple process. We’d go to the recorder’s office and pay the $100 fee to record the document and we�...Read more
Q: When my 360th (and final) mortgage payment came due I was informed that a personal check wouldn’t be acceptable. I had to submit a certified check with almost more information on the check than could fit, everything except my inseam size number of original teeth remaining on my mouth.
Why are 359 personal checks acceptable over the life of...Read more
Comment: I read your column with interest, having worked in legal aid for about 20 years — mostly representing tenants being evicted. This is to comment about your advice in your recent column from a person who said he was 80 years old and renting an apartment in a senior community.
Your advice as far as it went was clearly spot on. However, ...Read more
Q: I have paid off the mortgage on my home. But, I am concerned. I have heard that someone can take a loan out against your home without you knowing and you could lose your home. To address my concern without knowing other options, I am keeping a minor amount due in a home equity line of credit (HELOC) so that the bank remains involved in what ...Read more
Q: I have a question regarding my mom’s revocable trust. My brother and I are the beneficiaries of the trust. The home was put on the market while my mom was alive, but she has since passed. We actually received an offer for the home on the day she died.
We just closed on the home and realized my attorney never set up a federal tax ...Read more
Q: My ex-spouse will sign a quitclaim deed to me on the house we lived in. Will that remove her name from the mortgage? Her name is not on the loan promissory note, but she did sign on the mortgage document. How can I remove her name from the mortgage document without refinancing the loan?
A: With interest rising to heights last seen nearly 25 ...Read more
Q: I lent my daughter money to buy a home. It has been a couple of years since she made a payment to me. That’s mostly due to COVID-19 shutdowns of her work and her health issues.
Her home has continued to appreciate. I am completely confident that I will eventually receive the repayment of the principal she owes along with the interest that ...Read more
Q: We are scheduled to begin an elevator modernization project soon. The project will require that one of the two elevators in our building be out of service for about four months. We will be totally dependent on a single elevator for that entire period.
The contractor for the project is bound by contract to maintain the operation of the single...Read more
Q: If your home mortgage final payment comes due and you can’t pay it before the due date, how many days do you have after the due date to make the final payment, without losing your home?
A: If we understand your questions correctly, you’ve come a long way from the time you took out your mortgage until now when your last and final payment ...Read more
Q: I am a member of a common interest community of 12 individual homes. We are discussing making changes in our association documents, including our declaration, rules and regulations. We can make these changes with a membership vote.
My question is do we need to submit our changes to our town? Also, do we need an attorney to sign off on any ...Read more
Q: We are selling our rental property. Our buyers’ inspector came out to our property to do the inspection. I don’t live near the home and wasn’t there for the inspection.
I went to the house a week later and discovered the inspector had turned off the electric line to the air conditioning unit (which he reported was not cooling), the ...Read more
Q: Do you think it smart to do a transfer-on-death deed on real estate we own? Our home is quite valuable and we want to leave it to our heirs. My home state, Hawaii, does allow this. I just don’t know if it’s a good idea.
A: Let’s first address the concept of a transfer-on-death (TOD) deed. As the name implies, you can sign a document ...Read more
Q: I own five acres of land with two other people. Two of us have paid all of the property taxes on the property for 30 years. Is it possible for the two owners who have paid the taxes to take ownership of the property? The third owner was deeded his share of the property about 30 years ago but has never paid anything. Now that owner has filed ...Read more