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Consumer News and Advice Archive


How to Buy a Second Home

(MCT)—If you have been toying with the idea of buying a second home, now could be a good time to take the leap. Interest rates are still low by historic standards, and home prices are recovering from the bust but aren’t out ...


Real Estate Q&A: Bank Blows Its Own Short Sale Deadline

(MCT)—QUESTION: I’m buying a short sale. After I submitted the application, the seller’s bank told me I could expect an answer in 30 days. But that date has come and gone with no answer yet. It’s an all-cash offer for market value. ...


Subtle Pitfalls Can Damage Credit Scores

(MCT)—Many people know that making late payments, skipping payments or filing for bankruptcy are surefire ways to ruin their credit. ...


Clean Water Act Expansion Not the Right Answer, NAHB Says

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to expand the reach of the Clean Water Act will increase the cost of new homes without a corresponding benefit to America’s lakes, rivers and other water bodies, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says ...


50 Isn’t Too Late to Fix up Finances

(MCT)—Reaching the age of 50 can be a financial wake-up call. ...


Wellness Programs May Help Financial Health

(MCT)—If you have employer-provided health insurance, you don’t have to worry about meeting the March 31 deadline to sign up for coverage through the state-based health care exchanges. But like any consumer today, you may be wondering how to lower your health ...


The Best Home Improvement for Less than $5,000

(BPT)—Curious which home improvement costs less than $5,000, delivers the highest return on investment and has the maximum impact on curb appeal? ...


Your Place: Plumbing Woes

(MCT)—Q: My brother renovated my second-floor bathroom, which included a new tub, faucets, shower, and a diverter. Now, every time I do a load of wash, when the first-floor washer is filling up, a lot of water comes out of my shower ...


6 Questions to Ask before a Refinance

(MCT)—A home mortgage refinance may sound like a good idea in theory, but it’s not always possible or desirable. ...


High-Tech Ways to Keep an Eye on Aging Parents

(MCT)—After her 75-year-old mother suffered a severe health problem last fall that required surgery, Colleen Sturvidant needed a way to better keep an eye on her. ...


Common Myths about Appraisals in the Home-Buying Process

At The Appraisal Foundation, we often encounter misperceptions about the appraisal process in real estate transactions – from how an appraisal is ordered and carried out, to the type of communication permitted with appraisers. As a result, we have compiled the most ...


How Do Investing Habits Change as Retirement Nears?

(MCT)—After stocks leaped forward in 2013, the hangover in the early going of 2014, not surprisingly, took a toll on retirement savers’ risk tolerance. ...


Great Spaces: Snag 14 Acres in Arizona

Looking for a desert hideaway? This 14-acre home, safe and snug inside the guard-gated Lost Canyon in Scottsdale, Ariz., may be the perfect space for you. The home includes four bedrooms, six bathrooms and more than 9,500 square feet of space. ...


Real Estate Q&A: Is My Home a Short Sale or a Regular Sale?

(MCT)—QUESTION: Due to a hardship, we stopped making our mortgage payments. Because values have increased recently, we think the house is worth more than we owe. How do we know ...


To Remodel or Not to Remodel: Some ‘Upgrades’ May Detract from the Sale

(MCT)—Nancy and Thomas James’ Dana Point, Calif., home has expansive ocean views, four bedrooms, a wide deck for entertaining, solar paneling — even an elevator. ...