Home & Leisure

Susan Tompor: 5 year-end tax tips to get your money safely through the holiday season

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Stop, take a deep breath and wait for a warning from the Internal Revenue Service before you pull out that plastic to jump on yet another holiday deal on a TV, toys or a smartphone.

Will you really have all the money you need by January or February to cover all those holiday bills? Not necessarily, if you're banking on a big income tax refund ...Read more

Hot Property: Jimmy Rollins gives up a base to Bruno Mars' producer

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Former Major League Baseball star Jimmy Rollins has sold his home in Encino to Grammy-winning producer-songwriter Philip Lawrence for $10.55 million in a deal completed off market.

The gated neoclassical-vibe house, built in 2017, has 14,900 square feet of polished living space, a gym, a home theater and indoor and outdoor ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Peloton's controversial bike ad stirred immediate reaction when I watched it

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A week ago while winding down from Thanksgiving weekend, I turned to my husband shortly after seeing what's now turned into a firestorm of a TV commercial and quietly said: "Don't get me a Peloton."

His quick response: "Here is the good news: It never crossed my mind."

The exchange between us seemed so funny that I immediately tweeted it out ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: My condo association's suing me. Can I ignore them?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: A few months ago my condo put a wrongful charge on my monthly dues bill. I called the management company and gave them a piece of my mind. They never called me back, and while I did get a few letters, I ignored them. This morning, someone knocked on my door and handed me a lawsuit filed by my association! Do I need to deal with this nonsense?...Read more

Americans near 50, not 30, are buying homes, Deutsche Bank says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

NEW YORK -- The vision underpinning the American dream -- of fresh-faced young people buying a first home with a white-picket fence -- hasn't held up well.

It turns out that the median age of the U.S. home buyer is now 47, compared with 31 in 1981, Deutsche Bank chief economist Torsten Slok wrote in a note.

"This is driven by an aging ...Read more

Redfin launches online home-bidding program in San Diego

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Redfin launched a new online home bidding service in San Diego on Tuesday that aims to cut down on thousands of dollars in commission fees.

The service, called Redfin Direct, allows potential homebuyers to bid on homes through a website or mobile app -- cutting out a real estate agent and likely lowering costs. Critics of the new effort, which ...Read more

3 easy DIY holiday decor ideas from a style blogger

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Minneapolis DIY style blogger Erin Francois, author of, says she comes from "a long line of makers," including a grandmother and mother with abundant drawing and sewing talent. Francois' youthful love of playing with craft materials eventually led to a degree in interior design and a job applying her skills to commercial spaces...Read more

Carla Fried: Huge advantage 401(k) savers enjoy over those using an IRA

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In 2020, anyone with a workplace retirement plan they contribute to can pony up even more money. The IRS adjusts the annual contribution limit to keep pace with inflation. For 2020, if you're younger than 50 you can pile as much as $19,500 into a 401(k), 403(b) or similar defined-contribution plan. That's up from $19,000. If you're 50 or older, ...Read more

Giving Tuesday: How to donate to charity directly from your retirement account and save on taxes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you're the right age and plan to give to charity, here's one great way to amplify your gift.

Generally, those over 70 1/2 have until year's end to take required money out of their Individual Retirement Accounts. It's called required minimum distribution, and it must be taken.

Instead of withdrawing and paying income tax, however, you can ...Read more

Susan Tompor: How to protect your money from online crooks while holiday shopping

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As shoppers whip out the plastic for online deals, the holiday angst only heightens when it comes to threats to your credit card accounts and other personal information.

Even consumers who shop online through a major retailer, like Macy's, can fall victim to some of these incredible hacking incidents.

During a one-week period in early October,...Read more

Hot Property: More than a Weeknd stay

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Abel Tesfaye, the singer-songwriter better known as the Weeknd, has bought one of the remaining penthouses at the Beverly West, a boutique condominium tower in Westwood, in one of the highest condo sales ever recorded in the Los Angeles area.

The "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills" singer paid $21 million -- or about $2,555 a ...Read more

California holds 73% of the nation's priciest ZIP codes for home buyers

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Angelenos don't need a study to know that homes are expensive in L.A., but here's one anyway: According to a new report from real estate database PropertyShark, California has accounted for roughly 73% of the country's priciest ZIP codes for home buyers this year.

The analysis of residential transactions from January to November found that the ...Read more

Liz Farmer: Little-noticed home buying risk — your city's financial problems

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Imagine if, months after settling in to your dream house, your local government began threatening to lay off police officers, close some schools and cut transit service? And on top of those reduced services, property taxes and other levies and fees began rising steeply?

It could happen if your chosen city is in deep financial trouble -- and ...Read more

The Journey: The Long Goodbye: Unretiring becomes the norm

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When people ask me what I've learned most about retirement in my years covering the subject as a journalist, I typically deadpan a one-word answer: Don't.

For both financial and health reasons, delaying retirement by even a year or two beyond the original plan can make a big difference.

A new survey takes the idea a step further, contemplating...Read more

Illness, injury and aging mean homes with accessibility are in great demand. But that doesn't mean they're easy to find

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Matthew Gill, 25, was 19 years old when he jumped into the Rock River in Wisconsin. He dove in, not realizing the depth of the water he was diving into, and hit his head, according to his father, Bill Gill.

Matthew's spinal cord injury put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

The accident changed the trajectory of the Gill family in ...Read more

This CEO sees growth ahead for the Los Angeles real estate market

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- The world's largest real estate services firm, CBRE Group Inc., is one of only a handful of Fortune 500 firms based in Los Angeles.

The company has had a growth spurt since the last real estate downturn ended, posting new revenue records for eight consecutive years and finishing the third quarter with a profit of $257 million.

...Read more

Carla Fried: Online retirement calculators — handy and potentially dangerous

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Online calculators make it easy to chart your retirement savings progress. Plug in what you've saved so far, your expected Social Security and pension payouts, and the free tools will spit out an estimate of how much income you can expect in retirement.

But for anyone within 10 or so years of retirement, those calculators may be too optimistic....Read more

Susan Tompor: 'Tis the season for elaborate scams to trick and defraud shoppers

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Scammers love impersonating the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and Social Security. Why not add Black Friday shoppers to the list, too?

Oddly enough, retailers are being warned that sophisticated scammers could target online Black Friday deals in highly automated schemes that use fraudulent accounts created with stolen data and fictitious ...Read more

How to take photos of your home like a pro

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Whether you're showcasing your home for a rental, sublet, new roommates, or sale, great photos are essential to attract attention online. We asked Alyssa Rosenheck, a photographer, home stylist, and author of the forthcoming book "The New Southern," about how anyone can take better photos of their home.

Here are her suggestions for amateur ...Read more

'We Buy Houses' investors target seniors with below market offers

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

ATLANTA -- Debbie McGauley considered moving from the house she loved to be the at-home caregiver to her 80-year-old uncle. Its hallways were too narrow for an ambulance stretcher, which the bedridden man would surely need in the years to come.

When a friendly investor offered to buy it for $95,000, she signed a form thinking that she was ...Read more