Coronavirus in Your Apartment Community: How To Stay Safe

Learn how Apartment Guide is responding to coronavirus and taking steps to help renters and property managers during this challenging time.

There has been a flood of information online about how to keep yourself safe from being exposed to or contracting novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as it spreads across the world and the nation.

Preventing coronavirus in your apartment

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has offered a number of reference articles and official statements on how to best protect yourself and your family.

But for apartment dwellers, those with common spaces, mailbox clusters, lobbies, trash chutes and a plethora of door handles, keeping safe and practicing prevention habits is a bit more difficult. From your own personal hygiene to how to manage your apartment to what to expect from your landlord, here are all the tips, suggestions and instructions straight from the CDC just for renters and apartment tenants.

1. Wash your hands often

Wash your hands after you touch another person or a common surface. Wash your hands before and after you touch or prepare food. Wash your hands after using the restroom. Wash your hands after you cough, sneeze or blow your nose. Wash your hands when you get home from being out.

Wash by covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. When you wash, rub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Experts have recommended singing “Happy Birthday” twice. If you’re tired of that, try other songs with 20-second choruses like:

  • “Take on Me” by A-ha
  • “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
  • “Raspberry Beret” by Prince
  • “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo
  • “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees (like that CPR scene from “The Office”)

If soap and water are not available, disinfect your hands by utilizing a 60 to 95 percent alcohol hand sanitizer and following the listed instructions.

washing handswashing hands

2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick

This seems obvious. But since you never know who is sick, minimize contact in general, as well. Spread out on the bus or subway or in line. Touch elbows instead of shaking hands or fist-bumping, or politely decline to touch at all. Try to avoid touching common surfaces others touch in public places and in your apartment building or common areas as best you can. Don’t share food or drinks.

3. Avoid touching your face

No matter how hard you try, you’re going to touch unsanitary surfaces or people. To prevent infecting yourself, do your best to refrain from touching your eyes, nose or mouth, as these are the main entry points for disease.

4. Cover your mouth

If you must cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue, then throw the tissue into a trash can that has a closed cover. The same goes for blowing your nose. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve like you’re doing “The Dab,” not into your hands.

5. Wear a face mask

The CDC is now encouraging people to wear face masks when they go into public areas. Since everyone is home right now, you should treat all common spaces in your apartment complex as a public place. If you can’t find a face mask, consider DIYing a no-sew face mask with items you might already have in your apartment.

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6. Clean and disinfect

Keep your apartment neat, clean and organized to maintain a healthy environment. Clean regularly and sanitize often using items like Lysol spray and Clorox wipes on “high touch” surfaces including countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, nightstands, bathroom fixtures, toilets, refrigerator handles, kitchen faucets, light switches, TV remotes, cell phones, computer keyboards and tablets.

7. Stock up but don’t hoard

While unlikely, it’s possible you may wind up quarantined in your apartment, or even just sick and self-quarantining. For that scenario, which shouldn’t last longer than two weeks, you should stock up (but not hoard) a few basic items:

  • Non-perishable items like canned meat, fish, beans, soups, broths and stews, fruits and vegetables, and canned or powdered milk
  • Ready to serve items like peanut butter, jelly, crackers, nuts, trail mix, dried fruits and granola bars
  • Baby food and pet food
  • Bottled water, fruit juices and fluids like Pedialyte or Gatorade
  • Toothpaste, toilet paper, tissues, feminine supplies, diapers, laundry detergent and disinfectant
  • Hand sanitizer that’s minimum 60 percent alcohol, over-the-counter cold and flu medicines and any refills of prescriptions

flu maskflu mask

Coronavirus protection in your apartment building or community

When you live in a public space like an apartment building or complex, protections from coronavirus become more communal. Precautions are no different than the CDC encourages you to take in your own home, but the difference is you don’t have control of everything that happens.

If you’re concerned about your management’s preparation for coronavirus prevention, sit down with your landlord or property manager and find out if they’re following CDC guidelines. Here are some suggestions for protections they can take based on CDC recommendations.

1. Make hand sanitizer available everywhere

You don’t have sinks to wash in all over your lobby or common areas, so your building should provide hand sanitizer everywhere — at the front desk, at the gym, by the mailboxes — and encourage residents, staff and visitors to use it often.

2. Clean a lot

Just like in your apartment, high-traffic surfaces in common areas should be cleaned and sanitized, and it should be repeated multiple times a day. The staff should be instructed to disinfect commonly-touched surfaces in places like the front desk, lobby restroom, mailroom, game rooms, elevators, door handles and delivery areas. All deliveries should be left in the lobby for pickup and not taken to apartments.

3. Close the garbage

All trash cans, both outdoor plastic garbage cans and lobby wastebaskets, ought to have working lids which should be kept closed. No one wants to, or should be forced to, pick up used tissues that have fallen on the ground.

4. Don’t come in if you’re sick

Apartment management should implement flexible sick leave policies and make sure all workers and staff know that their jobs are safe and they won’t be docked pay for staying home if they’re sick. Sick employees will only spread infections to residents. Ask management to ensure all contractors are following the same policies.

5. Be transparent and communicative

All employees, residents and visitors should be encouraged to alert property management if they believe they might have contracted coronavirus, especially if they have used common areas. That way, other residents and staff can be notified and take appropriate precautions.

sick personsick person

If you’re sick or feel like you’re getting sick

Even with all of the precautions, there is still a chance you’ll contract the disease. Follow these steps the moment you begin to feel sick, even if it just feels like a cold.

1. Stay home

Unless it’s to see your doctor or go to the hospital, stay in your apartment and don’t go out. Don’t go to work, school or to public areas. Try to avoid public transportation, taxicabs or rideshares. Not only will you not infect others, the more you stay at home and rest, the faster you’ll recover. Utilize food and personal item delivery if necessary.

2. Separate yourself from others at home

As best you can, stay in a designated sick room and keep away from other people. Eat separately from others. If your apartment has more than one, designate a bathroom just for you. Avoid touching pets, as well. If you must feed or clean up after a pet, wash your hands before and after as detailed above.

3. Don’t share household or personal items

Set aside drinking glasses, plates, silverware, sheets and blankets, towels and toiletries for your use and your use only. Clean them thoroughly with soap and water after every single use.

4. Wear a face mask

While it’s only a recommendation for everyone to wear a mask, people who are already sick (or people caring for those that are) need to wear one around other people (or pets) or if they go to the doctor.

5. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands

See above for details.

6. Clean and disinfect even more

Sanitize your apartment as explained above, but do it every day.

7. Call before going to the doctor

Keep an eye on your symptoms and seek medical attention if needed. Give them a heads up before you go to allow them to take precautions to keep others visiting their office from being infected or exposed. If you suspect you only have a cold or flu, consider a virtual doctor’s visit. If you must call 9-1-1, inform them of your symptoms before they arrive, as well.

Additional sources:




Managing Your Tax Return (What You Should be Using it For)

Spending Your Tax ReturnWhen people receive their tax returns, they are quick to spend this money on frivolous purchases that may bring them temporary joy. Even though people know there are ways to spend their tax return responsibly, the temptation to splurge on things they don’t need is too strong.

Ultimately, you can spend your tax return on whatever you want, but you should really consider what you should be using it for.

Pay Down Debts

Between student, home, and auto loan and credit card debt, people can easily find themselves owing thousands of dollars. Consumers often have no choice but to pay down their debts little by little over time, but if it is possible to make an extra payment or two using your tax refund, the debt can be repaid much faster.

Keep in mind that it would be most helpful to pay down your debts based on interest. High-interest rates should take priority since they are the most expensive. If you pay them down sooner, you will save money because you can shorten the repayment period and pay less interest.

Start or Add to an Emergency Fund

How prepared are you for the unexpected? If your car needed a major repair tomorrow, would you have the money to cover the cost? When emergencies happen people need to be prepared if they don’t want to take a big financial hit.

Emergency funds are designed to cover the cost of the unexpected. If you don’t have an emergency fund, use your tax refund to start one. And if you already have one, add to your fund. If and when something happens, you don’t have to stress about how this unexpected expense will set you back because you’ll have a financial safety net in place. 

Retirement Savings

The traditional age of retirement is 65, although some people may choose to retire earlier than that.  Your retirement may not be in the near future, but it is never too early to start saving for this phase of your life.

Just because you are retired, doesn’t mean you won’t have expenses. Between rent or mortgage payments, gas, food, utilities, and other monthly expenses, you will need to have a lot saved up since you will no longer be working. The money you save over the years will add up, so allocating some of the funds you receive from your tax return for your retirement savings will only help future you.

Home Improvements

Homeowners are responsible for their own home maintenance and improvements. It is a well-known fact that maintaining a home can be costly. Landscaping your front yard, insulating your attic or remodeling your kitchen may all be on your list of things to do, but with the cost of these home improvements being high, you haven’t been able to afford either.

Your tax return, regardless of how small or large it is, can be used to create the home you deserve. Even if you can’t tackle all of your projects at once, getting one done is better than none. Additionally, consider using the money to start a home improvement fund that can be used specifically for any home expenses you may have in the future.


Not everyone considers how they can help someone else. And when they do, they may focus on material items, such as clothes and shoes, but if there is an organization that you would like to support, why not make a monetary donation? You’ll feel good about having helped those in need, but another bonus to donating is that depending on the donation, it is tax-deductible.   

People view their tax return as free money that they can throw away. If there is work that needs to be done to improve your life or financial health, this money shouldn’t be wasted. When you receive your tax return, consider the many responsible ways to use this money that can positively impact your life.

Unhappy with your credit score or financial situation? Give Credit Absolute a call today for a free consultation!


Mindy Kaling is Moving Into Frank Sinatra’s Beach House in Malibu, Known as Ol’ Blue Eyes’ “Happiest Place on Earth”

Mindy Kaling just got herself a new home in Malibu, and boy is it one for the history books! According to the Los Angeles Times, the actress bought Frank Sinatra’s former Malibu home for $9.55 million.

After selling two other homes in the Los Angeles area in the past three years, Mindy Kaling seems to have settled on Malibu as a place to call home, and will be moving into her new place on Broad Beach with her adorable toddler, Katherine. And it only makes sense that the Sinatra beach house was the one to lock her down, as Frank Sinatra rightfully once called it “the happiest place on Earth”.

A coastal estate with seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms, 5,824 square feet, and plenty of outdoor spaces to soak in the vast ocean views, it’s easy to see why the oceanfront estate served as a frequent hangout for Sinatra’s star-studded crew. 

When we first reported on the listing (back in December 2018, when the property first came to market), and got in touch with one of the real estate agents in charge of the listing, I was humbled to learn that Leonard Rabinowitz (of Hilton & Hyland) was a real-life friend of the Sinatras. One that has actually passed through the doors of their home as a guest, and one that can help tell the story of the home where “The Voice” had spend his final years.

“I met Mr. & Mrs. Sinatra in the early 90’s when mutual friend and poker pal Angie Dickinson invited me to their beach house for a Sunday afternoon” Leonard Rabinowitz said. “When you enter the front door of the Sinatra Beach House there is an expansive view straight through the house and grounds to the ocean. As spectacular as the ocean view is, I was just as struck by those seated in the living room. There were Mr. & Mrs. Gregory Peck, Jack Lemmon, Dick Martin, Robert Wagner, Louis Jourdan, Steve Lawrence, Edye Gorme, and Dick Van Dyke. A room full of legends!”

Photo credits: Mike Helfrich
Photo credits: Mike Helfrich

The story of how Frank Sinatra made Malibu his home

According to Mr. Rabinowitz, at the beginning of the 1990s Frank Sinatra and his wife Barbara would often visit their friends Steve and Eydie (Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé.) The Grammy Award-winning husband-and-wife duo were close friends of the Sinatras and would often invite them over to their Broad Beach home.

That’s how the two fell in love with the area and bought a lot there in 1990, lot that they used to built what was later on their ‘happiest place on earth’: a 7-bedroom, 9-bathroom dream beach home that opens up to the ocean.

With lots of space for entertaining, the 5,800-square-foot Sinatra Beach House comes with a state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen, endless dining and living spaces (fit for a world-class entertainer), a stunning indoor-outdoor bar, and a patio overlooking a grassy lawn out to the ocean. There’s also a sauna, a hair-salon, and an elevator with leopard-print design. Don’t know how Mindy Kaling feels about all that, but I do know is that one Mindy Lahiri would be ecstatic about the leopard-print elevator!

Photo credits: Mike Helfrich
Photo credits: Mike Helfrich

The Sinatra house of love

Working with designer Edward “Ted” Grenzbach — who also designed homes for the likes of Johnny Carson, Barbara Streisand, Rupert Murdoch and Cher — Barbara and Frank Sinatra saw their dream home come to life.

And they were so happy with the results that, according to Mrs. Sinatra’s autobiography, “Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank“, they decided to renew their vows in the house’s backyard in 1996.

In an intimate setting, with friends and family attending, the Sinatra Beach House stood witness to a ceremony celebrating renewed commitments of love and friendship from Frank and Barbara Sinatra. Now isn’t that a wonderful story to tell visitors when they come visit Mindy Kaling’s house?

Photo credits: Mike Helfrich
Photo credits: Mike Helfrich

After his death in 1998, Frank Sinatra’s house was passed on to a trust linked to Mrs. Sinatra. Following her own death in 2017, the house was brought to market by her son from a previous marriage, Robert Oliver, and initially priced at $12,900,000.

Agents Leonard Rabinowitz and Jack Friedkin with Hilton & Hyland, and Chris Cortazzo with Coldwell Banker were in charge of the listing, with Cortazzo also representing Kaling in the transaction.

Photo credits: Mike Helfrich

More celebrity homes:

Sir Anthony Hopkins is Selling His Malibu Home Perched on a Cliff’s Edge
Shaquille O’Neal is Selling his L.A. Home… on Instagram
Inside Supernatural Star Jensen Ackles’ ‘Very Hip’ Lake House in Austin
The Mysterious Allure of Stephen King’s House, the Beating Heart of Bangor, Maine


5 Weird Reality Checks You’ll Get If You Buy a Country Home

City living may have its perks, but combine the congestion and crowds with the threat of the novel coronavirus, and it’s no wonder that many city dwellers these days are fleeing to greener pastures (or thinking about it).

But what is it really like to transition from the hustle and bustle of a city to the more relaxed pace of rural life? As a New Yorker who bought a summer cottage with my husband in upstate New York six years ago, I’ve come to realize that country life isn’t always so serene. In fact, certain things have happened out yonder that make me very glad that we’ve kept New York City as our main residence.

Curious about what curveballs might await if you buy a country home? Here are a few of my more surprising discoveries.

Country life: Is it right for you?
Country life: Is it right for you?

William Geddes

1. The country’s serene silence is often punctuated by gunfire

People in the country love their guns. I’m fully behind the Second Amendment, but we didn’t realize how much shooting takes place in small towns, especially at local gun and hunt clubs, of which there are many in our upstate county.

In fact, there’s one right across the road from our house, and the members shoot skeet early every Sunday morning—without fail. It’s loud and probably should’ve been a deal breaker for us when we considered the house, but we bought it anyway.  Now we take a long walk with the dog when the popping begins.

2. Cute woodland critters will eat everything you plant

I listened to the nursery specialists and planted the flowers that deer weren’t supposed to eat, but they still come by regularly to nibble. Apparently, in a bad winter, if these animals are hungry enough they’ll forgo their usual diet and consume just about anything.

So I nixed the flowers and went with wild grasses and herbs—and the bunnies thanked me by enjoying a nice salad every chance they could. As a last resort, I’m now letting the garden slowly grow over to grass and adding mulch to tamp down any errant weeds. My dream of colorful flower beds has turned into a patchy lawn with brown bits for accent.

Dozens of flats later,and still the garden is spotty
Dozens of flats later,and still the garden is spotty

William Geddes

3. Cute woodland critters probably live inside your house

Rodents are expected in a 200-plus-year-old house, so we set traps every weekend during the colder months. (My husband is charged with mouse eradication.) But I never expected the mice would nest—and birth babies—between our bed sheets. After finding a furry family tucked inside my comfy queen bed, going to sleep has become a bit of a nail-biter, since I’m always wondering what I might find there next.

4. Dogs can’t run free

Our rescue pup pretends to guard the front lawn.
Our rescue pup pretends to guard the front lawn.

William Geddes

One great joy in owning a country house (we thought) would be the ability to open the door and let Django, our sweet dog, race around. But when she did venture forth, everything went south.

While chasing a possum, Django apparently charged (and frightened) the neighbor across the way and her two lap dogs. Said neighbor let me know that this was not OK on her property. Clearly getting to know our neighbors was getting off to a great start!

Next, Django proceeded to chase a mouse into the downspout of another neighbor’s house and then punctured the metal with her jaws to get the creature out. Needless to say, I was on the hook for a new downspout that had to be custom-fit and painted to match my (now irate) neighbor’s house.

5. Country dogs are huge and scary

Meanwhile, my neighbor on the other side of me has an enormous black shepherd that, I kid you not, looks a whole lot like a black bear. Even worse, this dog doesn’t have tags that jingle when it approaches, so every time it appears on our lawn, I’m convinced it’s a bear and start to panic.

Every. Time.

I’m thinking of giving this neighbor a set of cute tags for the dog’s collar with the hope that it’ll be worn and my blood pressure will finally recover. Until then, I keep practicing deep breaths as I sink back into the deck chair on the porch of my country house and try—and fail—to relax.

All I’m saying is if you think owning a country house ushers you into a life of peace and quiet, don’t be so sure.

It wasn't me—I didn't do it!
It wasn’t me—I didn’t do it!

William Geddes


2018 Side Hustle Income Report Month 11

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

Happy holidays! Things have been crazy over here, being pregnant and all. I went from doing nothing but watch Saturday Night Live reruns in the fall to embarking on an entire site redesign and rebrand right before Christmas!

As you all can see, Saving with Spunk is now Modern Frugality! The transformation is almost complete and I am so happy with it. There are still some kinks so if you see any feel free to leave a comment here and I’ll get on it. And thank you!

And even though I still have one more 2018 income report to do in January, this is the last one of the year! My accountant is going to be so happy to see everything he needs in one place. 🙂

Rest of the year’s reports:

Amazon Finally got back to me with a cryptic message (albeit from a seemingly real person) basically saying “suck it.” You can read more in my Merch category but if you don’t make it that far just know I am totally done with them.

As always, I only include income that’s deposited into my account so sometimes it’s from stuff I did a while ago but none of it is speculative. If you want more ideas on making money at home you can grab the list of work-from-home jobs I started with by entering your deets below.

Airbnb: $474.33

November was busier than October but we had a long stay that started in October so we got the payment in that month.

In November we were booked 22 nights over 6 stays.  We charge $37 per night on weekdays, $40 per night Fri and Sat, and a $12 cleaning fee. I mark nights down to $35 per night if we’re unbooked short notice. The room is in the front of the house and we let the people use the spare bathroom privately.

I highly recommend Airbnb to monetize unused space. It’s fun to meet new people and easy because you’re never too far if something goes wrong. If you want to get started, sign up through this link and you’ll help us earn a little extra too!

T-Shirts: $2,543

I made $60.92 from Etsy and got my $2,482.84 backpay from Amazon.

Their response to me asking why my stuff is still processing a month after they “reinstated my account?” 

“While ‘Processing’ is a normal part of the publishing process, we are aware that some designs may appear to be stuck in this status on the “Manage” page. There are several reasons this can happen and our team is continuously working to complete publishing of these products. While we are not able to provide updates on specific designs, please know that we will identify these products and work to resolve each one.”

Then they gave me a link to their definition of “processing.”

But apparently I’m not the only one this is happening to. So you know what I have to say Merch? thank u, next…

Books: $1,442.65

Amazon Kindle on the other hand has been increasingly great to work with and I cna’t say enough good things about it. These are my book earnings from September. I sold 759 copies of The No-Spend Challenge Guide and 74 copies of Meal Planning on a Budget.

NSCG was on sale through a special Great onKindle Promo all September and became #1 in its primary category so that’s where this spike is from. It’ll also be available for free to Prime members through Prime Reading January through March! So if you have Prime you should check it out!

My ads are still running and since July I’ve netted an extra $424.29 which is $162.59 over last month.

Mystery Shopping: $0

No mystery shopping recently. I just haven’t been up for it. It’s fun but you have to be available afterwards to write the report and first trimester had me like nah. We have done a few but those checks didn’t clear in November.

If you want to learn more about mystery shopping you can read my post about it.

Blog: $174.46

  • $25.06 from Amazon Associates
  • $94.95 from Other Affiliates
  • $54.45 from the Financial Freedom Planner

To put this in perspective, I get an average of 15,265 page views per month from 11,833 sessions (or 1.29 pages per session) and I have 1,997 active email subscribers. I don’t do anything to get traffic to the blog. I have a lot of pins on Pinterest and that along with some organic traffic is how I get this.

Travis’ Side Job: $382.33

Next year I won’t add this to the income report because taxes are already taken out of it and it’s not really my income to report. But this was a nice treat this month!

Total: $4,543.20

Total Passive Income: $4,160.87 (Not going to count this month as progress to passive income goal.)


  • Book Ads: $13.95
  • Etsy Seller Fees: $7.85

Total: $21.80

Set aside for taxes: $995

November Grand Total: $3548.20

2018 Running Total: $27,285.11

Current Goals:

We just passed 100,000 downloads of The Frugal Friends Podcast so I’d say we met our goal of growing the community! I can’t wait to see how much more it grows in 2019.

And I’m quickly getting new stuff up on the website and Modern Frugality store! So stay tuned next month for the full monty on that!

My only goal right now is to have a great Christmas and I hope you do the same. See you next year!

Jen Smith is a personal finance expert, founder of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, Money Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider, and more. She’s passionate about helping people gain control of their spending.


Is Now the Time to Pull Cash Out of Your Home and Buy Stocks?

Last updated on March 24th, 2020

There’s been lots of chatter around Wall Street that this could be an unprecedented time to buy stocks on the cheap, given the market carnage related to the coronavirus.

One asset manager, Ricky Sandler of Eminence Capital, has even gone as far as to recommend that you refinance your mortgage and use the proceeds to purchase stocks.

Is this a good idea, a bad idea, or a reckless idea? Well, that depends.

The Dow Is Now Sub-20K

A month ago, the Dow was looking like it was about hit 30,000, which would have been cause for celebration, and the unveiling of new baseball caps with “Dow 30,000” emblazoned on the front.

Instead, we’re now below 20,000 as of the time of this writing, thanks to another massive drop this morning. Does anyone have those old hats lying around?

For reference, the Dow first surpassed 20,000 in January 2017, so we’ve basically just erased three years of gains in the matter of a month.

For the contrarians, this is an exciting development. An opportunity to buy equities at 2017 prices.

But who knows what the future has in store. Are stocks going to crumble even more in the short-term?

While some are calling the selloff overdone, we are living in extraordinary times. When was the last time you remember the world effectively shutting down?

The last time nations across the globe closed their borders? The last time the NBA, NHL, MLB, world soccer, and virtually all movies, concerts, and restaurants came to a halt?

Simply put, this is a big deal, and the economic ramifications are going to be tremendous. We are in uncharted territory.

Extreme Fear Is Ruling the Moment

fear greed index

Currently, we are living in Extreme Fear, based on the Fear & Greed Index. That’s as bad as it gets for stocks.

It was previously just a “Fear” rating back on February 27th, before things got even worse.

CNN defines Extreme Fear as a time when the number of stocks hitting 52-week lows exceeds those hitting highs and is at the lower end of its range.

Again, for contrarians, this probably sounds pretty appetizing. If everyone is selling, there’s probably an opportunity to buck the trend and buy some quality stocks at a discount.

But there’s also the fear of catching a falling knife.

Ultimately, these market movements can take a long time to play out, much longer than we anticipate.

Just think about the longest bull run in history, which began in early 2009 and abruptly ended with the coronavirus last week.

No one expected it to go on as long as it did, yet the market kept chugging higher and higher until something unforeseen stopped it in its tracks.

Market Corrections Don’t Tend to Last Very Long


Now some good news and an argument to apply for a cash out refinance so you can get in on the action.

Most stock market corrections, defined as a drop of 10% or more, only last for a short period of time. And the market always goes higher over time.

So one could argue that it’s virtually a no-brainer to invest when the Dow is at 20k if it was previously close to 30k.

Per Yardeni Research, there have been 36 corrections in the S&P 500 since 1950, with the worst being a 57% drop during the Great Recession.

And the average correction time, which is peak to trough, is roughly 196 calendar days. The longest was 929 days in 2000-2002, and the shortest 13 days in 2018.

The Great Recession correction lasted 517 days, which while long, doesn’t seem too bad given the circumstances.

The current correction has the S&P down around 30%, and there’s no sign it’s going to turn around at the moment.

Given the large decline, with more possibly to come, it could take quite a bit of time for stocks to bottom.

But they will eventually bottom and reverse course, it’s just a matter of when.

Best Not to Time the Market

Instead of selling all your stocks in a panic, it’s generally best not to do anything. The old adage about timing the market is true, it’s basically impossible.

And if you don’t touch anything, you haven’t really lost anything. It’s all a paper loss (or gain) until you actually sell.

However, you can add to your position(s) when you feel there’s an opportunity.

It’s just difficult to do so when you don’t have a lot of cash on hand, or if you need to deploy that cash toward your monthly mortgage payment and everyday bills instead.

That’s where a cash out refinance could come in handy, though the major caveat here is you’d be borrowing against your home.

So first you need to be able to afford the higher mortgage payment associated with a larger loan balance, and second, you’d have to be comfortable making such a move in the face of Extreme Fear.

For those thinking a HELOC could work, there are two issues that come to mind.

First, they are tied to the prime rate, which is adjustable and will likely increase over time as the stock market rises.

Secondly, in times of crisis, it’s not unheard of for mortgage lenders to freeze credit lines, so if you attempt to open a line and save it for a rainy day, it might get frozen along the way.

The cash-out argument makes sense though – with mortgage rates close to all-time lows, and stocks currently well off their all-time highs, it could be a recipe for some big gains.

Just imagine if those magical 0% mortgage rates were actually real!

But as the chart above shows, it may take some time for things to turn around, especially now with the world facing its most unique crisis in modern history.

Read more: Two Reasons Not to Refinance Your Mortgage Right Now


Sell Your Flip Faster With These Expert Tips

Time is money, so keep the profits coming with this advice from Christina El Moussa of HGTV’s “Flip or Flop.”

If you’ve been flipping for a while, you know that selling a flipped house takes patience, and that some houses sell faster than others. While many factors affect how quickly a house sells, Success Path has three tips to help you sell your flipped houses faster.

Make a good first impression

Like a job interview, your house needs to make a good first impression. Regardless of how great it is on the inside, the outside appearance matters, and it can be the deciding factor for whether or not the potential buyer bothers to inquire further about the house.

There are many ways to give your house a quick facelift:

  • Start with the house itself — add new paint to the shutters, trim, and front door for a quick and inexpensive fix.
  • If possible and necessary, replace windows and the front door, or add trim and shutters.
  • Make sure the roof, porch, and yard are clean and tidy.
  • Use an eye-catching and sophisticated mailbox that matches the style of the house.
  • Repair the driveway if necessary, filling in cracks and removing any weeds.
  • Add edging to create clean landscaping lines.
  • Keep the grass tidy and mowed, filling in any bare spots and removing weeds.
  • If you have a garden, consider adding an arbor as a focal point. If you don’t have a garden, place flower pots strategically on the edge of the driveway or the porch.

Use the reach of social media

Social media is no longer just a place to keep in touch with distant friends and family. It’s a powerful marketing tool for companies and a platform for connecting with customers — both current and potential.

Most social media platforms have special tools for connecting with specific target markets, narrowing the demographics to match your product or service. Use these tools to your advantage! People spend a fair amount of time on social media, so why not put your house right in front of the people looking for a house?

Start by posting on local real estate pages, or even create your own house-flipping page where you can create ads to show specifically to the demographic of your choice. Don’t wait for the right buyers to find your ad — let your ad find the right buyers.

Don’t skimp on major improvements

The ultimate goal may be making a profit, but you’ll quickly learn the hard way that cutting corners or trying to skip major improvements altogether will cost you more in the long run — and may ultimately put you in the red.

If you’re flipping a house that needs a new roof, but you don’t have roofing experience, don’t ignore the roof or attempt to do it yourself. These things take time and money, and doing it yourself will likely result in costly mistakes. Buyers will look at the bones of the house, so if they see a shoddy roof job, poor plumbing, or major renovations done haphazardly, they’ll be turned off.

Before you even buy a house to flip, budget for hiring out major renovations or projects. Even if the house you want to flip seems manageable for your skill set, always assume that you’ll discover hidden costs and jobs that require a professional.

Don’t give your potential buyers any red flags. Be upfront about the renovations, particularly the ones done by a professional. Squashing their concerns will leave a good impression and ease their minds as they explore the rest of the house.


Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.


Jeffree Star Takes Fans on Tour of Hidden Hills Mansion

Jeffree Star’s dream home is now almost done, with renovation work close to completion, but the make-up wiz/YouTube star couldn’t wait to share it with the fans. And, seeing that we’re all stuck inside, what better way to kill some time and connect with fans than by inviting them into your home?

“Today I’m showing what’s changed and new in the Jeffree Star Pomeranian Palace!”, Jeffree Star’s latest YouTube post reads.“I haven’t left the house in over a week and I thought it was a good time to also sit down and give you all a life update, ALL things personal.” And personal it was, as Jeffree Star walks us through the entire mansion (even the rooms that aren’t yet finished) in an extensive video posted on his channel.

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Jeffree Star’s house tour

Late last year, Jefree paid $14.6 million for a bonafide mega-compound in Hidden Hills, the guard-gated community that lies immediately adjacent to their home of Calabasas, Dirt reports.

In fact, Jeffree Star’s house is one of the largest and most opulent in the area — which says quite a lot, as celebrities like Kris Jenner, The Weeknd, or Will Smith all call Hidden Hills home.

Jeffree Star's mansion in Hidden Hills
Jeffree Star’s mansion in Hidden Hills. Image credit: Redfin

With over 25,000 square feet, the massive residence sits on 2.3 acres, and was previously owned by Stacey Feinberg, daughter of late sports agent Bob Woolf and her husband, Jeff Feinberg, a wealthy financier and hedge fund manager. After the two separated, they both left the home and listed it for sale; but before Jeffree came in to snap the property off the market, the massive estate sat vacant for years.

Designed in the French Normandy architectural style, the Hidden Hills mansion was built in 2007. It’s not the only structure on the estate though, with two attached guest houses and a 5,400-square-foot barn are also included.

jeffree star house tour
Jeffree Star standing in front of his new house in a video released earlier this year.

All in all, Jeffree Star’s house comes with eight bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a kitchen with more than $100,000 worth of custom cabinets, a two-story gym, a sauna, a movie theater, and a huge outdoor kitchen. Oh, and a spa that’s seen an iconic transformation — also covered extensively in one of Jeffree’s videos:

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Star calls the house Pomeranian Palace

Soon after purchasing the home, the YouTube star took his fans on a tour, proudly sharing every inch of his new manse; he did however mentioned plans to renovate the property to better suit his style.

And while fans were quick to think Jeffree Star’s new house will replicate the pink wonderland of his previous crib, the YouTuber shared that he has different plans for the 25,000-square-foot home. “We’re not going to do a Barbie house, and I think a lot of people may be shocked by that,” Star said. “But I just want to — I don’t know. I’m just feeling a whole different vibe of, like, opulence and, like, black velvet and gold and white and, like, woodsy.”

Skip to four months later, and you’ll see exactly that: a spacious, opulent home, adorned with gold (shout-out to the luxurious gold Versace wallpaper) and velvet drapes — though admittedly, he opted for a rich brown velvet instead of black.

the gold versace wallpaper

Jeffree has even found the perfect name for his new crib: Pomeranian Palace, as a tribute to his beloved four-legged friends. And it only makes sense, as the home’s most striking feature was designed with the doggies in mind: Jeffree’s sprawling bed is bigger than the size of a regular room — and that’s because the YouTube star needed a bed large enough to fit all his dogs. Awww.

With the home renovation now almost complete, all that’s left for Jeffree Star to feel right at home is to get along with the neighbors. Because let’s not forget, Hidden Hills is also home to Star’s arch-nemesis, billionaire beauty guru Kylie Jenner, so that’s bound to get interesting.

More celebrity homes

Dakota Johnson Gives AD a Tour of Her Hollywood Home, which She Calls ‘Her Anchor’
Queen Frontman Adam Lambert Re-Lists Hollywood Hills Home for $3.35 Million
Everything We Know about Trevor Noah’s Apartment — the New Set of the Daily Show
Mindy Kaling is Moving Into Frank Sinatra’s Beach House in Malibu, Known as Ol’ Blue Eyes’ “Happiest Place on Earth”