Home Ownership is Key

Real Estate Is Part of Our Heritage

If you own your house, let’s make sure you keep it.  Becoming a homeowner is more than just owning a home, it is laying a foundation for building generational wealth and family & financial security.  You can touch it, see it, build on it, enhance it and manage it as a business.  It is an investment that will increase in value, thus building wealth for the owner and generations to come.  In fact, renters can potentially provide you with immediate return on your ownership, help you cover expenses, etc. 

There are ways to manage so that you can continue to own and maintain it.  But first things first:

Check The Title of the Property:

  • Make sure that YOUR name is on the title and that the Philadelphia Office of Property Assessment has the correct address for contacting you.  (check phila.gov).  All correspondence, tax bills, sheriff notices, go to the address on file.  Too often, people have lost their properties purely for lack of notification because the wrong address was being used for official mailings.
  • The Register of Wills, working with PhillyVIP, has a Tangled Title Fund to assist low income with getting tangled titles cleared
  • For additional legal help with a homeownership issue, please contact Philadelphia Legal Assistance at (215) 981-3800 or Community Legal Services at (215) 227-2400.

If You Inherited A House – Do Your Due Diligence:

  • Handle the probate process.  The property is not automatically yours unless you do all the proper steps to put the property in the name of who legally inherited it. Check the will or the probate process will determine the actual legal heirs.  Change the title to someone.  Don’t leave it in the deceased persons’ name.  Legal actions: loans, renegotiating debt, some repairs, etc, can’t be done for the property, if it is not in your name.  A tangled title must be addressed immediately.  Contact the Register of Wills office (even if there was no Will).
  • Any existing mortgages, taxes, water bills, liens go with the property.  So, decide how to pay these.  If there is no insurance to cover these, you have these debts to manage so that you do not lose the property.
  • A Reverse Mortgage is a lien that goes with the property.  It becomes due in full at the time of death.  Thus, you must pay it back or lose the property.  Find out if your senior family member has a reverse mortgage before they pass away.


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