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Susan Tompor: As robocalls get blocked, text messages could be next big thing for scammers: What to know

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The ongoing pandemic-related stress surely must be worth a free gift, bonus or some sort of discount somewhere.

Unfortunately, we're seeing an onslaught of texts promoting fake COVID-19-themed discounts and deals.

The Better Business Bureau mentions two specific scams that are hitting consumers in September.

There's the text pretending to be ...Read more

Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Mark A. Stein: Partial solution to housing crisis: legalizing in-law suites, or ADUs

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Wish you could generate extra income by owning a rental property? Looking for a close and affordable home for your aging parents? Need a place for your recent college graduate to stay until they find a job? You may be in luck.

More lawmakers across the country are adopting legislation to enable property owners to add a separate living space to ...Read more

STR/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Why did China even allow Evergrande to last this long?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Many comparisons have been made lately between the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the apocalypse at China Evergrande Group, the world’s most indebted real estate developer. But they are nowhere close. Lehman was a top-tier investment bank that went from good to bad during the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis. On the other hand, ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

Real estate Q&A: The association says I missed payments. I say I didn't. Now what?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: For the last several months, my condo association has accused me of missing two payments from several years ago that they apparently just discovered. I paid my dues with online bill pay and provided the association with proof of payment for those two months. The property manager is still asking for the “missed” payments and refuses to ...Read more

Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Congress might allow frustrated landlords to seek rent relief

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A measure moving through the U.S. House of Representatives would allow landlords to apply without tenant approval for federal aid to cover back rent they are owed.

The bill also would use best practices from states and programs that have successfully curbed evictions to set a national standard for how applications for the federal aid are ...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

Arianne Cohen: Beyond productivity -- scheduling your work makes it more enjoyable

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You’ve heard it before: To be more productive, schedule your work. Actually put it in your calendar. Carve out the time. But have you heard that scheduling your work makes it more enjoyable too? It does.

Let’s consider the alternatives. It’s late afternoon, and you’re low-energy. You have a report due in the morning. “If you try and ...Read more

Dania Maxwell/TNS

The crazy Southern California housing market is cooling. But don't expect a bargain

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Southern California home prices were essentially flat in August from the previous month, as the market cools slightly from its torrid pace earlier this year.

The six-county region's median sales price — the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less — was $680,000 last month, according to data released Monday by real ...Read more

On Philanthropy: Setting new table for family philanthropy helps families thrive

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Many of us grew up sitting at the family dinner table. Often, it was rectangular, with the family’s primary bread winner(s) sitting at his or her end of the table. Regardless of the shape, the rest of the family sat at designated seats, night after night, year after year. Sometimes, long after the kids had grown and left the household, when ...Read more

Carline Jean/TNS

Nothing stops Florida landlords from raising rents as high as they want

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As rents skyrocket in Florida, landlords still enjoy unbridled power to raise rents as much as they want, a situation that has driven renters out of their homes and renewed calls for caps on rising rent.

Florida is quickly becoming the worst place in America to rent, but attempts to impose rent controls have always failed. Now, with a historic ...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

Liz Farmer: Local government impacts your home's value and your happiness

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When you buy a home, you’re also investing in the community, so it’s important to know whether it's a well-run municipality or a city on the decline.

Local governments, in addition to being among the nation’s largest collective employers, are also among their region’s top revenue generators, according to National Bureau of Economic ...Read more

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Trump NYC tower debt hits watch list with vacancies rising

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A $100 million loan on Donald Trump’s Fifth Avenue tower was moved to a watch list Monday because of “lower average occupancy,” according to information compiled by Wells Fargo & Co.

The debt, sponsored by the former president himself, is secured by the 244,482 square feet (22,700 square meters) of office and retail space in Trump Tower. ...Read more

Handout/Dreamstime/TNS

Susan Tompor: Many worried about why September child tax credit didn't show up yet

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Many parents continued to post their frustrations online Friday about not receiving their September payments yet for the advance child tax credit.

"So like a lot of frustrated people on here, I have not received the September CTC payment," one person noted on the Reddit forum.

The Reddit commentator went on to express concern about an earlier ...Read more

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/AFP/TNS

Retirement plan advisers expect Labor Department rules to boost ESG options

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As the Labor Department mulls a proposed rulemaking on environmental, social and governance investment options by retirement plans, advisers say the rules are likely to temper a “chilling effect” caused by the prior administration’s guidance.

Advisers say more retirement savers are asking about ESG investing and that the forthcoming rules...Read more

Chris Sweda/TNS

The end of COVID-19 homeowner protections is unlikely to bring a wave of foreclosures, but some Chicago property owners could be hit harder

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO — Facing the threat of foreclosure on her home, Carla Diamantes was shaken and frustrated.

Her South Shore house is where she grew up, and has been in her family for six decades, she said. But after challenges with her mortgage servicer and upon exiting a COVID-19 program that allowed her to defer payments, she owes thousands of ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

Real estate Q&A: Our condo board is dragging its feet on approving our buyer. What can we do?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We are selling our condo, and closing is fast approaching. Our board is dragging its feet on approving our buyer. We are getting concerned because we must pack and move out, and we do not even know if our buyer will be allowed to buy our home. What can we do? — Anna

A: Selling your home can be incredibly stressful. Not only do you have to ...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS/TNS

Carla Fried: Inflation is more reason to delay taking Social Security

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The recent increase in inflation could mean retirees already receiving their Social Security benefit might see 2022 it rise by about 5%, which would be the biggest annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in more than a decade.

But the even bigger payoff from a large Social Security COLA will be for anyone at least 62 who has yet to start ...Read more

Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS

New materials can make Florida condos more durable. Almost no one uses them

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Unlike many diseases that afflict aging humans, there are already cures for the most common, serious and expensive threat to thousands of aging buildings along Florida’s coast, a malady that structural engineers have dubbed “concrete cancer.”

The symptoms show up first as rust-stained columns or cracked balconies — tell-tale signs the ...Read more

Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman/TNS

Arianne Cohen: Where should I live? 9 questions with a housing economist

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Our favorite housing economist — yes, we have one of those — is Jenny Schuetz, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who publishes a steady stream of insightful and practical articles on topics like why getting a multi-year lease is a good idea and whom you should blame for high housing costs (spoiler alert: greedy people). We caught...Read more

Kassi Jackson/TNS

Lumber is down from the stratosphere, but still pricy for Minnesota builders and home owners

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Lumber prices, a key cost in home construction and an influence on inflation, have plunged from their peaks this spring but remain well above pre-pandemic levels.

The development is welcome news to people who want to build a new home because, aside from land acquisition and labor, lumber is typically the highest component cost.

Prices on ...Read more

Michael Laughlin/TNS

South Florida is becoming the nation's worst place to rent

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

South Florida could become the worst place in the country for renters by the end of the year, partly because wages don’t keep up with exorbitant rent increases. a new forecast shows.

Renters here are likely to devote 40% of their income to rent by the end of the year, according to a forecast by Zillow, an online real estate marketplace that ...Read more