New Years is the most popular time to create our yearly goals, and this can be a great time for homeowners to add a few housing goals to the list. Your financial goals may differ, but generally, you might want to pay off debt, build up savings, or better manage your daily spending in 2017.
If you’re a homeowner or intend to become one this year, here are seven New Year’s resolutions to put on your list.
- Pay off a second mortgage
It’s not always easy to pay off a second mortgage, but the freedom from that added debt and interest expense can be well worth the effort which is especially true if your second loan has a variable rate. Rates are low today, but if they rise in the future, you could face a painful payment hike and might not be in a position to refinance that debt.
- Refinance your mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage to decrease your payment or lock in a lower fixed rate also might be a smart move. It is also suggested that if you have a variable mortgage, you may want to try to make it fixed. Just having this added security for the future can mean a world of a difference.
Also, refinancing an adjustable-rate loan can make sense even if you end up with a higher payment. That’s because a fixed rate will protect you from the risk of a spike in your interest rate.
Click here to find a knowledgeable Stanford Mortgage Advisor to help you with any of your mortgage needs.
- Fight your property tax assessment
If your home’s value is being over-assessed, you might be able to save some money in by contesting your property tax assessment.
Remember to review your property tax and request a hearing date within the required time if the assessed value is excessive. I’m also free to help out with any comparable sales data for an appeal.
The money you can save can be extensive. If property values have dropped or if the Tax Assessor has set your value too high, make sure that is reflected in a decrease in property tax as well. Most property tax assessors’ websites have useful information for homeowners about assessment dates and appeals.
- Get homeowners insurance discounts
Did you know that major repairs or improvements that you made to your home last year can score you a discount or a lower quote on this year’s coverage?
If you have fixed your roof or updated plumbing, your risk of problems associated with older materials will be much lower, which can translate into saving money on your insurance. Call your agent or carrier and make sure your file is current with the latest information about your home.
- Cut Energy Use
Sealing and insulating your ductwork can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20%, saving you $200 per year or more, according to Energy Star. You’ll make your home more comfortable, and a more-efficient system helps extend the life of your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump.
Because ducts are usually hidden inside walls, ceilings, attics, and crawl spaces, sealing and insulating them may be a difficult and time-consuming DIY job. If you can’t reach all your ducts, concentrate on those that are accessible.
Insulating your ductwork may qualify for a rebate from your state or local municipality. Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
- Curb Home Water Use
The average household uses about 400 gallons of water each day or almost $700 per year in water and sewer costs. Make a few simple changes, such as installing Low-flow showerheads that include technology that reduces the amount of flow yet keeps pressure up, resulting in shower streams that are powerful and satisfying. They cost from $10 to $150, and installation is an easy DIY job that takes only minutes.
Also, replacing your pre-1994, water-guzzling toilet with a low-flow toilet prevents $90 worth of water costs from being flushed away. HE (high-efficiency) toilets use compressed air and electric water pumps to flush with less than 1 gallon of water; older models required up to 8 gallons.
Doing this could trim up to $200 from your annual water bill. Add to that energy savings from reduced costs to heat water, and your yearly savings could reach $300 or more per year.
- Get in shape and stretch your DIY capabilities at the same time
- Building a fence: 340 calories per hour
- Caulking windows and doors: 280 calories per hour
- Cleaning rain gutters: 272 calories per hour
- Installing ceramic tile: 238 calories per hour
- Interior painting: 136 calories per hour
- Chopping firewood: 340 calories per hour
- Mowing the lawn: 306 calories per hour
- Planting shrubs: 238 calories per hour
- General gardening: 204 calories per hour