Home & Leisure

Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Proposition 19 would expand California homeowner tax breaks

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Ellie and Jack Rosebush lost their Paradise home in the Camp Fire two years ago.

The last thing the couple wanted to worry about after deciding to rebuild downtown was a jump in property taxes based on their new construction, Ellie Rosebush said.

The Rosebush's are using a one-time exemption to carry their old property tax rate to their new ...Read more

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Seattle is among hottest US housing markets — and prices are rising fast on the cheapest homes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Home prices around Seattle rose faster than in any city in the country, save Phoenix, for the sixth consecutive month in midsummer. Prices in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties increased 7% in July, compared with a year earlier, according to the latest release of the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

July was also the ninth straight...Read more

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Susan Tompor: Donald Trump's tax returns has many wondering what they're doing wrong

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If a billionaire who has his name on a bunch of golf courses and buildings can get away with paying just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and just $750 again in 2017, well, anyone cranking out a 1040 on TurboTax has got to be wondering what they're doing wrong.

It's a natural question after reading the New York Times' extensive report based...Read more

Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

GoFundMe a go-to for struggling businesses, families, pet owners

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN DIEGO - Some are to help laid-off restaurant workers or struggling breweries. Others are to keep dance studios open. Several are for smaller, personal expenses such as veterinarian bills.

But the online fundraisers all have one thing in common. Each of the GoFundMe posts are from a person, business or organization hurting financially during...Read more

Susan Tompor/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Susan Tompor: Mystery shopper, fake job offers target people stretched for cash during pandemic

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Tosha Waggoner, 33, of Newport, Mich., would love to land a job. But she wasn't sure that depositing a $6,000 check that arrived out of the blue was the right way to get one.

Admittedly, her job hunting prospects have been bleak after she gave birth to a daughter in April, when many businesses had closed their doors during the pandemic. Her ...Read more

Christmas shopping poised to show inequity in K-shaped recovery

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

This Christmas will be one of exorbitant spending and lavish gifts for many American families. It'll also be one of tight budgets and difficulty putting food on the table for many others.

That's the effect of the pandemic recession, which is exacerbating inequalities between the rich and the poor.

High-paid U.S. workers are benefiting from a ...Read more

Social Graces: Is it OK to ask guests to get a COVID-19 test before coming to your event?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Is it OK to ask guests to get a COVID-19 test before coming to your event?

A: Given how easily COVID-19 spreads, it is understandable that you are concerned about it spreading among your guests. However, it would be asking a lot of your invitees to get tested for the virus before coming to your event, and it's not guaranteed to prevent ...Read more

Daniel Dahler/Hilton & Hyland/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Hot Property: Comic Kathy Griffin looks to cash out in Bel-Air

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES - Kathy Griffin is staging a sale in Bel-Air, putting her gated Mediterranean mansion on the market for $15.995 million. That's about $5.5 million more than she paid for it four years ago.

The Emmy-winning comedian kept things mostly the same during her stay, as the 13,377-square-foot home features grand living spaces with dramatic ...Read more


Carla Fried: How keeping a car 15 years can pay you $230,000

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Nationwide, about one in five owners of a Toyota Highlander held onto the car for at least 15 years. More than 14% of Toyota Sienna, Toyota Tacoma and Toyota Tundra owners kept their car for at least 15 years.

Want to guess what those Toyota buyers got besides a durable ride? The opportunity to redirect scarce household money to savings - and ...Read more


Housing boom in US threatened by shortage of available homes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The U.S. housing market, which has been a bright spot in the pandemic-battered economy, is running out of fuel.

With buyers eager to take advantage of low mortgage rates, the inventory of homes to buy is scarce. That's driving up prices and threatening to derail the boom by pushing homeownership out of reach for many Americans.

For ...Read more

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You can't look up Philly property owners by name anymore. City cites 'security matters.'

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Philadelphia officials have reprogrammed the city's property-search website to remove the ability to look up properties by the names of their owners, citing undisclosed security concerns.

Under the change implemented about a week ago, users of the search at can still find out who owns a property by inputting an address. But ...Read more


Real estate Q&A: Who should repair water damage caused by HOA's vendor?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: A vendor working on the common area of our building knocked a hose bib out of the wall, causing a flood in our home. I checked with the association management, and they had no insurance information on file for the vendor. Who is responsible for repairing the damage caused by this vendor's negligence? - Bob

A: Because the flood was caused by ...Read more


Real estate info site Zillow is hiring its first agents

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

After insisting for years that it had no plans to hire any agents, Seattle-based Zillow has reversed course and will open a residential real estate brokerage - though on a very limited basis.

Agents in the new division, called Zillow Homes, have a narrow purview: acquiring and listing homes for the company's home-flipping division, Zillow ...Read more

Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Whether a restaurant survives the pandemic could depend on an uneasy dance with the landlord

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO - Restaurants, their receipts less than a third of what they customarily would take in, are unable to pay rent. Landlords, with mortgages and property-tax bills due, can't survive without income.

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, resulting in the forced closure six months ago of restaurants and bars across the country, restaurateurs ...Read more


Lynnley Browning: Crucial extra items to cover in a divorce settlement

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Civil and quick, or dramatic and drawn out, most divorces have a largely predictable result when it comes to the house, retirement funds and parenting.

Most states split up assets acquired during marriage "equitably." Community property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin) divide ...Read more


Carla Fried: Don't be scared into claiming Social Security early

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As if household finances weren't rattled enough by the coronavirus recession, a new round of ominous headlines set off fresh worries about Social Security benefits, and a new round of hand-wringing from near-retirees that it may be best to grab benefits ASAP before payouts are cut.

Slow down. Waiting still makes the most sense. Retirement ...Read more


Susan Tompor: Wait, it's September and you still haven't received your tax refund? Here's why

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

By Labor Day and the roll out of pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, you'd think, maybe, that you'd finally have your hands on your federal income tax refund.

For most people, after all, tax refund cash has come and gone. They spent that money months ago. Others are waiting and waiting, much like Carol Wilke who filed a tax return the day after ...Read more

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Carla Fried: The case for a retirement roommate

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Getting older often means living alone.

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, more than 40% of people at least age 65 live alone, and 57% of people in their 80s live alone.

At the same time, atop nearly every list of retirement worries is this one: running out of money.

For open-minded seniors living on ...Read more


The 10 best hanging plants for creating an indoor jungle

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A longtime bohemian standard during the 1970s, hanging houseplants have returned in a big way as demand for plants has skyrocketed in the pandemic and Instagram influencers create indoor jungles.

Plant parents love to dote on their houseplants, especially now that everyone is hunkering down at home, but are all indoor plants well suited to ...Read more

Social Graces: Here's what to do if your college student wants to visit home during the pandemic

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Should parents let their children who are away at college come home for a visit during the pandemic?

A: For all students returning from school, we suggest they quarantine for 14 days when they arrive home.

And if there are any symptoms like a fever or a cough, seek medical management or call your family practice doctor to get a test for...Read more