If you’re like my mom, you probably think that online video is the exclusive province of skateboard show-offs, oversexed exhibitionists and kitty-cat owners with too much time on their hands. And with good reason — many ordinary folk like you and me think there’s little reason to visit YouTube, unless you need to study up on how to do the Harlem Shake or shake off a bad mood watching that little boy David DeVore Jr. and his post-dental delusions.

However, online video can be much, much more useful than you think, even when it comes to the serious business of buying, selling, owning or operating a home. For do-it-yourself home repairs and small projects like painting, installing moldings and even little things like lighting your water heater’s pilot light, YouTube is almost unparalleled as a free source of how-to video instruction from everyone from national home improvement experts to local contractors and even more local individual home fixers who just have a yen for their 15 minutes of online fame and decided to put that yen to constructive use.

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