Confessions of a Real Estate Columnist: 7 Client Questions That Make You Wonder

0507_edithlankbookcoverQUICK SKIM

Clients say the darndest things! If you haven’t had your fill of comical questions from customers, you’ll get it by paging through this light-hearted book by syndicated real estate columnist Edith Lank. The book is a compilation of hundreds of letters from inquisitive readers. Questions come from consumers who are hungry for more information on all sorts of buying and selling issues, from the particulars of burying a St. Joseph statue in the yard to resolving family dramas. Even Lank is sometimes left speechless.

Buy the Book


These are some of the actual questions Lank has received from her readers and are included in her book I’ve Heard It All and So Should You (Dearborn Financial Publishing, 2007):

1. I would appreciate any information on Fanny Mae about buying homes and property. Also if she has any books out.

2. Stamped return envelope enclosed. Please send us all information on how to sell our home without using a realator. I think you call it being a FSOB.

3. I went to a free seminar on real estate and it seems like it would be the best thing for me to do. I don’t have the money for the rest of the course but they said they could arrange a loan for me to borrow it. Do you think this would be a good investment?

4. Upon selling a co-op or condo, would it be mandatory to divulge the fact that, at times, there

are leaks from the upper floor?

5. Could you please tell me what a cotenancy agreement is and how to set it up. Also could you tell me what the age range for real estate investors are? (submitted by a 13 year old)

6. Does St. Joseph work for condo owners? If so, can I bury him on common property or does he go in a flowerpot in my unit? If I do use the courtyard, is he buried in the back of my unit or the whole complex? If so, do I need board approval?

7. Please advise me on what would happen if I didn’t pay my property taxes. Also, how do I become tax exempt?


“When I started the column I still had my broker’s license, which I gave up soon afterwards to avoid any conflict of interest. My husband was a REALTOR® though, and I wondered what I’d do when letters came in complaining about real estate agents. Would I publish them? Could I give impartial advice? Pleasant surprise — it turns out I almost never receive complaints about brokers. They show up at the rate of perhaps one a year. More common are letters that simply don’t understand how agency works.”


Edith Lank, who some refer to as the “Dear Abby” of real estate, has written about real estate for 20 years. Her nationally syndicated advice real estate column appears in more than 100 newspapers and Web sites. She has written four other books, including The Homebuyers Kit and The Homeseller’s Kit, both from Dearborn Financial Publishing.

Tune in on May 7 when Lank responds to readers’ questions.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

More Posts - Website

  1. Stacey Moncrieff

    Edith Lank is a gem. The best part about the new book is that while you’re laughing, you’ll probably learn a lot from this real estate advice legend.

  2. Does anyone know where I can get a copy of this book? Amazon just sent me an email stating they cannot get it, after a 3-4 month wait (not their fault, they kept me informed…I guess it was going to be republished?)
    Gary Frimann

  3. Thanks for alerting us to this, Gary. I spoke with the publisher and they said you can currently purchase the book through them on their Web site. At the moment with Amazon, you can only buy a used book of I’ve Heard It All and So Should You.

    Melissa Tracey