DIY: 3 You Can Definitely Do on Your Own

Following up on the recent blog post about DIY vs. DIFM, it’s important to recognize which projects are hard (definitely DIFM), and which are pretty easy (when you should really consider saving some money by DIY). Here are some handy tips from The Hamilton Spectator on three projects that may sound harder than they are: unclogging a garbage disposal, tiling a backsplash, and installing a new toilet. To be sure, these are not trivial — but they’re also not so hard that you really need to get a professional. Give it a try, you may be pleasantly surprised!

11 Steps to Navigate Refinancing Your Home

With interest rates near record lows, and many people sitting on loans with fixed rates over 5%, this guide by U.S. News & World Report couldn’t be more timely. Of course, refinancing only makes sense if it will actually save you money. You need to take many things into account, from how much of your loan remains, to closing costs on the new loan, to the time-value of money for money now vs. money over the life of the loan. There are lots of comparison calculators out there, but a calculator alone won’t get the job done. This report gives 11 concrete steps you can follow to navigate the refinance process.

Watching The News Can Give You Whiplash

Normally, this blog provides you with a consolidated view into all things home related. On a daily basis, there’s usually something interesting to report. But sometimes, the news itself is the news. If you google “mortgage” and click on the news tab, then in today’s top stories you’ll see that “mortgage rates slipped lower last week” and “mortgage applications plunge on higher rates”. It’s exactly this kind of conflicting news that can drive someone mad. In times like this, the extreme fluctuations in reporting remind one that mortgages are a market, not unlike the stock market. And just like the stock market, trying to time things can be a mistake. Sure, if you wait for the next Fed announcement, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, things might improve. But they also might go the other way. If you guess right, you’ll certainly congratulate yourself. But if you guess wrong, how much worse is that going to be?