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Real Estate

Part-time living, full-time aesthetic

PHILADELPHIA - Steve Patterson's parents owned a small hotel and restaurant in the West Midlands of Worcestershire, England, when he was growing up, so the fact that his 3-year-old business provides places to stay makes perfect sense.

Real Estate

Real estate Q&A: Mortgage requires homeowner to have insurance

Q: Exactly what kind of property insurance is required by law if I have a mortgage? Every year or two, the requirements and costs seem to go up, and now the amount of coverage my lender wants is out of line with the value of my home. Also, can the lender force me to include the insurance payment with my monthly mortgage payment?

Real Estate

The Mortgage Professor: Choosing the best type of mortgage

Mortgage borrowers choosing between different types of mortgages face a puzzle, and that puzzle may be particularly perplexing today. Interest rates remain low by historic standards, and the spread between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages remains large. But there are widespread expectations that all rates will soon increase - unless of course the current stock market troubles cause rates to drop again. The challenge to borrowers who must choose a type of mortgage in this environment is also a challenge to anyone presumptuous enough to offer them advice.

Real Estate

The Mortgage Professor: Are home equity conversion mortgages overpriced?

Home equity conversion mortgages, the only type of reverse mortgage insured by the U.S. federal government, reputed to carry high upfront fees, which raises two questions. First, are seniors getting real value in exchange for the high fees? The answer in most cases is "no." Second, can a senior who knows the ropes avoid paying excessive fees? The answer in every case is "yes."

Real Estate

Real estate Q&A: Landlord wants rent paid in cash

Q: I am about to rent a new apartment, and the landlord put a clause in the lease that I have to pay the rent in cash - no checks or money orders. When I asked about it, I was told it was so he didn't have to report the income and could continue receiving disability benefits. I am concerned that if there is a problem later I will not be able to prove that I paid the rent. Is this OK?

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