Home & Leisure

How real estate agents get paid at issue in high-stakes Georgia lawsuit

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A class action lawsuit filed in a Georgia federal court that’s modeled on one that resulted in a huge judgment against brokers in Missouri threatens to shake up the local housing market, mainly by revamping the way that real estate agents for homebuyers are paid.

In the Georgia suit, plaintiffs argue that Realtors groups and brokers have ...Read more


US pending home sales index drops to lowest level on record

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A gauge of pending sales of existing U.S. homes fell to its lowest level on record in October, illustrating a resale market battered by high borrowing costs and prices.

The National Association of Realtors’ index of contract signings to purchase previously owned homes declined 1.5% to 71.4, the lowest in data back to 2001, the group reported ...Read more

Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group/TNS

Free rent? With apartment supply increasing, Bay Area landlords turn to concessions

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A $2,000-a-month studio apartment might not be considered a good deal in most parts of the country. But in the Bay, it might be — especially if the landlord throws in a sweetener.

At least, that’s how Gwen Wang, 23, felt when she got a discount on a new studio in the Skylyne Apartments in Oakland. Her complex offered two months rent free on...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Can I sell rental property before tenant's lease is up?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We are moving out of town for a job opportunity and have decided to sell our rental property. The lease still has six months to go. Do we need to wait until the tenant moves to be able to sell? If not, what do we do? — Yami

A: You can sell the property in the middle of the lease.

Besides dealing with a new landlord, the lease remains ...Read more

Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times/TNS

Is Amazon following Jeff Bezos to Miami? Not exactly

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Amazon is searching for office space in Miami — but founder Jeff Bezos' new hometown will occupy only a small portion of the company's massive corporate footprint.

A spokesperson for Amazon confirmed Tuesday that the company is looking to lease 50,000 square feet of office space in Miami, a process that started before Bezos said he planned to...Read more

Angelina Katsanis/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

Can't buy a house because you don't have a down payment? Help is on the way

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Scraping up a down payment to buy a house isn't easy, so Freddie Mac wants to help.

The federal mortgage giant recently launched DPA One, a website that connects buyers with dozens of down payment assistance programs offered by state housing finance agencies in 48 states.

There's a bonus for Minnesota buyers trying to navigate higher rates and...Read more

Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Groupon is downsizing once-massive Chicago headquarters

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Struggling online marketplace Groupon, whose massive River North headquarters were once the nexus of the Chicago tech ecosystem, is moving to the Loop and downsizing to a 25,000-square-foot space in the Leo Burnett building.

In January, Groupon will make the 25th floor of 35 West Wacker Drive its new Chicago home on a 22-month sublease from ...Read more

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

US home prices hit record with eight straight months of gains

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Home prices in the U.S. extended their climb, reaching a fresh record high.

A national gauge of prices rose 0.7% in September from August, according to seasonally adjusted data from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller. It was the eighth straight month of gains for the index, which doesn’t provide a specific dollar figure for homes.

Mortgage rates ...Read more

Jebb Harris/The Orange County Register/TNS

With mortgage rates near 8%, October home purchases slow, but prices stay high

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Bay Area home sales remained sluggish in October as the supply dwindled and high interest rates kept potential sellers from listing.

Sales of existing homes in California fell nearly 12% from last year, according to new data from the California Association of Realtors. That comes as interest rates hit a peak of 7.79% in the last week of October...Read more


In the Bay Area, 1 in 4 millennials (and 3 in 4 Gen Zers) still live at home

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

After Kelly Zhao earned a master’s degree in ethnic studies from UCLA last year, she followed the lead of so many other young graduates thrust into a competitive job market: She moved back in with her parents while she looked for work.

Upon returning to her childhood home in Pittsburg, California, Zhao, 25, soon found a job with a local ...Read more


It's your funeral: Here's how to plan so your loved ones don't have to

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If only figuring out what to do with your body after you die was as simple as TV made it seem.

"I'm not going to be buried in a grave," said character Frank Reynolds from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." "When I'm dead, just throw me in the trash."

Unfortunately, Frank, that would almost surely incur legal action, likely a misdemeanor or ...Read more

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/TNS

'AI blowback' angst grips ESG investors who bet big on tech

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

ESG fund managers who turned to big tech as a low-carbon, high-return bet are growing increasingly anxious over the sector’s experimentation with artificial intelligence.

Exposure to AI now represents a “short-term risk to investors,” said Marcel Stotzel, a London-based portfolio manager at Fidelity International.

Stotzel said he’s �...Read more

Aaron Brown: Annuities are back in fashion, but are they safe?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Every time interest rates go up there is a flurry of demand for a product that has been around at least since the Roman Empire — annuities. The insurance industry has already seen rapid growth in annuity sales since 2021 and if rates remain at or move above current levels, demand seems poised to explode.

There’s been some hand wringing of ...Read more


How to gain confidence in your retirement strategy: 5 areas you must address

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When you stop working for a living and have to rely on your savings to fund your retirement, it can be stressful. No longer do you have the safety of your next paycheck to tide you over. You’ll need to have your finances for the next couple decades (or more) already figured out. And the last thing you want to do is spend your golden years ...Read more

Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group/TNS

San Jose spent big bucks on Covid parklets–but some businesses can't afford to make them permanent

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

It’s a Thursday morning in the SOFA neighborhood of San Jose, California, and restaurant pop-up owner Brandon Salmon has served one of his very last Covid-era breakfast sandwiches.

The pop-up space is located in a parklet on South Second Street that was installed during the pandemic. But with San Jose — like most cities around the Bay Area ...Read more

Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS

A landmark jury verdict threatens to upend home buying and selling. In Illinois, changes are already underway

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In the 40 years Kate Schumacher has worked as a real estate agent, homebuyers have rarely compensated her directly. Instead, the seller has picked up the tab.

Yet, this year, the Baird & Warner agent based in Algonquin, Illinois, said she has already had two deals close where the seller did not cover all of her compensation: 2.5% of the selling...Read more

Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS

Condo Wars: Boards can use defamation laws to stifle dissent

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

First, he had a whiff of suspicion.

Simon Sherman, a retired university professor, started wondering about how money was being spent by the association at his oceanfront condo in Hallandale Beach.

Now, his quest for accountability is careening toward financial ruin. He’s accused of defaming condo board members. The association says Sherman ...Read more

Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS

Condo Wars: After HOA corruption arrests, Florida's community management industry works to weaken reform bills

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For Carlos Villalobos, the press conference last March in Miami offered hope that things would finally change for residents of troubled community associations.

Standing in front of news cameras, he described life in the Hammocks, a sprawling community west of Miami where prosecutors say board members embezzled millions of dollars, maintaining ...Read more

Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS

Condo Wars: Florida regulators a dead end for desperate condo owners

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The letters and emails used the same tone of infuriating bureaucratic courtesy.

“I trust this email finds you well,” began one message. Another concluded, “Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.”

The communications came from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the state agency in charge of ...Read more

Condo Wars: Disputes explode into violence, arson -- and even murder

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Living in a homeowner or condo association can drive some people to extreme behavior they would never otherwise contemplate — from corruption and fraud to assault and, even, murder.

Take this case in Stuart last year: Hugh Hootman, 75, shot and killed his HOA president and her husband following an argument over Hootman’s failure to keep the...Read more