Investment in a home is often the largest investment a consumer will ever make, so any measures to reduce the risk deserve careful attention. The big risk is that a major house price decline will wipe out the owners' equity, leaving them owing more than their house is worth. That happened to many just a few years ago, and millions of homeowners are still under water.
Q: We are snowbirds and have a condominium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where we stay five months a year. We keep nothing of real value in the property and don't have a mortgage. We are thinking about canceling our hazard insurance on the property to save $700 a year. Is this a good idea?
Slinging fresh juices and smoothies at two shops in Los Angeles, the owners of the Juice were initially skeptical when approached with an unusual proposition for a new location: a pop-up housed in a shipping container in the city's Arts District.
I recently set out to write about a new program of down payment insurance but quickly realized that such an article should be prefaced by another one that clarified what the down payment is and what it is not. Look for the piece on down payment insurance next week.
Q: We have decided to sell our home without using a real estate agent. We're a little concerned about safety and having strangers in the home. Can you address some of the precautions we should consider?