WSJ Asks, "Is Your Home A Good Investment?"

WSJ Asks, "Is Your Home A Good Investment?"

Brett Arends at The Wall Street Journal has compared Case-Shiller house price data to annual inflation rates, and speculates that owning a home may not be a very good investment. “You can often do better on long-term inflation protected government bonds,” he writes.

Beware Of The "Model Home" Ploy From Window Salesmen

Beware Of The "Model Home" Ploy From Window Salesmen

Thomas says his wife was approached by a belligerent salesman the other day regarding the windows on their home. He tried to get her to agree to an instant estimate and promised a huge discount for being a “model home” for the window upgrades, but when she refused to make an instant decision, Thomas says he “snatched the card out of her hand” and “yelled at her.”

The Bailout Bill Helps Renters Keep Their Homes

The Bailout Bill Helps Renters Keep Their Homes

Great news for renters facing eviction due to foreclosure: any mortgage owner seeking assistance under Congress’ mammoth bailout bill is required to let paying renters stay in their homes.

Chicago Sheriff Halts Foreclosure Evictions, Won't Toss Innocent Renters

Chicago Sheriff Halts Foreclosure Evictions, Won't Toss Innocent Renters

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he understood he was flouting the law in refusing to have deputies carry out the rising number of eviction requests, but mortgage holders must be accountable.

Is Your HELOC In Danger Of Being Frozen?

Is Your HELOC In Danger Of Being Frozen?

If you have an open home equity line of credit you were counting on for renovations or other projects, you might want to read CNN Money’s article about how lenders are freezing them around the country. The main triggers for HELOC freezing are credit score changes and a rapid drop in home value in your area. The freeze may also be a computer-determined action, so if your HELOC suddenly goes away and you don’t think it was justified, it may be worth checking your FICO score and then contacting the lender to reopen the line or renegotiate it.

Watch Out For "Equity Stripping" Scams

Watch Out For "Equity Stripping" Scams

The New York Times has an article about a growing problem, a scam called “equity stripping.” Here’s how it works: You answer an advertisement targeting people who are facing foreclosure, but want to stay in their homes. You think you’re refinancing your loan at a lower rate, but in reality you’re transferring the deed to someone else. That person then takes out as much as they can against the value of your home. From the NYT:

Jessica Attie, co-director of the foreclosure prevention project at South Brooklyn Legal Services and the lawyer for the Johnsons, said her office was overwhelmed with homeowners who had handed over their deeds to people pretending to help “save” their homes.

We know times are tough and a lot of homeowners are facing difficult financial decisions, but make sure you know what you’re signing. If someone offers to “temporarily” buy your home, warning bells should go off.

DirecTV Installer Needs Electrical Tape, Prefers Coke To Water, Is Concerned About Your Parenting

DirecTV Installer Needs Electrical Tape, Prefers Coke To Water, Is Concerned About Your Parenting

Christy is having the best time getting DirecTV installed in her home. Highlights of her hilariously tragic email include:

"All-Parties" Release Absolves Home Depot, Manufacturer, and Contractor From Shoddy Door Installation

"All-Parties" Release Absolves Home Depot, Manufacturer, and Contractor From Shoddy Door Installation

Another painful reminder that you should read what you sign before you sign it, and don’t let yourself be rushed.

Chemlawn Charges For Services Never Performed Or Requested

Chemlawn Charges For Services Never Performed Or Requested

The lawn wasn’t the only thing this grounds service was doctoring. Reader Al claims Chemlawn billed him for services he never received, even after he canceled his contract and they agreed not to charge him.

HOW TO Reduce Real Estate Taxes

HOW TO Reduce Real Estate Taxes

How can you make sure you’re not paying too much real estate tax?

FTC Forces Listing Services To Stop Blocking Discount Brokers

“The rules these brokers made drove up costs and reduced the choice for consumers, and they violated federal law,” Jeffrey Schmidt, director of the F.T.C.’s competition bureau, said in a statement.”

RealEstateABC Challenges Zillow

RealEstateABC Challenges Zillow

Zillow, the popular real-estate site that gives home valuations in specific areas with a google maps mashup, has a new competitor.