1. We outsource our relocation benefit package to a relocation company. They say there is nothing that can be done to reduce the relocation costs. What do you say?

     Reader Question:  I work in finance with a mid-size publicly traded company. We outsource our relocation policy to a third-party relocation company. Our relocation company says that short of reducing benefits, there is not much we can do to reduce relocation costs. What is your answer to the question, “Is there anything we can do?”   Bill […]

    May 11, 2015
  2. Your advice on finding a real estate lawyer came too late for me. The actual fee was four times the quote. What recourse do I have?

    Reader Question: Monty, recently you advised readers how to choose a real estate lawyer. It came too late for me. My attorney initially said his fee to settle a property dispute was $15,000. Three years, $75,000 and many mishandled opportunities later, he acts like he is doing me a favor by advising me to settle […]

    December 9, 2014
  3. Mom owns a condo unit. There were never rules recorded and now there are disagreements with the other owner. Is separate land ownership superior to the condominium?

    Reader Question: My mother owns (or owned) one unit of a two-unit duplex condominium. The two units shared one lot but never created a condominium ownership agreement. My mother was the original owner; the other unit has sold four times. During the recent sale, the buyer requested the single lot be broken into two separate […]

    November 4, 2014
  4. With all that has happened during the past decade, with the bubble values and the real estate meltdown, does owning a home remain a wise choice?

    Reader Question: We want to ask about homeownership. After witnessing the run-up in real estate values in the not-to-distant past and the aftermath of the financial meltdown, we read conflicting information about where real estate values, and the economy are going, and whether or not a home is a good investment. Is owning a home […]

    September 2, 2014
  5. Should I deed my house to the bank?

    Reader Question: I am 83. We bought a property in Maryland in 2006 for $225,000. My husband died in 2012. The agent felt it would take $99,900 for a short sale to sell it. Got a full-price offer the first day but the bank denied the short sale and appeal. I had a break-in and […]

    May 27, 2014
  6. Do I have to pay full tax if I don't receive local services?

    Reader Question: I live in an over 55 community. We do not receive full services from the city. Example, in the winter no street plowing, no regular police patrols. Can I successfully challenge the real estate taxing rate from the city because of reduced services? John T. Monty’s Answer: Hello John, and thanks for your […]

    January 29, 2013
  7. What if I don't reaffirm a loan after bankruptcy?

    Reader Question: My daughter and son-in-law (the kids) went through bankruptcy a couple of years ago, but did not include their home in bankruptcy. The judge approved their decision to do so. Now they are trying to refinance their home to get a better interest rate, but they were informed they did not do the paperwork […]

    November 6, 2012
  8. Should I retire if my mortgage is underwater?

    Reader Question: I purchased my home 8 years ago expecting some appreciation in the value before I retire within the next year. However, now my home is worth 35-50 thousand less than I owe. What choices do I have, since at retirement I am not sure if I will any longer be able to afford […]

    October 23, 2012
  9. Who handles problems with private mortgage insurance?

    Reader Question: Monty, my daughter and son-in-law are trying to refinance their home to lower their interest rate. After my daughter contacted their mortgage company, the mortgage advisor said there would be no problem, and they could do it for eleven dollars. This is not their original mortgage company. After further checking, he informed my […]

    July 31, 2012