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Aon Center's planned observation deck, Chicago's third, could create competition for tourist dollars

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- The owners of the Aon Center, Chicago's third-tallest skyscraper, on Monday unveiled plans for an observatory atop the building, potentially setting up a heated competition for tourist dollars with established observatories at Willis Tower and 875 N. Michigan Ave., the former John Hancock Center.

The stakes are as high as the ...Read more

Are there enough people to fill downtown Detroit condos, apartments?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

DETROIT -- So many new residential units are being built in the greater downtown Detroit that the question naturally arises: Are there really people to fill them all?

So far, the answer has been "yes." With millennials pouring into the city to work for Quicken Loans and other employers, newly opened residential projects in the greater downtown ...Read more

People rush to boats in Ballard to dodge Seattle's crazy housing market — but there's no more room

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- For months, Elea Acheson heard the rustling of an intruder.

She was pregnant and alone in a new neighborhood, her fiance often away on business. She'd throw open a window or rush to the door -- and find no one.

She even told family members the late-night prowler must be a ghost.

Finally, she caught the trespasser in the act -- on ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Robocalls are out of control. Here's how to keep from getting scammed

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Some days, you cannot pick up the phone without running into yet another fraudster demanding money.

Maybe it's not a bad idea to just avoid unknown callers. The con artists keep calling hot spots, after all, where people keep answering the phone.

Americans were blasted by 3.36 billion robocalls in April -- up 6.5 percent from a record set in ...Read more

Consumers brace for premium hikes while lawmakers grasp at remedies

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As some insurers angle for hefty premium hikes and concerns grow that more Americans will wind up uninsured, the federal health law is likely -- once again -- to play big in both parties' strategies for the contentious 2018 election.

Candidates are already honing talking points: Is the current dysfunction the result of the law or of GOP ...Read more

Hot Property: Will this ex show up in her song?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Taylor Swift is leaving behind a blank space on L.A.'s Westside. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter has sold her mini-estate in Beverly Hills for $4 million in a deal completed off-market and has put another home on the same street up for sale.

The estate that sold sits on two parcels totaling nearly 1.4 acres and has a three-...Read more

Why Vanguard advisers don't always push muni bonds, today's best-paying asset

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When triple-A rated local and state governments borrow money -- and less-solvent ones, too -- investors who buy their bonds typically enjoy federal, state, and local tax exemptions on bond income.

You'd think the tax breaks would give these governments an advantage, letting them sell debt extra cheap, compared with taxable bonds -- because muni...Read more

Millennials fare the worst in housing crunch, study shows

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Avocado-toast-munching, Netflix-binge-watching millennials make up nearly a quarter of the Bay Area's population, but you wouldn't know it by looking at Realtor Kevin Swartz's open houses.

That's probably because the homes Swartz shows in west San Jose and Sunnyvale generally start at $1.7 million.

"There are very few millennials that can ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Have mortgage loan officers become more trustworthy?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Did the new regulations issued in the wake of the financial crisis make mortgage loan officers more trustworthy?

A: One regulation, issued by the Federal Reserve as part of Truth in Lending, has had that affect. This regulation made it illegal for a mortgage lender to compensate a loan officer (LO) for over-charging a customer. Such ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Have mortgage loan officers become more trustworthy?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Did the new regulations issued in the wake of the financial crisis make mortgage loan officers more trustworthy?

A: One regulation, issued by the Federal Reserve as part of Truth in Lending, has had that affect. This regulation made it illegal for a mortgage lender to compensate a loan officer (LO) for over-charging a customer. Such ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: I want to buy a house, but I'm getting a divorce. Help?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I am in the process of getting a divorce. I want to buy a new house but am worried about my soon-to-be-ex-wife having an interest in it. Is there something I can do to protect myself? -- Alex

A: There are steps you can take that differ depending on the state of your relationship with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse.

If you are still getting ...Read more

Million-dollar home values gain even as tax deductions shrink

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Adam Blaylock was pretty sure he overpriced his Santa Clara, Calif., home by offering it in February for $1.48 million, since tax deduction changes would keep buyers away. But within a week, the 1,280-square-foot ranch-style house was in contract for $155,000 above asking.

The $1.5 trillion tax overhaul President Donald Trump signed in December...Read more

California becomes first state requiring all new homes be built with solar

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As expected, the California Energy Commission (CEC) passed a first-in-the nation rule Wednesday, mandating that all new homes constructed in the state will be equipped with solar panels.

"This is a landmark vote today," said David Hochschild, one of CEC's five commissioners who unanimously approved the measure that was part of a revision to ...Read more

AEG proposes $1.2-billion expansion of LA Convention Center and JW Marriott hotel

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- The last time the Los Angeles Convention Center was expanded in 1997, the Lakers were still playing in Inglewood and Richard Riordan had just won a second term as mayor.

Since then, as other cities have upgraded their facilities, plans to enlarge the L.A. center have gone nowhere -- to the point tourism officials say Los Angeles ...Read more

California heads toward requiring solar panels on all new houses

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

California is set to require solar panels on all newly built single-family houses, the first statewide mandate in the nation. That's expected to save buyers money in the long run, but will raise their upfront costs at a time many are already struggling to afford a mortgage.

The state's Energy Commission is scheduled to vote Wednesday on the ...Read more

Prince's island retreat in Turks and Caicos is now up for sale

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you've ever wanted to own your own Princely kingdom, now is your last chance.

The last property in Prince's real estate portfolio is up for auction, and the executors of the late singer's estate have saved the best for last.

A New York auction house is taking sealed bids on an exotic island villa Prince owned in the Turks and Caicos Islands...Read more

The pre-fab skyscraper? Bay Area housing crisis brings new era for modular homes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LATHROP, Calif. -- Inside a nondescript warehouse in a nondescript industrial park, workers for RAD Urban are assembling the building blocks of a modern apartment building.

Piece by piece, along a factory line, workers erect walls, string electrical wires, fasten plumbing, hang drywall and paint until a bare 12-foot by 30-foot steel chassis ...Read more

The Journey: Long wait for better interest on savings my be coming to an end

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

After a long wait, Godot may actually be turning up.

Central bankers left a key interest rate unchanged in May, but three rate hikes in 2017 and up to four projected for 2018 by year-end finally seem to be translating into savings account and certificate of deposit rates that are becoming at least somewhat attractive to risk-averse retirees.

...Read more

On the House: Mortgage lenders are making it easier for you to buy a house. But are they repeating last decade's mistakes?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Dana Wade, the acting Federal Housing Administration commissioner, minced few words in testimony last month before a U.S. House of Representatives committee.

The FHA, the federal housing agency that insures mortgages made to first-time and lower-income buyers, has seen "certain trends and indicators of potential defaults," Wade said.

The ...Read more

Two years after Chicago passed a home-sharing law, only Airbnb has a license, and hosts say rules are too complicated

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- Rosalind and Eric Bowden received a surprising letter from the city right around Christmas, notifying them that because they didn't delete an unauthorized listing on Airbnb, they were believed to be in violation of a Chicago law regulating short-term rentals.

But the Bowdens had disabled bookings for a first-floor room in their South...Read more