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Written by Peter G. Miller on Sunday, 25 November 2007 6:00 pm
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Question: I have a piece of land that I bought two years ago, and the developer recently dumped his remaining lots at about 40 percent of the price I paid. Can he do this? If I want to refinance to get better terms for my loan, will a lender use my purchase price or will the current comps? I won't be able to refinance on the basis of the property's current value.

Answer: This could be bad news all around.

First, unless there's an agreement to the contrary the developer has every right to sell his remaining lots at market value -- whether that value is more than you paid, or less.

Second, if you refinance now a lender will consider your loan application on the basis of the property's current value, not what you paid several years ago.

Question: My sister and I inherited a cabin in Canada. One of us (me) wants to sell and the other doesn't -- but she doesn't have the money or credit to buy me out. What steps do I take to force a sale?

Answer: You probably need to see this matter as both a real estate issue and a family concern. Whether you sell or not, your sister is your sister and will be for a very long time. If you force her to sell, then future family events may be awkward or tense. There may also be other issues in years to come where your sister's cooperation would be valued.

After this consideration, you need to see how title to the property is held -- this is a job for a Canadian attorney. In the U.S., a suit for "partition" to force a sale might then be suggested.

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