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Tips for Happy Home Ownership

Tips for Happy Home Ownership

The new year is in full swing, but where are your resolutions? Often times, the initial excitement and ambition that we put toward our personal goals each year quickly dwindle once we get back into our typical work and life routines. But, even if your “eat less, get fit, learn more” personal resolutions may not be going as planned or even if they are, it is not too late to be a better homeowner in 2015!

How can you make and keep resolutions that will benefit you and your home this year?

Start by setting small, realistic goals for your home.

Pay Your Bills on Time: Set 2015 off right by being on time with all of your home ownership bills. You know, your mortgage, utility payments, homeowner association fees, insurance and any other bills that pertain to your home. You’ll instantly improve your credit score, which is always a good thing. Plus, it’s a necessity if you have any plans to upgrade or move this year.


Clean Up the Clutter: You don’t have to wait for spring cleaning season to come around to rid your home of useless clutter. If this sounds like too big of a project, pick a room or drawer that you can tackle each month of the year. By December, your home will be clutter-free!


Spend on Small Enhancements: In 2015, you can enhance your home without emptying your pockets. Make the year all about budget-friendly home enhancements. You may be surprised by what adding a few plants or rearranging your furniture can do for your home’s appearance. If you want to spend a little but see a lot of difference, select a bright accent color and add a few throw pillows or colorful vases to set off an otherwise neutral space.


Make Safety a Priority: Begin the new year with a DIY home safety inspection. Start by checking for radon and carbon monoxide in your home. Next, test all smoke detectors and consider changing all batteries. This should be done annually, so why not do it at the beginning of the year? Finally, give your dryer a little maintenance to make sure it is in proper working order. Clean the lint trap, but don’t forget to check the vents and ducts, too. If your home is older, check for lead paint and asbestos.


Cut Your Energy Consumption: If you haven’t gone green at your home yet, what are you waiting for? Obviously, it is good for the environment, but it is also good for your bank account. Little things like turning off the lights when you leave a room, installing a programmable thermostat to regulate temperature, switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and adding low-flow showerheads can make a big impact for your home. Remember, a smaller carbon footprint also equals smaller bills!

Get aggressive with your home financial situation.  

Make Extra Mortgage Payments: 2015 can be your year to get ahead of your mortgage. You can do so by dividing your annual principal and interest by 12 and adding that amount to each month’s mortgage payment for the year. In the long run, you’ll shave a few years off of your mortgage and you’ll pay far less in interest!


Fight Your Property Tax Assessment: When you receive your property tax assessment each year, scour it to ensure that you’re being fairly taxed. If your property value has declined, your taxes should follow suit. Don’t be afraid to question the assessment. If you need some comparable data, check to see if your real estate agent can help!


Go for Insurance Discounts: After you’ve made some small enhancements to your home, checked to be sure it is safe and ensured energy-efficiency, contact your insurance provider to see if you qualify for a discount. Your due diligence could result in an insurance break!

Making and keeping resolutions for your home doesn’t have to be all about hard work and spending money. In fact, with just a little bit of effort, your 2015 home goals can actually save you some money!