August 2, 2020

What to expect when you're expecting a baby room

Few events in life are as joyous and anticipated as the day you bring your new baby home from the hospital. You want that time—and the days and memories that follow—to be perfect and peaceful. That’s why carefully prepping the room you and your newborn will retreat to can make a big difference.

In short, a well-planned nursery matters. And this labor of love endeavor doesn’t have to be overly complicated—especially if you give yourself plenty of time. Learn more about how to create a non-cursory nursery by reading my latest article for The Costco Connection, available here.

July 26, 2020

Exploring no-closing-cost mortgages

Every mortgage loan comes with closing costs that can add up quickly. And that can create a challenge for some home buyers and refinancers short on the extra cash they’ll need to fork over at closing time. Fortunately, many lenders offer a no-closing-cost mortgage option. This means you won’t pay closing costs in a lump sum on your day of closing. Instead, these expenses can be rolled into your loan balance or padded into your interest rate.

There are advantages and disadvantages to pursuing no-closing-cost home loans. And not everyone is a good candidate for this strategy. Learn the facts, do the math and determine if this is your best option after reading my article on this topic for Bankrate.com, available here.

July 20, 2020

His girl Molly spills screwball secrets on Cineversary

In Cineversary podcast episode #25, host Erik Martin journeys back to the newsroom, circa 1940, with feminist film critic extraordinaire Molly Haskell, author of the groundbreaking cinema text "From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies," to celebrate the 80th anniversary of quite possibly the best screwball comedy ever made, "His Girl Friday," directed by Howard Hawks. Erik and Molly examine why this film is worth honoring all these years later, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the picture today, how it has stood the test of time, and more.

Molly Haskell
To listen to this episode, click here or click the "play" button on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download or subscribe to the Cineversary podcast using Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Google Play Music, PodBean, RadioPublic, and Overcast.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at tinyurl.com/cineversarypodcast and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

July 13, 2020

How to make that old tub look like new

Along with the kitchen, the bathroom is one of the most important rooms valued by home buyers or renters. But a stained, worn, or ugly tub can significantly decrease a bath's aesthetic appeal. That's why it pays to refinish a tub -- a job that a handy DIYer can tackle, although it’s probably best handled by an experienced pro.

To determine if a bathtub refinishing is right for your property, consider several factors, including signs that your tub needs refinishing, benefits of bathtub refinishing, drawbacks and risks of relaxing, steps involved in refinishing your tub, and alternatives to consider. Planned and executed properly, a tub refinishing can catch the eye and make a bathroom pop. Just be sure your tub is a good candidate for reglazing and you follow the instructions carefully if you choose to do it yourself.

Learn more about bathtub refinishing options by reading my story on this topic for The Motley Fool's Millionacres site, available here.

July 5, 2020

Touchless tech to the rescue

Fears of COVID-19 have kept millions of Americans indoors and socially distant over the past several months. But while sequestering at home decreases your risk of contact with others and acquiring coronavirus, staying behind closed doors isn’t foolproof.

For example, if you feel sick or have tested positive for the virus, you’ll need to quarantine from housemates. Or maybe you’re a frontline worker who, despite washing your hands, changing your clothes, and taking every precaution, worries about exposing your family to germs you may be bringing home.

While scientists haven’t yet developed a vaccine, some pretty bright tech people have invented smart home devices that can make things easier and reduce your risks of transmission while this pandemic plays out. Read my newest story for CTW Features (available here) for all the latest details.

June 28, 2020

The pros and cons of prepaying your mortgage

You don't have to wait out the remaining term of your mortgage to pay it off. Instead, you can make accelerated payments on an occasional or regular basis, which could save you big money otherwise spent on interest and pay off the mortgage early. This may be a good strategy if you have a higher interest rate and extra money in the bank. It can also be a smart tactic if you want to worry less about debt.

But your mileage may vary. Prepaying your mortgage may not be your best option. You might earn a higher rate of return investing that extra cash. It could be wiser to simply refinance if rates drop. And you may regret prepaying if you need more money later for an emergency.

Read my newest article for Money-Rates.com and decide for yourself if making accelerated mortgage payments is worth it or if you're better off saving or investing that money.