Please welcome guest writer, Debra Lewis.
Homeownership offers a slew of benefits, from the freedom to decorate and renovate at will to the long-term investment value of the property. Purchasing a home isn’t without its challenges, though. There are many expenses associated with homeownership that you don’t deal with in a rental. From landscaping to home repairs, you’re on the hook for it all. Use these tips to trim your expenses so owning a home is more affordable.
Choose the Right Loan
Image via Flickr by lumaxart
There are many different loans available to homebuyers, so you don’t necessarily want to go with the first thing you find. Compare loans from several lenders, and ask each lender to provide you with a comparison of different options that you may qualify for. First-time homebuyer programs, VA loans, and USDA rural development loans are just a few of the programs you may qualify for.
Compare all associated costs for your loan, including fees, points, and interest rates. Consider what you’ll pay over the long term as well as what your monthly and annual expenses will be. Carefully inspecting all your options will yield the best results.
Invest in Smart Protection
Your home is a major investment. Make sure it’s well-protected with a comprehensive homeowner’s insurance policy. While your mortgage lender will probably require a minimum amount of insurance, it’s worth comparing all the available plans. You may want to upgrade your policy for additional provisions.
Add another layer of protection with a home warranty from TotalProtect. This will help cover expenses associated with regular wear and tear. Home warranties cover your home systems and appliances so you don’t have to go without air conditioning, kitchen appliances, or a working washer or dryer when they break down.
Upgrade for Energy Efficiency
Utility expenses make up a big chunk of what you pay for your home. If you’re not mindful of your energy use, you could end up paying far more than you need to every year. Upgrade your home to emphasize energy efficiency. This includes tasks such as:
- Adding insulation
- Sealing windows, doors, and cracks around the home
- Switching to low-flow shower heads, faucets, and toilets
- Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED products
- Upgrading to Energy Star-certified appliances
- Sealing leaky ductwork
You can also improve your energy efficiency with better lifestyle habits, such as turning off appliances and lights when not in use, taking shorter showers, and keeping the home cooler in winter and warmer in summer.
Trim Unnecessary Expenses
Draft a detailed home budget that lets you see how much you’re spending on your house every month. Do you pay per bag with your trash collection service? Start recycling and composting to minimize what you throw away. Consider cutting the cord on cable and using cheaper streaming services instead. If you still have a landline, drop this service and rely solely on your cell phone. Landscape your yard with hardy perennials so you don’t have a slew of new plantings to purchase each season.
With the right strategies, you can maintain your home affordably, enjoying all the perks of owning a house while keeping costs manageable.