Ask a Lawyer
Here is a dynamite new tool for our website users - Ask a Lawyer. It's access to the brains of an attorney in the Chicago area. Her name is Diana Brodman Summers. She has special expertise in real estate, and she's willing to share with you.
Diana has written a book which is titled How to Buy Your First Home. The book is obviously aimed at helping first time buyers, but it's more than that. It's a useful refresher course for anyone who is in the process of buying, or selling, a home.
We're printing an excerpt from Diana's book (2nd edition) here, and I think you'll find it useful.
In addition, Diana has agreed to answer your general interest real estate questions. Just send your questions to her at email@example.com. How cool is that?
And now for the book excerpt...
How Much Can You Afford for a Mortgage?
excerpt from a book by Diana Brodman Summers, Attorney at Law
Questions for Diana Brodman Summers
On 8-9-2008 Brandee M. wrote to fsboamerica.org asking a question that we've been asked many times before. I forwarded my (Raynor James)answer to Diana, and asked her if it was adequate. She kindly said it was and tweeked (improved) it a bit. Bandee asked...I got your email from the fsboamerica.org website, and I have a few questions. I am selling my property, and it isn't paid for yet. I know that I will have to pay off the note. Now what I need to know is what paperwork I need, and what closing costs I'll need to pay, and what the buyer will pay. I cannot afford to get a lawyer to help with this, so I want to do it on my own. As to the paperwork, I have no idea what I need, nor where to proceed after that. Is just going to the title company sufficient??
I realy appreciate all your help and directions in selling my property!
Raynor's answer -- tweeked by Diana
On 8-8-2008, Bob & Vicki wrote...We are leasing a home in Florida. We have a one year lease ending Aug 31. The landlord has just given us notice to vacate on Aug. 6th even though we were in negotiations with her and her Realtor to move to a month-to-month lease. Isn't she required to give us more than 24 days notice. Nothing in our lease addresses this. Only that we (the lessee must give her 60 days notice). Thank You!
On 7-29-2008, Bonnie T. wrote...HI, I am going to sell my house with a "lease to purchase" agreement. Can I put "no pets" or "no smoking" in the contract until the tenant signs the contract to buy?
On 7-21-2008, Doris L. wrote...I need advice on buying a house that will soon be going to foreclosure. My boyfriend and I have put several bids on this property that was previously owned by a single woman who is now deceased. The bank has been giving us the run around and has been avoiding our realtor. They were asking $150,000 for this property but it has significant structural damage so we are only willing to pay $105,000 for it. Recently our realtor has told us the bank has rejected our offer again and they state they will let the house go to foreclosure. Can you advise on what other options we may have or what would be the best approach to buy this property before it goes to foreclosure? Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
On 7-14-2008, William B. wrote...We were being told by our landlord that they wanted more rent and we decided to leave. We found another rental and signed a contract Saturday night at 6:00pm and gave them a deposit check and a check for the first month's rental. We postdated the checks for 7/15. They are currently receiving rent through July. Our current landlord called us Sunday and said that their situation had changed and we could stay. The question is, is there a 3 day window for changing your mind on this rental contract.....or what are our options. We advised the new landords we didn't want to move into their house 18 hours after we signed the contract. What are our options????
On 7-12-2008, Ralph C. wrote...I plan to purchase a home in August. The past 2 years taxes were not paid. The owner is walking. A sherriff sale is in September. Who is legally responsible for the taxes and satisfaction of the note?
On 7-10-2008, Kevin C. wrote...Hi Diana, thank you in advance for your help
I was hoping you could help me out with an issue.
My wife is a builder and built the home we are living in that is for sale. There is an outside storage room located under a raised concrete patio that has a water leak. Every time it rains water comes in at the corner of the ceiling where the room meets the house(enough to cover half the floor).
The room is adjacent to the lower level and is not accessible from the living area. The room has one door that leads outside, is not heated, has a cement floor with no drain (I was going to put a drain in but decided not to), ICF walls (insolated concrete form), and has lighting and an outlet.
Unfortunately, we may not be able to stop the water leak because we did not take the enough design precautions during the design and construction process. For now we have caulked the leak area, which may not stop the leak and is only a band-aid.
When we get an offer we will have to disclose that this room leaks. I plan to say that the room was added after the construction started so we were not able to incorporate necessary fixes to make the room watertight. This is somewhat a true statement.
Do you see any problems with the way I plan to handle this issue?
Do you see any problems with selling a house that has a room like this that leaks?
Sorry for the long email but I thought more information would be better than less.
On 6-27-2008, Lisa W. wrote...We recently placed a bid on a house and received a counteroffer, the countered and they counteroffered once more. We placed a 3rd bid and the real estate agent sent it over to the listing agent and they never sent it to the bank who owns the property this was on 6/26. On 6/27, we get a call from a agent indicating there are other offers on this house so they are telling all parties involved to offer there highest bids. We placed another bid for the full amount plus $100 and still did not get the property . I called the bank wanting to know why and was told our offer was not accepted. We were unaware of the 6/26 never being submitted until this was a done deal. Legally, didn't the offer of 6/26 have to be presented? What due process do I have in this matter? Thank you.
A list of Diana's books is here. You can order one if you like. As of today (9-25-08), there is a 10% discount cupon on the site plus free shipping.
The information that you obtain on Ask A Lawyer is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice or an indication of an attorney-client relationship between the reader and the lawyer who provides the answers. Be warned that laws differ from state to state and no one answer can cover all states. For information specific to your geographic location, please contact a local attorney.