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Suburban companies battle tech giants for talent. Downtown office spaces are their secret weapon.

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- In the quest for digital talent, Chicago-area companies battle the technology giants.

To lure data scientists and other tech workers, companies in industries from fast food to insurance have opened outposts in the heart of the city, where tech employees want to work. Having hip, downtown spaces has proved worth the extra cost to ...Read more

Bay Area's stark gaps between haves and have-nots

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Even as Bay Area tech professionals take home the highest disposable incomes in the country, local service workers have sunk to the bottom with little or no cash left over after living expenses, a new report found.

The region is the worst in the nation for service employees and security workers, according to a new analysis by real estate ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: My new house has a sinkhole. Is the seller liable?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We bought a house with a major problem, a covered-over sinkhole, that was not disclosed to us. No one wants to help us with it -- our agent, the seller, everyone has turned his or her back. The house is so torn up to fix the problem that we have been staying in a hotel. Is there anything we can do? -- Edythe

A: Most people have heard the ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Refinancing in a time of rising rates and property values, part 3

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

While rising interest rates have sharply reduced the number of mortgage borrowers who can refinance into a lower rate, rising home prices create opportunities for some borrowers to refinance into mortgages that are less costly in other respects. Previous articles looked at refinancing a mortgage that is burdened by mortgage insurance, or by a ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Refinancing in a time of rising rates and property values, part 3

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

While rising interest rates have sharply reduced the number of mortgage borrowers who can refinance into a lower rate, rising home prices create opportunities for some borrowers to refinance into mortgages that are less costly in other respects. Previous articles looked at refinancing a mortgage that is burdened by mortgage insurance, or by a ...Read more

Where are the worst places to live in the U.S.? Three of them are in Miami-Dade.

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MIAMI -- South Florida has been saddled with the "Paradise Lost" label since that unflattering Time magazine cover in 1981. Now, another quality- of-life list asserts that things are still bad down here at the bottom of the Sunshine State. Three Miami-Dade County cities -- Miami, Miami Beach and Homestead -- rank among the 50 Worst Places to ...Read more

Are tiny homes the new American Dream? County fair offers a glimpse

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

It's 2018 and the American Dream looks slightly different. The big house has been replaced with a ... tiny house. The white picket fence is now four wheels. The 2.5 kids are missing and the dog ... OK, the dog is still there and he's probably living a better life than you.

A vision of this new ever-dynamic dream was on display at the Santa ...Read more

Airbnb-style rentals are a growing cash cow for developers and owners

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

South Florida real estate agent Sara Dorfman hit the jackpot this month when she arranged the sale of a multi-unit complex in Fort Lauderdale's Victoria Park for $1.65 million. The chief selling point: The property was set up for vacation home rentals. And the buyer is eager to continue that business.

"We see more investors who are looking to ...Read more

The Journey: Keeping an eye on the big numbers of retirement

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Critics panned it, but there's a great line from the 1979 film "The Main Event" that pretty much sums up our weird relationship with money.

Barbra Streisand played an entrepreneur who has just learned her business manager has run off with virtually all of her financial assets.

"When you say I have no money, do you mean I have to be careful at ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Why Fed rate hike can drive you to pay down credit cards

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For roughly a decade, millions of consumers could afford to focus on the rewards and ignore the rates on their credit cards.

"They haven't really had to think too much about interest rates because they didn't change that much," said Robert A. Dye, chief economist at Comerica Bank.

Game over. Get ready for higher rates on your credit cards ...Read more

On Philanthropy: Community foundations are key partners in achieving U.N. Goals

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The world's first community foundation was established in Cleveland in 1914. Today, there are almost 1,900 community foundations -- 75 percent of them created in the last 25 years. Among these are 1,033 in North America, 670 in Europe, 62 in Asia, 56 in Oceania, 31 in Africa and 11 in South America.

Community foundations are independent ...Read more

Hot Property: Producer's done, after a long run

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Jerry Bruckheimer can call it a wrap in Brentwood. The prolific film and television producer, whose credits include the "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "CSI" franchises, has sold his architectural home in the Westside neighborhood for $11.5 million.

Set on three-quarters of an acre, the pristine International-style home was ...Read more

Future of CBS Television City, an L.A. landmark, remains in flux

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- For generations, CBS Television City has served as a stage for some of TV's most legendary moments. "The Jack Benny Program," The Carol Burnett Show" and "The Price Is Right" were filmed there, and such stars as Elvis Presley, Bob Hope and Jack Benny performed.

But for all of that Hollywood history, Television City's future ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Refinancing in a time of rising rates and property values, part 2

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

While rising interest rates have sharply reduced the number of mortgage borrowers who can refinance into a lower rate, rising home prices create opportunities for some borrowers to refinance into mortgages that are less costly in other respects.

One possibility, discussed in a previous column, is to refinance a mortgage carrying mortgage ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Refinancing in a time of rising rates and property values, part 2

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

While rising interest rates have sharply reduced the number of mortgage borrowers who can refinance into a lower rate, rising home prices create opportunities for some borrowers to refinance into mortgages that are less costly in other respects.

One possibility, discussed in a previous column, is to refinance a mortgage carrying mortgage ...Read more

Corktown: Will Ford's move transform inner-city neighborhood, and with it Detroit?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

DETROIT -- In 1979, Jerry Esters was working on the roof of a property he had inherited from his father in North Corktown when he had an epiphany: He could see downtown. First the train station, then the downtown skyline.

The property at 14th and Perry had been in the family for years, but as Esters sat perched on the shingles, he couldn't help...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Should I rely on lender-placed insurance or get my own?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We have let our mortgage lender choose our hazard insurance for our home. Although it was more expensive, we figured that if our lender picked it, then it must be great coverage. A friend just told me this is not the case. What is the truth? -- Frank

A: This type of homeowner's insurance coverage is known as "force-placed" or "lender-placed"...Read more

High cost of housing drives up homeless rates, UCLA study indicates

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Sky-high housing costs are a significant factor behind California's homeless crisis, according to a new analysis from UCLA.

In a study contained in the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast, released Wednesday, UCLA found that higher median rent and home prices are strongly correlated with more people living on the streets or in shelters. The research ...Read more

This Argentine family visited Miami in 2001 — and changed the city forever

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MIAMI -- It was supposed to be an ordinary, weeklong business trip.

But after Jose Luis Ferreira de Melo and his sons Carlos and Martin -- the president and two principals of the Argentine real estate developer Melo Group -- spent a few days in Miami in 2001, they saw so much untapped potential in one downtown neighborhood they decided they ...Read more

Susan Tompor: How to plan for next round of Fed interest rate hikes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The easy money officially ends Wednesday, as interest rates, much like summer temps, heat up once again.

It's a "slam-dunk" that the Federal Reserve will increase rates by a quarter point after its meeting this week, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics.

And it's likely we're in for two more quarter-point hikes in ...Read more