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The California dream is tough to afford if you're under 40

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Samantha Sprau rents a 450-square-foot studio north of downtown Oakland, Calif., with appliances and gold-speckled laminate that could be decades older than she is.

It costs $1,575 a month.

"It's a ton for one person to pay," said the 27-year-old battery engineer, relies on the grocery-skimping survival skills she learned as a broke ...Read more

On Philanthropy: 2018 is ideal time to focus on strategic corporate philanthropy

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Businesses must play a more strategic and integral role in efforts to solve the most pressing problems of our local, national and global communities. So believes Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of international asset management and investment giant Blackrock. His colleagues in the business community are taking note.

In his annual CEO letter, Fink ...Read more

Caution: Cleaning this way is like smoking a pack a day, study says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Just in case you needed a legitimate excuse to be messy, there's a new study that says cleaning may actually be bad for your health.

Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway found that regular use of cleaning sprays contributed to a greater decline in lung function compared to those who did not clean.

The study, published in the ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Taxes: What you need to know to deduct medical expenses

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Some retirees are grumbling that young families are getting a better deal under tax reform. But seniors could be overlooking some good news for deductions for medical expenses.

At one point, the heated debate on tax reform called for eliminating the deduction for medical expenses entirely.

But the major tax reform package that Congress passed ...Read more

Hot Property: Actress' auction is a no-go: Elsewhere, a former Ford desert property is for sale

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES--After shopping her Palm Springs compound for more than a decade, Suzanne Somers appeared on the cusp of selling her longtime desert retreat at auction last month. She must have had a change of heart.

The actress-entrepreneur and her husband, producer Alan Hamel, decided not to go through with the no-reserve bidding scheduled for ...Read more

Seattle not amused by green-pigs stunt by real-estate company

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- An out-of-town real-estate company hoped to make a big splash ahead of its launch in Seattle on Wednesday, so it put cutouts of little green pigs all over the region. The plan was to create buzz and online searches that would lead people to discover the firm.

So early Tuesday, its street team scattered 1,500 of the little pigs, from ...Read more

Buying a Bay Area home now a struggle even for Apple, Google engineers

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Bay Area home prices are out of reach for many middle-income families, but surely if you're a highly prized engineer at Apple or Google you can afford a house here, right?

Not so fast.

These days even high-paid tech workers -- the very people often blamed for driving up home prices -- have to stretch to buy a house, ...Read more

For residents, appeal of downtown Minneapolis is still sky-high

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- Downtown Minneapolis' population has exploded over the past decade, propelled by millennials and empty nesters who are embracing the urban lifestyle.

More people moved downtown last year than any other in the past decade, expanding the city's core by 2,592 residents, according to estimates from the Downtown Council, a business ...Read more

Clean it up: Top kitchen trends for 2018

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The biggest trend in kitchen remodels is tidiness, according to Houzz's survey of more than 1,700 homeowners who use the site nationwide and are either planning a remodel, are in the middle of one or have just completed an update.

The 2018 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study found that for 75 percent of the homeowners, decluttering their counters was ...Read more

On the House: Philadelphia's ultra-luxury condo market is in full swing, but convincing high-end buyers still takes work

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In Philadelphia in the 1980s -- the decade in which the Phillies won the World Series, city police dropped a bomb on a West Philadelphia neighborhood, and the Frankford Slasher killed at least a half-dozen women -- the City of Brotherly Love also made history in a quieter way: selling its first million-dollar condo.

Compared with its urban ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Do rental tenants have to obey HOA rules?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Our community has an association that is not a "paid" HOA; there is no board and no meetings. There are written HOA covenants that I believe should still be part of the property transaction on any home purchase. Many residents are completely unaware/don't care about the HOA rules. What options do I have to enforce the HOA rules, and do rental...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Political gridlock on the disposition of Fannie and Freddie: Is there a credible solution?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A major piece of unfinished business from the financial crisis is what to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have been in a Federal conservatorship since 2008. An impasse between republicans and democrats on the future of the agencies could be broken if they came to realize that there is a sensible solution that is consistent with the ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Political gridlock on the disposition of Fannie and Freddie: Is there a credible solution?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A major piece of unfinished business from the financial crisis is what to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have been in a Federal conservatorship since 2008. An impasse between republicans and democrats on the future of the agencies could be broken if they came to realize that there is a sensible solution that is consistent with the ...Read more

Chicago's John Hancock Center skyscraper losing its iconic name

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- Chicago's John Hancock Center is getting a name change, nearly a decade after another of Chicago's most beloved skyscrapers -- the Sears Tower -- switched identities and caused a civic uproar.

Owners of the 100-story John Hancock Center said the building's namesake, the insurance company that built the tower almost five decades ago, ...Read more

Bay Area residents want more housing, but …

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Fed up with soaring prices that are increasingly putting home ownership, or even a decent rental, out of reach, Bay Area residents overwhelmingly say they want more housing built, according to a new poll. But it better not make their commutes worse.

Residents said they support everything from new single family homes to housing for the homeless ...Read more

The Journey: 4 things for retirees to keep in mind about volatile stock market

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When stock market volatility spikes, financial advisers typically remind investors they have time to keep the money invested and let it ride out the cycle, but what about people already in retirement?

As a whole, people in their 70s and beyond used to have very little invested in stocks, but that has changed in recent years due to low savings ...Read more

Hot Property: TV lawman kills it. Case closed.

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Michael Chiklis, an actor known for his television roles on "The Shield" and "Gotham," has closed the books on a case in Sherman Oaks, selling his home on about half an acre for $4.778 million.

The sale price is the highest ever for a property in the 91403 ZIP Code, according to real estate sources with knowledge of the area.

...Read more

San Diego selling $1 lots: Is this the future of 'affordable housing' for the middle class?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN DIEGO -- What does it take for a middle-class family to be able to buy a house in San Diego, with the county median home price at $540,000 and the median individual salary at just $55,500?

In the case of the San Diego Community Land Trust, it means the city selling home lots for $1.

The nonprofit Land Trust is poised to build 16 three- and...Read more

Susan Tompor: Love doesn't have to bleed your bonus

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Show her how much you care for, say, $20.

Sure, some people could be tempted to splurge this Valentine's Day after receiving cash out of the blue. Major automakers are giving out sizable profit-sharing checks. And tax reform has led to one-time bonuses for some workers at some big-name companies.

In Michigan, it's estimated that profit-sharing...Read more

Is California ready for a Proposition 13 overhaul?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A new ballot initiative that takes aim at how commercial properties are taxed under California's Proposition 13 could raise $6 to $10 billion more each year for schools and other programs and services, according to a new analysis by the Legislative Analyst's Office.

At the heart of the initiative, which is still being reviewed by the state ...Read more

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