Home & Leisure


Carla Fried: With models proliferating, how to compare EVs and hybrids

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Move over, Tesla. With nearly 20 EV models on the U.S. market, many more hitting the lots this year and next, including a Ford F-150 pickup, and another 60 hybrid models for sale, for the environmentally conscious car buyer it’s time to get serious about comparing carbon footprint.

The free website is a must-stop before you ...Read more

Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times/TNS

The worst things you can do when shopping for plants, according to plant shop owners

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES — Shopping for houseplants now can be like playing the lottery: There's no guarantee you will be rewarded with the jackpot. As houseplant sales have skyrocketed and more plant stores have opened, the demand for plants has become increasingly competitive for small businesses.

"I love that there are so many people who love plants," ...Read more


Caution flag for buyers -- cities still have lots of underwater houses

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The housing bust may seem a distant memory in most places, but there are still communities in the Rust Belt and in the South with high numbers of underwater houses. That is, homes on which owners owe more than the market value.

The owners of these homes are effectively trapped. If they sell, they will have to write a check to their mortgage ...Read more


Real estate Q&A: Can the HOA force me to paint my house a color they chose?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: When I bought my home 16 years ago, I picked my lot, floorplan, brick and paint color from the developer. Recently the new HOA board picked a new paint color scheme without involving the homeowners. I repainted my home three years ago, and it does not need repainting. I was assigned a gray color scheme that would look awful with my brown ...Read more

Erika Schultz/Digital Image/TNS

Racist restrictions in old home deeds across Washington state will get expanded scrutiny

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Marlene Smick remembers sitting in the back seat of her parents' car in 1958 as the family spotted an open house sign in Seward Park. Smick's father, a second-generation Japanese-American who had been incarcerated during World War II, rolled down the window to ask about the property.

"The guy, a builder, said, 'You're welcome to come look, but ...Read more


Carla Fried: Overdue from Uncle Sam and LinkedIn: Recognition of moms' sacrifices

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

It took a global pandemic that hit women especially hard to push LinkedIn to add one of the world’s toughest jobs to its list of career titles: stay-at-home mother.

Users can now choose “self-employed” as a job description and not be required to add in the name of a business. LinkedIn is also working on adding other non-paying job ...Read more

Gary Benson/Gary Benson/TNS

When Bill and Melinda Gates divorce, who gets the 66,000-square-foot mansion?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

With the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce bombshell still echoing, so begins the process of divvying up the fourth-largest fortune in the world.

Forbes puts the Microsoft Corp. co-founder's net worth at just north of $130 billion, a massive sum that includes the world's largest private family charitable foundation, a lucrative personal investment...Read more

Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times/TNS

A greenhouse made of castoffs donated by strangers

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES – In early December, just as COVID-19 cases were spiraling in Los Angeles, Jennifer Grosso posted a request on her Buy Nothing Facebook group that struck a chord with her neighbors:

"If anyone has any old windows or doors they'd like taken off their hands, I'd be happy to come pick them up! I've currently got about half of what I ...Read more


Carla Fried: What you need to know about Medicare by age 63. Yes, 63

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Medicare Part B premiums are pegged to income reported prior to eligibility financial news editor

When their 65th birthday is approaching, most Americans begin seriously studying their Medicare options.

But few realize that financial moves made at age 63 can mean you will pay a higher monthly premium for Medicare Part B. It pays to ...Read more

Anna Moneymaker/New York Daily News/TNS

Kushner apartment company violated consumer laws in Maryland, judge rules

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The apartment company of Jared Kushner violated Maryland’s consumer protection laws numerous times at Baltimore-area properties by collecting debts without the required licenses, charging tenants improper fees, and misrepresenting the condition of rental units, a judge has ruled.

In a 252-page decision issued Thursday, Administrative Law ...Read more


US pending home sales rose less than forecast on tight supply

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A gauge of U.S. pending home sales rose less than forecast in March, signaling a lack of available properties is keeping some buyers sidelined even though demand for homes remains strong.

The National Association of Realtors’ index of pending home sales increased 1.9% from the prior month to 111.3, according to data released Thursday. The ...Read more


Real estate Q&A: If I'm unable to use amenities because of injury, can I get a discount on monthly dues?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I live in a condominium apartment and am confined to a wheelchair because of an injury. I pay the same monthly dues as everyone else but cannot get to the pool or other amenities because the stairs are too high. Since I cannot use the amenities, do I have to keep paying the entire monthly dues? — Felix

A: Yes, you still need to pay your ...Read more

Ray Chavez/TNS

Oakland: Why the city may shut down this unusual housing solution

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

OAKLAND, Calif. — Behind a tall, purple fence on a vacant lot in West Oakland, Adam Garrett-Clark is running a housing experiment.

About a half-dozen people who don't want to or can't afford a traditional apartment live here instead, in trailers and RVs outfitted with solar power, hot water and most of the other comforts of home. The bohemian...Read more


New study shows Miami's housing inequality keeps getting worse for Black homeowners

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A new study shows Miami's housing inequality for Black homeowners keeps getting worse.

A joint venture between the data company Clever Real Estate and the nonprofit Dream Builders 4 Equality, the study shows the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area ranked fourth in a list of 15 U.S. cities with the greatest value disparities between ...Read more


Rent crisis spirals for landlords awaiting $47 billion in relief

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

More than a year since Covid-19 lockdowns put millions of apartment dwellers out of work, almost $47 billion in U.S. government rent relief is hitting the streets. For many landlords, it’s coming much too slowly.

Joaquin Villanueva, an airport janitor who owns a three-unit rental house in East Boston, had to take out a home-equity loan just ...Read more

Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Mortgage broker seeks class-action suit against UWM over feud with Rocket

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A Florida mortgage broker has filed a complaint in federal court seeking a class-action lawsuit against Pontiac-based United Wholesale Mortgage Holdings Corp. and CEO Mat Ishbia over its March ultimatum that said the lender won't work with brokers who continue to do business with crosstown rival Rocket Companies Inc. and Wisconsin-based Fairway ...Read more


How to recognize a high-quality job training program

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The data revolution has brought us fabulous online guides for buying cars, household appliances and many financial products. In job training, however, says Harvard economist Lawrence Katz, who has studied employment and training for decades, we lack an authoritative ranking system or otherwise foolproof buying guide. (The Obama administration ...Read more

Joe Cavaretta/TNS

Relief for Florida homebuyers: More sellers are putting their homes on the market

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

People desperately shopping for homes in South Florida may finally have some luck. Evidence is emerging that sellers who have hibernated for months are ready to list their houses.

Over the next six months, enough of them are expected to add to the thinning number of homes for sale that buyers could have broader choices, according to analysts, ...Read more

SCOTT S. HAMRICK/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Carla Fried: Market plunging? Leave your 401(k) alone

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Morningstar Investment Management studied how more than half a million 401(k) accounts performed in 2020 to see how participants reacted to the ferocious bear market that hit early in the pandemic.

The great news is that most retirement savers did nothing. They just kept their heads down and stuck with their long-term allocation plan. But those...Read more

On Philanthropy: 8 steps for effective family giving

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Over the last decade of working with multi-generational families, helping them to become more effective with their philanthropy, I have learned many lessons. The field of strategic philanthropy is more sophisticated and complex than ever and the understanding of philanthropic “best practices” has evolved.

Some of the challenges we face in ...Read more