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Jewish World Review May 4, 2000 / 29 Nissan, 5760

Bruce Williams

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Lawyer are good for something


http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- DEAR BRUCE: I was approached by my tenant to buy the house that he is renting from me. He could not qualify for a loan so I said that I would carry him. I sent him a contract that I drew up, and he signed in the presence of a witness.

After all of the paperwork was done he called me and said that he had changed his mind and wanted his money back. He hasn't paid me the rent for the last five months because he is waiting for his down payment before he will pay me. Can you help me? -- R.D. (e-mail)

DEAR R.D.: Where in the world did you get the idea that you could handle a transaction like this on your own? You should have had an attorney right from the beginning with penalties for the purchaser who failed to act. Given the fact that you didn't and this is so muddled, I would suggest that you hire an attorney to work out the details to get this resolved.

Buying and selling real estate is an extremely detail-oriented undertaking. When you add carrying the paper yourself, it becomes even more involved. In my opinion, trying to do this on your own is the height of folly. Get yourself an attorney who will extricate you from this, and learn from your experience.

DEAR BRUCE: I owe $48,000 and have credit-card debt of $45,000. I had a business that I financed largely through personal credit, and the business failed. I have been unable to make the monthly minimum payments. Eventually I would like to buy a home, however, I need to rebuild my credit. What should I do? -- J.B. (e-mail)

DEAR J.B.: I strongly urge you to contact the Consumer Credit Counseling Service or a similar organization. It may be that they can negotiate lower payments with the interest turned off. In the absence of that, I can't imagine how you will ever dig out other then declaring personal bankruptcy, which is the last thing that either of us wants to entertain.

Hopefully the folks at C.C.C.S. can work out lower payments and a reduced interest rate (or no interest) so that you will eventually dig yourself out.

DEAR BRUCE: I live in Kansas but plan on moving to Pennsylvania in a couple of years. They have a tuition program that would allow me to buy college credits for my two children at today's costs. Not only me, but my parents can contribute to the fund. If the money is not used, it is paid back in full plus a small amount of interest. Knowing how college tuition increases each year, it sounds like a good deal. Should I invest in this or would I be better off with a long-term mutual fund? -- Gary (e-mail)

DEAR GARY: There is not a question in my mind that this is the most reasonable way to ensure that your kids are educated and you are not impoverished at the same time.

If you have a large income, invest the money elsewhere and then you can pick and choose. However, for the middle class, this seems to me to be an ideal solution. As time passes, these programs are becoming more liberal in allowing you to choose, not only among state schools but out-of-state schools as well.



Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).

Up

05/03/00: The binding nature of contracts
05/02/00: You know you are in trouble when ...
05/01/00: Can primary residence be rented out?
04/28/00: A full refund after five years?
04/25/00: Get a homeowner's title policy!
04/24/00: Beware of errors in your favor
04/18/00: $10,000 limit on gifts
04/17/00: Invest or repay student loans?
04/13/00: Beware of Internet auctions
04/11/00: Six percent is a pittance
04/10/00: Married couples should share windfall
04/07/00: How not to blow an inheritance
04/06/00: Get genetic screening for Tay-Sachs
04/05/00: Beating the look-back period
04/04/00: Providing for retirement
04/03/00: Readers disagree on time shares
03/30/00: The road back to good credit
03/29/00: Pre-tax dollars in IRA taxed later
03/27/00: Gambling on business ventures
03/22/00: Old cars as hobby, not investment
03/20/00: Tax on foreign gifts?
03/16/00: How to buy government bonds
03/13/00: Buying treasury instruments
03/09/00: Subcontractors must pay S.S.
03/08/00: Real-estate lawyers are essential
03/07/00: Don't expect compensation for ideas
03/06/00: Too rich for a Roth IRA?
03/01/00: Is time-sharing a scam?
02/29/00: Paying for nursing-home care
02/28/00: Rely on a real-estate lawyer
02/23/00: Keeping child's money safe from divorce
02/16/00: Just how important is a 401(k)?
02/14/00: Shaky partnership buying house
02/11/00: Protection by residential zoning
02/09/00: Benefiting from a reverse mortgage
02/07/00: Ensure your insurability
02/04/00: Absurd community zoning laws
02/02/00: Money or securities?
02/01/00: Can we KO a custodian?
01/31/00: Why sell a home you love?
01/26/00: Everyone needs a will
01/25/00: Will splitting stocks affect rollover?
01/24/00: Should early retirees contribute to SEP?
01/21/00: Strategies for paying off debt
01/20/00: Is 15-percent growth achievable?
01/19/00: Selling a second home
01/18/00: Running from a time-share
01/14/00: Don't be a spendthrift!
01/13/00: Who gets the house?
01/11/00: It all depends on size of estate
01/06/00: Check references before hiring an advisor
01/04/00: Savings bonds a bad investment
12/31/99: Out of state ain't that great
12/29/99: Warranty rip-offs
12/27/99: Checking up on investment handlers
12/23/99: Options good only when company's strong
12/20/99: Capital gains tax sometimes best
12/17/99: Don't give up your nest egg
12/15/99: Small-claims court no panacea
12/13/99: Termite company not liable for termites?
12/10/99: Services provided must be paid for
12/06/99: How do we minimize house-sale gain?
12/06/99: Maximize your tax shelter!
12/02/99: My neighbor won't maintain even a modicum of civility
12/01/99: Long-distance rentals a bad idea
11/29/99: Mortgage strategy A-OK
11/18/99: Students can work and learn
11/16/99: Value is what will sell
11/11/99: Y2K: No big deal for real estate
11/08/99: Real life is tough luck
11/03/99: The right time to cash a savings bond
11/01/99: Slow road for savings accounts
10/29/99: What do you want from insurance?
10/27/99: You have a right to see your tax forms!
10/25/99: Why own a house at 65?
10/22/99: Online fine, but CDs?
10/20/99: Love, honor -- and separate credit
10/18/99: Find the value of your stocks
10/15/99: Property lien prevents trade
10/13/99: Clear up debt, only then tie the knot
10/11/99: If it ain't broke...
10/04/99: Should I stick with the company IRA?
10/04/99: Get a financial education!
10/01/99: Insurance: Not much one person can do
09/30/99: Lost tickets are lost cash
09/29/99: Trusting only one financial planner
09/27/99: Adult children should help out
09/24/99: Tips for first-time home buyers
09/21/99: Use the rule of 72s!
09/17/99: Legal strategy can be a pain
09/15/99: Teen drivers drive up insurance
09/13/99: Always use an attorney!
09/10/99: Whose taxes are they, anyway?
09/08/99: How do I roll over my 401(k)?
09/03/99: How can I work out my IRS payments?
09/01/99: When your company can't pay you
08/30/99: Beware of shady viatical investments
08/26/99: Landlords vary on security deposits
08/25/99: Educational IRAs must be spent on education
08/23/99: Finding out the value of old stocks
08/20/99: How to get an FHA refund
08/19/99: 100 percent financing is a scam
08/16/99: Will I have to pay a capital gains tax?
08/16/99: Thinking about PMI
08/13/99: Short-term mutual funds a-OK
08/11/99: It's your job to shop around
08/10/99: Sometimes, roots need to be uprooted
08/09/99: 'Pre-approved' doesn't mean a thing
08/06/99: Only you can determine your investments
08/04/99: Bank IRA the lowest-risk option
08/03/99: Reverse mortgages good for the elderly
08/02/99: Get the survey BEFORE you buy the house!
07/28/99: Get a lawyer -- it's worth it!
07/27/99: If it ain't broke...

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