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Remorse may leave no recourse (access required)

DEAR BENNY: What are the obligations of an escrow agent? I signed a real estate sales contract and gave the seller a $10,000 earnest money deposit. He was supposed to escrow those funds until closing. However, I decided not to ...

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Hunting for vacation home loan can be frustrating (access required)

The hottest seasons for vacation home sales are spring and summer. You may now be planning such a purchase, but be aware of the challenge you may face when shopping for a mortgage loan. Many vacation-home buyers are finding tougher underwriting requirements and other obstacles when seeking a financing loan, tougher than loans to finance primary-residence homes.

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At $10 a share, it’s a plunge into the risk pool (access required)

The stock market has had a phenomenal rise of more than 40 percent in the past 30 months. Unfortunately, none of my annuities or mutual funds or my good stocks – e.g., Microsoft, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Emerson Electric, General Electric, General Dynamics, Cisco and Procter & Gamble – has done as well, though my dividend income has increased. How much longer do you think the market will continue upward? Last year, you recommended some risky dividend stocks, and I bought all of them because they looked good and had nice dividend yield. On average, they are up 45 percent. I have $43,000 of speculative money remaining and want your recommendation of some cheap issues – about $10 a share – that might have some appreciation. I'd like to buy 1,000 shares of each. My broker at UBS recommended several issues, but his cheap-stock recommendations have failed in the past. What would you recommend?

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For $1M, 2 bids are better; 3 better yet (access required)

I live in a 125-unit condominium. Recently, our board of directors signed a contract for almost $1 million to upgrade our elevators. I believe that the board did not get any bids and just went with one company. Is there any law requiring more than one bid on any one job, especially one as large as this? – Henry

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