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House Calls: Consult a CPA

Consumer / Edith Lank /

I try to hold the "see a lawyer" response down to once a week, but this week's response to keep down could probably be "consult a CPA."

Trust Beneficiary

Dear Mrs. Lank: My mother-in-law sold her house in 2016. The house was built in 1955 for $60,000. The house sold for $169,000. There were approximately $75,000 worth of improvements ...Read more

Art of Design: Holiday Decor

Consumer / Art of Design /

The first couple of days in December, I always promise myself to not overdo it with gifts and the holiday decorations. But one way or another I end up overdoing everything. Decorating for the holidays, no matter what faith or religion you practice, is invigorating and gives one a renewed sense of excitement and optimism for the time spent with ...Read more

Hot Property: Moving on to the next round

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Simon Cowell, known to most as a judge on "The X Factor" and "America's Got Talent," has bought a compound in Malibu for $24 million. He's also quietly shopping his Beverly Hills home in the $30 million range.

The Malibu home is behind gates on a bluff top of about 2 acres with expansive lawns, gardens, a lighted tennis court and...Read more

Here's How: Another Closet

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: We moved into our house two years ago, but we have outgrown the closet space. Our bedroom is pretty large, so I thought about building another closet. What is the easiest way to add one? -- Mike K.

Dear Mike: It is surprising sometimes how clothes seem to reproduce on their own like rabbits and quickly fill up a closet. With the ...Read more

Ask Me Anything - Lost Wallet Found and Dubious Credit

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Today's batch of reader questions reminds me how complicated our lives have become since the introduction of consumer credit. Some days I long for simpler times so long ago when cash was king and there was no such thing as a billion-dollar consumer credit industry attempting to control our lives.

Dear Mary: A couple months ago, I left my wallet...Read more

Google-backed massive housing and office plan wins approval

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- It's a Google town.

Mountain View City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved a sweeping redevelopment plan, clearing the way for Google and other developers to create a dense, city-like campus of offices and homes in a housing-starving region.

The new master plan could reshape North Bayshore, home to Google ...Read more

30,000-square-foot rooftop restaurant and bar will crown new Navy Pier hotel

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO – Visitors who play at Chicago's Navy Pier soon will be able to stay there as well, with a new seven-story hotel set to rise on the eastern end of the familiar landmark over the next 18 months.

Developers unveiled plans this week for the upscale, 222-room Curio Collection by Hilton hotel adjacent to Festival Hall, which will include ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Think safety, double-check insurance before throwing party with a bounce house

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We are having a party for my kid's birthday and she wants it with a bounce house and other outside attractions in our backyard. I am concerned with my liability if someone gets injured at the party. What are my rights? – Amanda

A: You are rightfully concerned about this because you may be sued if someone gets injured on your property. The ...Read more

How to avoid buyer's remorse

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You've dreamed about that new home and finally signed on the dotted line. But then the uncertainties creep in. Was it the right choice? Did I pay too much? Can I really make the payments?

So much debt. So much doubt.

According to a recent survey by Trulia, 44 percent of U.S. homebuyers have some regrets about their home or the buying process. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Solutions for 3 Common Laundry Problems

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

STINKY TOWELS AND CLOTHES

No matter how many times you wash those items, you just cannot get rid of the disgusting sour, mildewy odor. The problem is clear evidence of bacteria that continues to live in those items, despite having been previously laundered and dried.

Place the offending items in the washer, and set it to the hottest wash cycle...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Minimizing the Upfront costs of a mortgage: What borrowers ought to know

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Mortgage borrowers have some control over the amount of cash they must produce at the closing table. Minimizing the amount, however, may or may not be in their long-term interest.

Interest Rates and Lender Rebates

Borrowers can control the amount of cash they are required to produce at closing when they select the combination of interest rate ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Minimizing the Upfront costs of a mortgage: What borrowers ought to know

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Mortgage borrowers have some control over the amount of cash they must produce at the closing table. Minimizing the amount, however, may or may not be in their long-term interest.

Interest Rates and Lender Rebates

Borrowers can control the amount of cash they are required to produce at closing when they select the combination of interest rate ...Read more

She lost part of her head to Irma, but the Coppertone Girl just got a big facelift

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MIAMI -- The Coppertone Girl has her whole head back.

With a facelift, to boot.

This week, the MiMo Biscayne Association announced on Facebook that the iconic "Coppertone Cutie," a fixture in the city since 1959, has "fully recovered from her Hurricane Irma injuries and is safely back home at 7300 Biscayne Boulevard."

After Hurricane Irma ...Read more

Shopping mall giant Westfield being sold to French real estate firm in $16-billion deal

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

WASHINGTON -- Westfield Corp., operator of upscale shopping malls in Los Angeles and dozens of other locations in the U.S. and Britain, is being sold to French commercial real estate giant Unibail-Rodamco in a $16 billion deal, the two companies announced Tuesday.

The cash-and-stock deal values shares of Australia-based Westfield at $7.55 a ...Read more

Letters to the Editor: Coffee Roasting, Beef Jerky, Freezer and More

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Today I want to tell you, my dear readers, just how much joy you bring to my life with your comments and feedback. You give me a daily dose of reality because I use my inbox to measure the temperature on how this column is being received.

Now and then, I get a comment -- and I tell you this quite reluctantly -- that is just not fit to print. ...Read more

Small Spaces: Stuck in the Corner?

Consumer / Small Spaces /

It's never pleasant to be stuck in a corner, is it? When the only available table in a cafe is that tiny one tucked into the corner, you have to pull your coat and umbrella tight to your body and politely navigate through a sea of tables and chairs to sit down. Even in language we sometimes refer to the "far corners" of the Earth in a way that ...Read more

California proposition would encourage older homeowners to sell

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In the midst of California's severe housing shortage and a federal tax overhaul, a statewide ballot initiative was submitted this fall with the idea of getting longtime, older owners to sell their homes, freeing them up for younger families to buy.

The proposal from the California Association of Realtors would expand Proposition 13, the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Get Started Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It all started about 10 years when I had a conversation with a co-worker of my friend Rosalie named Dax Wilson, who'd recently taken up this hobby of home roasting. The motivation? Quality and taste. But he also wanted to cut the high cost of quality coffee by at least half. That was enough to get my attention and become equally enthusiastic.

...Read more

House Calls: Becoming Owner

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: To settle a bet, I'd like to know: When exactly does homeownership transfer? Is it when the new deed is entered in the public records office? -- askedith.com

Answer: Way back when few people could read or write, the seller of land would pick up a clod of earth and hand it to the buyer, who would seize it and become owner of that ...Read more

Hot Property: Additional holiday markdowns

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but there are still a few discounts to be had.

In Montecito, Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia de Rossi appear to have lowered expectations on their Italian villa-style home.

Originally offered at $45 million, the romantic weekend retreat and its centerpiece Wallace Frost-designed ...Read more