Homeowner’s New Year’s Resolutions
The start of a new year is often a time to start off fresh, turn a new page and create a resolution for your best year yet. While many resolutions fade after the first month, if you’re a homeowner, there are a few that you should hold onto.
Here are five New Year’s resolutions that every homeowner should maintain
Bump Up Mortgage Payments
Let’s face it, nobody wants to be married to a mortgage for life. Every little bit counts when it comes to paying down a mortgage. Resolve to spend a little less on the extra indulgences and instead pay a little more into your mortgage. Extra payments can have a huge impact on the amount of interest you pay out or length of your mortgage in the long run.
With some of the lowest interest rates available in the past 40 years, (currently the average is roughly below four per cent for a 5 year fixed rate), now is the best time to take advantage of the option to refinance. Or if you are on a variable rate plan, lock in on a fixed rate before interest rates begin to creep up again. Consider any accumulated debts that currently incur high interest and roll them into your mortgage (like those 19 per cent credit card balances or never-ending student loans). Not only will this reduce your overall expenses, but it will allow for the creation of a more profitable savings plan leading to those additional mortgage payments. Spend less on interest and pay more toward your mortgage… it’s a double win!
Create a Budget
Take some time to sit down and carefully plan out your income and expenses for the year ahead. Consider the many ways you can lower your spending like cutting down on daily coffee or lunch out, reducing electricity and water use, cutting back on excessive television plans or simply holding back on those not-so-needed impulse purchases. Having a better handle on your money will set you up for greater savings and more peace of mind for when those unexpected repairs and surprises arise.
Review/Renew Your Homeowners Insurance
Year after year, the insurance policy rolls in and you may notice a slight difference in payment amounts but just carry on paying. What if there was a better rate out there that you didn’t know about? Shop around and search out the best possible rates. Also ask your insurance broker about any cost cutting incentives or discounts that may be available. Bundle your auto policy with the same company to benefit from the multi-policy discount, or seniors, take advantage of the age discount some companies offer. If you have a backwater valve installed, ask about the water preventative measure discount. Changes to sewer backup and overland water protection (for snow melt or rainfall flooding) are also items to consider in a policy.
“Spring” cleaning shouldn’t just be for spring. Winter hibernation is the best time to declutter and start the year with a clean slate. Maybe some of those new Christmas gifts are replacements for older, out-dated household items that you can now get rid of. Or make room for those new sweaters and dresses by clearing out the ones you haven’t worn in a while (or don’t fit anymore). And don’t forget about donating to thrift and resource shops or charities that are always in need of good condition, second-hand items. Once your home is clutter-free, create a regular cleaning schedule to make keeping your home spic and span a breeze. With a neat and tidy home, you’ll be in top shape to entertain family and friends and make memories throughout 2017.
Investing in your home isn’t just about finances, it is about investing in a lifestyle you can enjoy and take pride in. What better time than now, the start of a new year, to invest in yourself, your family and your future. Create a homeowner’s resolution that is manageable year-round and reap the rewards.