DEAR BOB: I am an avid reader of your articles for many years. My fiancé and I want to buy a house, but so far we haven’t purchased yet. We both have good jobs so income is not a problem. Is this a good time to buy, with home prices so high, or should we wait to buy a home? – Dolma Y.

DEAR DOLMA: When is the best time to buy a house or condo? Answer: Five years ago! That’s an old but very true real estate joke.

Your first step is to get pre-approved in writing by a mortgage lender (not just a mortgage broker who says you are pre-qualified; that means nothing).

After you have a lender’s pre-approval letter or certificate in your hand, then you are ready to shop for a house or condo. Today’s mortgage interest rates are extremely low so it’s a great time to be a home buyer.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

QUIT CLAIM DEED CONVEYS ONLY WHATEVER TITLE THE GRANTOR OWNS

DEAR BOB: About six months ago, my uncle gave me his rural property that he no longer used. He signed a quit claim deed to me. A few months later, I started receiving threats from an individual who claims to have a judgment lien against my uncle. When I replied to explain I now own the property and know nothing about the judgment, my uncle’s creditor began legal proceedings. Can my uncle’s judgment creditor foreclose on me although I knew nothing about the judgment? – Alicia H.

DEAR ALICIA: In most circumstances, the answer is yes. Your situation shows why, even when receiving title from a trusted relative, you should have obtained an owner’s title insurance policy.

If you had done that, you would have been told by the title insurer that your uncle had a recorded judgment lien against him, which attached to the property. In other words, your uncle’s judgment lienholder can, in most circumstances, foreclose on your property unless you pay the judgment. For more details, please consult a local real estate attorney.

DOES LANDLORD HAVE DUTY TO INFORM TENANTS OF CRIME?

DEAR BOB: I own several small apartment buildings in good, quiet neighborhoods. However, people from nearby towns come to these better neighborhoods to “shop for goods,” meaning they steal nice items, such as tools and car radios. One night when I was working at my property, about 1 a.m., I left my toolbox outside on the stairs. When I returned an hour later, it was gone. I have two tenants who have had items stolen, including a car. Is it my responsibility to make my tenants aware of crimes as they occur? – John H.

DEAR JOHN: No. It is not your legal responsibility to notify your tenants of neighborhood crimes. However, when renting apartments, be very careful not to say things such as “This is a crime-free neighborhood” if that is not the truth. When a prospective renter asks you if it is a safe neighborhood, suggest the prospect check with the local police department for crime rate details.

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

***

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