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Consumer News and Advice Archive


Your Home: Furnace Maintenance Tips

Furnaces are often uncomplicated and relatively easy to keep up. The purpose of systematic maintenance is effective operation.  Whatever kind of furnace that is heating the house, there are several steps to take to preserve the heating in prime operating condition. ...


Buying after a Short Sale? The Wait Just Got Longer

(TNS)—Q: We completed a short sale about two years ago. We have been renting and saving our money to buy a new home after the two-year waiting period imposed by Fannie Mae. When we applied for our new loan, we were told that now we have to wait another two ...


Can Bad Financial Habits Be Unlearned?

(TNS)—Some readers of last week’s column recognized themselves in my description of a “NOHO:” someone not cut out to be a homeowner. NOHOs live paycheck to paycheck, price substantial purchases in terms of the monthly financing charge and typically have no reserve for ...


How to Talk to a Financial Advisor: 8 Communication Tips for Successful Negotiations

Sure, you might have a basic understanding of the investing world: Stocks go up, good! Stocks go down, bad! But that’s about the extent of it. The result is that you feel uncomfortable asking your financial advisor certain questions, and, sometimes, you don’t even know what to ask. The result ...


Six Cautions about Over-improving Your Home

(TNS)—Call it the curse of over-improving: sinking so much into upgrades, renovations or additions that you’ve burned off nearly all the equity of your home. ...


Ten Tips for Your Financial Future

(TNS)—However much you make or save now doesn’t promise you a bright financial future. Life is unpredictable. Follow these 10 tips to prevent you and your family from money troubles. ...


10 Ways to Keep Holiday Hackers at Bay

We’ve all lost our identity at least three times, with more than 930 million records breached, lost or stolen to hackers and cyber criminals, says consumer advocacy non-profit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. ...


What to Do If Your Flight Is Canceled

It's the five words that no holiday traveler wants to hear: your flight has been cancelled. ...


Owning a Second Home

(TNS)—Daydreaming of owning a second, seasonal home? ...


Chopping Skills Come in Handy on Celeb Home Sale

(TNS)—Christina Ricci, whose various roles have included this year’s TV movie “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax,” has sold her Hollywood Hills home for a hacked-down $1.37 million — 19 percent off the original asking price. She had listed it earlier this year at $1.695 million. ...


30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Creeps Further Below 4% for the Eighth Straight Week

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate on Zillow(R) Mortgages is currently 3.77 percent, down five basis points from this time last week. The 30-year fixed mortgage fell steadily last week before settling at the current rate. ...


Living Smart: to Fully Winterize, Look Outside the Home

(TNS)—It’s wise, before the snow flies (or as soon as possible if flakes have already flown), to take the time to prep your home and property for winter. We hear often about emergency service calls that could have been avoided if homeowners had taken time to winterize or to hire ...


Fall Is for Fireplaces

A wood burning fireplace is an appealing feature of many homes. Here are some reminders and tips for keeping safe and getting full enjoyment from your fireplace this season: ...


Bluetooth May Be the Key to Your Future Smart Home

(TNS)—If you’ve ever considered trying to turn your house into a smart home, you’ve likely found the prospect expensive or technologically intimidating. That situation could soon change, thanks in part to an old technology learning some new tricks. ...


Knob and Tube Wiring in Older Homes

Homes built prior to 1950 may still have a knob and tube wiring system. Though the technology is old, it is still capable of carrying electricity throughout the home. There are additional factors, however, that homeowners should know about when buying ...


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