Home & Leisure

Liz Farmer: California — not for everyone, but essential for some

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Its coastal cities are pricey, global hubs of talent and innovation

The state of California seems to attract apocalyptic news coverage and the way things are going, it's unlikely to let up. You may have heard about an exodus of people fleeing lengthy commutes through gridlocked traffic, unaffordable housing, high taxes, wildfires, electricity ...Read more

Carla Fried: $38 billion yearly on self-storage — better spent on retirement savings?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You likely have noticed in your town, or driving through its outskirts, that self-storage is an increasingly popular business.

There are an estimated 45,000 storage facilities across the country, and new construction has tripled in the past five years. There is now an estimated 6.5 square feet of self-storage space for every person in America. ...Read more

Southern California home prices and sales surged in December

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Southern California home prices in December rose by the most in 19 months, the latest sign that the housing market is gaining steam after a prolonged slowdown.

The six-county median sales price hit a new all-time high of $550,000 last month, a 7.2% increase from a year earlier, according to data from DQNews. Sales, meanwhile, surged 22.1% from ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: I'm being charged tourist tax even though I live here

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: My home was severely damaged about eight months ago due to water damage, and I have been living in a hotel suite since then. I recently noticed that the hotel is charging me for the tourist tax. I am not a tourist. Why do I have to pay this? -- Oliver

A: In Florida, along with most states, short term, or "transient," rentals of less than six...Read more

Deals & Steals: L'Occitane: Free 4-piece OMY Shea Butter gift set

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Get a free 4-piece OMY Shea Butter Hand Cream starter gift set from L'Occitane.

The generous freebie includes a tube of rich Shea Butter Hand Cream ($12 retail) and a cosmetic bag that you can color with two included pink and blue Sharpies. Get the freebie in stores with no purchase necessary, or with any $5 or more purchase at homeandleisure/consumer/home/s-2317798">Read more

Super Bowl tickets: Tips to avoid scams, counterfeits

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you're looking to score tickets to Super Bowl 2020 on Feb. 2, get ready to cash in your 401(k).

While it is late in the game to get affordable tickets, the NFL still has some for sale for $4,400. Each. Slightly cheaper but still pricey options are available on the secondary market when the big game arrives at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami ...Read more

Carla Fried: How to navigate the high cost of becoming a caregiver

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you have yet to step into the role of caregiver, there's a good chance it may be in your future. A 2017 joint survey by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave estimated that 40 million Americans have already served as a caregiver. With the advancing age of baby boomers, 20 million more are expected to join the caregiving ranks each year.

While ...Read more

Hot Property: French Montana looks to double his money on Hidden Hills home

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Rapper French Montana is shooting for the stars in Hidden Hills. Four years after buying Selena Gomez's Mediterranean mansion for $3.3 million, he's trying to double his money by listing the property for sale at $6.599 million.

The steep price hike reflects a bit of remodeling. The rapper painted over Gomez's bold tones of purple...Read more

Social Graces: How to fire a bridesmaid

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: How do you fire a bridesmaid?

A: If you have found yourself in a predicament with someone in your bridal party posse, chances are she is feeling it too.

First, step back and clearly identify the issue. Sometimes this situation can be fixed by simply realigning your expectations. You may also want to consider hiring a wedding planner or ...Read more

5 ways to choose the right home service professional

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

From carpet removal to kitchen remodeling, most homeowners will tackle a home improvement project at some point or another. But it can feel vulnerable to let a stranger inside your home, even a professional. Here's a look at what to ask during the interview process to make sure you've found the right person for the job - and that the work goes...Read more

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

Susan Tompor: Some retirees feeling less secure about tax rule changes in SECURE Act

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Savers who spend a lifetime clipping coupons, chasing credit card points, cooking all their meals and cutting corners at every single turn typically don't stop being frugal once they quit working and they're staring at a healthy seven-figure nest egg in retirement.

"They don't change their spots," said Ed Slott, an IRA expert who has hosted a ...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

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

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