Columbus has remained in the list of top ten hottest real estate markets in America since March 2018, based on rising demand and how long it takes to sell a home. In addition, Columbus just made the top ten list of markets expected to outperform in the next 3-5 years based on domestic migration, housing affordability, job growth, population age structure, attractiveness for retirees and home price appreciation, among other variables.

“Living in central Ohio has become highly attractive due to many things, not the least of which is job availability, diversity of housing options, affordability and exciting entertainment and dining options,” said John Myers, 2019 President of Columbus REALTORS®.

“Based on these factors and our healthy economy, a home is and will continue to be one of the best investments you can have.”

What will 2020 be like for buyers?

Those looking to buy an entry-level home will face a tough search. The biggest challenge will be finding the right home to fit your needs and then snatching it up before someone else does.

Those with a bit more to spend will have more to choose from, less competition, and possibly more motivated sellers.

The best thing you can do as a homebuyer is be prepared for your home search to take a while. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the first, second or even third home you put an offer on. It’s a competitive market but if you are patient and have the help of an agent that you trust and is knowledgeable about your local market you will eventually find that perfect house.

What will 2020 be like for sellers?

Sellers of entry-level homes should be sitting pretty, as those will continue to be the most in-demand properties this year. If anything, you should be prepared to move out quickly!

Others should brace themselves for a longer wait, especially as the price point moves up. The number of existing-home sales is expected to dip 1.8% this year. Higher-end sellers should do their homework and may need to consider pricing their home competitively.

As the market moves toward a more balanced scenario, sellers who work with a local agent that understands the market conditions and can adjust accordingly, can expect to benefit from continuing demand.

Sources: Realtor.com https://www.realtor.com and Columbus Realtors https://columbusrealtors.com


From the Donut Fest to Wonderball, Columbus kicks off the year with an eclectic assortment of events.

Conservatory Aglow

January 1-4, 5:00 pm-9:00 pm

Light artist and sculptor Jen Lewin conceived ‘The Pool’ as a huge puddle of light that would invite viewers to jump in—literally—and create their own art together. The concentric circles of 100 glowing computerized pads light up when you step on them, sending ripples of light and color throughout the installation as you move. https://www.columbusmakesart.com/event/31919-conservatory-aglow

January 4th, 10:00 am-1:00 pm

Come out to Mayor Ginther’s Community Day at the Franklin Park Adventure Center – a free, fun-filled family event with activities, food and music. https://www.columbus.gov

Wild Ohio Weekend

January 4-5, 10:00 am-5:00 pm

Join the Ohio History Center for a weekend of natural history programming and learn more about the plants and animals that call Ohio home. https://www.ohiohistory.org/participate/event-calendar/ohio-history-center/wild-ohio

COSI After Dark: Fun for Adults

January 9, 5:30 pm-10:00 pm

COSI isn’t just for kids!  COSI hosts monthly COSI After Dark, adult-only, after-hours events to let the adults have the run of the place.  This event will feature exhibits, concessions and cash bar, and fun! https://cosi.org/adults/cosi-after-dark

The Ohio Home and Remodeling Show

January 10-12, 10:00 am-6:00 pm

Planning a home renovation project for the new year or looking for tips on how to finish those last few to-dos on your list? The second annual Ohio Home + Remodeling Show is here to help!  https://ohiohomeandremodelingshow.com/

Powell Winter Market

January 11, 9:00 am-12:00 pm

The Powell Winter Market is teaming up with the stunning, new Swan Lake Event Center to bring you some of your favorite makers and growers from the Powell Farmers Market. https://www.facebook.com/events/1409472735884513/

Columbus Winter Beer Fest

January 17-18, 7:00 pm-11:30 pm

Columbus’s Biggest Party Of Winter Returns for the 10th Anniversary at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Party for a cause! All proceeds of Columbus Winter Beerfest benefit Animal Rescue Partners, Inc., I Have A Dream Pet Rescue as well as numerous other local non-profit organizations that volunteer at the event. http://columbusbeerfest.com/

Wonderball 2020

January 25, 8:00 pm-12:00 am

Show us what you’re made of! Get dressed up in your favorite black & white attire and celebrate the creative spirit of Columbus at Wonderball. This fashionable evening of local food, music, performance, and interactive, unexpected experiences supports a vibrant arts community at the Museum and throughout Central Ohio. http://www.columbusmuseum.org/wonderball/

Columbus Donut Fest

January 26, 11:00 am-4:00 pm

Get ready for Columbus’s Biggest Donut Celebration on January 26th at Strongwater Food & Spirits. We’re bringing together Donut Makers, Donut Enthusiasts, Coffee Shops and a Craft Bar Menu for a food lovers’ dream event. https://www.columbusdonutfest.com

614 Restaurant Week

January 20-25, 4:00 pm 11:00 pm

Discover the booming restaurant scene of Columbus with the annual Restaurant Week. Over 120 Columbus eateries offer special discounted prices on three-course meals. https://www.experiencecolumbus.com/event/(614)-restaurant-week/66327/

Do the holidays bring about the jolly spirit of giving, receiving and just embracing the beauty of the season? If so, consider marking these best holiday-themed events in Columbus on your calendar as “not-to-miss” occasions.

Holiday Bazaar & Tree Lighting Short North Arts District

December 1, 2019 11:00am-6:00pm

The Sunday Bazaar is back for the holiday season to help you celebrate Small Business Weekend and start your gift shopping! At the Holiday Bazaar, you can shop, eat, and explore pop-ups while enjoying holiday performers all along High Street, then end the day at the annual Deck the District Tree Lighting from 5:00pm to 6:00pm! https://shortnorth.org/holiday-bazaar-tree-lighting-2019/

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Now – January 5, 2020

A Central Ohio tradition not to be missed! This year marks the 29th Wildlight’s season with more holiday cheer than ever before.  https://www.columbuszoo.org/

Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting

December 5, 2019 5:30-7:30pm 

The holiday season opens in Ohio with the annual holiday Statehouse event. Attend the Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting to kick off the 2019 holiday season. Holiday activities include: performances, refreshments, crafts and much more. Historical characters and dignitaries will be on hand to greet guests, including Santa himself. ohiostatehouse.org

Winterfair

December 6th-8th 2019

Experience artful shopping at the 43rd annual Winterfair, a juried fair of fine art and fine craft. Discover fine jewelry, blown glass, functional ceramics, photography, painting, fashion and more, all handcrafted by 400 artists from across the United States. http://ohiocraft.org/

Holiday Pops

December 6th-8th 2019

Holiday magic transforms the historic Ohio Theatre, filling it with beautiful decorations, wonderful music, and seasonal cheer! The Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Chorus present the season’s most-loved holiday songs and carols, and you can sing along! With four concerts offered, there is a time for everyone to join in the fun. https://columbussymphony.com/events/calendar/profile.dT/holiday-pops-6

Holiday Market

December 7th, 2019 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

Join North Market merchants, farmers, and makers on the first Saturday in December for a festive holiday market! Guests can shop both inside the Market House and outside on the plaza. North Market merchants will be open with their usual offerings PLUS holiday specials and gifts. https://www.northmarket.com/portfolio-item/2019-holiday-market/

WinterFest

December 7th, 2019 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Join us for the third annual WinterFest, a celebration of giving featuring local and national musical acts, seasonal ales from hometown breweries and favorite dishes from Columbus food trucks. https://www.sciotomile.com/winterfest/

Village Lights

December 8, 2019 5:00-9:00pm

German Village is already planning for the Village Lights! The German Village Business Community kicks off the holiday season with their annual holiday magic. Follow the luminaries from shop to shop as you begin checking off your holiday gift list. Our businesses are open late with holiday specials and you’ll find festive surprises around every corner. https://germanvillage.com/villagelights/

Festivus 2019

December 13th-15th 2019

Celebrate this holiday season with three days of crafts, music, and local art! Visitors shop a diverse collection of handcrafted goods for their friends and family. Explore what Ohio has to offer! https://www.columbusunderground.com/event/festivus-2019/2019-12-13

BalletMet’s The Nutcracker

December 13th-28th 2019

BalletMet’s annual production of The Nutcracker will continue to create everlasting holiday memories for guests. Sparkling snow, charming characters, and wonderful surprises come to life as Clara and her Nutcracker Prince travel through the luminous Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy. https://www.columbus-theater.com/theaters/ohio-theater-columbus/balletmet-columbus-the-nutcracker.php

Holiday Lights Tour

Columbus City Adventures invites you to join us as we immerse ourselves in the holiday spirit with a drive through Central Ohio’s twinkling winter landscape. Downtown will be alive with festive energy of hundreds of thousands of lights, including the Grand Illumination along the Scioto Mile, the Festival of Lights at Columbus Commons, and the beloved tradition of Christmas Corner. Don’t miss it! https://www.columbuscityadventures.com/tours/holiday-lights/

Huntington Holiday Train Display

Now – December 31, 2019

The impressive 600-square-foot Huntington Holiday Train includes multiple miniature trains running on more than 280 feet of track surrounded by more than 50 pounds of snowflakes. This marks the 28th year of the holiday attraction. https://www.columbuslibrary.org/come-see-huntington-holiday-train-main-library

Free Festive Fridays at Columbus Commons

Now – January 5, 2020

Enjoy the festive lights at Columbus Commons through January 5, EVERY DAY from dusk until to 11 pm. Stop by after a Downtown dinner to see more than 400,000 LED lights dazzle in the park. https://columbuscommons.org/events/holiday-lights/

Holiday Hoopla Shadow Box Live

Now – December 28th, 2019

Holiday Hoopla is “the granddaddy of all holiday shows” mixes sketch comedy with seasonal music and features the hilarious send-up The Santa Babies. Shadowbox Live’s longest running show, Holiday Hoopla has been entertaining audiences for a quarter of a century and has become a Columbus holiday tradition. https://www.shadowboxlive.org/

First Night Columbus

December 31, 2019

A spectacular New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Columbus with live entertainment, activities and fun for all ages! http://firstnightcolumbus.com/

Being self-employed comes with many benefits. Buying a home isn’t one of them. When you work for yourself, the home buying process will be a little different than people who have jobs that provide them with W2’s at the end of the year. What’s the difference? You will need to provide a lot more documentation.

Because your income is structured differently you typically need to show at least two years of tax returns, which includes your 1040 tax returns, and all schedules. Why? Your bank is looking for consistencies in your income that show you are making enough money to get approved for the loan amount you want.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Individuals that are self-employed (yours truly included), tend to want to write off EVERYTHING we can! When you do this, you reduce your overall net income. This makes getting a mortgage harder because it reduces your debt-to-income ratio. If you plan on buying a home in the near future hold back on many deductions as possible. This may hurt you come tax time but it will help you in the long run to get the mortgage you want (and it’s only temporary, after you get the house you can go back to taking those deductions).

Make sure you register and license your business. This will show the bank you have a legitimate business.

Consider paying yourself as an employee so you can give yourself a W2 at the end of the year.

And of course, if possible lower your debt. Banks will see you as less of a risk if you don’t carry a lot of debt.

It’s not impossible to buy a home if you are self-employed. You just need to come up with a game plan so you’re not shocked when it comes time to chat with a lender!

Smart-home technology offers entertainment, convenience, and peace of mind, but did you know that it can help lower energy bills and save homeowners money? These 5 smart home items are meant to help renters and homeowners alike save on their energy bills each month. It’s a win-win for both our wallets and the environment.

Nest Learning 3rd Generation Thermostat

Nest’s Learning Thermostat is a WiFi-enabled device that can automatically adjust heating and cooling settings for optimal performance — meaning it’s constantly making sure you’re saving energy. You can also change the temperature through the Nest app, or with your voice through your home assistant (Ok, Google, can you turn the heat up to 74?).

Studies have shown that homes with a Nest saved an average of 10-12% on heating, and 15% on cooling, with average savings ranging around $140 per year. This means that within two years of installing it, the Nest Thermostat literally pays for itself — it’s a surefire way to make sure you’re both doing something good for the environment and have lower bills every month.

Lutron Caseta Wireless Home Automation Smart Kit (light dimmers)

No one likes coming home at night to a pitch-black house. But, this kit allows you to turn on your lights from your phone — which also eliminates the need to set timers! It also has a light dimmer, which allows you to control the brightness of up to 17 light bulbs. Bonus: it takes less than 15 minutes to install, and is so easy that you can do it on your own!

Samsung SmartThins 120-Volt White Smart Plug

This smart plug, which works with a SmartThings hub or compatible devices with SmartThing hub functionality, will let you say goodbye to second guessing whether or not you turned off appliances, because it lets you control outlets from your phone.

Making something in a slow cooker, but won’t be home in time to turn it off? No biggie, just do it from your phone! The best part? If a light or electronic is left on, it sends a notification to your phone to notify you to turn it off.

If switching out the light switches with the Lutron Caseta is more than you’d like to take on, this is the perfect alternative (especially for renters!) so you can control lights when you aren’t home. It’s an amazing option for people who travel a lot or get home late. You may also love the Smart Plug as an alternative for controlling holiday twinkle lights so you don’t have to crawl under the tree or mess with timers.

Don’t have a SmartThings hub? No sweat! There is a range of smart plugs that are compatible with everything, and even a smart plug that doesn’t require a hub!

Samsung SmartThings ADT White Indoor Flood Sensor

Flooding can be a huge fear; pipes can burst or get clogged, and damage can be happening within your walls without you being aware of it.  This flood sensor can eliminate all your fears of flooding by sensing water leaks, which alerts you when pools of water form under your pipes. It’s perfect for any moisture-rich spot in your home, like your basement or under a sink. Plus, it’s small and sleek design makes it easy to tuck away, out of sight, out of mind.

Rachio 16-Station Wi-Fi Compatible Irrigation Timer

If you classify as a homeowner with an abundant amount of yard space, this one’s for you! This timer for your sprinkler system is controllable by your phone and tablets, and automatically adjusts to the weather, based on your local weather forecast, so no more are the days of worrying if you’re over or underwatering your plants or yard. Did we mention you can save up to 50% of your outdoor water use? Meaning you can save water AND money at the same time.

Article courtesy of The Everygirl

Autumn is a great time to peruse your property, and assess things that might need preventive maintenance before the weather turns cold. Although a whole-house check can feel overwhelming, it’s essential so that you can avoid major repairs later.

Wondering where to start? Here’s a guide to fall chores you can’t afford to ignore.

Outdoor Jobs

Remove Dead Leaves

Fallen leaves can kill grass when they’re matted down by snow. Leaf piles can also attract rodents. But using leaf bags means work, and waste if they go into a landfill.
 Make use of your lawn mower’s mulching mode. Ground-up leaves nourish the soil, which saves you money down the line. You might need to make a few passes to slice the leaves small enough to decay. Along with saving the cost of leaf bags, you sidestep the back-breaking stooping and bending of raking and bagging.

Check the Roof

Leaks can eventually damage the wood sheathing and rafters below your shingles, leading to thousands of dollars in repairs. Use binoculars to spot cracked, curled, or missing shingles safely from the ground. Consider having a roofing pro check flashing around chimneys, skylights, and roof valleys for leaks, and the rubber boots near vents for cracks that can let moisture seep in.

Clear Gutters

Gutters stuffed with leaves, pine needles, and other debris can let water spill over the side, pool around your home’s foundation, and seep inside. Water that freezes in gutters can force snow and ice into roof shingles, causing damage and leaks. Consider a gutter-guard system to keep debris out. Make sure that gutter drains extend 5 feet from the house and that soil slopes away from the foundation 1 inch per foot for 6 feet or more.

Close Your Hose

Pipes can burst when water inside expands as it freezes, creating an expensive mess in your home. Shut off inside valves that control water flow to hose spigots. Then briefly open the spigots to drain any leftover water in pipes and hoses. Also drain water from supply lines for water sprinklers and pools, and shut off inside valves that control them. And help prevent freezing by insulating pipes in unheated areas.

Indoor Jobs

Get Your Heating System Serviced and Update the Thermostat

Photo courtesy of Honeywell

This might be the MOST important thing you do to prepare for winter!  Having your HVAC system serviced now will ensure that your heating system is functioning properly when you need it most. The last thing you want is for winter to come and your system decides to die. A simple inspection can save you money by making sure your system is working efficiently which helps keep your utility bills low. The other thing you can do is replace your thermostat.  This is something simple you can do yourself to help control the temperature in your home throughout the winter. Simply lowering temperatures by 10° F to 15° F while you’re at work or asleep can trim 15 percent from your heating bill.

Minimize Drafts

You want to check your home for any drafts around your windows and doors. You can purchase kits to seal your windows for around $25-40 per window. This can get really expensive, but it’s more affordable than replacing your windows. If you do have the money to replace drafty windows, now’s a good time to do so. You can also purchase new seals for your doors to help minimize drafts. 

Clean Your Chimney

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

A wood-burning fireplace may be cozy, but creosote buildup can impede the flow of smoke and cause chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Even unused chimneys can develop cracks that weaken the structure. If your chimney hasn’t had a recent inspection, now’s the time.

Article courtesy of Consumer Reports and Unexpected Elegance

Hosting Thanksgiving or another holiday celebration this year? Getting your home ready for all of your friends and family may seem like a stressful task, but with just a few simple steps, you can get your house ready and welcoming in no time.

Here are ten things you should do if you’re preparing for houseguests this holiday season.

A Quick Clean is All it Takes

It’s always a good idea to clean up around the house before guests arrive. No, you don’t have to go through every nook and cranny of your home with a duster. Simply take the vacuum on quick trip through all the spaces that you and your guests will be spending time in throughout their stay. A quick cleaning of the most noticeable surfaces (coffee tables, countertops, end tables, nightstands) goes a long way, too.

Clear the Way for Coats

Whether your guests are staying multiple nights or just for a few hours, you can make a great first impression by preparing the entryway to your home for the coats your guests are sure to be wearing. Make it evident where guests can leave their coats, whether you have some hooks to hang them on or a handful of hangers in a closet to use.

Prepare a Welcome Basket for Overnight Guests

In the rush of the holiday season, it probably won’t come as a surprise if someone forgets their toothbrush or shampoo. Leaving a small basket filled with toiletries in the guest room is a great way to welcome your guests and ensure they have everything they need to be comfortable for the duration of their stay.

Extra Blankets? Yes, Please.

It goes without saying that you’ll want to give your guests some fresh sheets for their bed. But it’s also a good idea to leave out an extra blanket or two in the guest room should someone need them in the night.

You Can Always Count on Candles

Set a warm, relaxed mood throughout your entire home by strategically placing candles. Not only will your home smell wonderful, but it’ll provide the perfect ambience for the holidays, too.

Don’t Try to Do It All

There’s no better way to make a house guest feel uncomfortable than to be working, cleaning, and cooking the whole time your guests are with you. Give you and your guests a chance to relax and enjoy each other. No one will care if the kitchen is sparkling or the sheets are ironed. And when there is work to do, accept every offer wash the dishes or set the table. Be a team and let everyone help out.

Have a Plan

Make a written list of things to do and try to have a loose schedule for each day of the visit. Don’t waste time planning at the last minute or the time will fly by. Once you’ve all decided what you’ll do, make sure everyone is ready to go as scheduled.

Get out of the House

With extra people in the house, you might feel overwhelmed. Check out schedules for plays, concerts, movies, or museum exhibitions. If you are able, buy the tickets so that there’s no excuse for not going. Be sure everyone knows the schedule.

Have Fun Outside

Depending on the weather where you live, plan a long hike, a bike ride, go ice skating at a local rink or even plan a picnic in the local park. If it’s too chilly, drive away to a new town for luncheon at a charming cafe, hike indoors around the local mall, or visit a rec center where everyone can work out on their machine or activity of choice.

Most of All, Enjoy It

Photo courtesy Shutterstock

It may seem like a lot to remember and get ready during a busy time of the year, but once your guests are settled in, be sure to take some time to enjoy the company of your closest family and friends. Happy holidays!

When fall arrives, it’s time to prepare for the stormy, rainy, snowy winter months ahead. Among your top priorities should be gutter cleaning and repair. Here are some ways to keep your roof draining and the water flowing freely all winter long.

1. Clean leaves and other debris out of the gutters.

  • An old plastic spatula makes a great tool for cleaning debris from gutters. It doesn’t scratch up the gutter, and you can cut it with snips to fit gutter contours. Grime wipes right off the spatula too, making cleanup a breeze.
  • Your plumber’s snake is a great tool for pulling clumps of wet leaves out of clogged downspouts.

2. Repair sagging metal gutters by mounting a gutter hanger.

  • Hook the hanger under the front edge and over the back edge of the gutter.
  • Then drive the hex head screw through the wood trim behind the gutter.
  • The hangers will be stronger if you screw them into a rafter.
  • Look for nail heads, which indicate rafter locations.
  • Add new hangers about every 3 ft. along the entire length of the gutters, if the old ones have let go.
  • Another style of gutter hanger slides under the shingles and is nailed to the roof boards. If you use this type, be sure the shingles are flexible enough to be lifted without breaking.

3. Seal leaking end caps.

  • Even if you have seamless gutters, there’s going to come a time when the end caps leak. If that time has arrived, seal the leaks.
  • Scour off oxidation around the seam or end cap with a scrub brush or coarse steel wool.
  • Rinse with water and let the area dry.
  • Squirt a bead of sealer around the seam or end cap and work it in with a gloved finger. Let it dry.

4. Add gutter covers.

  • Add a gutter cover to reduce the amount of debris that enters your gutter system in the first place.
  • Begin by cleaning debris from gutters, using a scoop and a bucket to avoid leaving a trail of debris around the house.

5. Install gutter and roof heating cables.

  • Adding gutter heating products is a great idea if you live in a place that gets cold in the winter, as they help prevent ice dams.
  • Purchase a heated cable specifically designed for gutters and rooftops.
  • Install it in the fall when it’s dry outside and safe to use a ladder.
  • Take one end of the cable, beginning at the corner of your roof and run zigzags to create 15-inch-wide triangles, running the cable from the overhang to the warm area of your roof.
  • Secure the cable to each shingle where the roof cable bends using brackets.
  • Run the roof cable along the inside of your gutter and down the gutter’s downspout.
  • Plug it into a GFI (grounded) outlet.

Article courtesy of Family Handyman.com

Temps are more chilly than warm. That’s when veteran homeowners know it’s time to do these six things if they want to avoid grief or overspending:

#1 Buy Appliances

Image: Pierre Desrosiers/Getty

Whisper to them. Do a rain dance. Whatever it takes to get your old appliances to wait until fall to go on the fritz. Manufacturers bring out their latest models during the fall, and store owners offer big sales on appliances they want to move out — like last year’s most popular dishwasher. So September, October, and November are great months to buy.

#2 Switch the Direction of Ceiling Fans

Image: Hunter Fan

Most have a switch to allow the ceiling fan blades to rotate either clockwise or counterclockwise — one way pushes air down to create a nice breeze and the other sucks air up, helping to distribute the heat. Think counterclockwise when it’s warm and clockwise when it’s cool.

#3 Clean Windows

Daylight is about to dwindle so why not get as much of it as you can? Clean off all the bugs, dust, and grime from your windows while the weather is still warm enough to do so. For streak-free windows, combine ¼-cup of white vinegar with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of eco-friendly dish detergent and 2 cups of water.

Image: Prideaux Design & Alta Constructors, designer/Matt Vacca, photographer

If window cleaning isn’t a DIY job at your home, schedule a professional window cleaner (who, unlike most of us, is able to do it even when temperatures plummet) before the end of the month. The closer it gets to the holidays, the busier they get. Bright sunshine on winter’s darkest days makes it totally worthwhile.

#4 Schedule a Heating Unit Checkup

To ensure your family will be able to feel their toes all winter, schedule early in the month for your heating unit to be serviced. As temperatures drop, service companies get busier.

Whether you hire your heating company’s technician or a contractor to do it, they’ll clean soot and corrosion from the combustion chamber, replace filters, and check the whole system for leaks, clogs, or damage. Nothing pairs with a pending blizzard better than the assurance that you’ll be weathering the storm with warm air piping through the vents and cocoa in hand.

#5 Get a Chimney Sweep to Inspect the Fireplace

It’s time to dust off and sweep the chimney! Best to hire someone who knows wood-burning fireplaces. A professional chimney sweep will ensure your wood-burning fireplace burns more efficiently and will help prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. So yeah, it’s pretty important.

Tip: If you don’t already have a chimney cap, this is also the time to add one to stop wild outdoor critters from crawling down it — and (yikes!) into your house.

#6 Insulate Exposed Pipes

Image: Emily Plummer (Instagram: @1930s_house_emiliaplum)

If you’ve ever dealt with a burst pipe, you know it’s a sad, wet disaster worth preventing. To avoid the stressful (not to mention, expensive) ordeal, prep your home’s exposed pipes with foam or heat tape — choosing which one will work best with your climate — to keep those pipes toasty. Remember: The most at-risk pipes are often those in unheated areas such as an attics, crawl spaces, and garages, so secure those first.

The Federal Reserve cut its short-term benchmark rate, dropping a quarter-percentage point to a range between 1.75% and 2%. This follows a landmark rate cut in July, the first since 2008.

But what does the Fed’s decision mean for your own financial life? Interest rates affect the cost of borrowing, so a rate change can mean different things for your mortgage, your student loans and more. Below, we outline a few things to watch for.

Mortgages

Ahead of the September Fed meeting, mortgage rates reached a three-year low. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 3.56%, according to Freddie Mac. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note—currently around 1.75%—is used as a benchmark for different types of loans, including mortgages.

For those who are considering refinancing, falling rates could mean it is a good time to do so. Since the Fed’s last rate cut in July, mortgage refinancing has ticked up. Applications were up 169% in the first week of September from a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Credit Cards

The average annual percentage rate for a new card is currently 19.24%, according to WalletHub’s September survey of more than 1,000 credit-card offers.

A decrease in interest rates can affect the average credit-card APR, which is pegged to the prime rate. That is influenced more by what the Fed does with short-term rates than longer-term yields. When interest rates are high, those carrying a hefty credit-card balance pay more.

Student Loans

For those with federal loans, interest rates are set every May based on the 10-year Treasury note auction and are fixed for the life of the loan. The rate for direct subsidized and unsubsidized undergraduate loans disbursed between now and June 30, 2020, is 4.53%.

While this rate cut won’t affect federal student loans, if low yields continue it could have an impact on loans for the 2020-2021 academic year.

If you have private education loans, however, you could pay less interest because those rates are tied to the London interbank offered rate.

High-Yield Savings Accounts and CDs

Get ready for that email from your bank that is probably going to land and tell you interest rates have changed.

The interest rates offered on savings accounts and many certificates of deposit move with the federal-funds rate set by the Fed. Firms started cutting rates on high-yield offerings over the summer. Now, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ’s Marcus account has decreased to 2.00% and Ally Financial Inc. ’s account remains at 1.9%. Robo advisers Betterment and Wealthfront have their saving products at 2.44% and 2.32%, respectively.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the average APY on a one-year CD is 0.54%, but better offers are still around, including Barclay’s at 2.40% and Marcus’s at 2.25%.

Car Loans

The average rate on a five-year new-car loan is 4.58%, according to Bankrate.com.

Most auto loans have fixed interest rates, which are pegged to Treasury yields. There isn’t a direct line between Fed moves on short-term rates and what dealers and auto lenders can charge.

Article courtesy of The Wall Street Journal