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.
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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.
LIVING TRUST IS USUALLY BETTER THAN A LIFE ESTATE
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.
HOW CAN HOME BUYER KNOW ABOUT LOWER MORTGAGE RATE?
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 www.BobBruss.com. Questions for this column are welcome at either address.
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