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For $1M, 2 bids are better; 3 better yet (access required)

I live in a 125-unit condominium. Recently, our board of directors signed a contract for almost $1 million to upgrade our elevators. I believe that the board did not get any bids and just went with one company. Is there any law requiring more than one bid on any one job, especially one as large as this? – Henry

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Not greener over the septic tank (access required)

When we sold our home in Wisconsin the septic system inspector noted the "septic drain field mottling" was too close to the top of the ground. In his report, he noted the septic system was operating properly but probably would not pass inspection. The buyer wanted us to replace the field with an engineered system.

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Stuck in a reverse-mortgage mess (access required)

My husband took out a reverse mortgage in 2005. I was 58 and he was 62 at the time. I had to give him a quitclaim deed, and later I was put back on the deed. We have contacted our lender and asked if I could be put on the reverse mortgage or refinance it. They said no to both. We have tried to refinance with other companies, but were told we would have to come up with at least $30,000 to do this!

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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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