DEAR BOB: About two years ago, my brother and I inherited some farmland from our late father. The property is leased to a neighbor, but that lease expires after this year’s crop is harvested. My brother wants me to buy him out. But I want to continue with the present arrangement, as the neighbor farmer wants to continue leasing the land. Can my brother force me to buy him out? –Danny D.
DEAR DANNY: No. Presuming there is no partnership contract with a buyout agreement, I am not aware how a court could force you to buy out your brother’s half of the property.
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However, either of you can bring a court partition lawsuit to force the sale of the land with the sales proceeds divided between the two owners. If you think your brother might bring a partition lawsuit to force the sale of the property, you might want to consider buying him out now on a voluntary basis if you want to keep the land. For more details, please consult a local real estate attorney.
FORECLOSURE SALE USUALLY WIPES OUT JUNIOR LIENS
DEAR BOB: I was the high bidder at a foreclosure sale and got title to a house from the foreclosing bank. However, a judgment lienholder against the previous owner says I owe her the $123,000 amount of her judgment. Isn’t it true that when you buy at a foreclosure sale, all other liens are wiped out? –Nancy R.
DEAR NANCY: The general rule is when you buy at a foreclosure sale, any junior liens (except property taxes) are wiped out. Priority is determined by the date of recording.
For example, if you bought at a foreclosure sale held by a lender who recorded his mortgage in 2000, that sale generally wipes out any junior liens recorded later. However, if the judgment was recorded in 1999 against the prior owner, then you bought “subject to” that judgment and are obligated to pay it. For details, please consult a local real estate attorney.
NO EASY WAY TO CANCEL F.H.A. MORTGAGE INSURANCE
DEAR BOB: My home has a FHA mortgage for about 50 percent of its market value. Although the FHA loan is very safe for the lender, every month I have to pay a mortgage insurance premium along with my regular mortgage payment. When I inquired of FHA about canceling the mortgage insurance, which obviously is not needed by the lender, I was told the lender can cancel the premium at the lender’s discretion. But my lender refuses to cancel my mortgage insurance. What can I do? –Bernice W.
DEAR BERNICE: Sorry, there is nothing you can do to force your FHA lender to cancel your unnecessary monthly mortgage insurance premium if the lender refuses to do so. Of course, you can refinance with another non-FHA lender.
The new Robert Bruss special report, “Five Easy Ways to Buy Your Home and Investment Property for Nothing Down,” 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 www.BobBruss.com. Questions for this column are welcome at either address.
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