Skip to main content
Laurel H. Siegel

Laurel Siegel’s Answers

33 total

  • Can anyone assist with a certain language in a P&S agreement?

    Full possession of said premises free of all tenants and occupants, except as herein provided, is to be delivered at the time of the delivery of deed, said premises to be then (a) in the same condition as they now are, reasonable use and wear ther...

    Laurel’s Answer

    The language means that the seller has a contractual obligation to deliver the property to you without tenants, and if they can't do so they may be in breach of the P&S. However, if there are tenants in the property they also have certain rights and depending on the timeframe for when you expect to close, whether the tenants have leases or are tenants at will, and other factors, the seller may not legally be able to remove them before your closing. As mentioned by the other attorneys who have responded, this is a complex issue and you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible about your rights.

    See question 
  • Does a tax assessor have the right to enter your home?

    The town is reassessing homes every nine years. Is it necessary for the Assesor to enter the house in order to do their job?

    Laurel’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    In Massachusetts, the municipality does have the right to send an inspector to your home, and part of their inspection would include entering your home your home to determine what improvements or alterations may have been made that would have an impact on the assessed value of the property. You also have the right to ask them not to enter your home. However, in doing so, you would waive the right to later challenge the assessment of your property if you believed that it did not accurately reflect the condition or value of the property.

    See question 
  • Sales VErification form from my town assessor

    In April, 2013, my husband and I purchased a single family home in Avon, MA. The deed was recorded the same day and the town knows the purchase price. Last week, we received a Sales Verification Form from the Board of Assessors asking us to answ...

    Laurel’s Answer

    The municipality does have the right to ask questions to verify the details of your property, and even to have someone inspect the property. You have the right to refuse to answer or to permit inspection but in doing so you also would be waiving your right to challenge the assessed value they give to your property if you disagreed with it.

    See question 
  • I have a 2nd mortgage on a property, a bank has the First; can I foreclose on the property because of non-payment to my 2nd?

    The First mortgage to the bank is being paid, but I am not. If it is possible for me to foreclose and take title, is the current owner still bound to pay the First, or do I have to assume that mortgage? Thank you for your input.

    Laurel’s Answer

    As a second mortgage holder you can foreclose on the mortgage. However, since there is a mortgage ahead of you in first place you would have to notify the first mortgage holder of the foreclosure, and if ultimately the property were sold in foreclosure the first mortgage holder would get paid first, and then you would receive any additional amount from the sale (up to the amount actually owed to you for your mortgage). If the amount from the sale of the property was not enough to pay off both the first mortgage and your mortgage, the first mortgage holder would be paid in full and you would get the remainder. You would then have the option to go to court to get a deficiency judgment against the borrower for any amount still owed to you.

    See question 
  • Can a Homestead Declaration be filed under a different document type other than Declaration of Homestead?

    I specifically remember a homestead declaration being filed several years ago, but an online search in the registry does not show the homestead declaration anywhere under either of our names. The home was refinanced since that time but I thought t...

    Laurel’s Answer

    A homestead would not usually be listed under a different document name. And yes, you could file a new homestead if you wish. However, before doing so you may want to hire an attorney to review the title to your property for you. It's possible that the homestead was recorded but was not indexed correctly (names and addresses can sometimes be misspelled in the online index) and an attorney may be able to locate the original homestead for you.

    See question 
  • Want to start a at home/online fashion jewlery business

    Whatdo i need to start a at home/online fashionjewlery business in MA state or just start do i just start selling and pay taxes at end of year?

    Laurel’s Answer

    You would need to consider what form of entity you will want for your business, such as a corporation or a limited liability company, or just operating the business as a d/b/a (doing business as) using your own social security number. You should confer with an attorney about the various liabilities and tax implications of the options available to determine which would best fit your needs, and that will determine what forms you might need to file with the state, your local city hall and/or the taxing authorities.

    See question 
  • MA Lien on property..Can property be refinanced by daughter who resides at home (+ 10 ys) was caregiver

    Quit Claim deed 15 years ago...daughters named..oldest lives at property. Dad is 82 in nursing home post stroke now dementia, HCP is invoked

    Laurel’s Answer

    If there is a lien on the property, a mortgage lender would generally require that the lien be paid off prior to closing on a refinance. In some cases, they may permit the lien to be paid off using the funds from the refinance loan. You would need to speak directly with the lender you want to use to see if they would be willing to do that. If there are other people other than the daughter named on the deed to the property, the lender may require that all of the others be included as borrowers for the loan. Even if they are able to give the loan only to the daughter, all of the other owners would have to sign some of the loan documents (particularly the Mortgage) as part of the closing, including the father if he is on the deed (or an authorized representative for him if he has dementia and does not have the capacity to sign for himself).

    See question 
  • When someone signs a deed on behalf of someone else, does the signer's authority have to be of record?

    For example, if the grantor of a deed is John Smith, but the deed is signed "John Smith by Maria Sanchez", does there have to be some document in the public records granting authority to Sanchez to sign for Smith. For example, would there have to...

    Laurel’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Yes, if one party signs a deed on behalf of another, there must be evidence on record with the Registry of Deeds documenting the authority of that party to sign. If authority is derived through a Power of Attorney, the Power of Attorney must be recorded, as well as an affidavit signed by the party to whom the power of attorney was granted stating that it has not be revoked or terminated. The deed would be signed as "John Smith by Maria Sanchez under power of attorney". If it were under a trust, the deed would need to recite under what authority the signer is signing, e.g., "John Smith as Trustee of the Maria Sanchez Trust". For a Trust, either the Declaration of Trust itself would need to be recorded to document who has signing authority on its behalf, or a Trustee's Certificate reciting who has authority (among other statutory requirements).

    See question 
  • I signed a mortgage for my brother. He hasn't paid in over 5 years and I have been stuck with it. How do I get out of this?

    I own my home. He hasn't done repairs (needs a roof) and kept up the property. It's in Florida. I don't want to ruin my credit.

    Laurel’s Answer

    If you used your property as collateral for a loan for your brother and you signed a mortgage and a promissory note to the bank, you have a binding legal obligation to the bank to repay the loan and, absent some proof of fraud by the bank, there is no way to avoid that obligation. However, if you have suffered a financial hardship or have another qualifying circumstance you may be eligible for one of the many borrower assistance programs. Depending on what, if any, agreement you had with your brother, you may also have a legal claim against him if he violated your agreement. You should consult with an attorney about your rights and, since the property is located in Florida, you should speak with a Florida attorney.

    See question 
  • Negotiating a purchase and sale

    I signed an offer to purchase and now have to do a purchase and sale agreement. Can any of the dates on the initial offer be changed? I think my realtor may have been too aggressive in setting dates and I am finding I may not be able to have the...

    Laurel’s Answer

    The Offer itself is a binding agreement, making its terms, including dates, firm and you cannot change them without the agreement of your seller. However in some cases the seller will be agreeable to changing the dates if it is explained that the original dates may not be achievable and why. You should ask your broker to go back to the seller to see whether they will agree to extend the dates.

    See question