Edith Lank? Edith Lank is GOD. Subscribe to her Real Estate Newsletter. Follow her advice. Hang on her every sarcastic word. She is da bomb, man!
I first read Edith's column in a local newspaper in Upstate New York. Her advice, like the "Ask Bob" column in the Washington Post, was succinct and to the point, and tinged with a bit of witty humor.
People often ask odd questions in Real Estate, and her witty responses are memorable. For example, one fellow wrote in, asking how to get out of paying Capital Gains tax. In part of her reply, she said "Well, you could always die, but I suspect you may not want to do that..."
A little too harsh? Well, the fellow had it coming, in my opinion. People write in with some very inane questions. In most cases, they are typical "true believers" - thinking you can make money in Real Estate without any risk, work, or effort, and without paying any taxes. Edith generally lets them down gently, but sometimes she does it with a bit of a sting.
It is unfortunate that during the last Real Estate boom that more people did not listen to her common-sense advice. We probably would not be in the trouble we are in now.
Understanding the basics of Real Estate are important for almost everyone. Why? well because our tax system is entirely skewed around Real Estate. The system encourages people to buy Real Estate, and the system has all these tax advantages for buying Real Estate. Your home will probably be the biggest investment you'll make, and over time, perhaps the largest single item in your portfolio. It will be your biggest tax deduction and your greatest expense as well.
So listening to someone like Edith is important - you'll get good advice. And at the same time, you'll get a chuckle or two as well!
God Bless You, Edith!
UPDATE: Ms. Lank has retired, so we no longer have the benefit of her wit and wisdom. But her columns are archived and she has published many books which are still available to read. Her advice is timeless. I love her common-sense advice and sharp sense of humor!
UPDATE: With great sadness, I found out that Ms. Lank passed away January 1st, 2023. She was a very nice lady and actually e-mailed me after I wrote this piece, amazed she had been raised to "deity status." Her wit and sense of humor and common-sense advice will be sorely missed, particularly in this new world of believe-whatever-sounds-convenient. That was the kind of thing she had little patience for!