Loan Modifications: What You Need to Know

Last year was difficult for Adline Peck and her husband. Peck, who lives in Inkster, Mich. was battling medical issues, and her husband had been laid off from work. Though they struggled to make their monthly mortgage payments, they continued to try their best, even if it meant sending in payments a week or two late.... Continue Reading »

Home Appraisals: Show Your Home's Best Side

When Martin Erle, a certified athletic trainer who lives in Glen Mills, Pa., was preparing for a home appraisal, he knew there were factors he couldn't control, such as the location of the neighborhood and the value of other houses on his block. But Erle could control what the appraiser saw when he walked up to the... Continue Reading »

Place Named 'Awesometown' -- Awesome?

If you were to round up a group of silly adolescents, give them all the candy and soda they could ever desire and asked them to come up with a list of names for a utopian community, "Awesometown" would probably be near the top of that list. Newland Hall, a community planner in north Los Angeles County, didn't need the... Continue Reading »

Home Security: Systems With Cutting-Edge Protection

As a 33-year-old single woman living near a not-so-safe area in Massachusetts, Heidi said she felt the need for some kind of home security system to protect herself and her belongings. So she did her homework. "I did research online, in magazines, and asked neighbors and family about what security systems they have," she... Continue Reading »

Home Appraisals for Sellers

When Chris M. decided to list his home in upstate New York and move closer to Manhattan to ease his wife's commute to her new job, he ran into a major hurdle: "There was no consensus among the agents we spoke with about what our house was worth," he said. The solution? Hire a local appraiser to handle the job of evaluating... Continue Reading »

How to Sell Your Home in a Short Sale

If you want to know what a short sale experience is really like, just ask Erin. In 2005, Erin and her husband, then newly married, purchased their first home, in Sacramento, Calif., for $350,000. Just three years later, her husband's commodities business was in decline and their financial situation soured to the point where... Continue Reading »

Low-Cost Home Security Solutions

Thanks to her stint in the military, Mary F. was used to moving around. However, after settling down in Texas and enduring the unpleasant experience of having her home robbed, she decided that feeling like a sitting target was something she didn't want to get used to. "I knew I had to do something, but as a single mom of... Continue Reading »

Best Ways to Cool Down Your Rental

When summer rolls around, it can mean the start of vacation, a new romance or more outdoor activities, but for many renters it means the start of hot, stifling, sweaty apartments. While some solutions are obvious, most renters are unaware of the long list of options available. From changing lightbulbs to switching window... Continue Reading »

LeBron James Lured With Luxury NYC Homes and a Website

LeBron James has overwhelmed all channels of news and information during the past week. His epic stature in this summer's NBA free agency has inundated the realms of TV and the Internet -- especially on Twitter, the popular online social network that's been buzzing all about James lately and where the King himself... Continue Reading »

Chicago Senior Residential Projects Go Green

What's not to love about rooftop gardens and terraces in a quiet neighborhood just north of a major metropolitan downtown area? They serve many purposes, especially for a community of seniors in Lakeview, just 4 miles north of the Loop. Everyone in Chicago seems to be going green these days. Not only was it recently... Continue Reading »

How Much Home Can I Afford?

Eddie Kim's parents made savvy residential real estate purchases in New Jersey 15 years before the housing bubble burst, so he was fully aware of how unique the housing boom was. After he married in March, his parents encouraged him and his wife to take a different approach than they did: Not to buy a home as "an... Continue Reading »

Luxury Apartment Rentals Are Hot Again

With amenities that include outdoor spas, poolside cabanas, private wine lockers, 24-hour fitness centers with views of the city -- who wouldn't want to live in an apartment these days? In Chicago, the big bets developers made by building nearly 1,300 new downtown apartments in 2009 appear to be paying off, big time. ... Continue Reading »

Debt to Income Ratios, Diving Deeper

Of all the important numbers to consider when applying for a home loan, one should be known at the start by homebuyers: your debt to income ratio. Debt to income ratio, or DTI, is actually two numbers: a front-end ratio and a back-end ratio. These practical, helpful numbers are a dependable guide to helping you... Continue Reading »

Neighborly Revenge With the 'Dear Girls Above Me'

Bad neighbors should be avoided at all costs, since there are so many ways that living beside strangers in the close quarters of an apartment building can go wrong: hearing the awkward sounds of copulation; inadvertently catching late-night arguments in which you shouldn't be involved; smelling the consequences of a... Continue Reading »

Homeowner's Insurance at Risk for Hoarding Chicago Couple?

What's the difference between the Jonas Brothers getting stuck in an elevator for 45 minutes and an elderly couple being trapped under heaps of garbage in their own home for two weeks? One of those scenarios has potential ramifications for homeowner's insurance, while the other causes the hearts of some teen-age girls to... Continue Reading »

The LeBron Effect: Home Values When Celebrities Move In

Last week, a rampant rumor spread around Chicago that LeBron James was seen getting out of an SUV to check out a house for sale on Sheridan Road in Highland Park, Ill., with Michael Jordan (who happens to live in Highland Park as well). This was huge news, of course, since James is probably the biggest NBA free agent of... Continue Reading »

New York's Googling Doormen: It's Getting Creepy

Knock, knock. Who's there? The doorman. The doorman who? The doorman who's tweeting about this terrible joke. The exchange above is no laughing matter, and some tenants in New York City are finding their relationships with their doormen just as unfunny. That's because some of those men and women who faithfully open... Continue Reading »

Chicago Public Housing Wait-List Opens for First Time in a Decade

There's a lottery in Chicago that will draw 40,000 winners. Sound too good to be true? Well, kind of, but not too far off. The Chicago Housing Authority is getting ready to open its "Family Housing Wait List" for the first time in a decade. After the four-week application window closes this summer, an electronically... Continue Reading »

Chicago Foreclosure Volume Fouls Up Census

Empty houses are hard to survey, but that's the challenge facing census workers in the Chicago area, where foreclosures and vacancies are weighing down response rates. This isn't just a predicament for the U.S. Census Bureau, it's a problem for these communities and their residents. Each uncounted resident could cost... Continue Reading »

Chicago: Law's Revamp Would Help Foreclosed-On Renters Recover Deposits

Security deposits haven't been that secure for many Chicago tenants lately, especially after foreclosures forced occupants from more than 8,500 rental units in 2009. That ended up costing renters as much as $7.3 million in lost deposits. Current city law requires landlords to return security deposits to displaced... Continue Reading »

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