You can use a level on top an 8 ft.-long 2x4 to determine the slope for yard and garden projects. If you need a slope of 1/4 in. per foot, tack a 2-in. block under the 2x4 on the down- slope end. When the bubble is level, you will have 1/4 in. per foot (2 in. divided by 8 ft.). You can vary the block height for other slopes. If you want a slope of 1/2 in. per foot, make the block 4 in. high.
Discount points allow you to lower your interest rate. They are essentially prepaid interest, with each point equaling 1% of the total loan amount. Generally, for each point paid on a 30-year mortgage, the interest rate is reduced by 1/8 (or.125) of a percentage point. When shopping for loans, ask lenders for an interest rate with 0 points and then see how much the rate decreases with each point paid. Discount points are smart if you plan to stay in a home for some time since they can lower the monthly loan payment. Points are tax deductible when you purchase a home and you may be able to negotiate for the seller to pay for some of them.