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After apartments flood downtown Chicago, building boom reaches suburbs

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- Signs of an apartment boom are all over downtown Chicago, where construction cranes and the beginnings of towers dominate the skyline.

It's less visible and more spread out, but there's an apartment construction spree happening in Chicago's suburbs too.

Rental construction reached its highest level in more than a decade last year in...Read more

Renters face eviction with minimum notice, then Foxconn, after inquiry, offers more time

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

After landlords started proceedings to evict four Sturtevant families on minimum notice to pave the way for land purchases by Foxconn Technology Group, the company took action to give the families more time to move following a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel inquiry about the situation.

Instead of the 28 days the tenants originally were granted in ...Read more

Downtown San Jose transit village near Google proposal steams ahead

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN JOSE -- A big tech village in downtown San Jose is moving forward, an ambitious project that could bring 5,000 jobs to a site that's adjacent to a separately proposed Google transit-oriented community.

The development by TMG Partners and Valley Oak Partners would create more than 1 million square feet of offices and is bounded roughly by ...Read more

Pre-Owned iPhones, Pet Stains, Carpet-Cleaning Machine

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Have you seen the iPhone X? Read about it? I nearly choked when I learned it comes with a price tag of $1,000 or more.

Granted, I'm no iPhone aficionado, but I cannot imagine spending that much on a mobile phone of any brand, size or capability. Can you?

Debra writes: "It's time for me to get a new smartphone and I'm having a hard time ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: A new approach to mortgage design

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For decades, the principal motivation driving home mortgage design was to increase affordability. The logic was that homeownership was desirable, and the more affordable mortgages became, the higher would be the homeownership rate. As a result, the typical mortgage, which had a down payment of 40 percent and a term of 10 years in the 1920s, ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: A new approach to mortgage design

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For decades, the principal motivation driving home mortgage design was to increase affordability. The logic was that homeownership was desirable, and the more affordable mortgages became, the higher would be the homeownership rate. As a result, the typical mortgage, which had a down payment of 40 percent and a term of 10 years in the 1920s, ...Read more

This new Florida city will produce its own power and run self-driving buses

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

BABCOCK RANCH, Fla. -- The city of the future will not be the cold metal domes or Mars settlements of science fiction movies. It will be a community of 19,500 homes surrounded by thousands of acres of green space and capable of producing its own energy -- in total harmony with the environment.

And that future is now.

Residents started to move ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Great Readers Tips: Packing Cubes, Sink Clog Prevention, Cooking Spray Uses, BBQ Cover

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Over the years, I've done it a dozen times -- tossed out the clear vinyl zipper bag that comes with sheets and blankets. Today's first great reader tip makes me wish I'd not done it. For sure, I'll never do it again.

FREE PACKING CUBES. For travel packing, I reuse the clear vinyl zipper bags of various sizes that come with blankets, linens and ...Read more

Small Spaces: Create Coziness

Consumer / Small Spaces /

Don't you just want to move into this picture and stay awhile? A squashy cushion snuggled below a window, hopefully with a little view, never fails to attract everyone from toddlers to a sleepy grandpa! It seems that the powerful draw of a window seat is universal.

Built-in seating always looks warm and inviting. What makes it actually ...Read more

Unfinished dream castle in rural Minnesota seeking new owner

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SOGN VALLEY, Minn. -- Gary and Beth Arntson have had a lot of big ideas for their home. First, they wanted to build an earth-sheltered house. Then, a geodesic dome.

But after Gary scouted rural Goodhue County and came across a hill with scenic, sweeping views of the Sogn Valley, he knew what he needed to build atop the crest: a European-style ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 7 Ways to Outsmart Retailers and Their Clever Tricks to Get Us to Spend More

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I blame my suspicious nature on my neighborhood grocery store. The store used to be a logically arranged market with bright lights and clean floors -- a basic, friendly, functional place to shop. Then the bulldozers morphed it into a big fancy supermarket complete with clothing, mood lighting and cushy chairs.

I have nothing against beautiful ...Read more

House Calls: Worried About Zillow

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Edith: I have a question about appraisals and home values.

Our house is appraised for tax purposes at a lower value than the house next door, which has greater square footage. The houses were built on same-sized lots about 20 years ago. But our neighbor's house is dated inside, while ours has an updated kitchen and interior and updated ...Read more

Decorating-on-a-dime tips to re-energize your living space

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When Hidden Lakes resident Amy Haney walked into her newly redecorated family room, she was awed by what a big difference a few design changes could make.

"It made me love our house again," says Haney, who called on local decorator Kristi Margiotta to transform the main room in the family's 8-year-old home. Margiotta breathed new life into the ...Read more

Want to kill that bug? This shotgun uses table salt to do so

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Killing flies and cockroaches is no longer a disagreeable task after the invention of the Bug-a-salt, a plastic shotgun that fires salt at the bugs, knocking them out and leaving them ready for the garbage.

An advertising video for the gun has become popular recently in social networks because of its humor. The short commercial pokes fun at ...Read more

Hot Property: Stepping away from desert home

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Actor, race car driver and recent "Dancing With the Stars" contestant Frankie Muniz has sold his home in Phoenix for $3.2 million.

Muniz, 32, made his first appearance in the Hot Property column more than a decade ago, when he listed one of his Westside homes at age 18. In recent years, however, he's made his home in various ...Read more

Virtual staging can make houses look too good to be true

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- Try to picture this real estate scenario -- virtually. Like 90 percent of shoppers searching for a home, you start on the web, checking out listings and locations. You find a house that appears to be what you're after, and you tap into the photos section of the listing to see the interior shots.

Wow! The house is outstanding for ...Read more

Susan Tompor: How does a pitch for a $3,000 advance on your tax refund turn into $500?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

People who are looking for fast cash to pay holiday bills, unexpected car repairs or skyrocketing heating bills are being bombarded with TV ads, window signs and other pitches for tax refund advances.

Actor Jon Hamm, wearing bib overalls, laments being stuck after his old truck breaks down in a Dust Bowl setting in an H&R Block commercial.

"...Read more

Here's How: Identify a Load-Bearing Wall Before Remodeling

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I see these makeover shows on television. I want to open up my kitchen to the family room and it would be fun to knock out the wall myself. Someone said to be careful of bearing walls. What are they? -- Kyle G.

Dear Kyle: Your friend gave you excellent advice. People often see these types of do-it-yourself shows and the projects ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Mistakes Teach Us What Doesn't Work

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Have you made any mistakes lately? Want to talk about it? Most people don't. Can't say that I blame them. It's embarrassing.

And when it's a really dumb mistake, well, that's something you hope to never have to think about again. But doing that's a mistake.

Mistakes are useful because they teach us what doesn't work. But making the same ...Read more

UPS delivery drivers are supposed to ring your doorbell when they leave a package

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I ordered some items online on Thanksgiving. They came UPS. I know these poor workers are overloaded at Christmastime, but we received the package at 9:30 the other night. If I had not heard the truck, the package would have sat on our front steps all night for anyone to steal. The driver was very quiet in bringing it to the door and did not ...Read more