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Here's How: Remove Synthetic Stucco From House Walls

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: We just found a house to buy, but it has a synthetic stucco exterior. What are some of the typical problems with this and can we strip it off an apply real stucco? -- Lori M.

Dear Lori: There have been many stories about problems with the synthetic stucco used on the exterior of a house. Enough of these horror stories are well-...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Treat Laundry Stains with Much Less Toil and Trouble

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Now and then I open my mailbox to find a letter than makes me want to jump up and run around yelling: "I know the answer! I know exactly how to fix this problem!" That's exactly what happened the day I heard from Chris.

Dear Mary: As an older woman whose hands tremble a bit (I've been thoroughly checked, and it's not a serious matter.), I am ...Read more

Bring the man cave into the light with these ideas

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

While the dark, dingy man cave with the mismatched recliners has gone the way of videotapes and TV antennas, new homes come with options that the man-of-the-house will love. Here's a look at new ways to find rooms for guys to hang out.

RECREATION ROOM

Many new homes have a bonus room that can be turned into a well-designed recreation room. Add...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Down payment assistance and defaults

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Do down payment assistance programs result in more defaults?

The answer to that question depends on whether or not the assistance weakens the role of down payments in minimizing mortgage defaults and losses from defaults. Such losses are borne by whoever bears the risk of default: the lender, the investor who purchases the loan from the lender,...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Down payment assistance and defaults

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Do down payment assistance programs result in more defaults?

The answer to that question depends on whether or not the assistance weakens the role of down payments in minimizing mortgage defaults and losses from defaults. Such losses are borne by whoever bears the risk of default: the lender, the investor who purchases the loan from the lender,...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Delinquent owners can't serve on condo or HOA boards

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I found out one of the board members of our association is delinquent in paying the monthly dues. How is this OK?

-- Frank

A: It's not OK. In Florida, the law doesn't permit people who are delinquent in any association obligations to serve on the board of directors. If the person already is on the board, he or she should immediately be ...Read more

On the House: If you could sell your home with just a few clicks, would you?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Even a decade ago, the idea that a typical consumer could hire a personal assistant on demand to clean the house, ship the packages, and shop for the groceries was almost unimaginable.

So was the idea that, with just a few taps on a screen, you could jump into a spotless sedan driven by a man named Steve and have him take you anywhere. Long ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Quick and Easy Ways to Do Stuff Cheaper, Better and Faster

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If there's one thing I love it's discovering something quick and easy that saves me time and money and makes my life easier. And when that tip is doubly clever because I can use something I have already to get it done, well that just makes me so happy!

Enjoy some of my favorite tips readers have sent to me over the years. And get prepared to ...Read more

For some, going tiny means going home

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Has a binge watching session of HGTV's "Tiny House, Big Living" got you daydreaming about a massive downsize? Imagining a life in which your home has wheels?

Hundreds of those dreamers came to the N.C. State Fairgrounds on Saturday for an expo on the latest phenomenon in the housing market: living a life in under 399 square ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Magical Solutions for Challenging Situations

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Sometimes it's the most unusual thing that turns out to be the magical solution for a household problem -- things like a hairdryer, a bottle of essential oil or a tube of toothpaste.

Dear Mary: We had a very bad dark-pink 7-foot stain in our white fiberglass whirlpool bathtub from previous antifreeze winterizing. I had tried many things to ...Read more

Small Spaces: The Front Porch

Consumer / Small Spaces /

The American front porch is a slice of heaven. You are fortunate if the homes in your neighborhood have this sure path to community intimacy and friendship. In "Home Sweet Home: American Domestic Vernacular Architecture," Davida Rochlin says: "Nobody thought much about the American front porch when most Americans had them and used them. The ...Read more

In Chicago, diners flocking to modern food halls

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- Chicago has always been a food town. Now, it's becoming a food hall town.

Food halls -- the modern, upscale, urban reincarnation of the humble mall food court -- have opened downtown and nearby neighborhoods in recent years, and experts say their growth in the Windy City has just begun.

Why are food halls all the rage? They're a ...Read more

Make Your Own Safe and Effective Ant Spray

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you've ever had to deal with an invasion of ants, you know the meaning of frustration. While the kids think they're so cute marching in formation, stopping to help one another and working hard to prepare for life challenges ahead, its better to study these amazing creatures than to face the day when you wake up to find a million or so ...Read more

House Calls: Lawyer's Advice

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Edith: You wrote that it would be "simplest" for the reader to contact an attorney to see whether a deed had been recorded. Perhaps, but it may also be more expensive. It could be simple for the reader to go to the county or some other appropriate local registry/reporting office and ask a clerk for some assistance, or trying to muddle their way ...Read more

Art of Design: The Closet

Consumer / Art of Design /

Closet...the word has many connotations and meanings, but generally it refers to a small room or enclosed area adjacent to a larger inhabitable space. Enclosure is a key component of a closet so that it may conceal what is inside. So, this is why when we hear chatter at a cocktail party that such and such politician is in the closet it refers to...Read more

Susan Tompor: Credit card tips for stress-less vacation

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Going on a summer vacation is supposed to be a stress reducer. But the average American family is likely to spend $2,936 on vacation this summer -- including taking on roughly $600 in extra debt, according to a MagnifyMoney survey.

Plenty of us will pull out the credit cards and the excuses to tell ourselves that we're worth it. But there are ...Read more

Gail MarksJarvis: Budgeting for retirement? Plan on spending an eye-popping amount on health care

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A quick look at your retirement savings and estimated Social Security payments may convince you that you're well-prepared to retire.

But before you do, consider the health care costs that await you in retirement: The average 65-year-old couple retiring in a year can expect to spend $404,253 in today's dollars on health insurance and other ...Read more

Hot Property: Angelina Jolie finds a change of scenery in storied Los Feliz estate

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES--Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie has purchased the Cecil B. DeMille estate, a Los Feliz mansion once owned by the early filmmaker, for $24.5 million.

Found behind gates in the Laughlin Park area, the 2-plus-acre estate was home to DeMille for roughly 40 years. Following his death in 1959, it was maintained by the movie mogul...Read more

Zero-down payment mortgages are back

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- They were all the rage -- then the scourge -- of the housing boom and bust. Now they're back, big time: Home mortgages that require tiny or zero-down payments from buyers.

Several major lenders are offering 1 percent down payment loans, and now a large national mortgage company has gone all the way, requiring absolutely nothing ...Read more

On Philanthropy: Women's voices ring clear in world of philanthropy

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As women in the baby boomer generation begin to retire, Generation X and millennial women are assuming well-deserved and hard-earned leadership positions in the business, government and nonprofit sectors. This transition is impacting philanthropy in significant ways.

Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, and range in age from 71 to 53. ...Read more

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