Home & Leisure



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

Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin, Tribune Content Agency on

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 financial planners, Realtors, real estate attorneys, CPAs and insurance salesmen. That’s everything but a code book.

Of course, I’m just teasing. I’m a regular reader because the advice is rock solid and it was again in this column. I started reading your column well before I bought my first home in 2015 and found it invaluable. Now I’ll be thinking about tutti frutti ice cream all night.

ILYCE AND SAM RESPOND: Thank you for being a loyal reader to our column. We know we can sound a bit like a broken record when we suggest that readers consult with various professionals about their issues. But, rarely do our readers give us enough information that allows us to provide an answer with prescriptive detail.

Another part of the issue is space. We have a limited amount of space to respond to questions.

Most questions could take several pages to answer completely. In fact, Ilyce has written books answering questions for home buyers (“100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask”) and for home sellers (“100 Questions Every Home Seller Should Ask”). Each of those books is around 500 pages.


But our fabulous editor, Carrie Williams, would break down in tears if we attempted to provide that level of detail in our columns. So, we aim to provide guidance on the big issue in each question and hint at other possibilities. That’s another reason we suggest readers seek professional advice.

Finally, some of the questions we get seem simple — they might only be one sentence long — but they are actually quite complicated to answer. Take the tax code (“Please,” as the Marx Brothers might say). If you think about it, a tax question can look simple but is actually quite technical and complicated. Since we don’t want to guess wrong on the details, we provide the basics, and then some.

For every question about tax we receive, we know that many other readers have the same question with a bit of a twist. Many don’t realize the answer to that question has far-reaching implications. So, we try to provide a general answer with a gentle push to a local pro who can provide the nuance and detail that space constraints and lack of information prevent us from providing.

Glad you’re finding the column useful and entertaining.


swipe to next page



Kevin Siers John Cole One Big Happy Pickles Non Sequitur Phil Hands