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Real Estate Matters: You may find it hard to get rid of your timeshare

Q: I read your recent article on timeshares with great interest. I would also like to get rid of a timeshare. We enjoyed the timeshare for many years when our son was growing up and the maintenance fees were at a reasonable rate. At this point in time, our son is no longer interested in vacationing with us and the maintenance fees for the ...Read more

Buyer believes agent’s inspector missed HVAC defect. Who is to blame?

Q: I purchased a home in June. My real estate agent hired an inspector and collected a fee from my husband and me. The inspector wrote an inspection report that minor problems were showing. I paid a second fee for him to return after the owners repaired the problems to ensure that everything was in great shape.

We closed and moved into the home...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Condo resident seeks insurance advice after repeated water damage caused by upstairs neighbor

Q: I live in a building with six condos in Chicago. Recently, the hot water tank from my upstairs neighbor broke and water leaked from his unit into my unit. The upstairs neighbor contacted his insurance company and opened a claim for my damage.

However, a claim representative from his insurance company called and told me that because of a ...Read more

Our take on recent comments from readers of our column

Here is a sampling of readers’ thoughts, ideas, and comments about recent columns.

Comment: You hit the nail on the head when you closed saying an attorney needs to prove a seller disclosure law violation.

The Residential Real Property Disclosure Report must be executed unless, of course, the property is being sold “as is”. If the report...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Unsolicited offer from commercial business leaves homeowner confused about assessing property value

Q: Our neighbor sold his home to the commercial business that borders his property. He sold it after they approached him with an unsolicited offer. The neighbor was told the business wanted to remodel/redevelop the property and wanted “green space” between them and the neighborhood.

We’ve now been contacted by them too. Do you have any ...Read more

Seller questions cancelation fee after disagreement with agent

Q: A year and a half ago I listed a parking space for sale with a real estate agent. When the listing was about to expire, I relisted it for six months. Last week I got a request from the agent to list it for another year. I instead opted for three months and she had a fit. She demanded that I renew for a year. When I resisted, she said that she...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Analysis of housing costs shows short supply means home prices, rents will continue to rise

In a typical year, the spring housing market is hotter than the other part of the year, meaning more homes are bought and sold during the period of mid-January (when the spring home buying market begins) through June, but not by much.

Traffic tends to be a little lower in other parts of the year, like the winter holiday seasons (Thanksgiving ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Reader unsure about capital gains owed on inherited acreage that recently sold

Q: My great-grandfather was a farmer and had about 23 acres when he died. My grandfather passed away before my great grandfather. The land was put in a trust for my mother and uncles. My mother passed away two years ago.

The land has now been sold, and I’m supposed to get a third of share of the proceeds per her will. What do I have to pay in...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Mistake on paperwork leads to disagreement between buyer and seller

Q: I purchased a home last year during COVID-19. Prior to purchasing the home, the real estate agent’s listing sheet showed that the property was going to be split in two. The listing contained a suggestion to see the property marker where the surveyor left a stake to show the property line division.

Going through the sale process, all ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Study analyzes housing prices, supply and demand

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released a study calling for a dire, “once-in-a-generation” response to a housing shortage.

The study, Housing Is Critical Infrastructure: Social and Economic Benefits of Building More Housing, written by members of Rosen Consulting Group, was remarkable, as it brought together some of the...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Seller accepting ‘all cash offer’ seeks secure payment

Q: I plan on accepting an all cash offer on sale of my house. Is a certified bank check really the most secure means of payment other than a bag full of cash?

A: We chuckled at the idea of someone walking into a closing with a bag full of cash. Maybe they’re paying for their million-dollar property in singles?

Seriously, you’ve posed an ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Family living in multigenerational household seeks advice about finances, ownership

Q: My husband, daughter and I are planning to combine households with my mother. She is a widow with some new health problems, and no longer wishes to live alone.

We looked for a house to accommodate all of us, but as you know, the housing market is crazy. So, we decided to renovate her home. She plans to retain ownership of the house, but we ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Reader helps emphasize the importance of having a will

Reader comment: I am an estate attorney and had a case just like the one you described in a recent column where a person died without a will. In my situation, a man died unexpectedly of a heart attack, intestate. In other words, he had no will.

He left behind his girlfriend and their 23-year old son. All major assets, including the family home,...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Buyer experiencing septic woes believes seller is responsible for repairs

Q: I have a friend who purchased a home in 2019. He bought the home even though the home inspection found the property had a bad septic system.

Are the sellers responsible to fix/replace it? How long do they have to do so? The sellers said they would fix the septic system, but they have been avoiding my friend’s real estate agent. He figured ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Homeowner overwhelmed by pages and pages of documents

Q: I purchased a house and several years later got a home equity line of credit. I remortgaged the house several times along the way. For each of these transactions, I received a folder filled with documents related to each loan and probably have a couple hundred pages including appraisals, addendums and other documents.

But all this paperwork ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Siblings seek clarity after receiving confusing advice from estate attorney

Q: I just read your recent article about how siblings should talk through their mother’s estate. I am in the same situation, but it relates to our father’s estate.

The estate lawyer we talked to about estate planning told us that you cannot get one-half of the value of the house and keep the house. In our case, there are three of us. So he ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Some negotiations at an impasse after home inspection

Q: Why do so many buyers, agents and inspectors have the impression that home inspections are designed to develop “punch lists” of minor issues they expect sellers to remedy before closing?

My understanding is that, per the standard real estate contract language, inspections are simply to guarantee “habitability,” i.e., integrity of the...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Parents concerned about selling property to child due to capital gains taxes

Q: I have lived in my parents’ house for the past 19 years. I’ve been paying rent the entire time. They want to sell it to me for less than the market value but are afraid of the huge capital gains taxes. The home was purchased 19 years ago for $120,000 and the home has doubled in value. If they sell the home to me under the market value, ...Read more

Real Estate Matters: Seller files emergency motion to access house after closing

Q: I bought a house after a fire. The sale was “as is.” After closing, the seller filed an emergency motion to access the house two times up to two weeks after her move out of the home. The house’s roof is half collapsed, and the home is not safe. I asked the seller to sign a waiver if she gets injured, but the seller refused. How do I ...Read more

Readers respond to seniors who felt stuck in their home

A few weeks ago, we published a question from seniors who felt they were stuck in their home. They didn’t qualify for a new mortgage and couldn’t refinance their existing mortgage.

The story struck a nerve with a number of readers who wrote to offer support and suggestions. Here is a sampling of their comments.

Comment: I am over 65 and ...Read more



David M. Hitch Bob Englehart Al Goodwyn Adam Zyglis Cathy Beetle Bailey