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House Calls: Regarding Lookie-Loos

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: I'm responding to the person who thinks that neighbors shouldn't be welcome at an open house. The house across the street from me is now occupied by the family who lived across from me at a former location. And the house about six doors up the street is now occupied by the family who bought my house at my former location. You just ...Read more

Art of Design: Mature, Modern Pads

Consumer / Art of Design /

Furnishing your home can be a lifelong endeavor. Some of us search and rummage through flea markets, antique shops and yard sales for the perfect pieces. The find is the reward -- and one that defines the tone of our homes. We all want homes that reflect our lifestyle and success, and amassing large collections of art and furniture is part of ...Read more

Hot Property: A long way from that Boston bar

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Actress Kirstie Alley, who finished as a runner-up on the latest season of the reality show "Celebrity Big Brother," is ready to leave another house behind. She's put her longtime home in the L.A. neighborhood of Los Feliz on the market for $11.97 million.

The Italianate villa-style home was built for restaurateur and hotelier ...Read more

House tax bill contains early holiday gifts for homeowners

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- December is mega-tax-bill time on Capitol Hill, when legislation loaded with gifts and goodies for special-interest constituents moves ahead for action before the end of the year. House Republicans have unveiled their 2018 version -- nearly 300 pages worth -- and it has goodies galore: Write-offs and tax-credit deals for racehorse ...Read more

More millennial homebuyers? Digital brokerage bets on it

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN DIEGO -- The founder of a fast-growing mortgage lender is launching a tech startup in San Diego, hoping to help millennials and other tech-savvy buyers find houses within their budgets.

The company, called Greendoor, is building a suite of online tools to help buyers search for houses based on the monthly payment -- one that includes all ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Retiree's dilemma: Deprive self or risk destitution?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A retiree of 64 has $1 million in her 401(k) common stock fund and expects a long lifespan. Her conundrum is deciding how much she can draw from the fund every month without worrying about running out while she is still alive. Existing options for coping with the conundrum are poor.

The 4 percent Rule

Investment advisers dealing with this ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Retiree's dilemma: Deprive self or risk destitution?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A retiree of 64 has $1 million in her 401(k) common stock fund and expects a long lifespan. Her conundrum is deciding how much she can draw from the fund every month without worrying about running out while she is still alive. Existing options for coping with the conundrum are poor.

The 4 percent Rule

Investment advisers dealing with this ...Read more

Here's How: Should You Repair or Replace Your Roof?

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I have noticed some damp dark spots on my bedroom ceiling from an old leaky shingle roof after it rains. How do I know whether it is best to have the leaks repaired or have the entire roof replaced? -- Jen B.

Dear Jen: If you are already seeing dark spots on your ceiling, don't wait too much longer to get it repaired or replaced. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Leave a Fragrance, Not an Odor

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I have something very cool to share with you today. But first, a story about my friend Herta. It's been quite a few years since she and Al came to visit.

In their graciously kind manner, they brought gifts. I thought I'd heard of everything, but one of these gifts left me wide-eyed and sputtering to find a good response, which I am not sure I ...Read more

How Northern California's destructive wildfires could exacerbate the state's housing crisis

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

PARADISE, Calif. -- Northern California's recent wildfires have burned homes at a greater pace than developers are building them, deepening a housing shortage that already has left millions struggling to find affordable places to live.

Five large wildfires over the past 14 months, with November's Camp fire the most devastating, have destroyed ...Read more

'It's so much better here': Tenants who followed Bay Area landlord to Colorado aren't looking back

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The first snow dusted Colorado Springs in late October.

Tony Hicks -- San Jose resident for 37 years, Colorado Springs landlord for 4 months -- didn't take it as a sign he made the wrong move.

"It's so much better here. It is nicer, cleaner," said Hicks, a 58-year-old retired engineer and landlord. He sold his three San Jose rental homes this ...Read more

The poor are getting 'priced out of Charlotte' by an out-of-state company, critics say

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Over the last decade, out-of-state rental companies have bought thousands of houses across Charlotte, raising rents in a city already struggling with a shortage of affordable housing.

For Angela Campbell the news still came as a shock earlier this year: Her landlord, Tricon American Homes, would not renew her lease even ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Can we separate taxes, insurance from mortgage payment?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We want to separate our taxes and insurance from our mortgage payment, but our mortgage servicer says no. It did not collect enough to pay our taxes, and now there is a shortage. We want to prevent this in the future. Is the servicing company right? -- Tania

A: Your mortgage lender requires you to escrow your property taxes and homeowner ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Five Homemade Natural Cleaners That Perform Better than Expensive Brands

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Why bother? Why go to the trouble of making your own cleaning products when buying commercial products is so much easier? Making your own natural cleaning products at home has so many advantages, and they include time, money and perhaps even health. Take these four reasons:

--It takes as little as 30 seconds to mix up any number of homemade ...Read more

Changes to Seattle's single-family zoning could improve housing picture, city report says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- The single-family zoning that dominates Seattle has priced people who aren't rich out of most of the city's neighborhoods, is contributing to income and racial inequality, and has forced the city's booming population to crowd into small pockets of the city, a new planning-commission analysis concludes.

The advisory report released ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Give Yourself a Raise

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Is money a little tight? Hoping a raise will come through soon? I hate to burst your bubble, but even if the raise is exceptional, it probably won't do much good.

By the time a raise is adjusted for taxes, you'll be lucky to see half of it in your bank account. And if that's not bad enough, nearly everyone who earns more automatically spends ...Read more

Housing has peaked. Here are the reasons the market has cooled.

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The housing market is one of the key sectors in the economy. When housing booms, many segments of the economy are pulled along. But this sector is now slowing.

Are we in for a new housing market meltdown? Probably not, but that doesn't mean the future of the housing market is bright. Factors are in place that imply housing has entered a new ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Year-end giving doesn't guarantee getting a tax break

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In years past, nearly one-third of all annual donations were made in the month of December, as people made their charitable gifts before the deadline for tax deductions.

Yet this year, if you're more focused on getting back in the form of a tax break come April, you may want to think twice about how many year-end checks you write to charity.

...Read more

The Journey: Life insurance is being squeezed out by other household priorities

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Multiple studies have tagged millennials as risk-averse, so why are they shunning life insurance?

Just 10 percent of the under-40 generation has enough insurance to cover all of their dependents' needs in the event of an early death, according to a new study.

"Too many members of this generation are starting a family or buying a home without ...Read more

John Bogle pens WSJ op-ed warning index funds becoming too big

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The creator of low-cost indexing warns his invention may have grown too powerful.

Vanguard founder John Bogle penned an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal (paywall if you click) offering potential guardrails against the ever-growing power of institutional index fund managers -- including his own firm Vanguard, plus State Street, and ...Read more

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