Here is a sampling of readers’ thoughts, ideas, and comments about recent columns.
Comment: You hit the nail on the head when you closed saying an attorney needs to prove a seller disclosure law violation.
The Residential Real Property Disclosure Report must be executed unless, of course, the property is being sold “as is”. If the report was tendered to the buyer and seller did not disclose the “material defect” to the septic system, it is obviously a violation of this Act. A material defect is defined as “substantial property devaluation (perhaps 5% of property value) or death threatening defects.”
However, no action for this Act violation may be commenced after one year from the earlier of property possession or deed recording. So, in this case, the time has lapsed to begin legal proceedings.
The buyer should have gotten the seller’s commitment in writing at closing since all parties knew of the defect at that time. And the buyer should have never gone through with closing unless he had big bucks and didn’t care!
Comment: I recently read an article of yours that hit the spot, as I am thinking of selling a home to my son, his wife and two kids below the home’s current market price. Unfortunately, and forgive me for sailing this, I think you made a mistake.
The paragraph that troubles me reads as follows: “You can give anyone a financial gift of up to $15,000 without triggering a ‘taxable event’ as the accountants like to call it. So, you parents could give you a gift worth $30,000 a year. If you’re married, they could give you and your spouse $60,000 a year.” (I don’t understand this. You just said $15,000/year per person)
Then, you say if you have two children, they could give you up to $120,000 without triggering any taxes. (Again, I don’t understand how you get to $120,000 when 4x$15,000 = $60,000.)
Thank you for anything you can do to clarify this.
Our response: We should have provided a more thorough explanation, so, good catch on your part. Here’s how it works:
Sam can give Child A $15,000/year. Ilyce can give Child A $15,000/year. That’s $30,000/year that you can get out of your estate.
Sam and Ilyce can also give Child A’s spouse/partner another $30,000. So, a total of $60,000 per couple.
If Sam and Ilyce also have Child B, that’s another $30,000, or if Child B has a spouse, a total of $60,000.
Child A+spouse and Child B+spouse each get the $15,000 from Sam and $15,000 from Ilyce, which means a total of $120,000/year leaves the estate. $15,000x8=$120,000.
Hope that clears things up.
Comment: As a recently retired Realtor, I read your column just to keep up with the profession I loved for many years. I got tickled by your recent column regarding buyers showing up with cash at closing.
Many years ago (probably around 1975) I was working for an attorney who represented an estate with a property that had been rented to a long-time tenant. The will stated that the tenant had first right of refusal to buy the property for $50,000. The tenant decided to buy the house. We got everything set up for closing and he shows up with a paper bag full of cash. Over $50,000 in ones, fives, 10s and 20s!
He had been saving that money from his job as a cab driver for over 20 years, knowing he would be able to buy the house at the right time. He was a wonderful older gentleman who was so sincere, and I admired him. By the way, the house was located dead center in historic Alexandria, Virginia. Most likely the house was worth twice the $50,000 at that time, and in today’s market I can’t imagine its value!
Comment: I had to chuckle at this column about the buyers with cash. I sold a single-family home in the late 1980s. The buyer brought cash to the closing — the title company didn’t know quite what to do but they took it. He put down 25% and I financed the rest.
Turns out, the buyer was a drug addict who was feeding his habit by robbing banks while wearing a motorcycle helmet. “Helmet head” was caught 18 months later. That’s when he stopped making his mortgage payments to me and I had to foreclose on the property. The Feds asked to check the house for evidence. I was worried they might take the house, but they didn’t. I resold the house and was glad when it was all over. Thanks for the memories!
Our response: Thanks for writing. And thanks to all of our readers for sharing their real estate stories. We’ll publish future letters in upcoming columns.
(Ilyce Glink is the author of “100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask” (4th Edition). She is also the CEO of Best Money Moves, an app that employers provide to employees to measure and dial down financial stress. Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Contact Ilyce and Sam through their website, bestmoneymoves.com.)