• Loan Modifications: What You Need to Know

    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... Continue Reading

  • Home Appraisals: Show Your Home's Best Side

    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... Continue Reading

  • Place Named 'Awesometown' -- Awesome?

    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... Continue Reading

  • Home Security: Systems With Cutting-Edge Protection

    Home Security: Systems With Cutting-Edge Protection

    Shutterstock / bloomua 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... Continue Reading

  • Home Appraisals for Sellers

    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... Continue Reading

  • How to Sell Your Home in a Short Sale

    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... Continue Reading

  • Low-Cost Home Security Solutions

    Low-Cost Home Security Solutions

    Shutterstock 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... Continue Reading

  • Best Ways to Cool Down Your Rental

    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... Continue Reading

  • LeBron James Lured With Luxury NYC Homes and a Website

    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... Continue Reading

  • Chicago Senior Residential Projects Go Green

    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... Continue Reading

  • How Much Home Can I Afford?

    How Much Home Can I Afford?

    Eddie Kim's parents made savvy residential real estate purchases in New Jersey 15 years before the housing... Continue Reading

  • Luxury Apartment Rentals Are Hot Again

    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... Continue Reading

  • Debt to Income Ratios, Diving Deeper

    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'

    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... Continue Reading

  • Homeowner's Insurance at Risk for Hoarding Chicago Couple?

    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... Continue Reading

  • The LeBron Effect: Home Values When Celebrities Move In

    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... Continue Reading

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

    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... Continue Reading

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

    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... Continue Reading

  • Chicago Foreclosure Volume Fouls Up Census

    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... Continue Reading

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

    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... Continue Reading