Home Owning

Home Finances

When readers ask Monty about home finances, they are not asking about the household budget. Readers ask Monty when they are contemplating refinancing, or taking out a second mortgage to buy a vacation home. They ask about what to do because they are behind on their payments or are considering walking away from their home because it is “underwater.” There are hundreds of different financial situations involving mortgages, loan denials, appraisals gone sour and lost documents, just to name a few.

What will Monty advise? Every family’s circumstances are unique and, therefore, some seemingly small detail may affect Monty’s suggestions.

While it is helpful to read what others have dealt with, being certain your situation does not contain some small detail that differentiates your issue with another reader’s issue is paramount. If you have a question, just Ask Monty.

  1. Is a full-time house sitter a good idea?

    Reader Question: We have a chance to take a six-month trip to Australia. We have always cared for our home ourselves. We have several pets, yard work, maintenance items and other responsibilities. Is a full-time house sitter a good idea? Monty’s Answer: The internet has allowed the advance of this business model which has fueled […]

    September 25, 2017
  2. We are in our late seventies. We have decided we want to stay in our home. Our children keep hinting that we find another option. Do you have any advice?

    Reader Question: We are considering aging in place. We are in our late seventies and both in pretty good health. Our children keep hinting to us that we should sell our house and move into some age-based community. We have checked out some different options, of which there are many, and it seems they all have […]

    February 6, 2017
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. When a condominium is not a 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
  6. Is homeownership right for us?

    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
  7. Get the facts before deeding your 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
  8. Get foreclosure facts before going ahead.

    Reader Question: Hi Monty, I have two homes and two mortgages. Home “A” is underwater, and I am unable to sell it for the remaining amount owing on its mortgage. Home “B” is fine, gaining in value and is my residence. Both “A” and “B” are within the same city. I fear home “A” will go […]

    March 13, 2013