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The Mortgage Professor: Is a homeowner better off with an FHA loan?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Assuming the same interest rate, is there any way in which a homeowner is better off having an FHA rather than a conventional mortgage?

A: Having an FHA mortgage is potentially advantageous to a homeowner if she intends to sell her house, and if market interest rates are significantly higher than they were when she borrowed the money to buy ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Is a homeowner better off with an FHA loan?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Assuming the same interest rate, is there any way in which a homeowner is better off having an FHA rather than a conventional mortgage?

A: Having an FHA mortgage is potentially advantageous to a homeowner if she intends to sell her house, and if market interest rates are significantly higher than they were when she borrowed the money to buy ...Read more

Seattle sued over law meant to help renters with criminal records get housing

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Seattle is being sued by landlords over a new city law that mostly prohibits them from screening rental applicants based on criminal records.

In a complaint filed Tuesday, some property owners claim the law violates their constitutional due-process rights by preventing them from protecting themselves and their existing tenants. They claim it ...Read more

German coworking firm plans 100,000-square-foot flagship on Chicago's Magnificent Mile

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- A German coworking firm has opened its first U.S. office in Chicago, and will add a Mag Mile flagship as part of an ambitious expansion.

Berlin-based Rent24 recently opened an approximately 15,000-square-foot office in a loft office building at 444 N. Wabash Ave., taking over the space of a local coworking business that previously ...Read more

This company has a solution for pricey, empty apartments: Turn them into hotel rooms

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- With thousands of new luxury apartments flooding the uptown market in Charlotte, a San Francisco-based startup has a possible solution: Turn some of them into hotel rooms.

Lyric has leased a whole floor of one of the two SkyHouse Charlotte apartment towers. The company is renting the fully furnished rooms to travelers, who ...Read more

Taxes filed, time to chill? Not so fast, says IRS

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The April 18 federal tax-filing deadline has come and gone. Your taxes are paid, and maybe you already have your refund in hand. Nothing to do now but sit back and chill for eight months or so, right?

The Internal Revenue Service respectfully disagrees.

Given recent changes in tax tables created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, IRS ...Read more

On the House: Across from Philadelphia's cheesesteak mecca, a South Philly neighborhood fights over its future

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The corner of Ninth and East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia is no stranger to crowds.

On game days, weekends, and warm summer evenings, tourists, celebrities, and Philadelphians alike flock to the intersection, seeking ribbons of steak oozing with cheese. Here, at this Passyunk Square junction anchored by Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's ...Read more

His son 'has been kidnapped.' How this elderly Delaware man was swayed by an 'impostor scam'

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you've ever feared your elderly mother or father might be scammed over the phone, then consider the story of Arthur Halprin, 82, retired physics professor living in Newark, Del.

A "sharp cookie" and a brilliant teacher, say friends and family, Halprin was swayed by a flimflam aimed at the elderly, known as the "impostor scam."

One morning ...Read more

One of Charlotte's biggest developers is being bought out by a Japan-based company

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Charlotte-based Crescent Communities, one of the city's oldest and most prominent developers, said Friday that it's reached an agreement to be acquired by Sumitomo Forestry America, a subsidiary of a Japanese firm.

Crescent is the developer behind huge projects such as the 26-story Ally Center at Stonewall and Tryon streets, the 1,400-acre ...Read more

Hot Property: Couple kept the plot interesting

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- The longtime Beverly Hills home of actress-writer Renee Taylor and her late husband, actor-playwright Joseph Bologna, is for sale at $8.6 million.

Set on a third of an acre, the 1926 Tudor Revival was once occupied by Shirley Temple's mother-in-law and often visited by Temple and her first husband, John Agar.

Taylor was ...Read more

IKEA shows off your shoes, skateboards

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Leave it to a fashion designer to draft a collection of home goods and accessories that highlights your sneakers and skateboard rather than hiding them in a closet.

"It's an open concept," L.A. designer Chris Stamp said of his new 25-piece limited-edition Spanst collection for IKEA. "Being a sneaker collector myself, I think that if you're ...Read more

Design industries are critical to Detroit's future but need nurturing

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

DETROIT -- Back in 2002, urban guru Richard Florida published his influential book "The Rise of the Creative Class," which highlighted the importance of so-called "creatives" -- artists, graphic designers, architects, and others -- to the vitality of cities trying to overcome long-term decline.

Florida's book helped set the agenda for many a ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Undoing Dodd-Frank or Are portfolio lenders more cautious?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was a congressional overreaction to the financial crisis of 2008-9, and a process of amelioration is underway. Under the proposed Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, certain provisions of Dodd-Frank would not apply to...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Undoing Dodd-Frank: Are portfolio lenders more cautious?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was a congressional overreaction to the financial crisis of 2008-9, and a process of amelioration is underway. Under the proposed Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, certain provisions of Dodd-Frank would not apply to...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Don't know what to do about your neighbor's tree? Here's help

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I read your recent tree article and want to know how I can protect myself? -- Bob

Q: My neighbor has a tree near the fence, and the roots are intruding in my yard and ruining the fence. What can I do? -- Jay

Q: I do not think the law is fair that I have to pay for damage caused by my neighbor's trees! Where the trunk lies, so should the ...Read more

This woman spent $400 on debit gift cards. But scammers had stolen almost all of it

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

With high school and college graduations soon upon us, you might be considering giving a debit gift card to the graduate.

But consider Sandra Weddle's story a cautionary tale.

Weddle, of Visalia, Calif., bought four $100 Visa gift cards for her children as Christmas presents. But when her son tried using one at a Visalia sporting goods store, ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Here's why it's harder for millennials to build wealth

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Siara Sellers, 28, owes almost $13,000 in student loans -- money that has become a financial roadblock ever since she dropped out of community college.

Sellers, who lives in Detroit, has been working part time for the past eight months or so at the UPS warehouse in Livonia, making about $11 an hour. She left school in 2013 after her grades ...Read more

Seattle-area home-price growth from current boom has surpassed last decade's bubble

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- As the Seattle area continues its run as the nation's hottest real- estate market, it has now seen home prices surge upward for a full six years -- with more growth in home values during the current boom than during last decade's bubble.

Single-family home costs across the metro area grew 12.7 percent in February from a year earlier,...Read more

Nightmare 90-minute 'super commutes' more common as Bay Area housing shortage intensifies

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For Katrina Gonzalez, like so many others who toil in Silicon Valley each day, the trek to work is more of an odyssey than a commute.

The 25-year-old Stockton resident traverses seven different freeways to get to her job as a restaurant manager at a San Jose Red Lobster, spending at least three hours a day on the road. It's such a long drive ...Read more