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5 Legal Tips for Hiring a Home Contractor

Your home is your castle. When your castle starts to crumble, it's time to call in a contractor. Before you begin fixating on bathroom fixtures, prepare yourself.

Hiring a contractor means entering a binding agreement that impacts a major investment: your home. So take a look at these five legal tips for getting the job done right.

It seems to happen every few months -- a new, "best ever" smartphone gets released and everyone scrambles to their carriers wondering how long they have left on their current cell phone contract before they can get the latest and greatest. While the contract commitment seems like a great way to save a few (hundred) bucks on a new phone, they can seem downright onerous a year later when a new new phone comes out.

Like gyms with their membership plans and dealerships with car leases, phone companies may seem to have you by the you-know-whats, but it turns out you may a have a few options for getting out of a cell phone contract early.

You signed the contract. You agreed to it. So, now you're stuck with the provisions of the lease regardless of whether or not they violate your rights!

Luckily for tenants, that's not true. Leases are contracts, so they must abide by contract laws. Unconscionable or illegal terms of a contract are unenforceable, regardless of the fact that the tenant signed the contract.

Here are some common unenforceable lease terms:

Maybe the car you drove off the lot isn't what you need anymore, or maybe the monthly lease payment isn't something you can afford. But after signing all of that paperwork, is there any way to get out of a car lease early without having to pay an arm and a leg to do it?

As it happens, there's more than one way to terminate a car lease, each having its own costs and benefits.

How to Get Out of Buying a House

Buying a house is a big decision. Huge! It's where you'll be spending everyday of your life for the foreseeable future. You'll have a mortgage, and you'll probably be spending the next 30 years paying it off.

So, it's understandable that some buyers may have cold feet. Can you leave the seller at the altar and back out of your contract?

When you're shopping online, do you actually read the fine print? If you don't, you're not alone, according to a new survey by

A majority of online shoppers -- 54 percent -- say they either skim or ignore online user agreements, terms of service, or other legal fine print they encounter. On the other hand, 46 percent of shoppers say they read "most" or "every word" of such agreements.

The survey results are nearly identical to a similar FindLaw survey in 2011 -- though since that time, the online shopping market has grown by 50 percent to $300 billion. This suggests many online shoppers may not really know what they're getting themselves into.

Supreme Court Mortgage Ruling: 5 Things Borrowers Should Know

A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court this week may be of particular interest to homeowners hoping to rescind a mortgage loan.

The court ruled unanimously in favor of Minnesota couple Larry and Cheryle Jesinoski, Reuters reports. The Jesinoskis sued their mortgage lender, Countrywide (now owned by Bank of America), after the company refused to rescind the couple's $611,000 loan. The company claimed that the federal law allowing for mortgages to be rescinded required the couple to file a lawsuit within three years, which they did not do (they merely sent a letter). The Court ruled that in this case, the letter was good enough.

What should consumers take away from this ruling? Here are five things borrowers should know:

Legalese From A to Z - FindLaw

Lawyers love to use a whole world of weird and wondrously whimsical words to describe certain facets of the law.

And as you might have guessed, a good deal of them may begin with the letter "W." Don't be caught without your wits. Learn more about these five legal terms beginning with "W":

  • Wanton. No, this isn't another way to spell the Asian dumpling. In fact, the word describes very unsavory action or indifference on the part of a person, typically resulting in serious harm or death. Often a person's actions are described as wanton when an attorney wishes to meet the legal standard for recklessness. In a criminal case, a prosecutor might use "wanton" to describe a murder defendant's acts which have a malicious or craven intent.

There are a number of kinds of service professionals you can invite on to your property to do work: landscapers, roofers, exterminators, etc. But what happens when those workers are injured on your property?

Property owners do have certain responsibilities towards those who are allowed on their land, but this does not give workers freedom to be negligent or reckless.

So when is a property owner liable for workers injured on his or her property?

The U.S. Supreme Court has been as busy as nine incredibly well educated beavers this year, and November should prove to be an interesting month for the High Court.

There are issues of gun control, homeland security, and even home loans to contend with. So here are 10 Supreme Court cases you should really pay attention to in November: