DEAR BOB: Can a mortgage lender force me to use a specific appraiser when I am in the process of removing my PMI (private mortgage insurance)? –Dave W.
DEAR DAVE: Yes. However, if you don’t like the appraiser’s evaluation of your home’s fair market value, you can hire your own licensed appraiser and then contest the lender’s appraisal result.
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Whether you are removing PMI or obtaining a new mortgage, the mortgage lender always selects the licensed appraiser. However, as a borrower I’ve often been asked by mortgage lenders if I have a preference for a specific appraiser. Usually, I don’t.
I suggest you speak up if you have a preference for a specific appraiser or you feel the appraiser selected by the lender is incompetent. However, please be aware many mortgage companies now hire appraisers through major nationwide appraisal management firms at negotiated fees.
A “POUR-OVER WILL” SOMETIMES MUST BE PROBATED
DEAR BOB: In recent articles you said it was necessary to transfer real estate titles into the property owner’s living trust. Is this necessary if the owner has a “pour-over will” with a provision that all nonbequeathed assets are poured over into the trust? –Joseph P.
DEAR JOSEPH: Depending on state law where you reside, your pour-over will may be subject to probate proceedings. The purpose of a pour-over will is to bequeath assets that you forgot to include in your revocable living trust. Its purpose is not to avoid probate proceedings. Please check with your attorney for complete details.
GRANTEE’S SIGNATURE IS NOT REQUIRED ON A DEED
DEAR BOB: When I was 17, my father included my name on the deed to a small plot of land in a campground community. I never signed the deed. But after seeing a copy of the deed, my name is clearly on it with no signature. I learned about this when I received a collection notice for about $10,000 of past-due maintenance fees, electricity bills, property taxes and interest. I have contacted the community association as well as the collection agency to explain the situation, as I do not feel I should be obligated to pay. The president of the community association told me the main reason he is going after me is because my dad is nowhere to be found. My credit is completely ruined. I cannot get approved for a mortgage, car loan or even a credit card. Can I sue them? If so, how would I determine my damages? –David F.
DEAR DAVID: As the grantee on a deed, your signature is not required. However, because you were 17 at the time your dad foolishly added your name to the title, when you became an adult at age 18 you could have renounced the title. I presume you are now well over 18 and it is too late to renounce title, especially if you have benefited by using the campground.
Depending on state law where the campground is located, you might be able to deed the property to the campground association to get rid of it. This is commonly done by homeowners who want to deed property to their lenders to get out of a mortgage obligation.
For example, where I live the grantee on such an unexpected deed has 30 days after receiving knowledge of a recorded deed to renounce it. I suggest you contact a real estate attorney in the county where the campground is located to learn if he or she is aware of any technique that has been used to get out of ownership.
Another alternative, of course, is to sell the plot of land if there are any buyers interested in it. Or you can offer to deed the lot to the campground in return for removing the collection action from your credit reports.
The new Robert Bruss special report, “Everything Home Sellers and Their Realty Agents Need to Know About the $250,000 Tax Exemption Rules,” is now available for $5 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, Calif., 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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