Consumer

/

Home & Leisure

Hot Property: Ski champ ready to take a powder

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Decorated alpine skier Lindsey Vonn, who has her sights on more Olympic gold at the upcoming Winter Games, has put her home in L.A. on the market for $3.795 million.

The sexy two-story is in Beverly Grove, a desirable neighborhood that abuts Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, and was completed last year. Vonn paid $3.55 million ...Read more

Seattle area's HQ2 bid tries to convince Amazon to stay at home

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- The Seattle area woke up Sept. 7 to the news that Amazon planned to set up a second, equal headquarters, raising the prospect of a dramatic split between America's fastest-growing company and its hometown.

The area delivered its pitch for Amazon to stay at home on Thursday: a 522-page document that most expect to amount to a futile ...Read more

As Amazon's deadline for HQ2 bids closes, speculation on winner heats up

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- In the six weeks since Amazon said it was seeking a site for a second headquarters, cities have preened. They've sent delegations to Seattle, bragged about their university engineering programs and tried to ship cactuses to Jeff Bezos.

Thursday evening, the curtain will close on the first act of Amazon's civic beauty pageant.

...Read more

Quick fall home maintenance tasks now can prevent crises later

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Although October can still be flip-flops-and-shorts weather, there are a number of fall maintenance tasks to undertake, no matter what the temperature gauge says.

We asked Lucinda Hoe, field services director of the West region for Associa OnCall, for some tips to keep a home as functional as possible. The company offers maintenance services, ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Condo board may be 'terrible,' but withholding dues will make matters worse

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I live in a 55-plus condominium community and many residents, myself included, feel that the board is doing a terrible job at maintaining our community, despite the high dues that we pay. We have spoken out at board meetings, but it seems our concerns are ignored. Can we withhold our dues, or perhaps pay them into an escrow account, to let ...Read more

On the House: Stressed about renting? Whose Your Landlord offers Yelp-like reviews

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In this age of information, where it's easy to find facts and statistics about nearly anything, Temple University graduate Ofo Ezeugwu found a gap: Renters struggle to find information about landlords and their properties.

"We are constantly looking for affirmation through information," Ezeugwu said. "On Amazon, you read reviews before you make...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Planning for retirement: The missing piece

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

While there is no shortage of retirement advice or retirement advisers, many consumers who distrust both slide into retirement with little preparation -- other than having grown older. Some of the reasons for this lie deep in the human psyche, beyond any practical remedy. But there is one important factor that discourages retirement planning ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Planning for retirement: The missing piece

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

While there is no shortage of retirement advice or retirement advisers, many consumers who distrust both slide into retirement with little preparation -- other than having grown older. Some of the reasons for this lie deep in the human psyche, beyond any practical remedy. But there is one important factor that discourages retirement planning ...Read more

Infernos could worsen Bay Area's already brutal housing market

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The deadly wildfires that roared through Sonoma and Napa counties last week, destroying thousands of homes, might also scorch the Bay Area's already brutal housing market for months or years to come, experts warned Friday.

An estimated 2,800 homes have been destroyed in the wind-whipped infernos in Santa Rosa alone, and a ...Read more

Kushner plan for Fifth Avenue tower in NYC being blocked by partner

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

NEW YORK -- An ambitious plan by Jared Kushner's family to recast its indebted Fifth Avenue office building as a luxury architectural trophy is collapsing, setting off a chain of events that may imperil the Kushners' ownership of a property central to their real estate empire.

Their partner, Vornado Realty Trust, is telling brokers to plan for ...Read more

Joseph N. DiStefano: Is China big enough for US investors yet?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

I was skimming headlines at Bloomberg.com when an ad for HSBC Corp. filled the screen like a news-killing fog.

It urged us to buy China stocks -- now! -- before the Morgan Stanley stock indexes follow the rival Financial Times indexes in adding Beijing and Shanghai companies over the next couple years and the dumb money from American index-fund...Read more

Lee Schafer: Trading case tied to former Life Time Fitness exec hits investing neophytes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

It's easy to imagine that illegal insider trading is mostly a game played by slick bad guys or aggressive traders who sometimes cross the line.

The story that federal prosecutors tell in the recent indictment of former Life Time Fitness Vice President Shane Fleming and eight others is a lot different. What's striking is the very ordinariness of...Read more

Susan Tompor: Payday loans rule could lead to cheaper alternatives

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Consumers who are caught in a financial squeeze might one day be able to skip the payday loan store and turn to banks and credit unions for lower-cost, quick-fix loans.

That's one possibility being raised by consumer advocates who want to see an end to gruesome, triple-digit rates that are charged to vulnerable consumers who take out payday ...Read more

Holiday retail forecast: More sales, more hiring, more online

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Despite department store woes, national retailers have started to seek seasonal help -- and at levels close to those seen last year, according to some estimates.

Many of the seasonal jobs are focused on stocking additional inventory, customer service, and helping in shipping and distribution centers, an area that is growing as online holiday ...Read more

Hot Property: A new host for Johnny Carson's ex-home?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Fashion tycoon and film producer Sidney Kimmel and his wife, Caroline, have listed the former Johnny Carson estate in Malibu for sale at $81.5 million.

The longtime "Tonight Show" host, who died in 2005 at 79, bought the Point Dume estate in 1984 for about $9.5 million, the Los Angeles Times previously reported, and owned the ...Read more

On Philanthropy: Thinking of giving to an international charity? New IRS regulations clarify requirements

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Around the globe, many remarkable organizations work to help people at the very bottom of the economic, judicial and environmental pyramids. Each year, U.S. donors contribute billions of dollars to advance causes in other parts of the world -- especially when these people and causes appear in the headlines.

Philanthropist Warren Buffett sums it...Read more

Her house was inspired by 'Bonanza'. Now she's seeking a buyer who loves westerns

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

HANFORD, Calif. -- Karen Lopez wanted to own a horse and live in a house reminiscent of America's classic Western television series "Bonanza."

Forty years ago, Lopez and her husband, John, (who died in 2010) bought a 2-acre property at 1586 Beulah St. in Hanford to live out their dream. The couple doubled the size of the existing home, built a ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Homebuyer's handshake deal worthless without signed contract

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Several weeks ago, we found our dream home and had a handshake deal with the seller, agreeing on price and closing date. Now time has passed, and the seller still has not signed the written contract with the terms we shook on. We really want the house. What can we do?

-- Sue

A: Unfortunately, your legal options are limited due to the "...Read more

On the House: What to expect when it's time to get your home inspected

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Buying a house can be difficult enough -- especially in today's market.

Even after a seller accepts an offer, the sale is not a done deal until certain "contingencies" are met. Some are straightforward: Some buyers stipulate, for example, that a sale cannot proceed until they sell their current home. Other contingencies are more complicated. ...Read more

Steps to improve your credit may get you into a home sooner

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If your dream home seems an impossibility because of a less-than-stellar credit record, take heart. Improving your credit isn't that difficult. All it takes it a bit of time -- and financial discipline.

Credit ratings are based on the FICO score, which calculates different pieces of your credit data and comes up with a number indicating how ...Read more