Q: I bought a three-level town house. During the first year, while the house was under warranty, I noticed some leaking through the fireplace in the recreation room. I notified the builder. He did nothing about it. Then the warranty expired. The leakage now is very bad. Can I do anything about it?

A: It's problematical. Had you followed more quickly your initial complaint (instead of waiting about two years) you almost certainly could have had it corrected or recovered damage for the builder's fault.

You may still be able to recover damages or get redress through litigation or the possibility of litigation.

Your basis for recovery or correction (if litigated) would probably be equitable relief. Your difficulty is what the law calls "laches." You may have "slept on your rights" -- that's what "laches" means. For further details consult an attorney who's an able litigator and experienced in real estate law.

Q: We borrowed $10,000 on the cash value of my husband's two life insurance policies amounting to $100,000 ($50,000 each) last month. We bought $10,000 worth of six-month Treasury Bills paying interest of 13.689 percent. We are now wondering whether this was a wise thing to do. Would you advise us also to pay back the loan in installments or just wait until we surrender the policies?

A: Yes, that seems to be wise. No, I wouldn't repay the loan. At the age your policies must be to have a total of $10,000 loan value, you're paying interest in the 4 1/2 percent range (probably about 5 percent). If you itemize your deductions on your Federal Income Tax Return, the interest is deductible. The 13.689 percent yield on the T-bills is exempt from state and local income taxation. So you're making money on the money you borrowed.

I assume the insurance proceeds are payable to the beneficiary on your husband's death. If you don't repay the loan by then, the amount of the loan will be deducted from proceeds payable. If inflation continues, that money will be worth significantly less at that time. So you're gaining in two ways, in effect. If the situation changes so that the interest you're paying exceeds the interest you're receiving, and our economy becomes deflationary, reassess the advisability of repaying the loan.