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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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Trusts can have downsides (access required)

DEAR BENNY: What are your thoughts on placing residential rental properties into a charitable remainder trust to be able to collect the rents and have the income offset by the charitable donation write-offs over the years allowed and sell the properties at a later date to avoid capital gains? Would you know what the requirements are as to how much must be retained in this type trust for the charity? Are there pitfalls to be aware of placing property into a CRT? —Jame

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Resolving property line disputes
 (access required)

My husband and I have owned our home since 1973. At the time we purchased the home, there was an existing fence between our neighbor's house and ours that we had assumed was on the property line. Our current neighbors moved into their house in 2000. They recently had a "topographic survey" of their property performed for a proposed landscaping project. The survey shows that the fence is not on the property line, but that it extends in the range of approximately 2 to 4 feet at various points onto their side of the property line.

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Pay your dues; then you can sue (access required)

We live in a large condominium complex and our unit happens to be located close enough to the lobby that we hear the elevator constantly. The sound, what I call harmonizing, has been occurring for the last five to six years. I have spoken to the management many times and they have responded by repairing, but the fix is never long-lasting.

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Putting kids on title is bad idea (access required)

My wife and I are in our mid-50s. We have a 30-year-old daughter who owned a house years ago and now resides in an apartment. Our son is 21 and also lives in an apartment. We want to put our home in which we have lived for 15 years in the kids' names. We have approximately three years left on the mortgage.

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Time share purchasers feeling duped (access required)

My husband and I were in Las Vegas and made a horrible mistake in sitting through a time share presentation so that we could obtain half-price tickets to a show. The presentation was at an office on The Strip. Unfortunately, I did not research the company before the presentation. The salesman gave only his first name and had no business card. That should have been a clue about the company.

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Thou art thy brother’s (house) keeper (access required)

I have a question regarding a rental house that my brother and I jointly own. The house was our parents' home and was willed to both of us several years ago. The mortgage was paid off. We have a joint checking account in which we originally deposited $5,000, and we use the account for all house transactions. We have been leasing the home for $1,300 per month, and until recently we each took $600 a month out of the account. Due to taxes, insurance and maintenance, the original balance in the joint checking account is gone and the monthly $1,300 income is not enough to maintain the house and still provide a monthly $600 payout to both of us.

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