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Some U.S. dealerships drop discounts on small, fuel-efficient Japanese cars while automakers assess damage from the earthquake and tsunami.

By Karen Datko Mar 21, 2011 7:44PM

In this global economy, disruption in car and car parts manufacturing in Japan is bound to be felt on our shores. Will it be negligible, like the tiny bit of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plant detected on the West Coast, or will prices for Japanese cars rise sharply while supply chains are assessed and repaired?


Some U.S. dealers say they're no longer willing to haggle on high-demand, fuel-efficient cars made only in Japan -- which means you may have to pay sticker price for cars like the Toyota Prius and Yaris, and the Honda Insight and Fit, The Associated Press reports. And concern that those cars will be in short supply has prompted more people to move on their purchase plans, reports USA Today.


Demand is high and growing for rental housing. That's why you can expect to pay more.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 21, 2011 1:57PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


The demand for rental housing is cooking up.


Renters are warned to brace for price increases that could exceed 10% in the hottest markets, places like San Diego, Seattle and Boston.


For the last decade, rents have been stuck, rising at an average of just about 1% a year. Now, one expert predicts, they could rise by 7% a year (on average, nationally) for the next two years, boosting the average rent to $800 a month.


Adjustable-rate mortgages are rising in popularity again. Lenders say they have learned from their mistakes of the past decade, but have borrowers?

By doubleace Mar 21, 2011 12:36PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


Adjustable-rate mortgages are making a comeback. It's official; after all, the news appeared in The New York Times.


You remember ARMs, don't you? They were the sweet sirens of the last couple of decades, luring Americans into the homebuying or refinance market with low initial interest rates and unspoken but hinted-at guarantees that nothing could go wrong.


Of course, things did go wrong -- terribly so -- when the real estate market imploded in 2006. ARMs weren't solely to blame for the real estate pyramid scheme whose collapse still haunts our struggling economy, but they did their part.


In the worst-case scenario, you could pay $7 in fees to get money out of the machine.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 21, 2011 11:39AM

This post comes from Matt Brownell at partner site MainStreet.


With swipe fee limits on the way, the big banks are doing everything they can to find new ways to turn a profit. Next up: higher ATM fees.


The Associated Press reported that a number of large banks are beginning to change their ATM policies in ways that affect both customers and non-customers. Chase, for instance, is experimenting with hikes in the fees it charges non-customers to use its ATMs in some parts of the country. In Texas it's testing fees of $4, and in Illinois it's trying fees as high as $5.


More than 1.3 million Americans complained to the Federal Trade Commission last year. Here are the top complaints, with advice on avoiding each one.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 21, 2011 9:57AM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.


Sooner or later everyone gets ripped off. If you'd rather make it later, it makes sense to look back over the more than 1 million complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission every year to see what problems people are encountering and how you might avoid becoming a victim.


The FTC makes it easy by compiling an annual list of the top 10 most frequent consumer complaints


The more at the table, the more turmoil afterward. Here are a couple of ideas on making things easier.

By doubleace Mar 21, 2011 9:02AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


Splitting the check. … Think about that, shiver, and read on.


It is that uncomfortable moment -- or very long minutes -- that can spoil an otherwise delightful dinner with friends, relatives or strangers. Do you appear petty and count the pennies, or throw the money on the table and get screwed over? Neither is a pleasant choice.


It was much easier back in the day. We showed up at someone's house and threw in $5 apiece for beer and pizza. The fastest eaters and biggest drinkers got a bargain, but no one seemed to care.


With a multibillion-dollar victims fund at stake, state attorneys work on a deal with mortgage servicers.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 18, 2011 2:57PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

Was robo-signing such an outrage if there were actually no victims?

That's the question facing the 50 state attorneys general as they close in on a two-part deal with mortgage lenders over the robo-signing scandal.

In a surprise development, a Federal Reserve consumer advisory panel last week concluded that there really were no victims from lenders' shoddy foreclosure practices.


The strategic placement of furniture might have tipped off the homebuyers that something was amiss.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 18, 2011 12:48PM

This guest post comes from Squirrelers.


Ah, the joys of being a first-time homebuyer.


The whole experience is exciting. Each step along the way can be exhilarating: deciding that you want to buy your own place, searching for the right neighborhood, touring homes for sale, making an offer on a home you like, and finding out that the offer was accepted.


Of course, when the offer is accepted, there are a few other details to go through.



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