Owning a home is a key part of the American dream. It’s a huge investment, and likely the biggest purchase you will ever make in your life. Your expenses don’t go away once you purchase the home, though. They also have a tendency to pile up. If you need help reducing the money you’re spending on your house, here are some ideas that can help you get started.
Keep Utilities Low
Your utilities play an important role in making your house not just habitable, but comfortable as well. The cost of heating or cooling your house, keeping the water running, and keeping the lights on can all add up pretty quickly though. Finding ways to lower your utilities can really help you reduce your housing expenses. Don’t run the water when you don’t need it, and maybe try to take quicker showers. Remember to turn the lights off when you leave a room. Consider unplugging electronics and appliances when they aren’t in use. If the hot water settings on your water heater are higher than what you need them to be, consider turning them down. Installing new energy efficient appliances in place of older models can also take a chunk out of your utility bills. These can all help reduce your utility usage, which will help lower your utility bills.
Do More DIY Work
Paying someone else to do home repairs can add up quickly. You’re paying them for their time, the materials used, and their expertise. These can be good things if you want the peace of mind knowing the job is done right the first time. There are also plenty of home maintenance tasks you shouldn’t DIY. That said, there are also plenty you can do on your own. If you’re performing the repairs yourself, you should save a decent amount of money since all you’ll need to pay for are the tools and supplies. If it’s a project that can be done without taking time off of work to complete, you won’t be out of a day’s pay either. If you choose to use this cost-saving tip, make sure you have a complete understanding of your project before you get started so you know what you’re getting into.
Perform Regular Inspections
It’s hard to fix a problem if you don’t know it exists. Problems left unresolved tend to grow, and as they do, the cost to fix them rises as well. That’s where having periodic home inspections comes in handy. Sure, you’ll need to pay for the inspection to be done, and you’ll need to handle the cost of taking care of any issues they identify. There’s a good chance that the total cost of those two things adds up to less than what you would pay if the problem were allowed to grow into something much larger though. Keep in mind that there are some things general home inspections don’t cover, so if you want someone to take a closer look at those areas you may need to hire more specialized help. Some companies offer different kinds of home inspections, so you may want to look into one of those if you have a specific issue you need help with.
Take Care of Your Things
If you don’t want to have to pay for repairs or replacements, or at least cut down on how frequently you need to do this, you need to take measures to ensure that your belongings are properly taken care of. Regular cleaning and maintenance can go a long way towards making sure your things stay in good condition longer. The humidity in your home will play a role in this as well. Humidity can damage wood furniture after long periods of time. It can also promote the growth of mold, which will damage your belongings as well. Keep your home temperate and dry, clean and maintain your belongings, and keep them in their proper place to help them stay in good condition.
Take a Closer Look at Your Homeowners Insurance
Home owners aren’t legally required to carry homeowners insurance if they own the home themselves. If you’re still paying off your mortgage though, most lenders will require you to carry it. Besides, it’s a good idea and will definitely be worth it if you end up needing it. That said, you don’t necessarily have to pay full price for it. There are some home improvements that can reduce rates, and some insurance companies may offer discounts if you bundle policies with them. Bundling homeowners insurance and car insurance is one popular insurance bundle that you may be able to take advantage of. You also might consider shopping around to see if another company can offer you a better rate. Conversely, if you have been with the company for a long time or if your credit score is really good, you also might be able to leverage those to improve your rate.
Refinance Your Mortgage
Your mortgage may be one of the larger regular house-related expenses you have. If you didn’t put at least 20 percent down for a downpayment when you purchased the home, you’re likely paying for private mortgage insurance as well. Refinancing your mortgage can be a very helpful way to decrease the amount of money you spend at one time on your house. If you have at least 20 percent equity in your home, you should be able to get rid of the private mortgage insurance. This should lower your monthly payment. You may also be able to renegotiate the terms of your loan. Keep in mind that if you negotiate a lower monthly payment, you’ll likely have a longer loan term and may end up paying more in the long run. Conversely, if you negotiate a shorter loan term, you may end up paying more each month. But since you’ll be paying it off sooner, you’ll likely end up paying less overall by the end of it. Either way, pay attention to how it impacts your interest rate, as that may also be affected.
Homes are expensive to purchase and expensive to maintain. Fortunately for homeowners, there are some things you can do to reduce how much you spend on your house. Find ways to reduce your utilities, handle maintenance on your own, and renegotiate some of your expenses. This can help you free up some of your money and allow you to re-allocate it to other areas.
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