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The Mortgage Professor: Many mortgage lenders give preferential terms to physicians

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Mortgage lenders offer special deals to doctors -- some doctors, anyway. I am a doctor but I am not eligible for any special loan programs because my doctorate is in economics. Economists and others with doctorates in philosophy have no special features that make them attractive as mortgage borrowers.

On the other hand, lenders view physicians ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Many mortgage lenders give preferential terms to physicians

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Mortgage lenders offer special deals to doctors -- some doctors, anyway. I am a doctor but I am not eligible for any special loan programs because my doctorate is in economics. Economists and others with doctorates in philosophy have no special features that make them attractive as mortgage borrowers.

On the other hand, lenders view physicians ...Read more

Mortgage rates rise to a seven-year high

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is nearing 5 percent, following a surge this week that put borrowing costs at their highest level since 2011, according to Freddie Mac.

The sharp increase in mortgage rates -- to 4.9 percent this week, from 4.71 percent last week and 3.91 percent a year ago -- stems from the same rise in the overall ...Read more

Mortgage rates rise to a seven-year high

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is nearing 5 percent, following a surge this week that put borrowing costs at their highest level since 2011, according to Freddie Mac.

The sharp increase in mortgage rates -- to 4.9 percent this week, from 4.71 percent last week and 3.91 percent a year ago -- stems from the same rise in the overall ...Read more

Seattle construction boom means lots of empty apartments, even some cheaper rents

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- It's getting easier to find an apartment to rent, and in some neighborhoods it's even getting cheaper.

Seattle-area renters are enjoying the least competitive market since the recession as more and more apartments sit empty and rents have flatlined -- a trend that is likely to continue as the ongoing apartment-construction spree ...Read more

Turn schools into teacher housing? Unique idea sparks backlash in Bay Area community

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A local school district's unique idea to turn schools into teacher housing -- an attempt to tackle the region's dire housing shortage and retain fleeing instructors -- is colliding with a massive backlash from neighborhood residents.

The San Jose Unified School District has identified nine district-owned properties where it ...Read more

In a rarity, Los Angeles strips building from rent control, leaving tenants facing big increases

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- In November, Californians will go to the polls to decide whether to give cities the option of sharply expanding protections against steep rent increases. But as tenants at a 38-unit Tarzana apartment complex recently discovered, it's also possible to have existing rent controls revoked.

The property on Reseda Boulevard fell under...Read more

Here's How: Install a Toilet in a Work Area with No Drain

Consumer / Here's How /

DEAR JAMES: Our son repairs motorcycles in our garage. We need to install a small half bathroom in there, but the slab floor has no drain. I need tips for adding a bathroom. -- Debbie R.

DEAR DEBBIE: There is nothing worse than trying to clean old black motor oil and grease mixed with grit from the doorknobs and floors, not to mention their ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Redecorating on a Dime

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Changing your environment can greatly improve your outlook. The key to great decor isn't how much money you have to spend. It's seeing possibilities in what you have. You'll be surprised at what you can do yourself for little or no cost.

1. Use what you've got. I have a friend who calls herself a professional arranger. People hire her to come ...Read more

Kushner family selling Chicago office tower

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- The real estate company owned by the family of presidential son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner is selling a 30-story office tower in downtown Chicago that came under scrutiny earlier this year when it was refinanced.

Kushner Cos. has agreed to sell the building at 225 W. Randolph St. to a group that includes New York-...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Great Reader Tips: Dog Treats, Earring Fix, Recycled Vinegar, Dog Hair Magnet and Lots More

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I love the ingenuity of my readers, especially the ones who send me their tips. Just when I think I've heard it all, here comes another batch of tips that have me saying it again: "Wow, what a great idea!"

Enjoy today's offering of great tips from my great readers. I hope they will spur you on to submit your own great ideas* on how you save ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 11 Uses for Dryer Sheets That Have Nothing to Do with Laundry

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Apparently, I'm a slow learner. I can't think of another reason why it took me years to associate my sons' and husband's itchy skin problems with the dryer sheets I used. While we didn't experience respiratory problems often associated with fabric softeners, according to the WebMD medical website, many reports show that the perfumes and ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Can I sell my half of property if brother won't sell?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I inherited a property together with my brother. I live far from the property, and he keeps telling me he has it sold to the tenant, but months have gone by, and nothing is happening. Can I sell my half directly to the tenant and be done with it, or does it have to be both of us? -- Harold

A: You can sell all or a part of any interest in ...Read more

The Journey: Unclear if new legislation will boost retirement savings

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Political efforts to boost Americans' savings are gaining steam.

At the end of September, the House of Representatives passed a bill that eliminates required distributions for retirement accounts totaling less than $50,000, encourages employers to band together to form retirement plans and creates new tax-advantaged savings accounts that can be...Read more

Susan Tompor: 3 ways to protect your kids' college savings if the market falls

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The record run for stocks -- along with ongoing trade and election jitters -- has some parents on edge about college nest eggs.

After all, you might be able to delay retirement if the market tumbles and your 401(k) takes a hit. Not so much if your 529 plan implodes.

For savers, we're not talking about chump change. Families had nearly $329 ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The 5 Legal Documents Every Adult Must Have

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's been at least 30 years since my husband and I sat for hours with an attorney who specializes in estate planning. That was not the most pleasant thing I've ever done.

We were young, and the idea of being old and planning for our deaths seemed ludicrous.

That meeting and nearly $2,500 made us the proud owners of a family trust and estate ...Read more

House Calls: Choosing a Broker

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: I am taking your advice to interview three agents before picking one to sell my home. Do you have advice about how to judge them when they get here? -- F. I.

Answer: Those initial interviews will cost you nothing, and you won't be obligated in any way. Even if you like the first one who calls, keep all three appointments before ...Read more

Art of Design: A Paler Shade of Gray

Consumer / Art of Design /

Over the last five to 10 year years, designers and homeowners have seen a shift in the go-to neutral color for walls and in interior design more broadly. The color has shifted from beige to linen white and now to various shades of gray. A pale shade of gray works well not only for walls but for flooring, fabrics and home accessories, too.

The ...Read more

Hot Property: Adding an Old Hollywood trophy

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- After spending much of the last year changing spots in Santa Barbara County, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi are turning their attention back to L.A.

In recent weeks, the entertainment power couple has bought a Beverly Hills home steeped in Old Hollywood history for $15 million. They've also quietly sold another home in the ...Read more

Tariffs could cost you more to remodel your home

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- Thinking about remodeling your home -- redoing a bathroom or the kitchen? Or maybe purchasing a new home from a builder? Or simply buying new appliances?

Then get ready to dig deeper into your wallet as the Trump administration's new $200 billion in tariffs begin to flow through to hundreds of the products that go into your ...Read more