Real Estate & Homes

The Great Recession: Is “Great” the Right Word?

Sometimes, an adjective seems inappropriate. Take “great.” It seems both overused and misused. Wayne Gretzky? No doubt about it: GREAT. Alexander the Great? Sure. Muhammad Ali? The Greatest. But plagues, wars, floods, depressions, economic panics, riots, and recessions? If any of these things are occurring, the situation seems less than …

Deep Impact: 10 Ways the Recession Is Hitting Home in Lots of Homes

Divorced couples are living under the same roof because it’s too expensive to really split up right now. There are either more people around the house (because they’re out of work) or fewer people around the house (because they’re working second and third jobs to pay bills and get health coverage). More people are doing their own chores …

Appeal Your Way to Lower Property Taxes

I wish I’d read this WSJ story three years ago, when I was cluelessly trying to appeal the tax assessment on our old house. The companies that towns hire to do assessments do quick, rudimentary work, which is why homes that are really worth about the same on the open market can be appraised at vastly different values—and therefore the …

No One Said Homeownership Was Easy, or That It’d Make You Happy

A study conducted by a Wharton professor—whose research was all conducted well before the recession and the housing crash—shows that despite all the hoopla about the white-picket-fence American dream of owning a house, homeowners are no happier than renters. Whatever joy homeowners derive from their properties is offset by …

Foreclosure Watch: At Some Point, Is It Smarter to Walk Away from Your Mortgage?

The news is making the rounds that in the first half of 2009, 1.53 million properties in the U.S. were in the foreclosure process. That’s up 15 percent companred to the previous year. The figures are certainly the result of the rise in unemployment and slow, confusing relief efforts from the government and lenders. It’s also likely that …

Small Car of Your Future? Small Home of Your Future?

One thing the recession has made clear: Living large is totally not necessary. The waste and added expenses of huge cars and enormous homes seem silly right about now. For many people, downscaling may literally mean shrinking the size of those two mainstays, cars and homes.

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