Home & Leisure

Real estate Q&A: Is it legit to require rent be paid in cash?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We had to move out of our rental, and after looking for several weeks, we found a house we like at a rent we can afford. The new landlord uses a different lease form that requires rent payments to be made in cash. We are worried we will be unable to prove we paid if something comes up. Is this legit? — Cindy

A: A lease is a contract, and a...Read more

Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS

High housing costs making California more undesirable, RAND economist says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The high cost of housing is leaving California families locked out of homeownership and contributing to persistent homelessness, says RAND economist Jason Ward.

Yet, local policies and politics keep the Golden State from building enough homes to make housing affordable.

Obstacles range from regulation to resistance among residents who fear ...Read more

Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal/TNS

Why does Wall Street want to buy your house?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Las Vegas Realtor Noah Herrera is noticing a few eerie similarities between the housing market before the 2008-09 economic crisis and the current scene.

Before, it was Wall Street packaging risky subprime mortgages into mortgage-backed securities. Now it’s Wall Street buying as many entry-level homes they can get their hands on, renting them ...Read more


Only richest 20% of Americans still have excess pandemic savings

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Americans outside the wealthiest 20% of the country have run out of extra savings and now have less cash on hand than they did when the pandemic began, according to the latest Federal Reserve study of household finances.

For the bottom 80% of households by income, bank deposits and other liquid assets were lower in June this year than they ...Read more

Johnny Milano/Sun Sentinel/TNS

Floridians stunned by Citizens Insurance 'depopulation' letters

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Tens of thousands of customers of Florida's state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp. are getting a stunning surprise in their mailboxes.

It’s a letter from Citizens’ “Depopulation Unit” stating their policies have been assumed by a private-market company.

Cause for celebration? Not if the private company’s estimated annual ...Read more

Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/TNS

The race is on for more EV charging stations at stores, offices and apartments

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When city approval of a proposed $350 million skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles was on the line, project manager Hamid Behdad knew he had to give in to the last-minute demand of a planning commissioner to quadruple the number of electric vehicle charging stations in the condominium tower.

"When you are in the heat of the hearing in the last ...Read more

There's room for a pet in your heart, but is there room in your budget?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Americans will spend more than $140 billion on their pets this year.

Much of that will go to normal expenses like food, toys and routine checkups, according to the American Pet Products Association. But sometimes Scooby finds his way into mysteries that can lead to eye-popping price tags.

"As anyone with a pet knows, things are going to come ...Read more


What does it cost to build a fire pit?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

They constantly rank among the top requested design features on American Society of Landscape Architecture surveys. Among outdoor decor renovations, “fire features” (fire pits and fireplaces) were among the top: Purchases of them rose 18 percent in 2022, according to the “2023 Houzz & Home Study.”

Affordability may be part of the fire ...Read more

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

California home insurers plan return to fire zones under new deal

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

After a summer that saw many of California's top home insurers pull back from the state market, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced Thursday that he struck a deal with the insurance industry to encourage new coverage in the state.

Insurers, Lara said, agreed to return to the high-risk fire zones in the hills and canyons of California ...Read more

Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/TNS

LA's first legal 3-D-printed house is here. It was built by students in just 15 months

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES — Tucked alongside a large dorm building on the fringes of Woodbury University's campus in Burbank is a small but very eye-catching house. The 425-square-foot home is contained by a gently curving concrete form equipped with a generous porch and a dramatic sloping roof. Slender, carefully staggered floor-to-ceiling windows gently ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Who is supposed to fix electrical issues in shared wall?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I live in an apartment building that was converted to condominiums decades ago. Given the age of the building, many unit owners are doing extensive upgrades. During these upgrades, several unit owners discovered the electrical outlets on the shared wall to the abutting unit are connected to the electrical source in the adjoining unit. Whose ...Read more

John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS

From ice cream to illusions, immersive attractions are here to stay, and they're one of the brightest spots in retail

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Several years ago, immersive experiences showcasing popular artists such as Prince and Vincent van Gogh began popping up around Chicago, putting life back into the streets and filling once-vacant storefronts.

It was unclear whether immersive-style attractions, which allow guests to interact with the exhibits around them, were a passing fad or ...Read more

Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

This lender helps small developers build houses in Philadelphia

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Studying accounting at La Salle University, Latisha Redmond knew she wanted to go into business: “You don’t have to take a state job or do the cookie-cutter deal. You can create whatever you want.” In 2012 she started buying Philadelphia rowhouses (at what now look like bargain prices).

Jesse Fells was a star basketball guard at ...Read more


What's the difference between a home renovation and a remodel?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Before you take on a new project, it’s important to understand the differences between a remodel versus renovation.

Not only does each one come with its own range of costs, time frames and permit rules, but they may also differ in the value you’ll recoup from your investment. Considerations like these can help guide your decision and ...Read more


How much hardwood flooring costs, and how to save

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Hardwood flooring provides one of the best returns on investment. The National Realtor Association’s 2022 Remodeling Impact Report states that homeowners who install new wood flooring before selling their homes recoup 118 percent of the cost at resale. That means hardwood floors essentially pay for themselves.

But before deciding to take on ...Read more

TOM GRALISH/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Most of us are worried about Christmas shopping, but we're going to spend a lot anyway

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Ho, ho, happy September.

It still feels like summer. The kids have only been back at school for a matter of days. And astronomical fall is still a week away.

But, hate to break it to you: It’s pretty much the holiday season.

At least in the retail world.

Deloitte unveiled its holiday shopping forecast last week, predicting retail sales ...Read more


Highest savings yields are topping inflation. Here's why that's important for savers

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Personal finance fact: Your money loses purchasing power over time, especially if it’s in a savings account that isn’t earning interest.

But there’s good news for savers: For the sixth straight month, the top savings yield is outpacing inflation, according to Bankrate data.

The current savings rate environment features many top savings ...Read more

Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times/TNS

California lawmakers vote to ban mandatory evictions for arrested tenants

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

State lawmakers approved legislation late Wednesday that would bar mandatory evictions or exclusion for California tenants and their families based on criminal histories or brushes with law enforcement.

Assembly Bill 1418 combats local policies known as “crime-free housing” that can require landlords to evict tenants for arrests or prohibit...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Condo's AC went out and temporary fix is hiking the bill. Can I be reimbursed?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Air conditioning is included in our condo’s monthly maintenance fees. The chiller that cools the entire building stopped working on July 20, and we are still awaiting replacement/repair, which has been postponed twice thus far. We were provided with portable AC units. However, running these portable units has drastically increased my ...Read more

Mortgage rates in US increase for first time in three weeks

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

U.S. mortgage rates rose for the first time since late August, ratcheting up the pressure on borrowers.

The average for a 30-year, fixed loan climbed to 7.18% from 7.12% a week earlier, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday.

Borrowing costs have hovered above 7% for the past five weeks, with the latest uptick further squeezing ...Read more