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As seas rise, coastal homes in Florida could lose value. One report says 15% by 2030

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MIAMI -- Increasing sea rise is going to water down the value of some of the most coveted and expensive real estate in Florida, and insurance rates will go up too.

That's the conclusion of a pair of new reports calculating just how much of an impact climate change will have on Florida's real estate industry.

A report from international ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: You signed agent's agreement, so grit your teeth and pay

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: My tenant wants to purchase the home he recently rented with the help of my real estate agent. I checked the listing agreement I signed with the agent and noticed that it states that if I sell the property to the tenant, I need to pay the agent an additional sales commission. I already paid the agent for the rental, and I do not understand ...Read more

Microsoft ups its commitment to affordable housing by $250 million

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- One year ago, Microsoft made national headlines with its largest pledge ever, a promise to invest $500 million in affordable housing.

On Wednesday, the tech giant put a potential $250 million on top of that.

Like most of its previous tranche of funding, though, the new money isn't for free -- it's a line of credit for a state agency...Read more

Here's How: Keep Moisture out of Walls To Avoid Rotting

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I am in the planning stage for a new home. My previous stucco home had serious damage for rotting lumber. What is the best way to avoid the same problems in the new home I am building? -- Lynn R.

Dear Lynn: By far, the majority of problems with rotting lumber in a house can be traced back to excessive moisture and persistent ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Make Your Own Spreadable Butter

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

You've seen the little tubs of spreadable butter in the dairy case of your supermarket. In fact, you may purchase them because they're just so convenient. And if you watch your prices, you know the typical "spreadable" could almost be considered a luxury item.

Most spreadables are part real butter, part canola oil. Others have olive oil or some...Read more

Dee Gill: Moving for happiness, part 1: How to relocate among people who bring you joy

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You're thinking about moving, from your hometown or college town or wherever you've been lately. Perhaps you've just graduated and are pursuing jobs in several states. Or you need to relocate so your spouse can find a better job. Or maybe you and your partner come from different cities, and you're considering those so your kids can grow up near ...Read more

Warner Bros. breaks ground on massive new studio with Gehry-designed 'iceberg buildings'

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Warner Bros. on Tuesday officially broke ground on a pair of Frank Gehry-designed office towers, which when completed will mark a major expansion of the Burbank, Calif.-based movie and TV studio's headquarters.

The project, first announced last April, was commemorated in a ceremony with Warner Bros. Chief Executive Ann Sarnoff and Gehry, the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Plastics of a Different Kind

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

While plastic is used in thousands of products that add comfort, convenience and even safety to our lives, we have become addicted to single-use or disposable plastic --which has detrimental consequences to our environment. Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, and up to 5 trillion single-use plastic ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Brighten Dingy Laundry ... and More Reader Questions

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: While my daughter was on staff at a summer camp, she did not launder her bedding frequently. Even though the bedding has been laundered a number of times since being home, I've noticed that the sheets, pillowcases and comforter appear dingy even though they're fresh from the dryer. Is there anything that will brighten these items? -- ...Read more

7 tools every homeowner needs

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you believe everything you see on TV and the internet, you might think no home is complete without a tricked-out workshop. Sure, there are some intrepid DIYers out there whose homes look like something out of Norm Abram's New Yankee Workshop. For the rest of us, though, the closest thing to a home workshop is a kitchen junk drawer jammed ...Read more

Social Graces: How to figure out if you're on a date and not a hangout

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: You're meeting someone you're interested in for drinks, but you're not sure if it's a date. How should you proceed?

A: If you're out for drinks with someone and you're not sure if it's a date, I'm all for being direct and asking if it's a date.

But how you ask is important. Be a little flirty, not just at the end of the night but ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Reader Tips - It's the Little Ways We Save That Add Up

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

AUTO STEREO

In cold weather, it's wise to wait until the car's interior warms up before using the radio or CD player. These units should be warm, especially the CD player, before they are turned on. If you are patient and allow the heater to warm the interior, your expensive sound system will work better for longer. -- Judd

BUBBLE GUM ON ...Read more

Art of Design: Focusing on a Focal Point

Consumer / Art of Design /

Ever enter a room and feel a bit disoriented? Chances are what is missing is a focal point.

A quick glimpse into your rooms can reveal a lot. You don't know exactly what is wrong, but you feel like you are floating in a sea of furniture, and the room seems to be missing a sense of purpose. Perhaps your room lacks a focal point.

In most ...Read more

Dr. Phil family home pops up on the market

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Social media users were scratching their heads after an unusual home tied to television's Dr. Phil came up for sale at $5.75 million.

Outlandish by even L.A.'s standards, the Spanish-style two-story home boasts details such as black fabric wallpaper, neon lights and what's described as an anti-gun art installation. Odd animal ...Read more

Carla Fried: Big cars, big car loans make for household financial fiasco

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Buying a dependable used car with above-average mileage is the budget-smart move -- remember, a car is a very expensive depreciating asset. And yet, more than 17 million new cars were purchased in each of the past five years.

Bought, as in financed. Experian reports that more than eight in 10 new cars are bought with loans, with the average ...Read more

Susan Tompor: New retirement rules could help boost your savings: 5 things to know

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The rules of the retirement game just saw a sizable overhaul in Congress, giving a nod to the reality that many Americans can't afford to quit working.

The changes aren't massive enough to put to rest concerns about an upcoming retirement crisis where some forecast a growing gap between the haves and have-nots. Even so, the adjustments are ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Do I still have to pay a bill if it's more than I agreed?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We hired a local company to help us with a project on our property. After the work was done, we received a bill for more than what was agreed. The bill also included work that was not performed. Do we need to pay it? -- Karl

A: Whenever you hire someone to perform work on your home, you should have a written contract. The agreement should ...Read more

Here's How: Refinish a Countertop to Look Like Real Granite

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I have an old laminate kitchen countertop still in good shape. I want to refinish it myself so it looks like real granite. What options do I have? -- Sandra N.

Dear Sandra: There are several do-it-yourself refinishing kits you can buy to provide a durable, real-granite or stonelike appearance. They are available at most home center ...Read more

Slash Food Costs and Give Yourself a Raise

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Could you use an extra $1,200? That's exactly what you'll have in a year if you can find a way to whack just $25 from your food bill each week. But there's not one single way to reduce food costs. The key is to use a combination of strategies.

EAT THE SALES

Build your grocery list from the sale ads. If it's not on sale, don't buy it -- at ...Read more

How Vanguard aims to prevail in fee wars, especially vs. Schwab-TD Ameritrade

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Vanguard reached $6 trillion in assets late last year. And it achieved that amid an ongoing fee war with Schwab-TD Ameritrade, which continued last week.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, Vanguard has led the movement to lower fees across Wall Street, first by attracting hundreds of billions of dollars in index fund assets, then by cutting fees ...Read more