When I was going through my divorce, the house wasn’t settled. We tried to do a modification, but did not get approved, so the house is on the market as a short sale. My credit has suffered as a result–should I put a note on my credit report to explain the circumstances?

Q: Hello, I live in NJ and recently went through a divorce. At the time of the divorce, the house wasn’t settled.  Now, after trying to do a modification and not getting it, the house is on the market as a short sale. My credit has suffered and I was wondering, if I add a letter to my credit report explaining the divorce and such, will that help me get some credit? Prior to all of this happening, my credit was decent–I had a score of 720. Now it is much lower–in the low 600s. My ex-husband did nothing to help me and won’t even cooperate with the short sale, but my saving grace is that my divorce decree says the house is to be sold. Read More.

I purchased my home in 2008 and received a substantial federal home buyer tax credit, but want out of my house. Do I have to pay the money back?

Q: We live in Tennessee and hate it. We experienced a bad tornado last year, and now there have been tornado warnings issued again. We paid more for our house than it was worth, and have a very high mortgage, but both my husband and I are retired. All in all, it’s a big mess, and we want out of our house; however, we purchased in 2008 and received an $8,000 tax credit. and have read that we’re obligated to repay it if we move out of the house before 3 years are up. We spoke to the IRS, and they said that if we walk away from the home and it goes into a short sale, it might take a while and likely take us past that 3-year mark. How can we get out of this property? We are … Read More.

I want to break my lease early–is there a minimum notice standard in NYC?

Q: I want to break my lease with a shoddy landlord. Is there a minimum notice standard in New York City by law? If so, what is it? Read More.

What do I do if I’m behind on my mortgage payments?

Q: I haven’t paid my mortgage in over a year. They haven’t sent us any foreclosure notices yet, but when they do, I was wondering how I should respond and what to do to get loan modification.  Read More.

Who is responsible for Radon Testing when it comes to the passing of title on a property?

Q: I’m attempting to buy a second home in Southwest Florida. The home is 7 years old, and passed the engineer report inspection with flying colors; however, the Radon gas registered at 6.7, which is above the EPA limits of 4.0. The seller refuses to fix the problem, which would cost between $1,500 and $3,000. I called the State of Florida, as well as the bank, and other agencies to see what I should do, and I get the feeling that this is a “buyer beware!” situation. Radon is the second largest lung cancer carcinogen, right behind smoking, and, according to the EPA, causes 20,000 deaths per year. Can you advise me of the realtor’s, bank’s, or state agency’s responsibilities when it comes to the passing of title? I can’t believe how critical it is that this Radon test is … Read More.

I want to make an offer on a Fannie Mae property, but it needs work, so I plan on offering less than they’re asking. What do you think?

Q:  I have an opportunity to purchase a Fannie Mae property that needs work, 75% of which I can do myself. I plan to make an offer of about $40,000 less than they want, because the house not only needs a lot of work, but I won’t be able to sell right away, I will rent. Is there anything I should check out beforehand? I know the house is offered AS IS, so I think I have a chance. Thanks. Read More.

What do I need to know about renting or buying in co-ops versus condos?

Q: What do we need to know about renting or buying in co-op? Versus a condo? A. Subletting in co-ops is generally discouraged. Co-ops that do permit subletting often limit the lease terms and will ask the prospective tenant to submit a lease application, which requires full financial disclosure, references, rental history and often a personal interview. Condo leasing, on the other hand, is an accepted part of the condo’s policies and procedures. While the process does require financial disclosure, there is no personal interview. There are application fees with both types of properties, as well as other associated fees such as credit check fees, move-in and move-out fees, and so on. Often, in both co-ops and condos, certain policies, like permitting pets, apply to purchasers only, and do not apply to renters. It is best to check each rental … Read More.

Who I should talk to regarding my brother’s investment as a foreign citizen?

Q:  My brother is a foreign citizen, and has come to know that foreigners will be allowed to invest in housing in the USA if a proposed bill gets passed in senate. I wanted to know who I should talk to regarding this investment; should I talk to a real estate agent or a lawyer in this regard? Thanks. Read More.

How do I handle encroaching neighbors, especially if I plan on selling my property?

Q: Hi Dottie and Team. We do enjoy your show, listen every week. We’ve lived in our home in suburban New Jersey for over 25 years. Currently, the large, irregularly shaped property is demarcated by a few survey posts, but some are missing, and it looks as though a few of my neighbors are encroaching on my property. I may be looking to sell in a year or so, and want to avoid any issues regarding the property line encroachment or possible liability issues when the time comes. I’m looking for your advice as to what to do both now and in the future. Thank you. Read More.

How can I prevent my daughter from wasting money on a new car and go forth purchasing as co-owners on an income property?

Q:  My daughter is scheduled to finish college this spring. I have $40,000.00 saved that we didn’t use on her tuition. I suggested that we purchase as co-owners an income-producing property. She clearly does not want to either live in and/or assist me in managing the property. However, she does not object to this notion. Question: When she is given the money, how can I avoid her wasting it on a new car and go forth with the co-ownership plan? What’s your advice? Read More.