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Real estate Q&A: My neighbor's tree is ruining my yard; what can I do?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We live in a community with small lots. My neighbor has a huge tree sitting 3 feet from my property line that blocks the morning sun and sheds leaves constantly, making my yard look horrible and stopping the lawn from filling in. What are my options? -- Landra

A: There is not too much you can do about the sun being blocked, but you do have ...Read more

Bay Area rents likely to stay sky high

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Bay Area renters hit with high prices and few choices last year may be in for more of the same in 2018.

Rates for one- and two-bedroom apartments in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose last year stayed among the highest in the nation, according to new market reports. Scarce rentals and a robust local economy marked by steady...Read more

How soon can I get my tax refund? 5 things to know

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Got your 2017 tax return filed yet?

OK, you still have some time. But here's a reminder that the tax season just kicked off Jan. 29, as the Internal Revenue Service began accepting returns.

The deadline this year is April 17.

Many tax software companies and tax professionals began accepting returns a few weeks ago and will now submit those ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Sweepstakes scam warning: Consumer watchdog isn't confirming that you won a prize

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you're a con artist desperately trying to convince a consumer that they've really won $1.5 million in a sweepstakes, why not put a government "authority" on the line to confirm that it's all true?

A man in his 70s in Washington state "heard" from Stacy Canan, who leads the Office for Older Americans at the Consumer Financial Protection ...Read more

Q&A: You'll likely get more money in your paycheck this month, thanks to tax changes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The new federal tax plan is now in effect -- and it's going to mean more spending money for most people, at least in the short term.

Most workers across the country will have less tax money withheld from their pay, now that the Internal Revenue Service has released new withholding tables and instructed employers to make adjustments.

How much ...Read more

An unusual Minneapolis update removes the kitchen island

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The starting point: When architect Bryan Anderson bought his 1924 bungalow in Minneapolis' Bryn Mawr neighborhood, he knew he wanted to make some changes. He'd bought the house from longtime friends, so he'd already spent a lot of time in the kitchen. "They had an annual Super Bowl party, and we'd stand around the island," he said. "For that it ...Read more

Hot Property: Encino sale hits it out of the park

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Former professional baseball player Jimmy Rollins has circled the bases on a record home sale.

A trust tied to the former Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop has bought a gated estate in Encino for $10.65 million, setting a new record for the community.

The sale price is also among the highest ever recorded ...Read more

Downtown San Jose's Google village takes major step forward with government property deals

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Google's village in downtown San Jose cleared a major hurdle on Wednesday with an agreement involving proposed prices for the sale of government-owned properties to a development venture led by the search titan.

"This is an important step forward. It is one step, but a vital step," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said Wednesday....Read more

Bay Area home prices continue double-digit gains on historic streak

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Tight housing supply pushed Bay Area home prices higher yet again in December, extending year-over-year, double-digit gains for the fifth straight month -- and overall gains to an historic 69 straight months.

The median sales price for a single-family home in the nine-county region rose to $765,000 in December, up 13.8 ...Read more

Steps to make moving less of a burden

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Congratulations! That brand-new house -- with the empty closets and the gleaming floors -- is all yours. Now all you have to do is move your stuff. Depending on how long you've lived in your last home, that could be a daunting task.

With a little preparation and a lot of organization, moving into your new home won't break the bank -- or your ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: If neighbor with emotional support animal doesn't follow rules, what can we do?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Can an association make rules regarding "emotional support animals" -- such as excessive barking, noise, restricted to a certain area for doing their business, always on a leash, things like that. Our Co-op has a NO PETS bylaw, which we have not changed. These ESA owners claim they can do whatever they want and no rules apply. Is that true? -...Read more

This bank has committed $125 billion — yes, billion — to mortgages for Hispanics

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MIAMI -- Any company with a 166-year-history is likely to have ups and downs. For banking giant Wells Fargo, the last few years have definitely been a low.

In 2016, following an investigation by the Los Angeles Times, the bank disclosed that its sales force had potentially created millions of fake accounts in order to meet sales quotas. The ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: How to buy a house before selling the one in which you live

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A homeowner who wants to exchange the house in which she lives for another one that better meets her current needs and capacities can save herself much grief and expense by buying the new house before selling the old one. Buying the new house first means having to move only once instead of twice. The downside is that financing a house purchase ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: How to buy a house before selling the one in which you live

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A homeowner who wants to exchange the house in which she lives for another one that better meets her current needs and capacities can save herself much grief and expense by buying the new house before selling the old one. Buying the new house first means having to move only once instead of twice. The downside is that financing a house purchase ...Read more

Millennials: Waterbeds are returning, and Bainbridge Island waterbed inventor wants you

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Millennials, the inventor of the waterbed has a message for you. Especially those of you living in the Pacific Northwest, like he does.

You need a waterbed.

Charlie Hall is 71 and a millionaire because of waterbeds and some of the other 40 patents he holds. (You know the Sun Shower, with the solar-heated bags that let you bathe when camping? ...Read more

Bitcoin is booming in Miami. But can you buy a house with it?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MIAMI -- They gathered in downtown Miami -- an estimated 4,350 Bitcoin believers -- to trade pitches for apps and start-ups. They discussed and debated trends in cryptocurrency. They speculated about the volatility of Bitcoin, which shot up in value from $900 to $19,000 over the course of 2017 and is currently hovering around the $10,000 mark.

...Read more

Tax season confusion: What you need to know before you file this year

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Confused about how the new tax law will affect you? You're not alone.

With the ink barely dry on a new tax law, uncertainty abounds on what moves to make or even what to ask a tax preparer. So what do you need to know before you collect that box of receipts and make the trip to see your accountant?

Here's a rundown of the important things to ...Read more

Hot Property: $7.5 million is in the strike zone

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Major league pitcher and former Dodger Zack Greinke has put his two-structure compound in Studio City on the market for $7.55 million. He bought the home five years ago for $4.575 million, records show.

Set on a leafy foothill lot of more than an acre, the gated Craftsman estate was designed by architect Ray Keller and designer ...Read more

Son of 'Real Housewives' star set to go on trial for attempted murder

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- The attempted-murder trial for Joshua Waring, son of former "Real Housewives of Orange County" star Lauri Peterson, is expected to begin Monday with jury selection.

Waring, 29, is facing three counts of attempted murder and other felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with a shooting at a former sober-living home in Costa ...Read more

The Journey: Important (and difficult) conversations about end-of-life finances, care

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The oldest baby boomers are turning 72 this year. They're taking required distributions from their IRAs and even the ones who delayed Social Security checks as long as they could earn delayed retirement credits, to age 70, are now collecting.

What's left to plan? The end game, of course. The conversation no one wants to have.

Dorothy Bossung, ...Read more