The start of a New Year is a great time to think about making resolutions to achieve specific goals. As a homeowner, it’s a good idea to think about ways to keep one of your biggest investments in good shape as well as consider ways it can help bring some of those financial goals to life. Here are 5 New Year resolutions to consider for homeowners:
1. Consider refinancing
Refinancing your home loan could be a smart strategy to improve your financial situation, if done for the right reasons.
Review your current lender’s rate from time to time to see if it is still competitive compared to others in the market, and whether you could be saving money by switching between a fixed and variable rate. You might also consider refinancing to consolidate multiple debts into one single monthly payment to get things back on track.
Remember that there are fees associated with refinancing, so make sure you’ve done your research upfront. Check with your current Lender for a full list of fees.
2. Go green
Plant fruit and vegetables. Growing your own food saves money and helps the environment. It also benefits your health, as you’re more likely to eat fruit and vegetables that you’ve grown yourself. Start small, only growing fruit or veggies you really like to eat, and if you lack garden space, take inspiration from websites showing you how to get creative with small gardens in planters.
Start composting. Keep it simple and maybe get a composting kit that walks you through the steps. If you have space you can create a compost area outside but a newer way of composting called bokashi [a Japanese term meaning 'fermented organic matter'] is a solution in a bucket. A great idea for city dwellers and can even work in offices or apartments. Learn more about Bokashi composting here.
Buy a rain barrel, so simple, yet so valuable. It cuts down on your water bill, it cuts down the moisture around your home’s foundation, and it’s healthier for your plants and garden. Rainwater is also good for washing the dog or the car. If you’re in a drought district, the benefits are obvious.
There are plenty of ways to make your house greener and that are a smart way to save you money, here we show you how.
3. Renovate to add value
Renovations can substantially increase the value of your property and build your equity. Pick a target and get to work. Narrow down your wish list to increase the probability of completing the job by only choosing one room in the house that you want to update. It might be something as simple as adding new furniture to the bedroom or putting a new shower in the bathroom. Or it might be time to tackle that big project and think about a serious kitchen upgrade. Find out more about kick starting your home renovation project.
If you want to cut down on costs for big renovations, like a new kitchen, start comparison-shopping online for big-ticket items and design the layout yourself. Sketch a visual plan and then get quotes from contractors.
It is important to keep a realistic budget when it comes to renovations; here we show you how to work out your renovation budget in 5 easy steps.
4. Set up a maintenance fund
It's a fact: Appliances break, water drips, heat pumps fail, and they all cost money to fix or replace. Putting aside money for ongoing home maintenance will ensure that when something breaks (and it will) you can quickly repair or replace it. In general, you should stash 1% of your home's purchase price annually for a maintenance fund1. Automate the payment so you don't have to think about it, and that way if your heat pump breaks, the money will be there waiting for you.
Home maintenance is one of the many hidden costs of homeownership, but just a reminder that DIY projects gone wrong can be even more costly. When you are tackling a home maintenance project that might be out of your league - think roof repairs or plumbing projects - hire a professional.
5. Re-asses your mortgage payments
Is it time to bump up your mortgage payments? If you have any sort of spare income in 2018, think about putting it towards your mortgage. Create a budget and look for any areas where you can save a few dollars. If you are not on a fixed term mortgage then making extra payments can have a really big impact on the total you end up paying out over the course of a loan. It can also shorten the amount of time you’ll have to make payments and can have you owning your house, free and clear, sooner than you expected.
The more you can contribute, the better. But even if you can only make a few extra payments this coming year – it’s a great idea. Any extra dollars now will add up to saving you money later.