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Q: My boyfriend’s mother died several months back. He wants to either buy his sister out or sell the property, but his sister has refused his verbal requests to buy her out and things have gotten quite strained between them. It is their home and they both live there and now own the home jointly.

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Here’s a guess: There aren’t many of us who’d care to redo 2020. COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, changed everything, killing more than 365,000 Americans (as of this writing in early January) and taking the economy on an even wilder ride than the Great Recession, just a decade ago.

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Q: There are two of us on the title of a home. We own the home as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Is it legal for just one of us to add a third person to the title of the home?

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Q: I have a question about selling your home and trying to determine the cost basis for tax purposes. Is the profit the difference between the sale price of the house today against your current mortgage balance? Or is it the difference between the sale price today against the original purchase price.

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Q: I’m 66 years old, with $5,100 dollars in monthly income from the government. I have no living dependents. I currently pay $1,600 a month in rent and am a veteran. At this point in my life, should I buy a condo or single level house or continue to rent? I have $20,000 in savings and no debt or credit card balances.

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In October, we answered a question from a reader about buying a house that was updated without the necessary permits. (In some areas of the country, it’s difficult and time consuming to pull a permit, and so homeowners may not do so even though it is required by local ordinance.) We recommended buyers use a qualified professional home inspector to help determine whether the home is safe to buy.

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Reader comment: My husband and I sold a vacant lot in Texas this past year without any agents being involved. We have followed the market closely. We agreed on a price, filled out the documents and closed in an attorney’s office for a total cost of $250. We also purchased our present home in 2007 without a real estate agent.

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Q: I wanted to comment on your recent column relating to the use of a homeowners association (HOA) pool during (the pandemic). Halfway through your answer you wrote, “You and your fellow residents voted in the board and they represent you.”

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Q: We borrowed $355,900 in 2007 for a 30-year fixed mortgage at 6.25% and still owe $230,000. My wife is retired, and I plan on retiring in May 2023. Normally, we wouldn't even bother with refinancing this close to selling the house; but the rates now are so low that we’re thinking refinancing might make sense. Any thoughts on whether it would be OK to refinance, or just leave it alone this close to retirement and selling the house?

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Q: I live in a suburb of Chicago and have two neighbors across the street who I have met a couple of times at block parties. Both are a bit older than I am. My guess is that at some point in the next five to 10 years these neighbors will move out and sell their home. They have the kind of property that a developer would likely buy, tear down and build a large home there.

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