Contributed by David W. Myers

About Real Estate: Homeowners should be wary of ‘beware of dog’ signs

A simple sign that suggests a dog may bite can land the homeowner in legal trouble. Q. We have two small dogs that we often let run around in our fenced yard. We also have “Beware of Dog” signs posted on the fence and on our front door, but a friend said those signs could … Read More »

June 17th, 2018 at 6:00 am

About Real Estate: Ceiling fans among top home amenities desired by buyers

Q. We are selling our home, but it doesn’t have central air conditioning like some of the other local homes do. Our real estate agent suggested that we install at least one or two ceiling fans to make the home more marketable, but we think it would just be a waste of money. What are … Read More »

June 10th, 2018 at 6:00 am

About Real Estate: Rise in mortgage rates makes 15-year loans more attractive

The slow but steady rise in 30-year mortgage rates suggests that many borrowers should opt for a 15-year loan instead. Rates on “quick-pay” mortgages are lower and allow buyers and home refinancers to cut their loan term in half while saving thousands in finance charges. Q. We are planning to buy a new home, so … Read More »

June 3rd, 2018 at 6:00 am

About Real Estate: Recent nationwide survey ranks best states for retirement

There’s a lot more that older folks need to consider when picking a state to live in during retirement than just home prices and income taxes. Q. You recently listed the 13 states that tax the Social Security payments that retirees receive. But are you aware of any recent reports that rank the best states … Read More »

May 27th, 2018 at 6:00 am

About Real Estate: Most down-payment ‘gifts’ won’t result in tax penalties

Most parents don’t have to fret about the tax consequences of helping a grown child with the purchase of a home, but there are some exceptions. Q. My husband and I would like to contribute to the down payment on our son’s first home. We are vaguely familiar with the federal “gift tax” laws but … Read More »

May 20th, 2018 at 6:00 am

About Real Estate: Homebuyers more vulnerable as hackers hone skills

As 2018’s prime spring homebuying season heats up, so does a new twist on an email scam that can delay a sale’s closing date — or worse, cost buyers thousands of dollars. Q. We agreed to buy a house, and the deal was set to close on April 13. A few days before the scheduled … Read More »

May 13th, 2018 at 6:00 am

About Real Estate: Homeowners should conduct spring checkup on property

Homeowners should give their property a checkup now to make sure it’s ready for the warmer months ahead. Q. I purchased my first home in November, after several years of renting. My landlord always took care of my old apartment’s maintenance duties when spring arrived, but now I will have to do them myself because … Read More »

May 6th, 2018 at 6:00 am

About Real Estate: Homeowners can take steps to save money, environment

April 22 was Earth Day, a good time for homeowners and renters alike to thank Mother Nature for her bounty and consider some changes that could help save the planet — and some money. I’m devoting this entire column to suggesting some of those changes. Q. My son’s science teacher told his class that mothballs … Read More »

April 30th, 2018 at 9:06 am

About Real Estate: Seller has few options when buyers’ ‘preapproved’ loan canceled

Suing buyers or their bank after a home sale falls apart is usually a fruitless proposition, even if the buyers had a lender’s preapproval for enough financing to close the deal. Q. We accepted an offer two weeks ago to sell our home for $211,000 because the buyers provided a certificate from their bank stating … Read More »

April 22nd, 2018 at 6:00 am

About Real Estate: New rules affect owners’ tax deductions for home-equity loans

The Internal Revenue Service recently clarified the rules for homeowners who want to borrow against the equity in their home. Q. I have read conflicting stories about how the tax-reform plan that President Donald Trump signed into law in December affects home-equity loans. Can you help? A. Sure. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act … Read More »

April 15th, 2018 at 6:00 am