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March 2012 Archives

Michigan to get millions from Fannie over unpaid real estate taxes

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will pay the state of Michigan and Oakland County millions of dollars to make up for unpaid real estate transfer taxes. The companies had previously contended that they were exempt from the tax, but the court ruled that they withheld the money from the state illegally.

Experts see signs of improving real estate market

Despite unfavorable housing data for 2012, market-watchers are saying there are signs of an improving real estate market. Experts from prominent ratings agency Moody's told reporters this week that even though some indicators are down, optimism is up.

Zsa Zsa Gabor's daughter requests conservatorship of her estate

A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge will decide who will control Zsa Zsa Gabor's estate finances and medical care decisions. Last week Ms. Gabor's only daughter, Constance Francesca Gabor Hilton, filed a petition with the court to request a court controlled conservatorship of her mother's estate. A conservator is someone appointed by the court to have either partial or full control of making any financial or medical care decisions on behalf of a minor child or adult.

Rental repairs and the landlord-tenant relationship

The relationship between a landlord and a tenant can be complex. On one hand, both parties stand to gain if they are able to work well together in the long term. The renter will ideally enjoy a prompt response to repair requests and the landlord will have someone who takes care of the space and respects their neighbors. However, it's not always this easy, and both parties often feel that the other is not holding up their end of the deal. When disputes arise, what is the best way to solve them?

Wall Street investment banks consider the landlord business

What if, instead of re-selling a foreclosed property, the bank decided a renovate it and become a landlord? This could become the norm, as more and more investment banks have begun bidding on large pools of foreclosed properties and converting them in to rental housing.

Estate planning: Advice on how to disinherit a family member

Disagreements are a normal part of family life; however there comes a time when you want to document your decisions regarding the person you trust the most to handle your estate and make certain decisions on your behalf should you become unable to communicate your wishes. And, in some cases you may also want to specify who you do not want to have these powers, and that can be an even tougher challenge with today's probate and estate inheritance laws.

Can landlords require online payment for rent?

Renters have filed a suit against a landlord who requires them to pay their rent online. The tenants' suit claims that the online payments are a pretense to get rid of the lower income renters in the building that benefit from rent-stabilization. Many older residents say that the online payments make them vulnerable to eviction because they are not as technologically savvy as younger renters.

Powerball winner creates a sweet trust with $336 million prize

No doubt Michiganders have heard about the 81-year-old woman who won over $336.4 million in a Powerball jackpot last week, and all thanks to a family member who had a craving for something sweet. Asked if she wanted anything from the store the woman decided she would go with her family member just so she could purchase a lottery ticket. She learned of her winning numbers while watching the announcement only a few hours after returning home from her visit to the local Stop and Shop.

Fees on mortgages set to increase

Each mortgage contains a small hidden fee, known as the guarantee fee, or "G-fee." The fee has been silently included in mortgages for more than 30 years, and Congress has recently mandated an increase. It is not clear at this time when the increase will take effect, but it analysts anticipate that it will also cause interests rates to rise slightly.

Whitney Houston death demonstrates the need for estate planning

Anytime someone dies prematurely there is sadness and grief for all who lost a loved one. What may compound that grief is the lack of an estate plan that can provide guidance for the survivors to follow their loved ones wishes. Whenever a celebrity passes away prematurely it can be a great educational opportunity to discuss the importance of planning ahead for the unexpected events in life, especially when children are involved. The untimely death of Whitney Houston is a sad reminder of how important an estate plan is for any family.

Mortgage assistance extended to investors

Many people who bought investment properties during the housing boom will now enjoy the some of the same assistance from the government as people who bought houses to live in. The Obama administration has decided to extend mortgage assistance to first time investors who bought more than one home before the housing bubble burst.

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