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Hot Property: Its guesthouse has a guesthouse

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Thomas Tull -- founder and former chief executive of Legendary Entertainment -- and wife Alba Tull have listed their 33-plus-acre compound in Thousand Oaks for sale at $85 million.

At that price, the private and gated estate in the North Ranch area is rubbing elbows with the high-priced mansions that are often associated with L.A...Read more

Social media contacts help slash costs of yard makeover

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Anyone who wants to accomplish a water-wise yard renovation on a small budget should take a lesson from Happy Aston. When her family purchased a home in the College Area in 2015, Aston knew she'd need to make the front yard makeover a priority. The yard was filled with dying grass, weeds, yellow nutsedge and an ornamental pear tree.

Friends and...Read more

Real estate Q&A: It's legal for your neighbor to point camera at your front door.

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I live in a condo, and I have a neighbor whose front door directly faces mine. He has installed a video surveillance system on his door, and it records every time I open the door. I have asked him to take it down because it makes me extremely uncomfortable. He refused. I feel a loss of privacy, and I feel violated. Is this legal? -- Adrienne ...Read more

Tips on saving for a new home

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to become a homeowner, now is the time to start a plan to save for that new dream house. While a 20 percent down payment is often no longer necessary, you'll still need a bit of savings even for lower rates in San Diego's pricey housing market. And keep in mind, a larger down payment might save you money ...Read more

Seattle-area rents drop significantly for first time this decade as new apartments sit empty

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- Rents are dropping significantly across the Seattle area for the first time this decade, as a flood of new construction has left apartments sitting empty in Seattle's hottest neighborhoods.

The average rent across King and Snohomish counties dipped 2.9 percent in December compared with the prior quarter, according to a new quarterly ...Read more

New Bay Area housing trend: Living in the backyard

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The walls weren't even up yet on the granny flat Limei Huang is building in her San Jose backyard when people started lining up to rent the space.

The first offer came from the worker who laid the unit's foundation. After his day's work, he called Huang up and asked: When it's finished, can I move in? Not long after, Huang ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Taking an HECM reverse mortgage for a limited time

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

"I am interested in your opinion of the following plan: Take a HECM reverse mortgage on my home, which is worth $1,000,000 and will appreciate by 3.5 percent a year. I would draw on the HECM for cash to invest or monthly income, then sell the house after 12 years, repaying the HECM from the house appreciation."

Your letter points up the ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Taking an HECM reverse mortgage for a limited time

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

"I am interested in your opinion of the following plan: Take a HECM reverse mortgage on my home, which is worth $1,000,000 and will appreciate by 3.5 percent a year. I would draw on the HECM for cash to invest or monthly income, then sell the house after 12 years, repaying the HECM from the house appreciation."

Your letter points up the ...Read more

The Journey: Social Security numbers to know

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The 2 percent cost-of-living hike in Social Security benefits this year isn't the only number affecting workers and retirees.

Workers will pay more into the system – the taxable maximum rises to $128,400, an 8 percent increase from just two years ago.

Earnings thresholds for withholding benefits of recipients under full retirement age also ...Read more

Susan Tompor: How do you pay off all that credit card debt?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Like the holiday pounds, credit card debt doesn't just melt away -- especially after the latest binge.

The cold reality is credit card debt hit a record $1.02 trillion in November, according to figures released by the Federal Reserve. And Americans racked up on average $1,054 in debt to treat others -- and, frankly, themselves -- during the ...Read more

Hot Property: She hopes to be thigh-high in bids

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Finding no takers for her Palm Springs oasis, which has been on and off the market since 2008, Suzanne Somers is trying other means to squeeze interest into the 73-plus-acre property.

The actress -- and face of the Thigh Master exercise machine -- and her husband, producer Alan Hamel, are putting their longtime desert home up for...Read more

On the House: Which home renovations are worth the cost? Fewer than you think

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When it came to real estate in 2017, the residential housing market had, in many ways, a banner year: Home prices across the nation surged to pre-recession levels, mortgage interest rates remained low, and the number of residential sales picked back up again after years of sluggish growth.

Overall, that meant the 2017 market was largely a boon ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: What can I do about my neighbor wasting water?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Our neighbor in our townhouse community wastes an excessive amount of water cleaning her sidewalk and driveway. We have asked her not to waste water, but she responds that it is covered by her maintenance dues, so there is no reason to worry about it. I am troubled by her waste of valuable resources. Is she allowed to get away with this? -- ...Read more

St. Louis Port Authority looks to use powers beyond riverbanks

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Port Authority wants to expand its boundaries beyond the 19-mile stretch of heavily-industrialized Mississippi River frontage to cover the entire city limits, a change that would let the port authority use its broad economic development powers anywhere in the city.

Under Missouri law, port authorities have wide ...Read more

Foxconn-related property condemnations prompt civil rights lawsuit in Wisconsin

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A dozen residents who would lose their homes to the Foxconn Technology Group project have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Village of Mount Pleasant, Wis., and its president.

The lawsuit claims Mount Pleasant's exercise of eminent domain to take their homes is unconstitutional because it is for a private benefit, for a project ...Read more

Foreclosures hit historic low in North Texas. Are they heading back up?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

FORT WORTH, Tex. -- A decade after the housing market crashed, foreclosures in Dallas-Fort Worth have slowed to a trickle.

Fewer than 1,000 homes are taken each month from owners who haven't kept up with mortgage payments in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area.

But could they be on the verge of going back up?

"We're seeing a little bit of a ...Read more

For Bay Area renters, the new normal: lower expectations and shrinking apartments

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Gabriel Rodarte grew up in San Jose and has worked there for 30 years as a mailman for the U.S. Postal Service. Making his rounds, he says, "I see it all. I see three families living inside one small apartment, or total strangers who share a room. None of them stay very long; they can't afford it."

Neither can Rodarte. He ...Read more

Shopping for a home in the Bay Area? Head to the mall

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Taking the traditional shopping trip to a whole new level, Bay Area residents aren't going to malls just to buy shoes anymore -- instead, they're moving in.

In an attempt to draw new crowds, a growing number of malls are building housing amid their movie theaters and Abercrombie & Fitch stores. It's a solution intended to keep malls relevant as...Read more

After apartments flood downtown Chicago, building boom reaches suburbs

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- Signs of an apartment boom are all over downtown Chicago, where construction cranes and the beginnings of towers dominate the skyline.

It's less visible and more spread out, but there's an apartment construction spree happening in Chicago's suburbs too.

Rental construction reached its highest level in more than a decade last year in...Read more

Renters face eviction with minimum notice, then Foxconn, after inquiry, offers more time

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

After landlords started proceedings to evict four Sturtevant families on minimum notice to pave the way for land purchases by Foxconn Technology Group, the company took action to give the families more time to move following a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel inquiry about the situation.

Instead of the 28 days the tenants originally were granted in ...Read more