Consumer

/

Home & Leisure

Susan Tompor: New tax deduction cap could turn big refund into big tax bill

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The big tax question of the year: Will you get a super-sized refund or suddenly discover that you're going to end up writing one monster check?

No one really knows for sure in light of sweeping changes that hit homeowners, two-paycheck couples and families who once had a string of itemized deductions but no longer can take some breaks under the...Read more

Hot Property: Former home court now for sale

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Blake Griffin, the former L.A. Clippers star who was traded last year to the Detroit Pistons, is looking to make a deal of his own in Pacific Palisades. He's put his home of six years on the market for $10.995 million.

Gated from the street, the Cape Cod-inspired house has about 9,600 square feet of living space spread across ...Read more

When to file 2018 taxes and how to dig through new rules

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Sitting down to do your taxes in the next few weeks -- or talking with your tax preparer -- will involve tackling the most sweeping changes in the federal income tax rules in more than 30 years.

Tax filers need to keep in mind that more than 600 changes took place under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was passed by Congress in late 2017.

Will...Read more

DA to review video evidence in case of reality-TV surgeon charged with rapes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- The Orange County, Calif., district attorney has ordered an examination of all evidence, including numerous videos, in the case of a Newport Beach surgeon and his girlfriend charged with sexually assaulting seven women.

District Attorney Todd Spitzer said that after the review, he will determine how to proceed in the case against...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Will a weekly, bimonthly or biweekly payment mortgage save you money?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Lenders who offer mortgages with shorter payment periods than the standard monthly payment mortgage usually claim that they will save the borrower money. But they seldom explain how.

There are only three possible sources of savings to the borrower from increasing the frequency of mortgage payments. One is that the lender offers a rate or fee ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Will a weekly, bimonthly or biweekly payment mortgage save you money?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Lenders who offer mortgages with shorter payment periods than the standard monthly payment mortgage usually claim that they will save the borrower money. But they seldom explain how.

There are only three possible sources of savings to the borrower from increasing the frequency of mortgage payments. One is that the lender offers a rate or fee ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Can I sell my share of a property without co-owners' permission?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I own a property with my three brothers. I want to sell my share of the property, but they are not interested. I read your article about suing them to get them to sell, but I do not want to do that to them. Instead, can I sell my portion of the property without their permission?

--Natika

A: Yes, unless you are otherwise restricted. Your ...Read more

How accurate are Zestimates? Zillow awards $1M to trio for improving them

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Zillow's estimate of a home's value, called the Zestimate, can be powerful: Some homeowners track them like a stock, and when it gets to a certain point, they may decide to sell. Home shoppers gauge the estimate against the list price of a home. Others use it just to gawk at their neighbor's home values.

But it's far from perfect: In Seattle, ...Read more

Home sales plunge in Southern California to lowest level since 2007, as prices inch up

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The housing market's chill grew colder in December, as sales plunged across Southern California and home prices barely rose.

The number of closed deals fell 20.3 percent compared with a year earlier, hitting the lowest level for a December since the start of the Great Recession and marking the sharpest percentage drop since 2010, according to a...Read more

CEOs of Seattle area's biggest companies: We need more housing for the middle class

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The CEOs of the Seattle metro's largest businesses -- from Amazon and Boeing to Starbucks and Nordstrom -- are pushing for more housing for middle-income workers at a time when professionals like nurses, teachers and cops are increasingly being priced out and new housing is aimed mostly at higher earners.

Challenge Seattle, a group of 17 local ...Read more

Big real estate moguls win as smaller investors denied tax break

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

NEW YORK -- A perk pitched as a boon for mom-and-pop businesses in President Donald Trump's tax law could shut out smaller real estate investors while benefiting the industry's largest property developers.

The Treasury Department released final rules recently detailing how owners of businesses such as limited liability companies and ...Read more

Go into debt to pay rent? California startup finances your rent with high-interest loans

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As soaring prices leave many Bay Area residents struggling to pay rent, one startup is offering an innovative but controversial option for tenants in a bind -- finance your rent with a high-interest loan.

Santa Monica-based Domuso allows some local renters to take out six or 12-month loans at an average annual interest rate of 27 percent to ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Fiat Chrysler joins those stepping up to help employees pay student loans

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A "Saturday Night Live" sketch in January generated plenty of laughs with a fake game show called "Millennial Millions" where twenty-somethings compete for prizes, such as a chance to pay off their big student loans.

But employers are increasingly recognizing that $35,000 or more in student loan debt is a serious matter that is stressing out ...Read more

The Journey: Where is the safe haven for retirees?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q. My wife and I are both 66. She has retired and started Social Security; I am working part time, receiving a small pension from a previous job, taking dividend income from a rollover account where I put my 401(k) funds, and putting off starting Social Security. I also have some additional funds from stock market investments and inheritance.

...Read more

Susan Tompor: Tax refund advance often too good to be true: What to know

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Plenty of people would jump at the chance to speed up getting some of their tax refund cash, especially in light of the government shutdown, job cuts and other financial headaches.

But Tiffany Vernier's story should make some who are desperate to pay their bills think twice about handing over a few hundred dollars to get their taxes done in the...Read more

Hot Property: A stately champ enters the ring

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- In L.A.'s Hancock Park neighborhood, an Italian Renaissance-style mansion that once belonged to boxing great Muhammad Ali has come on the market for $17 million.

Ali bought the home with his third wife, Veronica, in 1979 around the time of his first retirement, according to the listing brokerage. The couple lived there until ...Read more

Mark Zuckerberg's personal charity is part of a push to steer $500 million to affordable housing

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As tech companies face mounting pressure to address their role in the California housing crisis, a band of corporations, philanthropies and foundations -- including Facebook as well as the personal philanthropic company of Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg -- are seeking to raise $540 million to invest in affordable-housing efforts in the Bay Area...Read more

Billionaire Ken Griffin pays $238 million for New York penthouse, trouncing price record

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In a record-setting deal, billionaire Ken Griffin has paid $238 million for a massive penthouse towering over Central Park in New York City.

The sale shatters the previous price record, which was set in 2014 when hedge-fund manager Barry Rosenstein reportedly shelled out $137 million for a Hamptons estate.

As first reported by the Wall Street ...Read more

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Kill Thursday, January 24, 2019's Lifestyle HOME-HONORS-FAMILY:SE story; it moved as ATHOME-MARROWSTONE-ISLAND:SE on Dec. 17.

(c)2019 The Seattle Times

Visit The Seattle Times at www.seattletimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The Mortgage Professor: The science and art of paying off your mortgage early

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Most of my work on paying off a mortgage early has focused on the science of the subject, which is nothing more than the math needed to trace the process through which a mortgage balance (the amount still owed) declines over time. With Chuck Freedenberg, I developed calculator 2a, which is the most frequently visited page on my website.

...Read more