A second mortgage, also called a home equity loan, involves borrowing money against the portion of your home that you own. To put it simply, if you have a $350,000 mortgage on a home you bought for $400,000, you have $50,000 of equity and may be able to use some of it to consolidate debts or finance a project. Here are the pros and cons of doing so.
A common reason for taking out a second mortgage is to consolidate debts with a loan that has a lower interest rate, thus saving money in the long run. In addition, it offers flexible payment arrangements, as you can also negotiate for a longer or shorter amortization period, which is the length of time you have to repay the loan.
The interest rate will be higher than that of your first mortgage. In addition, you need to have enough equity to cover the entirety of the debts you mean to consolidate.
The most serious downside, however, is that paying off credit card debt with a second mortgage means transforming an unsecured debt into a secured debt by putting your home up as collateral. If you fail to make your payments, the bank may be entitled to foreclose on your home.
Before applying for a second mortgage, speak with your financial adviser. If you’re struggling financially, it may also be a good idea to seek debt counseling to assess whether a second mortgage is the best option.
The importance of National Bullying Prevention Month
According to a recent federal study, within the past year, 20 percent of U.S. high school students reported being bullied on school properties, and 15 percent reported being cyberbullied.
October marks National Bullying Prevention Month, a campaign that aims to raise awareness about the impacts and dangers of bullying. This month-long event encourages everyone to work together to create a safe place for children to live, learn and grow. Here are three reasons why this campaign is so important.
1. It makes students feel safer. When students feel safe and secure, they can focus on their schoolwork. Moreover, teachers can spend more time teaching, and parents can worry less. Everyone wins when you put a stop to bullying.
2. It fosters a sense of teamwork. Bullying prevention involves students, teachers, parents, counselors, coaches, and school administrators. Everyone must work together to stop bullying. No one person or school can do it alone.
3. It makes back-to-school a more positive experience. When schools open in the fall, it’s a chance for kids to reconnect with old friends and establish new relationships. National Bullying Prevention month happens in October and can help set the tone for the school year and confront bullying in schools early on.
This October, get involved in your community’s events and say no to bullying.
Decorating tips: welcome fall into your home
Do you want your home to exude the warmth of the blazing fall leaves? Here are a few tips to welcome nature into your home this autumn.
Focus on textiles
Textured fabrics are a great way to add a touch of fall color to your decor on a budget. Heavy curtains and plush wool throws have a soothing effect. Moreover, table runners, napkins and cushion covers in varying shades of red, brown, orange and yellow instantly create an inviting atmosphere.
Incorporate natural elements
Pinecones, gourds, pumpkins, tree leaves and other natural elements are ideal for creating seasonal centerpieces and wreaths.
Maximize the light
As the days get shorter, create a cozy atmosphere by installing string lights. These twinkling bulbs can brighten up rooms that desperately lack sunlight and can be used to showcase your banister or mantel. Decorative metallic objects are also great for reflecting natural light and making your space feel more inviting.
Lastly, scatter scented candles around your home and let their soothing scent envelop you.
Why you need a combi-boiler in your home
If you need to replace your boiler, you should consider upgrading to a modern combi-boiler system. A combination boiler heats your home and gives you hot water on demand. Here are some of the benefits.
• Increased efficiency. More efficient than a conventional water heater that heats a full tank of water whether you need it or not, a combi-boiler can reduce your energy consumption by up to 40 percent.
• Save valuable space. You don’t need a lot of room for a combi-boiler because they’re compact. For example, you can install a combi-boiler in an apartment, condo, or space under the stairs.
• Save money. Modern combi-boilers are less complex than conventional boilers and have fewer pipes to install. Moreover, combi-boilers are less expensive to install and repair than traditional ones.
• Enjoy unlimited hot water. You’ll never run out of hot water because a combi-boiler doesn’t have a water tank. Therefore, you can enjoy leisurely showers and hot baths without worrying about having enough water in the tank.
• There’s less maintenance. A combi-boiler doesn’t have a water tank to flush and clean. Consequently, you don’t have to worry about scheduling maintenance every six months.
If you’re moving into a new house or making extensive renovations, it’s a perfect time to upgrade your home’s heating system. Talk to an expert at your local home renovation center.
How to clean glass shower doors
Glass shower doors are sleek and stylish. However, keeping them clean can be a challenge. Soap scum and mineral deposits can build up, making your shower doors look dull. Follow these steps to keep your glass shower doors clean and shiny.
Spray with a cleaner
There are plenty of chemical products you can use to remove mildew or hard water stains. Alternatively, you can make an effective, eco-friendly cleaning solution at home. Mix three parts of water and one part of distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Add lemon juice for sanitizing power.
Spray the glass shower doors with the mixture and let it sit for five minutes. Use a soft brush or sponge to wipe the surface. Rinse and repeat if necessary. For tough stains, add dish detergent to the spray mixture. Never use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads.
To tackle stubborn hard water or mildew stains, try these everyday products you may already have in your home:
• Dryer sheets. Moisten a dryer sheet and wipe away tough stains.
• Multi-purpose cleaning pads. Although typically used to remove marks on walls, they’re also effective at removing hard water stains.
• Lubricants. Spray lubricants made for loosening rusty parts and stopping squeaks are great for removing marks left by hard water.
Finally, stick to a regular cleaning schedule to prevent stains from building up. For instance, keep a squeegee in your shower and use it to wipe down your doors after every use.
Clever ways to add storage to your home
If you lack storage in your home, there are many unique ways to utilize your space more efficiently. Here are a few ideas to consider.
• Purchase bags and bins specifically designed to fit underneath your bed. If your bed isn’t high enough, you can get bed risers to give you more room.
• Install a cabinet, shelf, or rack if you have an empty wall or door space. You may be surprised at how much you can fit inside.
• Invest in under-cabinet racks that slide conveniently out of the way when not in use. This is a great way to use the space underneath your cabinets and shelves.
• If you’re looking for a new entryway bench or coffee table, consider buying one with hidden storage space inside for odds and ends.
• Did you know your ceiling is a great place to store things? For example, you can install overhead shelves in your kitchen to store various everyday goods.
Visit your local hardware store to find unique space-saving storage ideas.
6 benefits of installing a water softener in your home
Hard water can damage your home’s plumbing and appliances and make your hair and skin feel dry. Fortunately, a water softener can remove minerals like calcium and magnesium to improve your water quality. Here are six benefits of installing a water softener in your home.
1. Reduced plumbing repairs. The hard water minerals stick to the pipes inside and can clog your plumbing and damage valves. Water softeners remove the minerals before they can do damage.
2. Longer-lasting appliances. Minerals can build up in your dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater, causing them to break down. Appliances that operate with soft water last longer.
3. Lower energy bills. Scaly mineral build-up in your water heater forces it to work harder and burn more fuel. Installing a water softener can improve your water heater’s efficiency.
4. Cleaner clothes. Washing clothes with mineral-rich water can cause your clothing to fade and give off a yellowish hue. Soft water leaves your clothes cleaner and makes them last longer.
5. Easier household cleaning. Caked-on mineral deposits in your kitchen sink or bathroom are difficult to clean. Using a water softener prevents these stubborn white stains from forming.
6. Softer hair and skin. Showering with soft water leaves your hair feeling soft and your skin hydrated. You also don’t need to use as much shampoo or conditioner.
Visit your local home improvement store or plumbing supply retailer to learn more about installing a water softener in your home.