5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Homeowner Should Make for 2017
As we enter into 2017, we are all thinking about what we want to accomplish this year. And while we are all likely to make at least one standard resolution (i.e. finally lose those extra pounds or save extra money), there are some specific resolutions we suggest think about homeowners making to get the most to of your property and experience owning a home.
1. Throw A Little More Towards Your Mortgage Payments
Of course this is never easy, but if you end up with any sort of extra income this year, consider putting it towards your mortgage. Making extra payments can have a huge impact on the total you end up paying over the course of your loan, AND can also shorten the amount of time you’ll be stuck with payments, which means finally owning your home free and clear will be sooner than expected.
Even if it’s only a few extra payments over the year, do it! The more the better. The extra money will add up and will end up saving you some serious cash in interest.
Consider making a yearly budget and see if there are any areas you can cut back on, like your daily Starbucks trip and/or takeout lunch. You’ll see the extra dollars start to pile up in your bank account.
2. Explore Refinancing
There was a near record low of interest rates on mortgages in 2016, and while they slowly went up at the end of the year (~4%), they were still half of the average interest rates over the past 40 years (average 8.45%).
With a new president taking office very soon, now is the time to refinance. The economy could shift, which may increase interest rates. Talk to your bank about refinancing and getting a lower rate. Consider changing to a fixed rate, if you don’t have one already, to lock in those low interested rates while you still can!
3. Review and Renew Your Homeowners Insurance
Many homeowners roll over their insurance year to year. If you haven’t reviewed the policy in a while, you could be missing out on money-saving opportunities. It doesn’t hurt to shop around and get quotes from a few different companies to see what rates are competitive in the current market. If you’re paying more, contact your current company and see if they will match the lowest quote you can find.
Another way to save money on insurance is to bundle your insurances together - home, auto, etc. And, if you’ve made any major improvements that could impact the insurability of your home (clearing trees, installing high tech security system, etc.) let your insurance company know. Often times improvements such as these can lower your premiums.
We’ve all heard the phrase “Spring Cleaning,” but what better time for a fresh start than a New Year? Decluttering, getting rid of things you don’t need or use, and just overall cleaning out parts of your home will not only make your home look better but it will make your home AND you FEEL better. Clutter has been shown to decrease creativity, productivity, and focus and messy, cluttered spaces often make people feel riddled with stress and anxiety.
5. Get Up To Speed On Safety
The New Year is a great time to check out the current state of your property to ensure you're safe in the upcoming year.
As of December 1, 2016 a new law has gone into effect in Massachusetts regarding smoke detectors. The new law states that when homes built before 1975 are sold, the house must be equipped with smoke detectors with a 10-year life span. These detectors are sold as 10 year sealed lithium battery power smoke alarms.
Be sure to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace them if needed.
Also test for radon (you can get a kit for $10 at Home Depot), meet with your family to review evacuation plans in case there’s a fire, flood, or other emergencies.
We wish all homeowners a happy and safe New Year!