A New Voice for Homeowners?

Washington hears from interest groups that represent everything from medical specialties to cattlemen to professional wrestlers. Now there’s an organization for one of the largest constituencies in the country: homeowners. The current homeownership rate in the United States is 65 percent (down from a high of more than 69 percent in 2004), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. America’s Homeowner Alliance (AHA) is the brainchild of Phil Bracken, a former executive of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and now the chief …

The Constantly Moving Target of Debt Freedom

In my line of work as a professional cheapskate, a week rarely passes when I don’t receive a money-related press release or see a news item that leaves me shaking my head about people’s attitudes and behavior when it comes to money.  Adlai E. Stevenson said it 50+ years ago, but it’s apparently all the more true today.  Stevenson said:  “There was a time when a fool and his money were soon parted, but now it seems to happen to …

To Avoid Shelter Skelter, Beware of Property Tax Reassessment Offers

For many homeowners, property tax bills are mailed in July or August. So now’s the time to watch out for an annual come-on that can ding your bank account: offers to help you pay less in property taxes by getting a property reassessment. Before you bite, know how you can get bitten. First, realize how these offers work: Private companies simply charge $200 or more for what you can do yourself, often for free – filing paperwork at the local …

Next States to Vote Are Ground Zero of Housing Crisis

Welcome to the front lines of the housing crisis. Florida and three of the next states to vote in the GOP presidential contest are among the 10 worst foreclosure states in the nation. And there’s not much light at the end of the tunnel: The four states have the highest percentage of homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Nevada, which votes Feb. 4, had the worst foreclosure rate in the country in 2011, for …