Congratulations on purchasing your first home! Now, it’s time to learn how to maximize your new homeowner budget. Continue reading to uncover 5 helpful tips.
Until now, you’ve probably relied on a landlord or property managers when something goes south in your home. But now that you’ve bought your own home, things are going to be a lot different.
Everything that happens in your home is now your responsibility. The repairs hang both on your time and your wallet.
Don’t panic. Let us help you to maximize your homeowner budget so that things aren’t quite so stressful.
1. Create a Homeowner Budget
If you were able to save up for a down-payment on your house without budgeting, we applaud you. You’ve done a pretty hard thing.
Budgeting seems like something that would constrict your options and put a burden on you. But it’s actually quite freeing to budget your money once you get a handle on it.
There are tons of mobile apps out there for budgeting, and some are free. Try one out and use the one you like best. Making it simple to track your finances will give you a higher chance at successfully managing them.
2. Plan for Tax Hikes
If your mortgage banker hasn’t already discussed it with you, you should know that property taxes do not stay the same. Usually, they go up. Make sure you’re budgeting for tax hikes ahead of time.
If you build it into your budget, you can avoid a nasty surprise later on down the road when your monthly payment goes up.
One way to do this is to pay ahead on your mortgage. If you have your taxes rolled into an escrow account, you can pay more on your mortgage each month so your whole payment goes down over time. This could offset any tax hikes and help you pay off your mortgage sooner.
3. Start Saving for Repairs Immediately
If you can build a reserve of cash in your savings account, you’ll be able to face future repairs. Typical advice for non-homeowners is to set aside 3 months of savings. But if you own a home, you should have six months saved up.
Of course, after buying a house you may not have six months saved up. But start saving for it immediately.
4. Conserve Energy
You’ve probably notices that the summer months are cheaper for energy, despite the need for air conditioning. Winter months can be brutal on a homeowner’s budget.
If you can find ways to conserve energy and make your home more energy efficient, you’ll have more room in your budget for savings. So consult your HVAC repair company or just do some research on how to make your home more energy efficient. Newer appliances, windows and doors, better insulation, even newer heating systems can make a dramatic impact on your monthly energy use.
5. Do as Much as You Can Yourself
Contractors and repair specialists can be expensive. If you can use a hammer and a saw, you can do a lot of repairs and upgrades yourself.
Make sure that you know your limitations, though. It could cost you more and take more time to undo a fix you made, rather than just calling the expert when it’s beyond your abilities.
Be sure to leave anything dangerous or to the experts, too. Things like natural gas are probably things you should leave alone.
It’s Not as Hard as You Think
Owning a new home is a big step. But it’s not as hard as you might imagine.
If you’re looking to buy a new home or put one on the market, contact us for more info.