Many of us make New Year’s resolutions, but let’s be honest, most are wishful thinking. By February, that “lose weight” or “cut sugary drinks” resolution has gone out the window for most. However, this year we have some weekly tips to help you be healthier and wealthier in the New Year! These New Year’s resolutions for homeowners can help you save more money and get the most out of your biggest investment.
So make room on your list between “go to the gym more” and “learn a new language”. Here are 5 essential New Year’s resolutions for homeowners.
5 New Year’s Resolutions for Homeowners
1. Start an emergency fund
An emergency savings fund provides a financial safety net for any unexpected incidents, such as a leaky roof or a burst pipe. Laid off unexpectedly or surprised by major car repairs? Mortgage payments are still expected on time and in full. Without an emergency fund, these expenses could force you into credit card debt or lead to financial struggle.
Ideally, your emergency fund should be able to cover several months of expenses, but it’s OK to start small. Set aside a portion of every paycheck with the goal of saving $500 as quickly as possible, and then contribute as much as you can moving forward. When surprise costs come up, you will have the money set aside to dip into, rather than your savings account.
2. Get an energy efficiency audit
Heating, cooling and powering a home isn’t cheap. Why be uncomfortable or spend more because your house wastes energy?
An energy-efficiency audit is an inexpensive way to help you detect the exact issues causing your home to waste energy and the fixes that will improve those issues.
Using blower door tests and infrared cameras, energy audits measure air leaks and detect air infiltration or missing insulation. Audits are performed by utility companies, city governments and some contractors.
In addition to lowering your utility bills and making you more comfortable, a more efficient home may end up putting extra money back in your pocket, thanks to local, state and federal rebates.
3. Take a closer look at your homeowners insurance
Just because a standard homeowners insurance policy satisfied your lender, it doesn’t mean you’re adequately covered.
Homeowners insurance isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are a number of unique coverage options and exclusions that all homeowners need to be aware of.
Does your policy cover the full cost of your jewelry or other valuables? Do you have adequate coverage if a friend or guest is hurt on your property? Will the policy pay if your dog bites the neighbor?
Spending a few minutes reviewing your coverage and exclusions can ensure you are properly covered. Ask questions if you don’t understand the wording, before a claim occurs. For a free policy review or to schedule a sit down with an agent, just call us at 724-929-2300. Our agents can tailor a policy to fit your specific needs and can compare prices for you to save you more money and time.
4. Create a disaster kit with a home inventory
A disaster kit that includes financial documents and a home inventory will speed up recovery if the unthinkable happens and will help ensure that you get the most back from your insurance in the event of a claim.
A home inventory can be as simple as snapping pictures of big-ticket items in your home, or you could record items, brands, original prices, ages and condition in a spreadsheet. Keeping receipts for more expensive items can help determine the amount you will get back.
No matter which method you choose, a home inventory is the best way to make sure you have enough insurance coverage to replace your valuables.
Store the inventory, along with copies of your personal identification, credit card information, vehicle records and other important documents, in a fireproof safe or another place that’s easily accessible if you have to evacuate.
For more information on how to make an home inventory and what you should include, read our post here.
5. Make a plan to build equity
Unless you bought your home with cash, it will likely be many years until you own it completely. Make plans now to build equity faster so you can unlock more benefits of home ownership even sooner. Equity, or how much of your house is paid off, is a valuable asset; accrue enough and you can use it to finance major renovations or pay off loans.
You can build equity slowly just by making your monthly mortgage payments, or you can find ways to speed up the process. For example, take on smart home improvements or switch to biweekly payments to gain equity even faster.
Whether you’re a new homeowner or have had a house for years, these New Year’s resolutions for homeowners will help you get the most out of your largest investment and ensure you are protected properly for whatever comes your way in the new year. Keeping these resolutions will help you save more money and keep your home safer and more comfortable too!