As 2017 winds down, millions of Americans are making New Year's resolutions. Most people who make a New Year's resolution focus on bettering themselves - from losing weight and eating healthier, to exercising more and promising to drink more water. Another popular resolution is to spend more time with loved ones. But what about incorporating your home into your goals and promises for the new year? After all, it’s your greatest investment and where you spend most of your time.
Check your homeowner’s insurance
If you've already invested in homeowner’s insurance, you understand the value it can have when it comes to repairs to your home from weather, burglary, or fire. However, it is important to review your insurance policy from time to time to make sure you are still getting adequate coverage. If you have changed things in your home or purchased more items, you may need to expand your policy.
Be sure to check that your coverage also extends to other things on your property like a detached garage, fence, or pool. A lot of homeowners don't realize that these areas often need to be added to a policy separately. Taking time to go over your insurance policy is easy and can end up saving you money in the long run.
Review your mortgage payment method
Depending on your financial situation, you can adjust your mortgage payments to pay off your loan faster. Homeowners choose this method of prepaying in order to pay less interest on their home loan over time. Many homeowners have been able to take advantage of low-rate mortgages over the last few years and have enjoyed lower monthly payments as a result. If it is affordable to make higher payments, it is possible to shave a couple of years off your loan.
Conversely, you could consider a refinance if your mortgage payments are too high and interest rates are at appealing levels. If current rates are much lower than your loan terms, you may be able to lower your monthly mortgage payments by refinancing. However, refinancing does come with its own costs that can run thousands of dollars. Depending on how big the difference in interest rates and how many years you have left on your loan, refinancing may not make financial sense for everyone.
Maintenance and repairs
Like our bodies, homes need maintenance too. If you are planning on making a resolution to exercise more and eat healthier, consider making the same effort on your home. If there are repairs you have been putting off, be sure to get to them right away. When it comes to home maintenance, starting outside can be easiest. Trim the trees, mow the lawn, rake up leaves - do whatever needs to be done to maintain your home and make it look great. Some of these activities can even count as exercise and help you with other personal resolutions. Indoors, you should check the batteries in your smoke alarm, update your alarm system and test your sump pump to be sure it is in working order. Doing a few small maintenance checks can end up reducing the risk of major repairs later on.
Focus on energy efficiency
The Alliance to Save Energy, a group that supports energy efficiency, explains that the average cost of utilities for homeowners is more than $5,500 and that relatively simple changes can greatly reduce that sum. The organization states that energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs can cut 30-80% of electric bills, while good habits can also have a substantive impact. Make sure you are turning lights and appliances off when they are not in use. Consider upgrading to energy-efficient iterations of these assets to save big this year.
Happy New Year to YOU and YOUR HOME!
For additional real estate information, please contact a Tauber Real Estate Associate.