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House Calls: Showing a House

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: I am going to sell my house without a broker. Any advice you can give me would be welcome. -- H. G.

Answer: Here's some of what you need if you're going to sell on your own:

--Leisure time for studying, preparing, answering emails and phone calls, and showing the house.

--The ability to handle disappointment and rejection.

--Extra ...Read more

Art of Design: Don't Be a Snob

Consumer / Art of Design /

I confess that I am a bit of a snob. I always swoon when I see antiques that catch my eye, and my mind goes off wondering about the accurate period of a certain piece and whether it has a signature marking or specific provenance. Part of me imagines the antiques are animate, and I am intrigued by what secrets they know, the things they may have ...Read more

Hot Property: A mega-mogul's desert showplace

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- The onetime Palm Desert home of late Hollywood producer Jerry Weintraub returned to market last week for $6.9 million, and in three days had an offer in hand.

The striking contemporary-style home, which was designed and built for the mega-producer, was first offered three years ago for $16 million. More recently, it was listed at...Read more

Should seniors take the rap for the gap in homeownership by millennials?

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- Are senior homeowners preventing millennials from buying houses? Could the decisions of millions of older owners to "age in place" rather than sell their homes explain why millennials are lagging behind in homeownership?

A provocative new study (link: https://tinyurl.com/y3why5mh) from federally chartered mortgage investor Freddie...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Another desirable feature of a retirement plan: A set-aside

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A recent column I wrote on retirement ("What should you look for in a retirement plan?") indicated that in order to assure that a retiree will not run out of money at an advanced age -- a primary retirement objective -- most plans should contain an annuity.

In this column I will discuss a second major objective of retirement plans that is often...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Another desirable feature of a retirement plan: A set-aside

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A recent column I wrote on retirement ("What should you look for in a retirement plan?") indicated that in order to assure that a retiree will not run out of money at an advanced age -- a primary retirement objective -- most plans should contain an annuity.

In this column I will discuss a second major objective of retirement plans that is often...Read more

Singles who own homes may be more attractive to potential partners

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Forget cheesy pickup lines. The sexiest thing you can say to a potential mate in 2019? "I own my own house."

A recent survey suggests that owning a house makes you more attractive to potential mates.

Conducted by real estate listings site Realtor.com, the study finds that nearly 60 percent of millennial singles agreed that homeownership boosts...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Can I cash in by selling my beachside condo as a timeshare?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I have a great condo by the ocean, and I want to sell it as a timeshare because I think I can get more money doing it that way. Can I do this? -- Mary

A: This is a very creative idea, but you cannot do it. Fractional ownership, or a timeshare, is more than just selling weeks of ownership. Besides all of the disclosure requirements, timeshare...Read more

Here's How:When to Repair or Replace Your Roof

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: Over the past six months, I have noticed dark spots on my bedroom ceiling after it rains. I don't know if my roof needs to be repaired or replaced. How will I know when it's time for an entire reroofing job? -- Carol S.

Dear Carol: The actual life span of a roof system is determined by many factors: your local climate and ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Gifts to Thrill and Delight the Coffee Snobs in Your Life

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Even if you aren't one, chances are pretty good you know someone who is a bona fide coffee snob. That's because unmitigated devotion to coffee has reached epic proportions in the past few years.

For these folks, nothing says "I care" more than a gift that affirms said snobbery and love for truly great coffee. I can pretty much guarantee that ...Read more

Housing meant for the Bay Area's poorest residents is slowly vanishing

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As Bay Area communities struggle to build enough housing for their poorest residents, one factor keeps threatening their progress: the affordable housing they already have is slowing disappearing.

The five-county Bay Area has lost 2,128 subsidized affordable homes since 1997, according to a report released Tuesday by the California Housing ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 21 Best Cheap Date Ideas

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you're fortunate enough to share love, it takes a conscious decision to nurture your relationship. Don't put it off because you think it's too expensive to go on a date. Consider these cost-conscious ways to spend time with your love.

1. Enjoy a classic movie marathon. Borrow DVDs from the library, or swap with friends. Serve hot buttered ...Read more

Houses are stolen from the deceased in 'hot' Philadelphia neighborhoods — as the city stands by

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

PHILADELPHIA -- They are all dead. Yet if city records are to be believed, they all walked into the office of a notary public and signed away their homes, which just happened to be in gentrifying neighborhoods with soaring property values.

Gail Harrison lived alone in the house where she grew up on Seybert Street in North Philadelphia. She had ...Read more

Spectacular skylines can also be bird killers. Here's how a proposed Chicago ordinance is trying to help.

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- Glass-sheathed modern buildings make for spectacular skylines, but they're also bird killers, especially in Chicago.

Each year, thousands of birds die when they smash into large glass windows they can't see. Lights from skyscrapers can also confuse migrating birds, causing them to circle buildings repeatedly and die from exhaustion. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Bag a Bargain on Leather Belts, Plus More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Today I am especially impressed, if not excited, by the cool and very useful money- and time-saving tips my EC readers send to me.

Not that long ago, I stopped into a discount clothing store (Marshall's, to be exact) to get my husband a new belt. I enjoy the classy look of a high-quality leather belt, and I know this store usually has a fairly ...Read more

The Journey: New post-retirement job: making the world a better place

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Retirement experts often recommend working longer as a way to make savings outlive the saver, but it isn't always easy.

Burnout, age discrimination, health issues and new technologies that eliminate jobs or make veteran workers' skills outdated conspire against those who try.

There is a growing wave of hope, however, that saving the world -- ...Read more

Susan Tompor: How to avoid the Social Security scam that makes you out to be a criminal

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Maybe con artists are inspired by the movie "The Mule" where Clint Eastwood plays an octogenarian who hauls cocaine shipments in a Lincoln pickup for a Mexican cartel.

Maybe it's all the political haggling over "The Wall" where President Donald Trump and his supporters want to beef up border security by creating a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Amazing Ways to Use Hydrogen Peroxide Around the House

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Last week, I heard from one of my readers who wrote about hydrogen peroxide -- something I've written about in the past but not so much in the context of this reader's personal report.

I loved her story and outcome but needed to confirm that hydrogen peroxide is safe, reasonable and recommended as a mouthwash.

In the process, I ran into a ...Read more

TV show update: Wofford family reflects on life-changing 'Extreme' home makeover, 15 years later

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you were a TV watcher in 2004, chances are you remember the Wofford family of Encinitas.

On Sept. 26 of that year, America was introduced to widower Brian Wofford and his eight children ages 6 to 18, who were chosen by ABC television producers for what would become one of the most-watched and most-popular episodes of the top-rated series "...Read more

House Calls: Portfolio Loan

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: We have been working with a real estate agent for some time, and he says we qualify for a mortgage. We have fallen in love with a house that's more than 125 years old and has a very great backyard. Our agent says whoever buys it will have to pay all cash because it won't meet the standards for a regular mortgage loan and the owners ...Read more

 

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