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Consumer News and Advice Archive


‘Cob’ Advocates Willing to Get Dirty to Build Home of Dreams

(MCT)—Making homes out of clay, sand and straw—a material called “cob”—might raise eyebrows in earthquake country, but California devotees are hoping to gain acceptance for what they say is an inexpensive, environmentally friendly and safe way to build. ...


How to Run a Business with Your Spouse

(MCT)—According to the Wall Street Journal, about a third of family businesses are operated by husband-and-wife teams. North Dakota State University researcher Glenn Muske dubs these couples “copreneurs” and believes those numbers are rising. ...


Fixed Mortgage Rates Tick Down

Recently, Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving down slightly as we head into the spring homebuying season. ...


Great Spaces: Actor Armand Assante’s N.Y. Farmhouse

Have you ever dreamed of owning a celebrity’s home? Actor Armand Assante’s former N.Y. home is currently being marketed and auctioned off. The residential farm estate (and associated properties) are located in Campbell Hall, N.Y. (Orange County). Located at 435, 451 ...


Costs Can Vary Widely for Home Repairs

(MCT)—Many homeowners are perplexed when they see defects in their homes. If there is a water spot on the ceiling, does it mean a few shingles on the roof need to be replaced? Or does an entirely new roof need to be ...


In Top Metro Areas, a Relationship Is Found between Income and Home Values

In a recent study, NAHB examines eight key housing statistics from the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS). This post takes a closer look at two of those statistics; the median household income and median value of owner-occupied housing units. ...


Diggin’ In: How to Grow a Terrarium

(MCT)—If only the rest of life were as simple as growing succulents in an open terrarium. ...


Hot Property: A Big Bang for the Buck

(MCT)—Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting and her husband, Ryan Sweeting, have listed their place in Sherman Oaks at $2.795 million. They recently bought the Tarzana home of former Laker Lamar Odom and television personality Khloe Kardashian for $5.499 million. ...


Rex Huppke: Here’s a Thought – Think about Work

(MCT)—I’m on record as being opposed to thinking. I find it distracts from the important things in life, like watching television or staring mindlessly at small flecks of dust drifting through the air. ...


Obama Administration Renews Support for Homeless

U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan recently announced nearly $1.6 billion in grants to renew support for 7,100 local homeless housing and service programs across the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Provided through HUD’s Continuum of Care Program, the funding will ensure these ...


Hot Property: Is it Too late for Paltrow and Martin to Ask for a Refund?

(MCT)—Well, this is awkward. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her musician husband, Chris Martin of Coldplay, bought a house in Malibu for $14 million, then they turned around and announced their “conscious uncoupling.” ...


Spending Smart: Extended Warranties Warrant a Closer Look

(MCT)—Do extended service contracts warrant your attention and your dollars? ...


Texas REALTORS® De-Mystify Three Top Home Selling Myths

I recently came across some very interesting and de-mystifying information courtesy of the Texas Association of REALTORS® directed at first-time sellers. The Association warns that there are lots of myths out there about the right way to sell a home. ...


Your Place: Paint Peeling, Plaster Crumbling—What to Do?

(MCT)—Q: I had a new roof put on my home 10 years ago. ...


Alternative Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

(MCT)—A standard, fully amortizing mortgage pays off the balance over the term. With a 30-year term, this requires 360 monthly payments, while a 15-year term requires 180 payments. Many lenders, however, offer special loan repayment programs that promise to pay off the ...


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