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Get rid of an uspide-down second home (access required)

DEAR BENNY: We live in California and own a second home within five miles of our primary residence. This second home has been used as a rental, initially to persons we were not connected with in any way. For the past 10 years, two different sets of relatives who were in need of a new start in life lived in the home.

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Check the statute of limitations for lenders (access required)

Dear Benny: I had two properties foreclosed on this year. Although we had short-sale offers on both properties, for some reason the banks would not accept the offers. One of them was my primary residence, which had a first loan of $417,000, and a second in the amount of $180,000. The second home was an investment property, for which the first loan was $290,000 and the second loan was $60,000.

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Tree laws are branching out, just try not to kill it (access required)

DEAR BENNY: I live with my girlfriend at her house. I am trying to fix our backyard and we have a neighbor behind us with a 100-year-old oak tree. There are two main trunks of that tree hanging over our fence line. We are not talking about some small branches, but a main trunk and top canopy is 40-45 feet over our property.

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