DEAR BOB: My mother’s neighbors moved in about four years ago. Since then they have accumulated cars (on blocks), a shed that is overflowing, and many piles with blue tarps. I am afraid when my mother wants to sell her home (she is 84), she will have problems. What recourse does she have? –Darlene H.

DEAR DARLENE: Your mother should consult the appropriate city or county code-enforcement officials to see if the neighbors are violating any ordinances. If so, ask the government to enforce its ordinances.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

If there is no law violation, however, there isn’t much your mother can do unless the situation is a fire hazard or creates other danger. She should consult a local real estate attorney to see if the situation is so bad it constitutes a private nuisance, which can be abated by court action.


DEAR BOB: I have encouraged my mother to create a revocable living trust to avoid probate when she passes on. Since her only major asset is her house, her attorney in Minnesota is trying to dissuade her from creating a living trust. He tells her it would be cheaper to create a “life estate remainder deed” or “enhanced life estate deed.” What do you think about the comparative merits of such deeds compared to a living trust? –Michael D.

DEAR MICHAEL: If you are a regular reader of this column, you know about all the problems that can arise with life estates and remainders.

Presuming you are your mother’s heir, I don’t see any advantages of a life estate for her or you, but there are lots of potential disadvantages. I suggest she consult an attorney who specializes in living trusts to discuss the advantages.


DEAR BOB: When a mortgage broker receives a “yield spread premium” from a lender for producing a home loan with an interest rate higher than the lender requires, how can a home buyer know there was a lower-interest-rate mortgage available from that lender? –Carolyn C.

DEAR CAROLYN: When applying for a mortgage, ask the mortgage broker if he or she will be receiving a “yield spread premium” from the lender. That tells you whether you are being overcharged and could obtain a lower interest rate from the lender.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “How to Buy Fixer-Upper Houses with Little or No Cash for Fun and Fortune,” is now available for $5 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant internet delivery at Questions for this column are welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

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