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Samuel J. Tamkin

COVID-19, as we’ve pointed out in previous columns, is a trend accelerator. When it comes to buying a home, COVID-19 has been the best of times (lowest mortgage rates in history during 2020 and part of 2021) and worst of times (home prices are skyrocketing).

Q: My mother bought her home in 1968 but doesn’t remember where the title or deed is. She has the release of mortgage paperwork. Is this the same thing as her title? What documents do we need to put the property into her living trust?

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This column features thoughts, comments and suggestions from our readers.

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Q: I live in South Carolina and share a private road with my neighbor. The neighbor owns the first several hundred feet, and then I own a bit more, and then he owns a tad more on the tail end. My neighbor just informed me that they plan on putting a fence up. That fence would block my entry to my property. Can I legally block them from putting up a fence? Can I put up a fence on my portion of the road to keep them from using my section and getting to the rear portion of their land?

Q: I am fortunate enough to be a snowbird. We own a condo in Jacksonville, Florida. Our condo is in a development that was purchased by an investor/developer in the late 1980s. The developer improved the existing units, added several new buildings, sold some of the units and rented out the rest. We think the developer still controls a bit over 51% of the units.

Q: I recently found out that the master deed plan referenced on my title document shows the wrong unit number for my condo. I have tried approaching my neighbor to work on a title transfer swap, but they are unwilling to do a title swap. How can I fix my title document? My condo association lawyer is also unwilling to take on the fix.

As Baby Boomers and their parents age, we’re receiving more questions about how to manage their housing and their inheritances. We’ll continue to publish these questions, comments and our responses, and encourage you to keep sending them our way.

Over the past six months, we’ve written several times about seniors and housing issues. We’ve received more questions and comments about older homeowners and the particular struggles they and their families are facing.

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Q: How do I go about getting my house into our trust? Do I need to contact the person who did the trust for us? Do I need to use the attorney that set up the trust? Do I even need an attorney to do this?

Q: We recently sold our deceased mother’s home in Columbus, Ohio. The house needed quite a bit of work, was structurally sound, and was in a very desirable neighborhood.

Q: We’re in our early 80s and we own our home. We have a loan of about $95,000 and make monthly payments of $700 to the lender. We don’t have much in savings, but we do have some. If a major repair came along it would deplete our savings. Would we be smart to sell the home now and rent?

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Q: The way the real estate market is going, if my husband and I sell our house, we will more than likely sell high and be buying high, making it a “wash.” I know that no one can predict the future, but if we are buying high this year, do you think that we will get our money back on the “new” house in 8 to 10 years?

Q: My 91-year old mother lives with my sister. She took my mother to a lawyer without my knowledge in 2019. I unexpectedly found out that two quitclaim property deeds were transferred into a trust, for which my sister is apparently the trustee.

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