A few years ago, you made a New Year’s resolution to save up money to buy a house. This year, you made that resolution come true. Now, you have a few new homeowner’s resolutions to make.
It’s a New Year in a new home, which means you are starting the year off with a bang. But before you throw caution to the wind, you have some new resolutions to make, and we say use them wisely. Chances are the “joining a gym” resolution will have worn out its welcome somewhere in mid-March.
The first 12 months of living in a new home are the most important in laying the foundation for the rest of your homeowning future, and part of your resolution should be dedicated to making sure you’ve got the road well paved.
New Year’s Homeowners Resolutions
The first rule of home ownership is to prepare for the unexpected. If you think whatever can go wrong will, and then you won’t be as disappointed if it does, and you’ll be unexpectedly pleased if it doesn’t.
Arrange A Planned Service Agreement
If there is one thing more frightening than the Boogeyman and more terrifying than the Mummy to the first-time homeowner, it is the thought of appliances breaking down at the worst moments.
Make your first resolution to arrange a planned service agreement so this never happens. With a planned service agreement, you get a team of experts checking on your appliances regularly with service checkups scheduled at your convenience.
Not only can this save you loads on major repairs by targeting potential problems before they become real problems, but it can also save you money on your utility bills by making sure your appliances are operating at their peak efficiency.
With planned service, you get top priority and preferential treatment when it comes to emergency repairs so you can rest easy knowing that you’re in good hands with a reliable company that won’t charge you hidden fees for last minute jobs.
Building Home Equity
One word no homeowner’s vocabulary should be without it is the word “home equity.” Put simply, equity is the difference between your home’s market value and the amount you paid for it.
The key to building home equity is to maximize your home’s value and minimize mortgage debt. By putting a large down payment on your home, you can put a big dent in your mortgage debt. The faster you can pay that mortgage off, the more money you can devote to creating equity.
Besides reducing mortgage debt, you can also build equity by improving your curb appeal. According to Remodeling Magazine, the payback on home upgrades is 64 cents on the dollar, and that’s only if the home sells within a year. Smaller improvements like adding insulation or replacing garage doors can also spell a big increase in home equity.
Also, if windfalls and bonuses come your way, add them your mortgage. Remember, if any unforeseen expenses come along you can always draw from your equity as a loan or line of credit.
The resolution to save energy is probably going to be on a lot of people’s lists, but when you’re a new homeowner, it’s more than a wishful thought.
As a homeowner, the idea of saving energy needs to be taken seriously A big part of that has to do with controlling the thermostat. If resolving to turn off the thermostat when you leave the house seems a bit ambitious, install a programmable thermostat to do it for you.
And while you’re finding new ways to keep the house warm or cool efficiently, why not keep the water warm as well? Gone are the days of bulky water heaters expending energy on keeping showers hot, now we have tankless water heaters to be thankful for. The Department of Energy says that tankless water heaters are 8 to 34% more energy efficient than the standard water heaters, and that will make a lot of homeowners say, “Tanks a lot.”
Energy Efficient Audit
Step 2 of energy saving is the energy efficient audit. In this case, you’re targeting the quirks you may have noticed in your home and determining whether or not they can be responsible for raising your utility bills and decreasing energy efficiency in your home.
For example, maybe your noticing a strange smell emitting from the basement, or that one of the rooms is about ten degrees colder than all the rest. Maybe that was ok for the Addams family, but your home is your castle, so you want to know the real reason.
An energy audit is an inexpensive way to get the peace of mind by assessing your home and determining which fixes will lead to the biggest payoffs in the long run.
Keeping it Green
You’re not just a homeowner with a new home in a New Year, you’re a homeowner with a new home in a new century, (relatively.) Nowadays going green has a lot to do with making healthy choices, but it also has a lot to do with the “finished” product.
When you’re putting the “finishing” touches on your new home, swap out laminates and carpets with hardwood surfaces. Hardwood surfaces gather less dust and bacteria and keep the air in your house healthier.
Look to use sustainable materials. Bamboo and cork are both sustainable resources that can regenerate themselves and be maintained for an indefinite amount of time.
Paint with low or no- VOC non-toxic paint, and if you’re texturizing, Earth plaster is a friendlier alternative to gypsum.
Learn To DIY
Even before the expression DIY became a catchphrase, the value of doing things yourself can never be underestimated.
The more home repairs and maintenance work you can do yourself, the less aggravation it will cost you in the end.
Make one of your resolutions to read up or surf the web for tutorials on things like replacing air filters, painting, fixing leaks, and ridding your bedroom of mold. Find out how to rid your house of roaches and musty smells in the basement. You’ll find that the more you can do by yourself, the more you can get done and the quicker you can get it done.
So, may old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind. May your mortgage go down, and may equity go up, and may all your homeowner’s resolutions come to fruition. Remember, if you keep the little things in check, you’ll be prepared to face the bigger stuff.