The price-to-rent ratio is a valuable tool when deciding whether the time is right to buy a house, and it works better than a Magic 8-Ball.
My friend and I recently got into a discussion at work regarding the housing market.
The big super unknown for my colleague, of course, was whether or not prices had dropped far enough to make it worth buying a house again.
"It's a good question," I told him, "We could ask my Magic 8-Ball, but it's in the car and I don't feel like making the long walk to the parking lot."
I know what you're thinking.
The pressure is on to stop all repossessing of homes until the document mess gets sorted out. But whom will it really hurt?
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.
You've got to love David-and-Goliath stories. The little guy gets to poke a stick in the eye of the deaf, cold, rapacious bureaucracy and wins the day (if only that one day). Everyone cheers and we all feel better. Frank Capra made his career plucking this note on our heart strings.
But what if, in cheering for the little guy, this time we're shooting ourselves in the foot?
I'm thinking of the slow-motion train wreck of disclosures about problems that lenders and mortgage servicers have created by rubber-stamping legal documents in foreclosure cases. Homeowner advocates, foreclosure-defense lawyers and populist lawmakers are urging a national freeze on foreclosures until the problems can be sorted out.
A Haiti relief worker who took advantage of T-Mobile's aid offer faces a hefty bill. Proposed FCC rules would target such 'bill shock.'
Kerfye Pierre, a 27-year-old federal government employee, was visiting a pregnant sister in Haiti when the earthquake struck last January. When T-Mobile offered free phone calls to, from and within Haiti, she had a U.S.-based friend get her a phone so she could communicate with friends and relatives in the U.S. while she helped with the relief effort.
Imagine her surprise when she found out the service she thought was free actually cost $34,872.
Apple hacks: 39 incredible, somewhat inedible uses for extras.
The U.S. will produce about 9.4 billion pounds of apples this year (.pdf file) or just about 28.4 billion individual pieces of fruit. That's a lot of apples. Maybe too many to eat.
Fortunately, there are dozens -- no, hundreds -- wait, THOUSANDS of other uses for those delightful orbs of deliciousness, and CHG has 43 of 'em right here.
- Predict your romantic fortune. According to USApple.org, throwing an apple peel over your shoulder could reveal the identity of a boyfriend-or-girlfriend-to-be, since it, "would form the initial of your lover's name." I'm guessing X and Q don't show up much.
- Practice your pumpkin carving. Test-whittle a pumpkin pattern on its smaller, cheaper fruit cousin, and you'll make fewer mistakes when it's showtime.
- Teach someone how to bunt.
Automotive reviews say General Motors' new 'all-electric' car is not that different from the Prius.
General Motors is hoping the "all-electric" Chevy Volt delivers a big charge to its domestic sales, but critics are making the shocking charge that the car is really a hybrid, more along the lines of the Toyota Prius, which uses both gas and electric engines in combination.
The controversy began with Edmunds.com, Motor Trend, Popular Mechanics and other auto-focused scribes but has spread to the august New York Times, which harrumphed the other day that GM's insistence that the car is fully electric is "hard to understand."
A record-low rate of 4.19% is still not luring buyers, but more homeowners are refinancing.
Forty-four years ago, my parents took the big plunge and bought their first house. With a Veterans Administration loan, they got an interest rate of about 4%.
Who would have thought their grandchildren would be able to buy a house at the same interest rate all these years later? Well, they could if they had better jobs.
Yes, mortgage rates fell again this week, to an average of 4.19% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the lowest rate since Freddie Mac began keeping statistics in 1971. National Bureau of Economic Research statistics, from a time when loan rules were different, show that the last time we saw rates that low was 1951.
How to save on TVs and fridges this holiday season.
The holiday season may still be one Halloween away, but retailers are already gearing up for one of the hot gifts of the year: refrigerators.
According to many analysts, retailers are expected to offer more deals on home appliances and electronics in the run-up to the holidays than they did last year.
A mother's attempt to teach her daughter about budgeting backfires.
Melinda writes in:
My 12-year-old daughter and I are having a money war of sorts. At the start of the school year last month we went shopping for clothes together. I said she could spend $250 any way she chose as long as she got a certain number of items -- some underwear, some socks, some jeans, some shirts, and so on. I told her that she could spend more, but it would come out of her allowance.
She proceeded to buy only the minimum amount of socks and underwear so she could buy another shirt that she liked. Now she's having to do laundry twice a week and is complaining all the time about it. I told her to use her allowance to buy the underwear and she says that's completely unfair. What do you think?
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