Business Columns & Blogs

Now’s the best time to buy pots, tools and other household items

DEAR MR. MYERS: I haven’t seen your column on the “best household-related items to buy in June” yet. I’m hoping I can save some money. What gives?

ANSWER: Many of the best deals offered in June carry into July – or get even better around Independence Day – so I figured that I’d combine the two months together.

This usually is a great time to buy pots, pans, dishes, small kitchen utensils or even a microwave oven. That’s because such items typically show up on June and July wedding registry lists, and retailers are willing to cut prices to get their share of those sales.

Tools have been on sale for the past couple of weeks in anticipation of Father’s Day. But you’ll likely see even bigger discounts in July, as retailers slash prices on the tools that didn’t sell the previous month.

There still are some great deals out there on new furniture of 60 percent off or more, especially if you’re willing to settle for the current designs instead of insisting on the new models that will hit the stores later this summer. “To be honest, there’s not a lot of difference between the current models and fabrics and the ones that will arrive soon in showrooms and stores,” a top furniture stylist says. “So, why pay more for the same product?”

It may seem odd, but many carpet retailers and carpet installers also are willing to offer discounts now. One reason is that homeowners focus on hiring roofers during the summer, while the weather is good and their work can get done before the rainy season arrives. The pricing power slowly shifts back to carpet sellers and installers in the fall or winter because they can work inside instead of on a slippery roof.

DEAR MR. MYERS: We are buying our first home, but we’re confused about what date we should have the transaction close. My sister, who knows a lot about real estate, says that we should close on the first day of the month. Our real estate agent, though, says we’ll save more money if we close at the very end of the month. What do you think?

ANSWER: Take your agent’s advice and close your transaction at or near the end of the month.

Unlike rent, which is paid in advance, mortgages are paid in arrears. In an example provided by mortgage giant Lending Tree, if you closed on a $200,000 home loan at 5 percent on the 15th of this month, you’d owe 15 days of interest at $27.40 per day. That’s a total of $411.

If you instead closed on the 29th, you’d only owe $54.80 in interest at closing and wouldn’t have to make your second payment until August. That’s a savings of $356.20 in out-of-pocket cash-money that could come in handy to pay moving-related expenses or buy some small items for your new home.

REAL ESTATE TRIVIA: Lending Tree reports that home buyers in Indiana make the smallest average down payment on a house at $24,438. Buyers in Washington, D.C., make the largest payment – $89,916.

DEAR MR. MYERS: I am hoping that you’ll warn your readers about an important product recall regarding a popular new type of “swinging” chairs. We bought two Ramart Swing Chairs from the HomeGoods retail chain in May, and my husband fractured his wrist just a few days later when the chair tipped over. We have since received a notice that the chairs are being recalled. The notice came too late to protect my husband, but maybe you can protect others by including our story in your column.

ANSWER: I’m happy to do so. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall for about 300 of the Ramart chairs on June 11, barely three months after they began appearing in many of the roughly 400 HomeGoods stores across the nation.

According to the CPSC, the recall involves green, apple-shaped swing chairs and brown, teardrop-shaped swing chairs. They hang from a chain connected to a metal stand with a circle-shaped base. HomeGoods has reported about a dozen injuries due to the malfunctions, including at least one suffered by an infant.

The chairs, which sold for about $400 each, are made from plastic rattan and have red cushions. They measure about 42 inches in diameter and 43 inches tall, with a 48-inch wide seat cushion. The stand that they hang from measures about 77 inches tall.

The government says that consumers who own these chairs should immediately stop using them. HomeGoods is acting responsibly by giving full refunds for each chair that’s returned.

Details about the return program can be obtained by calling the retailer at 800-888-0776 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST or by visiting homegoods.com or cpsc.gov.

The HomeGoods/Ramart recall is the second involving hanging chairs in recent weeks. On June 4, cut-rate retailer Big Lots recalled a staggering 16,000 chairs made in China due to tip-over concerns. Details of the buyback plan are available by calling Big Lots toll-free, 866-224-5687, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST or by visiting biglots.com or the CPSC’s website.

David W. Myers’ column is distributed by Cowles Syndicate Inc.

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