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Say “Hello” to HELOC (access required)

I have about $40,000 left on my 15-year fixed mortgage at 4 percent interest. I owe about $13,000 on a home equity line that is 2.99 percent variable rate. I have a $100,000 equity line open. I have no other debt. I am considering paying off my remaining mortgage with the lower-interest home equity line. Do you think that is a good idea since I am giving up a fixed rate for a variable rate?

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PMI-cancellation tips (access required)

We purchased our home a year ago for $153,000 and put $16,000 cash down. PMI was required. I want to end the PMI as soon as possible and understand that the home equity must reach a certain point (the agent said after two years we could try to get it canceled).

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Mortgage relief extended (access required)

On Jan. 2, President Obama signed into law the legislation designed to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff." Included in the law was an extension of the law that helps homeowners whose property has been foreclosed from having to pay income tax on the debt that they no longer have to pay.

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Time share can be time-suck (access required)

My time-share maintenance fees exceed $2,000 per year. While this does not cause a real hardship on me, I was wondering what happens to the time share ownership if the primary deed owner dies. When I die — I'm 80 now — I assume the time share points go into my estate. And, if they do, does that obligate my heirs to continue to pay the annual maintenance fees in perpetuity?

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What to know when paying off the mortgage (access required)

I will be soon paying off, in its entirety, the mortgage on my home. For your information, I have been current on my payments throughout the 10-year term. The mortgage company is a credit union, and I intend to continue residing in my home. Upon full and complete payment of all that is due on my part, is the mortgage company obliged to record a release of the mortgage (deed of trust) in the land registry of the county or execute a promissory note release? What can/should I expect from the mortgage company in proof of the full and complete payoff?

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Beware when signing Form 4506 (access required)

I understand that when homebuyers sign closing documents, they are routinely required to sign a blanket form allowing the lender to access IRS records with no time limit. The form says not to sign it unless dates are specified on the form, but lenders routinely insist they be signed without any specification as to which years of IRS records are covered.

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Inspecting the inspector (access required)

We recently purchased a house that was built in the 1950s. Since moving in we found out that the house has had settling issues and had work done to shore up the foundation a few years back. There are numerous cracks in the interior plaster walls (ceiling, above doors and windows, closets), some of which have been filled in and painted over, others that are open.

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Mom’s health complicates home sale (access required)

I live in a home that my mother and I financed jointly. I have been on the note and deed for about 10 years and have always made the payments and lived there. Our verbal agreement was that after two or three years she would give me the house because she wanted to go into a facility with people her age. She often forgets that the house is in both of our names. The last two years she was living in the home we agreed to sell it a number of times, but she would refuse to sign the final documents. I also tried to buy her out with the same result.

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