Selling Your Home in Oregon? 5 House Features Buyers Want – Redfin

Homebuyers often find themselves on the hunt for certain trends in their future dream home even before touring a house. Whether that’s a covered deck in Dallas, Texas or french doors in Los Angeles, California, you may be wondering what the most popular home features are in your state.

For current and future home sellers in Oregon, popular house features are likely to draw in more potential buyers and increase resale value. So, if home improvement is on your list this year, check out 5 of the most popular home trends in Oregon you should consider adding to your list. 



1) Walk-in closet

With lots of spacious room to hang and store your clothes, it’s no wonder Oregon’s most popular home trend is a walk-in closet. Homes with walk-in closets have an average list price of $519,000. Maybe you’ve always dreamt of turning one of your spare rooms into a walk-in closet or converting part of your main bedroom into a space to store your belongings. Call your local remodeling company to see about upgrading one of your spaces to stand out with potential homebuyers. 



2) Double pane windows

With a varied climate, it’s only fitting that double pane windows are popular with Oregon homebuyers. Compared to their single pane counterparts, double pane windows will keep you and your home more insulated from the weather outside. These windows provide insulation, while also making your home more energy efficient. Only 14.8% of current homes for sale have this feature, so your home will definitely stand out from the competition with double pane windows.



3) Central air conditioning or air conditioning unit

Unless you’re living in a region of Oregon that’s cold year-round, chances are you’ve wished for air conditioning during the summers, especially if your home doesn’t have an AC unit. Having central air conditioning in your Oregon home yields an average list price of $510,000, making it one of the most popular house features that appeal to buyers. So consider making this summer the year you call your local HVAC team to decide on the right AC unit for your home.



4) Hardwood, ceramic, or laminate floors

With all the types of flooring out there it may seem as though the options are endless. Whether you’re selling a house in Bend or Portland, OR, hardwood, ceramic, and laminate floors are some of the most popular house features. Not only will these flooring types bring style to your home, they’ll also appeal to future buyers, as only 13.3% of homes currently for sale have these features. So, if you’re thinking about upgrading your floors, now might be the time to check out your local flooring companies.



5) Two stories and high ceilings

Whether that’s having a 2-story home or high ceilings to make any room feel expansive, Oregonians are all about space. Only roughly 11% of homes currently for sale have these house features, so this may be the right home improvement project to add to your list this year. If you’re thinking about adding more space to your home, contact your local remodeling company or a general contractor. They’ll know if creating high ceilings or an addition to your home is possible. 

*Per home listing data on, as of January 2021. 

Individual results may vary. This is not intended as a substitute for the services of a licensed real estate agent, or licensed and bonded home services professional or appraiser.


Mortgage Rates Rise, Signaling Potential End to Historic Lows

The long stretch of historically low mortgage rates could be ending as signaled by last week’s rate rise. So reports the Associated Press.

The 30-year fixed rate averaged 2.79% in the week ending January 14, up 14 basis points from the previous week.

Home loans were at record lows the previous week and the 30-year stood at 3.65% a year ago.

Read the full article from the Associated Press. 


8 Room Makeover Ideas Perfect for Mother’s Day – Redfin

April 29, 2020 December 18, 2020 by Emily Huddleston

Updated on December 18th, 2020

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and because moms deserve the best – the perfect gift can be tough to shop for. To make things even more tricky, you can’t exactly go browsing at the mall or her favorite store right now. But don’t worry. What if instead of buying something, you fixed up a special space for mom in her house? Having an organized space for creative projects, relaxing, or reading is one of the best presents you could give mom this year. 

Check out these 8 room makeover ideas and create the perfect retreat for mom this Mother’s Day.

table top in craft room makeover

1. Craft Room Makeover

Does the mom in your life love to scrapbook, knit scarves and blankets, or transform vintage yard sale finds into works of art? Fixing up a special spot for her to harness her creativity and tackle crafts may be the perfect Mother’s Day gift. If there’s not already a designated spot in the house for a craft space, find an unused nook or simply set up a small table in a guestroom or home office. You don’t need a ton of space — just room for the essentials. If she already has her own crafting space, organize that messy area as a Mother’s Day surprise.

Must-haves: A bulletin board — complete with inspiration shots — is a fun way to personalize a craft room’s style without having to add additional art. Besides the basics, consider ordering a new set of colorful pens and pencils online.

Decorating tip: If you don’t have a standard desk to use for storage, items that normally go in a drawer — like scissors — can be hung on hooks for functional wall art.

pillows and book in reading nook room makeover

2. Reading Nook

Most moms would love a little more time to themselves. Set up a spot near a sunny window or bookshelf for curling up with a book. A window seat is the perfect potential reading nook. Add a shelf with some of her favorite reads. Fluff up a few pillows and blankets to make it cozy. If there isn’t a window seat in her home, you can achieve the same feel with a comfy chair in a well-lit corner.

Must-haves: Accessorize with plenty of big pillows and a soft blanket or two. Don’t forget a small table to hold cups of tea. Make sure this room makeover has adequate lighting or a lamp nearby for late nights or stormy afternoons – especially if she lives somewhere like Portland, OR, or Seattle, WA where it’s often overcast and gloomy. 

Decorating tip: Consider putting in an easy-to-install curtain around the nook for privacy (and naps).

baking station shelf in kitchen

3. Baking Station

If she loves to bake, setting up a baking station is as much a gift to yourself as it is to her. Regardless of the kitchen size, it’s worth it to get inspired and designate a place for all of her baking supplies. Fill a small, portable cart with essential ingredients, tools, cookbooks, and recipes.

Must-haves: Glass containers make it easy to find basic ingredients. Keep a few cutting boards, whisks, rubber spatulas, and rolling pins on the cart too. Think about what mom likes to bake and add the appropriate items — cookie cutters or cupcake liners, for instance.

Decorating tip: Make sure the cart can be stored when it’s not in use. If there just isn’t enough room for it in your mother’s kitchen, consider clearing and organizing a shelf near a convenient countertop or workspace as a makeshift baking station.


4. Home Office Makeover

If your mom typically works in an office, she is likely working from home right now. But even if she’s retired, having a space to work on her own special projects is important. It doesn’t have to be particularly grand. It could just be a matter of helping her clean up a cluttered home office or kitchen desk space, sliding a desk and chair into an empty closet, or transforming an unused hutch into an easy-to-clean home office.

Must-haves: Make sure that whatever space you choose has adequate lighting, outlets, and internet access. Complete the room makeover with a few patterned boxes, a fun bulletin board, and a unique mouse pad.

Decorating tip: If you’re helping mom set up a small home office, keep in mind that you don’t have to store everything nearby. Store extra paper, files, and other less-used supplies in labeled boxes and in another room.

candles and book bathtub

5. Bath Sanctuary

Moms always deserve to be pampered, but this is especially true on Mother’s Day. While we typically send our moms to the spa to get cared for, she can still have a luxurious spa experience from the comfort of her home. A great place to start is to design a relaxing space for mom to take the ultimate spa bath at home.

Must-haves: With the right tools, an average bath can become a place for pampering. Accessories are key with this room makeover — candles, plush towels, silky bath oils, soft soaps, and sponges should all be laid out. Don’t forget to clean the bathroom too. It’s difficult to relax in a bathroom that’s a mess.

Decorating tip: Take into account that scent is a huge emotional trigger. Choose subtly scented candles and bath oils that blend, not clash, with one another.

6. Relaxing Outdoor Space

Maybe mom’s outdoor space is a place that relaxes her more than a bubble bath. Sweep off an outdoor patio or rake the dead debris out of her garden. Freshen things up with a new layer of gravel, freshly potted plants, or even a newly planted tree.

Must-haves: A truly comfortable outdoor space has all the makings of a great indoor space. Hang up some wind chimes, add side tables for iced tea and magazines, bring out cozy pillows and blankets, and ensure there is good lighting (whether natural or artificial).

Decorating tip: Adding aromatherapy to the outdoor space in the form of fragrant plants is a quick way to create relaxation. Incorporate potted plants, or plant them in the ground around your seating area. Lavender, gardenia, and clematis are all great options that provide a light and sweet fragrance that can last through the summer.

clean and organized closet

7. Organized Closet

Create a celeb-worthy closet space for mom. Even if she doesn’t have a magical dressing room, a few personal touches can make even a plain closet worth spending time in. Organize clothes by color and try to make things accessible and easy on the eye. Replace any worn-out sweater boxes or shoe racks with labeled alternatives, hang purses and jewelry on the wall, and neatly fold clothes in drawers.

Must-haves: Place wall hooks on the inside walls of the closet. This will act as a designated space for scarves, belts, purses, bathing suits, etc. Additionally, it will allow mom to quickly grab frequently used items and accessories.

Decorating tip: Fluorescent-lit dressing rooms have taught us that lighting makes all the difference when trying on clothes. With this room makeover, make sure mom has a flattering spot to put her outfits together. A floor lamp could be a nice alternative to harsh overhead lighting.

8. Clean House

If there’s one thing mom shouldn’t have to do on Mother’s Day, it’s clean the house. It doesn’t sound that fancy, but if she is too busy to do it herself, cleaning her house can be the perfect gift. Deep clean her kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedrooms. Clear her clutter and get things organized. You can take on the task yourself, or give her a gift card to a cleaning service so she can schedule it on her own time.


Online Mortgage Broker ‘Own Up’ Looks to Grow with $12M Round

Own Up, a digital mortgage marketplace, has raised $12 million that it says it will use to invest in technology and expand its customer support team.

Own Up plans to expand to 15 new states in 2021, including California for its first West Coast foray.

The funding round was led by Brand Foundry Ventures.

Read the firm’s announcement.


6 DIY Home Repair Mistakes to Avoid Before Selling Your House – Redfin

DIY (do it yourself) is a common approach to home repairs for a variety of reasons, from budget to perceived simplicity. For those preparing to sell their home, pinching pennies can be a common motivation for tackling fixes without professional involvement. In some cases, DIY solutions are a great way to save time and money with very little risk, but at times, neglecting the abilities of a pro can cause costly problems. 

home repair

home repair

Hire a Professional for These Home Repairs

Not all home repairs are made equal. Basic home projects, like putting up wallpaper, are relatively low risk and don’t pose the potential for big problems down the line. However, more substantial projects can require a level of expertise above and beyond what the average homeowner can accomplish. When not handled properly, these kinds of DIY fixes can result in serious damage that could cost a small fortune to fix. That’s why we created a list of projects that should be handled by the professionals, rather than doing it yourself.

1. Electrical Work

Dealing with any notable wiring issues throughout a home is best left in the hands of an electrician. While something simple, like replacing a lightbulb, is certainly possible without a pro, anything larger requires someone trained in electrical systems.

Accessing electrical boxes, installing new lighting fixtures, replacing wiring, adding new wiring, or anything else more complicated has the potential to harm both you and your property without proper oversight. Accidents with electrical work can cause electrocution or start fires, putting both your health and your home at risk. Without the expertise of an electrician, there’s no way to know whether the tutorials you’re reading or viewing online are appropriate for your property.

2. Plumbing

Plumbing, like electrical work, can be tricky to get right for those without formal training. It’s not unusual for DIY home repairs to cause burst pipes or leaks, opening the door for potential water damage to your home. When these leaks or broken pipes are found within walls or difficult to detect it can become a serious issue. 

Before trying to do something like replacing a pipe or installing new fixtures, contact a plumber to make sure your repairs are appropriate and up to code. It’s cheaper to hire a professional for small tasks from the start than to bring in a plumber once a problem arises. Installing a new faucet is much cheaper than to both install a new faucet and fix the problems caused by a DIY installation gone awry.

3. Full Bathroom Remodels

Bathroom remodeling projects often seem easy, but can actually entail much more than you may think. Oftentimes, these projects can require elements of other kinds of home repairs, like plumbing and electrical work. 

Tackling a bathroom from top to bottom can be an excellent way to boost your home’s value before listing it, but approaching a remodel in the wrong way can be disastrous. An error in plumbing, cabinet and counter installation, wiring, or anything else could be more costly than beneficial. When you want your bathroom to look – and function – it’s very best, you will want help from a licensed contractor or remodeler who can adhere to building codes and prevent major problems.

home repair

home repair

4. Foundation and Crawl Space Repairs

Little foundation fixes or crawl space repairs may look simple on the surface, but these kinds of projects can be serious endeavors and require the training and tools the average homeowner doesn’t have. This is particularly true with foundation repairs, especially if you live in an area with a wet climate like Seattle, WA. Failing to address signs of foundation damage can threaten the stability of your entire home. Additionally, an improper DIY home repair can yield more costly treatments down the road and leave room for much more serious damage. 

Identifying and fixing foundation problems can require anything from construction equipment to hydraulic lifts. Instead of taking the easy way out, partner with a professional to make sure these serious repairs are made the right way.

5. Roof Replacement or Repairs

Roofing is both challenging and potentially dangerous, making this a poor choice for a DIY project. Replacing shingles or repairing structural issues can be tempting – roofing prices can be steep – but these kinds of tasks are easy to do incorrectly. When shingles aren’t placed properly, insulation is lacking, chimneys aren’t adequately navigated, and safety precautions aren’t taken, big problems can happen. 

Climbing around on the top of your house with tools and heavy materials is a home repair project best left for a professional. The risk for improper insulation, wrong shingle placement, or even slips and falls makes roofing jobs far too challenging for a standard homeowner. Also, having a professional step in for a big project like this will ensure everything is done well and in a timely manner. 

6. Replacing Siding

The siding on your home looks deceptively simple, but replacing a whole house worth of siding can be a seriously challenging home repair. This task can take days on end, and placing siding straight and even is a much harder project than it may appear to be on the surface.

It’s also important to remember that siding is more than an aesthetic feature. Siding that’s installed incorrectly can cause water and weather damage, driving increased temperature control costs, the likelihood of pest damage, and potential structural issues. Simply put, if you are planning to replace your siding to increase your home value, make sure a professional is involved in the process.

There’s a lot to be said for the peace of mind that comes from partnering with an electrician, plumber, roofer, remodeling company, or contractor. Before charging ahead with a DIY home repair, make sure you understand the scope of the repairs you are trying to make, any risks, and the potential value of professional involvement.


Bodnar of MMG: 3 Reasons Yields Remain Elevated

Bill Bodnar of The Mortgage Market Guide (MMG) said stocks enjoyed the Janet Yellen rally as she told the Senate to “go big” on the new stimulus plan, while rates remain low. He adds that this news has consequences for you and your clients.

Watch the short video to see three reasons why yields remain elevated in an era of never-ending stimulus.

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These Pandemic-Related Housing and Design Trends Aren’t Going Away

Home trends come and go, but social distancing and staying at home have ushered in a new way of life—and some of those changes have spurred home trends that are likely to stick around well past the COVID-19 era.

“The idea of what is necessary is changing,” says Camille Thomas, a real estate matchmaker and lifestyle expert in Jackson Hole, WY. “The home has become more than a living space.”

This means a lot of people have started to evaluate how they live in their home and what matters most to them when buying.

Here are some of the real estate and design trends people have latched on to during the pandemic that will likely have staying power for years to come.

The great escape

Quarantine has caused more than a few people to pack up their lives and head out of crowded cities to the suburbs (or even the country) in search of more room to breathe. One in 5 U.S. adults says they either changed their residence due to the pandemic or know someone who did, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

In fact, as people buy homes in the suburbs, housing inventories in those areas are dwindling faster than in urban areas, according to®’s September Urban vs. Suburban Growth Report.

“People are not wanting to be in a city where it feels too crowded right now,” says Suzi Dailey, a Realtor, who’s with Realty One International in California’s Orange County. “They are leaving cities in favor of homes with more space, a backyard, or some type of view.”

Thomas says in the mountain town of Jackson Hole she is seeing buyers come in from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Houston, and Chicago.

“Some are purchasing sight-unseen,” she adds.

Also, with more companies allowing their workforce to work from home, many people are no longer tied to a specific city for employment. Most housing experts agree that this trend of increasing preferences for suburban homes will continue.


Watch: These Are the Home Features Buyers Want in the COVID-19 Era


The Zoom room

Regular videoconferencing from home—whether you’re an employee or a student—is a new reality, and it’s become increasingly common to see agents and sellers including Zoom rooms in listings as part of a home’s features. But what is a Zoom room, anyway?

Essentially it’s a dedicated room or corner of your home that features an aesthetically pleasing background for your videoconference calls. Zoom rooms are free of household clutter and typically removed from the high-traffic parts of the house. And experts predict the dedicated video room trend is likely to persist for buyers beyond COVID-19.

“Buyers are looking for extra space to create workspaces for students and working parents,” says Thomas. “Three bedrooms is no longer enough. Now it must be three bedrooms and an additional workspace, at least.”

Clean and cozy design

Photo by ME Design Group

Interior design trends are always changing. But throughout the pandemic we’ve seen homeowners doing everything they can to create a cozy, simple, clean, and comfortable vibe inside their homes.

“It’s a focus on an open floor plan, lighter wall colors, and no clutter,” says Dailey. Elements that capture this aesthetic are comfortable sofas, throw blankets, candles, herb gardens in the kitchen, and houseplants that make a person feel at home.

“Especially with COVID-19, you do not want a home that feels dirty. That’s why clean, simplistic decor and decluttering have become very popular,” says Dailey.

And that feeling of streamlined coziness is extending to the outdoor areas of the home, too.

“Sales of space heaters, such as the tall standing heaters for porches, patios, and outdoor spaces, are already going through the roof,” says Dailey.

The backyard premium

It’s little surprise that homebound owners—or would-be owners—are focusing more on backyard spaces. Some buyers are even willing to settle on a smaller house or a house in a less desirable area in order to have a large backyard where they can spend more time in the open air.

“For some, that means moving farther outside of town for the same-size house with more land. Others are moving into small townhouses so they can purchase a small farm outside of the city,” says Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design.


What Hurts a Home Appraisal? And 7 Things You Can Do to Fix Them – Redfin

The current housing market has many people considering buying or selling a home right now. Maybe you’ve checked to see how much you can afford, and you believe now might be a good time to list your house and upsize to a new one. Or maybe like so many others, your home is already under contract, and it’s time for an appraisal. Whichever the case, being aware of what hurts a home appraisal and how to increase the value of your home is always a great idea. 

There are many things you can do to ensure your home is worth top dollar. When you’re deciding which improvements to implement, remember some improvements are more costly than others, and all should be weighed against the amount of value you’ll receive in return.

To get started, look for any areas of your home that could be improved. The home appraiser will be at your home for about 30 to 60 minutes, so your goal is to make their job easy by shining the brightest light possible on your home’s finest features. You’ll especially want to focus on areas that can hurt your home appraisal, which we have listed 7 of the most common ones below and how to fix them.

Curb appeal is one of the biggest factors to consider when discussing what hurts a home appraisal.

Curb appeal is one of the biggest factors to consider when discussing what hurts a home appraisal.

1) Poor curb appeal

How to Fix It: Trim up bushes and trees so they are tidy and neat. Add annuals or perennials for a pop of color and interest in what can otherwise be a sea of green grass.

Having a fresh coat of paint applied to the exterior of your home, your front door and shutters painted in a complementary color, and adding flower boxes to match your new landscape will all set the right tone for your home’s appraisal.

Garage doors often comprise a good portion of the front of a house, and updating your garage doors with new ones is almost always a sure bet to increase value.  

Don’t forget to stage the front porch with a couple of casual chairs and a colorful throw pillow to match the flowers in the yard. 

2) Your home’s interior needs a lot of attention

How to Fix It: The first step toward having a showcase home is to thoroughly declutter and clean every room and closet. Because your goal is to show off your home’s best attributes, be sure to pack away personal items that can be distracting, like family photos and mementos. Hiring a professional organizer or declutterer can make this task a lot less daunting and make the project much quicker and easier.

You touched up the exterior paint, don’t forget that painting the interior is one of the easiest and least expensive improvements you can make. Neutral colors will appeal to more homebuyers and those same colors will help brighten any room.

What about your blinds and drapes? Are they dark or dated? You may want to invest in some new curtains that are trendy and colorful to bring a more modern look to your space. Are any of the slats in your blinds broken or dirty? Replace those that are damaged and clean any that need it.  

Mirrors add depth and interest to any living space, indoors or out, and they help redirect sunlight throughout your home. To create a sense of space and openness, consider adding a mirror at the end of a hallway, or on a large living room wall.

Does your home have any “hidden” features? Features that might otherwise go unnoticed, such as space above the kitchen and dining room that could be updated for added storage could also add value to your home. Make sure they are accessible and that the appraiser is aware of them. 

3) Your kitchen and bathrooms are outdated 

How to Fix It: Kitchens and bathrooms are oftentimes what hurts a home appraisal but are also great places where value can be added to a home. In the kitchen, you can freshen things up by refacing cabinets and replacing outdated pulls, light fixtures, and countertops. Swapping out old appliances for energy-efficient appliances and updating your sink and faucet with a more modern one could be just what your kitchen needs. You can even install recessed lighting under the cabinets which is not only functional but gives the kitchen a finished look. 

In your bathrooms, cabinets can be updated with paint. If you have a builder’s grade mirror, give it a new look by adding a wooden frame around it. The frame can also be painted to match the cabinets. Install a new faucet and light fixture and include a bright shower curtain to add a splash of color.

If you don't want your kitchen to be what hurts a home appraisal add a bit of color

If you don't want your kitchen to be what hurts a home appraisal add a bit of color

4) Your bedrooms and laundry room are dark and small

How to Fix It: Bedrooms will look cleaner and brighter with clutter removed and a fresh coat of paint. Replace any curtains that are too dark and add a closet organization system to your bedroom closets to make the most of the space available. To open up small bedrooms, you can strategically place an appropriately sized mirror in a corner or forgo a headboard on the bed. Instead, hang two complementary pictures above the bed where the headboard would typically be.

Survey your laundry room. Because these rooms are often smaller than other rooms in the house, walls painted a bright, snow-white help add a sense of openness and airiness. Adding storage bins or shelves if there are none will help reduce the clutter, make the space more organized, and keep laundry detergents and fabric softeners out of sight.

5) Your basement is unfinished

How to Fix It: Too often basements are unfinished spaces used only for storage. To increase the value of your home, store items elsewhere, and turn the basement into usable living space which will add to your home’s total square footage. By adding walls, an acoustic drop tile ceiling, and flooring you’ve got the beginnings of a second living room, children’s play area, exercise area, or even a media room. You can also customize the space to fit your current needs. Adding square footage and livable space to your home is one of the easiest ways for increasing your home’s value.

6) You home systems need replacing

How to Fix It: Big-ticket items can be costly to update, but they often have a good return on investment. Examples of big-ticket items are replacing the roof, installing a new HVAC system, updating windows with new energy-efficient ones, and installing or replacing exterior siding, which eliminates the need to scrape and paint every few years.

If your home needs to have the electrical system updated, it would be beneficial to make the change before listing the house, since an inspection would likely point out the need for it, and you could delay, or worse, lose a sale as a result.

The same goes for any plumbing issues you may have been experiencing recently. If you’ve noticed a leak, make sure it’s repaired, and that stains are appropriately cleaned and concealed.

7) Your home has no outdoor living space

How to Fix It: Patios and decks create additional gathering spaces for grilling, relaxing, or entertaining. If you have a patio or deck that’s cracked or uneven, consider hiring a professional to replace or repair your outdoor living space.

Not having a large outdoor space can surely be what hurts a home appraisal

Not having a large outdoor space can surely be what hurts a home appraisal

Value can also be added to your home by installing a deck if you don’t already have one. Maybe your deck is in good shape structurally but doesn’t look as good as it once did. In that case, consider refinishing it using either paint or stain. Both help to extend the life of the wood and look beautiful once the job is done. 

You want the appraisal process to go smoothly and provide the most value for your house. As you can see, making a few improvements here and there can go a long way toward adding value to your home.  


Fintech Sagent Adds Fannie Mae, Digital Risk Alumni to Board

Mortgage and consumer loan fintech Sagent has added former Fannie Mae executive Marianne Sullivan and Digital Risk co-founder Jeffrey Taylor to its board of directors, the Pennsylvania-based company has announced.

At Fannie Mae, Sullivan oversaw industry efforts that led to the age of digital mortgage origination, according to the press release.

Mphasis Digital Risk, the firm co-founded by Taylor, is the biggest residential mortgage managed services firm nationwide.

Read the full press release from Sagent.


My Husband Bought a Retirement Property, but Only Put His Name on the Deed. Will His Adult Children Inherit This Home?

Dear Moneyist,

My husband and I have been married for 25 years. We do not have children together, but he has children from a previous marriage.

We are retired now, and he bought property in Florida for us to live in. My name is not on the deed of the property, and he has not made a will yet. I keep complaining to him about it.

If he should die without a will, will his adult children and grandchildren be entitled to the property and house? Hopefully, you will be able to answer this question and set my mind at ease.


Dear Carla,

Your husband appears to have control issues at worst or, at best, problems with being direct and transparent. This is not the way to deal with a family property, especially after 25 years of marriage. If your husband wants his children to inherit his estate when he is gone, he should discuss it with you like a man (or woman), face to face, and you should outline a plan for your future together. But this game of cat and mouse, where he makes unilateral decisions about your future, is not a respectful or helpful way to conduct a 25-year marriage.

Not knowing if you’re going to have a place to live after your husband dies, assuming he predeceases you, creates a constant feeling of unease. The whole point of saving for retirement and being fortunate enough to retire comfortably is that you can see out your final years together with the knowledge that you will both be financially secure. Only one person in this relationship knows what that feels like — and, given that you have raised this issue with him, he is aware that you do not enjoy that same peace of mind.

Florida is an equitable distribution state and, for the most part, divides property 50/50. Here’s the legal interpretation from Schnauss Naugle Law in Jacksonville, Fla.: “If the decedent’s homestead property was titled in the decedent’s name alone, and if the decedent was survived by a spouse and descendants, the surviving spouse will have the use of the homestead property for his or her lifetime only (or a life estate), with the decedent’s descendants to receive the decedents’ homestead property only after the surviving spouse dies.”

You will have the right to live in this property for the remainder of your life. If you divorce, however, anything purchased during your marriage is considered marital property, and even though this home was purchased in your husband’s name only, it would be divided 50/50. In Florida, “equitable distribution” is mostly treated as “equal distribution.” According to this interpretation of family law in Florida by Arwani Law: “Even if he purchases the car with his own money and puts the car title in his wife’s name, it is still considered marital property.”

And as most lawyers will tell you, a lack of communication is one way of buying a ticket to divorce.

For more smart financial news and advice, head over to MarketWatch.