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Real estate Q&A: Do I have to reimburse my tenant for 2 days without A/C?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We rent out a condo where the association controls the air conditioning and all utilities. Our tenant reported to us that the apartment was without A/C for two days and it was unbearable, so they stayed in a hotel. With the summer heat, I am sure it was sweltering in the apartment. They want me to reimburse them. I think it is the condo's ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Curbing HUD losses on HECM reverse mortgages: Further thoughts

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In a previous column, I noted that large losses on HECM reverse mortgages could be attributed to adverse selection. The program attracts too many borrowers in desperate financial condition and too few borrowers with options.

I argued that HUD, instead of cutting the amounts that borrowers can draw, which could make the adverse selection even ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Curbing HUD losses on HECM reverse mortgages: Further thoughts

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In a previous column, I noted that large losses on HECM reverse mortgages could be attributed to adverse selection. The program attracts too many borrowers in desperate financial condition and too few borrowers with options.

I argued that HUD, instead of cutting the amounts that borrowers can draw, which could make the adverse selection even ...Read more

Here's How: Build a Doghouse for Your Pet

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: Our dog spends much of his time out in the backyard, even when it is very hot or cold. I think I should build a doghouse for him. What is the best basic construction method for a doghouse? -- George T.

Dear George: Some pets do enjoy being outdoors, but they do not have the cognitive ability to determine when they are getting too ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 16 Ways Car Wax Can Make Your Life Easier

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If there's the slightest chance that an old can of car wax is hanging out in your garage or basement, now would be the time to find it, dust it off and hope it's not all dried out. Of course, car wax is good for waxing a car, but it's handy in so many other ways around the house, some of which are quite amazing.

Car wax, whether paste or liquid...Read more

Southern California median home price jumps to $536,250 as sales fall

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- The Southern California median home price reached a new all-time high in June, jumping 7.3 percent from a year earlier. However sales plunged over the same time period, indicating sky-high housing costs could be burning out many home shoppers.

The six-county median -- the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 7 Ways to Turn a Boring Side Salad into a Main Dish Summer Salad

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If there's one food that signals the arrival of summer, it's gotta be salad. Backyard gardens everywhere are bursting with beautiful tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and basil.

But the same warm sun that nudges produce to perfection can also zap all the energy from the average cook. That's why we love big, lovely summer salads. We can step away ...Read more

You can get free McDonald's fries every Friday for the rest of year

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You can now enjoy McDonald's french fries guilt-free (or at least slightly guilt-free) on Fridays.

The fast-food chain is giving away free medium fries with a $1 purchase every Friday from now until the end of 2018.

You have to download the McDonald's app to get the coupon to take advantage of the deal.

Visit the Detroit Free Press at ...Read more

For Krispy Kreme's birthday, you can buy a dozen doughnuts for $1 (with a catch)

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The only problem with the sweet perfection of a doughnut is that the hole leaves nowhere to stick a birthday candle.

North Carolina's Krispy Kreme will celebrate its 81st birthday this Friday, and the doughnut maker is providing the cake, of sorts.

At locations across the country, if you buy a dozen doughnuts at regular price, you can get ...Read more

Off to college? Free Amazon Prime Student offers free 2-day shipping

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

College-bound kids can sign up for a free six month Amazon Prime Student membership, which includes free two-day shipping and other benefits.

Students can sign up with an .EDU email to get benefits similar to an Amazon Prime membership, which normally costs $119 a year. The service makes it easy for parents to quickly get necessities to ...Read more

Deals & Steals: Coupon: Free pretzel at Auntie Anne's

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Auntie Anne's is giving away free pretzels with purchase with a coupon.

The chain is celebrating "Auntie Day," also known as National Aunt and Uncle Day, by offering customers a free classic pretzel with purchase of another through July 30 with the coupon. Just show it on your smartphone!

Don't forget the mustard!

Get the deal: ...Read more

8 ways to save money, and stop wasting

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You're at the farmers market and pick up some beautiful raspberries. But you don't store them properly, and two days later they're a moldy mush in the fridge.

Now you've wasted money and had to put them in the garbage. It's a sad feeling, but a very common problem. The Food and Drug Administration said Americans toss 20 pounds of food per ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Readers' Tips Often Come With More Than Just Great Ideas

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

The only thing I love more than great tips from my readers are the words of love and thanks. Yeah, I'm a sucker for friendship, and I value that more than you know.

Just knowing that so many friends are reading these columns every day keeps me going. So whatever you do, keep those tips, great ideas and questions coming.

NEUTRALIZE BUG BITES

...Read more

'Parallel universe': Residents and artists imagine Africatown in Seattle's Central District

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- In Seattle's rapidly gentrifying Central District, the once and future heart of Seattle's black community, it seems almost every other street corner is home to a developer's sign advertising a bland new town-house development or apartment building.

A group of designers has imagined a different future there.

It's a utopian vision for...Read more

In need of a win, Congress proposes expanded retirement accounts before mid-terms

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Congress wants a bipartisan win before fall elections, so look for expanded access to retirement accounts.

The new bill would incentivize small companies to band together to reduce the costs of retirement plans, extend the age at which people can contribute to Individual Retirement Accounts beyond 70 1/2, and allow the purchase of annuities. ...Read more

Econometer: Should people with student loan debt be allowed to declare bankruptcy?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Question: Do you think Congress should make it easier for those with student loan debt to declare bankruptcy?

Phil Blair, Manpower

NO: Students need to take their education debts as seriously as any other debt. But we do need to make sure that student debt can be refinanced at very competitive rates and terms, just like all other debt that ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Why Buy When You Can Borrow for Free?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

My adult children are big on borrowing stuff from their parents. And from time to time, they (you know who you are, son) may fail to mention having borrowed something like a Milwaukee Sawzall Reciprocating Saw in its big, bright red case, prompting that son's father to assume said tool had been stolen after searching the garage high and low for ...Read more

House Calls: Take-Back Mortgage

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Dear Ms. Lank: We want to buy a house in East Rochester, New York. The owner is an old man who lives next door to it. He says he'll lend us the money to buy at a low interest rate and hold a balloon mortgage instead of us going for a bank loan. The price looks right.

Is this a good way to buy? What should we watch out for? -- N. R. P.

Answer: ...Read more

Art of Design: Designing for Multi-Generational Living

Consumer / Art of Design /

As more and more baby boomers hit their golden years, and younger generations pay off university loans and save for their own homes, many homes are increasingly multi-generational. Once this was considered the last straw in a bad situation, but thoughts about this are changing, and an appreciation of living with family or friends is on the ...Read more

Susan Tompor: 5 tips if you're packing a credit card for college

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Back in 2009, college students seemed to have a love affair going on with their credit cards. About 84 percent of college undergraduates had at least one credit card, according to a study then from Sallie Mae. Seniors were graduating with an average credit card debt of more than $4,100 in 2009, up from about $2,900 in 2004.

By 2016, only 56 ...Read more