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Sen. Feinstein pens letter to Google after $1 billion housing announcement

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In the wake of Google's announcement this week that it will spend $1 billion tackling the Bay Area's housing crisis, one California lawmaker wants more information from the tech giant.

Longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday saying "any information you are able to provide about this investment is ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: How can I get out of condo contract?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Several years ago, I signed a contract to buy a new construction condo unit. I have made all the required deposits, and we are six months from closing. I found out I have to relocate for my job. What can I do? -- Don

A: Many things can happen between signing a contract for new construction in a development and closing time, often several ...Read more

Backyard tech for summer that will make your neighbors jealous

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Make the great outdoors even greater with cool gadgets to make life easier so you can further enjoy all of summer's awesomeness.

Yes, we know that you may get outside to get away from technology, but items like a Wi-Fi barbecue thermometer means you can check on dinner without having to step away from your guests. A robot lawnmower will quietly...Read more

Wells Fargo mistakes cost people their homes. It was just the start of their problems

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

BURLINGTON, N.C. -- About nine years ago, a Burlington woman begged Wells Fargo to keep working with her to lower her mortgage payments. She had just lost her job, and the single mom was struggling to pay for the house she shared with her three kids.

Ultimately, the bank said no.

Her problems continued to mount. Choking back tears, Zsa Zsa ...Read more

WeWork becomes largest office tenant in downtown Chicago

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- WeWork has signed its 12th lease in Chicago, pushing its footprint to more than 1 million square feet and making the co-working giant the largest tenant leasing office space downtown.

The New York-based company's latest deal is for almost 92,000 square feet in a 20-story tower at 625 W. Adams St., where the company said it will move ...Read more

We break down Vanguard's 'How America Saves' 2019 report

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Want some highlights of how Americans save for retirement? We read Vanguard's latest "How America Saves" 2019 report issued on Tuesday for trends and other takeaways.

Here are some key highlights from Vanguard's report on the popular workplace "defined contribution" (DC) retirement plans, those filled by matching contributions from the employee...Read more

Why Stanford may be more affordable than a lot of state universities

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Prestigious, selective, world-ranked are all ways to describe Stanford University. Add this to the list: bargain -- at least by some measures.

Students who graduated from Stanford with a bachelor's degree had the lowest debt burden in the Bay Area and the fourth lowest in California. The average Stanford student's total debt of almost $13,700 ...Read more

Susan Tompor: How a 25-year-old hairstylist drives a six-figure Mercedes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Alex Pardoe, 25, is what some might dub the anti-millennial. Except, he's not really.

Much like others in their 20s or 30s, he's savvy about building a brand, marketing his talents and recognizing how to use Instagram and YouTube to turn a head and grab a headline.

He's just making a whole lot more money than you'd imagine for someone in a ...Read more

The Journey: How to unload your debt burden

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Americans' debt load has risen nearly 23% since 2013 -- despite record stock gains and low unemployment -- and that can't bode well for their future.

Household debt totaled almost $13.7 trillion in the first quarter, with credit cards, auto loans and home equity loans accounting for 18% of that figure, according to the New York Federal Reserve'...Read more

Housing crunch sends bigger populations to smaller towns

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Cities with fewer than 200,000 residents grew faster than larger metropolises between 2017 and 2018 as high housing prices chased many people away from big cities and their closest suburbs.

The biggest cities grew by a collective 326,000 people, less than half the number earlier in the decade, and less than the number for smaller cities -- 421,...Read more

How hackers used little-known credit-card feature to defraud woman, $1.99 at a time

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Whoever stole Leslie Robison's credit card number could have bought a new computer, a flat-screen TV, or an expensive trip overseas.

Instead, the thief tried to scam her just two bucks at a time.

In January, Robison discovered more than a dozen charges at a $1.99 each from Google for hundreds of gigabytes of cloud storage she never ordered. ...Read more

Hot Property: Tyra Banks' next top remodel

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Supermodel, television host and home flipper Tyra Banks has bought a Pacific Palisades home for a little more than $3 million.

The 1949 traditional house, which has been owned by the same family for 70 years, is in the Bluffs area and in need of a makeover.

Banks, who in recent years has bought and sold a number of homes in the ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Falling interest rates encourage refinancing — but often for the wrong reason

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The usual reasons to refinance are to reduce the monthly payment or to raise cash. A third reason -- which is underappreciated -- is to shorten the period of indebtedness.

The third motive is seldom acted upon. Indeed, borrowers who refinance into a new mortgage that has the same term as the original mortgage -- a new 30-year supplanting an old...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Falling interest rates encourage refinancing — but often for the wrong reason

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The usual reasons to refinance are to reduce the monthly payment or to raise cash. A third reason -- which is underappreciated -- is to shorten the period of indebtedness.

The third motive is seldom acted upon. Indeed, borrowers who refinance into a new mortgage that has the same term as the original mortgage -- a new 30-year supplanting an old...Read more

California cities lead the U.S. in inflation. Housing costs are a big reason why

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Nationally, consumer prices are barely moving, with inflation clocking in at just 1.8% for May. But if you live in a major urban area of California, you've noticed a much bigger hit.

Among the chief culprits? Housing costs.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday that a handful of California metropolitan areas saw...Read more

Real estate Q&A: I can't rent to pet owners, but do I have to allow emotional support animals?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Our condo is designated pet-free in our community documents. I am about to rent and want to keep the apartment in good shape. If I include a no-pets clause in the lease, am I still forced to accept emotional support or service animals? -- Jane

A: Yes. Service and emotional support animals are not pets, so restrictions that apply to pets do ...Read more

Amazon, Microsoft and others give tens of millions for homeless housing

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- A year after business leaders in Seattle helped kill a tax that would have raised an estimated $47 million a year for homelessness and housing, Amazon, Microsoft, Connie and Steve Ballmer and others announced that they were giving more than that amount to build hundreds of homes for homeless people in the Seattle area.

The gifts ...Read more

A $1,800 apartment became a $3,300 corporate rental. Is that bad for housing?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Last week, an upstart company started providing furnished apartments for business travelers on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood. Its website describes a "tastefully renovated" apartment complex with "laid back West Coast DNA" and a feeling of "whimsical Italian modern maximalism."

Tony Diamond, the founder of the company behind the ...Read more

Home buyers with kids face greater struggles, Zillow survey says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

School's out for summer. That means many kids are scrambling to have as much fun as possible and may parents are hustling to move into a new home before school is back in session.

Buying a home is tricky for anybody, especially if it's your first one, but parents have a far more stressful time than those without kids, according to Zillow ...Read more

In Bay Area, small retail struggles while tech booms

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

While Silicon Valley's tech sector is thriving, cranking out IPOs and flooding the region with high-paying jobs, its retail industry is struggling to keep its boutiques and tiny mom and pop shops open.

The number of retail businesses -- particularly small retail businesses -- has dropped significantly in the Bay Area between 2007 and 2017, ...Read more

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