Briefs: HUD Offers Real-Estate Counseling Services

Article excerpt

How about some counseling to help you resolve some of your deep- rooted real-estate issues?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sponsors housing counseling agencies nationwide that in turn offer consumers advice on all things real estate.

From buying and renting a home, to default and foreclosure, to credit issues and reverse mortgages, the agencies offer services free or at a low cost.

Counseling services include: fair housing assistance, home- equity-conversion mortgages, homebuyer education programs, loss mitigation, money debt management, mortgage delinquency and default resolution, pre- and post-purchase counseling, predatory lending and renters assistance.

Consumers can search for a nearby counseling agency online or by calling HUD's interactive voice-response system at 1-800-569-4287.

Check local agencies for details.

Book helps with household projects

It's Saturday, so grab your hammer and get ready to tackle all those projects you've left unfinished.

"If I Had a Hammer: More Than 100 Easy Fixes and Weekend Projects" by Andrea Ridout (Collins; $17.95; paperback) offers step- by-step instructions paired with black-and-white illustrations for common household projects that take less than a weekend to complete.

The techniques in the book are comprehensive and easy to follow and include: removing stains, updating old appliances with faux stainless steel, adding wallpaper cutouts to your bathroom, repairing leaky toilets and renovating a kitchen with new cabinet hardware.

Projects for your outdoor spaces also are included.

Straps keep dryers quieter

No Bang! quiets the noisy business of drying tennis shoes in a clothes dryer.

The product uses straps and heat-resistant suction cups to adhere the shoes to the dryer's inner rim or the back side of the dryer door, so they're held in place during the cycle. …