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Hot Property: Due for another proposal, dahling

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES--Zsa Zsa Gabor's longtime Bel-Air estate has come on the market at $23.45 million -- more than twice what it sold for a year ago, $10.45 million, public records show.

The French Regency-style mansion, built in 1955, sits on a 1-acre gated hilltop with views of downtown Los Angeles, Catalina Island and the ocean. It's being offered ...Read more

How dirty is Miami real estate? Secret home deals dried up when feds started watching

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MIAMI -- When a company called the Flower of Scotland paid $1.13 million -- in cash -- for a three-bedroom condo in Sunny Isles Beach last year, it had to do something unusual: tell the federal government who its real owner was.

In years past, the Delaware-based shell company could have put down the money and walked away with a new condo -- and...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Curbing HUD losses on HECM reverse mortgages

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The HECM reverse mortgage program has been bleeding red ink. Losses on transactions in which the loan balance at termination exceeds the net recoverable property value have been larger than the insurance premiums FHA collects from all HECM borrowers.

According to news reports, FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery is considering measures that would...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Curbing HUD losses on HECM reverse mortgages

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The HECM reverse mortgage program has been bleeding red ink. Losses on transactions in which the loan balance at termination exceeds the net recoverable property value have been larger than the insurance premiums FHA collects from all HECM borrowers.

According to news reports, FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery is considering measures that would...Read more

The Brady Bunch house is for sale. Its broker expects an 'avalanche' — of lookers, at least

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Here's the story of a lovely family home, which just hit the market for $1.885 million.

The Brady Bunch house, a Traditional-style residence near the Colfax Meadows neighborhood, was used for outdoor representations of the beloved television family's abode. That included the show's opening and closing scenes as well as numerous ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Quick answers on rental leases

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

I get many rental-related questions where the answers are too short to write a whole column about -- but they are important questions. Here I answer several of them.

Q: I have rented part of a house for several years, paying monthly without a written lease, and recently the landlord significantly raised the rent. Can he do this? -- Nancy

A: ...Read more

Chicago's boom in downtown jobs did not benefit some city's disadvantaged communities, study shows

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- As the number of jobs downtown rapidly increased in recent years, the number of people with those jobs who also live in Chicago's vulnerable, African-American communities declined, a new study shows.

It means that even as more residents obtained well-paying downtown jobs, fewer of those workers were living in communities where their ...Read more

Seattle tops the nation in tower cranes for third straight year as construction reaches new peak

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- Seattle is the crane capital of America for the third year in a row, as construction across the city has rebounded strongly from a relative lull in early 2018.

Seattle has 65 of the towering construction cranes reshaping its skyline, 25 more than the next U.S. city.

Seattle had held steady at 60 or so cranes over the last few years,...Read more

Detroit's historic bankruptcy and more contributed to city's revival

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

DETROIT -- When historians write about Detroit's recovery from decades of decline, they will no doubt credit the city's successful 2013-14 trip through municipal bankruptcy as a key reason for the comeback.

Started with the filing five years ago Wednesday, the bankruptcy wiped several billion dollars of debt from the city's books. The ...Read more

San Diego council votes to limit Airbnb rentals to primary residences only

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN DIEGO -- In a move that will dramatically alter San Diego's home sharing landscape, the City Council Monday voted to outlaw vacation rentals in secondary homes, limiting short-term stays to one's primary residence only.

The effect of the action will be to curtail investor activity in the short-term rental market while also barring residents...Read more

Life after the Bay Area: Fleeing residents feel heartbreak, joy

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When Wells Twombly looks out across his sunny Fremont backyard, he can sometimes still see his son and friends as children -- standing on the roof of the shed, holding handmade bows and raining down toy arrows on their imaginary foes.

Such memories run rampant through the small, orange house on Colby Street that Twombly, 61, and his wife, ...Read more

How an artist turned a rundown auto shop into an urban oasis home and studio

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

BALTIMORE -- Luck follows Kelly Walker.

When she hitchhiked into Baltimore as a teenager, the North Carolina native was addicted to drugs and alcohol and living out of a backpack. But she found recovery services that saved her life.

Then she stumbled into an apprenticeship that led her to start her own decorative painting and faux finishing ...Read more

Kushner Cos. probed over harassment of low-income tenants

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

NEW YORK -- Kushner Cos. is being investigated in New York over allegations the real-estate company used disruptive construction projects to harass rent-regulated tenants so they'd move out of their apartments.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's Tenant Protection Unit opened the probe after residents of Austin Nichols House in Brooklyn accused ...Read more

The Journey: Social Security Administration is shortchanging survivors on benefits

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Widows and widowers who were shortchanged on Social Security benefits by an estimated $131.8 million won't get any of that money back, despite an Inspector General report calling for action.

Earlier this year, the administration's Office of the Inspector General issued an audit report that determined the Social Security Administration underpaid...Read more

On Philanthropy: Coherent philanthropy: 6 key lessons for families

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Philanthropy is "coherent" when it is logical, well-organized, well-planned and sensible -- as well as easy to understand and articulate.

Over the years, I have helped dozens of families, foundations, businesses and family offices achieve coherence in their philanthropy. In the realm of family philanthropy, here are six key lessons. (In a ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Students aren't the only ones crushed by school debt

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

College debt is building and, increasingly, parents are on the hook.

Where do you turn when you've maxed out on federal student loans? Ask Mom and Dad to take out some parent loans, too.

The average cumulative federal student loan debt that parents borrow even exceeds what's being taken on by students, according to new research.

On average, ...Read more

United Airlines joins other carriers in peddling credit cards to passengers

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you hate unsolicited sales pitches, your next flight on United Airlines might be a bit irksome.

The Chicago-based airline is requiring its flight attendants beginning Sept. 1 to pitch passengers on every domestic and international flight to sign up for a co-branded credit card to boost revenue.

In the past, flight attendants had the option ...Read more

Hot Property: Just click your heels three times

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- A Malibu beach house where actress-singer Judy Garland of "The Wizard of Oz" once lived has sold in a deal completed off-market for $3.545 million.

The buyers are television and documentary writer-director-producer Cynthia Harrison-Wallach and her husband, real estate investment firm head Lewis Wallach.

Set on the sands in the ...Read more

Airbnb provides bigger economic boost for white neighborhoods, study finds

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Airbnb rentals help local economies by driving restaurant traffic and employment in a handful of U.S. cities, but not in predominantly black or Hispanic neighborhoods, according to a study from Purdue University.

The findings run counter to Airbnb's longtime assertion that home hosting helps "diverse" neighborhoods by bringing tourists to areas...Read more

Design Smarts: Remodelista's Julie Carlson on changing it up

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You can Pinterest, you can Instagram, you can even Houzz. But if you're looking for rock-solid renovation inspo online, you're going to want to check out the site that has the most tightly edited look on the internet -- Remodelista. The pared down, sometimes minimal aesthetic manages to stay true to its look, yet always timeless and even on ...Read more